• Laser melting of NiTi and its effects on in-vitro mesenchymal stem cell responses

      Waugh, David G.; Lawrence, Jonathan; Chan, Chi-Wai; Hussain, Issam; Man, Hau-Chung; University of Chester ; University of Chester ; University of Lincoln ; University of Lincoln ; Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Woodhead Publishing, 2014-10-14)
    • Laser sealing of HDLPE film to PP substrate

      Shukla, Pratik; Lawrence, Jonathan; Waugh, David G.; University of Chester (2015-01)
    • Laser surface engineering of polymeric materials and the effects on wettability characteristics

      Waugh, David G.; Avdic, Dalila; Woodham, K. J.; Lawrence, Jonathan; University of Lincoln (Scrivener/John Wiley & Sons., 2014-12-23)
      Wettability characteristics are believed by many to be the driving force in applications relating to adhesion. So, gaining an in-depth understanding of the wettability characteristics of materials before and after surface treatments is crucial in developing materials with enhanced adhesion properties. This chapter details some of the main competing techniques to laser surface engineering followed by a review of current cutting edge laser surface engineering techniques which are used for wettability and adhesion modulation. A study is provided in detail for laser surface treatment (using IR and UV lasers) of polymeric materials. Sessile drop analysis was used to determine the wettability characteristics of each laser surface treated sample and as-received sample, revealing the presence of a mixed-state wetting regime on some samples. Although this outcome does not follow current and accepted wetting theory, through numerical analysis, generic equations to predict this mixed state wetting regime and the corresponding contact angle are discussed.
    • Laser surface engineering: Processes and applications

      Waugh, David G.; Lawrence, Jonathan; University of Chester (Woodhead Publishing, 2014-10-14)
      Lasers can alter the surface composition and properties of materials in a highly controllable way, which makes them efficient and cost-effective tools for surface engineering. This book provides an overview of the different techniques, the laser-material interactions and the advantages and disadvantages for different applications.
    • Laser surface induced roughening of polymeric materials and the effects on Wettability characteristics

      Waugh, David G.; Lawrence, Jonathan; Shukla, Pratik; University of Chester (2015-01-15)
      It has been thoroughly demonstrated previously that lasers hold the ability to modulate surface properties of polymers with the result being utilization of such lasers in both research and industry. With increased applications of wettability techniques within industries there is greater need of predicting related characteristics, post laser processing, since such work evaluates the effectiveness of these surface treatments. This paper details the use of a Synrad CO2 laser marking system to surface roughen polymeric materials, namely: nylon 6,6; nylon 12, polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and polyethylene (PE). These laser-modified surfaces have been analyzed using 3D surface profilometry to ascertain the surface roughness with the wettability characteristics obtained using a wettability goniometer. From the surface roughness results, for each of the samples, generic wettability characteristics arising from laser surface roughening is discussed.
    • Laser Surface Modification of NiTi for Medical Applications

      Man, Hau-Chung; Lawrence, Jonathan; Avis, Nicholas; Waugh, David G.; Shi, Yu; Ng, Chi-Ho (University of Chester, 2017-11)
      Regarding the higher demand of the total joint replacement (TJR) and revision surgeries in recent years, an implant material should provide much longer lifetime without failure. Nickel titanium (NiTi) is the most popular shape memory alloy in the industry, especially in medical devices due to its unique mechanical properties such as pseudo-elasticity, damping capacity, shape memory and good biocompatibility. However, concerns of nickel ion release of this alloy still exist if it is implanted for a prolonged period of time. Nickel is well known for the possibility of causing allergic response and degeneration of muscle tissue as well as being carcinogenic for the human body beyond a certain threshold. Therefore, drastically improving the surface properties (e.g. wear resistance) of NiTi is a vital step for its adoption as orthopaedic implants. To overcome the above-mentioned risks, different surface treatment techniques have been proposed and investigated, such as Physical Vapour Deposition (PVD), Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD), ion implantation, plasma spraying, etc. Yet all of these techniques have similar limitations such as high treatment temperature, poor metallurgical bonding between coated film and substrate, and lower flexibility and efficiency. As a result, laser gas nitriding would be an ideal treatment method as it could overcome these drawbacks. Moreover, the shape memory effect and pseudo-elasticity of NiTi from a reversible phase transformation between the martensitic phase and the austenitic phase are very sensitive to heat. Hence, NiTi implant is subjected to the following provisions of the thermo-mechanical treatment process, and this implant provides desired characteristics. It is important to suggest a surface treatment, which would not disturb the original build-in properties. As a result, the low-temperature methods for substrate have to be employed on the surface of NiTi. This present study aims to investigate the feasibility of applying diffusion laser gas nitriding technique to improve the wettability and wear resistance of NiTi as well as establish the optimization technique. The current report summaries the result of laser nitrided NiTi by continuous-wave (CW) fibre laser in nitrogen environment. The microstructure, surface morphology, wettability, wear resistance of the coating layer has been analysed using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray diffractometry (XRD), sessile drop technique, 3-D profile measurement and reciprocating wear test. The resulting surface layer is free of cracks, and the wetting behaviour is better than the bare NiTi. The wear resistance of the optimised nitride sample with different hatch patterns is also evaluated using reciprocating wear testing against ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) in Hanks’ solution. The results indicate that the wear rates of the nitride samples and the UHMWPE counter-part were both significantly reduced. It is concluded that the diffusion laser gas nitriding is a potential low-temperature treatment technique to improve the surface properties of NiTi. This technique can be applied to a femoral head or a bone fixation plates with relatively large surface area and movable components.
    • Laser surface modification of polymeric materials for microbiological applications

      Gillett, Alice R.; Waugh, David G.; Lawrence, Jonathan; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2016-04-15)
    • Laser surface structuring of ceramics, metals and polymers for biological applications: A review

      Shukla, Pratik; Waugh, David G.; Lawrence, Jonathan; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2014-10-14)
    • Laser Surface Treatment of a Polymeric Biomaterial: Wettability Characteristics and Osteoblast Cell Response Modulation

      Waugh, David G.; Lawrence, Jonathan; University of Chester (Old City Publishing, 2014)
      Biotechnology has the potential to improve people's quality of life and holds the key to-many unmet clinical needs. In the UK alone the biotechnology market is worth £4.5 billion and estimates of future growth ranks from 10 to 15%. This growth can only be driven by the increased use of inexpensive and easy to manufacture polymeric biomaterials. Although polymer science is a rapidly developing area of research, it remains that one of the most intractable problems encountered in biotechnology is that the performance of polymeric biomaterials depends both upon the bulk and surface properties. In this book the authors describe Their work using lasers to modify the wettability characteristics of nylon 6,6 (as wetting often is the primary factor dictating the adhesion and bonding potential of materials) as a route to enhancing the area in terms of in vitro osteoblast cell response. What is more, modifying wettability characteristics in this way is shown to be a highly attractive means of estimating the biofunctionality of a polymer. The book demonstrates and explains how the generation of a biomimetic polymers and is surface using laser beams provides an in vitro platform on which to deposit and grow cells for either the development of implants or to reconstitute functional tissue. The correlative trends and generic characteristics which are identified are in the book between the laser treatment, wettability characteristics and osteoblast cell response of the nylon 6,6 provide a means to estimate the osteoblast cell response in vivo. The book shows clearly that laser surface modification of polymeric materials has tremendous potential for application within the field of regenerative medicine.
    • Laser surface treatment of polyamide and NiTi alloy and the effects on mesenchymal stem cell response

      Waugh, David G.; Lawrence, Jonathan; Shukla, Pratik; Chan, Chi-Wai; Hussain, Issam; Man, Hau-Chung; Smith, Graham C.; University of Chester ; University of Chester ; University of Chester ; Queen's University, Belfast ; University of Lincoln ; Hong Kong Polytechnic University ; University of Chester (2015-03-18)
      Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are known to play important roles in development, post-natal growth, repair, and regeneration of mesenchymal tissues. What is more, surface treatments are widely reported to affect the biomimetic nature of materials. This paper will detail, discuss and compare laser surface treatment of polyamide (Polyamide 6,6), using a 60 W CO2 laser, and NiTi alloy, using a 100 W fiber laser, and the effects of these treatments on mesenchymal stem cell response. The surface morphology and composition of the polyamide and NiTi alloy were studied by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and X-ray photoemission spectroscopy (XPS), respectively. MSC cell morphology cell counting and viability measurements were done by employing a haemocytometer and MTT colorimetric assay. The success of enhanced adhesion and spreading of the MSCs on each of the laser surface treated samples, when compared to as-received samples, is evidenced in this work.
    • Laser surface treatment of polyamide and NiTi alloy and the effects on mesenchymal stem cell response

      Waugh, David G.; Lawrence, Jonathan; Shukla, Pratik; Chan, Chi-Wai; Hussain, Issam; Man, Hau-Chung; Smith, Graham C.; University of Chester (Waugh, Lawrence, Shukla, Smith), Queen's University Belfast (Chan), University of Lincoln (Hussain), Hong Kong Polytechnica University (Man) (SPIE, 2015-07-01)
      Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are known to play important roles in development, post-natal growth, repair, and regeneration of mesenchymal tissues. What is more, surface treatments are widely reported to affect the biomimetic nature of materials. This paper will detail, discuss and compare laser surface treatment of polyamide (Polyamide 6,6), using a 60 W CO2 laser, and NiTi alloy, using a 100 W fiber laser, and the effects of these treatments on mesenchymal stem cell response. The surface morphology and composition of the polyamide and NiTi alloy were studied by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and X-ray photoemission spectroscopy (XPS), respectively. MSC cell morphology cell counting and viability measurements were done by employing a haemocytometer and MTT colorimetric assay. The success of enhanced adhesion and spreading of the MSCs on each of the laser surface treated samples, when compared to as-received samples, is evidenced in this work.
    • Lateral crushing and bending responses of CFRP square tube filled with aluminum honeycomb

      Liu, Qiang; Xu, Xiyu; Ma, Jingbo; Wang, Jinsha; Shi, Yu; Hui, David; Sun Yat-Sen University; Hunan University; University of Chester; University of New Orleans (Elsevier, 2017-03-18)
      This paper aims to investigate the lateral planar crushing and bending responses of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) square tube filled with aluminum honeycomb. The various failure modes and mechanical characteristics of filled tube were experimentally captured and numerically predicted by commercial finite element (FE) package LS-DYNA, comparing to the hollow tubes. The filled aluminum honeycomb effectively improved the stability of progressive collapse during crushing, leading to both hinges symmetrically occurred along the vertical side. The experimental results showed that energy absorbed (EA) and specific energy absorption (SEA) of the filled CFRP tubes could be significantly increased to 6.56 and 4 times, respectively, of those measured for the hollow tubes without fillings under lateral crushing. Although an improvement of 32% of EA and 0.9% of SEA were obtained for the lateral bending, still the design using aluminum honeycomb as filling was remarkably capable to improve the mechanical characteristics of CFRP tube structure. A good agreement was obtained between experimentally measured and numerically predicted load-displacement histories. The FE prediction was also helpful in understanding the initiation and propagation of cracks within the filled CFRP structure.
    • Layer Dynamics for the one dimensional $\eps$-dependent Cahn-Hilliard / Allen-Cahn Equation

      Antonopoulou, Dimitra; Karali, Georgia; Tzirakis, Konstantinos; University of Chester; University of Crete; IACM/FORTH (Springer, 2021-08-27)
      We study the dynamics of the one-dimensional ε-dependent Cahn-Hilliard / Allen-Cahn equation within a neighborhood of an equilibrium of N transition layers, that in general does not conserve mass. Two different settings are considered which differ in that, for the second, we impose a mass-conservation constraint in place of one of the zero-mass flux boundary conditions at x = 1. Motivated by the study of Carr and Pego on the layered metastable patterns of Allen-Cahn in [10], and by this of Bates and Xun in [5] for the Cahn-Hilliard equation, we implement an N-dimensional, and a mass-conservative N−1-dimensional manifold respectively; therein, a metastable state with N transition layers is approximated. We then determine, for both cases, the essential dynamics of the layers (ode systems with the equations of motion), expressed in terms of local coordinates relative to the manifold used. In particular, we estimate the spectrum of the linearized Cahn-Hilliard / Allen-Cahn operator, and specify wide families of ε-dependent weights δ(ε), µ(ε), acting at each part of the operator, for which the dynamics are stable and rest exponentially small in ε. Our analysis enlightens the role of mass conservation in the classification of the general mixed problem into two main categories where the solution has a profile close to Allen-Cahn, or, when the mass is conserved, close to the Cahn-Hilliard solution.
    • LDL-C levels in older people: Cholesterol Homeostasis and the Free Radical Theory of Ageing Converge

      Mc Auley, Mark T.; Mooney, Kathleen M.; Univeristy of Chester; Edge Hill University (Elsevier, 2017-05-17)
      The cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factor, low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) increases with age, up until the midpoint of life in males and females. However, LDL-C can decrease with age in older men and women. Intriguingly, a recent systematic review also revealed an inverse association between LDL-C levels and cardiovascular mortality in older people; low levels of LDL-C were associated with reduced risk of mortality. Such findings are puzzling and require a biological explanation. In this paper a hypothesis is proposed to explain these observations. We hypothesize that the free radical theory of ageing (FRTA) together with disrupted cholesterol homeostasis can account for these observations. Based on this hypothesis, dysregulated hepatic cholesterol homeostasis in older people is characterised by two distinct metabolic states. The first state accounts for an older person who has elevated plasma LDL-C. This state is underpinned by the FRTA which suggests there is a decrease in cellular antioxidant capacity with age. This deficiency enables hepatic reactive oxidative species (ROS) to induce the total activation of HMG-CoA reductase, the key rate limiting enzyme in cholesterol biosynthesis. An increase in cholesterol synthesis elicits a corresponding rise in LDL-C, due to the downregulation of LDL receptor synthesis, and increased production of very low density lipoprotein cholesterol (VLDL-C). In the second state of dysregulation, ROS also trigger the total activation of HMG-CoA reductase. However, due to an age associated decrease in the activity of cholesterol-esterifying enzyme, acyl CoA: cholesterol acyltransferase, there is restricted conversion of excess free cholesterol (FC) to cholesterol esters. Consequently, the secretion of VLDL-C drops, and there is a corresponding decrease in LDL-C. As intracellular levels of FC accumulate, this state progresses to a pathophysiological condition akin to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. It is our conjecture this deleterious state has the potential to account for the inverse association between LDL-C level and CVD risk observed in older people.
    • Learning to combine multiple string similarity metrics for effective toponym matching

      Santos, Rui; Murrieta-Flores, Patricia; Martins, Bruno (Informa UK Limited, 2017-09-06)
    • LevelEd VR: A virtual reality level editor and workflow for virtual reality level design

      Beever, Lee; Pop, Serban W.; John, Nigel W.; University of Chester
      Virtual reality entertainment and serious games popularity has continued to rise but the processes for level design for VR games has not been adequately researched. Our paper contributes LevelEd VR; a generic runtime virtual reality level editor that supports the level design workflow used by developers and can potentially support user generated content. We evaluated our LevelEd VR application and compared it to an existing workflow of Unity on a desktop. Our current research indicates that users are accepting of such a system, and it has the potential to be preferred over existing workflows for VR level design. We found that the primary benefit of our system is an improved sense of scale and perspective when creating the geometry and implementing gameplay. The paper also contributes some best practices and lessons learned from creating a complex virtual reality tool, such as LevelEd VR.
    • Linearized stability analysis of discrete Volterra equations

      Song, Yihong; Baker, Christopher T. H.; Suzhou University ; University College Chester (Elsevier, 2004-06-01)
    • Lipid metabolism and hormonal interactions: Impact on cardiovascular disease and healthy aging

      Mc Auley, Mark T.; Mooney, Kathleen M.; University of Chester ; Edge Hill University (informa health care, 2014-07)
      Populations in developed nations are aging gradually; it is predicted that by 2050 almost a quarter of the world’s population will be over 60 years old, more than twice the figure at the turn of the 20th century. Although we are living longer, this does not mean the extra years will be spent in good health. Cardiovascular diseases are the primary cause of ill health and their prevalence increases with age. Traditionally, lipid biomarkers have been utilized to stratify disease risk and predict the onset of cardiovascular events. However, recent evidence suggests that hormonal interplay with lipid metabolism could have a significant role to play in modulating cardiovascular disease risk. This review will explore recent findings which have investigated the role hormones have on the dynamics of lipid metabolism. The aim is to offer an insight into potential avenues for therapeutic intervention.
    • LiTu - A Human-Computer Interface based on Frustrated Internal Reflection of Light

      Edwards, Marc R.; John, Nigel W.; University of Chester (IEEE Conference Publications, 2015-10)
      We have designed LiTu (Laɪ’Tu - Light Tube) as a customisable and low-cost (ca 30 Euros) human-computer interface. It is composed of an acrylic tube, a ball-bearing mirror, six LEDs and a webcam. Touching the tube causes frustrated internal reflection of light due to a change in the critical angle at the acrylic-skin boundary. Scattered light within the tube is reflected off the mirror into the camera at the opposite end for image processing. Illuminated contact regions in the video frames are segmented and processed to generate 2D information such as: pitch and volume, or x and y coordinates of a graphic. We demonstrate the functionality of LiTu both as a musical instrument and as an interactive computer graphics controller. For example, various musical notes can be generated by touching specific regions around the surface of the tube. Volume can be controlled by sliding a finger down the tube and pitch by sliding the finger radially. We demonstrate the adaptable nature of LiTu’s touch interface and discuss our plans to explore future physical modifications of the device.
    • Low Work Function Lacunary Polyoxometalates as Electron Transport Interlayers for Inverted Polymer Solar Cells of Improved Efficiency and Stability

      Tountas, Marinos; Topal, Yasemin; Polydorou, Ermioni; Soultati, Anastasia; Verykios, Apostolos; Kaltzoglou, Andreas; Papadopoulos, Theodoros A.; Auras, Florian; Seintis, Konstantinos; Fakis, Mihalis; et al. (American Chemical Society, 2017-06-06)
      Effective interface engineering has been shown to play a vital role in facilitating efficient charge-carrier transport, thus boosting the performance of organic photovoltaic devices. Herein, we employ water-soluble lacunary polyoxometalates (POMs) as multifunctional interlayers between the titanium dioxide (TiO2) electron extraction/transport layer and the organic photoactive film to simultaneously enhance the efficiency, lifetime, and photostability of polymer solar cells (PSCs). A significant reduction in the work function (WF) of TiO2 upon POM utilization was observed, with the magnitude being controlled by the negative charge of the anion and the selection of the addenda atom (W or Mo). By inserting a POM interlayer with ∼10 nm thickness into the device structure, a significant improvement in the power conversion efficiency was obtained; the optimized POM-modified poly[[4,8-bis[(2-ethylhexyl)oxy]benzo[1,2-b:4,5-b′]dithiophene-2,6-diyl][3-fluoro-2-[(2- 33 ethylhexyl)carbonyl]thieno[3,4-b]thiophenediyl]]:[6,6]-phenyl-C70 butyric acid methyl ester (PTB7:PC70BM)-based PSCs exhibited an efficiency of 8.07%, which represents a 21% efficiency enhancement compared to the reference TiO2 cell. Similar results were obtained in POM-modified devices based on poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) with electron acceptors of different energy levels, such as PC70BM or indene-C60 bisadduct (IC60BA), which enhanced their efficiency up to 4.34 and 6.21%, respectively, when using POM interlayers; this represents a 25–33% improvement as compared to the reference cells. Moreover, increased lifetime under ambient air and improved photostability under constant illumination were observed in POM-modified devices. Detailed analysis shows that the improvements in efficiency and stability synergistically stem from the reduced work function of TiO2 upon POM coverage, the improved nanomorphology of the photoactive blend, the reduced interfacial recombination losses, the superior electron transfer, and the more effective exciton dissociation at the photoactive layer/POM/TiO2 interfaces.