Cryogenic sloshing in aircraft fuel tanks

Applications are invited for a four-year Engineering Doctorate (EngD) studentship. The studentship will start in October 2021.


To apply please use the online application form. Simply search for Doctor of Engineering, then clearly state that you are applying for a EngD studentship and name the project at the top of your personal statement.

Online application

Before applying, please ensure you have read the Doctoral College’s general information on applying for a research degree.

For more information on the admissions process please contact

The closing date for applications is 12 noon on 19 May 2021

Director of StudiesDr Edward Ransley
2nd Supervisor Dr Yeaw Chu Lee
3rd Supervisor Professor Deborah Greaves 
Industry Supervisor – Francesco Gambioli

Applications are invited for a four-year Engineering Doctorate (EngD) studentship in the School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics at the University of Plymouth. The scholarship starts in October 2021 and is funded by Airbus UK via an EPSRC Industrial CASE Award.

Project description

Fuel sloshing in cryogenic tanks is known to have important effects on the thermodynamics in the ullage space, potentially leading to significant pressure drops and consequent inability to extract the fuel from the tank. Due to the cryogenic environment, rotating machinery such as pumps are complex to install and operate reliably, therefore the characterisation of free surface sloshing is of paramount importance for the effective design of liquid hydrogen (LH2) storage systems in next-generation civil aircraft applications.

Several non-intrusive measurement techniques exist for the characterization of multiple phase (liquid/gas) flow regimes in pipes/channels. These methods are based on a variety of measurements acquired via standard sensors mounted on the outside wall of the pipe (accelerometers, strain gauges, microphones or optical sensors); advanced signal processing techniques, such as wavelet analysis; and knowledge of the flow regime based on image analysis and particle velocimetry.

In this project, these techniques will be developed further to measure, and characterise, the sloshing flow (and the configuration of the liquid free surface) within cryogenic tanks on-board Airbus’ ZEROe hybrid-hydrogen concept aircraft. Since the sloshing (to first approximation) is independent of liquid density and the pressure in the tank, the methods will first be calibrated via visual analysis and particle velocimetry in laboratory tests on liquid/gas systems at room temperature (where visual access to the free surface is attainable).


Applicants should have (at least) a first or upper second class honours degree in an appropriate subject and preferably a relevant MSc or MRes qualification. The studentship is available only to candidates who are UK nationals/residents or with (pre)settled status. Find out more about EPSRC’s Industrial CASE programme.

The studentship is supported for 4 years and provides full coverage of tuition fees, a generous travel budget and an enhanced tax-free stipend of £17,500 p.a. The successful candidate will also spend at least 3 months working at the Airbus site in Bristol, UK.

If you wish to discuss this project further informally, please contact Dr Edward Ransley.

Please see this list of supporting documents to upload with your application.

For more information on the admissions process contact

The closing date for applications is 12 noon on 19 May 2021. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview in May. We regret that we may not be able to respond to all applications. Applicants who have not received an offer of a place by the end of May should consider their application has been unsuccessful on this occasion.