I founded Flow Research Evaluation Diagnostics (FRED) Ltd in ‘88 as a campus company whilst on faculty at Birmingham University from ‘84 until retired in ’96 for rejecting repeated requests to curtail both commercial consolidations and challenging content in accreditation core courses. Based in (bio) chemical engineering I taught final and master topics whilst growing from scratch a research activity styled Fluid And Surface Transport. Membership of the FAST Team peaked in ‘92 with 20 people as researchers and visitors who produced an extraordinary 15 contributions for the ’93 IChemE national jamboree! A paragraph portrait “where are they now?” will appear In the next edition, subject to that nowadays perniciously pervasive prerequisite of procured prior permission!
I originally qualified with BSc in aeronautical engineering and PhD on internal buoyancy waves, both at Manchester University where I also held the Osborne Reynolds Fellowship for ideas on convective / advective laminarisation of turbulence. However my proper appreciation of turbulence needed subsequent appointments at Imperial College London in aeronautics (with Peter Bearman, now Pro-Rector) and at Cambridge University in mathematics (DAMTP; with Julian Hunt, now Lord) where I was also introduced to buoyant dispersion and multiphase flows.
Of my association with 150 peered products (publications, procurements, presentations, preparations), only a few have been deemed significant for their serendipitous endorsement by leading luminaries. One, in J Fluid Mechanics (early ‘70s with Neil Stevenson, my PhD supervisor), identified the Green’s function for viscous internal waves and was abstracted verbatim into the late Sir James Lighthill’s foundation monograph “Waves in Fluids”, as well as apparently spawning three decades of developments at RAS Inst Mechanics according to Yuli Chashechkin. Also in J Fluid Mechanics (late ‘70s with Phil Hancock, contemporary researcher) was experimental confirmation of Hunt & Graham’s foundation theory on turbulence blockage by walls, then an unrecognised phenomenon but now universally named after them. A conference paper (mid ‘80s; J Fluid Mechanics mid ‘90s with Hunt & Kevin Sene, our PhD student) provided first principles corrective derivation and verification of dilute dynamics for multiphase fluids, using vortex scavenging of bubbles to illustrate fundamentally flawed statistical closures prevailing at that time. Finally, in Int J Multiphase Flow (early ‘00s with Marek Ruzicka, my Royal Society Chevening visitor; still consolidating) a paper on convective characterisation of bubbly bed instabilities, not only correcting a long history of erroneous empirical correlations in the process literature but also serving as testimony to the inspirational insights of George Batchelor (Head of DAMTP in my time there) and Jindrich Zahradnik (Prague process guru and friend, even from before the iron curtain collapsed), both since deceased.
In addition to 100+ outputs courtesy of FAST Teamers on scarily scattered subjects (some keywords below), I was fortunate having FRED to platform an even wider variety of adventures in the military arena on underwater stealth games / gizmos configuring polymeric and bubbly materials as acoustic boundary suppressants and transducer transformers, even as boundary boosters for electro-amplification, and on the civil side offshore also in evaluations of software scenarios for high-pressure production pipeline rupture and exploration well gas-kick. Much more was done on formulating fixes for flawed systems in such as HVACs in mushroom spawning sheds and high-speed trains, also braking box dissipaters for underground trains and flash injectors for reciprocating heat pumps, even recoil speed limiters for queue control belts, as well as a deal of more conventional stuff like pollution plume trajectories, sewage aeration diffusers and gas turbine air-intake distributors.
This period also saw the stylishly celebrated campus installation of FRED’s Powergen wind tunnel, followed soon after by enforced ejection to its present home at Strathclyde University on denied renewal of contract for space created at FRED’s expense. In all FRED directed >£100k support onto campus by way of facilities and bursaries, as well as luring >£200k from third parties, these sums on top of regular academic earnings via grants and partnerships. The early 90s also delivered four DTI SMART Awards for two technologies, both patented as proven principles and prototypes, one for wind-powered sewage treatment (retro) plant still campaigning for commercialisation connections, the other for Aeolian air-activated spraying systems at long last materialising in market manifestation.
Frustratingly, my recent endeavours have been eking an existence via procurement and prosecution of UK and EC projects, even so spawning prospects of longer term reward via retained IP for excitingly “off-limits” ideas in ecological imaging, surf-zone pollutants, pneumatic bioreactors and flood fix-ups, the last when a devastated elderly bereaved relative was cynically ignored by all authorities after millennial inundation. For sure I failed to consolidate even average campus career advancement that is automatically awarded to the corporately correct but at least I experienced immensely more invigorating inspiration than mundane mainstreamers even dream is accessible via academe. Sadly, that excitement also ended in a microcosm of Marconi’s meltdown after the incoming HMG’s defence dividend decimated my network when impending quasi-commercial enslavement meant the best of the good guys raced into early retirement. This event not only massively amplified earlier distortions introduced by publicly subsidised privatisations of the utilities sectors and associated agencies but also destroyed the trading bases of many excellent contractors, as well as alienating American allies in defence arenas. In all, a reclusive revolution that can be caricatured as a clandestine coup whereby GB’s traditional reliance on “Highest Individually Intelligent Factor” global excellence has largely been disappeared leaving “Lowest Corporately Correct Denominator” parochial e-ndeavour.com as principal beneficiary from the public purse.
Arms’ length campus reconnections have since been secured via affiliations at Aston University (Vis Prof to ’01, courtesy of Nigel Slater now back in Cambridge), at Warwick University (Hon Fell, courtesy of Peter Carpenter) and at Minho University (Vis Fell, courtesy of Jose Teixera). Another lifeline has been retention of my role as European Editor for Elsevier’s J Experimental Thermal Fluid Science (courtesy of Lex Smits and Ian Kennedy), for which I co-edited (Matsumoto & Michaelides) a special volume from the New Orleans’ World Congress on Multiphase Flow and am finalising another from the Euromech Coventry Colloquium co-convened (Scott; courtesy of David Crighton) on Sensing of Sea Slicks. I also co-edited (Sajjadi & Hunt) an OUP volume from the IMA Salford Conference on Air-Sea Interactions and co-edited (Blake & Boulton-Stone) a Kluwer volume from the IUTAM Birmingham Symposium on Bubble Dynamics Interface Phenomena.
Aspirations still on my academic agenda extend to a spectral closure for turbulence and a peak eddy stress closure for its laminarisation, generalised KdV formulations for bubbly wave-guides and for interfacial slugging transition, a generalised hydraulic theory for buoyantly inhibited entrainment in horizontal shear layers, a bifurcation-busting evanescent tracker-forecaster, a vortex imploder for extreme processing, technology transfer as an impulse phasor for resonance induction, … For now, though, a few keywords demonstrating the dangerous diversity of my outputs over the past few decades: Waves Convection Turbulence Dispersion Buoyancy Plumes Bubbles Bursting Sand Vortices Polymers Bioreactor-Separator Cells Roots Plant-metabolites Sewage Wind Remediation Spray Agrochemicals Hydrocarbons Multiphase Wells Gas-kick Pipe-rupture Nanofilms Foams Subsea Surfzone Rain Imager Ecodemiology Rockslides Mesoscopics Innovatology.