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Thermofluids Institute Doctoral Training student wins EPSRC Doctoral Prize Award to extend research into other areas

Jack Gaskell will draw on expertise of Particulates Research Group at the OTI and automative experience of Thermal Propulsion Systems Group to research wear of road and tyres caused by vehicles

Jack Gaskell, a student in the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Gas Turbine Aerodynamics based at the Oxford Thermofluids Institute (OTI), has been awarded an EPSRC Doctoral Prize Award. The nine-month award is intended to help universities retain and recruit the very best PhD students.

Jack is in the final year of his DPhil under the supervision of Professors David Gillespie and Matthew McGilvray. His work has developed new tools to predict how salt, sand and mineral particles entering jet engines bounce and stick throughout their complicated flow paths. With other tools developed by the group, the vulnerability of many jet engine components to additional blockage or corrosive damage, may be accurately predicted prior to flight for the first time.

Under the scheme Jack will draw on the expertise of the Particulates Research Group at the OTI, and the automotive experience of Professor Felix Leach in the Thermal Propulsion Systems Group, to extend his research to the wear of roads and tyres as a consequence of driving. Particulate emissions from tyres already exceed those of exhausts by orders of magnitude, and is being exacerbated by the introduction of heavier electric vehicles. Much of the particulate matter are PM10 or PM2.5 particles, known to be dangerous to health. The tools developed at the OTI will provide an understanding of how they disperse in the atmosphere once emitted, and predicting adhesion to surfaces they encounter.

Jack’s work will identify ways to promote the sticking of tyre emissions to the surface of the vehicles and other means of capturing the smallest particulates, thus reducing the concentration of these particles at street level.

He says, “Cars and motorbikes were what first drew me to study engineering, so I’m excited to contribute to an area I have such a personal interest in. This is especially true of a topic like air pollution which is both prominent in the media and relevant to all of us in society.”