PhD Project: Wake interference by swimming crocodiles

Crocodiles, including the saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) have the remarkable ability to swim underwater at high speed while barely making a ripple at the surface. It has been hypothesized that crocodiles are able to do this because the bony ridges on the crocodile’s back (called scutes or osteoderms) produce destructively interfering wake patterns at the water surface, like noise-cancelling headphones. Understanding and replicating this phenomena could have important implications for submarine and ship hull design.

In this project, we will evaluate this hypothesis using a combination of theory, numerical modelling, and laboratory experiments using 3D-printed crocodile models in a wave flume. Experience with Python programming is essential. This project will be co-supervised by Dr Geoff Vasil (U. Sydney), Dr Chris Lustri (Macquarie) and Dr Shane Keating (UNSW).

Click here for key dates and to submit your application online.

University-Industry partnership to focus on Dry Eye Syndrome

UNSW Sydney is collaborating with the non-profit Brian Holden Vision Institute and medical device company TeleMedC in a new $445,000 research project to develop a state-of-the-art computational model of tear film dynamics of a blinking eye.

Each time you blink, your eyes replenish the tear film, a thin fluid interface between the surface of the eye and the environment. Although it is less than a tenth the thickness of a human hair, the tear film plays an important role in cleaning and protecting the delicate ocular surface while maintaining clear vision. Chronic breakdown of the tear film is associated with Dry Eye Syndrome, a debilitating disease that affects millions of Australians and up to half those aged over 50.

Anatomy of the tear film. Credit: James J. Feng, UBC.


A critical knowledge gap is the clinical and environmental factors affecting tear film break up in both healthy subjects and dry-eye patients. The project will address this knowledge gap by developing a state-of-the-art computational model of tear film, validated against in vitro and in vivo data, suitable for clinical studies by researchers in both academia and industry.

The new research partnership involves Dr Shane Keating at UNSW’s School of Mathematics & Statistics and Dr Nicole Carnt at UNSW’s School of Optometry & Vision Science, and Prof Arthur Ho at the Brian Holden Vision Institute. The project will be carried out in collaboration with TeleMedC, LCC, a pioneering medical device company that is developing the next generation of ophthalmic diagnostic imaging systems for face-to-face and virtual medical consultations, screening, monitoring and health prevention purposes for remote and urban communities.

UNSW Sydney has awarded a prestigious Scientia PhD scholarship to PhD student Yu Wang to work with Shane, Nicole, and Arthur on developing the computational model of the tear film. The Scientia scholarship scheme aims to harness cutting-edge research to solve complex problems and improve the lives of people in local and global communities. Scientia scholars receive a $200,000 scholarship package in the form of a stipend, travel, and development support over four years. International scholars also receive a tuition fee scholarship worth $200,000. In addition, UNSW Sydney and TeleMedC, LLC have provided $45,000 in support for the project through the Industry Network Seed Fund program.

Frontiers in Fluid Dynamics workshop

Frontiers in Fluid Dynamics is an interdisciplinary workshop that aims to bring together researchers in academia, industry, and government working on all aspects of environmental and applied fluid dynamics, including forecasting, atmosphere-ocean modeling, observations and experiments.

Abstracts are invited for oral and poster presentations. Registration is free and lunch is provided. Students and early career researchers are particularly encouraged. The workshop will be followed by the AMOS-NSW public lecture and a workshop dinner in neighboring Surry Hills (self-funded).

When: 8:30am-5:30pm, 14 December 2018 (lunch provided).

Where: Bureau of Meteorology, 16/300 Elizabeth St, Sydney

Registration: (Deadline 7 December)

Invited speakers:

Plenary lecture (9:00am): “Ensemble ocean forecasting and other next generation developments: what are the likely impacts to defence and other applications in Australia and NSW?” Dr Gary Brassington (Australian Bureau of Meteorology)

AMOS-NSW public lecture (6:00pm): “Schools weather and air quality (SWAQ): where citizen science meets urban climate research.” Dr Angela Maharaj (UNSW).


Sponsored by:


Dedalus workshop at ANU

Join us in Canberra this Fri Aug 24 for a special workshop on Dedalus, an open-source spectral PDE solver for Python.

Dedalus is a flexible framework for spectrally solving differential equations. Although it was developed for use in fluid dynamics research, Dedalus can be applied to any initial-value, boundary-value, and eigenvalue problems involving nearly arbitrary equations sets. You build a spectrally-representable domain, symbolically specify equations and boundary conditions, select a numerical solver, and go.


The workshop will be held at ANU’s Research School for Earth Science, and will begin with a seminar by Dedalus developer Dr Geoffrey Vallis (U. Sydney), followed by a hands-on workshop.

For more details please contact Taimoor Sohail.

When: Friday 24th August 2018, 1-3pm

Where: Hales Room, Jaeger 7, ANU Research School for Earth Science.

About the main image: Simulation of 2D flow over a wing-shaped obstacle with moderate Reynolds number (Re ~ 100). The flow is visualised by advecting a passive tracer concentration field; released from a perpetual localised source on the left-side of the domain. The wing is implemented with a volume-penalised immersed boundary method. Credit: Eric Hestor (U. Sydney).

To watch a movie of this and other examples, visit the Dedalus Project Vimeo page.