Liquid dielectrophoresis is a bulk force acting on dipoles within a dielectric liquid inside a non-uniform electric field. When the driving electrodes are interdigitated, bulk liquid dielectrophoresis is converted to an interface-localised form capable of modifying the energy balance at an interface. When the interface is a solid-liquid one, the wetting properties of a surface are modified and this approach is known as dielectrowetting. Dielectrowetting has been shown to provide the ability to reversibly modify the contact angle of a liquid droplet with the application of voltage, the strength of which is controlled by the penetration depth of the non-uniform field and permittivities of the fluids involved. Importantly, dielectrowetting provides the ability to create thin liquid films, overcoming the limitation of contact angle saturation present in electrowetting. In this paper, we review the development of dielectrowetting - its origins, the statics and dynamics of dielectrowetted droplets, and the applications of dielectrowetting in microfluidics and optofluidics. Recent developments in the field are also reviewed showing the future directions of this rapidly developing field.
Bioinspired nanoparticle spray-coating for superhydrophobic flexible materials with oil/water separation capabilitiesPublished: 02 February 2018 by IOP Publishing in Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Much of the inspiration for the creation of superhydrophobic surfaces has come from nature, from plant such as the Sacred Lotus (Nulembo nucifera), where the micro-scale papillae epidermal cells on the surfaces of the leaves are covered with nano-scale epicuticular wax crystalloids. The combination of the surface roughness and the hydrophobic wax coating produces a superhydrophobic wetting state on the leaves allowing them to self-clean and easily shed water. Here a simple scale-up carbon nanoparticle spray coating is presented that mimics the surface of the Sacred Lotus leaves and can be applied to a wide variety of materials, complex structures, and flexible substrates, rendering them superhydrophobic, with contact angles above 160°. The sprayable mixture is produced by combining toluene, polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), and inherently hydrophobic rapeseed soot. The ability to spray the superhydrophobic coating allows for the hydrophobisation of complex structures such a metallic meshes, which allows for the production of flexible porous superhydrophobic materials that when formed into U-shape channels, can be used to direct flows. The porous meshes, whilst being superhydrophobic, are also oleophilic. Being both superhydrophobic and oleophilic allows oil to pass through the mesh, whilst water remains on the surface. The meshes were tested for their ability to separate mixtures of oil and water in a flow situation. When silicone oil/water mixtures were passed over the meshes, all meshes tested were capable of separating more than 95% of the oil from the mixture.
Novel food-safe spin-lattice relaxation time calibration samples for use in magnetic resonance sensor developmentPublished: 14 November 2017 by MDPI AG in Proceedings
<p>Sensors based on the measurement of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) relaxation times have been increasing in popularity, due in part to developments in permanent magnet technology. Such sensors tend to measure the spin-lattice (longitudinal) relaxation time T<sub>1</sub>, or the effective spin-spin (transverse) relaxation time T<sub>2</sub><sup>eff</sup>. It is important when developing sensors that there are a range of safe and repeatable calibration samples to aid in their calibration and testing. For the spin-spin relaxation times different viscosities of PDMS oil provide a suitable range of safe test materials. However, for the spin-lattice relaxation times, available options are not as safe to use and typically consist of different concentrations of Nickel Sulphate or Copper Sulfate solutions. In this work we report the use of solutions and gels comprising full fat milk powder as a safe and inexpensive material that can affect the longitudinal relaxation Time over a very wide range of values. We demonstrate that concentrations in distilled water from 5% to 64% give T<sub>1 </sub>values from 1.8s down to 348 ms respectively. In addition to demonstrating their effectiveness for magnetic resonance sensors, validation of the range of T<sub>1</sub> values is undertaken on a high field clinical MRI system.</p>
Advances in Electronics Prompt a Fresh Look at Continuous Wave (CW) Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR)Published: 23 October 2017 by MDPI in Electronics
Continuous Wave Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (CW-NMR) was a popular method for sample interrogation at the birth of magnetic resonance but has since been overlooked by most in favor of the now more popular pulsed techniques. CW-NMR requires relatively simple electronics although, for most designs, the execution is critical to the successful implementation and sensitivity of the system. For decades there have been reports in the literature from academic groups showing the potential of magnetic resonance relaxation time measurements in industrial applications such as the production of food and drink. However, the cost, complexity and power consumption of pulsed techniques have largely consigned these to the literature. Advances in electronics and developments in permanent magnet technology now require a fresh look at CW-NMR to see if it is capable of providing cost effective industrial solutions. In this article, we review the electronics that are needed to undertake a continuous wave NMR experiment starting with early designs and journeying through the literature to understand the basic designs and limitations. We then review the more recent developments in this area and present an outlook for future work in the hope that more of the scientific community will take a fresh look at CW-NMR as a viable and powerful low-cost measurement technique.
[This corrects the article DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0171162.].
Even with the recent extensive study into superhydrophobic surfaces, the fabrication of such surfaces on the inside walls of a pipe remains challenging. In this work we report a convenient bi-layered pipe design using a thin superhydrophobic metallic mesh formed into a tube, supported inside another pipe. A flow system was constructed to test the fabricated bi-layer pipeline, which allowed for different constant flow rates of water to be passed through the pipe, whilst the differential pressure was measured, from which the drag coefficient (ƒ) and Reynolds numbers (Re) were calculated. Expected values of ƒ were found for smooth glass pipes for the Reynolds number (Re) range 750–10 000, in both the laminar and part of the turbulent regimes. Flow through plain meshes without the superhydrophobic coating were also measured over a similar range (750 < Re < 14 000). After applying the superhydrophobic coating, ƒ was found for 4000 < Re < 14 000 and was found to be less than that of an uncoated mesh, but greater than that of a smooth glass pipe of the same diameter. This demonstrates that a superhydrophobic mesh can support a plastron and provide a drag reduction compared to a plain mesh, however, the plastron is progressively destroyed with use and in particular at higher flow rates.
Electric field induced reversible spreading of droplets into films on lubricant impregnated surfacesPublished: 20 March 2017 by AIP Publishing in Applied Physics Letters
It is known that honeybees use vibrational communication pathways to transfer information. One honeybee signal that has been previously investigated is the short vibrational pulse named the ‘stop signal’, because its inhibitory effect is generally the most accepted interpretation. The present study demonstrates long term (over 9 months) automated in-situ non-invasive monitoring of a honeybee vibrational pulse with the same characteristics of what has previously been described as a stop signal using ultra-sensitive accelerometers embedded in the honeycomb located at the heart of honeybee colonies. We show that the signal is very common and highly repeatable, occurring mainly at night with a distinct decrease in instances towards midday, and that it can be elicited en masse from bees following the gentle shaking or knocking of their hive with distinct evidence of habituation. The results of our study suggest that this vibrational pulse is generated under many different circumstances, thereby unifying previous publication’s conflicting definitions, and we demonstrate that this pulse can be generated in response to a surprise stimulus. This work suggests that, using an artificial stimulus and monitoring the changes in the features of this signal could provide a sensitive tool to assess colony status.
Wetting and dewetting are both fundamental modes of motion of liquids on solid surfaces. They are critically important for processes in biology, chemistry, and engineering, such as drying, coating, and lubrication. However, recent progress in wetting, which has led to new fields such as superhydrophobicity and liquid marbles, has not been matched by dewetting. A significant problem has been the inability to study the model system of a uniform film dewetting from a nonwetting surface to a single macroscopic droplet—a barrier that does not exist for the reverse wetting process of a droplet spreading into a film. We report the dewetting of a dielectrophoresis-induced film into a single equilibrium droplet. The emergent picture of the full dewetting dynamics is of an initial regime, where a liquid rim recedes at constant speed and constant dynamic contact angle, followed by a relatively short exponential relaxation of a spherical cap shape. This sharply contrasts with the reverse wetting process, where a spreading droplet follows a smooth sequence of spherical cap shapes. Complementary numerical simulations and a hydrodynamic model reveal a local dewetting mechanism driven by the equilibrium contact angle, where contact line slip dominates the dewetting dynamics. Our conclusions can be used to understand a wide variety of processes involving liquid dewetting, such as drop rebound, condensation, and evaporation. In overcoming the barrier to studying single film-to-droplet dewetting, our results provide new approaches to fluid manipulation and uses of dewetting, such as inducing films of prescribed initial shapes and slip-controlled liquid retraction.
Clogging Measurement, Dissolved Oxygen and Temperature Control in a Wetland Through the Development of an Autonomous Ree...Published: 27 August 2016 by Springer Nature in Natural and Constructed Wetlands
Highlights•The Leidenfrost temperature (LFT) for a polished stainless steel surface is 185 °C.•The LFT was measure for 5 different stainless steel meshes.•The LFT increased with increasing mesh size.•A correlation was found between the open area of the mesh and the LFT. AbstractOn surfaces well above 100 °C water does not simply boil away. When there is a sufficient heat transfer between the solid and the liquid a continuous vapour layer instantaneous forms under a droplet of water and the drop sits on a cushion of vapour, highly mobile and insulated from the solid surface. This is known as the Leidenfrost effect and the temperature at which this occurs if known as the Leidenfrost transition temperature. In this report, an investigation of discontinuous surfaces, stainless steel meshes, have been tested to determine the effect of the woven material on the Leidenfrost phenomenon. It was found that with increasing the open area of the mesh pushes up the Leidenfrost temperature from 265 °C for an open area of 0.004 mm2 to 315 °C for open area of 0.100 mm2. This allows suppression of the Leidenfrost effect as it can be increase to over 300 °C from 185 °C for a stainless steel surface. Graphical abstract
Forced aeration of horizontal subsurface flow constructed wetlands (HSSF CWs) is nowadays a recognized method to improve treatment efficiency, mainly in terms of ammonium removal. While numerous investigations have been reported testing constant aeration, scarce information can be found about the efficiency of intermittent aeration. This study aims at comparing continuous and intermittent aeration, establishing if there is an optimal regime that will increase treatment efficiency of HSSF CWs whilst minimizing the energy requirement. Full and intermittent aeration were tested in a pilot plant of three HSSF CWs (2.64m(2) each) fed with primary treated wastewater. One unit was fully aerated; one intermittently aerated (i.e. by setting a limit of 0.5mg/L dissolved oxygen within the bed) with the remaining unit not aerated as a control. Results indicated that intermittent aeration was the most successful operating method. Indeed, the coexistence of aerobic and anoxic conditions promoted by the intermittent aeration resulted in the highest COD (66%), ammonium (99%) and total nitrogen (79%) removals. On the other hand, continuous aeration promotes ammonium removal (99%), but resulted in nitrate concentrations in the effluent of up to 27mg/L. This study demonstrates the high potential of the intermittent aeration to increase wastewater treatment efficiency of CWs providing an extreme benefit in terms of the energy consumption.
•Micron sized bead packs were created as soil analogues.•Water drop impacts were recorded on alternating hydrophobic and hydrophilic layers.•Liquid marbling was observed on hydrophobic top layers.•Higher impact speeds lead to a greater degree of liquid marbling.•Overall decrease in pinning velocity as the bead size increased. AbstractA high level of water repellency in soils has an impact on soil hydrology, plant growth and soil erosion. Studies have been performed previously on model soils; consisting of close packed layers of glass spheres (140–400 μm in diameter), to mimic the behaviour of rain water on water repellent soils. In this study measurements were performed on multi-layered bead packs, to assess the interaction of water drops impacting layers consisting of different hydrophobic and hydrophilic layers. A high speed video camera was used to record the impact behaviour of water droplets on the bead packs focussing on the spreading of the droplet and the subsequent rebound behaviour of the droplet. Observations were made from the videos of the liquid marble effect on the droplet, whereby hydrophobic particles form a coating around the droplet, and how it differed depending on the arrangement of hydrophobic and hydrophilic layers within the bead pack. The droplet release height was varied in order to establish a relationship between impact velocity and the degree to which liquid marbling occurs, with higher impact speeds leading to a greater degree of liquid marbling. Measurements were also made to find the transition speeds between the three rebound conditions; rebound, pinning and fragmentation, showing an overall decrease in pinning velocity as the bead size increased.
Temperature dependence of magnetic resonance probes for use as embedded sensors in constructed wetlandsPublished: 01 April 2016 by Elsevier BV in Sensors and Actuators A: Physical
Highlights•Magnetic resonance sensors work over an environmentally relevant range of temperatures.•Signal losses at the temperature range extremities are characterised and explained.•Data is recorded in an operational wetland over 203 days. AbstractConstructed wetlands are now accepted as an environmentally friendly means of wastewater treatment however, their effectiveness can be limited by excessive clogging of the pores within the gravel matrix, making this an important parameter to monitor. It has previously been shown that the clog state can be characterised using magnetic resonance (MR) relaxation parameters with permanent magnet based sensors. One challenge with taking MR measurements over a time scale on the order of years is that seasonal temperature fluctuations will alter both the way that the sensor operates as well as the relaxation times recorded. Without an understanding of how the sensor will behave under different temperature conditions, meaningful information about the clog state cannot be successfully extracted from a wetland. This work reports the effect of temperature on a permanent magnet based MR sensor to determine if the received signal intensity is significantly compromised as a result of large temperature changes, and whether meaningful relaxation data can be extracted over the temperature range of interest. To do this, the central magnetic field of the sensor was monitored as a function of temperature, showing an expected linear relationship. Signal intensity was measured over a range of temperatures (5 °C to 44 °C) for which deterioration at high and low temperatures compared to room temperature was observed. The sensor was still operable at the extremes of this range and the reason for the signal loss has been studied and explained. Spin-lattice relaxation time measurements using the sensor at different temperatures have also been taken on a water sample and seem to agree with literature values. Further to this, measurements have been taken in an operational wetland over the course of 203 days and have shown a linear dependence with temperature as would be expected. This work concluded that the sensor can perform the task of measuring the spin-lattice relaxation time over the required temperature range making it suitable for long-term application in constructed wetlands.
Non-invasive measurements of the dry solids content of whole potatoes using unilateral magnetic resonance: towards autom...Published: 01 January 2016 by IM Publications Open LLP in Proceedings of the XIII International Conference on the Applications of Magnetic Resonance in Food Science
Insect pollination is of great importance to crop production worldwide and honey bees are amongst its chief facilitators. Because of the decline of managed colonies, the use of sensor technology is growing in popularity and it is of interest to develop new methods which can more accurately and less invasively assess honey bee colony status. Our approach is to use accelerometers to measure vibrations in order to provide information on colony activity and development. The accelerometers provide amplitude and frequency information which is recorded every three minutes and analysed for night time only. Vibrational data were validated by comparison to visual inspection data, particularly the brood development. We show a strong correlation between vibrational amplitude data and the brood cycle in the vicinity of the sensor. We have further explored the minimum data that is required, when frequency information is also included, to accurately predict the current point in the brood cycle. Such a technique should enable beekeepers to reduce the frequency with which visual inspections are required, reducing the stress this places on the colony and saving the beekeeper time.
<p>Sensors that measure magnetic resonance relaxation times are increasingly finding applications in areas such as food and drink authenticity and waste water treatment process control. Modern permanent magnets are used to provide the static magnetic field in many commercial instruments and advances in electronics, such as field programmable gate arrays, have provided lower cost console electronics for generating the series of RF pulses and detecting the resultant magnetic resonance signals. One area that still remains prohibitively expensive for many sensor applications of pulsed magnetic resonance is the requirement for a high frequency power amplifier. With many permanent magnet sensors providing a magnetic field in the 0.25T to 0.5T range, a power amplifier that operates in the 10MHz to 20MHz rage is required. This frequency range falls at the low end of the amateur “ham” radio frequency spectra designated for private recreation and non-commercial exchange of messages. In this work we demonstrate that low cost commercial amateur radio amplifiers can be simply modified, to operate as pulsed magnetic resonance power amplifiers. We demonstrate two amplifier systems, one medium power that can be constructed for less than Euro 100 and a second higher power system which produces comparable results to commercial pulse amplifiers that are an order of magnitude more expensive. Data is presented using both the commercial NMR MOUSE and a permanent magnet system used for monitoring the clog state of constructed wetlands. </p>
<p>Magnetic resonance relaxometry, conducted by field cycling, has become an increasingly popular technique in recent years. In particular, it has the ability to monitor biomass transformation which is of particular interest to wastewater treatment. Traditional field cycling often uses expensive and large electromagnets. In this work we present a small, portable field cycling sensor which can detect changes in biomass in constructed wetland samples. </p> <p>Fast field cycling is a technique that uses a varying magnetic field applied to a sample, polarising it at a high field, allowing it time to develop at a lower field and then collecting the data at the same initial high field. This change in T<sub>1</sub> can reveal interesting properties of the samples not achievable by traditional methods. </p> <p>A desktop magnetic resonance sensor that undertakes relaxometry measurements using field cycling has been developed using a combination of permanent magnets and electrical coils which has been used to test a range of samples. We demonstrate the effectiveness of this sensor by conducting measurements of T<sub>1</sub> at different field strengths for wetland samples at different stages of biofilm growth.</p>
<p>Low-cost magnetic resonance (MR) sensors have in recent years been used to investigate a number of systems by measuring the relaxation times T<sub>1</sub> and T<sub>2</sub><sup>eff</sup>. These values vary in line with changes in many systems giving the investigator a useful non-invasive probe. While the use of MR for in-line or on-line process monitoring in the food industry is not a novel concept, much of the work conducted previously has involved acquiring spatially resolved data which requires a magnetic resonance imaging system. These are both expensive to purchase and maintain, occupy large amounts of space and present problems with safety. In this work we show the value that a very inexpensive (<£100) MR sensor can bring to process monitoring. An MR sensor utilising an eight-element Halbach cylinder with internal diameter of 10mm has been constructed giving a highly uniform magnetic field yielding a strong signal-to-noise ratio. It is shown to be useful for assessing the relaxation times of a range of relevant samples.</p>
Assessing the economic suitability of aeration and the influence of bed heating on constructed wetlands treatment effici...Published: 01 October 2015 by Elsevier BV in Ecological Engineering
In recent years extensive work has been focused onto using superhydrophobic surfaces for drag reduction applications. Superhydrophobic surfaces retain a gas layer, called a plastron, when submerged underwater in the Cassie-Baxter state with water in contact with the tops of surface roughness features. In this state the plastron allows slip to occur across the surface which results in a drag reduction. In this work we report flexible and relatively large area superhydrophobic surfaces produced using two different methods: Large roughness features were created by electrodeposition on copper meshes; Small roughness features were created by embedding carbon nanoparticles (soot) into Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS). Both samples were made into cylinders with a diameter under 12 mm. To characterize the samples, scanning electron microscope (SEM) images and confocal microscope images were taken. The confocal microscope images were taken with each sample submerged in water to show the extent of the plastron. The hydrophobized electrodeposited copper mesh cylinders showed drag reductions of up to 32% when comparing the superhydrophobic state with a wetted out state. The soot covered cylinders achieved a 30% drag reduction when comparing the superhydrophobic state to a plain cylinder. These results were obtained for turbulent flows with Reynolds numbers 10,000 to 32,500.
Magnetic Resonance finds countless applications, from spectroscopy to imaging, routinely in almost all research and medical institutions across the globe. It is also becoming more frequently used for specific applications in which the whole instrument and system is designed for a dedicated application. With beginnings in borehole logging for the petro-chemical industry Magnetic Resonance sensors have been applied to fields as varied as online process monitoring for food manufacture and medical point of care diagnostics. This great diversity is seeing exciting developments in magnetic resonance sensing technology published in application specific journals where they are often not seen by the wider sensor community. It is clear that there is enormous interest in magnetic resonance sensors which represents a significant growth area. The aim of this special edition of Sensors was to address the wide distribution of relevant articles by providing a forum to disseminate cutting edge research in this field in a single open source publication.
Constructed wetlands are an environmentally considerate means of water purification. Automating parameters such as heating and aeration may extend the lifetime of constructed wetlands and allow for superior waste-water treatment. One critical parameter to monitor in a wetland system is clogging of pores within the gravel matrix, as this limits the viable lifetime of the system. It has previously been observed in a laboratory setting that magnetic resonance (MR) relaxation measurements, T<sub>1</sub> and T<sub>2</sub><sup>eff</sup>, can be used to characterise the clogging state. Various open-geometry MR sensors have been constructed using permanent neodymium magnets with the view of long-term embedding as part of the EU FP7 project ARBI (Automated Reed Bed Installations). The ultimate aim is to monitor clogging levels over the lifetime of the reed bed using MR techniques. One issue with taking various MR measurements over such an extreme time scale, in this case years, is that temperature fluctuations will significantly alter the magnetic field strength produced by the sensors constituent magnets. While the RF transmit-receive circuit has been built so that MR can still be conducted at a range of frequencies without altering the tuning or matching of the circuit, this will result in poor RF excitation if the magnetic field strength shifts significantly. This work investigates the effect that temperature has on the a MR sensor intended for embedding, to determine whether received signal intensity is compromised significantly at large temperature changes.
Snails enjoying eating the leaves of many garden plants and deterring this pest without resorting to chemicals can present a significant challenge. A previous report (PLoS ONE 7(5): e36983) suggested that loose soot was a surface to which snails found adhesion difficult. Soot may also be embedded into PDMS substrate making a flexible membrane with superhydrophobic properties (Appl. Phys. Lett. 102 (21) 214104). In this article we investigate if the embedded soot has the same anti-adhesive properties to snails as the loose soot, so giving the possibility of a facile method for protecting crops from this pest. Data is presented showing the force required to remove snails from the soot/PDMS surfaces using a simple spinning technique. The advancing an receding contact angles have also been measured for various concentrations of an anionic surfactant on the soot/PDMS surface and compared to the data presented in the PLoS ONE article. In addition, simple time lapse video demonstrations are presented that show the reluctance of the snails to move over the soot based surfaces suggesting that the soot/PDMS structure does indeed provide a level of deterrence to this garden pest.
The detection of adulteration in edible oils is a concern in the food industry, especially for the higher priced virgin olive oils. This article presents a low field unilateral nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) method for the detection of the adulteration of virgin olive oil that can be performed through sealed bottles providing a non-destructive screening technique. Adulterations of an extra virgin olive oil with different percentages of sunflower oil and red palm oil were measured with a commercial unilateral instrument, the profile NMR-Mouse. The NMR signal was processed using a 2-dimensional Inverse Laplace transformation to analyze the transverse relaxation and self-diffusion behaviors of different oils. The obtained results demonstrated the feasibility of detecting adulterations of olive oil with percentages of at least 10% of sunflower and red palm oils.
A variety of insect and arachnid species are able to remain submerged in water indefinitely using plastron respiration. A plastron is a surface-retained film of air produced by surface morphology that acts as an oxygen-carbon dioxide exchange surface. Many highly water repellent and hydrophobic surfaces when placed in water exhibit a silvery sheen which is characteristic of a plastron. In this article, the hydrophobicity of a range of commercially available water repellent fabrics and polymer membranes is investigated, and how the surface of the materials mimics this mechanism of underwater respiration is demonstrated allowing direct extraction of oxygen from oxygenated water. The coverage of the surface with the plastron air layer was measured using confocal microscopy. A zinc/oxygen cell is used to consume oxygen within containers constructed from the different membranes, and the oxygen consumed by the cell is compared to the change in oxygen concentration as measured by an oxygen probe. By comparing the membranes to an air-tight reference sample, it was found that the membranes facilitated oxygen transfer from the water into the container, with the most successful membrane showing a 1.90:1 ratio between the cell oxygen consumption and the change in concentration within the container.
The traditional British pork pie consists of roughly chopped pork cooked in a hot water pastry crust. Due to shrinkage of the meat during cooking, the gap formed around the meat is usually sealed using a gelatin based jelly to exclude air and thus help to preserve the pie. The properties of the jelly are such that it will ingress into the pastry crust causing undesirable softening. The jelly is traditionally produced by simmering pig trotters with seasoning for several hours. In this work we demonstrate the potential of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as a tool for investigating the conditions required for producing jellies with different properties and present two examples of this use. Firstly we demonstrate that MRI can determine the ability of water to diffuse through the jelly which is critical in minimizing the amount of moisture moving from the jelly to the crust. Secondly, the impact of jelly temperature on the penetration length into the crust is investigated. These examples highlight the power of MRI as a tool for food assessment.
Monitoring accelerated clogging of a model horizontal sub-surface flow constructed wetland using magnetic resonance tran...Published: 29 May 2013 by Springer Nature in International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology
Horizontal sub-surface flow wetlands are essentially a bed of porous material in which suitable plants are grown to facilitate the removal of organic matter and particulates from wastewater. The aim of this study is to assess the reliability and accuracy of magnetic resonance transverse relaxation time for monitoring clogging development in a constructed wetland. In this study, three different horizontal sub-surface flow constructed wetland models have been produced using tubes packed with different sizes of glass beads with diameter 3, 8 and 14 mm. Accelerated clogging has been achieved by pumping sludge extracted from a real clogged wetland through the bead pack. A desktop MRI tomography system has been used to monitor the transverse relaxation rate as a function of position along the tube and hydraulic conductivity. To corroborate the clogging with magnetic resonance measurements, the head loss was monitored to determine the hydraulic conductivity. Using a bi-exponential fit to the spin echo train data, the slow relaxation rate contribution shows good correlation with the changing hydraulic conductivity. Both fast and slow contributions map well to the expected clog patterns for a constructed wetland. We have demonstrated that there is a linear correlation between the hydraulic conductivity and both parameters of a bi-exponential fit to R2eff, but particularly for the case of the short T2 component.
Magnetic resonance imaging is a widely used technique for medical and materials imaging. Even though the objects being imaged are often irregularly shaped, suitable coils permitting the measurement of the radio-frequency signal in these systems are usually made of solid copper. One problem often encountered is how to ensure the coils are both in close proximity and conformal to the object being imaged. Whilst embroidered conductive threads have previously been used as antennae in mobile telecommunications applications, they have not previously been reported for use within magnetic resonance. In this paper we show that an embroidered single loop coil can be used in a commercial unilateral nuclear magnetic resonance system as an alternative to a solid copper. Data is presented showing the determination of both longitudinal (T1) and effective transverse (T2eff) relaxation times for a flat fabric coil and the same coil conformed to an 8 cm diameter cylinder. We thereby demonstrate the principles required for the wider use of fabric based conformal coils within nuclear magnetic resonance and magnetic resonance imaging.
Wetting considerations in capillary rise and imbibition in closed square tubes and open rectangular cross-section channe...Published: 13 February 2013 by Springer Nature in Microfluidics and Nanofluidics
The spontaneous capillary-driven filling of microchannels is important for a wide range of applications. These channels are often rectangular in cross-section, can be closed or open, and horizontal or vertically orientated. In this work, we develop the theory for capillary imbibition and rise in channels of rectangular cross-section, taking into account rigidified and non-rigidified boundary conditions for the liquid–air interfaces and the effects of surface topography assuming Wenzel or Cassie-Baxter states. We provide simple interpolation formulae for the viscous friction associated with flow through rectangular cross-section channels as a function of aspect ratio. We derive a dimensionless cross-over time, T c, below which the exact numerical solution can be approximated by the Bousanquet solution and above which by the visco-gravitational solution. For capillary rise heights significantly below the equilibrium height, this cross-over time is T c ≈ (3X e/2)2/3 and has an associated dimensionless cross-over rise height X c ≈ (3X e/2)1/3, where X e = 1/G is the dimensionless equilibrium rise height and G is a dimensionless form of the acceleration due to gravity. We also show from wetting considerations that for rectangular channels, fingers of a wetting liquid can be expected to imbibe in advance of the main meniscus along the corners of the channel walls. We test the theory via capillary rise experiments using polydimethylsiloxane oils of viscosity 96.0, 48.0, 19.2 and 4.8 mPa s within a range of closed square tubes and open rectangular cross-section channels with SU-8 walls. We show that the capillary rise heights can be fitted using the exact numerical solution and that these are similar to fits using the analytical visco-gravitational solution. The viscous friction contribution was found to be slightly higher than predicted by theory assuming a non-rigidified liquid–air boundary, but far below that for a rigidified boundary, which was recently reported for imbibition into horizontally mounted open microchannels. In these experiments we also observed fingers of liquid spreading along the internal edges of the channels in advance of the main body of liquid consistent with wetting expectations. We briefly discuss the implications of these observations for the design of microfluidic systems.
Raindrop impact can be a major contributor to particle mobilization for soils and other granular materials. In previous work, water repellent soils, comprised of hydrophobic particles, have been shown to exhibit greater splash erosion losses under multiple drop impact. However, the underlying principle differences in splash behavior between hydrophobic and hydrophilic granular surfaces have not been studied to date. In this study the effects of particle hydrophobicity on splash behaviour by a single water drop impact were examined using high‐speed videography. Water drops (4 mm in diameter) were dropped on beds of hydrophilic and hydrophobic glass beads (sieved range: 350–400 µm), serving as model soil particles. The drop velocity on impact was 2.67 m s‐1, which corresponds to ~30% of the terminal velocity of a raindrop of similar size. The resulting impact behaviour was measured in terms of the trajectories of particles ejected from the beds and their final resting positions. The response to the impacting water drop was significantly different between hydrophilic and hydrophobic particles in terms of the distance distribution, the median distance travelled by the particles and number of ejected particles. The greater ejection distances of hydrophobic particles were mainly the result of the higher initial velocities rather than differences in ejecting angles. The higher and longer ejection trajectories for hydrophobic particles, compared with hydrophilic particles, indicate that particle hydrophobicity affects splash erosion from the initial stage of rainfall erosion before a water layer may be formed by accumulating drops. The ~10% increase in average splash distance for hydrophobic particles compared with hydrophilic particles suggests that particle hydrophobicity can result in greater net erosion rate, which would be amplified on sloping surfaces, for example, by ridges in ploughed agricultural soils or hillslopes following vegetation loss by clearing or wildfire. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Electrowetting charges the solid-liquid interface to change the contact area of a droplet of a conducting liquid. It is a powerful technique used to create variable focus liquid lenses, electronic paper and other devices, but it depends upon ions within the liquid. Liquid dielectrophoresis (L-DEP) is a bulk force acting on the dipoles throughout a dielectric liquid and is not normally considered to be a localized effect acting at the interface between the liquid and a solid or other fluid. In this work, we show theoretically how non-uniform electric fields generated by interdigitated electrodes can effectively convert L-DEP into an interface localized form. We show that for droplets of sufficient thickness, the change in the cosine of the contact angle is proportional to the square of the applied voltage and so obeys a similar equation to that for electrowetting – this we call dielectrowetting. However, a major difference to electrowetting is that the strength of the effect is controlled by the electrode spacing and the liquid permittivity rather than the properties of an insulator in a sandwich structure. Experimentally, we show that that this dielectrowetting equation accurately describes the contact angle of a droplet of oil viewed across parallel interdigitated electrodes. Importantly, the induced spreading can be complete, such that contact angle saturation does not occur. We then show that for thin films, L-DEP can shape the liquid-air interface creating a spatially periodic wrinkle and that such a wrinkle can be used to create a voltage programmable phase diffraction grating. © (2012) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Creating surfaces capable of resisting liquid-mediated adhesion is extremely difficult due to the strong capillary forces that exist between surfaces. Land snails use this to adhere to and traverse across almost any type of solid surface of any orientation (horizontal, vertical or inverted), texture (smooth, rough or granular) or wetting property (hydrophilic or hydrophobic) via a layer of mucus. However, the wetting properties that enable snails to generate strong temporary attachment and the effectiveness of this adhesive locomotion on modern super-slippy superhydrophobic surfaces are unclear. Here we report that snail adhesion overcomes a wide range of these microscale and nanoscale topographically structured non-stick surfaces. For the one surface which we found to be snail resistant, we show that the effect is correlated with the wetting response of the surface to a weak surfactant. Our results elucidate some critical wetting factors for the design of anti-adhesive and bio-adhesion resistant surfaces.
Stenocara Gracilipes (the Namib Desert beetle) is a desert dwelling beetle which has adapted to make use of fog as an alternative water source in an environment which receives little rain water. Using a combination of hydrophobic and hydrophilic areas on its carapace, the beetle is able to collect condensation on its back which is then channelled towards the mouth. In this paper we attempt to mimic this effect by selectively altering the hydrophobicity of a number of water repellent fabrics. Fabrics were treated using Granger’s Extreme Wash-in to make them hydrophobic and then laser etched to alter the hydrophobicity. We show a clear relationship between the hydrophobicity of the fabric and the laser energy applied to the surface. Laser etching was used to create a herring bone pattern of channels on the surface of the fabrics. Water sprayed onto the surface preferentially followed the channels into a collection vessel, giving a collection efficiency of 81%. To replicate real world conditions dry ice was used to create fog which was then blown, using an electric fan, onto the fabric at a speed of approximately 2.5 km/h. The water vapour condensed on the surface and then followed the channels into a collection vessel. It was found that the patterned fabrics achieved a collection rate of 0.31 l h−1 m−2.
Effect of Particle Size on Droplet Infiltration into Hydrophobic Porous Media As a Model of Water Repellent SoilPublished: 15 November 2011 by American Chemical Society (ACS) in Environmental Science & Technology
The wettability of soil is of great importance for plants and soil biota, and in determining the risk for preferential flow, surface runoff, flooding,and soil erosion. The molarity of ethanol droplet (MED) test is widely used for quantifying the severity of water repellency in soils that show reduced wettability and is assumed to be independent of soil particle size. The minimum ethanol concentration at which droplet penetration occurs within a short time (≤ 10 s) provides an estimate of the initial advancing contact angle at which spontaneous wetting is expected. In this study, we test the assumption of particle size independence using a simple model of soil, represented by layers of small (~0.2-2 mm) diameter beads that predict the effect of changing bead radius in the top layer on capillary driven imbibition. Experimental results using a three-layer bead system show broad agreement with the model and demonstrate a dependence of the MED test on particle size. The results show that the critical initial advancing contact angle for penetration can be considerably less than 90° and varies with particle size, demonstrating that a key assumption currently used in the MED testing of soil is not necessarily valid.
In this work, we have shown that a 100 MHz Love wave device can be used to determine whether room temperature ionic liquids (RTILs) are Newtonian fluids and have developed a technique that allows the determination of the density-viscosity product, ρη, of a Newtonian RTIL. In addition, a test for a Newtonian response was established by relating the phase change to insertion loss change. Five concentrations of a water-miscible RTIL and seven pure RTILs were measured. The changes in phase and insertion loss were found to vary linearly with the square root of the density-viscosity product for values up to (ρη)(1/2) ~ 10 kg m(-2) s(-1/2). The square root of the density-viscosity product was deduced from the changes in either phase or insertion loss using glycerol as a calibration liquid. In both cases, the deduced values of ρη agree well with those measured using viscosity and density meters. Miniaturization of the device, beyond that achievable with the lower-frequency quartz crystal microbalance approach, to measure smaller volumes is possible. The ability to fabricate Love wave and other surface acoustic wave sensors using planar metallization technologies gives potential for future integration into lab-on-a-chip analytical systems for characterizing ionic liquids.
Some lichens have a super-hydrophobic upper surface, which repels water drops, keeping the surface dry but probably preventing water uptake. Spore ejection requires water and is most efficient just after rainfall. This study was carried out to investigate how super-hydrophobic lichens manage water uptake and repellence at their fruiting bodies, or podetia. Drops of water were placed onto separate podetia of Cladonia chlorophaea and observed using optical microscopy and cryo-scanning-electron microscopy (cryo-SEM) techniques to determine the structure of podetia and to visualise their interaction with water droplets. SEM and optical microscopy studies revealed that the surface of the podetia was constructed in a three-level structural hierarchy. By cryo-SEM of water-glycerol droplets placed on the upper part of the podetium, pinning of the droplet to specific, hydrophilic spots (pycnidia/apothecia) was observed. The results suggest a mechanism for water uptake, which is highly sophisticated, using surface wettability to generate a passive response to different types of precipitation in a manner similar to the Namib Desert beetle. This mechanism is likely to be found in other organisms as it offers passive but selective water control.
Superhydrophobicity is the extreme water repellence of highly textured surfaces. The field of superhydrophobicity research has reached a stage where huge numbers of candidate treatments have been proposed and jumps have been made in theoretically describing them. There now seems to be a move to more practical concerns and to considering the demands of individual applications instead of more general cases. With these developments, polymeric surfaces with their huge variety of properties have come to the fore and are fast becoming the material of choice for designing, developing, and producing superhydrophobic surfaces. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part B: Polym Phys 49: 1203–1217, 2011
In the wetting of a solid by a liquid it is often assumed that the substrate is rigid. However, for an elastic substrate the rigidity depends on the cube of its thickness and so reduces rapidly as the substrate becomes thinner as it approaches becoming a thin sheet. In such circumstances, it has been shown that the capillary forces caused by a contacting droplet of a liquid can shape the solid rather than the solid shaping the liquid. A substrate can be bent and folded as a (pinned) droplet evaporates or even instantaneously and spontaneously wrapped on contact with a droplet. When this effect is used to create three dimensional shapes from initially flat sheets, the effect is called capillary origami or droplet wrapping.In this work, we consider how the conditions for the spontaneous, capillary induced, folding of a thin ribbon substrate might be altered by a rigid surface structure that, for a rigid substrate, would be expected to create Cassie-Baxter and Wenzel effects. For smooth thin substrates, droplet wrapping can occur for all liquids, including those for which the Young's law contact angle (defined by the interfacial tensions) is greater than 90° and which would therefore normally be considered relatively hydrophobic. However, consideration of the balance between bending and interfacial energies suggests that the tendency for droplet wrapping can be suppressed for some liquids by providing the flexible solid surface with a rigid topographic structure. In general, it is known that when a liquid interacts with such a structure it can either fully penetrate the structure (the Wenzel case) or it can bridge between the asperities of the structure (the Cassie-Baxter case).In this report, we show theoretically that droplet wrapping should occur with both types of solid-liquid contact. We also derive a condition for the transition between the Cassie-Baxter and Wenzel type droplet wrapping and relate it to the same transition condition known to apply to superhydrophobic surfaces. The results are given for both droplets being wrapped by thin ribbons and for solid grains encapsulating droplets to form liquid marbles.
In this work we demonstrate the potential of permanent magnet based magnetic resonance sensors to monitor and assess the extent of pore clogging in water filtration systems. The performance of the sensor was tested on artificially clogged gravel substrates and on gravel bed samples from constructed wetlands used to treat wastewater. Data indicate that the spin lattice relaxation time is linearly related to the hydraulic conductivity in such systems. In addition, within biologically active filters we demonstrate the ability to determine the relative ratio of biomass to abiotic solids, a measurement which is not possible using alternative techniques.
A coated acoustic wave sensor has been developed to selectively detect atmospheric ozone. The selective detection has been assessed using a variety of coatings: beeswax, gallic acid, indigo carmine, polybutadiene, potassium iodide and sodium nitrite. Polybutadiene was the most sensitive with a limit of detection of 55 ppb. The sensitivity was improved by operating at higher harmonics and was shown to increase linearly with harmonic up to the 11th harmonic. This novel work shows that ozone detection can be improved by operating at the crystal's harmonic frequencies and in conjunction with a suitable flow rate, a potentially highly sensitive and fast response sensor can be created based on acoustic wave technology.
The ability of particles to adhere to a fluid–fluid interface can stabilize the formation of an emulsion. When the encapsulated fluid is a liquid and the fluid in which it is immersed is air, the object formed is called a “Liquid Marble”. Here we discuss how liquid marbles can be created, their fundamental properties and their transport and potential uses. We show how they arise naturally as an insect waste disposal system, from impact of droplets on powders and on hydrophobic soil, and in the mixing of particulate containing liquids. Our principal aim is to review research on macroscopic single marbles and their potential uses in sensors and droplet microfluidics. However, we also illustrate the similarity between liquid marbles, Pickering emulsions and “Dry Water”, and the potential application of assemblies of liquid marbles within cosmetics and pharmaceutical formulations. Finally, we discuss how modifying the surface structure of particles and providing heterogeneous surface chemistry on particles (e.g. Janus particles) might provide new types of liquid marbles and applications.
This paper is derived from a training session prepared for COST P21. It is intended as an introduction to superhydrophobicity to scientists who may not work in this area of physics or to students. Superhydrophobicity is an effect where roughness and hydrophobicity combine to generate unusually hydrophobic surfaces, causing water to bounce and roll off as if it were mercury and is used by plants and animals to repel water, stay clean and sometimes even to breathe underwater. The effect is also known as The Lotus EffectÂ® and Ultrahydrophobicity. In this paper we introduce many of the theories used, some of the methods used to generate surfaces and then describe some of the implications of the effect.
Superhydrophobic surfaces combine high aspect ratio micro- or nano-topography and hydrophobic surface chemistry to create super water-repellent surfaces. Most studies consider their effect on droplets, which ball-up and roll-off. However, their properties are not restricted to modification of the behaviour of droplets, but potentially influence any process occurring at the solid-liquid interface. Here, we highlight three recent developments focused on the theme of immersed superhydrophobic surfaces. The first illustrates the ability of a superhydrophobic surface to act as a gas exchange membrane, the second demonstrates a reduction in drag during flow through small tubes and the third considers a macroscopic experiment demonstrating an increase in the terminal velocity of settling spheres.
Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanometre scale particles have been utilised as contrast agents to image staked target binding oligonucleotide arrays using MRI to correlate the signal intensity and T(2)* relaxation times in different NMR fluids.
Artificial insemination is a well-established part of modern agricultural practice. A viable semen sample is judged by the total number of spermatozoa (sperm) in the sample and the motility of the sperm. In this paper, we report the development of a reusable measurement cell and electronics for screening semen samples based on the Quartz Crystal Microbalance (QCM) and Universal Frequency to Digital Converter (UFDC-1) to produce a low-cost sensor system. After introducing the semen sample at one end of the measurement cell, sperm swim down a channel before causing a frequency change on the QCM. Data is presented that shows the different frequency changes using a commercial frequency counter caused by porcine semen samples, one two days old and one twenty one days old. Similar data is presented for a motile semen sample measurement using the low-cost UFDC-1.
The spreading of a droplet of a liquid on a smooth solid surface is often described by the Hoffman-de Gennes law, which relates the edge speed, v(e), to the dynamic and equilibrium contact angles θ and θ(e) through [Formula: see text]. When the liquid wets the surface completely and the equilibrium contact angle vanishes, the edge speed is proportional to the cube of the dynamic contact angle. When the droplets are non-volatile this law gives rise to simple power laws with time for the contact angle and other parameters in both the capillary and gravity dominated regimes. On a textured surface, the equilibrium state of a droplet is strongly modified due to the amplification of the surface chemistry induced tendencies by the topography. The most common example is the conversion of hydrophobicity into superhydrophobicity. However, when the surface chemistry favors partial wetting, topography can result in a droplet spreading completely. A further, frequently overlooked consequence of topography is that the rate at which an out-of-equilibrium droplet spreads should also be modified. In this report, we review ideas related to the idea of topography induced wetting and consider how this may relate to dynamic wetting and the rate of droplet spreading. We consider the effect of the Wenzel and Cassie-Baxter equations on the driving forces and discuss how these may modify power laws for spreading. We relate the ideas to both the hydrodynamic viscous dissipation model and the molecular-kinetic theory of spreading. This suggests roughness and solid surface fraction modified Hoffman-de Gennes laws relating the edge speed to the dynamic and equilibrium contact angle. We also consider the spreading of small droplets and stripes of non-volatile liquids in the capillary regime and large droplets in the gravity regime. In the case of small non-volatile droplets spreading completely, a roughness modified Tanner's law giving the dependence of dynamic contact angle on time is presented. We review existing data for the spreading of small droplets of polydimethylsiloxane oil on surfaces decorated with micro-posts. On these surfaces, the initial droplet spreads with an approximately constant volume and the edge speed-dynamic contact angle relationship follows a power law [Formula: see text]. As the surface texture becomes stronger the exponent goes from p = 3 towards p = 1 in agreement with a Wenzel roughness driven spreading and a roughness modified Hoffman-de Gennes power law. Finally, we suggest that when a droplet spreads to a final partial wetting state on a rough surface, it approaches its Wenzel equilibrium contact angle in an exponential manner with a time constant dependent on roughness.
Development of a combined surface plasmon resonance/surface acoustic wave device for the characterization of biomolecule...Published: 26 October 2009 by IOP Publishing in Measurement Science and Technology