About us

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This project is a collaboration between three world-leading UK Universities - Aberystwyth, Birmingham and Cambridge. Foams are almost ubiquitous in day-to-day life, and can be found everywhere from foods and consumer good, to plastics and ceramics through to the concrete that cements together oil wells. We aim to improve the understanding of how foams behave as they flow through constrictions in terms of their final structure and stability. This research will be both experimental and computational in nature, and the final aim will be to extract an engineering-level description of foam flow in geometries such as nozzles, annular gaps and other constrictions.

University of Aberystwyth

The research team at  Aberystwyth University consists of Prof. Simon Cox, head of the Department of Mathematics, Dr Denny Vitasari, and Mr Tirion Roberts. Thieir role in  the project is to  develop bubble-scale models and simulations of foam flow. The modelling work undertaken in Aberystwyth will be supported by experimental work at Birmingham and Cambridge. The investigation will examine:

  • the effect of the liquid content of a foam on its flow response, with the aim being to provide information, validated against experiment, about pressure drops, velocity profiles, and individual bubble shape and motion;
  • the effect of viscous dissipation and surfactant redistribution during flow, with new algorithms being developed to run inside existing codes;
  • film rupture and the creation of solid foams from liquid pre-cursors, by developing simulations that include film-level criteria for rupture and solidification.


University of Birmingham

The Birmingham research team consists of Prof. Mostafa Barigou, Dr Mandar Bhave, Michal Solarski and Saifullah Jabarkhyl. The work undertaken at Birmingham is predominantly experimental in nature, and is examining the flow of aqueous foams through complex geometries. The investigation will examine:

  • the flow of aqueous foams through essentially 2D channels that contain contractions and expansions, with data on bubble and film motion being obtained through high speed imaging, particle image velocimetry and microphotography;
  • the effect that surfact concenration, liquid-phase rheology and liquid hold up has on foam structure and stability;
  • the links between foam rheology, foam morphology and foam stability.


University of Cambridge

The Cambridge research team consists of Prof. John Davidson, and Drs Bart Hallmark and Ching-Hsien Chen. Prof Davidson is an emeritus professor at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology (CEB), Dr Hallmark is a lecturer in Chemical Engineering and Dr Chen held a postdoctoral position at the University of Cambridge and completed his PhD at the University of Warwick. The work undertaken at Cambridge is also predominantly experimental in nature, with a focus on the flow of polymeric foams through complex geometries. The investigation will examine:

  • the flow of molten, highly viscous, polymeric foams, such as pentane-laden polystyrene, though narrow constrained geometries; data will be collected using high speed imaging and experiments at elevated temperature and pressure will be carried out in a multi-pass rheometer;
  • the flow of polyurethane foams into narrow, complex spaces with a focus on the final foam structure and space-filling ability of the foam. Solidified foam samples will be analysed using X-ray micro-CT by the Birmingham research team.