Master’s Project: 3D-printed macroscopic agent reproducing bacterium behavior

The Institute for Multiscale Simulation of the Cluster of Excellence ”Engineering of Advanced Materials“ at the FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg offers a Masters Project on 3D-printed macroscopic agent reproducing bacterium behavior

Introduction:
Some bacteria, like E. Coli (see Fig. 1), swim in straight runs interrupted by sudden reorientation events called tumbles. At high density, the random changes in the direction of motion cause interesting phenomena, for example, coarsening and clustering, collective translation and/or rotation; but, can we develop a mechanical analogous of these bacteria that is capable to reproduce those behaviours in the macroscopic world?

The first attempt of developing such objects is shown in Fig. 2. This device, called macro-bacterium, is capable to convert vibrational energy into translational and occasionally into rotational energy, by means of friction, but still is not completely clear whether it reproduces or not the above mentioned behaviours.

Project:

  • Designing and printing macro-bacteria in 3D, using rapid prototyping techniques. (You can create your own models)
  • Characterization of the motion of the manufactured devices: Using a high speed camera their motion will be recorded for different vibration frequencies and amplitudes, and applying image processing methods physical magnitudes will be determined.
  • Performing experiments in order to study the collective behaviour at different densities.
  • Optimization of the 3D models.

What you will learn:

Modelling and printing in 3D. High speed movie recording techniques. Image processing.

Necessary skills:

You are diligent, have interest for the research. It would be beneficial to have some knowledge in computer programming (Matlab/C++/Java/…), but it is not essential.

Contact information:
Harol Torres Menéndez
Institute for Multiscale Simulations
Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
harol.torres@fau.de

Tumbling and running

Masters project – 3D pattern formation during precipitation reactions in porous media

The Institute for Multiscale Simulation of the Cluster of Excellence ”Engineering of Advanced Materials“ at the FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg conducts cutting-edge research and offers a vacancy for a research project in the field of
3D pattern formation during precipitation reactions in porous media

Scientific question:
The dynamics of one fluid replacing another one inside a porous medium can be significantly altered if chemical reactions take place at the interface between the two fluids. Examples for such systems are enhanced oil recovery (EOR) or carbon dioxide sequestration. Recent experiments of the displacement of two reacting miscible fluids in a quasi two-dimensional Hele-Shaw cell show that the flow leads to and is influenced by a large variety of precipitation patterns [1]. However, comparable studies on the pattern formation in three-dimensional systems do not exist. This project will investigate the morphology of such precipitation patterns in 3D.

The experiment:
We will pump a miscible fluid inside a pack of glass beads which is already saturated with a second fluid. Up on contact the two fluids will form an insoluble salt. The resulting precipitation pattern will be monitored using x-ray tomography. The analysis of the patterns will be done in close collaboration with the group of Anne De Wit in Brussels.

What will you learn:
Building a fluid dynamics setup and controlling it with Labview. Image analysis using Matlab.

Whom are we looking for:
You have a hand for chemical experiment. You are careful and self-critical in your work. You have some previous experience in programming (it does not matter in which language).

Contacts:
Matthias Schröter
Institute for Multiscale Simulations
FAU Erlangen
matthias.schroeter@fau.de

[1] A. De Wit et al., Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci., doi: 10.1073/pnas.1409552111 (2014).

multiphase_flow_in_porous_media

Masters project – Multiphase flow in porous media

The Institute for Multiscale Simulation of the Cluster of Excellence ”Engineering of Advanced Materials“ at the FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg offers a Masters Project on
Multiphase flow in porous media

Scientific question:
Our society is addicted to oil; a life without cars, plastic, airplanes … seems almost unthinkable. Yet more than 50% of the oil in a typical reservoir stays underground because we do not understand very well how the mixture of oil and water flows through a porous medium. Considering the CO2 levels in the atmosphere, this might look like a good thing. But if the alternative supplier for our addiction will turn out to be “unconventional” sources, such as tar sands, we have only driven out devils by Beelzebub. Moreover our limited understanding of multiphase flow in porous media also hampers our attempts of CO2 sequestration.

The experiment:
We will create artificial porous media made from glass beads or sand and then try to replace water or dodecanol (our model oil) with the respectively other fluid. X-ray tomography and additional pressure measurements will be used to characterize the flow dynamics. Then 3D image processing will be the main tool to measure fluid properties such as the capillary pressure and the contact angle.

What will you learn:
Performing X-ray tomography. 3D image processing.

Whom are we looking for:
This project is not for the faint-hearted. You will need a solid background in computer programming (the exact language does not matter) and a good three-dimensional imagination.

Contact:
Matthias Schröter
Institute for Multiscale Simulations
FAU Erlangen
matthias.schroeter@fau.de

Bachelor/Masters project – What do plant roots know about the physics of granular media?

The Institute for Multiscale Simulation of the Cluster of Excellence ”Engineering of Advanced Materials“ at the FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg offers a Masters Project on
What do plant roots know about the physics of granular media?

Scientific question:
Approximately 500 millions years ago plants started colonizing the earth outside the oceans. To do so they had to learn how to anchor themselves in the soil while at the same time extract water and nutrients from it. Now soil consists of individual particles, it is one instance of what is called granular media. And granular media have some rather peculiar mechanical properties such as for example dilatancy: above a certain density granular media will expand when sheared. The open question is how much granular physics (and what exactly) have roots “learned” during the course of their evolution?

The experiment:
We grow mustard seeds and chick peas in special growth containers filled with an artificial soil of plastic spheres. In regular intervals we scan the soil using X-ray tomography and analyze how the root growth depends on parameters like the local packing density.

What will you learn:
Building an automatized green house. Performing X-ray tomography and analyzing the results using Matlab.

Whom are we looking for:
You are curious and self-motivated. Having a green thumb will make things easier. Ideally, you have some previous experience in computer programming (it does not matter in which language).

Contact:
Matthias Schröter
Institute for Multiscale Simulations
FAU Erlangen
matthias.schroeter@fau.de

Master’s/Bachelor’s Project – Manufacture and characterization of 3D active rotating particles, VIBROTS

The Institute for Multiscale Simulation of the Cluster of Excellence ”Engineering of Advanced Materials“ at the FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg offers a Masters Project on Manufacture and characterization of 3D active rotating particles, VIBROTS.

Introduction:
A VIBROT, as the one shown in Fig. 1, is a device capable to convert vibrational energy into rotational energy by means of friction, [1]. Modern manufacturing techniques, such as rapid prototyping using 3D printers, enable us to fabricate more accurate and complex versions of this device, see Fig. 2. The dynamic properties of each vibrot depend on its mass, shape, material, fabrication method, that is why characterization experiments play a key roll after the manufacture process.

Project:
The first part of the project is intended to the design and manufacture of different kind of vibrots, using 3D printers. The parameters to be changed will be mass, length of the legs, inclination of the legs and finally the overall shape of the vibrot (up to your imagination).

The second part of the project is intended to the investigation of the dynamic properties of the manufactured vibrots. Each particle will be placed on a vibrating platform and its whole motion will be recorded with a high speed camera. Further, by applying image processing methods each particle will be tracked and its dynamic properties, such as linear and angular velocity, mean squared displacement, etc., will be determined.

The last part of the project is intended to the optimization of the designed vibrots in order to reveal desired behaviours.

What you will learn:
Modelling and printing in 3D. High speed movie recording techniques. Image processing.

Contact information:
Harol Torres Menéndez
Institute for Multiscale Simulations
Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
harol.torres@fau.de

[1] Altshuler, E., Pastor, J. M., Garcimartı́n, A., Zuriguel, I., & Maza, D. (2013). Vibrot, a simple device for the conversion of vibration into rotation mediated by friction: preliminary evaluation. PloS one, 8(8), e67838.
[2] Scholz, C., & Pöschel, T. (2016). Actively rotating granular particles manufactured by rapid prototyping. Revista Cubana de Fı́sica, 33(1), 37-38.
[3] Torres, H., Freixas, V. M., & Pérez, D. (2016). The Newtonian mechanics of a Vibrot. Revista Cubana de Fı́sica, 33 (1), 39-43.

Manufacture and characterization

hertzian-particles

Bachelor project – Forces in Polymer particles

The Institute for Multiscale Simulation of the Cluster of Excellence ”Engineering of Advanced Materials“ at the FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg offers a Masters Project on
Forces in Polymer particles

Scientific question:
Granular media are ubiquitous in both chemical industry and our daily lives. Their transport and handling requires a significant amount of energy and is still prone to unwanted jamming and segregation. Ultimately the mechanical behavior of granular media has to be explained from the mechanical properties of the individual grains; however the necessary theory is still under active development.

The experiment:
You will learn to prepare soft PDMS particles with embedded small bronze tracer particles. These particles can then be characterized in two ways:
1) mechanically using an uniaxial compression setup.
2) geometrically by measuring their inner deformation using X-ray tomography.
The results can then be compared with the best established theoretical model, the Hertzian compression.

What will you learn:
Handling PDMS and measuring force strain curves. X-ray tomography and some image processing with Matlab.

Whom are we looking for:
You are diligent and self-motivated. You like the idea of working in an international environment. Ideally, you have some previous experience in computer programming (it does not matter in which language).

Contact:
Matthias Schröter
Institute for Multiscale Simulations
FAU Erlangen
matthias.schroeter@fau.de

hiwisuche-patricweb

Studentische Hilfskraft – Webprogrammierung

Der Lehrstuhl für Multiskalensimulation sucht eine studentische/wissenschaftliche Hilfskraft zur Webprogrammierung (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP oder vergleichbar)

Aufgabe:
Sie entwickeln, implementieren und warten eine Website zur Verwaltung von Lehrmaterialien (Übungsaufgaben mitsamt Musterlösungen).

Profil:
Sie haben praktische Erfahrung im Umgang mit HTML/CSS sowie Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP oder vergleichbaren Werkzeugen.

Konditionen:
– Umfang: variabel zwischen 10-19 h/w
– Vergütung gemäß https://www.zuv.fau.de/universitaet/organisation/verwaltung/zuv/verwaltungshandbuch/drittmittel/Verguetungstabelle.pdf
– Arbeitszeit: frei/nach Absprache
– Dienstort: Nägelsbachstr. 49b, 91052 Erlangen
– Bei Interesse oder Rückfragen kontaktieren Sie bitte Herrn Dr. Patric Müller (patric.mueller@fau.de, 09131 85 20866)