Dr Oliver Harlen

Dr Oliver Harlen


Leeds Institute for Fluid Dynamics

Centre for Doctoral Training in Future Fluid Dynamics

Centre for Doctoral Training in Soft Matter and Functional Interfaces


  • Deputy Head of School
  • Director of EPSRC CDT in Future Fluid Dynamics

Research interests

My research interests are in the fluid dynamics of complex fluids such as polymer solutions, polymer melts and suspensions. These fluids do not obey the Navier-Stokes equation, but have a viscoelastic and nonlinear stress strain-rate relation due to their complex microscale structure. My research involves both developing constitutive models that capture this behaviour and solving the resulting partial differential equations for predicting how these fluids flow in industrial applications.

One current focus of my research is on modelling flow induced crystallisation in polymer melts where we are developing an interrelated hierachical family of multiscale models to understand how polymers crystallise during processing.  

Another application area is understanding how fluid properties affect the performance of industrial inkjet printing, where the fluids can manifest non-Newtonian behaviour due to the high strains involved.

I am also developing methods for simulating large biomolecules, such as molecular motors, where the motion of interest occurs on timescales that are too long to be captured by atomistic simulations. Here we are using finite element methods to model the distortion of the biomolecules that result from thermal fluctuations, which can also be applied to the study of soft colloids.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://eps.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD in Applied Mathematics (Cantab)

Research groups and institutes

  • Applied Mathematics
  • Complex materials and industrial maths

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>
    <li><a href="//phd.leeds.ac.uk/project/1151-modelling-cross-linked-fibre-networks-in-flow">Modelling cross-linked fibre networks in flow</a></li>