Laboratory Research Assistant, Bubbles and Particles – Complex Fluid Lab

This is an undergraduate research position, made available through either the NSERC USRA or the Work Learn IURA program.*

Role Details

Project Name:  Laboratory Research Assistant, Bubbles and Particles  |  Complex Fluid Lab, UBC Vancouver

Supervisor Name: Omid Eghrary |  Preferred Contact:

Deadline to Apply: Application procedures are different for these two programs – visit our undergraduate Research Opportunities page for application details.

  • NSERC USRA: Send your cover letter, resume, and transcript to Omid Eghrary ( by Feb 29, 2024 at 11:59 PM to be considered.
  • WL IURA*: If proposal is approved for funding, this position may be available through the WL IURA program. Applications would open on UBC CareersOnline  from March 11 – 24, 2024. CareersOnline ID: 976220

*WL IURA availability is subject to funding approval for this role.

Project Description

Bubble formation and consequent gas emission are common in natural geological materials such as flooded soils and terrestrial sediments via biodegradation, but also in man-made ponds such as oil sands tailings ponds. Recent data suggests that in 2020 around 7 megatonnes of methane and carbon dioxide were released from oil sands tailings ponds in Canada. The tailings ponds consist of the FFT and MFT layers, which include water, sand, anaerobic microorganisms and naphtha. In these layers, degradation of the naphtha by the microorganisms leads to the production of methane and carbon dioxide, both potential causes of GHG emissions. The complex fluids group at UBC has been studying this process in a lab setting, using lab experiments, models and computations, from a fluid mechanics perspective. The MFT/FFT layers can be categorized as time-dependent yield stress fluids. These materials behave like a solid when the applied stresses are below a threshold, i.e. the yield stress, while above the threshold they deform and flow like a liquid. This suggests the ability of these layers to retain gas bubbles. Our interest is in the entrapment and release of bubbles, understanding the physical processes and eventually how the fluid rheology might be used as a means to entrap the bubbles and potentially control GHG emission from the ponds.

To date, we studied the onset of motion of a single bubble as well as the effect of interactions of bubbles and eventually the stability of bubble clouds by small-scale lab experiments. We are interested in extending our experiments to study bubble entrapment/entrainment and stability in multi-layered fluid systems as well as bubbles’ propagation and stability in materials with non-uniform rheology where networks of low viscous layers control the bubble motion and propagation. We plan to use a large-scale pressurized vertical flow loop equipped with an imaging system to study gas-liquid flows of interest. We are seeking a student to work on the project. The students will assist in all operations related to the experiment: fluid preparation, rheometry measurements of the fluids, running experiments and image processing. The students will help in the design of new components and implementation of changes to the apparatus.

Special requirements (department, GPA, specific courses, year level, skills)

This position would perhaps suit a student in Engineering, Engineering Physics, Physics or Chemistry with hands on laboratory experience who wishes to gain research experience in fluid mechanics and rheology. Interested students should contact Omid Eghrary ( with their resume and transcript.

Other Information

Position duration: May-August 2024 (16 week minimum, possibly extendable)

Total pay including award: $9,755.20 minimum (16 weeks, 35 hours per week).

Will this position be hired if funding is not received: No.