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Concept: Powder


Here, we present a comprehensive approach for creating robust, elastic, designer Lunar and Martian regolith simulant (LRS and MRS, respectively) architectures using ambient condition, extrusion-based 3D-printing of regolith simulant inks. The LRS and MRS powders are characterized by distinct, highly inhomogeneous morphologies and sizes, where LRS powder particles are highly irregular and jagged and MRS powder particles are rough, but primarily rounded. The inks are synthesized via simple mixing of evaporant, surfactant, and plasticizer solvents, polylactic-co-glycolic acid (30% by solids volume), and regolith simulant powders (70% by solids volume). Both LRS and MRS inks exhibit similar rheological and 3D-printing characteristics, and can be 3D-printed at linear deposition rates of 1-150 mm/s using 300 μm to 1.4 cm-diameter nozzles. The resulting LRS and MRS 3D-printed materials exhibit similar, but distinct internal and external microstructures and material porosity (~20-40%). These microstructures contribute to the rubber-like quasi-static and cyclic mechanical properties of both materials, with young’s moduli ranging from 1.8 to 13.2 MPa and extension to failure exceeding 250% over a range of strain rates (10(-1)-10(2) min(-1)). Finally, we discuss the potential for LRS and MRS ink components to be reclaimed and recycled, as well as be synthesized in resource-limited, extraterrestrial environments.

Concepts: Pascal, Surfactant, Powder, Mars, Young's modulus, Life on Mars, Materials science, Ink


In this paper, we reported the results of our efforts in developing DCPA/nanosilica composite orthopedic cement. It is motivated by the significances of DCPA and silicon in bone physiological activities. More specifically, this paper examined the effects of various experimental parameters on the properties of such composite cements. In this work, DCPA cement powders were synthesized using a microwave synthesis technique. Mixing colloidal nanosilica directly with synthesized DCPA cement powders can significantly reduce the washout resistance of DCPA cement. In contrast, a DCPA-nanosilica cement powder prepared by reacting Ca(OH)2 , H3 PO4 and nanosilica together showed good washout resistance. The incorporation of nanosilica in DCPA can improve compressive strength, accelerate cement solidification, and intensify surface bioactivity. In addition, it was observed that by controlling the content of NaHCO3 during cement preparation, the resulting composite cement properties could be modified. Allowing for the development of different setting times, mechanical performance and crystal features. It is suggested that DCPA-nanosilica composite cement can be a potential candidate for bone healing applications. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part B, 2014.

Concepts: Synthesis, Powder, Strength of materials, Physical compression, Orthopedic surgery, Compressive strength, Portland cement, Cement


An evaluation of reduced-size particle powdering methods for the recovery of usable fingermark ridge detail from elephant ivory is presented herein for the first time as a practical and cost-effective tool in forensic analysis. Of two reduced-size powder material types tested, powders with particle sizes≤40μm offered better chances of recovering ridge detail from unpolished ivory in comparison to a conventional powder material. The quality of developed ridge detail of these powders was also assessed for comparison and automated search suitability. Powder materials and the enhanced ridge detail on ivory were analysed by scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy and interactions between their constituents and the ivory discussed. The effect of ageing on the quality of ridge detail recovered showed that the best quality was obtained within 1week. However, some ridge detail could still be developed up to 28days after deposition. Cyanoacrylate and fluorescently-labelled cyanoacrylate fuming of ridge detail on ivory was explored and was less effective than reduced-scale powdering in general. This research contributes to the understanding and potential application of smaller scale powdering materials for the development of ridge detail on hard, semi-porous biological material typically seized in wildlife-related crimes.

Concepts: Ivory, Fingerprint, Sherlock Holmes, Scanning electron microscope, Powder, Forensic science, Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, Electron


Edible insects are part of the diets of a significant proportion of rural populations in the tropics especially Africa and Asia, and their use as source of key nutrients for better nutrition is re-emerging. Indigenously, elemental methods are used to process the insects before they are consumed or sold in retail outlets. In recent years, better knowledge of processing, packaging and storage has become necessary because of commercialisation needs. A common processing approach involves drying after a brief heat-treatment step, and then milling into a powdered product which is sold to manufacturers or consumers as ingredient for processing final products. The hydration properties of dried powders of edible house cricket and black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) were studied with the aim of predicting shelf-life stability under typical packaging and storage temperatures experienced in the tropics. Moisture adsorption isotherms were determined gravimetrically at 25, 30 and 35 °C, over 0.11-0.97 water activity (aW) range, and the data fitted to various models. Sorption isotherms were of type II according to Brunauer classification indicating monolayer-multilayer sorption behaviour. Cricket powder exhibited higher hydration capacity, and aWof this product was less sensitive to temperature variation as compared to BSFL powder. In the two products, water exhibited transitions from bound- to free- state at ~5 g/100 g moisture content. Based on Heiss-Eichner model, a shelf-life of 7 months at 25 °C can be achieved if the cricket and BSFL powders are dried to ca. 5 g/100 g moisture content and packaged in 80 μm thick polyethylene films. At 35 °C the shelf-life of the cricket product is shortened three- to four-fold whereas the BSFL powder is unable to store.

Concepts: Fly, Powder, Acheta, Flies, Thermodynamics, Hermetia illucens, Stratiomyidae, Adsorption


Poor solubility is the major limiting factor in commercial applications of milk protein concentrates (MPC) powders. Retentate treatments such as pH adjustment using disodium phosphate (Na2HPO4), also responsible for calcium chelation with homogenization and; its diafiltration with 150 mM NaCl solution were hypothesized to improve the functional properties of treated MPC70 powders. These treatments significantly improved the solubility, heat stability, water binding, dispersibility, bulk density, flowability, buffer index, foaming and emulsifying capacity of treated powders over control. Rheological behaviour of reconstituted MPC solutions was best explained by Herschel Bulkley model. Compared to rough, large globular structures with dents in control; majorly intact, separate, smaller particles of smooth surface, without any aggregation were observed in SEM micrograph of treated powders. Applied treatments are easy, cost-effective and capable to improve functional properties of treated powders that could replace control MPC70 powder in various food applications where protein functionality is of prime importance.

Concepts: Powder, Solubility, Phosphate, Solution, Density, Bulk density, Scientific method, Milk


The final phase of powder production typically involves a mixing process where all of the particles are combined and agglomerated with a binder to form a single compound. The traditional means of inspecting the physical properties of the final product involves an inspection of the particle sizes using an offline sieving and weighing process. The main downside of this technique, in addition to being an offline-only measurement procedure, is its inability to characterise large agglomerates of powders due to sieve blockage. This work assesses the feasibility of a real-time monitoring approach using a benchtop test rig and a prototype acoustic-based measurement approach to provide information that can be correlated to product quality and provide the opportunity for future process optimisation. Acoustic emission (AE) was chosen as the sensing method due to its low cost, simple setup process, and ease of implementation. The performance of the proposed method was assessed in a series of experiments where the offline quality check results were compared to the AE-based real-time estimations using data acquired from a benchtop powder free flow rig. A designed time domain based signal processing method was used to extract particle size information from the acquired AE signal and the results show that this technique is capable of estimating the required ratio in the washing powder compound with an average absolute error of 6%.

Concepts: Powder, Particle, Estimation theory, Test method, Particle size distribution, Acoustic emission, Estimation, Signal processing


Nano-sized tungsten oxide (WO3) powder shows excellent sensitivity as a NOx gas sensor. The tungsten oxide powders synthesized by polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) polymer solution method showed either plates or spheres of tungsten nanoparticles with agglomeration. The size of the particles was about 30 nm and the surface areas of the powders fell in 10.5~21.5 m2/g. For NO2 gas sensing test, the synthesized WO3 powders have been operated under various temperatures and gas concentrations. The response time, recovery time and stability were strongly depended on the powder size and morphology. The nano-sized WO3 powders showed relatively fast response and high reproducibility.

Concepts: Powder, Carbon, Oxygen, Liquid, Nitrogen oxide, Polyvinyl acetate, Polyvinyl alcohol, Tungsten trioxide


With the growing interest in developing biologics for pulmonary delivery, systematic fast screening methods are needed for rapid development of formulations. Due to the labile nature of macromolecules, the development of stable, biologically active formulations with desired aerosol performance imposes several challenges both from a formulation and processing perspective. In this study, spray-freeze-drying was used to develop respirable protein powders. In order to systematically map the selected design space, lysozyme aqueous pre-formulations were prepared based on a constrained mixture design of experiment. The physicochemical properties of the resulting powders were characterized and the effects of formulation factors on aerosol performance and protein stability were systematically screened using a logic flow chart. Our results elucidated several relevant formulation attributes (density, total solid content, protein:sugars ratio) required to achieve a stable lysozyme powder with desirable characteristics for pulmonary delivery. A similar logical fast screening strategy could be used to delineate the appropriate design space for different types of proteins and guide the development of powders with pre-determined aerodynamic properties.

Concepts: Attribute, Logic, Flowchart, Powder, Protein, DNA, Chemistry, Physical chemistry


Precise filling of capsules with doses in the mg-range requires a good understanding of the filling process. Therefore, we investigated the various process steps of the filling process by dynamic and static mode tests. Dynamic tests refer to filling of capsules in a regular laboratory dosator filling machine. Static tests were conducted using a novel filling system developed by us. Three grades of lactose excipients were filled into size 3 capsules with different dosing chamber lengths, nozzle diameters and powder bed heights, and, in the dynamic mode, with two filling speeds (500, 3000 caps/h). The influence of the gap at the bottom of the powder container on the fill weight and variability was assessed. Different gaps resulted in a change in fill weight in all materials, although in different ways. In all cases, the fill weight of highly cohesive Lactohale 220 increased when decreasing the gap. Furthermore, experiments with the stand-alone static test tool indicated that this very challenging powder could successfully be filled without any pre-compression in the range of 5 mg-20 mg with acceptable RSDs. This finding is of great importance since for very fine lactose powders high compression ratios (dosing-chamber-length-to-powder-bed height compression ratios) may result in jamming of the piston. Moreover, it shows that the static mode setup is suitable for studying fill weight and variability. Since cohesive powders, such as Lactohale 220, are hard to fill, we investigated the impact of vibration on the process. Interestingly, we found no correlation between the reported fill weight changes in dynamic mode at 3000 cph and static mode using similar vibration. However, we could show that vibrations during sampling in the static mode dramatically reduced fill weight variability. Overall, our results indicate that by fine-tuning instrumental settings even very challenging powders can be filled with a low-dose dosator capsule filling machine. This study is a further step towards a scientific qualification of dosator nozzles for low-fill weight (1-45 mg) capsule filling.

Concepts: Powder, Mode shape, Software testing, Vibration, Compression ratio


Bones are often recovered in forensic investigations, including missing persons and mass disasters. While traditional DNA extraction methods rely on grinding bone into powder prior to DNA purification, the TBone Ex buffer (DNA Chip Research Inc.) digests bone chips without powdering. In this study, six bones were extracted using the TBone Ex kit in conjunction with the PrepFiler® BTA™ DNA extraction kit (Thermo Fisher Scientific) both manually and via an automated platform. Comparable amounts of DNA were recovered from a 50 mg bone chip using the TBone Ex kit and 50 mg of powdered bone with the PrepFiler® BTA™ kit. However, automated DNA purification decreased DNA yield (p < 0.05). Nevertheless, short tandem repeat (STR) success was comparable across all methods tested. This study demonstrates that digestion of whole bone fragments is an efficient alternative to powdering bones for DNA extraction without compromising downstream STR profile quality.

Concepts: Fisher Scientific, Powder, Extraction, Thermo Electron, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Short tandem repeat, DNA, DNA extraction