Investigating Earth and fluid dynamics
Understanding how fluids and other materials flow in response to applied forces is critical to many industrial applications, energy production processes and even determining the stability of the ground beneath our feet. The field of study, known as rheology, is being advanced by an EU-funded research network combining expertise in geodynamics, mineral physics, seismology, fluid mechanics and materials science.
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Rheology from the Greek word to flow is a critical issue for numerous industrial and natural processes. For example, understanding and controlling the rheology of complex fluids is essential for manufacturing cosmetics, paint, polymers, processed foods, ceramics and glass.
On a global scale, the complex rheology of the Earth is exemplified by plate tectonics, the deformation of the Earths surface in response to the convection of the liquid mantle underneath that influences the large-scale dynamics of our planet. Its a critical area of study for estimating earthquakes and tsunami hazards, or determining where it is safe to locate natural reservoirs for chemical and radioactive waste.
The interaction between geological deformations and fluids is also a fundamental factor in energy production, both for the extraction of fossil fuels and for the development of clean energy from sources such as geothermal.
The EU-funded project CREEP is providing multi-disciplinary education in rheology and related fields to 16 early-stage researchers across 10 academic institutions and 11 private sector organisations. This experience-based training is supporting PhD projects that focus on the complex mechanical behaviour of Earth materials and its implications for geodynamic and industrial processes.
The CREEP network is encompassing this broad and varied range of applications for rheology research, providing early-stage researchers with skills in experimentation, modelling of deformation at various space and time scales, and seismology, using state-of-the-art research techniques.
The EUs Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions programme is supporting CREEP through the innovative training networks (ITN) scheme which is designed to boost scientific excellence and business innovation.