A reactor for cavitation-enhanced bioremediation experiments on cell suspensions
The overall objective of this project is to initiate interdisciplinary collaborative research involving the use of ultrasound and acoustic cavitation to enhance biological processes. The specific aim of this award will be to construct a ultrasonic cavitation reactor that can be used to expose of a suspension of living cells to acoustic energy and to promote cavitation in a controlled and repeatable fashion. The reactor will be an improvement over current xperimental techniques in that it will include sensors that can be used to detect the cavitation noise signals produced by acoustically active microbubbles as a means of monitoring the exposure. The primary limitation of current techniques, which typically employ a standard ultrasound cleaning bath, is the inability to determine when (and how much) cavitation is occurring. Practical considerations such as the positioning the sample in the bath may also have unwanted impact on the reproducibility of the results. In part because of these limitations, the cavitation phenomenon is not always repeatable, not always substantial, and rarely scalable to process reactor levels. We believe a reactor design which includes the ability to monitor cavitation noise and use that information to inform exposure parameters will contribute to greater efficacy and efficiency as well as a better understanding of which physical processes (cavitation jetting/microstreaming, radiation stress, shock waves, sonochemistry, heating) induce the ultrasound-enhanced biological response.
Prof. Ian Thompson, Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford Prof. Wei Huang, Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford
Hester Cordelia Parsons Memorial Fund, University of Oxford MPLS Division