In this project we consider fibre network as a micro-mechanical and microfluidics system, and investigate the non-uniform deformation of fibre network and the transport of complex fluids (body fluids) within the network. Such a problem is currently the core issues related to the new product development of hygiene products.
The primary objective of this project is to develop fundamental understandings of the role of fibre network structures and fibre properties in the network deformation and the mass transport, particularly on the microscopic level. Based on this, we plan to develop predictive design criteria and design tools for both processes and products together with industrial partners. We take both theoretical and experimental approaches. On the theoretical side we perform particle-dynamics modelling in order to obtain information on microscopic phenomena of network deformation, fluid flow, and their interactions (multi-phase particle dynamics). On the experimental side, we use confocal microscopy and cryo-SEM analyses of microfluidic phenomena in order to validate the model and to obtain insights of the microscopic mechanisms.
With these fundamental understandings and insights, and predictive design criteria obtained from this project, the industries, which are positioned in the supply chain of this growing healthcare and hygiene market, can accelerate their product developments. Particularly the pulp and paper industries in the region will be able to utilise and promote northern softwood fibres as a competitive edge in the global market by tailoring fibre properties.