Head of Division: Prof Sandy Cochran
The Systems, Power and Energy Research Division comprises a broad base of engineering led research. The groups within the SP&E Division are tackling problems in many highly strategic and challenging areas of research across the whole range from blue-skies to strongly industrially focussed.
The SP&E Division has close links with the other research divisions in the School of Engineering and to many other groupings across the University, other academic institutions and industries, in the UK and internationally. The research is highly interdisciplinary with many collaborations in energy, space systems, healthcare, bioengineering, nanotechnologies and automotive engineering.
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Novel Powder-Epoxy Composite Materials for Offshore Renewable Energy Applications (06 November, 2020)
Speaker: Professor Conchúr Ó Brádaigh
This seminar discusses the ongoing work at the University of Edinburgh on the processing, design, and testing of thick-section composites for offshore renewable energy structures such as large wind and tidal turbine blades. The potential of ocean renewable energy is tremendous. However, further development of tidal turbine blades is required due to the harsh marine environment, large cyclic forces, and the high cost of installation. Heat-activated, single component epoxy powders are widely used in the powder coating industry due to their low cost, long out-life, and minimal VOC emissions. They can be formulated to achieve low viscosities at elevated temperatures and then cure rapidly while producing a relatively small total exothermic reaction. The potential to use these materials as a resin matrix for glass-fibres has been identified for manufacturing thick section parts in which it is often difficult to control the heat of cure e.g. the root sections of wind and tidal turbine blades. Numerical simulations of the heat transfer, consolidation flow, and cure process can allow for a better understanding of the manufacturing process, and how thick sections can be processed more efficiently with epoxy powders. The effect of water immersion on the properties of glass and carbon-fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP) composites is discussed and a novel towpregging line for production of low-cost carbon and basalt fibre prepreg and semi-preg materials is presented. In this towpregging line, electrostatic attraction is used to coat fibre tows with powder epoxy, and either joule or radiant heating employed to heat and melt the polymer, followed by consolidation between rollers. Tensile test results show high performance 0° tensile properties that are similar or better than commercially-available CFRP systems.
The development of tidal energy is being delayed by the absence of suitable test facilities for lifetime fatigue testing of composites blades, the prime movers in the technology. A typical tidal turbine blade will see 10 million loading cycles in a 15-20 year lifetime, which will take over 3 years to fatigue test in current facilities. The FASTBLADE facility to be constructed at Rosyth Dockyard, Fife, funded by the EPSRC and the University of Edinburgh, will use novel hydraulic technologies to accelerate the testing of these structures by a factor of 10, reducing the lifetime fatigue testing time to only 4 months, which will make the facility unique in the world. Other applications that need accelerated hydraulic-fatigue testing include bridge sections and aircraft wing boxes.
Conchúr Ó Brádaigh is Head of the School of Engineering and Chair of Materials Engineering at The University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK. He has Bachelors and Masters degrees from the NUI Galway, Ireland, and a PhD from the University of Delaware, USA, all in Mechanical Engineering. He is a Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) and of the Institute for Materials, Minerals & Mining (IOM3).
Conchúr was previously Professor of Energy Engineering at University College Cork, Ireland, where he was also Director of the Science Foundation Ireland-funded Marine Renewable Energy Ireland (MaREI) Research Centre. He also lectured at the National University of Ireland, Galway from 1990 to 2014. He was a Co-Founder and Director (from 1999 to 2018) of two composite materials and manufacturing companies in Ireland. The companies designed and tested products and tooling and manufactured lightweight composite material structures for the international aerospace, automotive and wind-energy sectors.
His research interests include manufacturing, testing, and modelling of composite materials for renewable energy applications (wind and ocean energy), design and fatigue testing of composite tidal turbine blades, liquid moulding of thermoplastic composites using in-situ polymerisation systems, cryogenic properties, and space applications of advanced composite materials.
He is Principal Investigator for the FASTBLADE accelerated structural testing facility, which will be the world's first dedicated tidal blade test facility when it is constructed in early 2021.
Compressive Failure of Carbon Fibre Composites in Flexural and Hybrid Tests (21 August, 2020)
Speaker: Professor Michael Wisnom
High-performance fibre-reinforced polymer composites are the current state-of-the-art for lightweight structures and their use is rising exponentially in a wide range of applications from aerospace to sporting goods. They offer outstanding mechanical properties: high strength and stiffness, low weight, and low susceptibility to fatigue and corrosion. The use of high strength, high stiffness materials in fibre form mitigates the tendency for premature brittle failure, enables components to be formed at low or moderate temperatures, and enables anisotropic designs to target the primary load-carrying demands. Fibres are particularly efficient in uniaxial tension but, under compression, composites suffer a range of failures typically associated with fibre micro-buckling or kinking, linked to matrix or interfacial issues; these mechanisms couple in a complicated way at a variety of physical lengthscales. Often, these types of failure determine the practical usage of composites and set design limits well below the expected intrinsic performance of the constituent fibres.
This presentation focuses on the challenge of improving the absolute performance of composites in compression, both to address practical limitations of current materials, and as a demonstration of the value of quantitative hierarchical materials design.
Michael Wisnom is Professor of Aerospace Structures at the University of Bristol, Director of Bristol Composites Institute (ACCIS) and Editor in Chief of Composites Part A. His research is on the mechanics and failure of composites: developing novel test configurations, analysis approaches, and material architectures.
Induction Melt Forming of Multilayer Thermoplastic Composites (03 July, 2020)
Speaker: Mr Iain Campbell
The viability of using induction heating to facilitate the wrinkle-free forming of multi-axial pre-consolidated advanced thermoplastic composites over complex geometries is explored. The research focuses on the use of tin as a medium to both heat and lubricate the forming laminate. Initial tests demonstrate the viability of the fundamental ideas of the process; induction heating is used to melt the tin sheet, which is then shown to melt the matrix phase of carbon-nylon composite laminates when stacked in a hybrid composite/tin layup. A novel low-cost reconfigurable multi-step forming tool is used to demonstrate how most of the tin can be squeezed out of the layup prior to consolidation. The multi-step tool can be augmented with segmented tooling to rapidly manufacture composite parts of high geometric complexity. In this investigation, a 'ripple' geometry containing three 'cavities' is used to demonstrate the technique. Tests demonstrated that at least three sheets of inter-laminar tin can be simultaneously melted using the induction heating system. Initial results indicate that the presence of molten tin significantly reduces inter-ply friction during forming and mitigates against wrinkle formation.
Iain was awarded an MEng degree with honours of the first class in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Glasgow in 2017. His PhD project is on tribology in composites forming. The work has three main aims: understanding the underlying physics of friction in forming, improving predictive forming models and reducing and controlling friction during the forming process.
Multifunctionalities of Engineered Materials Enabled by Additive Manufacturing and Nanoengineering (28 November, 2019)
Speaker: Dr. Kumar Shanmugam
The emergence of micro-, nano-, and molecularly-tailored multi-material systems, particularly those enabled by additive manufacturing (AM) technologies, facilitates the design of new and enhanced functionalities. Building from advances in various disciplines including decades-long work on bulk microfiber heterogeneous composites, multi-material printing offers the possibility of cost-effective automation of the fabrication process and provides greater flexibility for locally tailoring the material architecture in three-dimensions. This talk will provide an overview of four such multidisciplinary research activities of my group enabled by AM and Nanoengineering: (i) enhanced performance of multilayers (compliance-tailoring, morphology-tailoring and surface-tailoring); (ii) biomaterials and bio-inspired design of materials (smart-nanocomposites for orthopedics, material-tailored nacreous composites, piezoresistive nanocomposites for sensing and 4D printing of morphing structures); (iii) multiscale and multifunctional fiber composites (hierarchical/multiscale composites, and camouflage composites) and (iv) architected and metamaterials (energy absorbing structures, batteries and supercapacitors, compact heat-exchangers, EMI shields, self-sensing scaffolds). Manipulating materials at ever smaller scales, in 3D and 4D, allows for strain-, stress- and functional-engineering towards enhanced performance, but also opens new opportunities in fabrication. The convergence of emerging nanoscale AM techniques and the ability to design nano- and micro-architected hierarchical structures with ever-more-tightly controlled geometry will enable the creation of new classes of materials with unprecedented properties optimized for location-specific structural and/or functional requirements.
Kumar Shanmugam has been an Associate Professor in the Mechanical and Materials Engineering Department at the Masdar Institute (now part of Khalifa University), Abu Dhabi since Feb 2017. Masdar Institute (MI) was established in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Kumar obtained a Ph.D. in Solid Mechanics and Materials Engineering from University of Oxford in the Department of Engineering Science. He has held postdoctoral and visiting Assistant Professor positions at UC Santa Barbara and MIT respectively before moving to Abu Dhabi. Dr. Shanmugam leads the Advanced Materials and 3D Printing (AM3DP) Lab at MI. His research interests revolve around Mechanics, Materials and Design with a focus on multiscale/multifunctional attributes, particularly in the context of Additive Manufacturing for energy efficient and sustainable applications. In the last 7 years at MI, Kumar has generated more than USD 5M through external grants as a lead Principal Investigator and has been awarded the ADEK award twice for research excellence (A2RE 2015 and A2RE 2017). He currently serves on the editorial board of the International Journal of Adhesion and Adhesives and Scientific Reports. Kumar has edited a book, contributed 5 book chapters, and authored over 65 journal articles and 55 conference proceedings. He has advised/mentored 35 higher degree research students (MS/PhD) and research staff (postdocs/research scientists). Kumar has recently edited Special Issues (Functionally Graded Adhesively Bonded Systems; Mechanics of Composite Adhesive Joints and Repairs) for two key journals related to Mechanics of Adhesion and Adhesives.He is a senior member of the AIAA, and a member of ASME, APS, ACS and Society for Adhesion and Adhesives, UK.
Multifunctionalities of Engineered Materials Enabled by Additive Manufacturing and Nanoengineering (28 November, 2019)
Speaker: Dr. Kumar Shanmugam
The emergence of micro-, nano-, and molecularly-tailored multi-material systems, particularly those enabled by additive manufacturing (AM) technologies, facilitates the design of new and enhanced functionalities. Building from advances in various disciplines including decades-long work on bulk microfiber heterogeneous composites, multi-material printing offers the possibility of cost-effective automation of the fabrication process and provides greater flexibility for locally tailoring the material architecture in three-dimensions. This talk will provide an overview of four such multidisciplinary research activitiesof my group enabled by AM and Nanoengineering: (i) enhanced performance of multilayers (compliance-tailoring, morphology-tailoring and surface-tailoring); (ii) biomaterials and bio-inspired design of materials (smart-nanocomposites for orthopedics, material-tailored nacreous composites, piezoresistive nanocomposites for sensing and 4D printing of morphing structures); (iii) multiscale and multifunctional fiber composites (hierarchical/multiscale composites, and camouflage composites) and (iv) architected and metamaterials (energy absorbing structures, batteries and supercapacitors, compact heat-exchangers, EMI shields, self-sensing scaffolds). Manipulating materials at ever smaller scales, in 3D and 4D, allows for strain-, stress- and functional-engineering towards enhanced performance, but also opens new opportunities in fabrication. The convergence of emerging nanoscale AM techniques and the ability to design nano- and micro-architected hierarchical structures with ever-more-tightly controlled geometry will enable the creation of new classes of materials with unprecedented properties optimized for location-specific structural and/or functional requirements.
Kumar Shanmugam has been an Associate Professor in the Mechanical and Materials Engineering Department at the Masdar Institute (now part of Khalifa University), Abu Dhabi since Feb 2017. Masdar Institute (MI) was established in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Kumar obtained a Ph.D. in Solid Mechanics and Materials Engineering from University of Oxford in the Department of Engineering Science. He has held postdoctoral and visiting Assistant Professor positions at UC Santa Barbara and MIT respectively before moving to Abu Dhabi. Dr. Shanmugam leads the Advanced Materials and 3D Printing (AM3DP) Lab at MI. His research interests revolve around Mechanics, Materials and Design with a focus on multiscale/multifunctional attributes, particularly in the context of Additive Manufacturing for energy efficient and sustainable applications. In the last 7 years at MI, Kumar has generated more than USD 5M through external grants as a lead Principal Investigator and has been awarded the ADEK award twice for research excellence (A2RE 2015 and A2RE 2017). He currently serves on the editorial board of the International Journal of Adhesion and Adhesives and Scientific Reports. Kumar has edited a book, contributed 5 book chapters, and authored over 65 journal articles and 55 conference proceedings. He has advised/mentored 35 higher degree research students (MS/PhD) and research staff (postdocs/research scientists). Kumar has recently edited Special Issues (Functionally Graded Adhesively Bonded Systems; Mechanics of Composite Adhesive Joints and Repairs) for two key journals related to Mechanics of Adhesion and Adhesives. He is a senior member of the AIAA, and a member of ASME, APS, ACS and Society for Adhesion and Adhesives, UK.
Strategic design of biomass conversion pathways for effective utilization (05 August, 2019)
Speaker: Dr Thallada Bhaskar
Abstract: The reliability, affordability, and environmental impact of energy supplies have become the most critical issue for the world economy. Due to world population growth, primary energy consumption has increased and will continue to increase in the future. This energy pool is mostly fossil-carbon-based and is predominantly used for transportation and energy production purposes. As a result of this, oil price has increased, and has also affected other primary energy sources Prices. This situation, along with the need for reducing foreign oil dependency and the environmental awareness of world’s population has led to a search for alternative primary energy and carbon sources based upon renewable sources. Biomass, especially lignocellulosic and aquatic material, represents an abundant renewable carbon source. This is potentially convertible to energy, fuels, and speciality chemicals. The integrated production of bioenergy, biofuels, and biochemicals, through advanced technological processes of separation and conversion that minimizes carbon cycle impact, defines the biorefinery concept. The term “biorefinery” is a refinery utilizing forestry, agricultural and aquatic biomass as a feedstock to produce gaseous and liquid fuels, specialty or commodity chemicals, or other products commonly produced in petrochemical refineries, where the feedstocks are mainly fossil fuels. Process integration refers to a holistic approach that takes into account all the possible interactions between the various steps of a process and the exploitation of these interactions in order to achieve the minimization of the overall investment cost, higher product yields and an efficient process design. Process integration can be used as a tool in process design studies both for the design of new processes and plants and in retrofit designing of old processes (optimization of an existing process). Biochemically biomass converted (e.g sugar platform) into a portfolio of potential bio-products, such as: materials, chemicals, and fuels The lignin fraction (and the residues from the biochemical process) will be thermochemically converted using pyrolysis, hydropyrolysis and hydrothermal liquefaction with catalyst or without catalyst and by “syngas platform” into a syngas for the potential production of a spectrum of bio-based products, including power and/or heat, to meet the internal process power and heat requirements.
About the speaker: Dr Thallada Bhaskar (http://thalladabhaskar.weebly.com), Principal Scientist, is currently heading the Materials Resource Efficiency Division (MRED) at CSIR-Indian Institute of Petroleum, Dehradun, India and also Biomass conversion area (BCA). He received Ph D for his work at CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT), Hyderabad.
He carried out Postdoctoral Research at Okayama University, Okayama, Japan after which he joined as Assistant Professor for ~5 years. He has 150 publications in SCI journals of international repute with h-index of 42 and around 5100 citations, contributed 32 book chapters to renowned publishers (Elsevier, ACS, John Wiley, Woodhead Publishing, CRC Press, Asiatech etc) and 14 patents to his in his field of expertise in addition to 300 national and international symposia presentations. In addition, he is the project leader/ coordinator for several projects for biomass and waste valorization. His 24 years of research experience cover various fields of science revolving around his expertise in heterogeneous catalysis, thermo-chemical conversion of biomass (lignocellulosic and aquatic biomass including macro and micro algae) waste plastics and e-waste (WEEE) plastics into value added hydrocarbons and dehalogenation methods. He has prepared several catalysts/sorbents and thrown a light on the structure-activity relationships of novel catalytic materials for ammoxidation of picoline, biomass conversion to fuels and chemicals by thermo-catalytic routes, de-halogenation of plastics through pyrolysis and hydrotreatment of fossil based crudes etc. In view of his expertise, he is on the editorial board of international peer reviewed journals and editor for 4 books (2 book are in process). He received the Distinguished Researcher award from AIST (2013), Japan and Most Progressive Researcher award from FSRJ, Japan (2008). He was also a JSPS Visiting Scientist to Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan during 2009.
He is also the Fellow of Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC in 2016), UK, Fellow of Biotech Research Society of India (FBRS in 2012), Fellow of International Society of Environment, Engineering and Sustainability (FISEES in 2017), and Scientist of the Year Award (2016) from National Environmental Science Academy (NESA), Fellow of International Bioprocessing Association (FIBA in 2017), Fellow of Telangana Academy of Sciences (2017) and member of the Board of Directors (BRSI) and General Secretary, Management Council of BRSI (2017-2019). He received the Raman Research Fellowship for the year 2013-14. Dr Bhaskar has received the CAS Presidential award for the Foreign Fellows in 2016 and worked as a visiting professor. Visiting Scientist at SINTEF, Norway from 2013 Dec - 2014 Feb.
He has received projects/grants from Govt., public sector and private organizations. As an organizing secretary/chairman, Dr Bhaskar has organized international events in India (7th ISFR 2013; 4th 3RINCs 2017; Newton Bhabha Indo-UK workshop etc.,) and mini conferences in Pacifichem 2015, 2010 in Honolulu, Hawai successfully. Dr Bhaskar is a subject expert in various committees under DST/TIFAC/NITI Aayog/CII/MDWS/MoPNG etc., He is a member of the scientific and organizing committee of several national/international symposia in India and abroad and visited several countries to deliver invited/ plenary lectures/technical deliberations.
Gasification of Municipal Solid Waste for Energy and Environmental Applications (26 July, 2019)
Speaker: Professor Chi-Hwa Wang
Abstract: Waste-to-Energy: Gasification is a favorable thermal-based process for recovering energy from biomass and solid wastes, which could eliminate pathogens and produce bioenergy in the form of synthesis gas under high temperatures (>700°C) with small amount of oxygen to avoid complete combustion. Our recent research has shown that gasification process is capable of treating and recovering energy from a diverse source of biomass and solid wastes, e.g. wood and horticultural waste, sewage sludge, food waste and animal manures. Waste-to-Resource: our research also focuses on the conversion of solid and hazardous wastes into valuable resources. The reutilization of those wastes not only produces valuable products, but also offers a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way of recycling those wastes. For example: (i) wood ash – solid by-product from gasification of woody biomass – was successfully converted into the active “CaO catalyst” and effectively used as a heterogeneous catalyst for biodiesel production; (ii) biochar – another solid by-product from gasification process – was converted into “activated carbon” with the maximum adsorption capability of 189.8 mg sample/g dye and it can be effectively used as an adsorbent material for wastewater treatment; and (iii) coal fly ash and carbon soot were successfully converted into “zeolite” and “adsorbent material”, respectively.
Bio: Dr. Chi-Hwa Wang is currently a Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the National University of Singapore (NUS). He had the following joint appointments in his service to the same university (i) Assistant Dean for Research at the Faculty of Engineering, NUS (2006-2008), and (ii) Faculty Fellow, Singapore-MIT Alliance (2001-2006). He received his B.S. degree (Chemical Engineering) from National Taiwan University, M.S. degree (Biomedical Engineering) from Johns Hopkins University, M.A. and PhD degrees (both in Chemical Engineering) from Princeton University, respectively. He was holding several visiting appointments throughout different stages of his career: Kyoto University (2003, JSPS Visiting Fellow), Cambridge University (2004, Sabbatical Academic Visitor), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2004, Visiting Associate Professor). His current research interests include particle technology, biomass gasification, and waste to energy and resource. He is on the editorial boards of Journal of Controlled Release (2009 - present), Powder Technology (2008 - present), Advanced Powder Technology (2009 – present, also Executive Editor, 2009-2012), and Applied Energy (2017- present). He is currently an Executive Editor for Chemical Engineering Science (Elsevier, 2013 - present). Chi-Hwa is the recipient of a few recent awards such as AIChE Shining Star Award 2016, Teaching Commendation List, Faculty of Engineering, National University of Singapore, 2017. WSSET (World Society of Sustainable Energy Technologies) Award 2017, Bologna, Italy, 2017 and AIChE Shell Thomas Baron Award, Pittsburgh, USA, 2018.
Ultrasound and Microbubble Mediated Gene Delivery for Targeting Altered Placental microRNAs in Preeclampsia (01 July, 2019)
Speaker: Sonya Frazier
Ultrasound (US) and microbubble (MB) gene delivery is considered a safe and clinically applicable gene therapy (GT) technique. This is a potential therapeutic strategy for preeclampsia (PE), which has an underlying genetic basis and currently ineffective management strategies. Differentially regulated placental microRNAs (miRNAs) may represent suitable targets for GT applications in PE. In line with this, the main aims of the project are:
- To develop a protocol for US and MB gene delivery, which is potentially applicable in placenta, by conducting a proof-of-concept study to demonstrate site-specific gene transfection of rat kidneys.
- To identify differentially expressed placental miRNAs in 3rd trimester PE patients, through a systematic literature review, and compare their differential regulation in a PE rat model.
This talk will discuss the results from the most recent in-vivo trial, the systematic literature review, and the candidate gene expression study, as well as plans for the future.
Sonya Frazier is a PhD student working on a multidisciplinary project with MIU and the British Heart Foundation. She is investigating the use of ultrasound and microbubbles for delivery of genetic material in-vivo and her particular interest lies in developing a protocol to target the placenta. Furthermore, she is looking into potential microRNAs that may represent suitable for this gene delivery system.
Mapping and Controlling Nucleation/High Energy Density Capacitors using Nanoparticle Chains (01 July, 2019)
Speaker: Finlay Walton
Part 1: Nucleation is a process which is poorly understood and lacking in precise control. I will explain how nucleation can be controlled using a laser potential and how studying a liquid-liquid transition can aid in the understanding of crystal nucleation.
Part 2: There is increasing demand in the world for higher capacity and more versatile means of storing energy. The project aim is to produce novel high energy density capacitors by forming chains of nanoparticles. The chains have been shown to have off the chart values of permittivity, making them an ideal candidate for a capacitor material. I will detail the progress so far and the next steps of the project.
Finlay has been at the University of Glasgow for ten years. He completed his honours degree in Chemical Physics in 2013 before receiving a scholarship to carry out his MSc in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology here in engineering. He then moved back to Chemistry for his PhD in 2015 to study nucleation phenomena under Professor Klaas Wynne. He started as a PDRA here for Dr Steven Neale in April, to work on a new form of high energy density capacitor.
Application of innovative microfluidic and paper based Al-air batteries for portable devices (20 June, 2019)
Speaker: Prof. Dennis Y.C. Leung
Aluminum-air (Al-air) battery has been invented for more than 50 years, which is well-known for its high energy density and excellent power output. Nevertheless, the application of this technology is still restricted to large-systems with high cost due to its complexity, while its application in portable devices is barely reported. This is because of its requirement of high-purity Al anode and complex electrolyte management, which lead to poor market competitiveness and system redundancy. Inspired by the evergrowing research on paper-based power sources, we have developed a novel-type Al-air battery to bring this conventional technology to the enormous miniwatt market potential. By using cellulose paper as electrolyte channel, the whole system is greatly simplified without the need for bulky liquid storage or active electrolyte delivery. Hydrogen generation is also suppressed. More importantly, the restricted electrolyte transport and ion diffusion inside the porous and tortuous paper enables the direct utilization of low-purity Al (<98%) in alkaline electrolyte with a high specific capacity of 1732 mA h g-1.
Furthermore, the intrinsic flexibility and printability of paper have enabled the fabrication of flexible and printable Al-air batteries, which are more lightweight and versatile. This printable battery design directly employs Al ink and Oxidation Reduction Reaction (ORR) ink for anode and cathode fabrication, respectively. This novel design exhibits a great development potential for a much smarter and more economic battery application prospect for the emerging miniwatt market such as wearable electronics, point-of-care diagnostic assays, biosensors, smart packages, etc. In this talk, the above innovative batteries will be introduced and demonstrated.
Prof. Dennis Y.C. Leung received his BEng (1982) and PhD (1988) from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Hong Kong. He is currently a full professor and associate head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Hong Kong specializing in environmental pollution control and renewable & clean energy development. He has published more than 430 articles in these two areas including 260+ peer reviewed SCI journal papers. His current h-index is 60 with citations more than 14000. He is one of the top 1% highly cited scientists in the world in energy field since 2010 (Essential Science Indicators) and named as a Highly Cited Researcher by Clarivate Analytics in 2017 and 2018. Prof. Leung is a chartered engineer, a fellow of the IMechE and Energy Institute. He is also the Past Chairman of the Institute of Energy (HK Branch), and serves as a specialty chief editor of Frontiers in Environmental Science, associate editor of the Progress in Energy and editorial board member of Applied Energy, Energy Conversion and Management, and Applied Sciences.
Prof. Leung has delivered more than 60 keynote and invited speeches in many conferences as well as public lectures.
Role of coherent structures in kinetic energy entrainment by a wind-farm (11 June, 2019)
Speaker: Dr. Jahrul Alam
Turbulence remains an unsolved problem, but can be described in terms of coherent
structures that cascade kinetic energy through a hierarchy of length scales. We need
to develop efficient and accurate turbulence models that can explain the role of
coherent structures in order to build better vehicles that travel through air or water,
to design more efficient wind turbines that extract clean energy from the atmosphere,
or to characterize dispersion of pollutants in cities. In particular, for large-scale wind
energy projects, it is important to understand how the efficiency of turbines is
decreased due to the complex interaction among turbines and atmospheric
turbulence, how the energy is entrained from the free atmosphere to the wind-farm,
and where the energy is dissipated. In this talk, I will discuss an LES approach to
illustrate the interaction between a field-scale wind-farm and atmospheric
turbulence. Using wind tunnel measurements for a scaled model wind-farm along
with “heuristic arguments”, I will demonstrate that the coherent structures play a
major role to entrain kinetic energy into the wind turbine array. I will also discuss
how the LES approach constructed for this research can be useful in other
applications of wall-bounded turbulence and reacting flows.
Some progress in piezoelectric MEMS transducers and biomimetic acoustic absorbers (01 April, 2019)
Speaker: Dr Zhiyuan Shen
Zhiyuan Shen’s research interests lay in the areas of miniaturized transducers and metamaterials, which extend from artificial designs microfabricated using MEMS technologies to natural products like the ones found in insects and fishes. One of his major research focus is on piezoelectric material-based acoustic and ultrasonic transducers. He worked extensively on how to integrate the piezoelectric material into the MEMS process and how to optimize the transducers targeting for different application scenarios. Another his research focus is on the biomimetic methodology. He tried to explore the biomechanics of the structures and materials found in animals and accordingly fabricated new devices and materials mimicking the structures and functions of these natural products.
The presentation will explain some devices and materials studied by Zhiyuan Shen, which include: 1, a radial field piezoelectric diaphragm, with its application as an acoustic transducer and an energy harvester; 2, a piezoelectric thin film PLZT-based wireless accelerometer, with its application in mechanical vibrational monitoring; 3, aerosol spray direct-write piezoelectric polymer P(VDF/TrFE)-based Lamb-wave ultrasonic transducer arrays for aircraft plate parts non-destructive testing application; 4, fish lateral line neuromasts-inspired hair cell sensors and its application in intravenous tube flow rate monitoring; 5, biomechanics of moth scales and the acoustic camouflage effect of moth’s scaled wings.
Zhiyuan Shen received his B.E. and M.E., both in microelectronics and solid state electronics, respectively from the Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT, 2005) and the Xi’an Jiaotong University (XJTU, 2008) in China. He was awarded a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the Nanyang Technological University (NTU, Singapore, 2013) under Prof. Jianmin Miao. His thesis was on the experimental study of radial field piezoelectric MEMS transducers. He worked as a research staff in the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE, A*STAR, Singapore, 2012-2014), participated in a few industrial projects on developing ultrasonic transducers for non-destructive testing. From 2015-2016 he worked as a postdoctoral associate at the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART, Singapore) under the supervision of Professor Michael Triantafyllou on biomimetic hair cell flow rate sensor research. In 2016, Zhiyuan Shen joined the Univ. of Bristol in UK, studied the moth scale’s nanostructure and its acoustic camouflage effect under Dr. Marc Holderied, Prof. Bruce Drinkwater and Prof. Daniel Robert. Zhiyuan Shen is currently a Research Associate in the UltraSurge project, developing high power ultrasonic transducers for biomedical applications.
Contrast enhanced magneto-motive ultrasound (CE-MMUS) for colorectal cancer staging (01 April, 2019)
Speaker: Dr Claire Thring
Superparamagnetic iron-oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) are widely used as an MRI contrast agent in hospitals today. It has been discovered that these same SPIONs can be used as an ultrasonic contrast agent. When the SPIONs are subjected to an external, oscillating magnetic field this causes the SPIONs to vibrate. This in turn creates a vibration in the tissue in which they are embedded. This tissue vibration can be imaged using ultrasound, despite the SPIONs being far too small to resolve directly using ultrasound wave interactions. This technique is known as magneto-motive ultrasound (MMUS).
Microbubbles are another ultrasonic contrast agent. These are again too small to be resolvable using standard ultrasonic imaging, but bubble interactions with ultrasonic waves can be used to locate the microbubbles. Microbubbles can be further controlled if they have SPIONs embedded in their shells, making them responsive to magnetic fields. These magnetic microbubbles (SPION-MBs) have been studied in static magnetic fields for targeted drug delivery.
This research proposes the usage of SPION-MBs as a new contrast agent for MMUS. Modelling studies suggest that they will generate larger vibrations (x1.3) than SPIONs on their own allowing for improved sensitivity. The target is to create qualitative measurements of tissue stiffness in a form of elastography measurement. Controlled collapse of the microbubbles should also allow for transient elastography measurements. Once established, the approach offers significant future opportunities for therapy and enhanced diagnostic imaging, using a non-ionising technique, with the potential for in-surgery guidance.
Claire Thring achieved a first-class master’s degree in Physics from the University of Warwick, graduating in 2014, with a focus on modelling the ultrasonic characterisation of heel bone osteoporosis. Following this, she pursued a PhD in NDT, submitting her thesis in April 2018. Over the course of her PhD she authored three journal papers, two conference papers, and was awarded an R. W. B. Stephen’s Prize at the ICU 2017, Hawai’i. She taught electronics to the undergraduate Physics students, taught and marked maths support classes, and worked part time as a dance and fitness instructor throughout her PhD. She began work as a post-doctoral research assistant at the University of Glasgow in March 2018 working with Dr Helen Mulvana on the development of magneto-motive ultrasound contrast techniques funded by Cancer Research UK.
Novel ferroelectric materials: from materials design to realisation in a range of energy harvesting applications (05 March, 2019)
Speaker: Dr Hamideh Khanbareh
Embedded sensor systems used in our daily lives are powered by batteries, which need to be recharged or replaced, thus pollute the environment once thrown away. One solution is to eliminate the battery and use energy harvesting instead by extracting energy from the surrounding environment and converting it into electrical energy. The environment offers several forms of energy to be converted, such as solar power, wind energy and vibrations. Here we focus on harvesting mechanical and thermal energy using ferroelectric materials.
Ferroelectric materials are an important class of electro-active dielectrics that exhibit high levels of polarisation, high permittivity, large electromechanical coupling, and a number of functional properties such as piezoelectric, pyroelectric, electro-caloric and electro-optic properties for applications related to sensors, actuators, energy harvesters, and transducers.
In this lecture I will present the key concepts behind the design of functionally graded novel ferroelectric materials in a range of energy harvesting systems, focusing on microstructural and compositional optimisation. I will introduce dielectrophoretically structured ceramic-polymer composites with outstanding sensing capabilities, screen printed large area flexible piezo devices and highly heterogeneous porous ceramics and composites fabricated using freeze casting. Addition of porosity provides beneficial effective properties for specific applications, such as strain energy harvesting as well as thermal energy recovery via pyroelectric effect for water splitting. I will also show case the potential of biocompatible ferroelectric materials for biomedical applications.
Dr Hamideh Khanbareh received her Cumlaude MEng degree in Aerospace Engineering from Delft University of Technology, Netherlands, in 2012. Her final project concerned fractal analysis of microstructures of ultra-high strength Aluminium alloys for aerospace applications. She then pursued her PhD in Novel Aerospace Materials group, at Delft University of Technology working on functionally graded ferroelectric ceramic-polymer composites. During her PhD she also worked as a visiting scientist at the Molecular Electronics Research Group at Max Planck Institute for Polymers (MPIP), in Mainz, Germany. In June 2016 she obtained her PhD degree from Delft University of Technology and subsequently was appointed as a Prize Fellow at the Materials and Structures Research Centre, within the Department of Mechanical Engineering at University of Bath, UK. Dr Khanbareh’s main research interests are in materials design, modelling, fabrication and application of piezo- and pyroelectrics in sensing and energy harvesting. Heterogeneous polymer-ceramic composites and porous ceramics, offering a wide range of compositional and microstructural design flexibility, are the target of her current research. Dr Khanbareh has a strong record of publications, authoring over 20 peer-reviewed journal papers and 10 conference papers. She has been a member of IOM3 Smart Materials & Systems Committee (SMASC), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Ferroelectrics as well as Royal Society of Chemistry and UK Society of Biomaterials.
Medical & Industrial Ultrasonics seminar (04 March, 2019)
Speaker: Dr Xuan Li, Rebecca Cleary
Speaker 1 – Dr Xuan Li, an introductory talk
Abstract: Ultrasonic machining is to employ strong ultrasonic vibrations on the relative motion between a cutting tool and workpiece. Maintaining the vibro-impact response will ensure a great cutting force reduction during machining, therefore improve parts surface finish quality, produce shorter chips, reduce burr formation and reduce tool wear. UPCD project is to obtain rock core samples from the Mars sub-surface level for analysis, this project employs the Ultrasonic/Sonic Drill/Core (USDC) technology which converts high frequency ultrasonic energy to sonic energy via a chaotic motion of a free flying mass, therefore achieve effective blows for the corer to penetrate into rocks. Laser Ultrasonic Assisted Machining (LUAM) technology adopts both high power ultrasonic vibration and high power laser to assist machining process, the idea is to heat up the machining zone effectively and then apply high power ultrasonics, to accelerate the productivity and improve the quality. Due to the high cost of workpieces (most super alloys or metal matrix composites for aerospace structures), simulation process is crucial to optimize the parameters. Split Hopkinson Pressure Bar (SHPB) technology is used at 1st stage to study the flow stress-strain curves of the target workpiece materials, at various high strain rates, and high temperatures. For the miniature ultrasonic surgical device design, different solid geometry horns/tips were tested in combination with number of PZT rings for the Bolted Langevin-style Transducers (BLT) within a tight space design requirements, in order to explore the optimal shape and appropriate number of exciter units to maximize the delivered ultrasonic vibrations on the cutting tip. The research outcome provides the design benchmarks for the new UltraSurge project.
Bio: Xuan Li is the “returning” research associate at the University of Glasgow, working on the Ultrasurge project – Innovative Miniature Ultrasonic Surgical Devices. Xuan obtained his PhD in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering from Loughborough University, focused on resonant tracking system design and modelling on ultrasonic assisted machining applications. He then worked as a research associate on the ultrasonic planetary core drill (UPCD) project for 3 years in University of Glasgow. He had 1 year experience in designing miniature ultrasonic surgical device with Stryker. Prior to the start of the new UltraSurge project, he worked as a technical lead/research associate in the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing, University of Sheffield for more than 1 year. Xuan’s main research interests are high power ultrasound applications.
Speaker 2- Rebecca Cleary: ‘Ultrasonic Petrous Apex Surgery (UPAS)’
Abstract: High power ultrasonics has the potential to be used in the surgical treatment of the petrous apex. One of the most inaccessible locations of the skull, the petrous apex lies close to the ear and is an area where lesions, tumours and cysts can be found. Currently, there is not a practical technique for accessing the region. Interventions require an extended surgical approach commonly related to loss of hearing, balance, facial nerve function and in some cases morbidity. There is the potential to use a ‘keyhole’ approach which is safe and minimally invasive using a power navigated ultrasonic biopsy tool.
Bio: Rebecca is a post-doc leading the research of an Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) on high power ultrasonic needles capable of performing bone biopsies of the petrous apex. She achieved a MEng in Electrical & Electronic Engineering from the University of Strathclyde and is currently finalising her PhD thesis conducting with MIU on ultrasonic needle technology.
Design of optimal and robust low-thrust trajectories for interplanetary missions (13 February, 2019)
Speaker: Dr Marilena Di Carlo
Our guest for this second event will be Dr Marilena Di Carlo from the University of Strathclyde who will give a presentation about Design of optimal and robust low-thrust trajectories for interplanetary missions. This topic is of particular interest because in recent years low-thrust propulsion has become a key technology for space exploration and its use has increased for both near-Earth and interplanetary missions. Low-thrust propulsion systems have indeed the potential to provide shorter flight times, smaller launch vehicles, and increased mass delivered to destination. The first part of the talk will introduce the computational tools developed at the University of Strathclyde to address this problem. The presentation will then focus on the design of low-thrust missions to different families of asteroids.
The schedule for this meeting is the following:
- 10.30 – 10.45: Space Engineering Meeting presentation and theme introduction
- 10:45 – 11:15: Guest presentation
- 11:15 – 12:00: Q&A and public discussion
ENE seminar "Printed Energy Harvesting and Storage Systems for Distributed Smart Objects" (11 February, 2019)
Speaker: Prof. Donald Lupo
there is a lot of talk about putting electronic sensors "everywhere", enabled both by miniaturization of classic Si electronics and advances in printed electronics. However, sensors everywhere require power everywhere, and the idea of billions of small objects fitted with batteries is a waste disposal nightmare. An alternative is the harvesting of ambient energy, e.g. from light, RF radiation and movement, but some kind of interim storage is needed, and miniature printable, fully non-toxic supercapacitors appear to be a promising alternative This talk will cover the following topics related to make a viable printed energy harvesting and storage system:
- printed energy harvester for RF, motion and light
- printed non-toxic supercapacitors for energy storage
- integrated energy harvesting and storage systems
Power Management Unit for a Multi-modal Endoscopic pill (04 February, 2019)
Speaker: Bartas Abaravicius
Abstract: One of the emerging technologies in diagnostic medicine is a multi-modal endoscopic pill which, in addition to the already available visible light mode, includes ultrasound and auto-fluorescence sensing capabilities. A central issue with the more complex device development is additional area and power consumption (which also includes additional higher data processing and communication capabilities required). As the maximum size of the pill is constrained, the complexity of the overall design of a multimodal pill forces extreme area, efficiency and integration limitations on power management unit IC design. The PMU being developed is capable of regulating power supplied by batteries or wireless power transfer and reliably delivering it to pill systems ranging from low (1.8 V for amplification, processing etc.) to high (> 20 V for ultrasound and fluorescence) voltage applications. This work is currently focused on creating a voltage amplification circuit (charge-pump) for ultrasound modality. Future plans include developing front-end driving and sensing circuitry for the ultrasound application.
Bio: Bartas Abaravicius is a second year PhD student at the University of Glasgow, working in analog circuit design and focusing on power management and ultrasound sensing applications. Bartas has finished his MEng in Electronics and Electrical Engineering in the University of Glasgow. He was repulsed by the possibility of his effort and time going towards developing electronics for the sole purpose of consumer satisfaction and capitalist money hoarding of many and, as a result, has directed his effort to try to elevate suffering of some.
Towards a Fundamental Understanding of Energy Density for Piezocrystals (04 February, 2019)
Speaker: Nathan Giles-Donovan
Abstract: Piezoelectric single crystals are emerging as materials with great potential for high-power industrial and underwater SONAR applications possessing large figures of merit, allowing novel transducer designs and exploiting higher energy density to give smaller, lighter devices. However, methods of growth result from experimentally developed specifications following an historical lack of theoretical input, which is essential to develop materials with enhanced properties. So, complete fundamental characterisation with foundation in applications is needed to realise the potential of piezocrystals. Relaxor-PT ferroelectric single crystals epitomise the performance of piezocrystals exhibiting ultrahigh piezoelectric coefficient d and electromechanical coupling k but low mechanical quality factor Qm. Energy density, usually quantified by k^2, concerns extractable work. However, k is specific to the vibrational mode and geometry. Whilst improved k may result from improved properties, the fundamental issue of why different modes/geometries have different values and how these scale needs to be addressed.
Bio: Nathan graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 2017 with an MPhys in theoretical physics. He is now a second year PhD student in MIU funded by Thales. His project is studying single crystal piezoelectric material for use in SONAR.
Sonar, Transducers & Working in Industry (23 January, 2019)
Speaker: Hannah Rose
Outline: In this talk, an introduction to Sonar technology for underwater applications is given from the perspective of an Acoustics Engineer working at Thales. It maps the evolution of Sonar transducer design – starting from the atomic level fundamentals of piezoelectricity through to large scale operational hardware. This includes current research in collaboration with the University of Glasgow for future Sonar technology. There is also an overview of Thales, and information detailing possibilities to work with Thales, including the Thales Graduate Scheme.
Brief Biography: Hannah Rose works in the Acoustics and Materials team at Thales UK developing underwater transducers for Sonar, having joined the Thales engineering graduate scheme in 2012. She is also studying for a part-time PhD with the University of Glasgow supervised by Professor Sandy Cochran. This work researches the next generation of piezoelectric materials and how to use them in future Sonar devices. Hannah received her Masters in Physics with Honours Astrophysics from the University of Edinburgh in 2011.
Nanoparticles for image guided drug delivery (25 May, 2018)
Speaker: Dr Maya Thanou
We have prepared and developed thermosensitive liposomes that can be tracked in the body using imaging. Their drug release can be activated by the applied hyperthermia induced by Focused Ultrasound (FUS). We have labelled the liposomes using newly synthesized lipids that can be used for MRI and NIRF imaging. We have prepared and characterised the iTSLs (imageable thermosensitive liposomes) for optimum contrast enhancement and thermally triggered release in combination with a FUS treatments regimen (thermal dosing). Labeling of liposomes for imaging can provide substantial information of the mechanism of tumor uptake (post injection) with and/or without the treatment of FUS. We prepared iTSLs to encapsulate the anticancer drug topotecan (Hycamtin®), a chemotherapeutic agent which when released in vivo can be monitored by its intrinsic drug fluorescence. We have optimized drug encapsulation for maximum fluorescence signal difference (before /after release) for both in vitro and in vivo. FUS (Phillips) was applied using temperature feedback via subcutaneously placed fine-wire thermocouples to maintain hyperthermic temperatures. Imaging was performed using multispectral analysis bioimaging (Maestro EX) following the emission of the NIRF lipid and topotecan. FUS was applied using imaging as guidance. Imaging and tumor growth results indicated that FUS applications significantly improve liposome distribution in the tumour potentially by assisting nanoparticle extravasation. Hyperthermia triggered thermal drug release in tumors as indicated by Imaging. MRI confirmed observations obtained with NIRF imaging. iTSL nanoparticles is a theranostic tool for precise tumor drug delivery.
Connectivity in Electromagnetic Nanonetworks: Requirements, and Challenges (02 August, 2017)
Speaker: Dr Najah Abu Ali
Abstract: Nanonetworks is a promising revolutionary advancement in several fields such as health, industry, agriculture, environment, sport, etc. The latest achievements in realizing nanoscale sensors provide an unprecedent opportunity to augment almost every sector in our lives with a myriad of nanoscale sensors which can reach previously inaccessible locations in objects or living things. Recent progress and active research in nanosensing technology have led to increasing interest in the interconnection of nanosensing devices with traditional networks to form the Internet of nanothings (IoNT). In this talk, we investigate the requirements and challenges of the connectivity of nanonetworks with traditional BAN, WiFi, and cellular networks to realize the application of IoNT on one level. We also examine the seamless connectivity and data dissemination in electromagnetic nanonetworks on another level. We evaluate current applications and case studies regarding the practical deployment of nanosensor networks and expand on them to comprise the implementation of IoNT.
Biography: Dr Najah Abu Ali is currently an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Information Technology in the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU). She earned her Ph.D. from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Queen's University in Kingston, Canada, specializing in resource management in computer networks. Her MSc and BSc were both attained in Electrical Engineering at the University of Jordan. Her general research interests include modelling wireless communications, resource management in wired and wireless networks, and reducing the energy requirements in wireless sensor networks. More recently, she has strengthened her focus on the Internet of Things, particularly at the nano-scale communications level, in addition to vehicle-to-vehicle networking. Her work has been consistently published in key publication venues for journals and conference. She has further co-authored a Wiley book on 4G and beyond cellular communication networks. She has also delivered various seminar and tutorials at both esteemed institutions and flagship gatherings. Dr Abu Ali has also been awarded several research fund grants, particularly from the Emirati NRF/UAEU funds and the Qatar National Research Foundation.