Viscoplastic mantle convection

Natural and mixed convection of viscoplastic fluids in mantle convection

Degree type


Closing date

25 September 2023



Citizenship requirement

Domestic / International

About the research project

Mantle convection is a geophysical process that occurs in the Earth's mantle, which is the solid, rocky layer located between the Earth's crust and the outer core. The mantle is primarily composed of solid silicate minerals, but it behaves in a ductile manner over geological time scales due to its high temperature and pressure conditions.

Convection in the mantle involves the transfer of heat through the movement of material (rock) driven by temperature and density differences. The primary driving force for mantle convection is the heat generated from the decay of radioactive isotopes in the Earth's interior, as well as residual heat from the planet's formation. This heat causes the mantle material to become buoyant when heated, rising toward the Earth's surface, and then cooling and sinking back down. This cyclic process creates a continuous flow pattern known as mantle convection cells.

Viscoplastic behaviour refers to the combination of both viscous (fluid-like) and plastic (solid-like) behaviour of materials. In the context of mantle convection, the mantle can behave as a viscoplastic material in specific temperature and pressure.

The viscoplastic nature of the mantle has important implications for the geodynamics of the Earth. It influences the movement of tectonic plates at the Earth's surface, the formation of mountain ranges, the opening and closing of ocean basins, and the overall heat transfer within the planet.

The heat from mantle convection can influence the behaviour of the Earth's crust, which, in turn, affects the stability and dynamics of the Antarctic ice shelves. The movement of tectonic plates due to mantle convection can lead to changes in the shape and size of the Antarctic continent. This, in turn, can affect the flow of glaciers and the formation of ice shelves.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Gholamreza Kefayati


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $31,500 per annum (2023 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.

Other funding opportunities and fees

For further information regarding other scholarships on offer, and the various fees of undertaking a research degree, please visit our Scholarships and fees on research degrees page.


Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Ensure your eligibility for the scholarship round by referring to our Key Dates.

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • Applicants must be able to undertake the project on-campus

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Solid knowledge of Fluid Mechanics, and heat transfer
  • Solid knowledge of mathematical modeling.
  • A solid knowledge of Computational Fluid Dynamics
  • A solid knowledge of the Lattice Boltzmann method

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Knowledge of natural convection

Application process

  1. Select your project, and check that you meet the eligibility and selection criteria, including citizenship;
  2. Contact Dr Gholamreza Kefayati to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. In your application:
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • Submit a signed supervisory support form, a CV including contact details of 2 referees and your project research proposal.
  4. Apply prior to 25 September 2023.

Full details of the application process can be found under the 'How to apply' section of the Research Degrees website.

Following the closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

Apply now Explore other projects

Why the University of Tasmania?

Worldwide reputation for research excellence

Quality supervision and support

Tasmania offers a unique study lifestyle experience