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Richard Manasseh

PhD, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom; Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical), University of Melbourne, Australia


Professor Richard Manasseh is a mechanical engineer with specialist knowledge of fluid dynamics. At a fundamental level, Professor Manasseh’s research focuses on wave modes and oscillators in fluids and their interactions.

He is best known for his work on the vibrations of bubbles, called bubble acoustics. His active projects are on extracting data relevant to climate change from the sounds of breaking ocean waves, ocean wave-power machines and coastal protection, underwater sound control for defence applications, and fundamentals of bushfire smoke dispersal. He has also recently led projects on the interaction of ultrasound with microbubbles and live cells for medical diagnostics and therapeutics, and the interaction of ultrasound with droplets for food processing. Further applications of Professor Manasseh’s research have included spacecraft engineering, coastal oceanography, thunderstorms, submarine noise, wastewater treatment and microfluidic devices.

He is the author of a textbook, Fluid Waves. In Stanford University's 2022 analysis of lifetime impact, he was ranked in the top 2% of researchers worldwide in the field of mechanical engineering acoustics.

Professor Manasseh is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers, Australia (IEAust), and an IEAust Chartered Professional Engineer. He has served as both President and Vice-President of the Australasian Fluid Mechanics Society. He became a full-time academic in 2010 after a career in industrial R&D and headed Swinburne's Department of Mechanical and Product Design Engineering for three years after a year as Mechanical Engineering Discipline Leader. He is experienced in communicating science to the general public via public lectures, radio and TV.

Research interests

Fluid Mechanics; Mathematical modelling; Ultrasound; Ocean and Coastal Engineering; Medical Biophysics; Wave Modelling and Wave Induced Processes

PhD candidate and honours supervision

Higher degrees by research

Accredited to supervise Masters & Doctoral students as Principal Supervisor.

PhD topics and outlines

Acoustic measurement of oceanic carbon dioxide absorption: The oceans are thought to absorb nearly half of all the carbon dioxide humans put into the atmosphere, but the true amount of greenhouse gas absorbed by the oceans remains unknown. This project will involve two classes of laboratory experiments in which bubbles are formed. This research could be applied to calculate CO2 absorption.

Coastal protection with wave-energy converters: Arrays of ocean wave-energy converters could remove some energy from waves during storms, reducing coastal erosion, while renewably-generating electricity to pay for the investment at other times. There would be reduced envionmental impact compared with traditional sea walls. The research combines fluid-dynamically based mathematical models and control engineering.

Contained inertia-wave mixing: Inertia waves arise from the Coriolis force in a rotating tank, and can quickly generate turbulence without the use of intrusive stirrers.  Fluid mixing is particularly problematic where the fluids to be mixed cannot come into contact with turbine blades or shaft seals. Applications include the culturing of cells for direct therapies and for pharmaceutical products.

Currents induced by arrays of wave energy converters and their environmental impacts: Mean flows, analagous to the oceanic "rip current", may be created by resonating ocean wave-energy converters. Arrays of such machines may affect the habitat of marine species or sediment transport. Calculations may utilise chaotic mixing and biological population dynamics theories. Students may undertake theoretical or numerical projects, or, subject to appropriate funding, ocean experiments.

Ocean Wave Power Arrays - experimental: This project experimentally studies the ways in which ocean wave energy converters interact. Data are collected from generic models of arrays of ocean wave-power machines. Students will undertake experimental projects in facilities at Swinburne and our partner institutions.

Ocean Wave Power Arrays - theoretical/numerical: This project theoretically studies the ways in which ocean wave energy converters interact. Calculations are based on simplified dynamical models of ocean surface waves and of oscillating machine dynamics. Students may undertake theoretical or numerical projects.

Transitions to turbulence in reciprocating flows: Sinusoidally reversing flows may periodically switch from laminar to turbulent and back. Understanding these transitions is vital to predicting the dissipation in ocean wave energy converters. Students may undertake Direct Numerical Simulations on Swinburne's supercomputer cluster, develop simple ordinary differential equation models, or, subject to appropriate funding, ocean experiments.

Ultrasonic stimulation of fundamental cellular processes: There are increasing indications that ultrasonic stimulation can profoundly influence cell behaviour. Established cells such as neurons can be affected, and the fate of stem cells can be altered. This project will use analytic and numerical models of fluid-dynamical processes such as microstreaming and cell resonances to understand the potential for ultrasound to drive new therapies.


Available to supervise honours students.

Honours topics and outlines

Magnetohydrodynamic effects of ultrasound on cells: The interaction of the mechanical stress fields created by ultrasound with charge movement across cell membranes will be estimated by simple analytic and numerical models. Can we understand why ultrasound appears to affect neural processes?

Trajectories of marine organisms in wave-energy converter fields: Mathematical models will be created of the Lagrangian trajectories of passive and active marine organisms as they transit the zone of action of single and multiple ocean wave-energy converters. What will the fate of the organisms be? Will this form of renewable energy have a local environmental impact?

Fields of Research

  • Maritime Engineering - 401500
  • Mechanical Engineering - 401700

Teaching areas

Fluid Mechanics


Also published as: Manasseh, Richard; Manasseh, R.
This publication listing is provided by Swinburne Research Bank. If you are the owner of this profile, you can update your publications using our online form.

Recent research grants awarded

  • 2024: Bubble clouds in ocean waves *; ARC Discovery Projects Scheme
  • 2021: Controlling coastlines while generating power *; ARC Linkage Projects Scheme
  • 2021: Gravity Driven Smoke Dispersion In a Stratified Ambient *; ARC Discovery Projects Scheme
  • 2020: Australia-China JRC of Offshore Wind and Wave Energy Harnessing *; Australia-China Science and Research Fund
  • 2020: Preliminary analysis and modification of bubble-induced underwater and surface signatures *; Defence Science Technology Group
  • 2020: Surf sounds: predicting the valuable data of bubble sound emissions *; ARC Discovery Projects Scheme
  • 2019: Numerical Simulations of forces generated by a bubble column on a plate *; Defence Science Technology Group
  • 2017: DSTG numerical simulations of forces generated by a bubble column on a plate scholarship *; Defence Science and Technology Group - Postgraduate Student
  • 2017: Postdoctoral position relating to numerical simulations of forces generated by a bubble column on a plate *; Defence Science and Technology Group - Post Doctoral
  • 2017: Research Services Agreement with ToothRush Pty Ltd *; Tooth Rush Pty Ltd
  • 2014: Industrial Transformation Training Centre in Biodevices and Diagnostics *; ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centres
  • 2014: Towards an Australian capability in arrays of ocean wave-power machines *; Emerging Renewables Program
  • 2013: Catastrophic transition to turbulence in rotation-dominated flows *; ARC Discovery Projects Scheme
  • 2013: High-resolution molecular tagging velocimetry and thermometry facility *; ARC Linkage Infrastructure and Equipment Scheme

* Chief Investigator