• CAB - Collaboration across borders: Peer evaluation for collaborative learning

      Whatley, Janice; Bell, Frances; Shaylor, Jan P.; Zaitseva, Elena; Zakrzewska, Danuta (The Informing Science Institute, 2005)
    • Cantilevers-on-membrane design for broadband MEMS piezoelectric vibration energy harvesting

      Jia, Yu; Du, Sijun; Seshia, Ashwin A.; University of Chester; University of Cambridge (IOP Publishing, 2015-12-01)
      Most MEMS piezoelectric vibration energy harvesters involve either cantilever-based topologies, doubly-clamped beams or membrane structures. While these traditional designs offer simplicity, their frequency response for broadband excitation are typically inadequate. This paper presents a new integrated cantilever-on-membrane design that attempts to both optimise the strain distribution on a piezoelectric membrane resonator and improve the power responsiveness of the harvester for broadband excitation. While a classic membrane-based resonator has the potential to theoretically offer wider operational frequency bandwidth than its cantilever counterpart, the addition of a centred proof mass neutralises its otherwise high strain energy regions. The proposed topology addresses this issue by relocating the proof mass onto subsidiary cantilevers and integrates the merits of both the membrane and the cantilever designs. When experimentally subjected to a band-limited white noise excitation, up to approximately two folds of power enhancement was observed for the new membrane harvester compared to a classic plain membrane device.
    • 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.
    • Carbon dioxide rich microbubble acceleration of biogas production in anaerobic digestion

      Al-Mashhadani, Mahmood K. H.; Wilkinson, Stephen J.; Zimmerman, William B. (2016-12-15)
      This paper addresses the use of anaerobic bacteria to convert carbon dioxide to biomethane as part of the biodegradation process of organic waste. The current study utilises gaslift bioreactors with microbubbles generated by fluidic oscillation to strip the methane produced in the gaslift bioreactor. Removal of methane makes its formation thermodynamically more favourable. In addition, intermittent sparging of microbubbles can prevent thermal stratification, maintain uniformity of the pH and increase the intimate contact between the feed and microbial culture with lower energy requirements than traditional mixing. A gaslift bioreactor with microbubble sparging has been implemented experimentally, using a range of carrier gas, culminating in pure carbon dioxide, in the anaerobic digestion process. The results obtained from the experiments show that the methane production rate is approximately doubled with pure carbon dioxide as the carrier gas for intermittent microbubble sparging.
    • Cardiovascular disease and healthy ageing

      Mooney, Kathleen M.; Mc Auley, Mark T.; University of Chester, Edgehill University (Open Access Text, 2016-06-16)
      Cardiovascular diseases are main cause of morbidity and mortality in the Western World. Cardiovascular disease increases in its prevalence with age and the burden of this condition is set to increase with an Ageing global population. There are many factors that impact cardiovascular disease risk. The aim of this brief commentary is to explore some of these factors; specifically, we will examine the role of social status, nutrition and, psychological stress in modulating cardiovascular disease risk. Our aim is to emphasise the multidimensional nature of this condition and to stress that a more complete understanding of the mechanisms which underpin its pathology can only be achieved by adopting an integrated approach which treats the progression of this disease in a more holistic fashion.
    • Characterising small solutions in delay differential equations through numerical approximations

      Ford, Neville J.; Lunel, Sjoerd M. V. (Manchester Centre for Computational Mathematics, 2003-05-23)
      This paper discusses how the existence of small solutions for delay differential equations can be predicted from the behaviour of the spectrum of the finite dimensional approximations.
    • Characterising small solutions in delay differential equations through numerical approximations

      Ford, Neville J.; Lunel, Sjoerd M. V. (Elsevier Science, 2002-09-25)
      This article discusses how the existence of small solutions for delay differential equations can be predicted from the behaviour of the spectrum of the finite dimensional approximations.
    • Characteristic functions of differential equations with deviating arguments

      Baker, Christopher T. H.; Ford, Neville J.; University of Manchester; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2019-04-24)
      The material here is motivated by the discussion of solutions of linear homogeneous and autonomous differential equations with deviating arguments. If $a, b, c$ and $\{\check{\tau}_\ell\}$ are real and ${\gamma}_\natural$ is real-valued and continuous, an example with these parameters is \begin{equation} u'(t) = \big\{a u(t) + b u(t+\check{\tau}_1) + c u(t+\check{\tau}_2) \big\} { \red +} \int_{\check{\tau}_3}^{\check{\tau}_4} {{\gamma}_\natural}(s) u(t+s) ds \tag{\hbox{$\rd{\star}$}} . \end{equation} A wide class of equations ($\rd{\star}$), or of similar type, can be written in the {\lq\lq}canonical{\rq\rq} form \begin{equation} u'(t) =\DSS \int_{\tau_{\rd \min}}^{\tau_{\rd \max}} u(t+s) d\sigma(s) \quad (t \in \Rset), \hbox{ for a suitable choice of } {\tau_{\rd \min}}, {\tau_{\rd \max}} \tag{\hbox{${\rd \star\star}$}} \end{equation} where $\sigma$ is of bounded variation and the integral is a Riemann-Stieltjes integral. For equations written in the form (${\rd{\star\star}}$), there is a corresponding characteristic function \begin{equation} \chi(\zeta) ):= \zeta - \DSS \int_{\tau_{\rd \min}}^{\tau_{\rd \max}} \exp(\zeta s) d\sigma(s) \quad (\zeta \in \Cset), \tag{\hbox{${\rd{\star\star\star}}$}} \end{equation} %%($ \chi(\zeta) \equiv \chi_\sigma (\zeta)$) whose zeros (if one considers appropriate subsets of equations (${\rd \star\star}$) -- the literature provides additional information on the subsets to which we refer) play a r\^ole in the study of oscillatory or non-oscillatory solutions, or of bounded or unbounded solutions. We show that the related discussion of the zeros of $\chi$ is facilitated by observing and exploiting some simple and fundamental properties of characteristic functions.
    • Characterization of microwave and terahertz dielectric properties of single crystal La2Ti2O7 along one single direction

      Zhang, Man; Tang, Zhiyong; Zhang, Hangfeng; Smith, Graham; Jiang, Qinghui; Saunders, Theo; Yang, Bin; Yan, Haixue; Huazhong University of Science and Technology; University of Chester; Queen Mary University of London; Chinese Academy of Sciences (Elsevier, 2021-08-02)
      New generation wireless communication systems require characterisations of dielectric permittivity and loss tangent at microwave and terahertz bands. La2Ti2O7 is a candidate material for microwave application. However, all the reported microwave dielectric data are average value from different directions of a single crystal, which could not reflect its anisotropic nature due to the layered crystal structure. Its dielectric properties at the microwave and terahertz bands in a single crystallographic direction have rarely been reported. In this work, a single crystal ferroelectric La2Ti2O7 was prepared by floating zone method and its dielectric properties were characterized from 1 kHz to 1 THz along one single direction. The decrease in dielectric permittivity with increasing frequency is related to dielectric relaxation from radio frequency to microwave then to terahertz band. The capability of characterizing anisotropic dielectric properties of a single crystal in this work opens the feasibility for its microwave and terahertz applications.
    • Chemical and device degradation in PCPDTBT: PCBM solar cells using XPS and ToF-SIMS

      Kettle, Jeff; Waters, Huw; Ding, Ziqian; Smith, Graham C.; Bangor University ; Bangor University ; Bangor University ; University of Chester (2015-04-20)
      Analysis of the degradation routes for PCPDTBT-based solar cells under illumination and in the presence of air have been conducted using a combination of X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS), Time-Of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (TOF-SIMS) and solar cell device data. After ageing, XPS studies show that PCPDTBT appears as an oxygen-containing polymer, with data indicating that a break-up in the aromatic rings, formation of sulphates at the thiophene ring, chain scission in the polymer backbone and also loss of side chains. XPS studies on active layers blends of PCPDTBT and PCBM also show significant changes in the vertical composition during ageing, with increased enrichment of PCPDTBT observed at the top surface and that the use of a processing additive (ODT) has a negative impact on the morphological stability. TOF-SIMS has been used to study electrode degradation during ageing experiments leads to migration of indium and tin ions into the active layer in non-inverted devices, but is eliminated for inverted devices.
    • Chemical changes in PCPDTBT:PCBM solar cells using XPS and TOF-SIMS and use of inverted device structure for improving lifetime performance

      Kettle, Jeff; Waters, Huw; Ding, Ziqian; Horie, Masaki; Smith, Graham C.; School of Electronic Engineering University of Bangor (Kettle, Waters, Ding), Department of Chemical Engineering National Tsing Hua University Taiwan (Horie), Department of Natural Sciences University of Chester (Smith) (Elsevier, 2015-06-10)
      Analysis of the degradation routes for poly[(4,4-bis(2-ethylhexyl)-cyclopenta-[2,1-b;3,4-b′]dithiophene)-2,6-diyl-alt-2,1,3-benzothiadiazole-4,7-diyl] (PCPDTBT)-based solar cells under illumination and in the presence of air have been conducted using a combination of X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS), Time-Of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (TOF-SIMs) and solar cell device data. After ageing, XPS studies show that PCPDTBT appears as an oxygen-containing polymer, with data indicating that a break-up in the aromatic rings, formation of sulphates at the thiophene ring, chain scission in the polymer backbone and also loss of side chains. XPS studies have also been conducted on Phenyl-C71-butyric acid methyl ester (PC71BM) films and show a breakage of the fullerene cage, loss of molecular shape and oxidation of carbon atoms in the fullerene cage and side chains after ageing. XPS studies on active layers blends of PCPDTBT and PCBM also show significant changes in the vertical composition during ageing, with increased enrichment of PCPDTBT observed at the top surface and that the use of a processing additive (ODT) has a negative impact on the morphological stability. Based on these studies, it shown that inverted structures are better suited than non-inverted devices for PCPDTBT:PCBM solar cells. An additional advantage of inverted devices is shown using TOF-SIMS; electrode degradation during ageing experiments leads to migration of indium and tin ions into the active layer in non-inverted devices, but is eliminated for inverted devices.
    • Chemical ionization quadrupole mass spectrometer with an electrical discharge ion source for atmospheric trace gas measurement

      Eger, Philipp G.; Helleis, Frank; Schuster, Gerhard; Phillips, Gavin J.; Lelieveld, Jos; Crowley, John N.; Max Planck Institute for Chemistry; University of Chester (Copernicus Publications, 2019-03-26)
      We present a chemical ionization quadrupole mass spectrometer (CI-QMS) with a radio-frequency (RF) discharge ion source through N2∕CH3I as a source of primary ions. In addition to the expected detection of PAN, peracetic acid (PAA) and ClNO2 through well-established ion–molecule reactions with I− and its water cluster, the instrument is also sensitive to SO2, HCl and acetic acid (CH3C(O)OH) through additional ion chemistry unique to our ion source. We present ionization schemes for detection of SO2, HCl and acetic acid along with illustrative datasets from three different field campaigns underlining the potential of the CI-QMS with an RF discharge ion source as an alternative to 210Po. The additional sensitivity to SO2 and HCl makes the CI-QMS suitable for investigating the role of sulfur and chlorine chemistry in the polluted marine and coastal boundary layer.
    • 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).
    • Cholesterol metabolism: A review of how ageing disrupts the biological mechanisms responsible for its regulation

      Morgan, Amy; Mooney, Kathleen M.; Wilkinson, Stephen J.; Pickles, Neil; Mc Auley, Mark T.; University of Chester, Edgehill University (Elsevier, 2016-04-01)
      Cholesterol plays a vital role in the human body as a precursor of steroid hormones and bile acids, in addition to providing structure to cell membranes. Whole body cholesterol metabolism is maintained by a highly coordinated balancing act between cholesterol ingestion, synthesis, absorption, and excretion. The aim of this review is to discuss how ageing interacts with these processes. Firstly, we will present an overview of cholesterol metabolism. Following this, we discuss how the biological mechanisms which underpin cholesterol metabolism are effected by ageing. Included in this discussion are lipoprotein dynamics, cholesterol absorption/synthesis and the enterohepatic circulation/synthesis of bile acids. Moreover, we discuss the role of oxidative stress in the pathological progression of atherosclerosis and also discuss how cholesterol biosynthesis is effected by both the mammalian target of rapamycin and sirtuin pathways. Next, we examine how diet and alterations to the gut microbiome can be used to mitigate the impact ageing has on cholesterol metabolism. We conclude by discussing how mathematical models of cholesterol metabolism can be used to identify therapeutic interventions.
    • ClNO2 and nitrate formation via N2O5 uptake to particles: Derivation of N2O5 uptake coefficients from ambient datasets

      Phillips, Gavin J.; Thieser, Jim; Tang, Mingjin; Sobanski, Nicolas; Fachinger, Johannes; Drewnick, Frank; Lelieveld, Jos; Crowley, John N.; Max Planck Institute for Chemistry; University of Chester (Copernicus Publications, 2015-02-25)
      We present estimates of the uptake coefficient of N2O5 using ambient measurements of the trace gases N2O5 and ClNO2 and particle composition and surface area at the Kleiner Feldberg observatory, near Frankfurt, SW Germany, during the PARADE campaign (summer 2011). Three methods used to extract gamma(N2O5) from the datasets were found to be in reasonable agreement, generating values between 0.001 and 0.4. Gamma (N2O5) displayed a significant dependence on relative humidity (RH), the largest values obtained, as expected, at high RH. No significant dependence of gamma(N2O5) on particle organic content or sulphate-to-organic ratio was observed. The variability in gamma(N2O5) is however large, indicating that humidity is not the sole factor determining the uptake coefficient. There is also an indication that the yield of ClNO2 with respect to N2O5 uptake is larger with lower concentrations of PM1 total organics. Our results will be compared to existing uptake coefficients from laboratory studies and those derived from field observations.
    • Colour Coded Emotion Classification in Mental Health Social Media

      Vaughan, Neil; Mulvenna, Maurice; Bond, Raymond; Royal Academy of Engineering; University of Chester (BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, ACM Proceedings, 2018-07-06)
      This research applies emotion detection to messages from online mental health social media. In particular, this focusses on specialised social media for users to report health or mental health problems. Automatically detecting the emotion in social media can help to rapidly identify any concerning problems which could benefit from intervention aiming to prevent self-harming or suicide. Detecting emotions enables messages to be colour coordinated according to the emotion to enhance the human-computer interaction. A supervised classification method is applied to a labelled dataset and results presented. A prototype user interface system is developed based on detecting emotion, colour coding the message to display detected emotions to users in real-time.
    • Columnar self-assembly, electrochemical and luminescence properties of basket-shaped liquid crystalline derivatives of Schiff-base-moulded p-tert-butyl-calix[4]arene

      Sharma, Vinay S.; orcid: 0000-0003-4970-0676; Sharma, Anuj S.; Worthington, Sheena J. B.; Shah, Priyanka A.; orcid: 0000-0002-1386-6984; Shrivastav, Pranav S.; orcid: 0000-0002-1284-1558 (Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), 2020)
      A new family of blue-light emitting supramolecular basket-shaped liquid crystalline compounds based on p-tert-butyl-calix[4]arene core to form self-assembly and columnar hexagonal phase.
    • Combined heat and power from the intermediate pyrolysis of biomass materials: performance, economics and environmental impact

      Yang, Yang; Brammer, John G.; Wright, Daniel G.; Scott, Jim; Serrano, Clara; Bridgwater, Tony; Aston University; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2017-02-10)
      Combined heat and power from the intermediate pyrolysis of biomass materials offers flexible, on demand renewable energy with some significant advantages over other renewable routes. To maximize the deployment of this technology an understanding of the dynamics and sensitivities of such a system is required. In the present work the system performance, economics and life-cycle environmental impact is analysed with the aid of the process simulation software Aspen Plus. Under the base conditions for the UK, such schemes are not currently economically competitive with energy and char products produced from conventional means. However, under certain scenarios as modelled using a sensitivity analysis this technology can compete and can therefore potentially contribute to the energy and resource sustainability of the economy, particularly in on-site applications with low-value waste feedstocks. The major areas for potential performance improvement are in reactor cost reductions, the reliable use of waste feedstocks and a high value end use for the char by-product from pyrolysis.
    • Combining Kronecker product approximation with discrete wavelet transforms to solve dense, function-related linear systems

      Ford, Judith M.; Tyrtyshnikov, Eugene E.; Chester College of Higher Education ; Russian Academy of Sciences (Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, 2003-11)
    • Combustion of fuel blends containing digestate pyrolysis oil in a multi-cylinder compression ignition engine

      Hossain, Abul K.; Serrano, Clara; Brammer, John G.; Omran, Abdelnasir; Ahmed, F.; Smith, David I.; Davies, Philip A.; Aston University (Elsevier, 2015-12-23)
      Digestate from the anaerobic digestion conversion process is widely used as a farm land fertiliser. This study proposes an alternative use as a source of energy. Dried digestate was pyrolysed and the resulting oil was blended with waste cooking oil and butanol (10, 20 and 30 vol.%). The physical and chemical properties of the pyrolysis oil blends were measured and compared with pure fossil diesel and waste cooking oil. The blends were tested in a multi-cylinder indirect injection compression ignition engine. Engine combustion, exhaust gas emissions and performance parameters were measured and compared with pure fossil diesel operation. The ASTM copper corrosion values for 20% and 30% pyrolysis blends were 2c, compared to 1b for fossil diesel. The kinematic viscosities of the blends at 40 C were 5–7 times higher than that of fossil diesel. Digested pyrolysis oil blends produced lower in-cylinder peak pressures than fossil diesel and waste cooking oil operation. The maximum heat release rates of the blends were approximately 8% higher than with fossil diesel. The ignition delay periods of the blends were higher; pyrolysis oil blends started to combust late and once combustion started burnt quicker than fossil diesel. The total burning duration of the 20% and 30% blends were decreased by 12% and 3% compared to fossil diesel. At full engine load, the brake thermal efficiencies of the blends were decreased by about 3–7% when compared to fossil diesel. The pyrolysis blends gave lower smoke levels; at full engine load, smoke level of the 20% blend was 44% lower than fossil diesel. In comparison to fossil diesel and at full load, the brake specific fuel consumption (wt.) of the 30% and 20% blends were approximately 32% and 15% higher. At full engine load, the CO emission of the 20% and 30% blends were decreased by 39% and 66% with respect to the fossil diesel. Blends CO2 emissions were similar to that of fossil diesel; at full engine load, 30% blend produced approximately 5% higher CO2 emission than fossil diesel. The study concludes that on the basis of short term engine experiment up to 30% blend of pyrolysis oil from digestate of arable crops can be used in a compression ignition engine.