Professor Troy Farrell

Find Troy Farrell on

Ph.d (Queensland University of Technology), B.Sc (Hons) (University of Newcastle)

Professor Troy Farrell’s frontline technical skills blend applied mathematics with physical chemistry, and are applied to the mathematical modelling and numerical simulation of chemical systems of great industrial significance. Applications of his research include batteries, dye-sensitised solar cells, drying of colloidal droplets, and oxidation of biomass stockpiles. His work is mainly undertaken in collaboration with industrial partners, for whom his technical ability would not be applicable without supporting attributes including his work ethic, interpersonal skills, and willingness to undertake confidential research.

Professor Farrell is very active in the wider applied and industrial mathematics community, especially within Australia and New Zealand. He is passionate about communicating the relevance, applicability and effectiveness of mathematics to a broad range of stakeholders in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics community including students, other academics and industry and business leaders. He is also passionate about facilitating connections between early career researchers and industry.

Areas of Expertise

  • Industrial and applied mathematical modelling and simulation
  • Electrochemical systems
  • Multiscale porous media
  • Perturbation methods
  • Liquid/binary gas interfaces

Academic Leadership National Roles:

  • Head of School – Mathematical Sciences QUT (2015 – present).
  • Mathematics in Industry Study Group (MISG) Director (2012 – 2015).
  • ATN Industry Doctoral Training Centre (IDTC) Node Leader (2013 – 2016).

State Roles:

  • Queensland Studies Authority (QSA) State review Panel Member (Mathematics C) (2007 – 2013).

Current Research Projects

  • The mathematical modelling of the production of bio-fuels from cellulosic materials. This project specifically considers the acid pretreatment and the enzymatic hydrolysis of bagasse (sugar cane fibre residue).
  • The mathematical modelling of electrochemical nano-dioides. These are nano-porous devices that rectify the passage of current in an electrolyte solution. This project considers electric double layer formation and interaction, charge transport in electrolyte solution using Poisson-Nernst-Planck and modified Poisson-Nernst-Planck models as well as discrete to continuum approaches for modelling low density flows.
  • The optimisation of metal-air batteries. This work involves a complementary experimental and mathematical modelling approach to provide decision support capabilities for the understanding and subsequent optimisation of lithium-air electrodes for secondary batteries.
  • The multiscale, mathematical modelling of periodic porous materials using a hybrid continuum/particle based approach. This projects considers the integration of microscopic scale particle based models (Smooth Particle Hydrodynamics, Lattice Boltzmann and Boundary Element) for high-dimensional Stokes flow with continuum flow (conservation of momentum and mass equations) at mesoscopic and macroscopic size scales.
  • Modelling the uptake of agrochemicals through the cuticular membranes of plant leaves. This project aims to develop novel mathematical models of chemical uptake in plants. It is envisaged that such models can then be utilised to better understand this process as well as develop more efficacious agrochemicals..
  • The Intermittent Microwave Convective (IMWC) Drying of food. This project is developing multiphase, multicomponent mathematical models of food materials that account for free and bound water transport and material deformation during drying.
  • Predicting the component gas concentrations of coal seam gas (CSG) reservoirs over time using a mathematical modelling approach. This project develops a population of models (PoMs) to predict the changing gas composition at a CSG compression facility. The individual reservoir models that feed into the PoMs are volume averaged unsaturated porous flow models that account for multicomponent liquid and gas transport within the matrix and cleat scales of individual coal seams.
  • Thermal Modelling of Large-Scale Biomass Stockpiles. This project addresses the important problem of preventing spontaneous combustion in large stockpiles of bagasse (sugar cane fibre residue). This will significantly extend its availability for renewable energy products.
  • Phase field modelling of Lithium Metal Phosphate Batteries. This project is looking at the development and numerical solution of mutliscale, high-dimensional, Cahn-Hilliard Reaction models to predict the phase change behaviour within secondary, lithium-ion batteries. Such model systems are notoriously difficult to solve accurately and novel numerical approaches have been developed to achieve this.

Additional information

Research Experience

My research expertise is a combination of Applied Mathematics and Physical Chemistry, specifically related to industrial systems in the area of energy technology. The key points relating to my research activities are as follows:

  • The significance of my work stems from its high degree of industrial relevancy. It has had high impact in; and been extremely well received by; the industries to which it is targeted. This is underpinned by a significant record of long-term and ongoing collaboration with industry.
  • I have a strong record of external research funding (in excess of $2.8M in external funding from 2000 to 2015) including 7 nationally competitive grants, 1 Qld State Government award and 7 industry funded grants.
  • I have a strong record of leading research teams to facilitate the successful completion of large-scale projects.
  • I have a good record of publications in high quality (Q1) academic journals.
  • I have undertaken several at-scale, commercial-in-confidence research projects for large companies.
Type
Academic Honours, Prestigious Awards or Prizes
Reference year
2015
Details
"For outstanding research and distinguished service to the field of Applied Mathematics". This prestigious national mid-career researcher award is awarded by the Australian and New Zealand Industrial and Applied Mathematics Division of the Australian Mathematical Society.
Type
Keynote Speaker/Expert Panel Member/Invited Speaker for a Conference
Reference year
2015
Details
Invited keynote presentation, "Mathematical modelling of multiphysics electrochemical devices". Chicago, Illinois, May 24-28, 2015.
Type
Keynote Speaker/Expert Panel Member/Invited Speaker for a Conference
Reference year
2015
Details
Invited keynote presentation, "A comparison of the Nernst-Planck and Maxwell-Stefan approaches to modelling multicomponent charge transport in electrolyte solutions". Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia, Sept. 28 - Oct. 1, 2015.
Type
Keynote Speaker/Expert Panel Member/Invited Speaker for a Conference
Reference year
2015
Details
Funded invited mentor and project convenor, "Secondary current modelling in porous alkaline battery cathodes". Malaysian Mathematical Modelling Camp, Mar. 30 - Apr. 3, 2015.
Type
Keynote Speaker/Expert Panel Member/Invited Speaker for a Conference
Reference year
2014
Details
Funded invited keynote, "Mathematics for Industry: A Mining and Resources Case Study". Mathematics for Industry Forum, Oct. 27-31, 2014.
Type
Academic Honours, Prestigious Awards or Prizes
Reference year
2013
Details
"For exceptional sustained performance and outstanding achievement in Partnerships and Engagement". This is the highest staff award at QUT and recognises my performance in developing industry research focused engagement and external partnerships in the Mathematical Sciences at QUT. This award is accompanied by a $10K stipend.
Type
Keynote Speaker/Expert Panel Member/Invited Speaker for a Conference
Reference year
2013
Details
Funded invited plenary, "Mathematical Modelling of LiFePO4 Cathodes". Battery and Fuel Cells Workshop, IPAM, Nov. 4-8, UCLA, USA.
Type
Keynote Speaker/Expert Panel Member/Invited Speaker for a Conference
Reference year
2013
Details
Funded invited plenary lecture - "Phase Field Modelling of Battery Cathodes", July 1-5, 2013, Oxford University, UK.
Type
Academic Honours, Prestigious Awards or Prizes
Reference year
2006
Details
"For outstanding contributions to student learning". This is a national teaching award for my work in improving student learning outcomes whilst part of a small but dedicated team teaching Applied Mathematics to large engineering mathematics cohorts.
Title
Degradation Conscious Grid-Scale Battery Energy Management Scheme
Primary fund type
CAT 1 - Australian Competitive Grant
Project ID
DP160101325
Start year
2016
Keywords
Title
Improving returns from Southern Pine Plantations through innovative Resource Characterisation
Primary fund type
CAT 1 - Australian Competitive Grant
Project ID
1500001297
Start year
2015
Keywords
Mathematical Modelling;Numerical Simulation
Title
Biomass Characterisation Facility for Extended Stockpile Model Accuracy and Capability (3951/3952)
Primary fund type
CAT 1 - Australian Competitive Grant
Project ID
QUT049
Start year
2011
Keywords
Biomass;Combustion;Model;Spontaneous;Storage
Title
Multiscale Modelling and Thermal Design Optimisation of Large-Scale Biomass Stockpiles for Use in Renewable Energy Products
Primary fund type
CAT 1 - Australian Competitive Grant
Project ID
LP0775269
Start year
2007
Keywords
bagasse storage;mathematical modelling;finite volume;self heating;mulitscale