Fakhri Bintang


Research title: 'Numerical modelling of melting and magmatic differentiation in planetesimals

Research Summary

My main research interests revolve around magma fluid dynamics and computational geoscience.

I previously studied for an MSc by research in Volcanology at Durham university under the thesis title: "Pressure evolution during the recharge of a bubbly magma reservoir". In that project, I used and modified existing numerical models to quantify magma reservoir evolution beneath volcanoes. A 10-minute video summary of my research can be found here.

I have since expanded my area of research to planetary science and geodynamics for my PhD, where I am continuing to develop my strong expertise in computational geoscience.

Please be welcome to contact me if you would like to access my code or if you would like a general chat about my research!

Research summary:

Planetesimals (up to 100s km diameter) are the earliest rocky bodies in our solar system. The collision of planetesimals formed the modern planets in the inner solar system. It is thought that the internal structure of the colliding planetesimals affects the development of the planets. Therefore, the internal evolution in planetesimals is an important part of our solar system's evolution. Most of our understanding of planetesimals come from meteorite observations. However, as they only represent a tiny fraction of a much larger planetary body, it is impossible to fully constrain global scale processes. Therefore, it is important to conduct physical experiments and develop plysics-bases numerical models to infer global-scale processes from small-scale meteorite observations.

Our model:

  • 2-D domain
  • Multi-phase fluid dynamics (e.g. solid, melt, immiscible phases)
    • Melt percolation at low melt fraction to crystal suspension flow at high melt fraction
  • Multi-component thermochemistry
    • Computing melting and phase changes based on changes in chemical entropy
    • Compute compatible/incompatible trace element partitioning  
  • Internal heat production by the decay of short lived radioneuclides (most significantly 26Al)
  • Self-gravitating domain
  • Free planetary surface evolution

Model objectives:

  • Quantify the timescales of core formation in planetesimals and assess the different mechanisms of metal-silicate partitioning
  • Model the differentiation of silicate mantle into mineralogical stratifications
  • Test the stability of a primitive chondritic crust overlying an internally melting and differentiating body



STFC funded PhD scholarship (2020-2024)


VMSG 2021, oral presentation, "Pressure evolution during recharge of a bully magma reservoir". Recording of the presentation can be found here.



Online workshop leader and demonstrator, University of Glasgow

  • Introduction to QGIS   - Lvl 2
  • Sedimentary logging - Lead - Lvl 2
  • Scientific data plotting - Lead - Lvl 2


Demonstrator and assessment marker, Durham University

  • Mathematical methods in geoscience