Open Access Publications

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Open access publications by faculty, postdocs, and graduate students in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.


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    Experimental and numerical investigation of shelf flow crossing over a strait
    (Ocean Dynamics, 2024-05-20) Kuehl, Joseph; Sheremet, Vitalii A.
    Motivated by the phenomenon of Scotian Shelf Crossover events, the problem of a shelf flow that is interrupted by a strait is considered. Laboratory experiments in a rotating tank with barotropic and baroclinic flow over flat and sloping shelves confirm that the flow is steered by the bathymetric contours and mainly circumnavigates the gulf. In order to jump across the strait, as suggested by earlier theories, the flow must have unrealistically high Rossby numbers. However, the near bottom friction relaxes the bathymetric constraint and causes the formation of a peculiar jet crossing the strait diagonally. For the dissipation values such that a half of the transport goes around the gulf and half crosses the strait diagonally, the diagonal crossover jet becomes most evident. Numerical solutions for realistic values of the frictional parameter reproduce the results of the laboratory experiments and consideration of the actual Gulf of Maine bathymetry reproduces patterns similar to those observed by drift trajectories and in the satellite derived sea surface temperature fields.
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    Eddy self-similarity in turbulent pipe flow
    (Physical Review Fluids, 2024-05-15) Hellström, L. H. O.; Van Buren, T.; Vaccaro, J. C.; Smits, A. J.
    For wall-bounded turbulent flows, Townsend's attached eddy hypothesis proposes that the logarithmic layer is populated by a set of energetic and geometrically self-similar eddies. These eddies scale with a single length scale, their distance to the wall, while their velocity scale remains constant across all self-similar structures. To investigate the existence of such structures in fully developed turbulent pipe flow, stereoscopic particle image velocimetry measurements were performed in two parallel cross-sectional planes, spaced apart by a varying distance from 0 to 9.97⁢𝑅, where 𝑅 is the radius of the pipe, for friction Reynolds numbers Re𝜏=1310, 2430, and 3810. The instantaneous turbulence structures are sorted by width using an azimuthal Fourier decomposition and then azimuthally aligned to create a set of average eddy velocity profiles. The profiles exhibit geometric self-similar behavior in the azimuthal plane for eddies with spanwise length scales (𝜆𝜃/𝑅) spanning from 1.03 to 0.175. The streamwise similarity is then investigated using two-point correlations, where the structures exhibit a self-similar behavior with length scales (𝜆𝜃/𝑅) ranging from approximately 0.88 to 0.203. The candidate structures thereby establish full three-dimensional geometric self-similarity. In addition, the characteristic velocity magnitudes exhibit self-similarity within these ranges, using a velocity scale that is proportional to eddy size. This unexpected result is reconciled with the attached eddy hypothesis in terms of sampling probabilities.
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    Carbon Binder Domain Inhomogeneity in Silicon-Monoxide/Graphite Composite Anode by 2D Multiphysics Modeling
    (Advanced Science, 2024-05-22) Gao, Xiang; Xu, Jun
    The Carbon-binder domain (CBD) plays a pivotal role in the performance of lithium-ion battery electrodes. The heterogeneous distribution of CBD across the electrode has garnered significant attention. However, a thorough understanding of how this CBD inhomogeneity affects anode performance remains a crucial pursuit, especially when considering the inherent material variations present in the SiO/Graphite (SiO/Gr) composite anode. In this study, an electro-chemo-mechanical model is established that provides a detailed geometric description of the particles. This model allows to quantitatively uncover the effects of CBD inhomogeneity on the fundamental behaviors of the SiO/Gr composite anode. The findings indicate that reducing the proportion of CBD in the upper domain (near the anode surface) compared to the lower domain (near the current collector) positively influences electrochemical performance, particularly in terms of capacity and Li plating. However, such an arrangement introduces potential risks of mechanical failures, and it is recommended to incorporate a higher proportion of CBD alongside the SiO particles. Finally, an anode design with a lower CBD proportion in the upper domain exhibits superior rate performance. This study represents a pioneering modeling exploration of CBD inhomogeneity, offering a promising multiphysics model with significant potential for informing advanced battery design considerations.
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    Investigation of the lithium plating triggering criterion in graphite electrodes
    (Journal of Materials Chemistry A: materials for energy and sustainability, 2024-04-16) Li, Jiani; Wang, Lubing; Xu, Jun
    Lithium plating is considered an undesirable side reaction because it can induce capacity fading and pose safety concerns in Li-ion batteries. The timely detection of lithium plating onset is crucial for both mechanistic investigations and ensuring the safe and durable operation of batteries. In this study, discharging tests were conducted by varying the set capacity in graphite/Li cells to induce lithium plating on the graphite electrode. Based on a comprehensive analysis of the voltage curves and the morphological characterization of disassembled cells, the inflection point on the differential voltage curve during the discharging process was identified as the precise onset time of lithium plating. Electrochemical models were developed to further elucidate the mechanisms governing the onset of lithium plating. Compared with the model based on the potential criterion, the model employing the concentration criterion demonstrated enhanced precision in predicting lithium plating, particularly under high C rates. Based on the model with the concentration criterion, the discharging protocol was optimized parametrically to achieve high discharging efficiency and restrain lithium plating. This nuanced understanding contributes to determining the onset of lithium plating more accurately, thereby facilitating a more robust battery design and durable yet fast charging protocols.
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    Bioderived silicon nano-quills: synthesis, structure and performance in lithium-ion battery anodes
    (Green Chemistry, 2024-03-12) Chen, Nancy; Sabet, Morteza; Sapkota, Nawraj; Parekh, Mihir; Chiluwal, Shailendra; Koehler, Kelliann; Clemons, Craig M.; Ding, Yi; Rao, Apparao M.; Pilla, Srikanth
    Cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) are bioderived one-dimensional species with versatile surface chemistry and unique self-assembling behavior in aqueous solutions. This work presents a scientific approach to leverage these characteristics for creating CNC network templates and processing them to engineer a novel silicon (Si)-based material called silicon nano-quill (SiNQ) for energy storage applications. The SiNQ structure possesses a porous, tubular morphology with a substantial ability to store lithium ions while maintaining its structural integrity. The presence of Si suboxides in the SiNQ structure is demonstrated to be crucial for realizing a stable cycling performance. One of the defining attributes of SiNQ is its water dispersibility due to Si–H surface bonds, promoting water-based Si-graphite electrode manufacturing with environmental and economic benefits. The incorporation of only 17 wt% SiNQ enhances the capacity of graphitic anodes by ∼2.5 times. An initial coulombic efficiency of 97.5% is achieved by employing a versatile pre-lithiation. The SiNQ-graphite anodes with high active loading, when subjected to accelerated charging/discharging conditions at 5.4 mA cm−2, exhibit stable cycling stability up to 500 cycles and average coulombic efficiency of >99%. A generalized physics-based cyclic voltammetry model is presented to explain the remarkable behavior of SiNQs under fast-charging conditions.
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    Extracting Human Levels of Trust in Human–Swarm Interaction Using EEG Signals
    (IEEE Transactions on Human-Machine Systems, 2024-02-07) Orozco, Jesus A.; Artemiadis, Panagiotis
    Trust is an essential building block of human civilization. However, when it relates to artificial systems, it has been a barrier to intelligent technology adoption in general. This article addresses the gap in determining levels of trust in scenarios that include humans interacting with a swarm of robots. Electroencephalography (EEG) recordings of the human observers of the different swarms allow for extracting specific EEG features related to different trust levels. Feature selection and machine learning methods comprise a classification system that would allow recognition of different levels of human trust in those human–swarm interaction scenarios. The results of this study suggest that EEG correlates of swarm trust exist and are distinguishable in machine learning feature classification with very high accuracy. Moreover, comparing common EEG features across all human subjects used in this study allows for the generalization of the classification method, providing solid evidence of specific areas and features of the human brain where activations are related to levels of human–swarm trust. This work has direct implications for effective human–machine teaming with applications to many fields, such as exploration, search and rescue operations, surveillance, environmental monitoring, and defense. In these applications, quantifying levels of human trust in the deployed swarm is of utmost importance because it can lead to swarm controllers that adapt their output based on the human's perceived trust level.
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    Unraveling Morphology and Chemistry Dynamics in Fluoroethylene Carbonate Generated Silicon Anode Solid Electrolyte Interphase Across Delithiated and Lithiated States: Relative Cycling Stability Enabled by an Elastomeric Polymer Matrix
    (Journal of The Electrochemical Society, 2024-04-25) Mou, Rownak J.; Barua, Sattajit; Abraham, Daniel P.; Yao, Koffi P. C.
    The silicon solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) faces cyclical cracking and reconstruction due to the ∼350% volume expansion. Understanding the SEI dynamic morphology and chemistry evolution from delithiated to lithiated states is thereby paramount to engineering a stable Si anode. Fluoroethylene carbonate (FEC) is a preferred additive with widely demonstrated enhancement of the Si cycling. Thus, insights into the dynamics of the FEC-SEI may provide hints toward engineering the Si interface. Herein, complementary ATR-FTIR, AFM, tip IR, and XPS probing reveal the presence of an elastomeric polycarbonate-like matrix in the FEC-generated SEI which is absent from the FEC-free SEI. Adding FEC to the baseline 1 M LiPF6 in EC:EMC (1:1) electrolyte promotes formation of a thinner and more conformal SEI, and subdues morphology and chemistry changes between consecutive half-cycles. From AFM, morphological stabilization of the FEC-SEI occurs earlier. Furthermore, conventional SEI biproducts such as Li2CO3 and LiEDC appear in reduced quantities in the FEC-SEI implying a reduced quantity of Li-consuming species. The thin polymeric FEC-SEI enables deeper (de)lithiation of silicon. In conclusion, the enhanced mechanical compliance, chemical invariance, and reduced Li inventory consumption of the FEC-SEI are logically the key features underlying the Si cycling enhancement by FEC.
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    Electrophoretic Deposition as a Versatile Low-Cost Tool to Construct a Synthetic Polymeric Solid-Electrolyte Interphase on Silicon Anodes: A Model System Investigation
    (ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, 2024-02-14) Mou, Rownak J.; Barua, Sattajit; Prasad, Ajay K.; Epps, Thomas H. III; Yao, Koffi P. C.
    The cycling of next-generation, high-capacity silicon (Si) anodes capable of 3579 mAh·g–1 is greatly hindered by the instability of the solid-electrolyte interphase (SEI). The large volume changes of Si during (de)lithiation cause continuous cracking of the SEI and its reconstruction, leading to loss of lithium inventory and extensive consumption of electrolyte. The SEI formed in situ during cell cycling is mostly composed of molecular fragments and oligomers, the structure of which is difficult to tailor. In contrast, ex situ formation of a synthetic SEI provides greater flexibility to deposit long-chain, polymeric, and elastomeric components potentially capable of maintaining integrity against the large ∼350% volume expansion of Si while also enabling electronic passivation of the surface for longer cycling and calendar life. Furthermore, polymers are amenable to structural modifications, and the desired elasticity can be targeted by selection of the SEI polymer feedstock. Herein, electrophoretic deposition (EPD) is used to apply chitosan as a synthetic SEI on model Si thin film electrodes. Comparison of synthetic SEIs obtained without (Si/Chit) and with CH3COOLi (Si/Chit+CH3COOLi) added during EPD is performed to demonstrate a facile route to tuning of the polymer SEI chemistry. Atomic force and scanning electron microscopy reveal that addition of CH3COOLi at EPD assists in conformal deposition of the synthetic SEI. During electrochemical cycling, the Chit+CH3COOLi coating nearly doubles the capacity retention versus the reference bare Si thin film. X-ray photoelectron and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy reveal that CH3COOLi caps the −NH2 groups of chitosan through amidation during EPD, which suppresses the catalytic reduction of the electrolyte. The presented approach demonstrates and validates EPD as a low-capital route to achieving and chemistry-tuning synthetic SEIs on Si electrodes. More broadly, the method is a promising avenue toward controlled and tailored polymeric SEIs on various conversion-type electrodes with high particle volumetric expansion.
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    Electrochemical Modeling of Fast Charging in Batteries
    (Advanced Energy Materials, 2024-04-18) Duan, Xudong; Hu, Dayong; Chen, Weiheng; Li, Jiani; Wang, Lubing; Sun, Shuguo; Xu, Jun
    The acceleration of fast charging capabilities has emerged as a pivotal objective within the realms of the battery, electric vehicle, and energy storage sectors. However, the classical electrochemical models are not able to describe voltages of the cell (Ucell), anode (Ua), and cathode (Uc) at high C-rates. Herein, Ucell, Ua,, and Uc are experimentally obtained under various C-rates (0.1–2C) and identified the charge transfer resistance of the cathode (RCT,c) as the primary rate-limiting factor. Thus, the anode is established as a multi-scale coupling model with Fick's law and phase separation model applied, to discuss their effect on Ua and Li-ion concentration prediction. 2D reconstruction structures for the cathode is established with RCT,c effect considered. Finally, the Ua, Uc, and Ucell are successfully predicted at different C-rates. Results propose an accurate and versatile electrochemical model and highlight the importance of considering limiting factors in electrochemical modeling for fast charging.
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    A novel digital lifecycle for Material-Process-Microstructure-Performance relationships of thermoplastic olefins foams manufactured via supercritical fluid assisted foam injection molding
    (Polymer Engineering and Science, 2024-03-15) Pradeep, Sai Aditya; Deshpande, Amit M.; Lavertu, Pierre‐Yves; Zheng, Ting; Yerra, Veera Aditya; Shimabukuro, Yiro; Li, Gang; Pilla, Srikanth
    This research significantly enhances the applicability of thermoplastic olefins (TPOs) in the automotive industry using supercritical N2 as a physical foaming agent, effectively addressing the limitations of traditional chemical agents. It merges experimental results with simulations to establish detailed material-process-microstructure-performance (MP2) relationships, targeting 5–20% weight reductions. This innovative approach labeled digital lifecycle (DLC) helps accurately predict tensile, flexural, and impact properties based on the foam microstructure, along with experimentally demonstrating improved paintability. The study combines process simulations with finite element models to develop a comprehensive digital model for accurately predicting mechanical properties. Our findings demonstrate a strong correlation between simulated and experimental data, with about a 5% error across various weight reduction targets, marking significant improvements over existing analytical models. This research highlights the efficacy of physical foaming agents in TPO enhancement and emphasizes the importance of integrating experimental and simulation methods to capture the underlying foaming mechanism to establish material-process-microstructure-performance (MP2) relationships. Highlights - Establishes a material-process-microstructure-performance (MP2) for TPO foams - Sustainably produces TPO foams using supercritical (ScF) N2 with 20% lightweighting - Shows enhanced paintability for TPO foam improved surface aesthetics - Digital lifecycle (DLC) that predicts both foam microstructure and properties - DLC maps process effects & microstructure onto FEA mesh for precise prediction
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    Fluoroalkyl phosphonic acid radical scavengers for proton exchange membrane fuel cells
    (Journal of Materials Chemistry A, 2023-04-06) Agarwal, Tanya; Adhikari, Santosh; Kim, Yu Seung; Babu, Siddharth Komini; Tian, Ding; Bae, Chulsung; Pham, Nguyet N. T.; Lee, Seung Geol; Prasad, Ajay K.; Advani, Suresh G.; Sievert, Allen; Rasika, Wipula Priya Liyanage; Hopkins, Timothy E.; Park, Andrew; Borup, Rod
    Radical-induced degradation of proton exchange membranes limits the durability of proton-exchange membrane fuel cells. Cerium is widely used as a radical scavenger, but the migration of cerium ions to the catalyst layer has been an unresolved issue, reducing its effectiveness over time. Here, we report phosphonic acids as a promising class of radical scavengers, showing competent radical scavenging activity compared to cerium without the migration issue. The ex situ Fenton test shows that the fluoride emission rate for Nafion membrane incorporated with fluoroalkyl phosphonic acid ranged from 0.22 to 0.37 μg F cm−2 h−1, lower than that of the cerium-incorporated Nafion™ membrane (0.39 μg F cm−2 h−1). The in situ open circuit voltage hold test confirmed that a phosphonic acid-incorporated Nafion™ membrane has a 58% lower fluoride emission rate compared to the baseline. Density functional theory calculations indicate that the activation energy of the hydroxyl radical scavenging reaction of an alkyl phosphonic acid is only 0.68 eV, suggesting an effective radical scavenging pathway.
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    Upstream mobility and swarming of light activated micromotors
    (Materials Advances, 2023-10-26) Wu, Bingzhi; Rivas, David P.; Das, Sambeeta
    Micromotors have been proposed for applications such as targeted drug delivery, thrombolysis, or sensing. However, single micrormotors are limited in the amount of payload they can deliver or force they can exert. Swarms of micromotors can overcome many of these challenges, however creating and controlling such swarms presents many challenges of its own. In particular, utilizing swarms in fluid flows is of significant importance for biomedical or lab-on-chip applications. Here, the upstream mobility and swarm formation of light driven micromotors in microchannel flows is demonstrated with maximum speeds around 0.1 mm s−1. Additionally, the light actuated microrobots operate in fairly low concentrations of hydrogen peroxide of approximately 1%. The micromotors form swarms at the boundary of the locally applied light pattern and the swarms can be moved by translating the light up or downstream.
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    Design optimization of a multi-material, fiber-reinforced composite-intensive body-in-white of a mid-size SUV
    (CAMX 2023 Conference Proceedings, 2023-10-30) Deshpande, Amit M.; Sadiwala, Rushabh; Brown, Nathan; Lavertu, Pierre-Yves; Pradeep, Sai Aditya; Headings, Leon M.; Zhao, Ningxiner; Losey, Brad; Hahnlen, Ryan; Dapino, Marcelo J.; Li, Gang; Pilla, Srikanth
    Transportation accounts for almost a third of all energy consumption and emissions in the U.S. With an emphasis on improving the energy efficiency of vehicles and transitioning to electrified vehicles, lightweighting has become relevant to compensate for the added complexity of battery packs and hybrid powertrains. Lightweight materials such as aluminum, magnesium, and fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) composites can reduce the vehicle’s structural mass, the body-in-white (BIW), by up to 50%. However, the higher proportion of large sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and trucks in the North American fleet poses a challenge, as the larger size and high production scale of the structural components for this segment can significantly increase material costs. Thus, a multi-material approach to deploy FRP composites at select locations in an existing metal BIW can help advance composites design, integration, and manufacturing technologies. Furthermore, these designs can be translated for future EV structures. This study utilizes a systems approach to 1) establish design targets through structural analysis of the baseline SUV BIW design under various static and dynamic load cases, 2) conceptualize multi-material designs, and 3) assess the designs to meet lightweighting, cost, and sustainability objectives. Sustainable recycled carbon fiber-reinforced composites and other cost-effective FRP composite materials manufactured using state-of-the-art high-pressure resin transfer molding (HP RTM) technology were assessed for use in structural elements. An ultrasonic additive manufacturing (UAM) technique was implemented to produce mechanically interlocked metal-fiber transition joints to serve as a joining mechanism between fibers and metals in the multi-material design. To incorporate the transition joint design into the topology optimization scheme, a high-fidelity model of the fiber-metal transition joints that describes the fiber-oriented interactions between the fibers, cured-epoxy matrix, and metal components was developed. This model's results accurately represented the behavior from experimental testing. They can be transferred to the FEA solver as a computationally efficient material card specifically for use at the metal-composite transition regions in the proposed designs. The results from this system-level multi-material composites integration study have been presented.
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    Biosourced Antioxidants for Chemical Durability Enhancement of Perfluorosulfonic Acid Membrane
    (Advanced Functional Materials, 2024-01-02) Agarwal, Tanya; Adhikari, Santosh; Babu, Siddharth Komini; Prasad, Ajay K.; Advani, Suresh G.; Borup, Rodney L.
    The chemical durability of perfluorosulfonic acid (PFSA) membranes is a topic of growing interest to meet Department of Energy (DOE) durability targets for heavy-duty vehicle (HDV) applications. State-of-the-art membranes like Nafion, rely on the use of cerium, heteropolyacids, and other inorganic additives to increase PFSA chemical durability. A less explored avenue for the oxidative stabilization of PFSA and hydrocarbon membranes is the use of organic antioxidants. No reversible organic antioxidant has been demonstrated to date which can enhance membrane lifetime by factors comparable to cerium. Here, ellagic acid (EA) is demonstrated as a promising radical scavenger for PFSA's. It is found that the incorporation of EA enhances the chemical durability of Nafion by 160%. EA, when incorporated with cerium as an electron donorenhances Nafion durability by at least 80% compared to a membrane incorporated with just cerium in DOE-defined durability tests. EA is found to be reversible in acidic conditions like those of fuel cells and its reversibility could be further enhanced by the use of suitable co-antioxidants.
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    Contributions of deep learning to automated numerical modelling of the interaction of electric fields and cartilage tissue based on 3D images
    (Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, 2023-08-29) Che, Vien Lam; Zimmermann, Julius; Zhou, Yilu; Lu, X. Lucas; van Rienen, Ursula
    Electric fields find use in tissue engineering but also in sensor applications besides the broad classical application range. Accurate numerical models of electrical stimulation devices can pave the way for effective therapies in cartilage regeneration. To this end, the dielectric properties of the electrically stimulated tissue have to be known. However, knowledge of the dielectric properties is scarce. Electric field-based methods such as impedance spectroscopy enable determining the dielectric properties of tissue samples. To develop a detailed understanding of the interaction of the employed electric fields and the tissue, fine-grained numerical models based on tissue-specific 3D geometries are considered. A crucial ingredient in this approach is the automated generation of numerical models from biomedical images. In this work, we explore classical and artificial intelligence methods for volumetric image segmentation to generate model geometries. We find that deep learning, in particular the StarDist algorithm, permits fast and automatic model geometry and discretisation generation once a sufficient amount of training data is available. Our results suggest that already a small number of 3D images (23 images) is sufficient to achieve 80% accuracy on the test data. The proposed method enables the creation of high-quality meshes without the need for computer-aided design geometry post-processing. Particularly, the computational time for the geometrical model creation was reduced by half. Uncertainty quantification as well as a direct comparison between the deep learning and the classical approach reveal that the numerical results mainly depend on the cell volume. This result motivates further research into impedance sensors for tissue characterisation. The presented approach can significantly improve the accuracy and computational speed of image-based models of electrical stimulation for tissue engineering applications.
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    Modeling the Maturation of the Vocal Fold Lamina Propria Using a Bioorthogonally Tunable Hydrogel Platform
    (Advanced Healthcare Materials, 2023-08-02) Zou, Xiaoyu; Zhang, He; Benson, Jamie M.; Gao, Hanyuan; Burris, David L.; Fox, Joseph. M.; Jia, Xinqiao
    Toward the goal of establishing an engineered model of the vocal fold lamina propria (LP), mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are encapsulated in hyaluronic acid (HA)-based hydrogels employing tetrazine ligation with strained alkenes. To mimic matrix stiffening during LP maturation, diffusion-controlled interfacial bioorthogonal crosslinking is carried out on the soft cellular construct using HA modified with a ferocious dienophile, trans-cyclooctene (TCO). Cultures are maintained in MSC growth media for 14 days to afford a model of a newborn LP that is homogeneously soft (nLP), a homogeneously stiffened construct zero (sLP0) or 7 days (sLP7) post cell encapsulation, and a mature LP model (mLP) with a stiff top layer and a soft bottom layer. Installation of additional HA crosslinks restricts cell spreading. Compared to the nLP controls, sLP7 conditions upregulate the expression of fibrous matrix proteins (Col I, DCN, and FN EDA), classic fibroblastic markers (TNC, FAP, and FSP1), and matrix remodeling enzymes (MMP2, TIMP1, and HAS3). Day 7 stiffening also upregulates the catabolic activities, enhances ECM turnover, and promotes YAP expression. Overall, in situ delayed matrix stiffening promotes a fibroblast transition from MSCs and enhances YAP-regulated mechanosensing.
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    Boosting photocatalytic hydrogen production from water by photothermally induced biphase systems
    (Nature Communications, 2021-02-26) Guo, Shaohui; Li, Xuanhua; Li, Ju; Wei, Bingqing
    Solar-driven hydrogen production from water using particulate photocatalysts is considered the most economical and effective approach to produce hydrogen fuel with little environmental concern. However, the efficiency of hydrogen production from water in particulate photocatalysis systems is still low. Here, we propose an efficient biphase photocatalytic system composed of integrated photothermal–photocatalytic materials that use charred wood substrates to convert liquid water to water steam, simultaneously splitting hydrogen under light illumination without additional energy. The photothermal–photocatalytic system exhibits biphase interfaces of photothermally-generated steam/photocatalyst/hydrogen, which significantly reduce the interface barrier and drastically lower the transport resistance of the hydrogen gas by nearly two orders of magnitude. In this work, an impressive hydrogen production rate up to 220.74 μmol h−1 cm−2 in the particulate photocatalytic systems has been achieved based on the wood/CoO system, demonstrating that the photothermal–photocatalytic biphase system is cost-effective and greatly advantageous for practical applications.
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    Propulsive performance of oscillating plates with time-periodic flexibility
    (Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 2023-03-22) Yudin, David; Floryan, Daniel; Van Buren, Tyler
    We use small-amplitude inviscid theory to study the swimming performance of a flexible flapping plate with time-varying flexibility. The stiffness of the plate oscillates at twice the frequency of the kinematics in order to maintain a symmetric motion. Plates with constant and time-periodic stiffness are compared over a range of mean plate stiffnesses, oscillating stiffness amplitudes and oscillating stiffness phases for isolated heaving, isolated pitching and combined leading-edge kinematics. We find that there is a profound impact of oscillating stiffness on the thrust, with a lesser impact on propulsive efficiency. Thrust improvements of up to 35 % relative to a constant-stiffness plate are observed. For large enough frequencies and amplitudes of the stiffness oscillation, instabilities emerge. The unstable regions may confer enhanced propulsive performance; this hypothesis must be verified via experiments or nonlinear simulations.
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    Estimating ground reaction force with novel carbon nanotube-based textile insole pressure sensors
    (Wearable Technologies, 2023-03-02) Burch, Kaleb; Doshi, Sagar; Chaudhari, Amit; Thostenson, Erik; Higginson, Jill
    This study presents a new wearable insole pressure sensor (IPS), composed of fabric coated in a carbon nanotube-based composite thin film, and validates its use for quantifying ground reaction forces (GRFs) during human walking. Healthy young adults (n = 7) walked on a treadmill at three different speeds while data were recorded simultaneously from the IPS and a force plate (FP). The IPS was compared against the FP by evaluating differences between the two instruments under two different assessments: (1) comparing the two peak forces at weight acceptance and push-off (2PK) and (2) comparing the absolute maximum (MAX) of each gait cycle. Agreement between the two systems was evaluated using the Bland–Altman method. For the 2PK assessment, the group mean of differences (MoD) was −1.3 ± 4.3% body weight (BW) and the distance between the MoD and the limits of agreement (2S) was 25.4 ± 11.1% BW. For the MAX assessment, the average MoD across subjects was 1.9 ± 3.0% BW, and 2S was 15.8 ± 9.3% BW. The results of this study show that this sensor technology can be used to obtain accurate measurements of peak walking forces with a basic calibration and consequently open new opportunities to monitor GRF outside of the laboratory.
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    Online Self-Calibration for Visual-Inertial Navigation: Models, Analysis, and Degeneracy
    (IEEE Transactions on Robotics, 2023-06-07) Yang, Yulin; Geneva, Patrick; Zuo, Xingxing; Huang, Guoquan
    As sensor calibration plays an important role in visual-inertial sensor fusion, this article performs an in-depth investigation of online self-calibration for robust and accurate visual-inertial state estimation. To this end, we first conduct complete observability analysis for visual-inertial navigation systems (VINS) with full calibration of sensing parameters, including inertial measurement unit (IMU)/camera intrinsics and IMU-camera spatial-temporal extrinsic calibration, along with readout time of rolling shutter (RS) cameras (if used). We study different inertial model variants containing intrinsic parameters that encompass most commonly used models for low-cost inertial sensors. With these models, the observability analysis of linearized VINS with full sensor calibration is performed. Our analysis theoretically proves the intuition commonly assumed in the literature—that is, VINS with full sensor calibration has four unobservable directions, corresponding to the system's global yaw and position, while all sensor calibration parameters are observable given fully excited motions. Moreover, we, for the first time, identify degenerate motion primitives for IMU and camera intrinsic calibration, which, when combined, may produce complex degenerate motions. We compare the proposed online self-calibration on commonly used IMUs against the state-of-art offline calibration toolbox Kalibr, showing that the proposed system achieves better consistency and repeatability. Based on our analysis and experimental evaluations, we also offer practical guidelines to effectively perform online IMU-camera self-calibration in practice.
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