Research areas

Research areas in the Micromanipulation Group include:

  • Formulation of micro- and nano-particles: microencapsulation, bioencapsulation, stabilisation and controlled delivery
  • Mechanical characterisation of micro-/nanoparticles
  • Mathematical Analysis of characterisation studies
  • Fouling: biofilm growth and detachment, food fouling and control
  • Microrheology and development of microsystem-based instruments
  • Manufacture and preservation of probiotics and neutraceuticals
  • Development of functional products from sustainable resources

micromanipulation1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Micromanipulation rigs for the compression of cells and microcapsules

Formulation of microcapsules using a wide variety of materials, such as alginate, melamine- formaldehyde, silica, PMMA or shellac.

x-ray

 

 

Figure 1. X-ray tomography image of a freeze-dried calcium shellac particle. From Xue and Zhang, (2008) J. Microencapsulation, 25:523.

 

 

 

 

Characterization of microspheres, either biological (eg. cells), inorganic or organic, using micromanipulation techniques

alginate

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 2. Photographs of a alginate microcapsule (84 µm) being compressed between a micromanipulation probe and a glass surface. (a) before compression; (b) during compression. From Wang et al. (2005) Chem. Eng. Sci., 60:6649.

Mathematical analysis of the micromanipulation experiments, like the compression of a microcapsule or cell, using Matlab or finite elements methods.

compression

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 3. 3-D schematic of a compression experiment and its finite elements mesh. From Nguyen et al. (2009) Chem. Eng. Sci., 64:821


Analysis of the adhesion and cohesion forces of soft materials, such as food foulants, using micromanipulation techniques

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Figure 4.  Sequence of tomato paste fouling sample pulling processes by the T-shaped probe.

 

 

 

 

 

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Figure 5. Typical force vs. displacement curve for pulling a fouling sample. From Liu et al. (2002) Food. Bioprod. Process., 80:286.