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Solid particles carried along in a fluid flow: physical fundamentals, measurement techniques, and modelling frameworks in an application-oriented view.

Course description

The MOOC, developed in the context of a collaborative research project, will provide an application-oriented yet theoretically rigorous overview of particle-laden flows, i.e., two-phase flows of solid particles within a carrier fluid (liquid or gas). These flows are encountered in many engineering fields, including but not limited to the mining industry, the oil & gas industry, and the hydraulic engineering.

Students attending this course will learn how particle-laden flows can be characterized from a physical and engineering point of view, and they will be able to decide the most appropriate approach for handling these flows at the design level, including different techniques for the numerical simulation as well as the physical testing in laboratory setups. After discussing these aspects in a general framework, special attention will be paid to two phenomena of considerable industrial impact, namely, the liquid-solid transport in pipelines and the damage produced by the travelling solids on pipeline components and hydraulic equipment.

As an appendix to the course, a number of case studies will highlight the importance of particle-laden flows in academic research and engineering practice. As well as by the partners of the project, these case studies have been gratefully provided by Francisco Souza & Carlos Antonio Ribeiro Duarte (Federal University of Uberlândia, Brazil), François Avellan & Sebastián Leguizamón (EPFL-LMH, Switzerland), Magdalena Walczak & Javiera Aguirre (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile), Giacomo Nutricato & Simone Gorini (ENI S.p.A., Italy), Harry Claydon & Mike Malin (CHAM – Concentration Heat and Momentum, UK), Thomas Senfter (MCI – The Entrepreneurial School, Austria).


The MOOC project was financed within the “T.I.M.E. Call of Projects 2018-2019”. Coordinator of the project is PoliMI - DICA (Gianandrea Vittorio Messa, contact person and course coordinator; and Stefano Malavasi), and the other partners are Czech Technical University in Prague (Vaclav Matoušek), University of Campinas (José Gilberto Dalfré Filho), Xi’an Jiaotong University (Xu Donghai), and Xi’an Shiyou University (Zhiguo Wang).


Intended Learning Outcomes


The MOOC was developed for M.Sc. undergraduates and post-graduate engineers. The following prerequisites are recommended: material point mechanics, continuum mechanics, calculus, and basic fluid mechanics.


Over and above consulting the content, in the form of videos and other web-based resources, you will have the opportunity to discuss course topics and to share ideas with your peers in the Forum of this MOOC.

Topic outline

  • Week 0 - Introduction to the course

    Not available unless: You are a(n) Student
  • Week 1 - Fundamentals of particle-laden flows

    Week 1 is dedicated to the fundamentals of particle-laden flows, including the key parameters and physical features of a two-phase solid-fluid system, the physical interactions between the solid particles and the turbulent fluid flow, and the Lagrangian particle equation of motion.

    Not available unless: You are a(n) Student
  • Week 2 - Simulation of particle-laden flows

    Week 2 is focused on the simulation of particle-laden flows based on Computational Fluid Dynamics techniques. Particular attention will be devoted to the frameworks for the description of the motion of the solid particles (Lagrangian / Eulerian) as well as to the methods to reproduce the effect of turbulence.

    Not available unless: You are a(n) Student
  • Week 3 - Transport of solids in pipeline systems

    Week 3 will adress the problem of particle transport in slurry pipelines. The technical characterization of slurry pipeline flows will be followed by an in-depth analysis of the investigation methods at disposal of engineers and designers, namely, integral-scale models, experimental testing on both laboratory and field scales, and computational simulations.

    Not available unless: You are a(n) Student
  • Week 4 - Solid particle erosion

    Week 4 will adress the problem of solid particle erosion, that is, the material removal from pipeline components and hydraulic equipment caused by their interaction with the solid particles carried along with the flow. The phenomenon will be analyzed mostly from the fluid-dynamic perspective, and the common investigation methodologies will be presented assessing their pros, cons and current limitations.

    Not available unless: You are a(n) Student
  • Week 5 - Case Studies

    In Week 5, a number of application cases provided by academic and industrial organizations allow gathering a more comprehensive view of significant issues related with particle-laden flows in science and engineering.

    Not available unless: You are a(n) Student
  • Additional Resources


Your final grade for the course will be based on the results of your answers to the graded quizzes. You have unlimited attempts at each quiz, but you must wait 5 minutes before you can try again. You will have successfully completed the course if you achieve 60% (or more) of the total course score. The maximum score possible for each quiz is given at the top of the quiz. You can see your score in the quiz on your last attempt or on the 'Grades' page.

Certificate of accomplishment

You must be registered in POK through Politecnico di Milano personal account to obtain the Certificate of Accomplishment. It will be released to anyone who successfully completed the course by achieving at least 60% of the total score in the graded quizzes and filling the final survey. 

You will be able to download the Certificate of Accomplishment directly from Politecnico di Milano web services.

The Certificate of Accomplishment does not confer any academic credit, grade or degree.

Information about fees and access to materials

You can access the course free of charge and completely online.

Course faculty

Gianandrea Vittorio Messa

Gianandrea Vittorio Messa


Course coordinator. Gianandrea Vittorio Messa was born in Monza (Milano, Italy) on 6th July 1984. He received the Master Degree cum laude in Civil Engineering and the PhD cum laude in Environmental and Infrastructure Engineering at Politecnico di Milano in 2009 and 2013, respectively. Since 2015, he is Assistant Professor at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering of the same university. He is member of the research group “Fluid Lab”, led by Prof. Stefano Malavasi. His research interests mainly concern the numerical and physical modelling of particle-laden and related phenomena, such as hydrotransport processes and impact wear of materials. As a side activity, he also dealt with the topics of energy dissipation and cavitation in hydraulic devices.

Vaclav Matoušek

Vaclav Matoušek


Václav Matoušek was born in Teplice, Czechoslovakia, in August 14, 1963. He received the Master Degree in Civil Engineering from the Czech Technical University (CTU) in Prague in 1986 and the PhD cum laude in Mechanical (Dredging) Engineering from the Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands, in 1997. From 2010, he is Full Professor of Water Engineering and Water Management at Faculty of Civil Engineering of CTU in Prague. Currently, he is Deputy Head of Dept. of Hydraulics and Hydrology at CTU and Senior Research Fellow with the Institute of Hydrodynamics, Academy of Sciences of Czech Republic. His research focuses primarily on two-phase flows with a special attention to pipeline transport of slurries, slurry pumping, rheology of mixtures, flow of rheologically active slurries, sediment transport in open channels and river morphology.

This MOOC might be used and shared in compliance with the conditions of the license. The teachers are always available for ideas exchange, suggestions, discussion, and networking. You are welcome to contact

Contact details

If you have any enquiries about the course or if you need technical assistance please contact For further information, see FAQ page.