Based at Thornton Science Park, the new Faculty of Science and Engineering is located in a major research and innovation hub for the North West which is only a 20-minute bus trip from the main Chester Campus. The Faculty offers degrees in engineering and science disciplines using a strongly interdisciplinary teaching philosophy.

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  • Measurement of vertical oil-in-water two-phase flow using dual-modality ERT–EMF system

    Faraj, Yousef; Wang, Mi; Jia, Jiabin; Wang, Qiang; Xie, Cheng-gang; Oddie, Gary; Primrose, Ken; Qiu, Changhua; University of Leeds; Sate Key Lab. of O&G Reservoir Geology and Exploitation, Southwest Petroleum University, China; Schlumberger Gould Research, Cambridge; Industrial Tomography System plc, Manchester
    Oil-in-water two-phase flows are often encountered in the upstream petroleum industry. The measurement of phase flow rates is of particular importance for managing oil production and water disposal and/or water reinjection. The complexity of oil-in-water flow structures creates a challenge to flow measurement. This paper proposes a new method of two-phase flow metering, which is based on the use of dual-modality system and multidimensional data fusion. The Electrical Resistance Tomography system (ERT) is used in combination with a commercial off-the-shelf Electromagnetic Flow meter (EMF) to measure the volumetric flow rate of each constituent phase. The water flow rate is determined from the EMF with an input of the mean oil-fraction measured by the ERT. The dispersed oil-phase flow rate is determined from the mean oil fraction and the mean oil velocity measured by the ERT cross-correlation velocity profiling. Experiments were carried out on a vertical upward oil-in-water pipe flow, 50 mm inner-diameter test section, at different total liquid flow rates covering the range of 8–16 m3/hr. The oil and water flow rate measurements obtained from the ERT and the EMF are compared to their respective references. The accuracy of these measurements is discussed and the capability of the measurement system is assessed.
  • A new visualisation and measurement technology for water continuous multiphase flows

    Wang, Mi; Jia, Jiabin; Faraj, Yousef; Wang, Qiang; Xie, Cheng-gang; Oddie, Gary; Primrose, Ken; Qiu, Changhua; University of Chester; University of Leeds; University of Edinburgh; Schlumberger Gould Research, Cambridge; Industrial Tomography Systems plc, Manchester
    This paper reports the performance of a research prototype of a new multiphase flow instrument to noninvasively measure the phase flow rates, with the capability to rapidly image the flow distributions of two- and three-phase (gas and/or oil in water) flows. The research prototype is based on the novel concepts of combining vector Electrical Impedance Tomography (EIT) sensor (for measuring dispersedphase velocity and fraction) with an electromagnetic flow metre (EMF, for measuring continuous-phase velocity with the EIT input) and a gradiomanometer flow-mixture density metre (FDM), in addition to on-line water conductivity, temperature and absolute pressure measurements. EIT–EMF–FDM data fusion embedded in the research prototype, including online calibration/compensation of conductivity change due to the change of fluids' temperature or ionic concentration, enables the determination of mean concentration, mean velocity and hence the mean flow rate of each individual phase based on the measurement of dispersed-phase distributions and velocity profiles. Results from first flow-loop experiments conducted at Schlumberger Gould Research (SGR) will be described. The performance of the research prototype in flow-rate measurements are evaluated by comparison with the flow-loop references. The results indicate that optimum performance of the research prototype for three-phase flows is confined within the measuring envelope 45–100% Water-in-Liquid Ratio (WLR) and 0–45% Gas Volume Fraction (GVF). Within the scope of this joint research project funded by the UK Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), only vertical flows with a conductive continuous liquid phase will be addressed.
  • Imaging of gas–liquid annular flows for underbalanced drilling using electrical resistance tomography

    Na, Wei; Jia, Jiabin; Yu, Xin; Faraj, Yousef; Wang, Qiang; Meng, Ying-feng; Wang, Mi; Sun, Wantong; University of Chester; University of Leeds; University of Edinburgh; Southwest Petroleum University (China)
    The underbalanced drilling technique, which is also known as managed-pressure drilling, is playing an important role in oil and gas sector, as it reduces common conventional drilling problems such as minimal drilling rates and formation damage, differential sticking and lost circulation. Flow regime monitoring is one of the key topics in annular multiphase flow research, particularly for underbalanced drilling technique. Prediction of the prevailing flow regime in an annulus is of particular importance in the design and installation of underbalanced drilling facilities. Especially, for establishing a suitable pressure drop model based on the characteristics of the active flow regime. The methods of flow regime prediction (or visualisation) in an annulus that are currently in use are very limited, this is evidently due to poor accuracy or they are simply not applicable to underbalanced drilling operation in practice. Therefore, this paper presents a monitoring method, in which Electrical Resistance Tomography (ERT) is used to rapidly image the prevailing flow regime in an annulus with a metallic inner pipe. Experiments were carried out using an air–waterflow loop with a test section 50 mm diameter flow pipe. The two-phase air–waterflow regimes are visualised in the upward vertical annulus with a radius ratio (r/R) 0.4.This paper highlights the visualisation results of only three flow regimes, namely bubble flow, transitional bubble-slug flow and slug flow. The flow regimes are visualised through axial images stacked from50 mm diameter-pixels of 2D tomograms reconstructed with the Conjugate Gradient Method (SCG). Gas volume fraction profiles within the annular flow channel are also illustrated. The profiles are extracted using the Modified Sensitivity coefficient Back-Projection (MSBP) method with a sensitivity matrix generated from a realistic phantom in the finite element method software. The results are compared with visual observations (e.g. photographs) of the active flow regime at the time of ERT measurements.
  • Evaluation of EIT Systems and Algorithms for Handling Full Void Fraction Range in Two-phase Flow Measurement

    Jia, Jiabin; Wang, Mi; Faraj, Yousef; University of Chester; University of Leeds; University of Edinburgh
    In the aqueous-based two-phase flow, if the void fraction of dispersed phase exceeds 0.25, the conventional Electrical Impedance Tomography (EIT) produces a considerable error due to the linear approximation of Sensitivity Back-projection method, which limits the EIT’s wider application in process industry. In this paper, an EIT sensing system which is able to handle full void fraction range in two-phase flow is reported. This EIT system employs a voltage source, conducts true mutual impedance measurement and reconstructs online image with the Modified Sensitivity Back-Projection (MSBP) algorithm. The capability of Maxwell relationship to convey full void fraction is investigated. The limitation of linear sensitivity back-projection method is analysed. The modified sensitivity back-projection algorithm is used to derive relative conductivity change in the evaluation. Series of static and dynamic experiments demonstrate the mean void fraction obtained using this EIT system has a good agreement with reference void fractions over the range from 0 to 1, which would significantly extend the applications of EIT in process measurement.
  • Measurement of Interphase Forces based on Dual-modality ERT/DP Sensor in Horizontal Two-phase Flow Gas-water

    Fang, Lide; Wang, Peipei; Zeng, Qiaoqiao; Li, Mingming; Li, Xiaoting; Wang, Mi; Faraj, Yousef; Wang, Qiang; University of Chester; University of Leeds; Hebei University (China)
    In order to better understand the mechanisms of two-phase flow and the prevailing flow regimes in horizontal pipelines, the evaluation of interphase forces is paramount. This study develops a method to quantitatively estimate the interphase force in two-phase gas-water flow in horizontal pipeline. The electrical resistance tomography technology is used to measure the void fraction, while the differential pressure perpendicular to the horizontal pipe is measured in different flow patterns via a Differential Pressure sensor. The inner pipe diameter is 50 mm, the water flow range from 3.26 m3/h to 7.36 m3/h, the gas flowrate range from 1 to 60 l/min, which covered a range of flow patterns, the absolute pressure range from0.07 MPa to 0.12 MPa. The relationship between the differential pressure drop and interphase force is established, and the effects of these forces on the flow are analyzed. Experimental results indicate that the dual-modality measurement system was successfully provided a quantitative evaluation of inter-phase forces in two-phase horizontal gas-water flow.
  • Modified magnetic core-shell mesoporous silica nano-formulations with encapsulated quercetin exhibit anti-amyloid and antioxidant activity

    Halevas, Eleftherios; Mavroidi, Barbara; Nday, Christiane; Tang, Jianhua; Smith, Graham; Boukos, Nikos; Litsardakis, George; Pelecanou, Maria; Salifoglou, Athanasios; NCSR "Demokritos" Athens (Halevas, Mavroidi, Pelecanou), University of Chester (Tang, Smith), Aristotle University of Thessalonika (Litsardakis, Nday)
    Targeted tissue drug delivery is a challenge in contemporary nanotechnologically driven therapeutic approaches, with the interplay interactions between nanohost and encapsulated drug shaping the ultimate properties of transport, release and efficacy of the drug at its destination. Prompted by the need to pursue the synthesis of such hybrid systems, a family of modified magnetic core-shell mesoporous silica nano-formulations was synthesized with encapsulated quercetin, a natural flavonoid with proven bioactivity. The new nanocarriers were produced via the sol-gel process, using tetraethoxysilane as a precursor and bearing a magnetic core of surface-modified monodispersed magnetite colloidal superparamagnetic nanoparticles, subsequently surface-modified with polyethylene glycol 3000 (PEG3k). The arising nano-formulations were evaluated for their textural and structural properties, exhibiting enhanced solubility and stability in physiological media, as evidenced by the loading capacity, entrapment efficiency results and in vitro release studies of their load. Guided by the increased bioavailability of quercetin in its encapsulated form, further evaluation of the biological activity of the magnetic as well as non-magnetic core-shell nanoparticles, pertaining to their anti-amyloid and antioxidant potential, revealed interference with the aggregation of β-amyloid peptide (Aβ) in Alzheimer’s disease, reduction of Aβ cellular toxicity and minimization of Aβ-induced Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) generation. The data indicate that the biological properties of released quercetin are maintained in the presence of the host nanocarriers. Collectively, the findings suggest that the emerging hybrid nano-formulations can function as efficient nanocarriers of hydrophobic natural flavonoids in the development of multifunctional nanomaterials toward therapeutic applications.
  • Parametric Study of Environmental Conditions on The Energy Harvesting Efficiency for The Multifunctional Composite Structures

    Wen, Tao; Ratner, Alon; Jia, Yu; Shi, Yu; University of Chester;University of Warwick; Aston University
    This paper presents a parametric study of the efficacy of an integrated vibration energy harvesting device under the environmental condition representative of an offshore wind turbine. A multifunctional glass fibre composite with an integrated Micro Fibre Composite (MFC) energy harvesting device was tested by swept sine vibration under environmental conditions that ranged from – 40°C to 70°C in temperature and 10%RH to 90%RH in humidity in order to characterise the sensitivity and dependence of energy harvesting on environmental conditions. Experimental vibration testing was complemented with theoretical analysis to investigate the relative contributions to the temperature dependence of energy harvesting. This included mechanical properties of the stiffness and strength of the cantilever structure and the electrical properties of the MFC transducer, including its dielectric constants and charge coefficients. An inverse proportionality was observed between the magnitude of harvested energy and the climatic temperature. The efficiency of energy harvesting was dominated by the stiffness of the cantilever, which displayed viscoelastic temperature dependence. The sample was also tested with a vibration profile obtained from a wind turbine in order to validate the temperature influence under typical service conditions. Numerical modal analysis was used to determine the shapes of resonance modes, the frequencies of which were temperature dependent. Humidity was observed to have a secondary influence on energy harvesting, with no significant short-term effect on the structural properties of the samples within the limits of the experimental method.
  • Cholesterol Homeostasis: An In Silico Investigation into How Aging Disrupts Its Key Hepatic Regulatory Mechanisms

    Morgan, Amy; Mc Auley, Mark; University of Chester
    The dysregulation of intracellular cholesterol homeostasis is associated with several age-related diseases, most notably cardiovascular disease (CVD). Research in this area has benefitted from using computational modelling to study the inherent complexity associated with the regulation of this system. In addition to facilitating hypothesis exploration, the utility of modelling lies in its ability to represent an array of rate limiting enzymatic reactions, together with multiple feedback loops, which collectively define the dynamics of cholesterol homeostasis. However, to date no model has specifically investigated the effects aging has on this system. This work addresses this shortcoming by explicitly focusing on the impact of aging on hepatic intracellular cholesterol homeostasis. The model was used to investigate the experimental findings that reactive oxygen species induce the total activation of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase (HMGCR). Moreover, the model explored the impact of an age-related decrease in hepatic acetyl-CoA acetyltransferase 2 (ACAT2). The model suggested that an increase in the activity of HMGCR does not have as significant an impact on cholesterol homeostasis as a decrease in hepatic ACAT2 activity. According to the model, a decrease in the activity of hepatic ACAT2 raises free cholesterol (FC) and decreases low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels. Increased acetyl CoA synthesis resulted in a reduction in the number of hepatic low-density lipoprotein receptors, and increased LDL-C, FC, and cholesterol esters. The rise in LDL-C was restricted by elevated hepatic FC accumulation. Taken together these findings have important implications for healthspan. This is because emerging clinical data suggest hepatic FC accumulation is relevant to the pathogenesis of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which is associated with an increased risk of CVD. These pathophysiological changes could, in part, help to explain the phenomenon of increased mortality associated with low levels of LDL-C which have been observed in certain studies involving the oldest old (≥ 85 years).
  • Dynamics of shadow system of a singular Gierer-Meinhardt system on an evolving domain

    Kavallaris, Nikos I.; Bareira, Raquel; Madzvamuse, Anotida; University of Chester; Polytechnic Institute of Setubal; University of Lisbon; Sussex University
    The main purpose of the current paper is to contribute towards the comprehension of the dynamics of the shadow system of a singular Gierer-Meinhardt model on an isotropically evolving domain. In the case where the inhibitor's response to the activator's growth is rather weak, then the shadow system of the Gierer-Meinhardt model is reduced to a single though non-local equation whose dynamics is thoroughly investigated throughout the manuscript. The main focus is on the derivation of blow-up results for this non-local equation, which can be interpreted as instability patterns of the shadow system. In particular, a diffusion-driven instability (DDI), or Turing instability, in the neighbourhood of a constant stationary solution, which then is destabilised via diffusion-driven blow-up, is observed. The latter indicates the formation of some unstable patterns, whilst some stability results of global-in-time solutions towards non-constant steady states guarantee the occurrence of some stable patterns. Most of the theoretical results are verified numerically, whilst the numerical approach is also used to exhibit the dynamics of the shadow system when analytical methods fail.
  • Vibration energy harvesting of multifunctional carbon fibre composite laminate structures

    Alsaadi, Ahmed; Shi, Yu; Pan, Lei; Tao, Jie; Jia, Yu; University of Chester; Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics
    A sustainable power supply for a wide range of applications, such as powering sensors for structural health monitoring and wireless sensoring nodes for data transmission and communication used in unmanned air vehicles, automobiles, renewable energy sectors, and smart city technologies, is targeted. This paper presents an experimental and numerical study that describes an innovative technique to harvest energy resulted from environmental vibrations. A piezoelectric energy harvester was integrated onto a carbon fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP) laminate structure using the co-curing method. The integrated composite with the energy harvester was lightweight, flexible and provided robust and reliable energy outcomes, which can be used to power different low-powered wireless sensing nodes. A normalised power density of 97  μW cm−3m−2s4 was obtained from resonance frequency of 46 Hz sinusoidal waves at amplitude of 0.2 g; while the representative environmental vibration waves in various applications (aerospace, automotive, machine and bridge infrastructure) were experimentally and numerically investigated to find out the energy that can be harvested by such a multifunctional composite structure. The results showed the energy harvested at different vibration input from various industrial sectors could be sufficient to power an autonomous structural health monitoring system and wireless communications by the designed composite structure.
  • A review of organic waste enrichment for inducing palatability of black soldier fly larvae: Wastes to valuable resources

    Raksasat, Ratchaprapa; Lim, Jun Wei; Kiatkittipong, Worapon; Kiatkittipong, Kunlanan; Ho, Yeek Chia; Lam, Man Kee; Font Palma, Carolina; Zaid, Hayyiratul Fatimah Mohd; Cheng, Chin Kui; Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS; Silpakorn University; King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang; University of Chester; Khalifa University
    The increase of annual organic wastes generated worldwide has become a major problem for many countries since the mismanagement could bring about negative effects on the environment besides, being costly for an innocuous disposal. Recently, insect larvae have been investigated to valorize organic wastes. This entomoremediation approach is rising from the ability of the insect larvae to convert organic wastes into its biomass via assimilation process as catapulted by the natural demand to complete its lifecycle. Among the insect species, black soldier fly or Hermetia illucens is widely researched since the larvae can grow in various environments while being saprophagous in nature. Even though black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) can ingest various decay materials, some organic wastes such as sewage sludge or lignocellulosic wastes such as waste coconut endosperm are destitute of decent nutrients that could retard the BSFL growth. Hence, blending with nutrient-rich low-cost substrates such as palm kernel expeller, soybean curd residue, etc. is employed to fortify the nutritional contents of larval feeding substrates prior to administering to the BSFL. Alternatively, microbial fermentation can be adopted to breakdown the lignocellulosic wastes, exuding essential nutrients for growing BSFL. Upon reaching maturity, the BSFL can be harvested to serve as the protein and lipid feedstock. The larval protein can be made into insect meal for farmed animals, whilst the lipid source could be extracted and transesterified into larval biodiesel to cushion the global energy demands. Henceforth, this review presents the influence of various organic wastes introduced to feed BSFL, targeting to reduce wastes and producing biochemicals from mature larvae through entomoremediation. Modification of recalcitrant organic wastes via fermentation processes is also unveiled to ameliorate the BSFL growth. Lastly, the sustainable applications of harvested BSFL biomass are as well covered together with the immediate shortcomings that entail further researches.
  • Terahertz Signatures of Hydrate Formation in Alkali Halide Solutions

    Ligang, Chen; Ren, Guanhua; Liu, Liyuan; Guo, Pan; Wan, Endong; Zhou, Lu; Zhu, Zhonglie; Zhang, Jianbing; Yang, Bin; Zhang, Wentao; et al.
    We systematically studied the ability of 20 alkali halides to form solid hydrates in the frozen state from their aqueous solutions by terahertz time-domain spectroscopy combined with density functional theory (DFT) calculations. We experimentally observed the rise of new terahertz absorption peaks in the spectral range of 0.3-3.5 THz in frozen alkali halide solutions. The DFT calculations prove that the rise of observed new peaks in solutions containing Li+, Na+ or F‾ ions indicates the formation of salt hydrates, while that in other alkali halide solutions is caused by the splitting phonon modes of the imperfectly crystallized salts in ice. As a simple empirical rule, the correlation between the terahertz signatures and the ability of 20 alkali halides to form a hydrate has been established.
  • Domain wall free polar structure enhanced photodegradation activity in nanoscale ferroelectric BaxSr1-xTiO3

    Wang, Yaqiong; Zhang, Man; Jianguo, Liu; Zhang, Haibin; Li, Feng; Tseng, Chiao-Wei; Yang, Bin; Smith, Graham C.; Zhai, Jiwei; Zhang, Zhen; et al.
    Ferroelectric materials exhibit anomalous behavior due to the presence of domains and domain walls which are related to the spontaneous polarization inherent in the crystal structure. Control of ferroelectric domains and domain walls has been used to enhance device performances in ultrasound, pyroelectric detectors and photovoltaic systems with renewed interest in nanostructuring for energy applications. It is also known that the ferroelectric including domain walls can double photocatalytic rate and increase carrier lifetime from μs to ms[1] However, there remains a lack of understanding on the different contributions of the domain and domain walls to photo-catalytic activities. Herein it is found, by comparing samples of nanostructured BaxSr1 xTiO3 with and without a polar domain, that the material with polar domains has a faster reaction rate (k=0.18 min-1) than the non polar one (k = 0.11 min-1). It is further revealed that the observed enhanced photoactivity of perovskite ferroelectric materials stems from the inherent polarization of the domain instead of domain walls. Here, the new understanding of the underlying physics of materials with a spontaneous dipole opens a door to enhance the performance of light induced energy harvesting systems.
  • Capsule membranes encapsulated with smart nanogels for facile detection of trace lead(II) ions in water

    Liu, Wen Ying; Ju, Xiao Jie; Faraj, Yousef; He, Fan; Peng, Han Yu; Liu, Yu Qiong; Liu, Zhuang; Wang, Wei; Xie, Rui; Chu, Liang Yin; et al.
    A novel method based on capsule membranes encapsulated with smart nanogels is successfully developed for facilely detecting trace lead(II) (Pb2+) ions, which are hazardous to both human health and the environment because of their toxicity. The capsule membrane system is composed of a semi-permeable calcium alginate membrane and encapsulated poly(N-isopropylacrylamide-co-acryloylamidobenzo-18-crown-6) (PNB) nanogels. The semi-permeable membrane allows Pb2+ ions and water to pass through quickly, but rejects the encapsulated nanogels and polymers totally. As soon as Pb2+ ions appear in the aqueous environment and enter into the capsule, they can be specifically recognized by encapsulated PNB nanogels via forming 18-crown-6/Pb2+ complexes that cause a Pb2+-induced phase transition of PNB nanogels from hydrophobic to hydrophilic state. As a result, the osmotic pressure inside the capsule membrane increases remarkably, and thus the elastic capsule membrane isothermally swells upon the presence of Pb2+ ions in the environmental aqueous solution. The Pb2+-induced swelling degree of the capsule membrane is dependent on the concentration of Pb2+ ions ([Pb2+]) in water. Thus, the [Pb2+] value in water is able to be easily detected by directly measuring the Pb2+-induced isothermal swelling ratio of the capsule membrane, which we demonstrate by using 15 prepared capsule membranes arranged in a line. The Pb2+-induced swelling ratios of the capsule membrane groups are easily observed with the naked eye, and the detection limit of the [Pb2+] in water is 10-9 mol L-1. Such a proposed method provides an easy and efficient strategy for facile detection of trace threat analytes in water.
  • Simultaneous determination of dopamine, uric acid and estriol in maternal urine samples based on the synergetic effect of reduced graphene oxide, silver nanowires and silver nanoparticles in their ternary 3D nanocomposite

    Zhao, Qian; Faraj, Yousef; Liu, Lu Yue; Wang, Wei; Xie, Rui; Liu, Zhuang; Ju, Xiao Jie; Wei, Jie; Chu, Liang Yin; University of Chester; Sichuan University
    A facile and efficient electrochemical biosensing platform based on screen printed carbon electrode (SPCE) modified with three-dimensional (3D) nanocomposite consists of reduced graphene oxide (RGO) with the insertion of silver nanowires (AgNWs) followed by the anchoring of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) is constructed as RGO/AgNWs/AgNPs/SPCE for the simultaneous determination of dopamine (DA), uric acid (UA) and estriol (EST). The morphology characteristic and surface elemental composition of RGO/AgNWs/AgNPs nanocomposite are investigated by field-emission scanning electron microscope, transmission electron microscope and X-ray photoelectron spectroscope. Cyclic voltammetry, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, linear sweep voltammetry and differential pulse voltammetry are utilized to explore the electrochemical performances of the constructed electrodes. Due to abundant active sites and excellent electrocatalytic activity of the nanocomposite, the RGO/AgNWs/AgNPs/SPCE sensor exhibits well-resolved oxidation peaks and enhanced oxidation peak currents in the ternary mixture of DA, UA and EST with respective linear response ranges of 0.6 to 50 μM, 1 to 100 μM and 1 to 90 μM and detection limits (S/N = 3) of 0.16 μM, 0.58 μM and 0.58 μM, respectively. Moreover, the constructed biosensor exhibits good selectivity, reproducibility and stability, and excellent performance in determining DA, UA and EST in synthetic urine samples with excellent recovery. The results reveal that the RGO/AgNWs/AgNPs nanocomposite is a promising candidate for advanced electrode material in electrochemical sensing field and possesses great application prospects in further sensing researches.
  • An Endoscope Interface for Immersive Virtual Reality

    John, Nigel W.; Day, Thomas W.; Wardle, Terrence; University of Chester
    This is a work in progress paper that describes a novel endoscope interface designed for use in an immersive virtual reality surgical simulator. We use an affordable off the shelf head mounted display to recreate the operating theatre environment. A hand held controller has been adapted so that it feels like the trainee is holding an endoscope controller with the same functionality. The simulator allows the endoscope shaft to be inserted into a virtual patient and pushed forward to a target position. The paper describes how we have built this surgical simulator with the intention of carrying out a full clinical study in the near future.
  • A Framework for Web-Based Immersive Analytics

    John, Nigel; Ritsos, Panagiotis; Butcher, Peter W. S. (University of Chester, 2020-08-17)
    The emergence of affordable Virtual Reality (VR) interfaces has reignited the interest of researchers and developers in exploring new, immersive ways to visualise data. In particular, the use of open-standards Web-based technologies for implementing VR experiences in a browser aims to enable their ubiquitous and platform-independent adoption. In addition, such technologies work in synergy with established visualization libraries, through the HTML Document Object Model (DOM). However, creating Immersive Analytics (IA) experiences remains a challenging process, as the systems that are currently available require knowledge of game engines, such as Unity, and are often intrinsically restricted by their development ecosystem. This thesis presents a novel approach to the design, creation and deployment of Immersive Analytics experiences through the use of open-standards Web technologies. It presents <VRIA>, a Web-based framework for creating Immersive Analytics experiences in VR that was developed during this PhD project. <VRIA> is built upon WebXR, A-Frame, React and D3.js, and offers a visualization creation workflow which enables users of different levels of expertise to rapidly develop Immersive Analytics experiences for the Web. The aforementioned reliance on open standards and the synergies with popular visualization libraries make <VRIA> ubiquitous and platform-independent in nature. Moreover, by using WebXR’s progressive enhancement, the experiences <VRIA> is able to create are accessible on a plethora of devices. This thesis presents an elaboration on the motivation for focusing on open-standards Web technologies, presents the <VRIA> visualization creation workflow and details the underlying mechanics of our framework. It reports on optimisation techniques, integrated into <VRIA>, that are necessary for implementing Immersive Analytics experiences with the necessary performance profile on the Web. It discusses scalability implications of the framework and presents a series of use case applications that demonstrate the various features of <VRIA>. Finally, it describes the lessons learned from the development of the framework, discusses current limitations, and outlines further extensions.
  • Treating wastewater by indigenous microalgae strain in pilot platform located inside a municipal wastewater treatment plant

    Han, Jichang; Laurenz, Thomsen; Pan, Kehou; Wang, Pu; Wawilow, Tatjana; Osundeko, Olumayowa; Wang, Song; Theilen, Ulf; Thomsen, Claudia; Jacob University Bremen, Germany
    Various resources from a municipal wastewater treatment plant (MWTP) are available for microalgae cultivation plants, suggesting that a combination of these technologies can be used to produce microalgae biomass and remove contaminants at a low cost. In this study, the growth performance and nutrient removal efficiency of an indigenous Scenedesmus sp. in various wastewater media with different exchange patterns were investigated firstly, then transferred to a pilot-scale photobioreactor (located inside a MWTP) for bioremediation use. The temperature and pH of the platform were maintained at 15–30°C and 7.6, respectively. The NH+4− N, NO−3− N, and PO3−4− P of the wastewater could be reduced to below 0.05, 0.40, and 0.175 mg L–1, respectively. Our results indicate that microalgae cultivation using the resources of a MWTP can achieve high algal biomass productivity and nutrient removal rate. Our study also suggests that efficient technology for controlling zooplankton needs to be developed.
  • Systems biology and Nutrition

    Mc Auley, Mark
    Systems biology has established itself as a paradigm which has been adopted in order to integrate a wealth of omics data which has been generated in the last few decades. Nutrition research has gradually embraced the systems biology approach, and this holistic way of investigating biological systems is beginning to pay dividends for our understanding of diet and its relationship with health. This chapter presents an overview of the key strands of systems biology; these include, genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics, bioinformatics and computational modelling. I discuss how these techniques are being used to gain new insights into nutrition research. Moreover, I reveal how computational modelling is being used to unravel how ageing effects cholesterol and folate metabolism. The chapter concludes by providing an insight into how systems biology will be applied to nutrition research in the future.
  • DOMestic Energy Systems and Technologies InCubator (DOMESTIC) and indoor air quality of the built environment

    Li, Jinghua; Khalid, Yousaf; Phillips, Gavin J.; University of Chester
    Oral presentation at RMetS Students and Early Career Scientists Conference 2020 on research project DOMESTIC (DOMestic Energy Systems and Technologies InCubator), which aims to build a facility for the demonstration of domestic technologies and design methodologies (i.e. air quality, energy efficiency).

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