skip to content

Laboratory for Scientific Computing



Louisa Michael received her BSc. in Mathematics (with Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics) from Imperial College London in 2007. She then studied Part III Mathematics (CASM) at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics (DAMPT) in the University of Cambridge. She received a PhD in Physics (Cavendish Laboratory) from the University of Cambridge in 2012 under the supervision of Dr. Nikolaos Nikiforakis, funded by ORICA. She has held a postdoctoral position jointly supported by Jaguar Land Rover and the UK-EPSRC grant EP/K014188/1 as part of the jointly funded Programme for Simulation Innovation on whole-vehicle simulation and a postdoctoral position funded by DSO National Laboratory on detonation-generated electrostatic charge. She currently holds a postdoctoral position funded by Boeing Research and Technology on detonation-induced electromagnetic pulses. She is also involved in other projects funded by UK-EPSRC (modelling of detonators for optimisation of their design in mining, equation of state and reaction rate models development) and Boeing Research and Tecnology (Lightning strike on aircraft).

Research interests:

Louisa Michael's research is primarily on multi-physics, multi-material, multi-scale and multi-phase problems. In particular, she is interested in developing appropriate governing equations and associated numerical algorithms to accurately simulate such systems. She focuses on the form of the equations that allow the simultaneous solution of Euler, reactive flow and elastoplastic systems of equations on the same grid, with the same finite volume methods. She is also developing mixed Riemann solvers for such systems to ensure the correct communication of information across material interfaces. Of particular interest are also combustion problems and their mathematical representation and numerical solution. Latest interests include numerical modelling of explosively generated electromagnetic effects and plasma arc induced detonations.

Louisa has worked on numerous industrial funded applications including: sensitization of condensed-phase explosives (ORICA), multi-material modelling (Qinetiq), multi-phase flows and fluid-structure interaction (Schlumberger), HPC & Simulation Knowledge Mining and Abstraction, wading, internal combustion engines, crash and fuel initiation (Jaguar LandRover).

Current Teaching:

MPhil in Scientific Computing, University of Cambridge:

  • Computational Continuum Modelling (Michaelmas 2018)
  • Advanced Continuum Modelling (Michaelmas 2018)
  • Introduction to Computational Multiphysics (guest lecturer, Michaelmas 2018)

Past teaching:

MPhil in Scientific Computing, University of Cambridge:

  • Numerical methods for hyperbolic PDEs (Michaelmas 2017, Michaelmas 2016, Michaelmas 2015)
  • Fundamentals in Numerical Analysis (substitute, Michaelmas 2017)
  • Numerical Integration and ODEs (substitute, Michaelmas 2017)
  • Numerical Differentiation and PDEs (substitute, Michaelmas 2017)
  • Linear Systems (substitute, Michaelmas 2017)
  • Numerical methods for hyperbolic PDEs (Michaelmas 2016, Michaelmas 2015)
  • Gridding techniques and continuum modelling (Lent 2017, Lent 2016)

High performance computing autumn academy, University of Cambridge:

  • Numerical methods for hyperbolic PDEs (September 2016)

Applied Detonation Physics and Blast Modelling Academy, University of Cambridge:

  • Multi-phase detonations in elastic-plastic confinement (September 2014)
  • Temperature distribution due to cavity collapse in non-ideal explosives (March 2015, September 2014)

 Undergraduate supervisions, Selwyn college:

  • Vector Calculus (2008-2011)
  • Differential equations (2008-2011)


Key publications: 
  • Control of condensed-phase explosive behaviour by means of voids and solid particles, Michael L and Nikiforakis N. Active Flow and Combustion Control 2018, Notes on Numerical Fluid Mechanics and Multidisciplinary Design, Springer,
  • A multi-physics methodology for the simulation of reactive flow and elastoplastic structural response, Michael L. and Nikiforakis N. Journal of Computational Physics, vol. 367, 2018, 1-27,
  • The evolution of the temperature field during cavity collapse in liquid nitromethane. Part II: Reactive case, Michael L. and Nikiforakis N. Shock Waves 29(1), 173-191 (2019),
  • The evolution of the temperature field during cavity collapse in liquid nitromethane. Part I: Inert case, Michael L. and
    Nikiforakis N. Shock Waves 29(1), 153-172 (2019)
  • A numerical methodology for simulating plasma arc-induced detonations, Michael L., Millmore ST., and Nikiforakis N., 16th International Detonation Symposium Proceedings (2018)
  • Modeling of condensed phase explosives with a temperature-dependent rate law, Wilkinson SD., Nikiforakis N. and Michael L.,   16th International Detonation Symposium Proceedings (2018)
  • Modeling of detonation and desensitization in condensed phase explosives of complex geometry, Ioannou E., Nikiforakis N. and Michael L., 16th International Detonation Symposium Proceedings (2018)
  • Shock-induced collapse of multiple cavities in liquid nitromethane, Mi XC., Higgins A., Ioannou E., Michael L., Nikiforakis N., Ng HD. and Kiyanda C., 16th International Detonation Symposium Proceedings (2018)
  • A complete equation of state for non-ideal condensed phase explosives, Wilkinson SD., Braithwaite M., Nikiforakis N., and Michael L.,  Journal of Applied Physics ,122, 225112 (2017),
  • Detonation propagation in annular arcs of condensed phase explosives, Ioannou E., Schoch S., Nikiforakis N. and Michael
    L. Physics of Fluids
    , 29, 116102 (2017),
  • A hybrid formulation for the numerical simulation of condensed phase explosives, L. Michael, N. Nikiforakis, Journal of Computational Physics, vol. 316, 2016, 193-217,                                                                                               

  • Cartesian Cut-Cell and GFM Approaches to Free-Surface and Moving Boundary Interaction. Bennet, W. P., Michael L. and Nikiforakis N., 54th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting (p. 0602), (2016),

  • The temperature field around collapsing cavities in condensed phase explosives , Michael L. and Nikiforakis N., 15th International Detonation Symposium Proceedings (2014)

  • Numerical simulations of shock-induced void collapse in liquid explosives, Michael L., Nikiforakis N and Bates K.R, 14th International Detonation Symposium Proceedings (2010)

Post Doctoral Research Associate

Contact Details

+44 (0)1223 747395
Not available for consultancy


Person keywords: 
Computational fluid dynamics
Diffuse interfaces
Eulerian elastic-plastic dynamics
Level set methods
Plasma dynamics
Ghost Fluid Method
Detonation shock dynamics