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Refurbishment breathes new life into fluids labs


The newly refurbished rheology lab

9 April 2014

The University’s science and engineering fluids labs have been comprehensively refurbished and reconfigured in a joint project that will provide improved, collaborative space for staff and students in both faculties.

The redevelopments were planned jointly but have been carried out independently, with the Earth Sciences labs completed before the start of the 2013/14 academic year and the Queen’s Building refurbishment currently nearing completion. The refurbished Earth Science fluids labs were officially opened on 2 April.

Earth Sciences now houses laboratories for studying viscous, explosive and granular flows, a cold room (for flows that require a temperature gradient), and facilities for rheology and multiphase materials characterisation, while a number of large flumes (for watery flows) are based in the Faculty of Engineering’s Queen’s Building. As part of the refurbishment, the equipment required to measure density and rheology of multiphase fluids has been updated.

The Volcanology Group in the School of Earth Sciences is world renowned for its fluids research, especially on processes in multiphase fluids. It has pioneered the use of analogues in fluids research. This involves using non-magmatic fluids to study fundamental processes and then applying the results to magmatic flows to draw inferences about how the natural flows are generated, sustained and emplaced. This work informs scientists’ understanding of volcanic flows, as well as their ability to interpret the geological record and to assess volcanic hazards around the globe.

Professor Heidy Mader from the School of Earth Sciences said: ‘The refurbished space will enable us to maintain our leading position in fluids research. Importantly, it will also help us to maintain our ability to attract the best staff and students – something we are already seeing the benefits of.’

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