The Computational fluid dynamics modelling of Plasma plume used for destruction of toxic contaminants

Project opportunity

This Earmarked Scholarship project is aligned with a recently awarded Category 1 research grant. It offers you the opportunity to work with leading researchers and contribute to large projects of national significance.

The application of near atmospheric thermal plasma systems in chemical processing can be characterised by the use of either the tail-flame or the arc-column in the process application. The high enthalpy hot tail flame has led to the proliferation of plasma-based waste destruction and metal processing technologies, which are difficult to be conducted with the typical combustion-based flame process. The energy density in the thermal plasma is 2-10 times higher than the energy in a combustion flame. 

The plasma-chemical process is distinguishable from conventional thermal chemical reactions in 2 ways: (i) the reactants are heated to extremely high plasma temperature using electric arc where atomic species are formed, and (ii) quenching the plasma flame, that can provide thermodynamic conditions of interest to make desired product and even prevent recombination to unwanted species. To achieve effective molecular dissociation/recombination in stage 1, effective mixing of reactant species with the ionised radicals in the arc column is desirable. Therefore, it is imperative to understand and optimise the dimensions of the arc column and its stability for the efficient design of a plasma reactor. 

The proposed research project will investigate the dynamics of arc formation within the plasma torch, by including the boundary layer effects and further explore the interaction of cold gas with the plasma plume. The modelling of arc discharge in thermal plasma requires the combination of mutually related fluid dynamics and electromagnetic phenomenon that consequently dictates the size and stability of the arc column. The plasma torch geometry that encloses the plasma has a significant effect on the arc and the plume behaviour. The model outcome will be validated by a well designed experimental program to monitor the arc behaviour using high frame-rate and high-resolution imaging techniques and other technologies available with the research group.

Scholarship value

As a scholarship recipient, you'll receive: 

  • living stipend of $28,854 per annum tax free (2022 rate), indexed annually
  • tuition fees covered
  • single Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)


Professor Victor Rudolph

School of Chemical Engineering


Preferred educational background

Your application will be assessed on a competitive basis.

We take into account your

  • previous academic record
  • publication record
  • honours and awards
  • employment history.

A working knowledge of computational fluid dynamics modelling and plasma physics would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, physics or mathematics and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of plasma physics is highly desirable.

Latest commencement date

If you are the successful candidate, you must commence by Research Quarter 1, 2022. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date.

If you are an international applicant, you may need to apply much earlier for visa requirements.

How to apply

You apply for this project as part of your PhD program application.

View application process