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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/G037647/1
Title: Emerging magnetoscience technology
Principal Investigator: Eaves, Professor L
Other Investigators:
Swift, Dr MR Rees, Dr C Tendler, Professor S
Glover, Dr PM Bowtell, Professor R Gowland, Professor PA
Allen, Professor S
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Dr R J A Hill
Project Partners:
Department: Sch of Physics & Astronomy
Organisation: University of Nottingham
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 August 2009 Ends: 31 January 2014 Value (£): 558,062
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Chemical Biology Development (Biosciences)
Magnetism/Magnetic Phenomena Particle Technology
Separation Processes Surfaces & Interfaces
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
20 Nov 2008 Basic Technology Translation Grants (Call 3) Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The Basic Technology Award: Magnetic Levitation Technology for Mineral Separation, Nanomaterials, and Biosystems for Space Exploration (GR/S83005/01, 1/6/04-13/11/08) is an interdisciplinary project focussed on developing magnetic levitation technology for the exploration of the behaviour of fluids, granular systems and biological organisms in weightless conditions on Earth. We can also adjust the strength of the magnetic field to simulate the reduced-gravity conditions on the Moon and Mars. We have performed detailed studies of the effects of high magnetic field and magnetically-altered gravity on fluid and granular dynamics, relevant to mineral engineering, and on the magnetic alignment of nanostructures, relevant to the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. With EU collaborators, we have developed technology to study the effects of zero gravity and high magnetic fields on bacteria, yeast, plants and insects, demonstrating how magnetic levitation will be an important tool for Earth-based studies of the effects of weightlessness. We have also completed studies of the effects of high magnetic fields on enzyme reactions. A Translation Grant will allow us to engage in pilot studies to explore how we can apply these techniques to a wide range of new research themes. We will investigate pattern-formation arising from vibrated fluid-particle dynamics in reduced gravity of relevance to the manipulation of particulate suspensions in microgravity environments.We will study bubble formation and bone development in conditions of weightlessness, both of which are key medical and safety issues for space research. Demonstrating the feasibility of performing these experiments on Earth using magnetic levitation technology would have immediate benefits, reducing substantially the cost and providing a much more convenient environment to work in. Pilot experiments will investigate the potential of levitating and spinning water droplets as a model for understanding the oscillations, fission and supercooling of raindrops and the large-scale dynamics of self-gravitating astronomical objects. The magnetic fields used in whole-body magnetic resonance (MR) imaging scanners has increased dramatically as magnet technology has advanced. Whilst this increase in field strength provides many advantages, it has brought new challenges. Susceptibility measurements of specific tissues (e.g. in the vestibular system) will assist in identifying the interaction mechanisms related to the perception of vertigo and other physiological effects in strong magnetic fields. Further knowledge of static magnetic field bio-interactions will be useful in revising safety limits of regulatory bodies, e.g. the World Health Organisation etc. We will begin trials on high magnetic field effects in cell membrane transport and the magnetic torques and forces on cell structures that will address recently highlighted safety issues in high-field MR imaging. We will study magnetic alignment of biomolecules with potential as templates for ordering cell growth, e.g. during nerve regeneration.Our research will identify new applications of magnetic levitation technology, and will provide the scientific basis for the preparation of grant applications to the Research Councils, the ESA, the EU, charities and other sponsors. The 24-7 access and convenience of the closed-circuit cryogenics of our magnetic levitation solenoid, combined with the interdisciplinary expertise that we have developed during the Basic Technology project places us in a unique and world-leading position to undertake this research. Future income from Research Councils, charities and industry will depend on maintaining the coherence of our research group. The Translation Grant will enable us to do this by providing flexible funding to retain core staff. The project will also inspire visionary entrepreneurs interested in space science and exploration, green technologies and healthcare.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Organisation Website: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk