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Department of Chemical and Process Engineering

Dr William BJ Zimmerman BSE, MS, PhD, AMIChemE

        Senior Lecturer


Will Zimmerman researches fluid dynamics, transport limited chemical reaction, process simulation and modeling. His research interests, with three collaborations, are embedded within the Process Fluidics Group.  Will currently supervises four postgraduate research students and co-supervises two research associates.

Curriculum Vitae:

1987 Princeton University: BScEng  in Chemical Engineering (Highest honors, Phi Beta Kappa, Tau Beta Pi)

1988 Stanford University: MSc in Chemical Engineering; NSF Graduate Research Fellow

1991 Stanford University : PhD in Chemical Engineering; PhD Minor in Mathematics

1991-3 NATO Post-doctoral Fellow in Science and Engineering, Universidad Complutense de Madrid

1993 Research Associate, University of Sheffield, Applied and Computational Mathematics

1993-7 Lecturer in Chemical Engineering, UMIST

1994-9 Royal Academy of Engineering Zeneca Young Academic Fellow

1997-present    Senior Lecturer in Chemical  and Process Engineering, University of Sheffield

1998 Visiting Professor, Universite du Littoral, Laboratoire del Environnement, Dunkerque, France.

1999-present Warden, Tapton Hall of Residence

2000-5 EPSRC Advanced Research Fellow: “Models of Helical Mixing and Reaction”

Current Projects:

        Helical Mixing and Reaction

        Microhydrodynamics of Multiphase Flow [GHP, JRT]

        Thin Film Dynamics and Reaction

        Transport Limited Heterogeneous Reaction in Dispersed Media

        Cryogenic Transport Mechanisms in Liquid Natural Gas Storage

        Sensing and Control of Multiphase Flows [GHP]

        Development of a Fluidic Electricity Generator [GHP, JRT]

        Dissolved Air Flotation Modelling

Past projects (but still interests!)

Dispersion of toxic gases in the stably stratified nocturnal atmosphere. Turbulence is suppressed and the strongest mechanism for dispersion is wave motion. Simulations show that large releases excite waves that then capture the toxic gas in high concentrations. These pockets of highly toxic gas propagate downwind with little dilution over long times. Conversely, small releases do not generate strong wave motion and are not trapped by the waves, but are more rapidly diffused than in the absence of waves.

Filling of liquid natural gas (LNG) storage tanks. If the cargo that is added to the tank has a different composition to the heel of the existing LNG in the tank, a stratification can be formed. Due to thermodynamic forces, a large vapour pressure builds up in the lower, denser stratum that eventually overturns the stratification in order to be released. The objective of the project is to determine, through theoretical and computational fluid dynamics studies, whether a given cargo that enters as a turbulent jet into a given heel will mix rapidly enough to avoid the formation of a stratification that would be at risk of catastrophic rollover.

Investigation of the use of cellular neural networks (CNN) in a control system for coal froth flotation. Froth flotation is a way to separate solid particles. Minerals of one type will be attracted to the froth phase or the pulp phase due to physico-chemical interactions. The image analysis of videos of the top surface or the side faces of the flotation column can be used in a visual control system. A new technique of image analysis, based on a network of analog circuits (neurons) interacting with their nearest neighbours in a programmable way (CNN), has been developed at UC Berkeley and this project is to demonstrate the utility of CNN as a visual control system element for the equilibrium froth height.

The theoretical modelling of helical turbulent motions. Large scale coherent structures can be generated in a fluid system when small scale forcing has structure that breaks mirror symmetry. This is simply achieved in any rotating fluid, although other conditions can break mirror symmetry as well. The theoretical grounds for the generation of large scale coherent structures is being addressed as are the mixing properties of the coherent structures. The project involves the design of laboratory experiments to show the existence of these structures in common chemical engineering venues and validate predictions of their effects on transport.

Link to Publication List and Archive

Link to Grant List

Link to Presentation List

Link to Picture Gallery of Research Interests (under construction)

Teaching Links:

Old Homepage for MSc in Environmental and Energy Engineering (emeritus director 1998-2000)

Homepage for MSc in Process Fluid Dynamics (founder)

CPE 101 FORTRAN Programming Homepage (taught 1999-2000)

CPE 201 Numerical Methods Homepage (taught 1998-2000)

CPE 6330 Mathematica for Chemical Engineers Homepage (taught 2000)

Back to the CPE home page



 Page last updated 23/11/00
Information maintained by Alan Collier