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Personal profile

Personal Statement

M. Lappa attained a qualification (habilitation) to the rank of Full Professor in Italy (MIUR) on September 2013. He joined the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering of the University of Strathclyde (UK, Glasgow) as an Associate Professor in 2015 (Senior Lecturer, Academic grade 9). On Oct 2017 he has taken on the role of Programme Advisor of Studies (Director) of the MSc course in Mechanical Engineering and on May 2019 he has been given the maximum UK Academic grade (Reader, Academic level 10).

Over the last 25 years, he has authored 3 international books (2004, Elsevier Science, Cambridge; 2009, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester; 2012, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester), more than 100 publications in peer reviewed journals or as book chapters (most of which as single author, http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Marcello_Lappa/publications) and many other conference papers. His research focuses on fluid motion and stability behaviour, computational fluid dynamics, incompressible and compressible fluid flows, organic and inorganic materials sciences and crystal growth, multiphase flows, solidification, high-temperature gas-dynamics, particle dynamics and microgravity science. The current value of his Hirsch index is 23 (computed with Scopus).

At the University of Strathclyde he currently leads a group consisting of two Research Associates and several PhD Students. Over recent years he has secured over £1.75 million of external funding. Funds have been attracted from a set of different sources, e.g., EPSRC (EP/R043167/1) and STFC (ST/S006354/1). He seats in the Steering Committees of several conferences (ICTEA, ICCES, ICFVM, ParCFD, ICOME, ICCMREA, AMT, ICMAPH) and acts as a Reviewer for several funding bodies (EPSRC-UK, DFG-Germany, FNRS-Belgium, GIF-Israel, ANVUR-Italy, NSERC-Canada, NVSTE-Kazakhstan). Since 2005 he serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the International Scientific Journal "Fluid Dynamics & Materials Processing", which is currently abstracted and Indexed in SCOPUS and the Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI) of Web of Science (Thomson Reuters/Clarivate Analytics Master Journal List).

Teaching Interests


16429 (SEM2) Computational Fluid Dynamics (4th year).  

  • Contents: What is CFD?; Typical Applications; The continuum hypothesis, control volumes and surfaces; Integral Formulation of the Balance Equations; The General Unsteady Convection/DiffusionTransport Equation; Space and Time Integration: Finite Volume (FV) Methods; Explicit and Implict FV Methods; Diffusive and convective terms; High-order approximation; The Upwind approach; The “local” or “differential” formulation of the balance equations; The differential formulation of the “unsteady convection/diffusion equation”; Time discretization and space schemes in Finite Difference Methods; Characteristic numbers and simplified versions of the balance equations; Incompressible Flow: The Projection Method and Pressure-based solvers; Thermal Problems: The Boussinesq approximation; Fully Compressible Flow: Density based solvers: Steady and Unsteady Flows; Solvers for steady flow. Turbulence models: What is Turbulence?; Direct Numerical Simulation (DNS) and the concept of Kolmogorov length scale; Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes equations (RANS) and related models (k-e); Isotropic Turbulence & The Large Eddy Simulation (LES); The Smagorinsky-Lilly model.


ME203 Heat and Flow 2

ME205 Fluid Mechanics 2

ME101 Heat and Flow 1 

ME108 Engineering Analysis and Numerical Methods

ME514 Advanced Topics in Fluid System Engineering


Research Interests

Fluid mechanics, thermal sciences and related computational techniques are my primary research interests. Various scientific fields, including (but not limited to) thermal, mechanical and materials engineering, marine, aeronautical and aerospace engineering, organic and inorganic crystal growth, life sciences and many other related fields employ the results of these disciplines.

I am interested in studying problems of practical impact and enjoy the process of exploring applications in different domains, abstracting the essence of the considered subjects, and devising and analyzing techniques that offer solutions to a wide spectrum of real world applications. It is my experience that many superficially different problems, in fact, may share inherent characteristics. Understanding these aspects often enables us to tackle the problem at a deeper level and to develop better solutions that apply across a number of domains. I believe that, in addition to critical thinking and creativity, the ability to appreciate both industrial applications and fundamental research is equally important.

My current research team includes:

Monica Kerr (Research Associate)

Georgie Crewdson (PhD Student)

Alessio Boaro  (PhD Student)

Saad Inam (PhD Student)

Wasim Waris  (PhD Student)

Former Research Associates: 

Paolo Capobianchi (Nov 2018 - Nov 2020; current position: Lecturer/ Assistant Professor )

Thomas Burel  (March 2019 - Dec 2020) -  founder of the SIMUNI company (https://www.simuni.fr/en/), whose mission is CFD, multi-scale simulations of complex fluid phenomena and high-performance computing.


The following list gives a brief account of the past and present research topics of immediate interest to me. These subjects include both canonical problems and emerging technologies.

 Thermogravitational flows

  • Buoyancy convection 
  • High Temperature Thermal Convection in High Power Density Processes
  • Furnace Engineering
  • Buoyant rising jets originated from discrete sources of buoyancy

Multi phase flows 

  • Two-phase flows
  • Drop coalescence and aggregation phenomena
  • Drop coalescence and wetting prevention phenomena
  • Thermocapillary migration of drops and bubbles
  • Convective phenomena in liquid-liquid systems with a miscibility gap
  • Flows with phase change and/or crystallization.

Solid particle dynamics

  • Dynamics of dispersed particles in metal alloys and emulsions.
  • Solid Particle Sedimentation.
  • Solid particle spontaneous accumulation phenomena (inertial particle clustering).
  • Ordering and transport of small particles in incompressible flows.
  • Dynamics of particles in supersonic flow (blast wave propagation in dusty gas)

CFD applied to Materials Processing

  • Thermal, mechanical and electromagnetic control of stability of flows driven by convection in crystal growth processes and devices.
  • Modeling of solidifying interfaces (enthalpy method and related variants).
  • Numerical tracking of moving fronts and boundaries (for inorganic and organic crystal growth processes and for biological tissue growth).
  • Control of flow patterns and their stability  
  • Control of three-dimensional instabilities of convective flows by means of static magnetic fields
  • Control of three-dimensional instabilities of convective flows by means of thermovibrational effects

Thermocapillary (Marangoni) flows

  • Stability of Marangoni flow in cylindrical  liquid bridges and floating-column configurations
  • Marangoni flow in non-cylindrical (e.g., deformed by the effect of gravity) configurations
  • Marangoni flows in open (2D and 3D) cavities driven by temperature gradients along the free surface
  • Marangoni-Bènard systems (hexagonal flow patterns and subsequent transitions)
  • Thermal Marangoni flow around droplets surrounded by a miscible or immiscible liquid

Thermovibrational flows

  • Averaged models for flows driven by time-periodic forces (e.g., vibrations, g-jitter).
  • Vibration-induced (g-jitter) stabilization and destabilization of flows (crystal growth in microgravity and in normal gravity conditions)

Methods of numerical analysis in Computational Fluid Dynamics and Heat/Mass Transfer

  • Finite volume method in computational fluid dynamics
  • Volume of Fluid (VOF) methods for tracking of moving fronts and boundaries 
  • Level set method for tracking of moving fronts and boundaries 

High Performance Computing

  • Parallelization of CFD codes on parallel computers (e.g., Cray T3E).
  • Parallelization programming tools (Message Passing Interface, MPI)

 Biological fluid dynamics

  • Growth, kinetics and morphological evolution of organic protein crystals.
  • Periodic precipitation and sedimentation of proteins (crystallization of organic substances in liquid phase, multi-crystal configurations).
  • Multiple crystal nucleation phenomena in liquid phase.
  • Evaluation of fluid dynamic effects on the growth and morphological stability of protein crystals.
  • Application of Volume of Fluid and level-set methods to the growth of protein crystals.

Tissue Engineering and CFD

  • Modeling of the growth of organic tissues in rotating bioreactors.
  • Analysis of shape evolution as a function of environmental factors (e.g., the shear fluid dynamic stress)
  • Application of VOF and level-set methods to the growth of biological tissue in vitro.


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