PhD Studentship in Energy Harvesting from Cavity Flow Oscillations
University of Southampton School of Engineering
United Kingdom

PhD Studentship Position in Energy Harvesting from Cavity Flow Oscillations

School of Engineering

Location:  Highfield Campus
Closing Date:  Friday 31 December 2021
Reference:  1560821DA

Supervisory Team:    Varun Thangamani, Christina Vanderwel and Foo Ngai Kok

Project description

Recent research indicates that energy harvesting from fluid flows is a promising technique with broad applications in technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), wireless sensor networks, MEMS-based portable devices and monitoring systems. Piezoelectric transducers are particularly well-suited to harvest flow-induced vibrations. 

When it comes to harvesting energy from unsteady flow fields, the potential of cavity flow oscillations as a possible candidate has not been investigated and is worth exploring. Grazing flow over certain rectangular cavity cut-outs is known to generate self-sustaining oscillations. Cavity flow oscillations are largely undesirable, and several methods have been investigated to control them. While detrimental otherwise, the self-sustained oscillations have the potential to power devices if harvested efficiently. There is a semi-empirical relation governing the frequency of oscillations, and this can be used to tune the harvester to lock in with the flow oscillations in order to derive maximum power.  Possessing a simple geometry,  a cavity flow-based energy harvesting device can be envisaged in numerous scenarios such as aircraft, automobiles, inter-coach gaps, pipelines and even rivers for powering sensors. 

In the proposed work, a detailed study to investigate the application of rectangular cavity flow oscillations for micro-energy harvesting is to be carried out.  A piezoelectric cantilever beam would be installed inside the cavity and tuned to lock in with the cavity oscillation frequencies and the various parameters affecting the power generated by the harvester would be investigated. Computer simulations (LES) would also be carried out to supplement the experimental measurements and flow visualizations.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Varun Thangamani, Aerodynamics and Flight Mechanics Research Group, Email:

Entry Requirements

A Master’s degree in Mechanical/Aerospace engineering fields with a 2:1 classification or a very good undergraduate degree with first-class or equivalent.

Closing date: applications should be received no later than 31 Dec 2021 for standard admissions, but later applications may be considered depending on the funds remaining in place.

Funding: Qualifying students will be considered for a full tuition fee waiver and stipend for 3.5 years.

How To Apply

Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact Dr Varun Thangamani before making a formal application.

Applications should be made online. Select programme type (Research), 2021/22, Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering, next page select “PhD  Engineering & Environment (Full time)”. In Section 2 of the application form, you should insert the name of the supervisor  Varun Thangamani 

Applications should include: 

Research Statement

Curriculum Vitae

Two reference letters

Degree Transcripts to date

If you apply for this position please say you saw it on Engineeroxy


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