Engineering and Architecture
Joan Rosell Llompart
Nanoscience, Materials and Chemical Engineering
Electro-hydrodynamic flows for the creation of biomedical nanostructures and devices
This project lies at the interface between physics (specifically, fluid mechanics) and biomedicine (in therapeutics and in diagnostics). Biomedicine demands controlling matter at scales below one micrometer, namely at the nanoscale, where small structures (for example, porous substrates) must interact with cells and other living structures. Such structures can be produced by transforming liquid shapes to solid ones. Therefore, this project will focus on fluid structures at the nanoscale, and on their transformation into solid structures which are useful to biomedicine.
We will use, for example, liquid nanojets (a fluid structure) generated via electro-capillary instabilities of a liquid drop, which can serve as templates to become a solid nanostructure (e.g., particles after breaking up into tiny droplets, or nanofibers directly after solidifying). The underlying idea of using electrostatic forces is to overcome surface tension stresses on a liquid surface, in order to produce tiny jets (with diameters in the nanoscale). In the project, we will design and study liquid flows and complex liquids which are able to generate such structures tailored to three areas of biomedical application.
One such area is the production of particles for nanobiomedicine by electrospray. This has several stages: (1) The engineering at lab scale of functional bioactive particles with tailored internal organization/structure, (2) the demonstration of scaled-up production of such particles, and (3) the collaboration with biomedical partners to test the effectiveness of such particles in addressing unique medical challenges (e.g. malaria and/or cancer).
Another area of application is electrospinning and 3D printing to produce nanofibrous scaffolds for tissue engineering, where hierarchical control of the nanostructure at many lengthscales is needed. Our goal is to go much beyond standard materials like PCL, as well as the conventional electrospinning technique, to create complex hierarchical structures demanded in regenerative medicine, by combining different materials and bioprinting approaches. We will seek new partnerships in order to test the effectiveness (e.g. bioeffectiveness) of the scaffolds.
A third area of application is 3D printing based on electrohydrodynamic jets. Closely related to electrospinning, this is a hot area of research. Here, one aims to print nanostructures for tissue engineering applications, such as scaffolds for creating viable cellular models and tissues in vitro which can be transferred to microfluidic platforms where the response of the tissue cells can be studied in response to different chemical stimuli (e.g. drugs, pollutants, etc.).
Despite the interdisciplinary nature of this project, we will mainly be focused on developing the physics and engineering aspects (fluid mechanics, complex fluids, electrohydrodynamics). And then will have international exchanges for the student with laboratories in which the fabricated structures can be tested for functionality. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact Prof. Rosell-Llompart by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also see our webpage: www.etseq.urv.cat/dew.
Ethics: This project does not involve ethical aspects.
Workplace location: Campus Sescelades, Tarragona
37.5 hours a week
21 March 2021
|This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 945413|