Nano Engineering Laboratory

Nano Engineering Lab
The Nano Engineering Laboratory in the Energy Conversion Group of the Faculty of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering conducts research in the field of fluid thermal studies at the nano scale. The Nano Lab seeks to understand the fundamental phenomena of energy, mass and momentum transfer and apply it to the fields of energy, water, and food processing / agriculture technologies. To realize prototypes with an advanced Level of Technology Readiness, Lab Nano also fabricates, characterizes, and uses materials and nanostructures in prototypes such as floating solar stills, ultrasonicators, and battery packs.

Floating Solar Still
The scarcity of clean water is a global problem. Solar energy is the largest source of renewable energy that can be used. Solar still technology is the solution to this combination of problems and resources. In this research, Nano Lab uses thermal fluid science at the nano scale to increase the efficiency of solar still. The material and nanostructures are used to regulate the hydrophobic properties of the cover and increase the absorptivity of the solar absorber material. Nano Lab has also developed a floating solar still prototype aimed at helping communities in areas prone to clean water.

Data from WHO (World Health Organization) shows that more than 200 diseases in the world are caused by unhealthy food contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites or other dangerous chemical compounds. The most conventional and most frequently used method in the food industry to remove bacteria involves heat treatment at temperatures between 121oC and 140oC. The negative impact of this method is that the heat treatment given can reduce the nutrients from the food and change the organoleptic properties (color, smell, taste and structure). As an alternative to the conventional method, a new processing method is designed using ultrasonic waves. Ultrasonication methods in the food industry have been developed in various fields such as crystallization, extraction, emulsification and sterilization. This method has insignificant impact on changes in the organoleptic and nutritional properties of processed foods. Ultrasound technology is based on the use of mechanical waves at frequencies above the human hearing threshold, i.e. above 20 kHz. The application of ultrasonic waves to the fluid in the bacterial suspension medium triggers the formation of bubbles in the fluid. The cavitation bubbles that form can produce high pressure and velocity which can have a destructive effect on bacteria. This study conducted modeling of the equations of cavitation bubble motion and the resulting pressure and failure analysis using the finite element method on a microscopic scale. In addition to the fundamental study of cavitation, this research is also trying to develop a prototype ultrasonicator that can work with frequencies above the conventional frequency of 20 kHz. Apart from being used for the inactivation of bacteria in food, this prototype can also be developed for food processing, nanoencapsulation of antimicrobial compounds, and destruction of cancer cells.