The Department of Chemical Engineering is located on Thornton Science Park, a modern expressly-designed site that profits from a recently-completed multi-million pound renovation that has created a state-of-the-art teaching and research facility. The site was home to Shell UK’s exploration and research centre since the 1940s, and its takeover by the University heralded the opportunity to apply its legacy to the continuation of world-class innovation and research in the North West.

Recent Submissions

  • Coumarin‐Based Light‐Responsive Composite Nanochannel Membranes for Precise Controlled Release of Pesticides

    Gong, Jue‐Ying; Zhou, Xing‐Long; Faraj, Yousef; Zou, Lin‐Bing; Zhou, Chang‐Hai; Xie, Rui; Wang, Wei; Liu, Zhuang; Pan, Da‐Wei; Ju, Xiao‐Jie; et al. (Wiley, 2024-01-28)
    The precise, controllable, and safe application of pesticides can effectively reduce pesticide consumption and minimize chemical pollution at the source. Here, a light‐responsive controlled‐release system with flexible control, precise release, easy recovery, and suitability for future pesticide application in aquatic environments is proposed. The system precisely controls the release of pesticides through a light‐responsive composite nanochannel membrane (CTC@SNM/PET) with reactive coumarin derivatives (CTC) as gating molecules. The prepared nanochannel membrane has an ultrathin thickness of 67.5 nm and well‐ordered vertical nanochannels with a uniform size of 1.9 nm, providing a prerequisite for precise molecular gating and high permeability for mass transport. CTC monomers can realize cycloaddition/cyclocracking and nanochannel closing/opening to control the release of pesticides by controlling 365/254 nm ultraviolet light irradiation. As a proof of concept, the light‐responsive controlled‐release system based on CTC@MSF/PET against Saprolegnia parasitica achieves an inhibition rate of more than 95% and reduces pesticide residues by 56.5% compared to the control group. The proposed membrane system has great application potential to easily enable remote, quantitative, timed, and positioned pesticide application, thereby reducing pesticide residues and providing a prospective approach to reducing environmental and human risks.
  • Dissolving microneedle system containing Ag nanoparticle-decorated silk fibroin microspheres and antibiotics for synergistic therapy of bacterial biofilm infection

    Li, Yao; Gong, Jue-Ying; Wang, Po; Fu, Han; Faraj, Yousef; Xie, Rui; Wang, Wei; Liu, Zhuang; Pan, Da-Wei; Ju, Xiao-Jie; et al. (Elsevier, 2024-01-26)
    Most cases of delayed wound healing are associated with bacterial biofilm infections due to high antibiotic resistance. To improve patient compliance and recovery rates, it is critical to develop minimally invasive and efficient methods to eliminate bacterial biofilms as an alternative to clinical debridement techniques. Herein, we develop a dissolving microneedle system containing Ag nanoparticles (AgNPs)-decorated silk fibroin microspheres (SFM-AgNPs) and antibiotics for synergistic treatment of bacterial biofilm infection. Silk fibroin microspheres (SFM) are controllably prepared in an incompatible system formed by a mixture of protein and carbohydrate solutions by using a mild all-aqueous phase method and serve as biological templates for the synthesis of AgNPs. The SFM-AgNPs exert dose- and time-dependent broad-spectrum antibacterial effects by inducing bacterial adhesion. The combination of SFM-AgNPs with antibiotics breaks the limitation of the antibacterial spectrum and achieves better efficacy with reduced antibiotic dosage. Using hyaluronic acid (HA) as the soluble matrix, the microneedle system containing SFM-AgNPs and anti-Gram-positive coccus drug (Mupirocin) inserts into the bacterial biofilms with sufficient strength, thereby effectively delivering the antibacterial agents and realizing good antibiofilm effect on Staphylococcus aureus-infected wounds. This work demonstrates the great potential for the development of novel therapeutic systems for eradicating bacterial biofilm infections.
  • Designing defect enriched Bi2Ti2O7/C3N4 micro-photo-electrolysis reactor for photo-Fenton like catalytic reaction

    Yan, Yuan; Hu, Wenyuan; Xie, Xinyu; Faraj, Yousef; Yang, Wulin; Xie, Ruzhen; Sichuan University; Southwest University of Science and Technology; Russian Federation Kaluga No. 13 School; University of Chester; Peking University; Tianfu Yongxing Laboratory, Chengdu (Elsevier, 2023-10-28)
    Among various advanced oxidation processes, photo-Fenton like catalysis, which couples solar energy with Fenton-like catalysis to generate highly reactive species for wastewater decontamination, has attracted broad interests. However, photo-Fenton catalysts usually suffer from poor pH adaptability, metal leaching and photogenerated charge recombination. Herein, a novel defect-enriched Bi2Ti2O7/C3N4 (BTO/CN) heterojunction is prepared via ball milling-thermal treatment method and used as a durable photo-Fenton like catalyst to degrade phenol in water. The BTO/CN heterojunction shows an excellent optical absorption capacity, and a superior e--h+ separation efficiency. With the addition of PMS, a micro-photo-electrolysis reactor can be formed in the BTO/CN, rendering it high photocatalytic activity, excellent tolerance to environmental condition and exceptional stability. The BTO/CN micro-photo-electrolysis reactor exhibits superior performance in phenol removal and excellent tolerance towards salt ions. Non-radical pathway and radical dotOH oxidation are demonstrated to contribute to phenol degradation in the BTO/CN heterojunction photo-Fenton-like system. The PMS can simultaneously boost the interfacial charge transmission from BTO to CN forming internal BTO photoanode and CN photocathode, leading to sustainable photocatalytic performance without secondary pollution. This work successfully demonstrates a feasible strategy to develop solar energy assisted Fenton-like catalyst for efficient water decontamination, which holds a great promise towards practical photo-Fenton water decontamination.
  • Mechanism of anodic activation of chloride to generate singlet oxygen for fast organic removal using an innovative anode

    Zhang, Weijuan; Lin, Hui; Faraj, Yousef; Xie, Ruzhen; Sichuan University; Dongguan University of Technology; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2024-01-19)
    Electrochemical persulfate activation (E-PS) has recently emerged as a highly effective advanced oxidation process in water decontamination. However, the presence of chloride ions (Cl−) in waters can accelerate anodic corrosion as well as lead to the formation of toxic chlorinated byproducts (i.e., ClO4 −), limiting its practical application. In this study, we introduce a novel Nd/Bi@SnO2 anode to construct E-PS, which exhibits high stability in chloride-containing water with a long-expected service lifetime of 13.7 years. The Nd/Bi@SnO2 electrode can effectively convert Cl− to reactive chlorine with the assistance of PMS, triggering singlet oxygen (1O2) generation for superior organic removal while avoiding toxic chlorinated byproducts (i.e., ClO4 −) generation as well as greatly reducing the energy consumption. Comprehensive structural and electrochemical characterization results demonstrate Nd/Bi co-doping introduces oxygen vacancy on Nd/Bi@SnO2, enabling the anode with high oxygen evolution potential, excellent conductivity and superior stability. Scavenging experiments and electron paramagnetic resonance illustrate the generation of various reactive species in the system, among which 1O2 predominantly contributes to organic removal and results in harmless intermediates. This innovative approach transforms Cl− into ROSs for eco-friendly, energy-efficient water decontamination.
  • Pressurised Anaerobic Digestion for Reducing the Costs of Biogas Upgrading

    Liang, Zhixuan; Wilkinson, D. W.; Wang, C.; Wilkinson, S. J. (Springer, 2023-05-11)
    The overall purpose of this study is to investigate the potential for producing higher energy biogas at elevated fermentation pressures. Upgrading of biogas is often carried out to increase its methane (energy) content by removing carbon dioxide. Upgrading is used, for example, to give methane of sufficient purity that it can be injected directly into the gas supply grid. In this research, freshwater algae are used as the feedstock for anaerobic digestion (AD) to produce biogas as a source of renewable energy. Although this has been the subject of extensive research over the past few decades, the main reason why AD has not been more widely commercialised is because it can have poor economic viability. In this paper, we used two similar bioreactors of capacity 1.5 L to generate biogas at different pressures. The methane concentration of the biogas increases to at least 70.0% for a headspace pressure greater than 4 bara compared to 57.5% or less when the pressure is less than 1.6 bara. The higher pressure operation therefore reduces the amount of upgrading required leading to a reduction in the cost of this step. Another interesting finding of this study is that the solubility of biogas in the digestate is estimated to be only 3.7% (best fit value) of its solubility in pure water, which is much lower than the values previously reported in the literature.
  • Measurement of interfacial shear stress in gas–liquid two-phase stratified flow

    Fang, Lide; Ge, Bin; Li, Zhixuan; Sun, Xuyang; Han, Bangbang; Faraj, Yousef; Zhao, Ning; Hebei University; National and Local Joint Engineering Research Center for Measuring Instruments and Systems; University of Chester (American Institute of Physics, 2023-10-26)
    Gas–liquid two-phase stratified flow exists in many industrial processes. Although the flow pattern is simple, the interfacial shear prediction of stratified flow is still the focus of the study. The calculation of the shear stress at the gas–liquid interface is closely related to the measurement of the void fraction and pressure drop of the stratified flow. In this study, a new method for the calculation of interfacial shear stress of gas–liquid two-phase stratified flow is proposed. Differential pressure measurement and planar laser-induced fluorescence technology are combined to obtain important parameters for stratified flow under low-speed flow conditions (Ql = 0.10–0.25 m3/h, Qg = 0.35–1.00 m3/h). The interfacial shear stress is successfully calculated using macroparameters. The uncertainty associated with the calculated parameters using the proposed method is 2.67%, and this study verifies the accuracy of the linear relationship. The method provides a new way to obtain the interfacial shear stress of gas–liquid stratified flow.
  • Computationally Modelling Cholesterol Metabolism and Atherosclerosis

    Davies, Callum; Morgan, Amy E.; Mc Auley, Mark T. (MDPI, 2023-08-14)
    Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death globally. The underlying pathological driver of CVD is atherosclerosis. The primary risk factor for atherosclerosis is elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C). Dysregulation of cholesterol metabolism is synonymous with a rise in LDL-C. Due to the complexity of cholesterol metabolism and atherosclerosis mathematical models are routinely used to explore their non-trivial dynamics. Mathematical modelling has generated a wealth of useful biological insights, which have deepened our understanding of these processes. To date however, no model has been developed which fully captures how whole-body cholesterol metabolism intersects with atherosclerosis. The main reason for this is one of scale. Whole body cholesterol metabolism is defined by macroscale physiological processes, while atherosclerosis operates mainly at a microscale. This work describes how a model of cholesterol metabolism was combined with a model of atherosclerotic plaque formation. This new model is capable of reproducing the output from its parent models. Using the new model, we demonstrate how this system can be utilized to identify interventions that lower LDL-C and abrogate plaque formation.
  • A one-class support vector machine for detecting valve stiction

    O’Neill, Harrison; Khalid, Yousaf; Spink, Graham; Thorpe, Patrick; University of Chester; Durham University; Spiro Control (Elsevier, 2023-08-18)
    In industrial processes, control valve stiction is known to be one of the primary causes for poor control loop performance. Stiction introduces oscillatory behaviour in the process, leading to increased energy consumption, variations in product quality, shortened equipment lifespan and a reduction in overall plant profitability. Several detection algorithms using routine operating data have been developed over the last few decades. However, with the exception of a handful of recent publications, few attempts to apply classical supervised learning techniques have been published thus far. In this work, principal component analysis, linear discriminant analysis and a one-class support vector machine are trained to detect stiction using time series features as input. These features are extracted from the data using the tsfresh package for Python. The training data consists of simulated stiction examples generated using the XCH stiction model as well as other sources of oscillation. The classifier is subsequently benchmarked against closed-loop stiction data collected in an industrial setting, with performance exceeding that of existing methods.
  • Development of new thiazolidine-2,4-dione hybrids as aldose reductase inhibitors endowed with antihyperglycaemic activity: design, synthesis, biological investigations, and in silico insights

    Hamdi, Abdelrahman; Yaseen, Muhammad; Ewesa, Wafaa A.; Bhat, Mashooq Ahmad; Ziedan, Noha; El-Shafey, Hamed W.; Mohamed, Ahmed A. B.; Elnagar, Mohamed R.; Haikalh, Abdullah; Othmana, Dina I. A.; et al. (Taylor & Francis, 2023-07-20)
    This research study describes the development of new small molecules based on 2,4-thiazolidinedione (2,4-TZD) and their aldose reductase (AR) inhibitory activities. The synthesis of 17 new derivatives of 2,4-TZDs hybrids was feasible by incorporating two known bioactive scaffolds, benzothiazole heterocycle, and nitro phenacyl moiety. The most active hybrid (8b) was found to inhibit AR in a non-competitive manner (0.16 µM), as confirmed by kinetic studies and molecular docking simulations. Furthermore, the in vivo experiments demonstrated that compound 8b had a significant hypoglycaemic effect in mice with hyperglycaemia induced by streptozotocin. Fifty milligrams per kilogram dose of 8b produced a marked decrease in blood glucose concentration, and a lower dose of 5 mg/kg demonstrated a noticeable antihyperglycaemic effect. These outcomes suggested that compound 8b may be used as a promising therapeutic agent for the treatment of diabetic complications.
  • An evolutionary perspective of lifespan and epigenetic inheritance

    Mc Auley, Mark T.; University of Chester
    In the last decade epigenetics has come to the fore as a discipline which is central to biogerontology. Age associated epigenetic changes are routinely linked with pathologies, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and Alzheimer's disease; moreover, epigenetic clocks are capable of correlating biological age with chronological age in many species including humans. Recent intriguing empirical observations also suggest that inherited epigenetic effects could influence lifespan/longevity in a variety of organisms. If this is the case, an imperative exists to reconcile lifespan/longevity associated inherited epigenetic processes with the evolution of ageing. This review will critically evaluate inherited epigenetic effects from an evolutionary perspective. The overarching aim is to integrate the evidence which suggests epigenetic inheritance modulates lifespan/longevity with the main evolutionary theories of ageing.
  • How does camel milk fat profile compare with that of human milk fat to serve as a substitute for human milk?

    Bakry, Ibrahim A.; Wei, Wei; Farag, Mohamed A.; Korma, Sameh A.; Khalifa, Ibrahim; Ziedan, Noha; Mahdi, Hanan K.; Jin, Jun; Wang, Xingguo; Jiangnan University; Cairo University; Zagazig University; Benha University; University of Chester; Institute of Nile Higher Commercial Sciences and Computer Technology (Elsevier, 2023-06-24)
    Commercial milk is one of the most well-known substitutes for human milk. In view of this, we performed an in-depth examination of human milk compared with camel milk. Results showed that human milk and camel milk have the same levels of saturated fatty acids. Human milk contained a higher proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids, while camel milk had a higher content of monounsaturated fatty acids. Using UPC2/Q-TOF-MS, 146 and 136 triacylglycerols were identified in human and camel milk, respectively. Compared with camel milk, human milk contains more triglycerides composed of polyunsaturated fatty acids. We identified five major types of phospholipids in human and camel milk, with camel milk showing higher total phospholipid content than human milk. In addition, camel milk contains more cholesterol and fat-soluble vitamins than human milk. This study can provide a theoretical basis for improving infant formulas.
  • Dual-modality UDV-PIV system for measurement of solid-liquid flow in sewage facilities

    Fang, Lide; Liu, Yueyuan; Wang, Shaochong; Zhao, Jixun; Faraj, Yousef; Tian, Mengyuan; Wei, Zihui; University of Chester; Hebei University (Elsevier, 2021-10-19)
    Population growth and global industrialization cause a dramatic increase in the amount of sewage sludge produced annually worldwide from Municipal and Industrial Wastewater treatment. The efficient measurement of sewage, which is a typical solid-liquid two-phase flow, has become an important issue that requires to be urgently addressed. In this study, an improved Ultrasonic Doppler Velocimetry (UDV) is proposed to optimize the probe design and hardware design, which reduces the influence of working frequency and echo reverberation on accuracy and improves the stability of the system. A Doppler peak extraction and superposition method is also put forward to correct the offset of Doppler peak frequency. In this paper, Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) is used to calibrate the UDV system to modify the measurement model of ultrasonic Doppler liquid-solid two-phase flow, and dynamic experiments are carried out in a vertical steel pipe with inner diameter of 50 mm at different flow conditions. The results show that the accuracy and stability of UDV measurement system are greatly improved, with a maximum relative error of 1.49%.
  • Smart hydrogels with wide visible color tunability

    Wen, Guo-Yu; Zhou, Xing-Long; Tian, Xiao-Yu; Xie, Rui; Ju, Xiao-Jie; Liu, Zhuang; Faraj, Yousef; Wang, Wei; Chu, Liang-Yin; University of Chester; Sichuan University (Springer Nature, 2022-04-01)
    Pigmentary coloration can produce viewing angle-independent uniform colors via light absorption by chromophores. However, due to the limited diversity in the changes of the molecular configuration of chromophores to undergo color change, the existing materials cannot produce a wide range of visible colors with tunable color saturation and transmittance. Herein, we propose a novel strategy to create materials with a wide visible color range and highly tunable color saturation and transmittance. We fabricated a hydrogel with poly (acrylamide-co-dopamine acrylamide) networks swollen with Fe3+-containing glycerol/water in which the covalently crosslinked polyacrylamide backbone with pendant catechols can ensure that the hydrogel maintains a very stable shape. Hydrogels containing adjustable catechol-Fe3+ coordination bonds with flexible light-interacting configuration changes can display a wide range of visible colors based on the complementary color principle. The catechol-Fe3+ complexes can dynamically switch between noncoordinated and mono-, bis- and tris-coordinated states to harvest light energy from a specific wavelength across the whole visible spectrum. Therefore, these hydrogels can be yellow, green, blue, and red, covering the three primary colors. Moreover, color saturation and transmittance can be flexibly manipulated by simply adjusting the Fe3+ content in the hydrogel networks. The versatility of these smart hydrogels has been demonstrated through diverse applications, including optical filters for color regulation and colorimetric sensors for detecting UV light and chemical vapors. This proposed smart hydrogel provides a universal color-switchable platform for the development of multifunctional optical systems such as optical filters, sensors, and detectors.
  • Smart Hydrogel Grating Immunosensors for Highly Selective and Sensitive Detection of Human-IgG

    Zhao, Jia-Jia; Wang, Wei; Wang, Fang; Zhao, Yu; Cai, Quan-Wei; Xie, Rui; Ju, Xiao-Jie; Liu, Zhuang; Faraj, Yousef; Chu, Liang-Yin; et al. (American Chemical Society, 2020-05-08)
    A smart diffraction grating immunosensor based on antigen-responsive hydrogel with enhanced analyte-induced volume changes is developed for highly selective and sensitive detection of human immunoglobulin G (H-IgG). The hydrogel grating contains poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAM) backbones with dual-cross-linking based on the dynamic complexation between pendent goat-anti-human IgG (GAH-IgG) and pendent H-IgG, and the covalent bonding by 4-arm-polyethylene glycol-acrylamide. Upon recognizing free H-IgG in the environment, the pendent GAH-IgG in the hydrogel can form new GAH-IgG/H-IgG complexes with free H-IgG because the binding constant of GAH-IgG to the free H-IgG is much larger than that of GAH-IgG to the pendent H-IgG and thus result in the decomplexation of GAH-IgG/H-IgG complexes with the pendent H-IgG as well as the swelling of hydrogel. The thermo-responsive PNIPAM backbones enable enhancement of H-IgG-responsive volume change of the proposed hydrogel grating via temperature regulation. Moreover, the cross-linker 4-arm-polyethylene glycol-acrylamide provides excellent transparency for the PNIPAM backbones during the volume change, which ensures output of diffracted optical signals with high intensity. With the elaborately designed molecular structures, the hydrogel grating allows highly selective and sensitive detection of [H-IgG] with a detection limit as low as 1.3 × 10–8 M. This work provides a simple and flexible strategy for developing diffraction grating immunosensors based on stimuli-responsive hydrogels for efficient detection of biomarkers.
  • Facile and Scalable Rotation-Based Microfluidics for Controllable Production of Emulsions, Microparticles, and Microfibers

    Su, Yao-Yao; Pan, Da-Wei; Deng, Chuan-Fu; Yang, Shi-Hao; Faraj, Yousef; Xie, Rui; Ju, Xiao-Jie; Liu, Zhuang; Wang, Wei; Chu, Liang-Yin; et al. (American Chemical Society, 2023-03-06)
    A rotation-based microfluidic system with simple device setup and flow manipulation is developed for facile production of controllable emulsion droplets and liquid jets as well as functional microparticles and microfibers. The system consists of a vertically fixed injection tube and a rotating container. This system allows controllable production of single emulsion droplets and single-phase jets with adjustable uniform sizes, and predictable scale-up performance via numbering-up capillary to achieve an enhanced production rate. By flexibly changing the capillary geometry, this system can controllably produce single emulsion droplets with dual-phasic and triphasic morphologies, double emulsion droplets with core–shell and multicore–shell morphologies, and dual-phasic Janus jets. Moreover, this system can controllably fabricate versatile microparticles and microfibers from their droplet and jet templates via fast solidification without microchannel blocking in the open container. This work provides a powerful platform for promoting the wide-scale impact of microfluidics in material science, chemical, and biological fields.
  • Mesoscale regulation of droplet templates to tailor microparticle structures and functions

    Han-Yu Peng, Han-Yu; Wang, Wei; Xie, Rui; Ju, Xiao-Jie; Liu, Zhuang; Faraj, Yousef; Chu, Liang-Yin; University of Chester; Sichuan University (Elsevier, 2019-03-25)
    The hierarchical design of mesoscale structures in droplet templates determines the structure and functionality of the resultant microparticles. In this review, we summarize recent progress on the control of microfluidic emulsion templates for the synthesis of polymeric microparticles with desired functionality and internal structure. We introduce strategies for controlling the morphology and interfacial stability of emulsion templates. These strategies are based on manipulation of the mesoscale structure of amphiphilic molecules and nanoparticles at emulsion-droplet interfaces. We also discuss strategies for controlling the mesoscale structure of microparticles, which involve manipulating the interfacial mass-transfer and chemical reactions during template synthesis. We provide insight on the use of these strategies for the rational design and fabrication of polymeric microparticles with predictable internal structures and functionality at the single-particle level.
  • Measurement and characterization of slurry flow using Electrical Resistance Tomography

    Faraj, Yousef; University of Chester (Woodhead Publishing, 2022-05-13)
    This chapter introduces the measurement, visualization, and characterization of settling slurry flow using Electrical Resistance Tomography (ERT). It starts by presenting the physical mechanisms governing hydraulic transport of solid particles, along with the typical slurry flow patterns in a pipeline. It then explains the ability of ERT for characterization of solid–liquid flow through solids volume fraction measurement, solids axial velocity measurement, and solids flow visualization. By the end of the chapter, the ability of ERT and its utilization for estimation of some parameters related to stratified slurry flow, such as mean granular bed concentration, mean granular bed velocity, the height of granular bed, the height of shear layer and the height of turbulent zone at the upper part of the pipe, are fully discussed. The limitations of ERT in slurry flow measurement and visualization are also highlighted.
  • Novel Pyrolusite-Templated Biochar as an Outstanding Catalyst for Persulfate Activation: Structural Design, Synergistic Effect, and Mechanism

    Feng, Wenwei; Faraj, Yousef; Yan, Yuan; An, Yaoxiao; Xie, Ruzhen; Lai, Bo; University of Chester; Sichuan University (American Chemical Society, 2022-01-18)
    The design of a high-efficiency and ecofriendly persulfate (PS) activator with low cost and superior performance in water decontamination still remains a big challenge. Herein, we report a facile strategy for the synthesis of novel pyrolusite-templated mesoporous catalyst (PMC), and used it as a green PS activator for the outstanding removal of bisphenol A (BPA) in water. The N2 adsorption–desorption curves and SEM-EDS images show that pyrolusite templating can successfully modulate the mesoporous structure of the catalyst; the XRD and XPS spectra indicate that pyrolusite templating renders the catalyst with enriched active sites and faster electron transfer. The mechanism studies suggest that both the radical and nonradical pathway [singlet oxygen (1O2)] contributed to BPA degradation, and 86.81% of the total organic carbon (TOC) of 100 mg/L BPA was removed using merely 0.4 g/L PMC, without detectable metal ion leaching. This work provides a new strategy for the structural design and property adjustment of an efficient persulfate catalyst for green environmental remediation.
  • Perovskite-Based Nanomaterials and Nanocomposites for Photocatalytic Decontamination of Water

    Faraj, Yousef; Xie, Ruzhen; University of Chester; Sichuan University (IntechOpen, 2022-04-21)
    The exploration of functional nanomaterials with superior catalytic activity for practical photocatalytic water decontamination is of significant importance. Perovskite-based nanomaterials, which demonstrate excellent photophysical and catalytic properties, are widely investigated as a class of adaptable materials for the photocatalytic degradation of environmental pollutants. This chapter introduces the recent progresses in using perovskite-based nanocomposites with particular emphasis on the applications for effective photocatalytic degradation of organic pollutants in wastewater. It starts by presenting the general principles and mechanisms governing photocatalytic degradation of organic pollutants in water by perovskite, along with the design criteria for perovskite-based nanocomposites. It then explains various strategies used to prepare perovskite-based nanocomposites with the aim of enhancing their photocatalytic activity. By the end of the chapter, the remaining challenges and perspectives for developing efficient perovskite-based photocatalysts with potential large-scale application are highlighted.
  • Microfluidic emulsification techniques for controllable emulsion production and functional microparticle synthesis

    Wang, Wei; Li, Bing-Yu; Zhang, Mao-Jie; Su, Yao-Yao; Pan, Da-Wei; Liu, Zhuang; Ju, Xiao-Jie; Xie, Rui; Faraj, Yousef; Liang-Yin Chu, Liang-Yin; et al. (Elsevier, 2022-09-17)
    Emulsions play important roles in template synthesis of functional microparticles for myriad fields. The size, shape, composition and structure of emulsion droplets generally determine those features of the resultant microparticles and their functions. Precise control over these features of emulsions is vital to template synthesis of controllable application-oriented microparticles with advanced functions. This review summarizes recent progress on microfluidic emulsification techniques for controllable emulsion production and functional microparticle synthesis. First, versatile microfluidic emulsification techniques for controllable generation of emulsions from simple single emulsions to complex multiple emulsions are introduced. The flexible structural changes of emulsions induced by regulating the mesoscale structures of packed surfactant molecules at the interfaces are discussed. Then, rational synthesis of microparticles with controllable sizes, shapes, compositions, structures and functions from emulsion templates are introduced. The rational design of emulsion templates and interplay between the shape, structure and composition of microparticles to achieve desired functions for applications such as controlled release, water remediation, and catalysis are highlighted. Particularly, interplay between the mesoscale structures of functional components in the emulsion templates and the fine structures and advanced functions of certain microparticles, is discussed. Finally, future development of microfluidics in controllable emulsion production and microparticle synthesis is discussed.

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