prof helen wilson

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  • Prof
  • Helen
  • Jane
  • Wilson
  • Prof Helen Wilson
  • Tel: 020 7679 1302
  • Ex: 31302
  • Website
  • 2004-10-01
  • 3953
  • 604
  • Department of Mathematics
  • UCL, Gower Street
  • London
  • WC1E 6BT
Joined UCL
  • 2004-10-01

Research Summary

Professor Wilson's research is mainly concerned with theoretical modelling of the flow of non-Newtonian fluids such as polymeric materials and particle suspensions. Fluids containing long polymer molecules behave very differently from ordinary (Newtonian) fluids. Under flow, the molecules become stretched and this can give rise to surprising flow behaviour, and can produce undesirable instabilities in industrial processes. Professor Wilson's current research in this area includes analytical and numerical investigation of flow instabilities in simple flows. She is also interested in shear-banding in entangled systems, a phenomenon in which a single fluid forms regions having quite different properties during shearing flows.

Another important class of complex fluids is suspensions of solid particles in Newtonian or non-Newtonian fluids. While the motion of single particles in Newtonian fluids is well understood, suspensions of large numbers of particles that interact through the fluid remain challenging, both analytically and numerically. Professor Wilson's current research includes investigations, using both asymptotic theory and large-scale numerical simulations, of the effect of contact between spherical particles in suspension flows; interdisciplinary work on toothpaste production; and an investigation into the potential uses of shear-thickening suspensions for cryopreservation.

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Academic Background

  • Award Year
  • 2004
    Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy
    Higher Education Academy
  • 2002
    Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education
    University of Leeds
  • 1998
    Doctor of Philosophy
    University of Cambridge
  • 1994
    MA Cantab
    MA Cantab
    University of Cambridge


Helen Wilson studied at the University of Cambridge, completing a BA, Part III and PhD in mathematics. Her PhD thesis, titled "Shear Flow Instabilities in Viscoelastic Fluids", was supervised by John Rallison. On graduation she moved to the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she began research on suspension mechanics with Rob Davis in the Chemical Engineering department. In 2000 she returned to the UK to take up a lectureship in Applied Mathematics at the University of Leeds, before moving to UCL in 2004.

She is an editor of the Journal of Non-Newtonian Fluid Mechanics, the Journal of Engineering Mathematics, and Proceedings of the Royal Society A, and a member of the Editorial Advisory Board for Physics of Fluids. She is chair of Nominating Committee for the European Society of Rheology, and from 2015-2017 she was President of the British Society of Rheology.

Additional Information
  • CMR