Professor Nikil Kapur

Professor Nikil Kapur


Nikil Kapur is Professor of Applied Fluid Mechanics within the School of Mechanical Engineering and holds the RAEng / GSK Chair in Pharmaceutical Processing. His research interests centre around fluid mechanics, and in particular the application to manufacturing processes. Frequently these are multiphasic, with complex fluid behaviours. He uses a range of computational and experimental techniques to understand both the fundamentals of processes and their application within industry. His work spans many disciplines and he collaborates extensively across these, from engineering (largely chemical and mechanical), through maths, chemistry and physics and into biology and medicine.

He has a broad portfolio of grant funded work spanning application through to fundamentals including a large range of highly interdisciplinary projects and works with a wide range of industrial sectors. Prof Nikil Kapur teaches in the areas of thermodynamics and fluid flow, both within the university but also to industry through short courses.

Research interests

Fluid flow is crucial to many industrial processes – for example in the manufacture of chemical / pharmaceuticals, as a way of transferring heat to solid bodies (e.g. cooling of electronic components, baking of bread), in the recovery and processing of oil and gas and as a step in many manufacturing processes (e.g. tableting, coating or printing). The fluid environment is key to biological processes including those which we influence through delivery of a drug (e.g. nasal sprays, injections) or use as a manufacturing step – e.g. fermentation or bio-manufacture. 

Understanding fluid mechanics is vital in making these processes as efficient as possible – thereby reducing material and energy use, increasing yield and improving product quality.My research encompasses a whole spectrum of activity – from developing fundamental understanding of fluid flow and behaviour through to practical implementation of the findings at the commercial level; I am interested in flows on all length-scales – from microfluidics through to industrial scale.

The work is highly interdisciplinary and I am fortunate to work with mathematicians, chemists, materials scientists, physicists and biologists, to name a few. I use both computational and experimental methods to develop understanding of flows and run a well equipped laboratory with access to high speed imaging, spray and droplet analysis equipment and fluid characterisation equipment.

Finally, industry plays a major role in shaping many of the research programmes I run, from raising research challenges through to implementing and transferring research findings into their industrial processes – making for more efficient processes. I have considerable experience in working at the interface between fundamental science and application. Addressing the complexity of fluids and fluid mechanics in real systems is something I truly enjoy and I always welcome new challenges!

The list below gives details of a few of the projects I’m currently involved in. These have been funded through a mixture of direct industry funding through to fundamental research grants. I have excellent contacts across the University of Leeds and beyond, I am also well placed to find the academics with the right skills to address your research questions.

This list isn't exhaustive so don't hesitate to contact me if you have specific areas of work that aren't listed.

Processing of materials:

  • Emulsion formation; complex material characterisation; Mixing; flow chemistry and continuous bio-processing includine equipment design - (reactors, flowcells, electrochemical cells), in partnership with iPRD including the commercialised flow reactor platform; Stability of proteins under processing conditions with Astbury ; corrosion and erosion of materials; crystallisation 

Sprays and Droplets:

  • Spray nozzle and spray characeristics; polymeric fluid additions; characterisation of weakly dilute polymers; printing of tablets; inkjet.


  • Design and optimisation of filter materials (in partnership with Non-wovens institute) including flow modelling.

Heat Transfer:

  • Modelling and optimisation of heat exchangers including working on high heat density cooling (with application into electronics industry).


  • Design of microfluidic cells for e.g. crystallisation studies; emulsion formation; sensing, spheroid and 3D cellular structures; blood screening

Biological systems:

  • A close collaboration with microbiology and dentistry in designing state-of-the art models for understanding microbiota. Specifically working with groups looking at gut microbiota and at dental biofilms, the engineering we are doing is creating the flow models in which bacterial cultures can be introduced and controlled. Experiments last many weeks so really good flow engineering is important.
<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • BEng (1st Class), University of¬†¬†Bradford: Chemical Engineering;
  • PhD School of Mechanical Engineering, University of Leeds

Student education

I have taught a broad range of engineering subjects including fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, computing, experimental and computational methods and microfluidics across years 1-4 of the MEng Programmes run in the School of Mechanical Engineering. I run 3rd and 4th year projects in alignment with my research interests, and frequently with industry

Research groups and institutes

  • Institute of Thermofluids

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="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>