Mechanical Engineering - Research Publications

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    Convective heat transfer behavior and AC dielectric breakdown voltage of electric power transformer oil with magnetic colloidal nano-fluid: An experimental study
    Nazari, M ; Jafarmadar, S ; Gohari, S (Elsevier BV, 2023-05)
    This research reports on an experimental investigation into the alternating insulation breakdown voltage (AC) and convective heat transfer behavior of nano-oil for application in electrical transformers. The base fluid of the examined nano-oil is nitro libra type transformer oil, one of the common mineral oils used in transformers. It contains iron oxide magnetic colloidal nano particles. Upon fabrication of the experimental apparatus in the lab, an experimental study on convection heat transfer is performed under laminar flow conditions and with a continuous heat flux applied to the wall. BA100 breakdown voltage measurement instrument based on the IEC 60156 standard is also used for alternating breakdown voltage testing. The current findings from the experimental investigation of convective heat transfer are compared with and verified by the experimental results available in the literature. The experimental results demonstrate that the convective heat transfer coefficient of the iron oxide magnetic nanoparticle-prepared nano-oil is on average 4.51% higher than that of base oil. These particles have an average size of 23 nm and a volume concentration of 0.1%. Additionally, compared to base oil, nano-oil with a volume concentration of 0.1% has a 23.8% higher dielectric breakdown voltage.
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    An artificial sodium-selective subnanochannel.
    Lu, J ; Jiang, G ; Zhang, H ; Qian, B ; Zhu, H ; Gu, Q ; Yan, Y ; Liu, JZ ; Freeman, BD ; Jiang, L ; Wang, H (American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2023-01-27)
    Single-ion selectivity with high precision has long been pursued for fundamental bioinspired engineering and applications such as in ion separation and energy conversion. However, it remains a challenge to develop artificial ion channels to achieve single-ion selectivity comparable to their biological analogs, especially for high Na+/K+ selectivity. Here, we report an artificial sodium channel by subnanoconfinement of 4'-aminobenzo-15-crown-5 ethers (15C5s) into ~6-Å-sized metal-organic framework subnanochannel (MOFSNC). The resulting 15C5-MOFSNC shows an unprecedented Na+/K+ selectivity of tens to 102 and Na+/Li+ selectivity of 103 under multicomponent permeation conditions, comparable to biological sodium channels. A co-ion-responsive single-file transport mechanism in 15C-MOFSNC is proposed for the preferential transport of Na+ over K+ due to the synergetic effects of size exclusion, charge selectivity, local hydrophobicity, and preferential binding with functional groups. This study provides an alternative strategy for developing potential single-ion selective channels and membranes for many applications.
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    Technology-assisted assessment of spasticity: a systematic review
    Guo, X ; Wallace, R ; Tan, Y ; Oetomo, D ; Klaic, M ; Crocher, V (BMC, 2022-12-09)
    BACKGROUND: Spasticity is defined as "a motor disorder characterised by a velocity dependent increase in tonic stretch reflexes (muscle tone) with exaggerated tendon jerks". It is a highly prevalent condition following stroke and other neurological conditions. Clinical assessment of spasticity relies predominantly on manual, non-instrumented, clinical scales. Technology based solutions have been developed in the last decades to offer more specific, sensitive and accurate alternatives but no consensus exists on these different approaches. METHOD: A systematic review of literature of technology-based methods aiming at the assessment of spasticity was performed. The approaches taken in the studies were classified based on the method used as well as their outcome measures. The psychometric properties and usability of the methods and outcome measures reported were evaluated. RESULTS: 124 studies were included in the analysis. 78 different outcome measures were identified, among which seven were used in more than 10 different studies each. The different methods rely on a wide range of different equipment (from robotic systems to simple goniometers) affecting their cost and usability. Studies equivalently applied to the lower and upper limbs (48% and 52%, respectively). A majority of studies applied to a stroke population (N = 79). More than half the papers did not report thoroughly the psychometric properties of the measures. Analysis identified that only 54 studies used measures specific to spasticity. Repeatability and discriminant validity were found to be of good quality in respectively 25 and 42 studies but were most often not evaluated (N = 95 and N = 78). Clinical validity was commonly assessed only against clinical scales (N = 33). Sensitivity of the measure was assessed in only three studies. CONCLUSION: The development of a large diversity of assessment approaches appears to be done at the expense of their careful evaluation. Still, among the well validated approaches, the ones based on manual stretching and measuring a muscle activity reaction and the ones leveraging controlled stretches while isolating the stretch-reflex torque component appear as the two promising practical alternatives to clinical scales. These methods should be further evaluated, including on their sensitivity, to fully inform on their potential.
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    Heat-transfer scaling at moderate Prandtl numbers in the fully rough regime
    Zhong, K ; Hutchins, N ; Chung, D (Cambridge University Press, 2023-03-25)
    In the fully rough regime, proposed models predict a scaling for a roughness heat-transfer coefficient, e.g. the roughness Stanton number Stk ∼ (k+)−pPr−m where the exponent values p and m are model dependent, giving diverse predictions. Here, k+ is the roughness Reynolds number and Pr is the Prandtl number. To clarify this ambiguity, we conduct direct numerical simulations of forced convection over a three-dimensional sinusoidal surface spanning k+ = 5.5–111 for Prandtl numbers Pr = 0.5, 1.0 and 2.0. These unprecedented parameter ranges are reached by employing minimal channels, which resolve the roughness sublayer at an affordable cost. We focus on the fully rough phenomenologies, which fall into two groups: p = 1/2 (Owen & Thomson, J. Fluid Mech., vol. 15, issue 3, 1963, pp. 321–334; Yaglom & Kader, J. Fluid Mech., vol. 62, issue 3, 1974, pp. 601–623) and p = 1/4 (Brutsaert, Water Resour. Res., vol. 11, issue 4, 1975b, pp. 543–550). Although we find the mean heat transfer favours the p = 1/4 scaling, the Prandtl–Blasius boundary-layer ideas associated with the Reynolds–Chilton–Colburn analogy that underpin the p = 1/2 can remain an apt description of the flow locally in regions exposed to high shear. Sheltered regions, meanwhile, violate this behaviour and are instead dominated by reversed flow, where no clear correlation between heat and momentum transfer is evident. The overall picture of fully rough heat transfer is then not encapsulated by one singular mechanism or phenomenology, but rather an ensemble of different behaviours locally. The implications of the approach to a Reynolds-analogy-like behaviour locally on bulk measures of the Nusselt and Stanton numbers are also examined, with evidence pointing to the onset of a regime transition at even-higher Reynolds numbers.
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    Effects of Prophylactic Knee Bracing on Lower Limb Kinematics, Kinetics, and Energetics During Double-Leg Drop Landing at 2 Heights
    Ewing, KA ; Begg, RK ; Galea, MP ; Lee, PVS (SAGE PUBLICATIONS INC, 2016-07-01)
    BACKGROUND: Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries commonly occur during landing maneuvers. Prophylactic knee braces were introduced to reduce the risk of ACL injuries, but their effectiveness is debated. HYPOTHESES: We hypothesized that bracing would improve biomechanical factors previously related to the risk of ACL injuries, such as increased hip and knee flexion angles at initial contact and at peak vertical ground-reaction force (GRF), increased ankle plantar flexion angles at initial contact, decreased peak GRFs, and decreased peak knee extension moment. We also hypothesized that bracing would increase the negative power and work of the hip joint and would decrease the negative power and work of the knee and ankle joints. STUDY DESIGN: Controlled laboratory study. METHODS: Three-dimensional motion and force plate data were collected from 8 female and 7 male recreational athletes performing double-leg drop landings from 0.30 m and 0.60 m with and without a prophylactic knee brace. GRFs, joint angles, moments, power, and work were calculated for each athlete with and without a knee brace. RESULTS: Prophylactic knee bracing increased the hip flexion angle at peak GRF by 5.56° (P < .001), knee flexion angle at peak GRF by 4.75° (P = .001), and peak hip extension moment by 0.44 N·m/kg (P < .001). Bracing also increased the peak hip negative power by 4.89 W/kg (P = .002) and hip negative work by 0.14 J/kg (P = .001) but did not result in significant differences in the energetics of the knee and ankle. No differences in peak GRFs and peak knee extension moment were observed with bracing. CONCLUSION: The application of a prophylactic knee brace resulted in improvements in important biomechanical factors associated with the risk of ACL injuries. CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Prophylactic knee braces may help reduce the risk of noncontact knee injuries in recreational and professional athletes while playing sports. Further studies should investigate different types of prophylactic knee braces in conjunction with existing training interventions so that the sports medicine community can better assess the effectiveness of prophylactic knee bracing.
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    Prophylactic knee bracing alters lower-limb muscle forces during a double-leg drop landing
    Ewing, KA ; Fernandez, JW ; Begg, RK ; Galea, MP ; Lee, PVS (ELSEVIER SCI LTD, 2016-10-03)
    Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury can be a painful, debilitating and costly consequence of participating in sporting activities. Prophylactic knee bracing aims to reduce the number and severity of ACL injury, which commonly occurs during landing maneuvers and is more prevalent in female athletes, but a consensus on the effectiveness of prophylactic knee braces has not been established. The lower-limb muscles are believed to play an important role in stabilizing the knee joint. The purpose of this study was to investigate the changes in lower-limb muscle function with prophylactic knee bracing in male and female athletes during landing. Fifteen recreational athletes performed double-leg drop landing tasks from 0.30m and 0.60m with and without a prophylactic knee brace. Motion analysis data were used to create subject-specific musculoskeletal models in OpenSim. Static optimization was performed to calculate the lower-limb muscle forces. A linear mixed model determined that the hamstrings and vasti muscles produced significantly greater flexion and extension torques, respectively, and greater peak muscle forces with bracing. No differences in the timings of peak muscle forces were observed. These findings suggest that prophylactic knee bracing may help to provide stability to the knee joint by increasing the active stiffness of the hamstrings and vasti muscles later in the landing phase rather than by altering the timing of muscle forces. Further studies are necessary to quantify whether prophylactic knee bracing can reduce the load placed on the ACL during intense dynamic movements.
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    Effect Of Arm Deweighting Using End-Effector Based Robotic Devices On Muscle Activity.
    Fong, J ; Crocher, V ; Haddara, R ; Ackland, D ; Galea, M ; Tan, Y ; Oetomo, D (IEEE, 2018)
    Deweighting of the limb is commonly performed for patients with a neurological injury, such as stroke, as it allows these patients with limited muscle activity to perform movements. Deweighting has been implemented in exoskeletons and other multi-contact devices, but not on an end-effector based device with single contact point between the assisting robot and the human limb being assisted. This study inves-tigates the effects of deweighting using an end-effector based device on healthy subjects. The muscle activity of five subjects was measured in both static postures and dynamic movements. The results indicate a decrease in the activity of muscles which typically act against gravity - such as the anterior deltoid and the biceps brachii - but also suggest an increase in activity in muscles which act with gravity - such as the posterior deltoid and the lateral triceps. This can be explained by both the change in required muscle-generated torques and a conscious change in approach by the participants. These observations have implications for neurorehabilitation, particularly with respect to the muscle activation patterns which are trained through rehabilitation exercises.
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    Promoting clinical best practice in a user-centred design study of an upper limb rehabilitation robot
    Fong, J ; Crocher, V ; Klaic, M ; Davies, K ; Rowse, A ; Sutton, E ; Tan, Y ; Oetomo, D ; Brock, K ; Galea, MP (Taylor & Francis, 2021-01-01)
    Purpose: Despite their promise to increase therapy intensity in neurorehabilitation, robotic devices have not yet seen mainstream adoption. Whilst there are a number of contributing factors, it is obvious that the treating clinician should have a clear understanding of the objectives and limitations of robotic device use. This study sought to explore how devices can be developed to support a clinician in providing clinical best practice. Methods and Materials: A user-centred design study of a robotic device was conducted, involving build-then-use iterations, where successive iterations are built based on feedback from the use cycle. This work reports results of an analysis of qualitative and quantitative data describing the use of the robotic device in the clinical sessions, and from a focus group with the treating clinicians. Results and Conclusions: The data indicated that use of the device did not result in patient goal-setting and may have resulted in poor movement quality. Therapists expected a higher level of autonomy from the robotic device, and this may have contributed to the above problems. These problems can and should be addressed through modification of both the study design and device to provide more explicit instructions to promote clinical best practice. Implications for Rehabilitation: • Encouraging clinical best practice when using evaluating prototype devices within a clinical setting is important to ensure that best practice is maintained - and can be achieved through both study and device design • Support from device developers can significantly improve the confidence of therapists during the use of that device in rehabilitation, particularly with new or prototype devices • End effector-based robotic devices for rehabilitation show potential for a wide variety of patient presentations and capabilities.
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    Evaluating Rehabilitation Progress Using Motion Features Identified by Machine Learning
    Lu, L ; Tan, Y ; Klaic, M ; Galea, MP ; Khan, F ; Oliver, A ; Mareels, I ; Oetomo, D ; Zhao, E (IEEE-INST ELECTRICAL ELECTRONICS ENGINEERS INC, 2021-04-01)
    Evaluating progress throughout a patient's rehabilitation episode is critical for determining the effectiveness of the selected treatments and is an essential ingredient in personalised and evidence-based rehabilitation practice. The evaluation process is complex due to the inherently large human variations in motor recovery and the limitations of commonly used clinical measurement tools. Information recorded during a robot-assisted rehabilitation process can provide an effective means to continuously quantitatively assess movement performance and rehabilitation progress. However, selecting appropriate motion features for rehabilitation evaluation has always been challenging. This paper exploits unsupervised feature learning techniques to reduce the complexity of building the evaluation model of patients' progress. A new feature learning technique is developed to select the most significant features from a large amount of kinematic features measured from robotics, providing clinically useful information to health practitioners with reduction of modeling complexity. A novel indicator that uses monotonicity and trendability is proposed to evaluate kinematic features. The data used to develop the feature selection technique consist of kinematic data from robot-aided rehabilitation for a population of stroke patients. The selected kinematic features allow for human variations across a population of patients as well as over the sequence of rehabilitation sessions. The study is based on data records pertaining to 41 stroke patients using three different robot assisted exercises for upper limb rehabilitation. Consistent with the literature, the results indicate that features based on movement smoothness are the best measures among 17 kinematic features suitable to evaluate rehabilitation progress.
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    A Practical Post-Stroke Elbow Spasticity Assessment Using an Upper Limb Rehabilitation Robot: A Validation Study
    Guo, X ; Tang, J ; Crocher, V ; Klaic, M ; Oetomo, D ; Xie, Q ; Galea, MP ; Niu, CM ; Tan, Y (IEEE, 2022-07)
    Spasticity is a motor disorder characterised by a velocity-dependent increase in muscle tone, which is critical in neurorehabilitation given its high prevalence and potential negative influence among the post-stroke population. Accurate measurement of spasticity is important as it guides the strategy of spasticity treatment and evaluates the effectiveness of spasticity management. However, spasticity is commonly measured using clinical scales which may lack objectivity and reliability. Although many technology-assisted measures have been developed, showing their potential as accurate and reliable alternatives to standard clinical scales, they have not been widely adopted in clinical practice due to their low usability and feasibility. This paper thus introduces an easy-to-use robotic based measure of elbow spasticity and its evaluation protocol. Preliminary results collected with one post-stroke patient and one healthy control subject are presented and demonstrate the feasibility of the approach.