Creation and Exploitation of Pressurised Gyration to Manufacture Core-Sheath Structures:

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Mechanical Engineering

Abstract

Pressurised gyration processes, which are the focus of this grant application is an emerging technique that utilises centrifugal force and the dynamic fluid flow to jet out advanced functional materials consistently. This technique has shown great potential in overcoming the limitations of the existing techniques to manufacture functional materials and structures that can safely, consistently and cost-effectively be up-scaled. Thus in the past 5 years pressurised gyration, and several sister-processes (infusion gyration, melt pressurised gyration, pressure-coupled infusion gyration) have been developed and applied to prepare functional materials for different applications. The overall motivation of this research is to manufacture a wide variety of "core-sheath" structures, that are not fully exploited commercially in functional applications (e.g. healthcare) simply because of lack of innovative manufacturing. The overall aim of the project is to develop pressurised gyration as a novel means of effective manufacturing of multi-material core-sheath structures. Therefore, a very significant aspect of this project is to develop a pressurised gyration technique based on exploratory experimental evidence, to generate core-sheath structures on a large scale. A newly created exploratory device containing two chambers has been used to manufacture a wide range of polymer nanofibres with different polymers in both aqueous and non-aqueous solutions as core and sheath components at various concentrations, pressures and rotating speeds. In addition antibacterial metallic nanoparticles loaded nanofibres were also produced using this device. The manufacturing of core-sheath structure has been demonstrated by using a high speed camera and microscopy. Thus, the proposed research pays attention on developing a new high yield device for manufacturing layered core-sheath structures based on our existing preliminary device. Also a considerable effort will be devoted to analyse the new process to make quantitative assessment in order to understand the theoretical issues. It will focus on investigating the forming of core-sheath fibres and core-shell capsules from micro-nanoscale. Functionalising those core-sheath structures produced with additions of other, organic, inorganic and particulate materials will be an important feature. The processed core-sheath structures will be characterised with advanced tools to explore their unique physical, chemical and biological properties.

Planned Impact

We are partnered in this proposal by two very dedicated industrial partners Xiros Ltd and BASF. The former is interested in the fibre manufacturing and the latter in the polymeric materials which will be used. Both partners agreed to participation only after visits to us and subsequent careful perusal of the full proposal. We hope to develop a very industrially impactful project with these partners, and others, during this project.

The proposed work will enhance collaboration with clinicians, pharmacists and microbiologists. The awareness of the pressurised gyration concept extending to core-sheath gyration products and scope of the research work will be further disseminated through academics, industrialists and students in seminars, symposia and personal/UCL websites. The research is also expected to generate patents and more publications in high impact journals. Thus, there will be knowledge transfer within and outside the institution. This will also be achieved through delivering key lectures and talks. These will be supported by many workshops and a major workshop (for which funding is requested in this application) will be organised for industries, students and lectures/teachers in the related fields.

Economic & Societal Impact: The first group to benefit from this research includes academics and industrialists studying new technologies to manufacture core-sheath structures. The second group to benefit from this research are scientists who study novel functional materials, their properties and applications. The third group who will benefit from this research is children who are inspired to make a career in science, medicine and engineering. We will especially reach out to these people, seeding a phrase "I'm a scientist, get me out there" will certainly excite the young children to make discoveries by themselves.

Researcher training will be a key aspect. There are six research students currently working on pressurised gyration related projects in the Edirisinghe Laboratory. One of these has a specific EPSRC - DTP Industrial Strategy Allocation Award on pressurised gyration. In addition, about 12 MSc and UG taught students elect to do their research project in this area and win prizes for their work (e.g. the proposal construction was helped immensely by a prize-winning UG summer vacation project funded by EPSRC and also a MSc student has won the Cohen Award for a project on pressurised gyration in 2018). The researchers/students involved in such projects will benefit from being exposed to the developments in this research project happening at the interface between engineering, materials and life sciences.

Communication & Knowledge Transfer: The information gathered from the research will be disseminated at public engagement events including Science Open days for the general public and sixth form students who are interested in pursuing careers in Manufacturing, General Engineering and Materials. These events provide an opportunity for researchers to interact with public and communicate general scientific topics and their scientific work. The related work will also be communicated to the local schools by giving talks to inspire them to find new discoveries by themselves.

Public Engagement Event/Workshops will provide an opportunity for the public to be aware of current on-going research which will have an impact on future engineering and other functional applications as well as an opportunity for exchange of ideas between researchers, industrialists and the public. We will also involve clinicians in this via the contacts of our clinical co-I. With the permission of our industrial partners, we will strive to encourage participation to other industries, worldwide, across the spectrum of materials and manufacturing.
 
Description The plan here is to manufacture a wide variety of "core-sheath" structures using combinations of different polymers, that are not fully exploited commercially in functional applications (e.g. healthcare) simply because of lack of innovative manufacturing. The overall aim is to develop PG as a novel means of effective manufacturing of multi-polymer core-sheath structures. Therefore, a very significant aspect of this work is to develop the PG technique based on exploratory experimental evidence, to generate core-sheath polymer structures on a large scale. A newly created exploratory device containing two chambers has been used to manufacture a wide range of polymer nanofibres with different polymers in both aqueous and non-aqueous solutions as core and sheath components at various concentrations, pressures and rotating speeds. This work pays attention on developing a new high yield device for manufacturing layered core-sheath polymer structures based on our existing preliminary device. Also, a considerable effort will be devoted to analyse/model the process to make quantitative assessment in order to understand the theoretical issues. It will focus on investigating the forming of core-sheath polymer fibres and core-shell polymer capsules from micro-nanoscale for drug delivery, to combat antimicrobial resistance and to promote cellular efficacy. Functionalising polymer core-sheath structures produced with additions of other, organic, inorganic and particulate materials will also be an important feature.
Exploitation Route See below:

Applied Physics Reviews (Impact Factor 12.75) recently published and news-featured (see: https://publishing.aip.org/publications/latest-content/creating-miracles-with-polymeric-fibers/) an invited, featured paper comparing PG to centrifugal spinning of polymer fibres and this drew the world's scientific attention and was captured by many news-agencies such as EurekAlert ( https://www.eurekalert.org/multimedia/pub/213920.php), ScienceDaily ( https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191015131616.htm), PhysOrg (https://phys.org/news/2019-10-fabrication-polymeric-fibers-advanced-health.html), Bioengineer (https://bioengineer.org/creating-miracles-with-polymeric-fibers/), in total 22 news broadcasts were made about this advance in polymers. This paper also emphasises that for industrial applications, polymeric fibres need to be fabricated in larger quantities and in a way that ensures uniformity of production/output. To address these concerns, Mohan Edirisinghe was also interested in seeing how the polymer was behaving inside the vessel while the fibers were being fabricated. For the first time, he fabricated polymer fibres in a transparent pot and used a high-speed camera to capture images during the process, also comparing polymer feed behaviour to theoretical predictions. This work has also set the scene for a fully automated PG process, some details of which are shown in Figure 3. The Applied Physics Review paper has already reached great heights (see below):
From: Amanda Sulicz
Sent: 03 January 2020 13:09
To: Edirisinghe, Mohan
Subject: Update on your APR paper
Dear Mohan,
I hope all is well and that you had an enjoyable holiday season.
I wanted to share with you that your paper has already received over 2,100 views since its online publication in October. Your paper is also in the top 5% of research output scored by Altmetric and has a top 15 score for papers published by AIP Publishing in 2019. This is a great result for such a young paper.
Thank you for working with us on this paper.
Best wishes in the new year.
Sincerely, Amanda
Amanda Sulicz, Ph.D.
Associate Editor AIP Publishing 1305 Walt Whitman Road ¦ Suite 300 | Melville NY 11747-4300 ¦ USAt +1.516.576.2368 ¦ m +1.561.386.4013
asulicz@aip.org | publishing.aip.org Follow us: Facebook ¦ Twitter ¦ LinkedIn
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Construction,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics,Energy,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology,Other

URL https://publishing.aip.org/publications/latest-content/creating-miracles-with-polymeric-fibers/
 
Description Yes. The Govt of Kuwait has funded the design and construction of a new fully automated core-sheath polymer fibre maker. The Covid scenarion has made exploitation even more useful: See - https://www.upi.com/Science_News/2020/10/14/Layered-hybrid-fibers-could-be-used-to-build-anti-viral-masks-researchers-say/3171602601758/ See also cover story and special news release: Twitter: https://twitter.com/Polymers_MDPI/status/1364119803384852480 LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/polymersjournal_mdpipolymers-nanofibers-activity-6769885535914881024-BKkM
First Year Of Impact 2020
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Chemicals,Construction,Creative Economy,Electronics,Environment,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology,Transport,Other
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description Industrial collaboration with BASF and Xiros Ltd 
Organisation BASF
Country Germany 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Updating progress with regular meetings with BASF and Xiros Ltd
Collaborator Contribution Constructive evaluation of our results and discussion on progress.
Impact *Invited Feature: Developments in Pressurized Gyration for the Mass Production of Polymeric Fibers P.L.Heseltine, J.Ahmed and M.Edirisinghe, Macromolecular Mater. & Eng.,303(2018)1800218. [INVITED FEATURE ARTICLE: Work featured on the cover of the journal & reported in Advanced Science News July 23 2018, & SELECTED AS BEST OF MACROS 2019]
Start Year 2018
 
Description Industrial collaboration with BASF and Xiros Ltd 
Organisation Xiros Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Constructive discussion of research, especially with respect to silk materials/fibres
Collaborator Contribution Research suggestions
Impact Fiber Formation from Silk Fibroin Using Pressurized Gyration PL Heseltine, J Hosken, C Agboh, D Farrar, S Homer-Vanniasinkam and M.Edirisinghe, Macromolecular Mater. & Eng., 303(2018)1800577.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Interactions with Government of Kuwait 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Design and Construction of a fully automated core-sheath polymer nanofibre making machine
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019,2020
URL https://publishing.aip.org/publications/latest-content/creating-miracles-with-polymeric-fibers/
 
Description Key USA conferences such as TMS, MS&T and MRS -keynote/invited, annual invited participation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Sessions dedicated to novel manufacturing routes for biomedical engineering
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019,2020
URL https://www.edirisinghelab.com/