• Controller Design Methodology for Sustainable Local Energy Systems

      Counsell, John M.; Al-khaykan, Ameer (University of Chester, 2018-11-15)
      Commercial Buildings and complexes are no longer just national heat and power network energy loads, but they are becoming part of a smarter grid by including their own dedicated local heat and power generation. They do this by utilising both heat and power networks/micro-grids. A building integrated approach of Combined Heat and Power (CHP) generation with photovoltaic power generation (PV) abbreviated as CHPV is emerging as a complementary energy supply solution to conventional (i.e. national grid based) gas and electricity grid supplies in the design of sustainable commercial buildings and communities. The merits for the building user/owner of this approach are: to reduce life time energy running costs; reduce carbon emissions to contribute to UK’s 2020/2030 climate change targets; and provide a more flexible and controllable local energy system to act as a dynamic supply and/or load to the central grid infrastructure. The energy efficiency and carbon dioxide (CO2) reductions achievable by CHP systems are well documented. The merits claimed by these solutions are predicated on the ability of these systems being able to satisfy: perfect matching of heat and power supply and demand; ability at all times to maintain high quality power supply; and to be able to operate with these constraints in a highly dynamic and unpredictable heat and power demand situation. Any circumstance resulting in failure to guarantee power quality or matching of supply and demand will result in a degradation of the achievable energy efficiency and CO2 reduction. CHP based local energy systems cannot rely on large scale diversity of demand to create a relatively easy approach to supply and demand matching (i.e. as in the case of large centralised power grid infrastructures). The diversity of demand in a local energy system is both much greater than the centralised system and is also specific to the local system. It is therefore essential that these systems have robust and high performance control systems to ensure supply and demand matching and high power quality can be achieved at all times. Ideally this same control system should be able to make best use of local energy system energy storage to enable it to be used as a flexible, highly responsive energy supply and/or demand for the centralised infrastructure. In this thesis, a comprehensive literature survey has identified that there is no scientific and rigorous method to assess the controllability or the design of control systems for these local energy systems. Thus, the main challenge of the work described in this thesis is that of a controller design method and modelling approach for CHP based local energy systems. Specifically, the main research challenge for the controller design and modelling methodology was to provide an accurate and stable system performance to deliver a reliable tracking of power drawn/supplied to the centralised infrastructure whilst tracking the require thermal comfort in the local energy systems buildings. In the thesis, the CHPV system has been used as a case study. A CHPV based solution provides all the benefits of CHP combined with the near zero carbon building/local network integrated PV power generation. CHPV needs to be designed to provide energy for the local buildings’ heating, dynamic ventilating system and air-conditioning (HVAC) facilities as well as all electrical power demands. The thesis also presents in addition to the controller design and modelling methodology a novel CHPV system design topology for robust, reliable and high-performance control of building temperatures and energy supply from the local energy system. The advanced control system solution aims to achieve desired building temperatures using thermostatic control whilst simultaneously tracking a specified national grid power demand profile. The theory is innovative as it provides a stability criterion as well as guarantees to track a specified dynamic grid connection demand profile. This research also presents: design a dynamic MATLAB simulation model for a 5-building zone commercial building to show the efficacy of the novel control strategy in terms of: delivering accurate thermal comfort and power supply; reducing the amount of CO2 emissions by the entire energy system; reducing running costs verses national rid/conventional approaches. The model was developed by inspecting the functional needs of 3 local energy system case studies which are also described in the thesis. The CHPV system is combined with supplementary gas boiler for additional heating to guarantee simultaneous tracking of all the zones thermal comfort requirements whilst simultaneously tracking a specified national grid power demand using a Photovoltaics array to supply the system with renewable energy to reduce amount of CO2 emission. The local energy system in this research can operate in any of three modes (Exporting, Importing, Island). The emphasise of the thesis modelling method has been verified to be applicable to a wide range of case studies described in the thesis chapter 3. This modelling framework is the platform for creating a generic controlled design methodology that can be applied to all these case studies and beyond, including Local Energy System (LES) in hotter climates that require a cooling network using absorption chillers. In the thesis in chapter 4 this controller design methodology using the modelling framework is applied to just one case study of Copperas Hill. Local energy systems face two types of challenges: technical and nontechnical (such as energy economics and legislation). This thesis concentrates solely on the main technical challenges of a local energy system that has been identified as a gap in knowledge in the literature survey. The gap identified is the need for a controller design methodology to allow high performance and safe integration of the local energy system with the national grid infrastructure and locally installed renewables. This integration requires the system to be able to operate at high performance and safely in all different modes of operation and manage effectively the multi-vector energy supply system (e.g. simultaneous supply of heat and power from a single system).
    • In-depth synthetic, physicochemical and in vitro biological investigation of a new ternary V(IV) antioxidant material based on curcumin.

      Papadopoulos, Theodoros; Smith, Graham; Halevas, Eleftherios; Salifoglou, Athanasios; Swanson, C. H.; Hatzidimitriou, A.; Katsipis, G.; Pantazaki, A.; Sanakis, I.; Mitrikas, G.; Ypsilantis, K.; Litsardakis, G.; University of Chester; Aristotle University (Elsevier, 2018-11-06)
      Curcumin is a natural product with a broad spectrum of beneficial properties relating to pharmaceutical applications, extending from traditional remedies to modern cosmetics. The biological activity of such pigments, however, is limited by their solubility and bioavailability, thereby necessitating new ways of achieving optimal tissue cellular response and efficacy as drugs. Metal ion complexation provides a significant route toward improvement of curcumin stability and biological activity, with vanadium being a representative such metal ion, amply encountered in biological systems and exhibiting exogenous bioactivity through potential pharmaceuticals. Driven by the need to optimally increase curcumin bioavailability and bioactivity through complexation, synthetic efforts were launched to seek out stable species, ultimately leading to the synthesis and isolation of a new ternary V(IV)-curcumin-(2,2’-bipyridine) complex. Physicochemical characterization (elemental analysis, FT-IR, Thermogravimetry (TGA), UV-Visible, NMR, ESI-MS, Fluorescence, X-rays) portrayed the solid-state and solution properties of the ternary complex. Pulsed-EPR spectroscopy, in frozen solutions, suggested the presence of two species, cis- and trans-conformers. Density Functional Theory (DFT) calculations revealed the salient features and energetics of the two conformers, thereby complementing EPR spectroscopy. The well-described profile of the vanadium species led to its in vitro biological investigation involving toxicity, cell metabolism inhibition in S. cerevisiae cultures, Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS)-suppressing capacity, lipid peroxidation, and plasmid DNA degradation. A multitude of bio-assays and methodologies, in comparison to free curcumin, showed that it exhibits its antioxidant potential in a concentration-dependent fashion, thereby formulating a bioreactivity profile supporting development of new efficient vanado-pharmaceuticals, targeting (extra)intra-cellular processes under (patho)physiological conditions.
    • A high-order scheme to approximate the Caputo fractional derivative and its application to solve the fractional diffusion wave equation

      Du, Ruilian; Yubin, Yan; Liang, Zongqi; Jimei University; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2018-10-05)
      A new high-order finite difference scheme to approximate the Caputo fractional derivative $\frac{1}{2} \big ( \, _{0}^{C}D^{\alpha}_{t}f(t_{k})+ \, _{0}^{C}D^{\alpha}_{t}f(t_{k-1}) \big ), k=1, 2, \dots, N, $ with the convergence order $O(\Delta t^{4-\alpha}), \, \alpha\in(1,2)$ is obtained when $f^{\prime \prime \prime} (t_{0})=0$, where $\Delta t$ denotes the time step size. Based on this scheme we introduce a finite difference method for solving fractional diffusion wave equation with the convergence order $O(\Delta t^{4-\alpha} + h^2)$, where $h$ denotes the space step size. Numerical examples are given to show that the numerical results are consistent with the theoretical results.
    • Insights into HOx and ROx chemistry in the boreal forest via measurement of peroxyacetic acid, peroxyacetic nitric anhydride (PAN) and hydrogen peroxide

      Crowley, John; Pouvesle, Nicolas; Phillips, Gavin J.; Axinte, Raoul; Fischer, Horst; Petaja, Tuukka; Noelscher, Anke; Williams, Jonathan; Hens, Korbinian; Harder, Hartwig; Martinez-Harder, Monica; Novelli, Anna; Kubistin, Dagmar; Bohn, Birger; Lelieveld, Jos; Max Planck Institute for Chemistry; Forschungzentrum Juelich; University of Chester (European Geosciences Union, 2018-09-21)
      Unlike many oxidised atmospheric trace gases, which have numerous production pathways, peroxyacetic acid (PAA) and PAN are formed almost exclusively in gas-phase reactions involving the hydroperoxy radical (HO2), the acetyl peroxy radical (CH3C(O)O2) and NO2 and are not believed to be directly emitted in significant amounts by vegetation. As the self-reaction of HO2 is the main photochemical route to hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), simultaneous observation of PAA, PAN and H2O2 can provide insight into the HO2 budget. We present an analysis of observations taken during a summertime campaign in a boreal forest that, in addition to natural conditions, was temporarily impacted by two biomass-burning plumes. The observations were analysed using an expression based on a steady-state assumption using relative PAA-to-PAN mixing ratios to derive HO2 concentrations. The steady-state approach generated HO2 concentrations that were generally in reasonable agreement with measurements but sometimes overestimated those observed by factors of 2 or more. We also used a chemically simple, constrained box model to analyse the formation and reaction of radicals that define the observed mixing ratios of PAA and H2O2. After nudging the simulation towards observations by adding extra, photochemical sources of HO2 and CH3C(O)O2, the box model replicated the observations of PAA, H2O2, ROOH and OH throughout the campaign, including the biomass-burning-influenced episodes during which significantly higher levels of many oxidized trace gases were observed. A dominant fraction of CH3O2 radical generation was found to arise via reactions of the CH3C(O)O2 radical. The model indicates that organic peroxy radicals were present at night in high concentrations that sometimes exceeded those predicted for daytime, and initially divergent measured and modelled HO2 concentrations and daily concentration profiles are reconciled when organic peroxy radicals are detected (as HO2) at an efficiency of 35%. Organic peroxy radicals are found to play an important role in the recycling of OH radicals subsequent to their loss via reactions with volatile organic compounds.
    • An Information-Theoretic Approach to the Cost-benefit Analysis of Visualization in Virtual Environments

      Chen, Min; Gaither, Kelly; John, Nigel; McCann, Brian; University of Oxford; University of Texas at Austin; University of Chester (IEEE, 2018-08-20)
      Visualization and virtual environments (VEs) have been two interconnected parallel strands in visual computing for decades. Some VEs have been purposely developed for visualization applications, while many visualization applications are exemplary showcases in general-purpose VEs. Because of the development and operation costs of VEs, the majority of visualization applications in practice have yet to benefit from the capacity of VEs. In this paper, we examine this status quo from an information-theoretic perspective. Our objectives are to conduct cost-benefit analysis on typical VE systems (including augmented and mixed reality, theatre-based systems, and large powerwalls), to explain why some visualization applications benefit more from VEs than others, and to sketch out pathways for the future development of visualization applications in VEs. We support our theoretical propositions and analysis using theories and discoveries in the literature of cognitive sciences and the practical evidence reported in the literatures of visualization and VEs.
    • Oxidation processes in the eastern Mediterranean atmosphere: evidence from the modelling of HOx measurements over Cyprus

      Mallik, Chinmay; Tomsche, Laura; Bourtsoukidis, Efstratios; Crowley, John; Derstroff, Bettina; Fischer, Horst; Haferman, Sascha; Hueser, Imke; Javed, Umar; Kessel, Stephan; Lelieveld, Jos; Martinez, Monica; Meusel, Hannah; Novelli, Anna; Phillips, Gavin J.; Pozzer, Andrea; Reiffs, Andreas; Sander, Rolf; Taraborrelli, Domenico; Sauvage, Carina; Schuladen, Jan; Su, Hang; Williams, Jonathan; Harder, Hartwig; Max Planck Institute for Chemistry; Cyprus Institute; Forschungzentrum Juelich; University of Chester (Copernicus Publications, 2018-07-31)
      The Mediterranean is a climatically sensitive region located at the crossroads of air masses from three continents: Europe, Africa, and Asia. The chemical processing of air masses over this region has implications not only for the air quality but also for the long-range transport of air pollution. To obtain a comprehensive understanding of oxidation processes over the Mediterranean, atmospheric concentrations of the hydroxyl radical (OH) and the hydroperoxyl radical (HO2) were measured during an intensive field campaign (CYprus PHotochemistry EXperiment, CYPHEX-2014) in the northwest of Cyprus in the summer of 2014. Very low local anthropogenic and biogenic emissions around the measurement location provided a vantage point to study the contrasts in atmospheric oxidation pathways under highly processed marine air masses and those influenced by relatively fresh emissions from mainland Europe. The CYPHEX measurements were used to evaluate OH and HO2 simulations using a photochemical box model (CAABA/MECCA) constrained with CYPHEX observations of O3, CO, NOx, hydrocarbons, peroxides, and other major HOx (OH+HO2) sources and sinks in a low-NOx environment (<100pptv of NO). The model simulations for OH agreed to within 10% with in situ OH observations. Model simulations for HO2 agreed to within 17% of the in situ observations. However, the model strongly under-predicted HO2 at high terpene concentrations, this under-prediction reaching up to 38% at the highest terpene levels. Different schemes to improve the agreement between observed and modelled HO2, including changing the rate coefficients for the reactions of terpene-generated peroxy radicals (RO2) with NO and HO2 as well as the autoxidation of terpene-generated RO2 species, are explored in this work. The main source of OH in Cyprus was its primary production from O3 photolysis during the day and HONO photolysis during early morning. Recycling contributed about one-third of the total OH production, and the maximum recycling efficiency was about 0.7. CO, which was the largest OH sink, was also the largest HO2 source. The lowest HOx production and losses occurred when the air masses had higher residence time over the oceans.
    • Exploration and Implementation of Augmented Reality for External Beam Radiotherapy

      John, Nigel W.; Vaarkamp, Jaap; Cosentino, Francesco (University of Chester, 2018-07-17)
      We have explored applications of Augmented Reality (AR) for external beam radiotherapy to assist with treatment planning, patient education, and treatment delivery. We created an AR development framework for applications in radiotherapy (RADiotherapy Augmented Reality, RAD-AR) for AR ready consumer electronics such as tablet computers and head mounted devices (HMD). We implemented in RAD-AR three tools to assist radiotherapy practitioners with: treatment plans evaluation, patient pre-treatment information/education, and treatment delivery. We estimated accuracy and precision of the patient setup tool and the underlying self-tracking technology, and fidelity of AR content geometric representation, on the Apple iPad tablet computer and the Microsoft HoloLens HMD. Results showed that the technology could already be applied for detection of large treatment setup errors, and could become applicable to other aspects of treatment delivery subject to technological improvements that can be expected in the near future. We performed user feedback studies of the patient education and the plan evaluation tools. Results indicated an overall positive user evaluation of AR technology compared to conventional tools for the radiotherapy elements implemented. We conclude that AR will become a useful tool in radiotherapy bringing real benefits for both clinicians and patients, contributing to successful treatment outcomes.
    • Error estimates of high-order numerical methods for solving time fractional partial differential equations

      Li, Zhiqiang; Yan, Yubin; Luliang University; Shanghai University; University of Chester (De Gruyter, 2018-07-12)
      Error estimates of some high-order numerical methods for solving time fractional partial differential equations are studied in this paper. We first provide the detailed error estimate of a high-order numerical method proposed recently by Li et al. \cite{liwudin} for solving time fractional partial differential equation. We prove that this method has the convergence order $O(\tau^{3- \alpha})$ for all $\alpha \in (0, 1)$ when the first and second derivatives of the solution are vanish at $t=0$, where $\tau$ is the time step size and $\alpha$ is the fractional order in the Caputo sense. We then introduce a new time discretization method for solving time fractional partial differential equations, which has no requirements for the initial values as imposed in Li et al. \cite{liwudin}. We show that this new method also has the convergence order $O(\tau^{3- \alpha})$ for all $\alpha \in (0, 1)$. The proofs of the error estimates are based on the energy method developed recently by Lv and Xu \cite{lvxu}. We also consider the space discretization by using the finite element method. Error estimates with convergence order $O(\tau^{3- \alpha} + h^2)$ are proved in the fully discrete case, where $h$ is the space step size. Numerical examples in both one- and two-dimensional cases are given to show that the numerical results are consistent with the theoretical results.
    • Theoretical and numerical analysis of unsteady fractional viscoelastic flows in simple geometries.

      Ferras, L. L.; Ford, Neville J.; Morgado, Maria L.; Rebelo, Magda; McKinley, Gareth H.; Nobrega, Joao M.; University of Chester, University of Minho, UTAD, Universidade Nova de Lisboa (Elsevier, 2018-07-12)
      In this work we discuss the connection between classical and fractional viscoelastic Maxwell models, presenting the basic theory supporting these constitutive equations, and establishing some background on the admissibility of the fractional Maxwell model. We then develop a numerical method for the solution of two coupled fractional differential equations (one for the velocity and the other for the stress), that appear in the pure tangential annular ow of fractional viscoelastic fluids. The numerical method is based on finite differences, with the approximation of fractional derivatives of the velocity and stress being inspired by the method proposed by Sun and Wu for the fractional diffusion-wave equation [ Z.Z. Sun, X. Wu, A fully discrete difference scheme for a diffusion-wave system, Applied Numerical Mathematics 56 (2006) 193-209]. We prove solvability, study numerical convergence of the method, and also discuss the applicability of this method for simulating the rheological response of complex fluids in a real concentric cylinder rheometer. By imposing a torsional step-strain, we observe the different rates of stress relaxation obtained with different values of \alpha and \beta (the fractional order exponents that regulate the viscoelastic response of the complex fluids).
    • Evolution of Neural Networks for Physically Simulated Evolved Virtual Quadruped Creatures

      Vaughan, Neil; Royal Academy of Engineering; University of Chester (Springer-Verlag, 2018-07-07)
      This work develops evolved virtual creatures (EVCs) using neuroevolution as the controller for movement and decisions within a 3D physics simulated environ-ment. Previous work on EVCs has displayed various behaviour such as following a light source. This work is focused on complexifying the range of behaviours available to EVCs. This work uses neuroevolution for learning specific actions combined with other controllers for making higher level decisions about which action to take in a given scenario. Results include analysis of performance of the EVCs in simulated physics environment. Various controllers are compared including a hard coded benchmark, a fixed topology feed forward artificial neural network and an evolving ANN subjected to neuroevolution by applying mutations in both topology and weights. The findings showed that both fixed topology ANNs and neuroevolution did successfully control the evolved virtual creatures in the distance travelling task.
    • Multi-Agent Reinforcement Learning for Swarm Retrieval with Evolving Neural Network

      Vaughan, Neil; Royal Academy of Engineering; University of Chester (Springer-Verlag,, 2018-07-07)
      This research investigates methods for evolving swarm communica-tion in a sim-ulated colony of ants using pheromone when foriaging for food. This research implemented neuroevolution and obtained the capability to learn phero-mone communication autonomously. Building on previous literature on phero-mone communication, this research applies evolution to adjust the topology and weights of an artificial neural network (ANN) which controls the ant behaviour. Compar-ison of performance is made between a hard-coded benchmark algorithm (BM1), a fixed topology ANN and neuroevolution of the ANN topology and weights. The resulting neuroevolution produced a neural network which was suc-cessfully evolved to achieve the task objective, to collect food and return it to a location.
    • Magnetron Sputter-Coated Nanoparticle MoS2 Supported on Nanocarbon: A Highly Efficient Electrocatalyst toward the Hydrogen Evolution Reaction

      Rowley-Neale, Samuel; Ratova, Marina; Fugita, Lucas; Smith, Graham; Gaffar, Amer; Kulczyk-Malecka, Justyna; Kelly, Peter; Banks, Craig; Manchester Metropolitan niversity (Rowley-Neale, Ratova, Gaffar, Kulczyk-Malecka, Kelly, Banks), University of Chester (Smith), University Soa Paula (Fugita) (American Chemical Society, 2018-07-03)
      The design and fabrication of inexpensive highly efficient electrocatalysts for the production of hydrogen via the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) underpin a plethora of emerging clean energy technologies. Herein, we report the fabrication of highly efficient electrocatalysts for the HER based on magnetron-sputtered MoS2 onto a nanocarbon support, termed MoS2/C. Magnetron sputtering time is explored as a function of its physiochemical composition and HER performance; increased sputtering times give rise to materials with differing compositions, i.e., Mo4+ to Mo6+ and associated S anions (sulfide, elemental, and sulfate), and improved HER outputs. An optimized sputtering time of 45 min was used to fabricate the MoS2/C material. This gave rise to an optimal HER performance with regard to its HER onset potential, achievable current, and Tafel value, which were −0.44 (vs saturated calomel electrode (SCE)), −1.45 mV s−1, and 43 mV dec−1, respectively, which has the highest composition of Mo4+ and sulfide (MoS2). Electrochemical testing toward the HER via drop casting MoS2/C upon screen-printed electrodes (SPEs) to electrically wire the nanomaterial is found to be mass coverage dependent, where the current density increases up to a critical mass (ca. 50 μg cm−2), after which a plateau is observed. To allow for a translation of the bespoke fabricated MoS2/C from laboratory to new industrial applications, MoS2/C was incorporated into the bulk ink utilized in the fabrication of SPEs (denoted as MoS2/C-SPE), thus allowing for improved electrical wiring to the MoS2/C and resulting in the production of scalable and reproducible electrocatalytic platforms. The MoS2/C-SPEs displayed far greater HER catalysis with a 450 mV reduction in the HER onset potential and a 1.70 mA cm−2 increase in the achievable current density (recorded at −0.75 V (vs SCE)), compared to a bare/unmodified graphitic SPE. The approach of using magnetron sputtering to modify carbon with MoS2 facilitates the production of mass-producible, stable, and effective electrode materials for possible use in electrolyzers, which are cost competitive to Pt and mitigate the need to use time-consuming and low-yield exfoliation techniques typically used to fabricate pristine MoS2.
    • Evaluating current practice and proposing a system to enhance knowledge assets within a small software development unit

      Fannoun, Sufian; Kerins, John; The University of Chester (IEEE, 2018-06-25)
      Knowledge management and knowledge transfer within organisations challenge continuity and resilience in the face of changing environments. While issues are principally addressed within large organisations, there is scope to evaluate how knowledge assets are managed within small and medium enterprises and to consider how the process might be enhanced. The research reported here aimed to evaluate practice within an evolving software development unit to understand how knowledge has been acquired and utilised to further organisational development. In-depth interviews were carried out with members of the unit to elicit an understanding of individual and collective learning. Qualitative analysis of the data revealed key changes in thinking and practice as well as insight into the development of individuals' contextual knowledge and tacit understanding. This analysis led to the proposal of a bespoke, lightweight web-based system to support knowledge capture and organisational learning. This work is still in progress but it is anticipated that the results will provide a potentially novel and beneficial method for enhancing knowledge assets in small enterprises and consolidating valuable, and potentially scarce, expertise.
    • Fibre laser treatment of martensitic NiTi alloys for load-bearing implant applications: Effects of surface chemistry on inhibiting Staphylococcus aureus biofilm formation

      Smith, Graham C.; Chan, Chi-Wai; Carson, Louise; Queens University Belfast; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2018-06-15)
      Biofilm infection is one of the main reasons for implant failure. It is extremely difficult to cure due to its high resistance to antibiotic treatments, and can result in substantial healthcare costs. In this study, the important shape memory NiTi alloy, in its martensitic state, was laser-treated using our newly-developed surface modification technique, aiming to tackle the biofilm infection problem. Martensitic NiTi was chosen for investigation because of its potential advantages in terms of (i) lower elastic modulus and (ii) higher damping capacity over its austenitic counterpart, giving rise to a lower risk of stress shielding and maximum stress between bones and load-bearing implants. The surfaces after laser treatment were systemically analysed using a series of surface measurement (i.e. surface roughness and water contact angle) and material characterisation (i.e. SEM-EDX, XRD and XPS) techniques. The antibacterial performance of the laser-treated surfaces was evaluated using the Staphylococcus aureus (or S. aureus) cells in-vitro cultured at 37 oC for 24h. Fluorescence microscopy accompanied by Live/Dead staining was employed to analyse the cell culture results. The surfaces in their as-received states and after polishing were also tested and compared with the laser-treated surfaces in order to gain a deeper insight in how different surface conditions would influence biofilm formation. Our results indicate that the surfaces after laser treatment can mitigate bacterial attachment and biofilm formation effectively. The antibacterial performance was mainly attributable to the laser-formed oxides which brought desirable changes to the surface chemistry of NiTi. The laser-induced changes in surface roughness and topography, on a micrometre scale, only played a minor role in influencing bacterial attachment. The findings of this study demonstrated for the first time that martensitic NiTi with laser treatment could be a promising choice for the next-generation implants given its superior antimicrobial resistance and favourable mechanical properties for loading bearing applications.
    • Bioinspired bactericidal surfaces with polymer nanocone arrays

      Hazell, Gavin; Fisher, Leanne E.; Murray, W. Andrew; Nobbs, Angela H.; Su, Bo; University of Chester; University of Bristol (Elsevier, 2018-05-28)
      Infections resulting from bacterial biofilm formation on the surface of medical devices are challenging to treat and can cause significant patient morbidity. Recently, it has become apparent that regulation of surface nanotopography can render surfaces bactericidal. In this study, poly(ethylene terephthalate) nanocone arrays are generated through a polystyrene nanosphere-mask colloidal lithographic process. It is shown that modification of the mask diameter leads to a direct modification of centre-to-centre spacing between nanocones. By altering the oxygen plasma etching time it is possible to modify the height, tip width and base diameter of the individual nanocone features. The bactericidal activity of the nanocone arrays was investigated against Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae. It is shown that surfaces with the most densely populated nanocone arrays (center-to-center spacing of 200 nm), higher aspect ratios (>3) and tip widths <20 nm kill the highest percentage of bacteria (∼30%).
    • Swarm Communication by Evolutionary Algorithms

      Vaughan, Neil; University of Chester (IEEE, 2018-05-27)
      This research has applied evolutionary algorithms to evolve swarm communication. Controllers were evolved for colonies of artificial simulated ants during a food foriaging task which communicate using pheromone. Neuroevolution enables both weights and the topology of the artificial neural networks to be optimized for food foriaging. The developed model results in evolution of ants which communicate using pheromone trails. The ants successfully collect and return food to the nest. The controller has evolved to adjust the strength of pheromone which provides a signal to guide the direction of other ants in the colony by hill climbing strategy. A single ANN controller for ant direction successfully evolved which exhibits many separate skills including food search, pheromone following, food collection and retrieval to the nest.
    • Evidence for the Perception of Time Distortion During Episodes of Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

      Jia, Yu; Miao. Ying; University of Chester; Aston University (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2018-05-17)
      Alice in Wonderland syndrome (AIWS) is a rare perceptual disorder associated with sensation of one or several visual and/or auditory perceptual distortions including size of body parts, size of external objects, or passage of time (either speeding up or slowing down). Cause for AIWS is yet to be widely agreed, and the implications are widely varied. One of the research difficulties is the brevity of each episode, typically not exceeding few tens of minutes. This article presents a male adult in late 20s who has apparently experienced AIWS episodes since childhood, and infection has been ruled out. Reaction speed tests were conducted during and after AIWS episodes, across a span of 13 months. Statistically significant evidence is present for delayed response time during AIWS episodes when the patient claims to experience a sensation of time distortion: where events seem to move faster and people appear to speak quicker.
    • Gastrointestinal Stents: Materials and Designs

      Black, Steven J.; Edwards, Derek W.; Smith, Graham C.; Laasch, Hans-Ulrich; MDECON Ltd.; The Christie NHS Foundation Trust; University of Chester (Thieme Publishing, 2018-05-09)
      Over the last 25 years stents have developed into an established way of restoring luminal patency throughout the gastrointestinal tract. Materials used as well as the construction of these devices have become more and more sophisticated in order to comply better with the complex environment they are inserted. The requirements vary greatly from organ to organ and stent behavior differs significantly between stent constructions. However this is not necessarily understood by many operators, as the choice of devices is now vast and in many cases decisions are made on availability and cost. An increasing challenge in malignant conditions is the improving survival of incurable patients, which now exceeds the traditional life expectancy of a stent by a factor of 2 to 3. Consequently more patients experience failure of their stent and require repeat interventions. This has a poor impact on patients’ quality of life and potentially on their survival. Re-intervention is often more difficult, carries the risk of additional complications and presents an additional economic burden to the health systems. This article illustrates current stent designs, their different behavior and their limitations.
    • Malliavin Calculus for the stochastic Cahn- Hilliard/Allen-Cahn equation with unbounded noise diffusion

      Antonopoulou, Dimitra; Farazakis, Dimitris; Karali, Georgia D.; University of Chester; Foundation for Research and Technology; University of Crete (Elsevier, 2018-05-08)
      The stochastic partial di erential equation analyzed in this work, is motivated by a simplified mesoscopic physical model for phase separation. It describes pattern formation due to adsorption and desorption mechanisms involved in surface processes, in the presence of a stochastic driving force. This equation is a combination of Cahn-Hilliard and Allen-Cahn type operators with a multiplicative, white, space-time noise of unbounded di usion. We apply Malliavin calculus, in order to investigate the existence of a density for the stochastic solution u. In dimension one, according to the regularity result in [5], u admits continuous paths a.s. Using this property, and inspired by a method proposed in [8], we construct a modi ed approximating sequence for u, which properly treats the new second order Allen-Cahn operator. Under a localization argument, we prove that the Malliavin derivative of u exists locally, and that the law of u is absolutely continuous, establishing thus that a density exists.
    • A posteriori error estimates for fully discrete schemes for the time dependent Stokes problem

      Baensch, Eberhard; Karakatsani, Fotini; Makridakis, Charalambos; University of Erlangen; University of Chester; University of Crete; Foundation for Research & Technology, Greece; University of Sussex (Springer, 2018-05-02)
      This work is devoted to a posteriori error analysis of fully discrete finite element approximations to the time dependent Stokes system. The space discretization is based on popular stable spaces, including Crouzeix–Raviart and Taylor–Hood finite element methods. Implicit Euler is applied for the time discretization. The finite element spaces are allowed to change with time steps and the projection steps include alternatives that is hoped to cope with possible numerical artifices and the loss of the discrete incompressibility of the schemes. The final estimates are of optimal order in L∞(L2) for the velocity error.