• 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.
    • Fabrication of Graphene Oxide Supercapacitor Devices

      Down, Michael P.; Rowley-Neale, Samuel J.; Smith, Graham C.; Banks, Craig E.; orcid: 0000-0002-0756-9764 (American Chemical Society (ACS), 2018-02-14)
    • Dielectric and Double Debye Parameters of Artificial Normal Skin and Melanoma

      Yang, Bin; Zhang, Rui; Yang, Ke; AbuAli, Najah A.; Hayajneh, Mohammad; Philpott, Mike; Abbasi, Qammer H.; Alomainy, Akram; University of Chester (Springer, 2019-05-16)
      The aim of this study is to characterise the artificial normal skin and melanoma by testing samples with different fibroblast and metastatic melanoma cell densities using terahertz (THz) time-domain spectroscopy (TDS) attenuated total reflection (ATR) technique. Results show that melanoma samples have higher refractive index and absorption coefficient than artificial normal skin with the same fibroblast density in the frequency range between 0.4 and 1.6 THz, and this contrast increases with frequency. It is primarily because that the melanoma samples have higher water content than artificial normal skin, and the main reason to melanoma containing more water is that tumour cells degrade the contraction of the collagen lattice. In addition, complex refractive index and permittivity of the melanoma samples have larger variations than that of normal skin samples. For example, the refractive index of artificial normal skin at 0.5 THz increases 4.3% while that of melanoma samples increases 8.7% when the cell density rises from 0.1 to 1 M/ml. It indicates that cellular response of fibroblast and melanoma cells to THz radiation is significantly different. Furthermore, the extracted double Debye (DD) model parameters demonstrate that the static permittivity at low frequency and slow relaxation time can be reliable classifiers to differentiate melanoma from healthy skin regardless of the cell density. This study helps understand the complex response of skin tissues to THz radiation and the origin of the contrast between normal skin and cancerous tissues.
    • Quality Mapping of Offset Lithographic Printed Antenna Substrates and Electrodes by Millimeter-Wave Imaging

      Zhang, Jiao; Tang, Jianhua; Sun, Wenfeng; Zhang, Yan; Yang, Bin; Wang, Xinke; University of Chester (MDPI, 2019-06-14)
      Offset lithographic printed flexible antenna substrate boards and electrodes have attracted much attention recently due to the boost of flexible electronics. Unmanned quality inspection of these printed substrate boards and electrodes demands high-speed, large-scale and nondestructive methods, which is highly desired for manufacturing industries. The work here demonstrates two kinds of millimeter (mm)-wave imaging technologies for the quality (surface uniformity and functionality parameters) inspection of printed silver substrates and electrodes on paper and thin polyethylene film, respectively. One technology is a mm-wave line scanner system and the other is a terahertz-time domain spectroscopy-based charge-coupled device (CCD) imaging system. The former shows the ability of detecting transmitted mm-wave amplitude signals only; its detection is fast in a second time scale and the system shows great potential for the inspection of large-area printed surface uniformity. The latter technology achieves high spatial resolution images of up to hundreds of micrometers at the cost of increased inspection time, in a time scale of tens of seconds. With the exception of absorption rate information, the latter technology offers additional phase information, which can be used to work out 2D permittivity distribution. Moreover, its uniformity is vital for the antenna performance. Additionally, the results demonstrate that compression rolling treatment significantly improves the uniformity of printed silver surfaces and enhances the substrate’s permittivity values.
    • Microstructure and broadband dielectric properties of Zn2SiO4 ceramics with nano-sized TiO2 addition

      Weng, Zhangzhao; Song, Chunxiao; Xiong, Zhaoxian; Xue, Hao; Sun, Wenfeng; Zhang, Yan; Yang, Bin; Reece, Michael J.; Yan, Haixue; Xiamen University; Capital Normal University; University of Chester; Queen Mary, University of London; China Electronic Product Reliability and Environmental Testing Research Institute (Elsevier, 2019-04-06)
      Zn2SiO4 ceramics with nano-sized TiO2 addition (ZST) were synthesized by conventional solid state method. The association between the new composite’s microstructures and dielectric properties reveals that reduced pores, increased density and average grain sizes with increasing sintering temperatures, have contributed to the increased permittivities at kHz and microwave bands; the decrease of the permittivities at 1275 0C is due to the form of twin planes. At the terahertz band, the competition of generating oxygen vacancies and forming them into twin crystallographic shear planes dominates the change of permittivities: the crystallographic shear planes decrease the permittivity at the sintering temperature 12250C and 12500C, and the high-rate generation of oxygen vacancies at 1275 0C increases the permittivities. The ZST ceramics demonstrate stable permittivity and low dielectric losses (<10-3 from 10 kHz to microwave band; and < 10-2 at THz range); and the temperature coefficient of resonant frequency is optimized to close zero. These advanced dielectric properties and low sintering temperature (<13000C) provide the ZST ceramics great potential in designing microwave and THz devices.
    • Comparative Performance Modelling of Heat Pump based Heating Systems using Dynamic Carbon Intensity

      Counsell, John; Khalid, Yousaf; Stewart, Matt; University of Chester (IET, 2018-11)
      Modern buildings and homes utilise multiple systems for energy generation, supply and storage in order to maintain occupant comfort, reduce operating costs and CO2 emissions. In recent times electricity generation and supply network (UK National Grid) have had to manage variable supply from renewable sources such as wind turbines and photovoltaics. This resulting supply mixture has a dynamic profile at intermittent times. To manage excess supply, the options are either to reduce the generation by power stations/renewables or reinforce the power infrastructure with storage capability. This has given rise to calls for electrification of services in streamlining the supply profile through intelligent demand response such as electric heating and vehicles. Furthermore, due to zero carbon energy sources with dynamic supply profile, the carbon intensity is no longer constant. This impacts the seasonal CO2 emissions calculations and also the design and performance of electrical powered heat pump based heating systems. The RISE (Renewable Integrated Sustainable Electric) heating system was developed (funded by the UK Research and Innovation), where an electrical powered Heat pump is combined with electric thermal storage allowing low cost and low carbon electricity to be utilised. For such a system more realistic performance analysis requires dynamic carbon intensity calculations to assess impact on its ability to maintain comfort, low operating costs and low carbon emissions. The paper builds upon previously published research on the RISE system comparing with domestic Gas Condensing Boiler (GCB) using static carbon calculations. This paper presents a comparison between the RISE system and standard domestic electrical powered Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP) when using static and dynamic carbon intensity profiles. The Inverse Dynamics based Energy Assessment and Simulation (IDEAS) framework is utilised for modelling and dynamic simulation of building and heating system, operating cost and estimation of annual emissions based on half hourly (HH) dynamic CO2 intensity figures rather than annual average. The results show that with dynamic carbon intensity calculations, both electric heat pump based heating systems, RISE and ASHP show a significant increase (>15%) in carbon emissions for space heating. The results also show that whilst the RISE system’s thermal storage helps to reduce running costs using a time of use tariff (TOU), it only provides a small benefit in carbon emissions.
    • Programmable logic controllers and Direct digital controls in Buildings

      Khalid, Yousaf; University of Chester (2018-09)
      The concept of programmable logic controller (PLC) originated over the last century that has revolutionised the industrial sector. In the last few decades PLC in the form of DDC has been commonly used in Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS). The contribution of this work is to analyse PLC/DDC role in the ongoing BEMS advancements in the building sector. Currently DDC are not understood by building design and simulation engineers who assess the controllability of the building in practice. This paper would enhance the understanding of integrating DDC in buildings and influence creation of better modelling and simulation tools for assessing their impact on energy performance in practice.
    • Perovskite Srx(Bi1-xNa0.97-xLi0.03)0.5TiO3 ceramics with polar nano regions for high power energy storage

      Wu, Jiyue; Mahajan, Amit; Riekehr, Lars; Zhang, Hangfeng; Yang, Bin; Meng, Nan; Zhang, Zhen; Yan, Haixue; Queen Mary University of London; Uppsala University; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2018-06-06)
      Dielectric capacitors are very attractive for high power energy storage. However, the low energy density of these capacitors, which is mainly limited by the dielectric materials, is still the bottleneck for their applications. In this work, lead-free single-phase perovskite Srx(Bi1-xNa0.97-xLi0.03)0.5TiO3 (x=0.30 and 0.38) bulk ceramics, prepared using solid-state reaction method, were carefully studied for the dielectric capacitor application. Polar nano regions (PNRs) were created in this material using co-substitution at A-site to enable relaxor behaviour with low remnant polarization (Pr) and high maximum polarization (Pmax). Moreover, Pmax was further increased due to reversible electric field induced phase transitions. Comprehensive structural and electrical studies were performed to confirm the PNRs and the reversible phase transitions. And finally a high energy density (1.70 J/cm3) with an excellent efficiency (87.2%) was achieved using the contribution of PNRs and field-induced transitions in this material, making it among the best performing lead-free dielectric ceramic bulk material for high energy storage.
    • Hybrid Heat Pump for Micro Heat Network

      Counsell, M. J.; Khalid, Yousaf; Stewart, M.; University of Chester (World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology (WASET), 2017-10-17)
      Achieving nearly zero carbon heating continues to be identified by UK government analysis as an important feature of any lowest cost pathway to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Heat currently accounts for 48% of UK energy consumption and approximately one third of UK’s greenhouse gas emissions. Heat Networks are being promoted by UK investment policies as one means of supporting hybrid heat pump based solutions. To this effect the RISE (Renewable Integrated and Sustainable Electric) heating system project is investigating how an all-electric heating sourceshybrid configuration could play a key role in long-term decarbonisation of heat. For the purposes of this study, hybrid systems are defined as systems combining the technologies of an electric driven air source heat pump, electric powered thermal storage, a thermal vessel and micro-heat network as an integrated system. This hybrid strategy allows for the system to store up energy during periods of low electricity demand from the national grid, turning it into a dynamic supply of low cost heat which is utilized only when required. Currently a prototype of such a system is being tested in a modern house integrated with advanced controls and sensors. This paper presents the virtual performance analysis of the system and its design for a micro heat network with multiple dwelling units. The results show that the RISE system is controllable and can reduce carbon emissions whilst being competitive in running costs with a conventional gas boiler heating system.
    • Controllability of buildings: computing and managing energy in practice

      Khalid, Yousaf; University of Chester (Journal of Computing and Management Studies (JCMS), 2018-05)
      Modern buildings utilise multiple systems for energy generation, supply and storage in order to maintain occupant comfort. Consequently, complex computer based energy management systems are utilised for design and operation of such buildings. Often these buildings perform poor in practice in terms of energy consumption, cost and carbon emissions due to lack of thorough analysis of their controllability during the design process. This paper highlights the deficiencies in the current building design practice and the need for appropriate framework to assess controllability of buildings during design stages so that complex building energy systems are easier to manage in practice.
    • SrFe12O19 based ceramics with ultra-low dielectric loss in the millimetre-wave band

      Yu, Chuying; Zeng, Yang; Yang, Bin; Wylde, Richard; Donnan, Robert S.; Wu, Jiyue; Xu, Jie; Gao, Feng; Abrahams, Isaac; Reece, Michael J.; et al. (AIP Publishing, 2018-04-02)
      Non-reciprocal devices such as isolators and circulators, based mainly on ferromagnetic materials, require extremely low dielectric loss in order for strict power-link budgets to be met for millimetre (mm)-wave and terahertz (THz) systems. The dielectric loss of commercial SrFe12O19 hexaferrite was significantly reduced to below 0.002 in the 75 - 170 GHz band by thermal annealing. While the overall concentration of Fe2+ and oxygen vacancy defects is relatively low in the solid, their concentration at the surface is significantly higher, allowing for a surface sensitive technique such as XPS to monitor the Fe3+/Fe2+ redox reaction. Oxidation of Fe2+ and a decrease in oxygen vacancies is found at the surface on annealing, which is reflected in the bulk sample by a small change in unit cell volume. The significant decrease in dielectric loss property can be attributed to the decreased concentration of charged defects such as Fe2+ and oxygen vacancies through annealing process, which demonstrated that thermal annealing could be effective in improving the dielectric performance of ferromagnetic materials for various applications.
    • Quality-Control of UV offset Lithographicaly Printed Electronic-Ink by THz Technology

      Zeng, Yang; Donnan, Robert S.; Edwards, Marc; Yang, Bin; University of Chester (IEEE Conference Publications, 2017-10-16)
      In this paper, a novel quality-monitor method of inkjet-printed electronics based on terahertz (THz) sensing is presented. Specifically, two different approaches, namely THz reflection spectroscopy and THz near-field scanning, are proposed.
    • Terahertz Characterisation of UV Offset Lithographically Printed Electronic-Ink

      Zeng, Yang; Edwards, Marc; Stevens, Robert; Bowen, John; Donnan, Robert S.; Yang, Bin; University of London; National University of Defense Technology; University of Chester; Nottingham Trent University; University of Reading (Elsevier, 2017-06-10)
      Inkjet-printed electronics are showing promising potential in practical applications, but methods for real-time, non-contact monitoring of printing quality are lacking. This work explores Terahertz (THz) sensing as an approach for such monitoring. It is demonstrated that alterations in the localised dielectric characteristics of inkjet-printed electronics can be qualitatively distinguished using quasi-optically-based, sub-THz reflection spectroscopy. Decreased reflection coefficients caused by the sintering process are observed and quantified. Using THz near-field scanning imaging, it is shown that sintering produces a more uniform spatial distribution of permittivity in the printed carbon patterns. Images generated using THz-TDS based imaging are presented, demonstrating the combination of high resolution imaging with quantification of complex permittivities. This work, for the first time, demonstrates the feasibility of quality control in printed electronic-ink with THz sensing, and is of practical significance to the development of in-situ and non-contact commercial-quality characterisation methods for inkjet-printed electronics.
    • Titanium Dioxide Engineered for Near-dispersionless High Terahertz Permittivity and Ultra-low-loss

      Chuying, Yu; Zeng, Yang; Yang, Bin; Donnan, Robert S.; Huang, Jinbao; Xiong, Zhaoxian; Mahajan, Amit; Shi, Baogui; Ye, Haitao; Binions, Russell; et al. (Nature Publishing Group, 2017-07-26)
      Realising engineering ceramics to serve as substrate materials in high-performance terahertz(THz) that are low-cost, have low dielectric loss and near-dispersionless broadband, high permittivity, is exceedingly demanding. Such substrates are deployed in, for example, integrated circuits for synthesizing and converting nonplanar and 3D structures into planar forms. The Rutile form of titanium dioxide (TiO2) has been widely accepted as commercially economical candidate substrate that meets demands for both low-loss and high permittivities at sub-THz bands. However, the relationship between its mechanisms of dielectric response to the microstructure have never been systematically investigated in order to engineer ultra-low dielectric-loss and high value, dispersionless permittivities. Here we show TiO2 THz dielectrics with high permittivity (ca. 102.30) and ultra-low loss (ca. 0.0042). These were prepared by insight gleaned from a broad use of materials characterisation methods to successfully engineer porosities, second phase, crystallography shear-planes and oxygen vacancies during sintering. The dielectric loss achieved here is not only with negligible dispersion over 0.2 - 0.8 THz, but also has the lowest value measured for known high-permittivity dielectrics. We expect the insight afforded by this study will underpin the development of subwavelength-scale, planar integrated circuits, compact high Q-resonators and broadband, slow-light devices in the THz band.
    • Design and specification of building integrated DC electricity networks

      Stewart, M.; Counsell, M. J.; Al-Khaykan, A.; University of Chester (IEEE, 2017-01-19)
      Adoption of millions of small energy efficient, low power digital and DC appliances at home and at work is resulting in a significant and fast growing fraction of a building's electricity actually consumed in low voltage DC form. Building integrated energy systems featuring renewable photovoltaics are also increasingly attractive as part of an overall electricity and emissions reduction strategy. This paper details design and specification of a novel system level method of matching building integrated photovoltaic electricity generation with local low voltage DC appliances in office and other ICT intensive environments such as schools. The chosen scenario considers load components consisting of a diverse range of modern low power ICT and DC appliances, networked and powered by industry certified smart DC distribution technologies. Energy supply to the converged DC, IT and ICT network is described as featuring a roof-mounted or other on-site photovoltaic array in combination with conventional supply from the local grid infrastructure. The direct and strategic benefits of smart DC infrastructures are highlighted as the enabling technology for optimal demand reduction through fully integrated energy management of DC systems in buildings.
    • Assessment of Multi-Domain Energy Systems Modelling Methods

      Stewart, M.; Counsell, M. J.; Al-Khaykan, A.; University of Chester (World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology, 2017)
      Emissions are a consequence of electricity generation. A major option for low carbon generation, local energy systems featuring Combined Heat and Power with solar PV (CHPV) has significant potential to increase energy performance, increase resilience, and offer greater control of local energy prices while complementing the UK’s emissions standards and targets. Recent advances in dynamic modelling and simulation of buildings and clusters of buildings using the IDEAS framework have successfully validated a novel multi-vector (simultaneous) control of both heat and electricity approach to integrating the wide range of primary and secondary plant typical of local energy systems designs including CHP, solar PV, gas boilers, absorption chillers and thermal energy storage, and associated electrical and hot water networks, all operating under a single unified control strategy. Results from this work indicate through simulation that integrated control of thermal storage can have a pivotal role in optimizing system performance well beyond the present expectations. Environmental impact analysis and reporting of all energy systems including CHPV LES presently employ a static annual average carbon emissions intensity for grid supplied electricity. This paper focuses on establishing and validating CHPV environmental performance against conventional emissions values and assessment benchmarks to analyze emissions performance without and with an active thermal store in a notional group of non-domestic buildings. Results of this analysis are presented and discussed in context of performance validation and quantifying the reduced environmental impact of CHPV systems with active energy storage in comparison with conventional LES designs.
    • Spreadsheet tools to estimate the thermal transmittance and thermal conductivities of gas spaces of an Insulated Glazing Unit

      Nammi, Sathish K.; Shirvani, Hassan; Shirvani, Ayoub; Edwards, Gerard; Dunn, Jeremy; Anglia Ruskin University, Anglia Ruskin University, Anglia Ruskin University, University of Chester, Glazing Vision (Anglia Ruskin Research Online, 2014-03)
      An Insulated Glazing unit (IGU) is constructed with two or more layers of glass panes sealed together by gas spaces in-between. IGUs are prevalent in windows, doors and rooflights, primarily due to their improved thermal resistance. Today, most IGUs are either two or three layered. Adding further layers of glass improves thermal insulation but with the penalty of increased cost and weight. Low emissivity (Low-e) film coatings, when deposited on the glass panes, reduce long-wavelength radiative heat losses. Furthermore, filling the gas spaces with the inert gases (e.g. Argon, Krypton, Xenon and SF6), further reduce conduction and natural convection across the gap. In summary, higher thermal insulation performance of an IGU can be achieved with gas fillings and Low-e coatings on glass. This report discusses spreadsheets that have been developed, capable of estimating the thermal transmittance values of IGU, as per BS EN 673. The spreadsheet tools also have the ability to estimate the thermal conductivity of the gas spaces between the panes of IGU.
    • Verification of calculation code THERM in accordance with BS EN ISO 10077-2

      Nammi, Sathish K.; Shirvani, Hassan; Shirvani, Ayoub; Edwards, Gerard; Whitty, Justin P. M.; Anglia Ruskin University, Anglia Ruskin University, Anglia Ruskin University, University of Chester, University of Central Lancashire (Anglia Ruskin Research Online, 2014)
      Calculation codes are useful in predicting the heat transfer features in the fenestration industry. THERM is a finite element analysis based code, which can be used to compute thermal transmittance of windows, doors and shutters. It is important to verify results of THERM as per BS EN ISO 10077-2 to meet the compliance requirements. In this report, two-dimensional thermal conductance parameters were computed. Three versions of THERM, 5.2, 6.3 and 7.1, were used at two successive finite element mesh densities to assess their comparability. The results were all compliant with the aforementioned British Standard.
    • Visual-Inertial 2D Feature Tracking based on an Affine Photometric Model

      Aufderheide, Dominik; Edwards, Gerard; Krybus, Werner; South Westphalia University of Applied Sciences, University of Chester, South Westphalia University of Applied Sciences (Springer, 2015)
      The robust tracking of point features throughout an image sequence is one fundamental stage in many different computer vision algorithms (e.g. visual modelling, object tracking, etc.). In most cases, this tracking is realised by means of a feature detection step and then a subsequent re-identification of the same feature point, based on some variant of a template matching algorithm. Without any auxiliary knowledge about the movement of the camera, actual tracking techniques are only robust for relatively moderate frame-to-frame feature displacements. This paper presents a framework for a visual-inertial feature tracking scheme, where images and measurements of an inertial measurement unit (IMU) are fused in order to allow a wider range of camera movements. The inertial measurements are used to estimate the visual appearance of a feature’s local neighbourhood based on a affine photometric warping model.
    • Effect of cell-size on the energy absorption features of closed-cell aluminium foams

      Nammi, Sathish K.; Edwards, Gerard; Shirvani, Hassan; Anglia Ruskin University, University of Chester, Anglia Ruskin University, (Elsevier, 2016-07-02)
      The effect of cell-size on the compressive response and energy absorption features of closed-cell aluminium (Al) foam were investigated by finite element method. Micromechanical models were constructed with a repeating unit-cell (RUC) which was sectioned from tetrakaidecahedra structure. Using this RUC, three Al foam models with different cell-sizes (large, medium and small) and all of same density, were built. These three different cell-size pieces of foam occupy the same volume and their domains contained 8, 27 and 64 RUCs respectively. However, the smaller cell-size foam has larger surface area to volume ratio compared to other two. Mechanical behaviour was modelled under uniaxial loading. All three aggregates (3D arrays of RUCs) of different cell-sizes showed an elastic region at the initial stage, then followed by a plateau, and finally, a densification region. The smaller cell size foam exhibited a higher peak-stress and a greater densification strain comparing other two cell-sizes investigated. It was demonstrated that energy absorption capabilities of smaller cell-size foams was higher compared to the larger cell-sizes examined.