Recent Publications

Computational Study of the Source-Area Effect for Bubble Plumes in Stratified Environments

Zhou G. Computational Study of the Source-Area Effect for Bubble Plumes in Stratified Environments. Journal of Hydraulic Engineering [Internet]. 2020;146 (6). Publisher's VersionAbstract
In this work, a large-eddy simulation of bubble plumes in linearly stratified environments is presented. The gas bubbles are treated as Lagrangian particles. The intrusion and peeling are clearly manifested in the computed flow fields. The results of about 50 simulations with different parameters reveal the importance of bubble source area for plumes on the laboratory scale. A new type of bubble plume with rapid and distinct peelings is observed which is favored by large source areas. With a proper normalization, the present data points collapse onto a single straight line after applying a virtual-source correction which reflects the source-area effect. These results provide a plausible explanation for the scatter of the previous experimental and computational data in literature. A simple relation between the trap height and the peel height is observed and its mechanism is discussed
Read more

Persistent thin water films encapsulate oil droplets crossing an oil-water interface

Ram O, Katz J. Persistent thin water films encapsulate oil droplets crossing an oil-water interface. Chemical Engineering Journal [Internet]. 2020;387 (124075). Publisher's VersionAbstract
Understanding of oil-water interfacial phenomena is essential for predicting mixing and/or phase-separation in environmental and industrial systems. Time-resolved digital holography and planar laser-induced fluorescence are used for examining processes occurring after ascending buoyant oil droplets of varying viscosity cross a stratified oil-water interface. Previous studies have focused on the crossing process, and the current belief is that once this droplet becomes immersed in the oil, its content can mix with the bulk fluid. In contrast, we show that the droplets remain encapsulated by a stable continuous submicron thin water film, which prevent them from mixing. This film forms even in pure oil and water with minimal surfactant concentration and persists for periods that are three to four orders of magnitude longer than those of the crossing process. Observations following the film evolution reveal that segments located close to the interface appear to be attracted to the bulk water, causing the entire droplet to flatten slowly. The resulting reduction in the peripheral radius of curvature
eventually breaks up the film into suspended submicron droplets. The morphology of this flattening process varies with oil viscosity, and its duration increases from seconds to nearly one hour as the oil viscosity increases from one to fifty cSt. In processes involving multiple oil droplets crossing the interface, they form a separate persistent long-lasting layer containing a complex thin-film structure that does not mix with the bulk oil. In contrast, thin oil films do not form around a descending water droplet after it crosses the interface.
Read more

The potential impact of bacterial communities exposed to crude oil and light on the growth of the harmful algal blooming species Karenia brevis (Dinophyceae)

Park BS, Buskey EJ. The potential impact of bacterial communities exposed to crude oil and light on the growth of the harmful algal blooming species Karenia brevis (Dinophyceae) . Marine and Freshwater Research [Internet]. 2020. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Phytoplankton blooms have been occasionally observed to occur after oil spills, and changes in bacterial communities (BC) associated with phytoplankton are known to affect phytoplankton growth. In the present study, to examine the effects of BC exposed to crude oil on phytoplankton blooms, established free-living (FL) BC in Karenia brevis (Dinophyceae) culture were collected and then exposed to crude oil under light or dark conditions. These exposed FLBC were then added to K. brevis culture to investigate the effects on growth rate of this dinoflagellate. Enhanced growth of K. brevis was observed following addition of FL (24.7%) BC exposed to crude oil and light. Whereas BC grown with crude oil in the dark did not enhance growth, and BC without treatment showed a slight growth inhibition (13–15%) of K. brevis. In addition, the growth-promoting effect had a positive correlation with the inoculated bacterial density; the treatment with a higher (,1.5 times) density of FL (42.9%) BC that were exposed to crude oil and light showed an increase in the growth-promoting effect. Taken together, BC exposed to crude oil and light may play an important role in enhancement of K. brevis growth.
Read more

Bacteria forming drag-increasing streamers on a drop implicates complementary fates of rising deep-sea oil droplets

White A, Jalali M, Boufadel M, Sheng J. Bacteria forming drag-increasing streamers on a drop implicates complementary fates of rising deep-sea oil droplets. Scientific Reports [Internet]. 2020;10 (4305). Publisher's VersionAbstract
Competing time scales involved in rapid rising micro-droplets in comparison to substantially slower biodegradation processes at oil-water interfaces highlights a perplexing question: how do biotic processes occur and alter the fates of oil micro-droplets (<500 μm) in the 400 m thick Deepwater Horizon deep-sea plume? For instance, a 200 μm droplet traverses the plume in ~48 h, while known biodegradation processes require weeks to complete. Using a microfluidic platform allowing microcosm observations of a droplet passing through a bacterial suspension at ecologically relevant length and time scales, we discover that within minutes bacteria attach onto an oil droplet and extrude polymeric streamers that rapidly bundle into an elongated aggregate, drastically increasing drag that consequently slows droplet rising velocity. Results provide a key mechanism bridging competing scales and establish a potential pathway to biodegradation and sedimentations as well as substantially alter physical transport of droplets during a deep-sea oil spill with dispersant.
Read more

Robust Fabrication of Polymeric Nanowire withAnodic Aluminum Oxide Templates

Brock L, Sheng J. Robust Fabrication of Polymeric Nanowire withAnodic Aluminum Oxide Templates. Micromachines [Internet]. 2019;11 (46). Publisher's VersionAbstract
Functionalization of a surface with biomimetic nano-/micro-scale roughness (wires) has attracted significant interests in surface science and engineering as well as has inspired many real-world applications including anti-fouling and superhydrophobic surfaces. Although methods relying on lithography include soft-lithography greatly increase our abilities in structuring hard surfaces with engineered nano-/micro-topologies mimicking real-world counterparts, such as lotus leaves, rose petals, and gecko toe pads, scalable tools enabling us to pattern polymeric substrates with the same structures are largely absent in literature. Here we present a robust and simple technique combining anodic aluminum oxide (AAO) templating and vacuum-assisted molding to fabricate nanowires over polymeric substrates. We have demonstrated the ecacy and robustness of the technique by successfully fabricating nanowires with large aspect ratios (>25) using several common soft materials including both cross-linking polymers and thermal plastics. Furthermore, a model is also developed to determine the length and molding time based on nanowires material properties (e.g., viscosity and interfacial tension) and operational parameters (e.g., pressure, vacuum, and AAO template dimension). Applying the technique, we have further demonstrated the confinement e ects on polymeric crosslinking processes and shown substantial lengthening of the curing time.
Read more
More