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
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.
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
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.
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
Figure 4. Sequence of tomato paste fouling sample pulling processes by the T-shaped probe.
Figure 5. Typical force vs. displacement curve for pulling a fouling sample. From Liu et al. (2002) Food. Bioprod. Process., 80:286.