About

The Fluids, Particles and Interfaces group at Queen Mary University of London is interested in fundamental aspects of microscale fluid mechanics and transport phenomena in multiphase systems. My name is Lorenzo Botto, and I am leading the group since 2013. 

Much of my group’s research focuses on topics at the interface between classical fluid mechanics and materials science.

These include the mechanisms of formation of solid-stabilised emulsions, liquid transport in oil repellent textiles, and the liquid processing of  nanostructured materials.

The mission of the group is to provide rigorous analysis and underpinning science that can support the development of advanced “designer” materials, and the accurate characterisation of naturally-occurring material.

Recent contributions from my group are:

  • the development of the FIPI method for the efficient simulation of 3-phase/3-component flow problems relevant to particle-stabilised interfaces
  • the elucidation of the interaction of liquids with textiles for smart-textiles applications through flow visualisation and X-Ray imaging
  • improvements in our understanding of droplet interactions mediated by elasto-capillarity and transport problems in self-assembled membranes

Most recently, we have also contributed to the first accurate simulation of sedimentation of a river floc accounting for the actual geometry of a REAL floc (including the geometry associated to inorganic particles, organic components and living matter) . This work is done in collaboration with the School of Geography at QMUL, and is achieved by combining Stokesian dynamics simulations with imaging obtained by focused ion beam nanotomography, a technique typically used to image extremely fragile biomaterials.

Thanks to support from the European Research Council we have initiated an ambitious research line on the hydrodynamics of graphene and other flexible 2D nanomaterials. Recent contributions in this area are pioneering research on flow-induced dispersion of graphene particles and slip-mediated graphene particle orientation in shear flow.

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The ERC project FlexNanoFlow aims to understand the  dynamics of 2D nanomaterials in sheared liquids, how nanosheets deform, break and orient themselves in complex flows, for applications such as coating, printing, and nanocomposites manufacturing.

My group uses primarily simulation and theory. However our studies often starts from experimental observations. We are building our own experimental lab, and collaborate extensively with experimentalists in the UK and abroad. We collaborate with fluid mechanicians, soft matter physics,  colloids and interface scientists, and materials engineers. 

Current research areas are:

  • graphene hydrodynamics: modelling deformation and dispersion of 2D nanomaterials in sheared liquids
  • fundamentals of dispersed multiphase flows, including drops, particulate suspensions, and powders;
  • modelling of particle-laden drops,  bubbles and emulsions, for applications to materials science (e.g. nanoparticle stabilised polymer blends) and chemical engineering;
  • micromechanics of and solute transport in biological and bioengineered materials, including cell mechanics and transport in gels for regenerative medicine; 
  • capillary deformation of drops on deformable substrates (“soft wetting”);
  • fluidisation of pharmaceutical drug powders in inhaler devices;
  • liquid transport in textiles via X-ray microscopy.

The Fluids, Particles and Interfaces research group is embedded into the wider QMUL’s Fluid Group.

Brief Bio

  • 2017-current: Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Fluid Mechanics, QMUL
  • 20013-2017: Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Eng. Simulation and Modelling, QMUL
  • 2012-2013: Postdoctoral Researcher, Dept. Chem. and Process Eng., Imperial College (with Prof. Y. Xu)
  • 2009-2012: Postdoctoral Researcher, Dept. Chem. Biom.  Eng. , U.  of Pennsylvania (with Prof. K. Stebe)
  • 2009 Ph.D. in Fluid Mechanics, Johns Hopkins University (with Prof. A. Prosperetti)
  • 2006 M.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University
  • 2003 Master in Applied Mathematics, U. of Milan
  • 2002 Laurea in Industrial Engineering, U. of Udine

Funding

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ERC Starting Grant Project “FLEXNANOFLOW”  (from 2017-04-01 to 2022-03-31)

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Several PhD and postdoctoral positions are available for this project. If you are interested in joining my group, feel free to contact me at l.botto@qmul.ac.uk.

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A graphene ink: how does it flow? [Image’s copyright: EnerAge Inc.]
RECENT NEWS

  • Gannian Zhang has successfully defended his PhD thesis, which focused on wetting of liquid-repellent textiles
  • Ms. Claire Savonnet is visiting the group from École nationale supérieure des mines de Saint-Étienne, to perform a research project during the Summer. Welcome Claire!
  •  Dr. Srinivasa Ramisetti, working in University of Leeds with Prof. Dognsheng Wen, has visited the group and given a talk on “Slip flow over nano-structured surfaces & nano gas films”. Dr. Ramisetti’s visit has been supported by a UK Fluids Short Research Visit grant
  • 9/5/2018 – Lorenzo Botto’s talk at Euromech Colloquium “NUMERICAL SIMULATIONS OF FLOWS WITH PARTICLES, BUBBLES AND DROPLETS”, in Venice, Italy. Seminar title:“3-phase flows with particles: the FIPI method for the fast simulation of particle-drop and particle-bubble interactions”
  •  our group member Jake Bewick has won Best 3rd Year Project Student award at the QMUL Industrial Liaison Forum meeting for his thesis on modelling of cell buckling . Jake has been a fantastic student.
  •  PhD student Gannian Zhang has won the 2018 Best Student Presentation award at the SEMS PhD Student Forum with his presentation on “Drop impact on textiles” (work done in collaboration with Rafael Castrejon Pita and the UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory).

 

 

 

 

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