From Flow Assurance in Oil and Gas to Water Management in Fuel Cells.

The Flow Modelling Group is driven by solving real world problems applying various modelling techniques.  The group has been engaged in research activities in two key areas: Oil & Gas and Hydrogen Fuel Cells.  The Flow Modelling Group has expertise in modelling flows at the molecular level using molecular dynamics technique to the continuum level using analytical, mechanistic and computational fluid dynamics techniques. The group is also equipped with multiphase flow loop, wind tunnel, PIV system for experimental measurements.

This research has many applications in the oil and gas sector such as:

  • flow assurance,
  • sand transport,
  • erosion and pipeline integrity;
  • hydrogen and fuel cells – as well as in modelling, water management, and catalyst optimisation.

Current group members have research interests in such diverse areas as:

  • computational fluid dynamics
  • multi-phase flows
  • mechanistic modelling;
  • molecular dynamics modelling
  • advanced combustion modelling

Current Projects

Flow Assurance and Sand Transport in Flowline

The accumulation of sand is a major problem in oil and gas flowline that hampers continuous production.

The group is currently investigating the transport of sand through flowline using computational fluid dynamics and mechanistic modelling technique. The ultimate aim of the on-going research is to propose more accurate flow assurance strategies.

The computational fluid dynamics investigation involves the use of ANSYS Fluent software to model sand transportation in multiphase fluid flow at the bend of horizontal flowline. This entails creation of the computational domain/geometry (fig.3), and adequate mesh generation for the simulation (fig.4).

The modelling covers a number of different bend angles in horizontal flowline, in order to investigate the effect of the degree of angle of bend on flow velocity, pressure drop and sand accumulation at the bend of a horizontal flowline. Roland Tebowei, a research student, is currently working with the supervisory team on this project.

Figure1 Sand Transport in Flowline

Figure 1: Sand concentration across the vertical central line.

Figure2 Sand Transport in Flowline

Figure 2: Sand volume fraction

Recently Completed Projects

Atomistic Simulations of Thermal Spray Coating Formation

‘Thermal spraying’ is a generic term used for processes wherein the sprayed layer is built up by partially melting or deforming the powder material to be coated in a high temperature (e.g. flame, plasma, detonation spray) or cold temperature zone (e.g. cold spray) and propelling the molten droplets onto the substrate in the form of splats.

Thermal spray processes are used to produce thick-film coatings to combat surface degradation of engineering components.

These processes can be relatively simply for single elastic impacts, but the situation is more complicated in spraying where the particles undergo significant plastic deformation and fragmentation (Fig. 5), there are many, perhaps overlapping events and a number of secondary processes (such as the collapse of particle agglomerations and phase changes) going on.

Dr Nadimul Haque Faisal is currently working in collaboration with Dr Saurav Goel at Queen’s University of Belfast investigating through LAMMPS molecular dynamics (MD) simulations applied to material property evaluations of atomistic scale mechanism of powder particles impact during thermal spray coating formation.

FMR Figure 5A  FMR Figure 5B

Figure 5: LAMMPS molecular dynamics simulation of thermally sprayed particle impact: (a) before impact, and (b) after impact behaviour of particle and substrate, and particle flattens and substrate surface atoms plastically deforms.

Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells

Hydrogen can be a very attractive source of energy for the low carbon economy.

Fuel cells running on hydrogen can be deployed in automobiles, combined heat and power unit, stationary and distributed power unit. However, the wider deployment of fuel cells is hampered by low performance of fuel cells under certain operating conditions.

In the recently concluded Northern Research Partnership (NRP) funded project, Dr Mamdud Hossain and Dr Sheikh Islam from the School of Engineering identified different design and operating parameters that could improve the performance of a fuel cell [1,2]. In a related project, Dr Hossain and undergraduate student Amy Colley-Davies worked on developing a novel design for removing produced water from the cathode channel of a fuel cell [3]. 

Dr Hossain is currently working with Dr Nadimul Haque Faisal investigating the microstructure of catalyst layers of fuel cell at a molecular level through Molecular Dynamics modelling.

FML Figure 1

Figure 1: Oxygen distribution inside the cathode channel of a PEM fuel cell

FML Figure 2

Figure 2: Water droplet transport inside cathode channel

Advanced Combustion Model

The group has developed advanced combustion model based on laminar flamelet concept.

The key achievement in this area has been to develop a turbulence-combustion-radiation interaction model that has led to more accurate prediction of CO and NOx emission from furnaces.

Figure 1 Advanced Combustion Model

Figure 1: Temperature and flow field in a bluff-body combustor


Figure 2 Advanced Combustion Model

Figure 2: Radial profile of NOx in a bluff body combustor


Publications by Energy, Environment and Sustainability staff

  1. Hossain, M., Islam, S. Z. and Pollard, P. (2013) Investigation of species transport in a gas diffusion layer of a polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell through two-phase modelling, Renewable Energy, 51, 404-418. doi: 10.1016/j.renene.2012.10.008.
  2. Hossain, M., Davies, A., Islam, S. Z. and Adom, E. (2013) Water dynamics inside a cathode channel of a polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell, Renewable Energy, 50, 763-779. doi: 10.1016/j.renene.2012.08.041. 
  3. Hossain, M., Islam, S. Z. and Pollard, P. (2012) Numerical study of the effect of effective diffusivity coefficient and permeability of gas diffusion layer on fuel cell performance, Proc. IMechE, Part A: J. Power and Energy, 226(7) 907-921. doi: 10.1177/0957650912454402.
  4. Hossain, M., Acar, M. and Malalasekera, W. (2009). Modelling of the through-air bonding process. Journal of Engineered Fibers and Fabrics,4(2), 1-8. ((http://www.
  5. Ravikanti, M, Hossain, M. and M., Malalasekera, W. (2009). Laminar flamelet model prediction of NOx formation in a turbulent bluff-body combustor.  Proc. IMechE, Part A: J. Power and Energy, 223(A1), 41-54.
  6. Ravikanti, M., Malalasekera, W., Hossain, M. and Mahmud, T. (2008). Flamelet based NOx-radiation integrated modelling of turbulent non-premixed flame using Reynolds-stress closure. Flow, Turbulence and Combustion, 81, 1-2, 301-319.
  7. Faisal, N. H., Ahmed, R., Reuben, R. L., Allcock, B. (2011). AE monitoring and analysis of HVOF thermal spraying process, Journal of Thermal Spray Technology, 20(5), 1071-1084
  8. Ahmed, R., Faisal, N. H., Paradowska, A. M., Fitzpatrick, M. and Khor, K. A. (2011). Neutron diffraction residual strain measurements in nanostructured hydroxyapatite coatings for orthopaedic implants, Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, 4(8), 2043-2054 
  9. Faisal, N. H., Ahmed, R., Reuben, R. L., Balasubramanian, S. (2009). Implementing LAMMPS molecular dynamics simulation with focus on thermally sprayed particle impact, EPSRC Symposium Workshop on Molecular Dynamics, June 1-5, 2009, The University of Warwick, UK (poster)

Theme Leader

  • Mamdud Hossain

    Dr Mamdud Hossain

    Dr. Hossain’s interests include advanced combustion modelling, CFD modelling of multi-phase flows in oil and gas, turbulence-device interaction in tidal stream and fuel cell.  

  • Staff

  • Nadimul Faisal


    Dr. Nadimul H Faisal is a Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering.  

  • Sheikh Islam

    Sheikh Islam

    Dr Sheikh Islam is a lecturer in the School of Engineering  

  • Draco Iyi

    Draco Iyi

    Dr. Draco Iyi is a lecturer and researcher at the RGU School of Engineering.  

  • Students

  • Behshad Moradi

    Behshad Moradi Profile 1

    Four phase (oil, water, gas, sand) flow modeling with focus on sand transportation  

  • Roland Tebowei

    Roland Tebowei

    Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Modelling of Sand Transport in Multiphase Flow in Pipeline Bends.  

  • Past members/collaborators

    • Professor Weeratunge Malalasekera, Loughborough University
    • Dr Tariq Mahmud, University of Leeds