Biomimetics and Biomimicry in Engineering

Cooking With Sound – A Technology-Development Project Sponsored By PERA International

In Funding, Info on 2021/06/21 at 11:52 am

PERA – Promoting Innovation in Manufacturing

Less energy-demanding, more efficient manufacturing processes with less wastage and products with an extended shelf-life have been at the forefront of Food Manufacturers’ agenda for decades.

However, the climate-driven strategies imposed now to achieve net-zero and emissions targets have made these pledges even more pertinent for this sector in the next 5 years.

Cooking processes can be very energy intensive because they require high temperatures and/or cooking over long periods of time. Sponsored by PERA International, we want to explore the use of the Sonication technology that could allow us to cook at lower temperatures but achieving the same chemico-physical reactions necessary to deliver the desired final product.

Since raw materials in the food & drink industry can be very sensitive to small variations in the cooking regime, this gentler technology will offer the possibility of imposing a wider control on the process to ensure consistency in the final product, improved textures with more nutritional attributes, and an overall reduced demand on processing time and energy.

Re-Imagining Engineering Design: Electronic Systems Wanted !

In Seminars and Keynotes on 2021/06/14 at 11:56 am

“How can electronic systems evolve digital manufacturing?” 

On Thursday 6th May eFutures (the UKRI (EPSRC) funded Network+ for electronic systems and enabling technologies) and Connected Everything II (the EPSRC-funded research network for the Digital Manufacturing community) held an online event on how electronic systems are evolving the manufacturing industry. 

Carmen Torres Sanchez, research Lead at the MMM Lab and rep of EPSRC Programme Grant Re-Imagining Engineering Design: Growing Radical Cyber-Physical-Socio Phenotypes, presented case studies situated in the manufacture of high performing composites and structures, and in production/assembly lines where sensors and electronic systems are needed to move things forward towards accomplishing true Digital Manufacturing via Embedded Intelligence.

Other speakers included:

Mark Gillan, COO of Artemis Technologies Ltd, who has built a Digital twin of their high-speed, zero-emission water transport

Alessandra Caggiano, at University of Naples Federico II & Alessandro Simeone at Shantou University, who spoke about intelligent #cloudmanufacturing

Dr Nick Polydorides, University of Edinburgh, who researches applied inverse problems.

Nilam Banks, Knowledge Transfer Manager, KTN who talked about the Manufacturing Made Smarter Innovation Network. 

The mathematical modelling of sonication in growing bubbles

In Comment, Publications on 2021/06/07 at 11:43 am

We use Sonication (this is, controlled acoustic irradiation) on reacting foams to generate controlled porosity and/or porosity gradation. This is a novel manufacturing method for scaffolds that have found use in Regen Med (for bone scaffolds) and also the Food industries (baked and cooked products). We have sonicated polymeric, metal and composite foams. Sonication of foams have been our focus of research for many years now as this technology allows the porosity tailoring of cellular materials.

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Sonicated foam (energy received from the left) with a marked gradation in porosity

We joined forces with Prof Mulholland’s team (Dr Barlow and Dr Bradley) at Strathclyde University and worked on a mathematical model of a non-reacting process in order to develop theoretical confirmation of the influence of the acoustic signal on the polymer foam.

The model describes single bubble growth in a free rising, nonreacting polymer foam irradiated by an acoustic standing wave and incorporates the effects of inertia. Investigations are carried out to explore the influence of inertia on the bubble volume, fluid pressure and the stress tensors of the foam, and to explore the effect of fluid viscosity and acoustic pressure amplitude on the final bubble volume, and the curing time. A key result is that increasing the applied acoustic pressure is shown to result in a reduced steady state bubble volume, indicating that ultrasonic irradiation has the potential to produce tailored porosity profiles in cellular materials such as bioengineering scaffolds and light-weight structures.

Our work has been compiled as a paper recently published in the Journal of Non-Newtonian Fluid Mechanics and can be found here (Open Access).