• Modulating the wettability characteristics and bioactivity of polymeric materials using laser surface treatment

      Waugh, David G.; Lawrence, Jonathan; Shukla, Pratik; University of Chester (AIP Publishing, 2016-03-31)
      It has been thoroughly demonstrated previously that lasers hold the ability to modulate surface properties of materials with the result being utilization of such lasers in both research and industry. What is more, these laser surface treatments have been shown to affect the adhesion characteristics and bio-functionality of those materials. This paper details the use of a Synrad CO2 laser marking system to surface treat nylon 6,6 and polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). The laser-modified surfaces were analyzed using 3D surface profilometry to ascertain an increase in surface roughness when compared to the as-received samples. The wettability characteristics were determined using the sessile drop method and showed variations in contact angle for both the nylon 6,6 and PTFE. For the PTFE it was shown that the laser surface treatment gave rise to a more hydrophobic surface with contact angles of up to 150° being achieved. For the nylon 6,6, it was observed that the contact angle was modulated approximately ±10° for different samples which could be attributed to a likely mixed state wetting regime. The effects of the laser surface treatment on osteoblast cell and stem cell growth is discussed showing an overall enhancement of biomimetic properties, especially for the nylon 6,6. This work investigates the potential governing parameters which drives the wettability/adhesion characteristics and bioactivity of the laser surface treated polymeric materials.
    • Mononuclear Transition Metal Complexes of 7-Nitro-1,3,5-Triazaadamantane

      Wagner, Gabriele; Horton, Peter N.; Coles, Simon J.; University of Chester; University of Southampton (Wiley-Blackwell, 2016-06-06)
      Complexes of the type [MCl2(7-nitro-1,3,5-triaza-adamantane)2] (M = Zn(II), Pd(II), Pt(II)) and [MCl2(H2O)2(7-nitro-1,3,5-triazaadamantane) 2] (M = Mn (II), Co(II), Ni(II)) have been prepared and their structures have been analysed by X-ray crystallography, elemental analysis, IR and solid state 13C and 15N NMR spectroscopy, supported by density functional theory/ gauge independent atomic orbital (DFT/GIAO) calculations. In each case, 7-nitro-1,3,5-triazaadamantane acts as a mono-dentate ligand and binds to one metal centre only, in spite of the presence of three equivalent amino nitrogens. In the Co(II) and Ni(II) complexes, a two-dimensional intermolecular hydrogen bonding network between the aqua- and the chloro ligands is established. The uncoordinated amines of the 7-nitro-1,3,5-triaza- adamantane are not involved in any H-bonding, as a result of the exceptionally low basicity of this compound.
    • Morphogenetic Engineering For Evolving Ant Colony Pheromone Communication

      Vaughan, Neil; University of Chester (The Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and Simulation for Behaviour (AISB), 2018-04-06)
      This research investigates methods for evolving swarm communication in a simulated colony of ants using pheromone when foriaging for food. This research implemented neuroevolution and obtained the capability to learn pheromone communication autonomously. Building on previous literature on pheromone communication, this research applies evolution to adjust the topology and weights of an artificial neural network which controls the ant behaviour. Comparison of performance is made between a hard-coded benchmark algorithm, a fixed topology ANN and neuroevolution of the ANN topology and weights. The resulting neuroevolution produced a neural network which was successfully evolved to achieve the task objective, to collect food and return it to the nest.
    • MoS2-graphene-CuNi2S4 nanocomposite an efficient electrocatalyst for the hydrogen evolution reaction

      Adarakatti, Prashanth Shivappa; Mahanthappa, Mallappa; Hughes, Jack; Rowley-Neale, Samuel; Smith, Graham; S, Ashoka; Banks, Craig E.; Manchester Metropolitan University, University of Chester, Bengaluru
      We present a facile methodology for the synthesis of a novel 2D-MoS2, graphene and CuNi2S4 (MoS2-g-CuNi2S4) nanocomposite that displays highly efficient electrocatalytic activity towards the production of hydrogen. The intrinsic hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) activity of MoS2 nanosheets was significantly enhanced by increasing the affinity of the active edge sites towards Hþ adsorption using transition metal (Cu and Ni2) dopants, whilst also increasing the edge sites exposure by anchoring them to a graphene frame- work. Detailed XPS analysis reveals a higher percentage of surface exposed S at 17.04%, of which 48.83% is metal bonded S (sulfide). The resultant MoS2-g-CuNi2S4 nanocomposites are immobilized upon screen-printed electrodes (SPEs) and exhibit a HER onset potential and Tafel slope value of -0.05 V (vs. RHE) and 29.3 mV dec-1, respectively. These values are close to that of the polycrystalline Pt electrode (near zero potential (vs. RHE) and 21.0 mV dec-1, respectively) and enhanced over a bare/unmodified SPE (-0.43 V (vs. RHE) and 149.1 mV dec-1, respectively). Given the efficient, HER activity displayed by the novel MoS2-g-CuNi2S4/SPE electrochemical platform and the comparatively low associated cost of production for this nanocomposite, it has potential to be a cost-effective alternative to Pt within electrolyser technologies.
    • Motion of a droplet for the Stochastic mass conserving Allen-Cahn equation

      Antonopoulou, Dimitra; Bates, Peter W.; Bloemker, Dirk; Karali, Georgia D.; University of Chester (SIAM, 2016-02-16)
      We study the stochastic mass-conserving Allen-Cahn equation posed on a smoothly bounded domain of R2 with additive, spatially smooth, space-time noise. This equation describes the stochastic motion of a small almost semicircular droplet attached to domain's boundary and moving towards a point of locally maximum curvature. We apply It^o calculus to derive the stochastic dynamics of the center of the droplet by utilizing the approximately invariant manifold introduced by Alikakos, Chen and Fusco [2] for the deterministic problem. In the stochastic case depending on the scaling, the motion is driven by the change in the curvature of the boundary and the stochastic forcing. Moreover, under the assumption of a su ciently small noise strength, we establish stochastic stability of a neighborhood of the manifold of boundary droplet states in the L2- and H1-norms, which means that with overwhelming probability the solution stays close to the manifold for very long time-scales.
    • Motion of a space tether system in the atmosphere

      McMillan, Alison; Zabolotnov, Yuriy; Elenev, Dmitrii (University of Chester, 2019-02-07)
      The space tether system under consideration consists of two rigid bodies with significantly different ballistic coefficients. Because of this difference one of the bodies acts as a stabilizer for the main body – a spacecraft – during the motion of the tether system in the atmosphere. The investigations are focused on the stability of motion of the tether system in the atmosphere. During its motion in the atmosphere the tether system makes use of torques from aerodynamic forces to maintain a desired orientation. This aerodynamic method of stabilization is passive and does not require energy expenses. Such a tether system can be used to stabilize the motion before landing onto the surface of Earth or other planets with atmospheres. The aerodynamic tether system is helpful for returning payloads from outer space, especially using small landing modules. It is also possible to utilize in the removal of space debris by reducing the altitude of their orbits. By achieving the spacecraft motion stability during descent the tether system enables a reduction in the target landing area at the final stage of the descent. The modelling of motion of the tether system includes two parts – (i) the deployment of the tether system, and (ii) the descent of deployed tether system through the dense layers of the atmosphere. The motion of the deployed tether system is investigated with regard to the terms of its stability. The tether system can be in stable motion even if either or both bodies are statically unstable. The stability of the system is assessed relative to the parameters – the mass, the geometrical dimensions of the bodies and the length of the tether. It is found that increasing the length of the tether, as a controlled part of the deployment process during descent, can provide an additional stabilizing factor for the tether system. The model of the deployment process, based on the model of an elastic tether, represents the tether as a set of nodes with mass and with elastic connections. The control of the deployment is based on the length and the rate of change of the length of the tether. The aerodynamic resistance of the tether and its mass characteristics are both taken into consideration during modelling of the deployment. The described and numerically realized mathematical models allows the parameters for the space tether system motion in the atmosphere to be determined.
    • 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.
    • The multi-dimensional Stochastic Stefan Financial Model for a portfolio of assets

      Antonopoulou, Dimitra; Bitsaki, Marina; Karali, Georgia; University of Chester; University of Crete (American Institute of Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), 2021-04-01)
      The financial model proposed in this work involves the liquidation process of a portfolio of n assets through sell or (and) buy orders placed, in a logarithmic scale, at a (vectorial) price with volatility. We present the rigorous mathematical formulation of this model in a financial setting resulting to an n-dimensional outer parabolic Stefan problem with noise. The moving boundary encloses the areas of zero trading, the so-called solid phase. We will focus on a case of financial interest when one or more markets are considered. In particular, our aim is to estimate for a short time period the areas of zero trading, and their diameter which approximates the minimum of the n spreads of the portfolio assets for orders from the n limit order books of each asset respectively. In dimensions n = 3, and for zero volatility, this problem stands as a mean field model for Ostwald ripening, and has been proposed and analyzed by Niethammer in [25], and in [7] in a more general setting. There in, when the initial moving boundary consists of well separated spheres, a first order approximation system of odes had been rigorously derived for the dynamics of the interfaces and the asymptotic pro le of the solution. In our financial case, we propose a spherical moving boundaries approach where the zero trading area consists of a union of spherical domains centered at portfolios various prices, while each sphere may correspond to a different market; the relevant radii represent the half of the minimum spread. We apply It^o calculus and provide second order formal asymptotics for the stochastic version dynamics, written as a system of stochastic differential equations for the radii evolution in time. A second order approximation seems to disconnect the financial model from the large diffusion assumption for the trading density. Moreover, we solve the approximating systems numerically.
    • Multi-metric Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Remote Learning in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Indicators and Guidance for Future Preparedness, 2020

      Behera, Amar Kumar; de Sousa, Ricardo Alves; Oleksik, Valentin; Dong, Jingyan; Fritzen, Daniel; University of Chester; University of Aveiro; Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu; North Carolina State University; SATC College (UK Data Service, 2021-07-27)
      This data set contains data collected from 5 universities in 5 countries about the effectiveness of e-learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically tailored to mechanical and industrial engineering students. A survey was administered in May, 2020 at these universities simultaneously, using Google Forms. The survey had 41 questions, including 24 questions on a 5-point Likert scale. The survey questions gathered data on their program of study, year of study, university of enrolment and mode of accessing their online learning content. The Likert scale questions on the survey gathered data on the effectiveness of digital delivery tools, student preferences for remote learning and the success of the digital delivery tools during the pandemic. All students enrolled in modules taught by the authors of this study were encouraged to fill the survey up. Additionally, remaining students in the departments associated with the authors were also encouraged to fill up the form through emails sent on mailing lists. The survey was also advertised on external websites such as survey circle and facebook. Crucial insights have been obtained after analysing this data set that link the student demographic profile (gender, program of study, year of study, university) to their preferences for remote learning and effectiveness of digital delivery tools. This data set can be used for further comparative studies and was useful to get a snapshot of student preferences and e-learning effectiveness during the COVID-19 pandemic, which required the use of e-learning tools on a wider scale than previously and using new modes such as video conferencing that were set up within a short timeframe of a few days or weeks.
    • Multi-metric Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Remote Learning in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Indicators and Guidance for Future Preparedness, 2021

      Behera, Amar Kumar; de Sousa, Ricardo Alves; Oleksik, Valentin; Dong, Jingyan; Fritzen, Daniel; University of Chester; University of Aveiro; Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu; North Carolina State University; SATC College, Criciuma
      This data set is a follow on study from a study on remote learning conducted in 2020 during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. It contains data collected from 5 universities in 5 countries about the effectiveness of e-learning during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, specifically tailored to mechanical and industrial engineering students. A survey was administered in August 2021 at these universities simultaneously, using Google Forms. The survey had 41 questions, including 24 questions on a 5-point Likert scale. The survey questions gathered data on their program of study, year of study, university of enrolment and mode of accessing their online learning content. The Likert scale questions on the survey gathered data on the effectiveness of digital delivery tools, student preferences for remote learning and the success of the digital delivery tools during the pandemic. All students enrolled in modules taught by the authors of this study were encouraged to fill the survey up. Additionally, remaining students in the departments associated with the authors were also encouraged to fill up the form through emails sent on mailing lists. The survey was also advertised on external websites such as survey circle and facebook. Crucial insights have been obtained after analysing this data set that link the student demographic profile (gender, program of study, year of study, university) to their preferences for remote learning and effectiveness of digital delivery tools. This data set can be used for further comparative studies and was useful to get a snapshot of the evolution of the student preferences and e-learning effectiveness during the COVID-19 pandemic from 2020 to 2021 by comparing with the dataset from 2020.
    • Multi-order fractional differential equations and their numerical solution

      Diethelm, Kai; Ford, Neville J.; Technische Universität Braunschweig ; University College Chester (Elsevier, 2004-07-15)
      This article considers the numerical solution of (possibly nonlinear) fractional differential equations of the form y(α)(t)=f(t,y(t),y(β1)(t),y(β2)(t),…,y(βn)(t)) with α>βn>βn−1>>β1 and α−βn1, βj−βj−11, 0
    • A multi-species chemotaxis system: Lyapunov functionals, duality, critical mass

      Kavallaris, Nikos I.; Ricciardi, Tonia; Zecca, Gabriela; University of Chester; Universita` di Napoli Federico II (Cambridge University Press, 2017-10-09)
      We introduce a multi-species chemotaxis type system admitting an arbitrarily large number of population species, all of which are attracted vs.\ repelled by a single chemical substance. The production vs.\ destruction rates of the chemotactic substance by the species is described by a probability measure. For such a model we investigate the variational structures, in particular we prove the existence of Lyapunov functionals, we establish duality properties as well as a logarithmic Hardy-Littlewood-Sobolev type inequality for the associated free energy. The latter inequality provides the optimal critical value for the conserved total population mass.
    • Multifunctional cellular sandwich structures with optimised core topologies for improved mechanical properties and energy harvesting performance

      Chen, Boyue; Narita, Fumio; Wang, Congsi; Jia, Yu; Shi, Yu; Univerisity of Chester; Tohuku University; Xidian University; Aston University (Elsevier, 2022-04-13)
      This paper developed a multifunctional composite sandwich structure with optimised design on topological cores. As the main concern, full composite sandwich structures were manufactured with carbon fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP) facesheets and designed cores. Three-point bending tests have been performed to assess the mechanical performance of designed cellular sandwich structures. To evaluate the energy harvesting performance, the piezoelectric transducer was integrated at the interface between the upper facesheet and core, with both sinusoidal base excitation input and acceleration measured from real cruising aircraft and vehicle. It has been found that the sandwich with conventional honeycomb core has demonstrated the best mechanical performance, assessed under the bending tests. In terms of energy harvesting performance, sandwich with re-entrant honeycomb manifested approximately 20% higher RMS voltage output than sandwiches with conventional honeycomb and chiral structure core, evaluated both numerically and experimentally. The resistance sweep tests further suggested that the power output from sandwich with re-entrant honeycomb core was twice as large as that from sandwiches with conventional honeycomb and chiral structure cores, under optimal external resistance and sinusoidal base excitation.
    • Multimodal Shear Wave Deicing Using Fibre Piezoelectric Actuator on Composite for Aircraft Wings

      Shi, Yu; Jia, Yu; University of Chester
      The formation and accretion of ice on aircraft wings during flight can be potentially disastrous and existing in-flight deicing methods are either bulky or power consuming. This paper investigates the use of shear wave deicing driven by a macro fibre piezoelectric composite actuator on a composite plate typically used for aircraft wings. While the few existing research on this novel deicing approach focused on either theoretical studies or single frequency mode optimization that required high-excitation amplitudes, this study revealed that the use of multimodal excitation through broadband frequency sweeps has the potential to promote the chance of shear stress induced deicing at a relatively small excitation amplitude. The results reported here form the foundation for a pathway towards low power and lightweight deicing mechanism for in-flight aircraft wings.
    • Multiphysics vibration FE model of piezoelectric macro fibre composite on carbon fibre composite structures

      Jia, Yu; Wei, Xueyong; Xu, Liu; Wang, Congsi; Lian, Peiyuan; Xue, Song; Alsaadi, Ahmed; Shi, Yu; University of Chester; Xi'an Jiaotong University; Xidian University (Elsevier, 2018-12-21)
      This paper presents a finite element (FE) model developed using commercial FE software COMSOL to simulate the multiphysical process of pieozoelectric vibration energy harvesting (PVEH), involving the dynamic mechanical and electrical behaviours of piezoelectric macro fibre composite (MFC) on carbon fibre composite structures. The integration of MFC enables energy harvesting, sensing and actuation capabilities, with applications found in aerospace, automotive and renewable energy. There is an existing gap in the literature on modelling the dynamic response of PVEH in relation to real-world vibration data. Most simulations were either semi-analytical MATLAB models that are geometry unspecific, or basic FE simulations limited to sinusoidal analysis. However, the use of representative environment vibration data is crucial to predict practical behaviour for industrial development. Piezoelectric device physics involving solid mechanics and electrostatics were combined with electrical circuit defined in this FE model. The structure was dynamically excited by interpolated vibration data files, while orthotropic material properties for MFC and carbon fibre composite were individually defined for accuracy. The simulation results were validated by experiments with <10﹪ deviation, providing confidence for the proposed multiphysical FE model to design and optimise PVEH smart composite structures.
    • Multiscale Understanding of Electric Polarization in Poly(vinylidene fluoride)-Based Ferroelectric Polymers

      Yang, Bin; Meng, Nan; Xintong, Ren; Zhu, Xiaojing; Wu, Jiyue; Gao, Feng; Zhang, Han; Liao, Yaozu; Bilotti, Emiliano; Reece, Michael; et al.
      Poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF) and PVDF-based copolymers with trifluoroethylene (PVDF-TrFE) have attracted considerable academic and industrial interest due to their ferroelectric properties, which are only presented in very few polymers. However, the underlying fundamentals of molecular ordering and induced polarizations are complex and not fully understood. Herein, PVDF, PVDF-TrFE and their blends, prepared using melt extrusion and hot pressing, have been selected to obtain controlled case studies with well-defined chain ordering and microstructures. Impedance analysis and terahertz time-domain spectroscopy are exploited to investigate electric polarization in PVDF-based polymers at different length scales. The extruded ferroelectric films show in-plane chain orientation and higher domain wall density compared to hot pressed films with randomly-distributed polymer chains, which favors the polarization at low frequencies (Hz to MHz), as concluded from the higher dielectric constants and more prominent high electric field polarization switching features. However, the domain walls cannot respond at high frequencies, which leads to lower dielectric constants in the extruded films at THz frequencies.
    • Nanodiamond based surface modified screen-printed electrodes for the simultaneous voltammetric determination of dopamine and uric acid.

      Baccarin, Marina; Rowley-Neale, Samuel J.; Cavalheiro, Éder T. G.; Smith, Graham C.; Banks, Craig E. (2019-02-22)
      The electroanalytical detection of the neurotransmitter dopamine (DA) in the presence of uric acid (UA) is explored for the first time using commercially procured nanodiamonds (NDs). These are electrically wired via surface modification upon screen-printed graphite macroelectrodes (SPEs). The surface coverage of the NDs on the SPEs was explored in order to optimize electroanalytical outputs to result in well-resolved signals and in low limits of detection. The (electro)analytical outputs are observed to be more sensitive than those achieved at bare (unmodified) SPEs. Such responses, previously reported in the academic literature have been reported to be electrocatalytic and have been previously attributed to the presence of surface sp2 carbon and oxygenated species on the surface of the NDs. However, XPS analysis reveals the commercial NDs to be solely composed of nonconductive sp3 carbon. The low/negligible electroconductivity of the NDs was further confirmed when ND paste electrodes were fabricated and found to exhibit no electrochemical activity. The electroanalytical enhancement, when using NDs electronically wired upon SPEs, is attributed not to the NDs themselves being electrocatalytic, as reported previously, but rather changes in mass transport where the inert NDs block the underlying electroactive SPEs and create a random array of graphite microelectrodes. The electrode was applied to simultaneous sensing of DA and UA at pH 5.5. Figures of merit include (a) low working potentials of around 0.27 and 0.35 V (vs. Ag/AgCl); and (b) detection limits of 5.7 × 10-7 and 8.9 × 10-7 M for DA and UA, respectively. Graphical abstract The electroanalytical enhancement of screen-printed electrodes modified with inert/non-conductive nanodiamonds is due to a change in mass transfer where the inert nanodiamonds facilitate the production of a random microelectrode array.
    • Neutral delay differential equations in the modelling of cell growth

      Baker, Christopher T. H.; Bocharov, Gennady; Rihan, F. A. R.; University of Chester (University of Chester, 2008)
      In this contribution, we indicate (and illustrate by example) roles that may be played by neutral delay differential equations in modelling of certain cell growth phenomena that display a time lag in reacting to events. We explore, in this connection, questions involving the sensitivity analysis of models and related mathematical theory; we provide some associated numerical results.
    • New binary self-dual codes of lengths 56, 58, 64, 80 and 92 from a modification of the four circulant construction.

      Gildea, Joe; Korban, Adrian; Roberts, Adam; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2021-05-31)
      In this work, we give a new technique for constructing self-dual codes over commutative Frobenius rings using $\lambda$-circulant matrices. The new construction was derived as a modification of the well-known four circulant construction of self-dual codes. Applying this technique together with the building-up construction, we construct singly-even binary self-dual codes of lengths 56, 58, 64, 80 and 92 that were not known in the literature before. Singly-even self-dual codes of length 80 with $\beta \in \{2,4,5,6,8\}$ in their weight enumerators are constructed for the first time in the literature.
    • New binary self-dual codes via a generalization of the four circulant construction

      Gildea, Joe; Kaya, Abidin; Yildiz, Bahattin; University of Chester ; Sampoerna University ; Northern Arizona University (Croatian Mathematical Society, 2020-05-31)
      In this work, we generalize the four circulant construction for self-dual codes. By applying the constructions over the alphabets $\mathbb{F}_2$, $\mathbb{F}_2+u\mathbb{F}_2$, $\mathbb{F}_4+u\mathbb{F}_4$, we were able to obtain extremal binary self-dual codes of lengths 40, 64 including new extremal binary self-dual codes of length 68. More precisely, 43 new extremal binary self-dual codes of length 68, with rare new parameters have been constructed.