Dr Matthew Butler MMath DPhil

School of Mathematics
Research Fellow in Microscale Soft Active Matter

Contact details

School of Mathematics
Watson Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Matt Butler is a Research Fellow in Microscale Soft Active Matter in the School of Mathematics. He is working on an exciting project combining controlled elastic shape changes with microswimmers and microfluidics.

Matt is interested in a variety of topics based around microfluidics, including viscous flows, fluid-structure interactions and free-surface flows. More broadly, Matt enjoys making simple mathematical models of complex real-world system, and working on projects that combine theory and experiments.


MMath, University of Cambridge, 2016


Matt Butler earned his Master’s in Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, before moving to the University of Oxford to study for a DPhil under the supervision of Dominic Vella. His thesis focused on mathematically modelling the forces provided by the surface tension of small amounts of fluid bridging solid surfaces, which is called capillary adhesion.

In 2019 he was awarded the IMA Lighthill-Thwaites Prize for his work on elasto-capillary adhesion, and in 2020 he received the François Frenkiel Award from the American Physical Society for a first author paper in Physical Review Fluids.

He joined Birmingham at the end of 2020, working with Tom Montenegro-Johnson on microscale soft active matter.


Research Themes

  • Microfluidics
  • Fluid-structure interaction
  • Viscous and lubrication flows
  • Mathematical modelling
  • Free surface flows


Recent publications


Maslan, C, Gholamipour Shirazi, A, Butler, M, Kropacek, J, Rehor, I & Montenegro-Johnson, T 2022, 'A new class of single-material, non-reciprocal microactuators', Macromolecular Rapid Communications, vol. 2022, 2200842. https://doi.org/10.1002/marc.202200842

Katsamba, P, Butler, M, Koens, L & Montenegro-Johnson, T 2022, 'Chemically active filaments: analysis and extensions of Slender Phoretic Theory', Soft Matter, vol. 18, no. 37, pp. 7051-7063. https://doi.org/10.1039/D2SM00942K

Butler, M & Vella, D 2022, 'Liquid bridge splitting enhances normal capillary adhesion and resistance to shear on rough surfaces', Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, vol. 607, no. Part 1, pp. 514-529. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcis.2021.08.133

Butler, M & Montenegro-Johnson, T 2022, 'Swelling and shrinking of thermo-responsive hydrogels', Journal of Fluid Mechanics, vol. 947, A11. https://doi.org/10.1017/jfm.2022.641

View all publications in research portal