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Development of edible chitosan based packaging film with improved physicochemical and biological properties(2022) Sutharsan, JenaniThesisChitosan is a promising material for making edible, active and biodegradable packaging films for foods; however, pure chitosan films have poor mechanical and barrier properties. This Master of Philosophy study was conducted with the aim to improve the physicochemical and biological properties of chitosan films by incorporating epoxy activated agarose (EAA) and three flavonoids, namely catechin, quercetin and luteolin into the film. Chitosan films were prepared with chitosan of three molecular weights (low, medium and high) and by drying at 21 °C, 40 °C and 50 °C. EAA and the flavonoids were incorporated into chitosan, both at 1-10%. With increased MW of chitosan, the film thickness, tensile strength (TS), elongation at break (EAB), and swelling ability increased while the moisture content, solubility, water vapor permeability (WVP) and the melting temperature declined. Higher drying temperatures led to greater TS and higher melting temperature for the films. Incorporation of the EAA significantly improved the moisture related properties and flexibility of the chitosan films. Moreover, with higher amounts of EAA, the film thickness and opacity increased while the TS and thermal stability declined. Incorporation of flavonoids had significant (type and concentration dependent) impact on the physicochemical and biological properties of chitosan films. Addition of flavonoids up to 5% resulted in films with greater TS, EAB and thermal stability, whereas at concentrations of up to 3%, the films produced had improved WVP. All the chitosan-flavonoid composite films exhibited antimicrobial activity against Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella typhimurium, Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus. Beef samples wrapped with pure chitosan or chitosan-flavonoid composite films had significantly lower microbial counts and a more reddish color after two weeks of storage at 4 °C than those packaged with cling wrap. Storage of the chitosan films at 21 °C and 4 °C for six weeks resulted in significant reductions in the TPC, TFC, antioxidant activity and the flexibility of the films, which occurred at a faster rate at 21 °C. Overall, this study demonstrated that incorporation of EAA and flavonoids at appropriate levels can significantly improve some of the physicochemical and biological properties of chitosan films.
Experimental and Computational Study of Flow Fields in Porous Electrodes for the Vanadium Flow Battery(2022) Sulide, SuldThesisThe Vanadium Flow Battery is a leading technology for medium to large-scale energy storage, however, the efficiency, capacity, and power density can be impeded by mass transport limitations. In this thesis, advanced flow field patterned modified graphite porous electrodes were produced using an embroidery method. The battery performance and electrolyte distribution were analysed for various embroidered designs on 100 mm x 100 mm graphite felt electrodes. Flow visualisation tests demonstrated that embroidered graphite felt electrodes showed better flow distribution and provided lower pressure drops of 35.0 %, 33.0 % and 11.0 % for the parallel, diamond and perpendicular pattern modified graphite electrodes respectively compared to the pristine sample. The modified porous electrodes were then compared to a pristine graphite electrode in battery tests. Polarisation test results indicated that embroidered electrodes can operate at lower flow rates compared to a pristine electrode saving pumping energy without sacrificing battery performance. The parallel and diamond pattern electrodes improved the overall energy efficiency of the battery system by 3.8% and 5.5% respectively. The flow characteristics of different designs are investigated using computational modelling, and the results were found to agree favourably with the experiment work. An advanced flow distributor has been modelled, reducing the flow uniformity parameter by 27.5 % for pristine, 42.7 % for perpendicular, 36.0 % for parallel, and 32.0 % for diamond pattern modified graphite electrode. A 100 mm wide x 300 mm long cell was simulated with an advanced flow distributor. The pressure drop reduction was 2.0 % for the perpendicular pattern, 38.0 % for parallel pattern, and 40.0 % for diamond pattern design compared to the pristine electrode. The pattern optimisation for parallel and diamond pattern designs was further conducted by varying spacing width and channel width. The results showed that the narrower the width of spacing between each channel and the wider the width of channel, the lower the pressure drop with better flow uniformity. The widest channel and the narrowest spacing pattern considered reduced the pressure drop by 71.6 % and 73.5 % for the parallel and diamond pattern modified electrodes compared to the pristine felt electrode.