Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Chemical engineering


Small-diameter (<4 mm) vascular constructs are urgently needed for patients requiring replacement of their peripheral vessels. However, successful development of constructs remains a significant challenge. In this study, we successfully developed small-diameter vascular constructs with high patency using our integrally designed computer-controlled bioreactor system. This computer-controlled bioreactor system can confer physiological mechanical stimuli and fluid flow similar to physiological stimuli to the cultured grafts. The medium circulating system optimizes the culture conditions by maintaining fixed concentration of O(2) and CO(2) in the medium flow and constant delivery of nutrients and waste metabolites, as well as eliminates the complicated replacement of culture medium in traditional vascular tissue engineering. Biochemical and mechanical assay of newly developed grafts confirm the feasibility of the bioreactor system for small-diameter vascular engineering. Furthermore, the computer-controlled bioreactor is superior for cultured cell proliferation compared with the traditional non-computer-controlled bioreactor. Specifically, our novel bioreactor system may be a potential alternative for tissue engineering of large-scale small-diameter vascular vessels for clinical use.

Concepts: Fluid dynamics, Cell culture, Engineering, Fluid, Design, The Culture, Chemical engineering, Bioreactor


A modified smoothed particle hydrodynamic (MSPH) computational technique was utilized to simulate molten particle motion and infiltration speed on multi-scale analysis levels. The radial velocity and velocity gradient of molten alumina, iron infiltration in the TiC product and solidification rate, were predicted during centrifugal self-propagating high-temperature synthesis (SHS) simulation, which assisted the coating process by MSPH. The effects of particle size and temperature on infiltration and solidification of iron and alumina were mainly investigated. The obtained results were validated with experimental microstructure evidence. The simulation model successfully describes the magnitude of iron and alumina diffusion in a centrifugal thermite SHS and Ti + C hybrid reaction under centrifugal acceleration.

Concepts: Oxygen, Chemical reaction, Liquid, Acceleration, Velocity, Computational sociology, Chemical engineering, Reactive centrifugal force


Hydrogel products constitute a group of polymeric materials, the hydrophilic structure of which renders them capable of holding large amounts of water in their three-dimensional networks. Extensive employment of these products in a number of industrial and environmental areas of application is considered to be of prime importance. As expected, natural hydrogels were gradually replaced by synthetic types due to their higher water absorption capacity, long service life, and wide varieties of raw chemical resources. Literature on this subject was found to be expanding, especially in the scientific areas of research. However, a number of publications and technical reports dealing with hydrogel products from the engineering points of view were examined to overview technological aspects covering this growing multidisciplinary field of research. The primary objective of this article is to review the literature concerning classification of hydrogels on different bases, physical and chemical characteristics of these products, and technical feasibility of their utilization. It also involved technologies adopted for hydrogel production together with process design implications, block diagrams, and optimized conditions of the preparation process. An innovated category of recent generations of hydrogel materials was also presented in some details.

Concepts: Polymer, Science, Chemical substance, Chemical element, Materials science, Technology, Chemical engineering, Generation


Hierarchical zeolites are a class of microporous catalysts and adsorbents that also contain mesopores, which allow for fast transport of bulky molecules and thereby enable improved performance in petrochemical and biomass processing. We used repetitive branching during one-step hydrothermal crystal growth to synthesize a new hierarchical zeolite made of orthogonally connected microporous nanosheets. The nanosheets are 2 nanometers thick and contain a network of 0.5-nanometer micropores. The house-of-cards arrangement of the nanosheets creates a permanent network of 2- to 7-nanometer mesopores, which, along with the high external surface area and reduced micropore diffusion length, account for higher reaction rates for bulky molecules relative to those of other mesoporous and conventional MFI zeolites.

Concepts: Chemical reaction, Petroleum, Adsorption, Synthesis, Mesoporous material, Chemical kinetics, Chemical engineering, Zeolite


Genetically engineered crops were first commercialized in 1994 and since then have been rapidly adopted, enabling growers to more effectively manage pests and increase crop productivity while ensuring food, feed, and environmental safety. The development of these crops is complex and based on rigorous science that must be well coordinated to create a plant with desired beneficial phenotypes. This article describes the general process by which a genetically engineered crop is developed from an initial concept to a commercialized product. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Plant Biology Volume 65 is April 29, 2014. Please see for revised estimates.

Concepts: DNA, Agriculture, Biology, Human Genome Project, Species, Biotechnology, Chemical engineering, Genetic engineering


Carbon nanomaterials are robust and possess fascinating properties useful for separation technology applications, but their scalability and high salt rejection when in a strong cross flow for long periods of time remain challenging. Here, we present a graphene-based membrane that is prepared using a simple and environmentally friendly method by spray coating an aqueous dispersion of graphene oxide/few-layered graphene/deoxycholate. The membranes were robust enough to withstand strong cross-flow shear for a prolonged period (120 h) while maintaining NaCl rejection near 85% and 96% for an anionic dye. Experimental results and molecular dynamic simulations revealed that the presence of deoxycholate enhances NaCl rejection in these graphene-based membranes. In addition, these novel hybrid-layered membranes exhibit better chlorine resistance than pure graphene oxide membranes. The desalination performance and aggressive shear and chlorine resistance of these scalable graphene-based membranes are promising for use in practical water separation applications.

Concepts: Water, Sodium chloride, Nanomaterials, Graphene, Chlorine, Chemical engineering, Hydrochloric acid, Scalability


The field of tissue engineering is rapidly progressing. Much work has gone into developing a tissue engineered urethral graft. Current grafts, when long, can create initial donor site morbidity. In this article, we evaluate the progress made in finding a tissue engineered substitute for the human urethra. Researchers have investigated cell-free and cell-seeded grafts. We discuss different approaches to developing these grafts and review their reported successes in human studies. With further work, tissue engineered grafts may facilitate the management of lengthy urethral strictures requiring oral mucosa substitution urethroplasty.

Concepts: Science, Urethral stricture, Chemical engineering, Biomedical engineering


Carbonised beet pulp (BPC) produced from agricultural solid waste by-product in sugar industry was used as adsorbent for the removal of Remazol Turquoise Blue-G 133 (RTB-G 133) dye in this study. The kinetics and equilibrium of sorption process were investigated with respect to pH, temperature and initial dye concentration. Adsorption studies with real textile wastewater were also performed. The results showed that adsorption was a strongly pH-dependent process, and optimum pH was determined as 1.0. The maximum dye adsorption capacity was obtained as 47.0 mg g(-1)at the temperature of 25 °C at this pH value. The Freundlich and Langmuir adsorption models were used for describing the adsorption equilibrium data of the dye, and isotherm constants were evaluated depending on sorption temperature. Equilibrium data of RTB-G 133 sorption fitted very well to the Freundlich isotherm. Mass transfer and kinetic models were applied to the experimental data to examine the mechanisms of adsorption and potential rate-controlling steps. It was found that both external mass transfer and intra-particle diffusion played an important role in the adsorption mechanisms of dye and adsorption kinetics followed the pseudo second-order type kinetic model. The thermodynamic analysis indicated that the sorption process was exothermic and spontaneous in nature.

Concepts: Energy, Concentration, Chemistry, Temperature, Thermodynamics, Adsorption, Chemical engineering, Freundlich equation


The present work demonstrates the application of a hydrodynamic cavitation reactor for the synthesis of biodiesel with used frying oil as a feedstock. The synthesis involved the transesterification of used frying oil (UFO) with methanol in the presence of potassium hydroxide as a catalyst. The effect of geometry and upstream pressure of a cavitating orifice plate on the rate of transesterification reaction has been studied. It is observed that the micro level turbulence created by hydrodynamic cavitation somewhat overcomes the mass transfer limitations for triphasic transesterification reaction. The significant effects of upstream pressure on the rate of formation of methyl esters have been seen. It has been observed that flow geometry of orifice plate plays a crucial role in process intensification. With an optimized plate geometry of 2mm hole diameter and 25 holes, more than 95% of triglycerides have been converted to methyl esters in 10 min of reaction time with cavitational yield of 1.28 × 10(-3) (Grams of methyl esters produced per Joule of energy supplied). The potential of UFO to produce good quality methyl esters has been demonstrated.

Concepts: Time, Alcohol, Fluid dynamics, Ester, Chemical engineering, Potassium hydroxide, Biodiesel, Transesterification


C(3) photosynthesis is an inefficient process, because the enzyme that lies at the heart of the Benson-Calvin cycle, ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase-oxygenase (Rubisco) is itself a very inefficient enzyme. The oxygenase activity of Rubisco is an unavoidable side reaction that is a consequence of its reaction mechanism. The product of oxygenation, glycollate 2-P, has to be retrieved by photorespiration, a process which results in the loss of a quarter of the carbon that was originally present in glycollate 2-P. Photorespiration therefore reduces carbon gain. Purely in terms of carbon economy, there is, therefore, a strong selection pressure on plants to reduce the rate of photorespiration so as to increase carbon gain, but it also improves water- and nitrogen-use efficiency. Possibilities for the manipulation of plants to decrease the amount of photorespiration include the introduction of improved Rubisco from other species, reconfiguring photorespiration, or introducing carbon-concentrating mechanisms, such as inorganic carbon transporters, carboxysomes or pyrenoids, or engineering a full C(4) Kranz pathway using the existing evolutionary progression in C(3)-C(4) intermediates as a blueprint. Possible routes and progress to suppressing photorespiration by introducing C(4) photosynthesis in C(3) crop plants will be discussed, including whether single cell C(4) photosynthesis is feasible, how the evolution of C(3)-C(4) intermediates can be used as a blueprint for engineering C(4) photosynthesis, which pathway for the C(4) cycle might be introduced and the extent to which processes and structures in C(3) plant might require optimisation.

Concepts: Photosynthesis, Evolution, Plant, Calvin cycle, Chemical engineering, Photorespiration, RuBisCO, C4 carbon fixation