• Mechanism between Material Microstructures and Terahertz Dielectric Properties

      Yang, Bin; University of Chester (IEEE, 2019-10-21)
      Significant progress has been made in developing reliable Terahertz (THz) measurement spectroscopy to extract materials’ dielectric properties, however, systematic research on exploring intrinsic mechanism between microstructure of ceramics and THz dielectric properties such as loss, permittivity and dispersive characters has barely started. The paper focuses on one dielectric ceramic system (TiO2), its addition with Zn2SiO4 dielectrics and one hexa-ferromagnetic system to expatiate the association.
    • Towards sustainable methanol from industrial CO2 sources

      Douven, Sigrid; Benkoussas, Hana; Font Palma, Carolina; Leonard, Gregoire; University of Liege; University of Chester (Walter de Gruyter GmbH, 2019-10-21)
      This chapter discusses the opportunity of using CO2 from industrial sources to produce sustainable methanol. Some important industrial sectors that could be seen as potential sources of CO2 are reviewed: ammonia, steel, ethanol, ethylene, natural gas, cement and power industries. In most cases, despite a promising potential for CO2 re-use, only few projects have been identified and methanol production from CO2 is still marginal. A model for the CO2-to-methanol process is presented based on CO2-rich gas coming from ammonia production process. This model takes into account the different steps from the CO2 capture to the methanol purification, and heat integration is performed in order to determine the reduction of heat consumption achievable for the global process. Even if the economic relevance of the CO2 re-use into methanol still has to be qualified, it offers an estimation of the process efficiency.
    • Virtual Reality Environment for the Cognitive Rehabilitation of Stroke Patients

      John, Nigel W.; Day, Thomas W.; Pop, Serban R.; Chatterjee, Kausik; Cottrell, Katy; Buchanan, Alastair; Roberts, Jonathan; University of Chester; Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust; Cadscan Ltd (IEEE, 2019-10-14)
      We present ongoing work to develop a virtual reality environment for the cognitive rehabilitation of patients as a part of their recovery from a stroke. A stroke causes damage to the brain and problem solving, memory and task sequencing are commonly affected. The brain can recover to some extent, however, and stroke patients have to relearn to carry out activities of daily learning. We have created an application called VIRTUE to enable such activities to be practiced using immersive virtual reality. Gamification techniques enhance the motivation of patients such as by making the level of difficulty of a task increase over time. The design and implementation of VIRTUE is presented together with the results of a small acceptability study.
    • A Numerical Feasibility Study of Kinetic Energy Harvesting from Lower Limb Prosthetics

      Jia, Yu; Wei, Xueyong; Pu, Jie; Xie, Pengheng; Wen, Tao; Wang, Congsi; Lian, Peiyuan; Xue, Song; Shi, Yu; Aston University; University of Chester; Xidian University; Xi'an Jiaotong University (MDPI, 2019-10-10)
      With the advancement trend of lower limb prosthetics headed towards bionics (active ankle and knee) and smart prosthetics (gait and condition monitoring), there is an increasing integration of various sensors (micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) accelerometers, gyroscopes, magnetometers, strain gauges, pressure sensors, etc.), microcontrollers and wireless systems, and power drives including motors and actuators. All of these active elements require electrical power. However, inclusion of a heavy and bulky battery risks to undo the lightweight advancements achieved by the strong and flexible composite materials in the past decades. Kinetic energy harvesting holds the promise to recharge a small on-board battery in order to sustain the active systems without sacrificing weight and size. However, careful design is required in order not to over-burden the user from parasitic effects. This paper presents a feasibility study using measured gait data and numerical simulation in order to predict the available recoverable power. The numerical simulations suggest that, depending on the axis, up to 10s mW average electrical power is recoverable for a walking gait and up to 100s mW average electrical power is achievable during a running gait. This takes into account parasitic losses and only capturing a fraction of the gait cycle to not adversely burden the user. The predicted recoverable power levels are ample to self-sustain wireless communication and smart sensing functionalities to support smart prosthetics, as well as extend the battery life for active actuators in bionic systems. The results here serve as a theoretical foundation to design and develop towards regenerative smart bionic prosthetics.
    • Efficient Surrogate Model-Assisted Evolutionary Algorithm for Electromagnetic Design Automation with Applications

      Akinsolu, Mobayode, O. (University of ChesterWrexham Glyndŵr University, 2019-10)
      In this thesis, the surrogate model-aware evolutionary search (SMAS) framework is extended for efficient interactive optimisation of multiple criteria electromagnetic (EM) designs and/or devices through a novel method called two-stage interactive efficient EM micro-actuator design optimisation (TIEMO). The first robust analytical and behavioural study of the SMAS framework is also carried out in this thesis to serve as a guide for the meticulous selection of multiple differential evolution (DE) mutation strategies to make SMAS fit for use in parallel computing environments. Based on the study of SMAS and the self-adaptive use of the selected multiple DE mutation strategies and reinforcement learning techniques, a novel method, parallel surrogate model-assisted evolutionary algorithm for EM design (PSAED) is proposed. PSAED is tested extensively using mathematical benchmark problems and numerical EM design problems. For all cases, the efficiency improvement of PSAED compared to state-of-the-art evolutionary algorithms (EAs) is demonstrated by the several times up to about 20 times speed improvement observed and the high quality of design solutions. PSAED is then applied to real-world EM design problems as two purposebuilt methods for antenna design and optimisation and high-performance microelectro-mechanical systems (MEMS) design and optimisation in parallel computing environments, parallel surrogate model-assisted hybrid DE for antenna optimisation (PSADEA) and adaptive surrogate model-assisted differential evolution for MEMS optimisation (ASDEMO), respectively. For all the real-world antenna and MEMS design cases, PSAED methods obtain very satisfactory design solutions using an affordable optimisation time and comparisons are made with available alternative methods. Results from the comparisons show that PSAED methods obtain very satisfactory design solutions in all runs using an affordable optimisation time in each, whereas the alternative methods fail and/or seldom succeed to obtain feasible or satisfactory design solutions. PSAED methods also show better robustness and stability. In the future, PSAED methods will be embedded into commercial CAD/CEM tools and will be further extended for use in higher-order parallel clusters.
    • A discrete mutualism model: analysis and exploration of a financial application

      Roberts, Jason A.; Kavallaris, Nikos I.; Rowntree, Andrew P.; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2019-09-16)
      We perform a stability analysis on a discrete analogue of a known, continuous model of mutualism. We illustrate how the introduction of delays affects the asymptotic stability of the system’s positive nontrivial equilibrium point. In the second part of the paper we explore the insights that the model can provide when it is used in relation to interacting financial markets. We also note the limitations of such an approach.
    • Assisting Serious Games Level Design with an Augmented Reality Application and Workflow

      Beever, Lee; John, Nigel W.; Pop, Serban R.; University of Chester (Eurographics Proceedings, 2019-09-13)
      With the rise in popularity of serious games there is an increasing demand for virtual environments based on real-world locations. Emergency evacuation or fire safety training are prime examples of serious games that would benefit from accurate location depiction together with any application involving personal space. However, creating digital indoor models of real-world spaces is a difficult task and the results obtained by applying current techniques are often not suitable for use in real-time virtual environments. To address this problem, we have developed an application called LevelEd AR that makes indoor modelling accessible by utilizing consumer grade technology in the form of Apple’s ARKit and a smartphone. We compared our system to that of a tape measure and a system based on an infra-red depth sensor and application. We evaluated the accuracy and efficiency of each system over four different measuring tasks of increasing complexity. Our results suggest that our application is more accurate than the depth sensor system and as accurate and more time efficient as the tape measure over several tasks. Participants also showed a preference to our LevelEd AR application over the depth sensor system regarding usability. Finally, we carried out a preliminary case study that demonstrates how LevelEd AR can be successfully used as part of current industry workflows for serious games level design.
    • Evaluating LevelEd AR: An Indoor Modelling Application for Serious Games Level Design

      Beever, Lee; Pop, Serban R.; John, Nigel W.; University of Chester (IEEE Conference Publications, 2019-09-06)
      We developed an application that makes indoor modelling accessible by utilizing consumer grade technology in the form of Apple’s ARKit and a smartphone to assist with serious games level design. We compared our system to that of a tape measure and a system based on an infra-red depth sensor and application. We evaluated the accuracy and efficiency of each system over four different measuring tasks of increasing complexity. Our results suggest that our application is more accurate than the depth sensor system and as accurate and more time efficient as the tape measure over several tasks. Participants also showed a preference to our LevelEd AR application over the depth sensor system regarding usability.
    • Training Powered Wheelchair Manoeuvres in Mixed Reality

      Day, Thomas W.; John, Nigel W.; University of Chester (IEEE Xplore, 2019-09)
      We describe a mixed reality environment that has been designed as an aid for training driving skills for a powered wheelchair. Our motivation is to provide an improvement on a previous virtual reality wheelchair driving simulator, with a particular aim to remove any cybersickness effects. The results of a validation test are presented that involved 35 able bodied volunteers divided into three groups: mixed reality trained, virtual reality trained, and a control group. No significant differences in improvement was found between the groups but there is a notable trend that both the mixed reality and virtual reality groups improved more than the control group. Whereas the virtual reality group experienced discomfort (as measured using a simulator sickness questionnaire), the mixed reality group experienced no side effects.
    • The early stages of biofilm formation by Staphylococcus epidermidis studied by XPS and AFM

      Smith, Graham; Bava, Radhika (University of Chester, 2019-09)
      Staphylococcus epidermidis is an opportunistic bacteria which forms pathogenic biofilms in medical implant environment. Biofilm formation is a complex multistage process within which the initial stages of adhesion are deemed the most critical target for preventing biofilms. This research involves the characterisation of S. epidermidis (ATCC35984 and NCTC13360) by using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) on model substrates including glass, muscovite mica, silicon (111) wafer, sputter-coated titanium and sputter-coated silver, focusing on the effect of chemical properties of the material on adhesion by using surfaces with minimal roughness. AFM was used to image the surface, from which bacterial coverage can be estimated. AFM was also used to probe adhesion forces and local mechanical properties of all samples through the use of force-distance curves. AFM images were also used to estimate the bacterial coverage. XPS was used to investigate the surface chemistry from the layer thicknesses, the percentage coverage and potential composition of the overlayer. The combination of these techniques allow the relationships between the surface chemistry of the substrate and the bacteria to be correlated with changes in coverage and properties of bacterial films. Data on incubated bacterial samples were compared with those from the reference substrates, both before and after autoclaving, and from samples prepared using protein rich growth medium (tryptic soy broth) in the absence of bacteria as well as a pure bacterial pellet in an assumed non-biofilm forming state. The research indicates the potential differences between biofilm and non-biofilm former strains, with both strains being covered by an organic layer with little influence of the growth media used to incubate the bacteria. This research also shows how XPS and AFM data can be combined and applied to bacterial adhesion.
    • New Self-Dual and Formally Self-Dual Codes from Group Ring Constructions

      Dougherty, Steven; Gildea, Joe; Kaya, Abidin; Yildiz, Bahattin; University of Scranton; University of Chester; Sampoerna Academy; University of Chester; Northern Arizona University (American Institute of Mathematical Sciences, 2019-08-31)
      In this work, we study construction methods for self-dual and formally self-dual codes from group rings, arising from the cyclic group, the dihedral group, the dicyclic group and the semi-dihedral group. Using these constructions over the rings $_F2 +uF_2$ and $F_4 + uF_4$, we obtain 9 new extremal binary self-dual codes of length 68 and 25 even formally self-dual codes with parameters [72,36,14].
    • Evaporation of liquid nitrogen droplets in superheated immiscible liquids

      Rebelo, Neville; Zhao, Huayong; Nadal, Francois; Garner, Colin; Williams, Andy; Loughborough University; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2019-08-22)
      Liquid nitrogen or other cryogenic liquids have the potential to replace or augment current energy sources in cooling and power applications. This can be done by the rapid evaporation and expansion processes that occur when liquid nitrogen is injected into hotter fluids in mechanical expander systems. In this study, the evaporation process of single liquid nitrogen droplets when submerged into n-propanol, methanol, n-hexane, and n-pentane maintained at 294 K has been investigated experimentally and numerically. The evaporation process is quantified by tracking the growth rate of the resulting nitrogen vapour bubble that has an interface with the bulk liquid. The experimental data suggest that the bubble volume growth is proportional to the time and the bubble growth rate is mainly determined by the initial droplet size. A comparison between the four different bulk liquids indicates that the evaporation rate in n-pentane is the highest, possibly due to its low surface tension. A scaling law based on the pure diffusion-controlled evaporation of droplet in open air environment has been successfully implemented to scale the experimental data. The deviation between the scaling law predictions and the experimental data for 2-propanol, methanol and n-hexane vary between 4% and 30% and the deviation for n-pentane was between 24% and 65%. The more detailed bubble growth rates have been modelled by a heuristic one-dimensional, spherically symmetric quasi-steady-state confined model, which can predict the growth trend well but consistently underestimate the growth rate. A fixed effective thermal conductivity is then introduced to account for the complex dynamics of the droplet inside the bubble and the subsequent convective processes in the surrounding vapour, which leads to a satisfactory quantitative prediction of the growth rate.
    • Isolation of a Ferroelectric Intermediate Phase in Antiferroelectric Dense Sodium Niobate Ceramics

      Yang, Bin; Zhang, Hangfeng; Yan, Haixue; Abrahams, Isaac (Elsevier, 2019-08-22)
      Switchable ferroelectric/antiferroelectric ceramics are of significant interest for high power energy storage applications. Grain size control of this switching is an interesting approach to controlling polarization and hence dielectric properties. However, the use of this approach in technologically relevant ceramics is hindered by difficulty in fabricating dense ceramics with small grain sizes. Here an intermediate polar ferroelectric phase (P21ma) has been isolated in dense bulk sodium niobate ceramics by grain size control through spark plasma sintering methods. Our findings, supported by XRD, DSC, P-E (I-E) loops and dielectric characterization, provide evidence that the phase transition from the antiferroelectric (AFE) R-phase, in space group Pnmm, above 300 C, to the AFE P-phase, in space group Pbma, at room temperature, always involves the polar intermediate P21ma phase and that the P21ma to Pbma transition can be suppressed by reducing grain size.
    • Effect of surface micro-pits on mode-II fracture toughness of Ti-6Al-4V/PEEK interface

      Pan, Lei; Pang, Xiaofei; Wang, Fei; Huang, Haiqiang; Shi, Yu; Tao, Jie; Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2019-08-17)
      Herein, the delamination issue of TiGr(TC4/PEEK/Cf) laminate is addressed by investigating the influence of TC4(Ti-6Al-4V) surface micro-pits on mode-II interfacial fracture toughness of TC4/PEEK interface through experimental and finite element modeling. The micro-pits unit cell, unit strip and the end notched flexure (ENF) models are established based on the finite element simulations and the effect of micro-pit size parameters is studied in detail. The results of micro-pits unit cell model reveal that the presence of micro-pits can effectively buffer the interfacial stress concentration under mode-II loading conditions. Furthermore, the micro-pits unit strip model, with different micro-pit sizes, is analyzed to obtain the interface parameters, which are converted and used in the ENF model. Both the unit strip and ENF models conclude that the presence of interfacial micro-pits effectively improves the mode-II fracture toughness. It is worth mentioning that the utilization of converted interface parameters in ENF model avoided the limitation of micro-pit size and reduced the workload. Finally, the experimental and computational ENF results exhibited excellent consistency and confirmed the reliability of the proposed finite element models. The current study provides useful guidelines for the design and manufacturing of high-performance TC4/PEEK interfaces for a wide range of applications.
    • Surface adjustment strategy for a large radio telescope with adjustable dual reflectors

      Lian, Peiyuan; Wang, Congsi; Xue, Song; Xu, Qian; Shi, Yu; Jia, Yu; Xiang, Binbin; Wang, Yan; Yan, Yuefei; Xidian University; University of Chester; Chinese Academy of Sciences (IET, 2019-08-15)
      With the development of large-aperture and high-frequency radio telescopes, a surface adjustment procedure for the compensation of surface deformations has become of great importance. In this study, an innovative surface adjustment strategy is proposed to achieve an automated adjustment for the large radio telescope with adjustable dual reflectors. In the proposed strategy, a high-precision and long-distance measurement instrument is adopted and installed on the back of the sub-reflector to measure the distances and elevation angles of the target points on the main reflector. Here, two surface adjustment purposes are discussed. The first purpose is to ensure that the main reflector and sub-reflector are always positioned at their ideal locations during operation. The second purpose is to adjust the main reflector to the location of the best fitting reflector, and the sub-reflector to the focus of the best fitting reflector. Next, the calculation procedures for the adjustments of the main reflector and the sub-reflector are discussed in detail, and corresponding simulations are carried out to verify the proposed method. The results show that the proposed strategy is effective. This study can provide helpful guidance for the design of automated surface adjustments for large telescopes.
    • Self-assembled nanostructures in ionic liquids facilitate charge storage at electrified interfaces

      Mao, Xianwen; Brown, Paul; Cervinka, Citrad; Hazell, Gavin; Li, Hua; Ren, Yinying; Chen, Di; Atkin, Rob; Eastoe, Julian; Grillo, Isabelle; et al. (Springer Nature, 2019-08-12)
      Driven by the potential applications of ionic liquids (ILs) in many emerging electrochemical technologies, recent research efforts have been directed at understanding the complex ion ordering in these systems, to uncover novel energy storage mechanisms at IL–electrode interfaces. Here, we discover that surface-active ILs (SAILs), which contain amphiphilic structures inducing self-assembly, exhibit enhanced charge storage performance at electrified surfaces. Unlike conventional non amphiphilic ILs, for which ion distribution is dominated by Coulombic interactions, SAILs exhibit significant and competing van der Waals interactions owing to the non-polar surfactant tails, leading to unusual interfacial ion distributions. We reveal that, at an intermediate degree of electrode polarization, SAILs display optimum performance, because the low-charge-density alkyl tails are effectively excluded from the electrode surfaces, whereas the formation of non-polar domains along the surface suppresses undesired overscreening effects. This work represents a crucial step towards understanding the unique interfacial behaviour and electrochemical properties of amphiphilic liquid systems showing long-range ordering, and offers insights into the design principles for high-energy-density electrolytes based on spontaneous self-assembly behaviour.
    • An Altered Four Circulant Construction for Self-Dual Codes from Group Rings and New Extremal Binary Self-dual Codes I

      Gildea, Joe; Kaya, Abidin; Yildiz, Bahattin; University of Chester; Sampoerna University; Northern Arizona University (Elsevier, 2019-08-07)
      We introduce an altered version of the four circulant construction over group rings for self-dual codes. We consider this construction over the binary field, the rings F2 + uF2 and F4 + uF4; using groups of order 4 and 8. Through these constructions and their extensions, we find binary self-dual codes of lengths 16, 32, 48, 64 and 68, many of which are extremal. In particular, we find forty new extremal binary self-dual codes of length 68, including twelve new codes with \gamma=5 in W68,2, which is the first instance of such a value in the literature.
    • Aging and Cholesterol Metabolism

      Mc Auley, Mark T.; University of Chester (Springer, 2019-07-30)
      The role cholesterol metabolism has to play in health span is clear, and monitoring the parameters of cholesterol metabolism is key to aging successfully. The aim of this chapter is to provide a brief overview of the mechanisms which regulate cholesterol in the body, secondly to discuss how aging effects cholesterol metabolism, and thirdly to unveil how systems biology is leading to an improved understanding of the intersection between aging and the dysregulation of cholesterol metabolism.
    • On the behavior of the solutions for linear autonomous mixed type difference equation

      Yan, Yubin; Yenicerioglu, Ali Fuat; Pinelas, Sandra; University of Chester; Kocaeli University, Turkey; RUDN University, Russia (Springer Link, 2019-07-30)
      A class of linear autonomous mixed type difference equations is considered, and some new results on the asymptotic behavior and the stability are given, via a positive root of the corresponding characteristic equation.
    • Numerical methods for solving space fractional partial differential equations by using Hadamard finite-part integral approach

      Yan, Yubin; Wang, Yanyong; Hu, Ye; University of Chester; Lvliang University (Springer, 2019-07-26)
      We introduce a novel numerical method for solving two-sided space fractional partial differential equation in two dimensional case. The approximation of the space fractional Riemann-Liouville derivative is based on the approximation of the Hadamard finite-part integral which has the convergence order $O(h^{3- \alpha})$, where $h$ is the space step size and $\alpha\in (1, 2)$ is the order of Riemann-Liouville fractional derivative. Based on this scheme, we introduce a shifted finite difference method for solving space fractional partial differential equation. We obtained the error estimates with the convergence orders $O(\tau +h^{3-\alpha}+ h^{\beta})$, where $\tau$ is the time step size and $\beta >0$ is a parameter which measures the smoothness of the fractional derivatives of the solution of the equation. Unlike the numerical methods for solving space fractional partial differential equation constructed by using the standard shifted Gr\"unwald-Letnikov formula or higher order Lubich'e methods which require the solution of the equation satisfies the homogeneous Dirichlet boundary condition in order to get the first order convergence, the numerical method for solving space fractional partial differential equation constructed by using Hadamard finite-part integral approach does not require the solution of the equation satisfies the Dirichlet homogeneous boundary condition. Numerical results show that the experimentally determined convergence order obtained by using the Hadamard finite-part integral approach for solving space fractional partial differential equation with non-homogeneous Dirichlet boundary conditions is indeed higher than the convergence order obtained by using the numerical methods constructed with the standard shifted Gr\"unwald-Letnikov formula or Lubich's higer order approximation schemes.