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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2014-01-01
    Description: In this study, a three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model is developed for an anode-supported planar SOFC from the Chinese Academy of Science Ningbo Institute of Material Technology and Engineering (NIMTE). The simulation results of the developed model are in good agreement with the experimental data obtained under the same conditions. With the simulation results, the distribution of temperature, flow velocity and the gas concentrations through the cell components and gas channels is presented and discussed. Potential and current density distributions in the cell and overall fuel utilization are also presented. It is also found that the temperature gradients exist along the length of the cell, and the maximum value of the temperature for the cross-flow is at the outlet region of the cell. The distribution of the current density is uneven, and the maximum current density is located at the interfaces between the channels, ribs and the electrodes, the maximum current density result in a large over-potential and heat source in the electrodes, which is harmful to the overall performance and working lifespan of the fuel cells. A new type of flow structure should be developed to make the current flow be more evenly distributed and promote most of the TPB areas to take part in the electrochemical reactions.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2014-01-01
    Description: In this paper, we investigate adaptive switched generalized function projective synchronization between two new different hyperchaotic systems with unknown parameters, which is an extension of the switched modified function projective synchronization scheme. Based on the Lyapunov stability theory, corresponding adaptive controllers with appropriate parameter update laws are constructed to achieve adaptive switched generalized function projective synchronization between two different hyperchaotic systems. A numerical simulation is conducted to illustrate the validity and feasibility of the proposed synchronization scheme.
    Electronic ISSN: 1099-4300
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Physics
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2014-01-01
    Description: Opinions of healthcare professionals in the United Kingdom regarding bariatric surgery in adolescents are largely unknown. This study aims to explore the perspectives of medical professionals regarding adolescent bariatric surgery. Members of the British Obesity and Metabolic Surgery Society and groups of primary care practitioners based in London were contacted by electronic mail and invited to complete an anonymous online survey consisting of 21 questions. Ninety-four out of 324 questionnaires were completed. 66% of professionals felt that adolescents with a body mass index (BMI) >40 or BMI >35 with significant co-morbidities can be offered surgery. Amongst pre-requisites, parental psychological counseling was chosen most frequently. 58% stated 12 months as an appropriate period for weight management programs, with 24% regarding 6 months as sufficient. Most participants believed bariatric surgery should only be offered ≥16 years of age. However, 17% of bariatric surgeons marked no minimum age limit. Over 80% of the healthcare professionals surveyed consider bariatric surgery in adolescents to be acceptable practice. Most healthcare professionals surveyed feel that adolescent bariatric surgery is an acceptable therapeutic option for adolescent obesity. These views can guide towards a consensus opinion and further development of selection criteria and care pathways.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2014-01-01
    Description: Fluorescence sensing of the interaction between biomembranes with different lipid composition and endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) was carried out by using a liposome-encapsulating fluorescence dye (carboxyfluorescein (CF)-liposome). We detected a significant increase in fluorescence intensity in CF-liposome solutions due to the leakage of fluorescence caused by the interaction of EDCs with the biomembranes of liposomes. The temporal increases in fluorescent were significantly different among the lipid compositions of CF-liposome and the EDCs. Results were considered by summarizing the interactions in radar charts and by showing the pattern of interaction of each EDC. Each chart showed a dissimilar pattern reflecting the complexity of the biomembrane-EDC interaction. The results indicate that this fluorescence sensing could be useful to evaluate the interaction.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2014-01-03
    Description: Spraying techniques have been undergoing continuous evolution in recent decades. This paper presents part of the research work carried out in Spain in the field of sensors for characterizing vineyard canopies and monitoring spray drift in order to improve vineyard spraying and make it more sustainable. Some methods and geostatistical procedures for mapping vineyard parameters are proposed, and the development of a variable rate sprayer is described. All these technologies are interesting in terms of adjusting the amount of pesticides applied to the target canopy.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2014-01-03
    Description: With the growing worldwide awareness of environmental protection and sustainable development, green purchasing has become an important issue for companies to gain environmental and developmental sustainability. Thermal power is the main power generation form in China, and the green supplier selection is essential to the smooth and sustainable construction of thermal power plants. Therefore, selecting the proper green supplier of thermal power equipment is very important to the company’s sustainable development and the sustainability of China’s electric power industry. In this paper, a hybrid fuzzy multi-attribute decision making approach (fuzzy entropy-TOPSIS) is proposed for selecting the best green supplier. The fuzzy set theory is applied to translate the linguistic preferences into triangular fuzzy numbers. The subjective criteria weights are determined by using decision makers’ superiority linguistic ratings and the objective ones are determined by combining the superiority linguistic ratings and fuzzy-entropy weighting method. The fuzzy TOPSIS is employed to generate an overall performance score for each green supplier. An empirical green supplier selection is conducted to illustrate the effectiveness of this proposed fuzzy entropy-TOPSIS approach. This proposed fuzzy entropy-TOPSIS approach can select the proper green supplier of thermal power equipment, which contributes to promoting the company’s sustainable development and the sustainability of China’s electric power industry to some extent.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2014-01-04
    Description: This study examined seasonal differences in microbial community structure in the sediment of three streams in North Carolina’s Neuse River Basin. Microbes that reside in sediment are at the base of the food chain and have a profound influence on the health of freshwater stream environments. Terminal-Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (T-RFLP), molecular fingerprint analysis of 16S rRNA genes was used to examine the diversity of bacterial species in stream sediment. Sediment was sampled in both wet and dry seasons from an agricultural (Bear), mixed urban (Crabtree) and forested (Marks) Creek, and the microbiota examined. Gamma, Alpha and Beta proteobacteria were prevalent species of microbial taxa represented among all sites. Actinobacteria was the next most prevalent species observed, with greater occurrence in dry compared to the wet season. Discernable clustering was observed of Marks and Bear Creek samples collected during the wetter period (September–April), which corresponded with a period of higher precipitation and cooler surface water temperatures. Although not statistically significant, microbial community structure appeared different between season (ANOSIM, R = 0.60; p 〈 0.10). Principal components analysis confirmed this pattern and showed that the bacterial groups were separated by wet and dry seasonal periods. These results suggest seasonal differences among the microbial community structure in sediment of freshwater streams and that these communities may respond to changes in precipitation during wetter periods.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-2818
    Topics: Biology
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2014-01-04
    Description: Novel leafy seadragon (Phycodurus eques) microsatellite loci were developed via standard cloning techniques and tested for use in population genetics studies. Six out of a total of twelve microsatellites tested were usable for population analysis. Seadragon samples from Western Australia (N = 6), Southern Australia (N = 11), and a captive group (N = 11) were analyzed. Here, we present leafy seadragon microsatellite primer sequences for all 12 loci and population genetics statistics for the six loci that amplified consistently and displayed adequate variability to estimate population parameters, such as diversity, population differences, and relatedness. Observed heterozygosities ranged from 0.225 to 0.926 and expected heterozygosities ranged from 0.278 to 0.650. Pairwise differences among populations (FST estimates) from samples collected off the southern coast of Western and South Australia, and captive animals ranged from a low of 0.188 between Southern Australia and captive animals, to a high of 0.212 between Western Australia and captive animals. Statistical assignment analyses suggested between one and three populations. Percent first order relatives among individuals was high and ranged from 40 within Western Australia to 55 within captive animals. These loci were tested on other species including weedy seadragons (Phyllopteryx taeniolatus), as well as assorted seahorses (Hippocampus reidi, H. erectus) and pipefish (Doryrhamphus dactyliophorus, D. pessuliferus, Corythoichthys intestinalis, Syngnathus leptorhynchus) with no success.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-2818
    Topics: Biology
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2014-01-03
    Description: Nutritive Sucking (NS) is a highly organized process that is essential for infants’ feeding during the first six months of their life. It requires the complex coordination of sucking, swallowing and breathing. The infant’s inability to perform a safe and successful oral feeding can be an early detector of immaturity of the Central Nervous System (CNS). Even though the importance of early sucking measures has been confirmed over the years, the need for standardized instrumental assessment tools still exists. Clinicians would benefit from specifically designed devices to assess oral feeding ability in their routine clinical monitoring and decision-making process. This work is a review of the main instrumental solutions developed to assess an infant’s NS behavior, with a detailed survey of the main quantities and indices measured and/or estimated to characterize sucking behavior skills and their development. The adopted sensing measuring systems will be described, and their main advantages and weaknesses will be discussed, taking into account their application to clinical practice, or to at-home monitoring as post-discharge assessment tools. Finally, the study will highlight the most suitable sensing solutions and give some prompts for further research.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2014-01-03
    Description: Extended statistical entropy analysis (eSEA) is used to assess the nitrogen (N) removal performance of the wastewater treatment (WWT) simulation software, the Benchmarking Simulation Model No. 2 (BSM No. 2 ). Six simulations with three different types of wastewater are carried out, which vary in the dissolved oxygen concentration (O2,diss.) during the aerobic treatment. N2O emissions generated during denitrification are included in the model. The N-removal performance is expressed as reduction in statistical entropy, ΔH, compared to the hypothetical reference situation of direct discharge of the wastewater into the river. The parameters chemical and biological oxygen demand (COD, BOD) and suspended solids (SS) are analogously expressed in terms of reduction of COD, BOD, and SS, compared to a direct discharge of the wastewater to the river (ΔEQrest). The cleaning performance is expressed as ΔEQnew, the weighted average of ΔH and ΔEQrest. The results show that ΔEQnew is a more comprehensive indicator of the cleaning performance because, in contrast to the traditional effluent quality index (EQ), it considers the characteristics of the wastewater, includes all N-compounds and their distribution in the effluent, the off-gas, and the sludge. Furthermore, it is demonstrated that realistically expectable N2O emissions have only a moderate impact on ΔEQnew.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4441
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 11
    Publication Date: 2014-01-04
    Description: Spruce beetle outbreaks have been reported in the Rocky Mountains of western North America since the late 1800s. In their classic paper, Spruce Beetle in the Rockies, Schmid and Frye reviewed the literature that emerged from the extensive outbreaks in Colorado in the 1940s. A new wave of outbreaks has affected Rocky Mountain subalpine spruce-fir forests beginning in the mid-1980s and continuing to the present. These outbreaks have spurred another surge of basic and applied research in the biology, ecology and management of spruce and spruce beetle populations. This paper is a review of literature on spruce beetle focusing on work published since the late 1970s and is intended as an addendum to Spruce Beetle in the Rockies.
    Electronic ISSN: 1999-4907
    Topics: Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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  • 12
    Publication Date: 2014-01-04
    Description: In China, awareness about hypertension, the treatment rate and the control rate are low compared to developed countries, even though China’s aging population has grown, especially in those areas with a high degree of urbanization. However, limited epidemiological studies have attempted to describe the spatial variation of the geo-referenced data on hypertension disease over an urban area of China. In this study, we applied hierarchical Bayesian models to explore the spatial heterogeneity of the relative risk for hypertension admissions throughout Shenzhen in 2011. The final model specification includes an intercept and spatial components (structured and unstructured). Although the road density could be used as a covariate in modeling, it is an indirect factor on the relative risk. In addition, spatial scan statistics and spatial analysis were utilized to identify the spatial pattern and to map the clusters. The results showed that the relative risk for hospital admission for hypertension has high-value clusters in the south and southeastern Shenzhen. This study aimed to identify some specific regions with high relative risk, and this information is useful for the health administrators. Further research should address more-detailed data collection and an explanation of the spatial patterns.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 13
    Publication Date: 2014-01-04
    Description: Toll-like receptor (TLRs) are important innate immune receptors, and TLR2 and TLR4 play an important role in intestinal mucosal innate immunity. It has been found that nickel (Ni) can affect the immune system in broilers. The purpose of this study was to analyze changes in TLR2-2 and TLR4 mRNA expression levels in the intestinal mucosal immunity system of broilers induced by dietary nickel chloride (NiCl2) using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) assays. Two hundred and forty one-day-old avian broilers were divided into four groups and fed on a corn-soybean basal diet as control diet or the same basal diet supplemented with 300, 600 and 900 mg/kg of NiCl2 for 42 days. Results showed that the TLR2-2 and TLR4 mRNA expression levels in the intestinal mucosa and the cecal tonsil were lower (p 〈 0.05 or p 〈 0.01) in the 300, 600 and 900 mg/kg groups than those in the control group. It was concluded that dietary NiCl2 in excess of 300 mg/kg could reduce TLR2-2 and TLR4 mRNA expression levels in the intestinal mucosa and cecal tonsil in broilers, implying that the innate immunity in intestinal mucosal immune system could be impaired by pathways involving injured surface epithelium cells or/and the inhibition of the TLR signal transduction.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 14
    Publication Date: 2014-01-04
    Description: Forest fires are one of the most dangerous natural hazards, especially when they are recurrent. In areas such as Galicia (Spain), forest fires are frequent and devastating. The development of fire risk models becomes a very important prevention task for these regions. Vegetation and moisture indices can be used to monitor vegetation status; however, the different indices may perform differently depending on the vegetation species. Eight different spectral indices were selected to determine the most appropriate index in Galicia. This study was extended to the adjacent region of Asturias. Six years of MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) images, together with ground fire data in a 10 × 10 km grid basis were used. The percentage of fire events met the variations suffered by some of the spectral indices, following a linear regression in both Galicia and Asturias. The Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) was the index leading to the best results. Based on these results, a simple fire danger model was established, using logistic regression, by combining the EVI variation with other variables, such as fire history in each cell and period of the year. A seventy percent overall concordance was obtained between estimated and observed fire frequency.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 15
    Publication Date: 2014-01-04
    Description: This study considers recent airborne radiometric (gamma ray) survey data, obtained at high-resolution, across various regions of the UK. The datasets all display a very evident attenuation of signal in association with peat, and intra-peat variations are observed. The geophysical response variations are examined in detail using example data sets across lowland areas (raised bogs, meres, fens and afforested peat) and upland areas of blanket bog, together with associated wetland zones. The radiometric data do not map soils per se. The bedrock (the radiogenic parent) provides a specific amplitude level. Attenuation of this signal level is then controlled by moisture content in conjunction with the density and porosity of the soil cover. Both soil and bedrock variations need to be jointly assessed. The attenuation theory, reviewed here, predicts that the behaviour of wet peat is distinct from most other soil types. Theory also predicts that the attenuation levels observed across wet peatlands cannot be generally used to map variations in peat thickness. Four survey areas at various scales, across England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland are used to demonstrate the ability of the airborne data to map peat zones. A 1:50 k national mapping of deep peat is used to provide control although variability in the definition of peat zones across existing databases is also demonstrated.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 16
    Publication Date: 2014-01-04
    Description: The timing patterns of animal gaits are produced by a network of spinal neurons called a Central Pattern Generator (CPG). Pinto and Golubitsky studied a four-node CPG for biped dynamics in which each leg is associated with one flexor node and one extensor node, with Ζ2 x Ζ2 symmetry. They used symmetric bifurcation theory to predict the existence of four primary gaits and seven secondary gaits. We use methods from symmetric bifurcation theory to investigate local bifurcation, both steady-state and Hopf, for their network architecture in a rate model. Rate models incorporate parameters corresponding to the strengths of connections in the CPG: positive for excitatory connections and negative for inhibitory ones. The three-dimensional space of connection strengths is partitioned into regions that correspond to the first local bifurcation from a fully symmetric equilibrium. The partition is polyhedral, and its symmetry group is that of a tetrahedron. It comprises two concentric tetrahedra, subdivided by various symmetry planes. The tetrahedral symmetry arises from the structure of the eigenvalues of the connection matrix, which is involved in, but not equal to, the Jacobian of the rate model at bifurcation points. Some of the results apply to rate equations on more general networks.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-8994
    Topics: Mathematics , Physics
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  • 17
    Publication Date: 2014-01-04
    Description: In this study, a new thin-film deposition process, spray coating method (SPM), was investigated to deposit the high-densified CuInSe2 absorber layers. The spray coating method developed in this study was a non-vacuum process, based on dispersed nano-scale CuInSe2 precursor and could offer a simple, inexpensive, and alternative formation technology for CuInSe2 absorber layers. After spraying on Mo/glass substrates, the CuInSe2 thin films were annealed at 550 °C by changing the annealing time from 5 min to 30 min in a selenization furnace, using N2 as atmosphere. When the CuInSe2 thin films were annealed, without extra Se or H2Se gas used as the compensation source during the annealing process. The aim of this project was to investigate the influence of annealing time on the densification and crystallization of the CuInSe2 absorber layers to optimize the quality for cost effective solar cell production. The thickness of the CuInSe2 absorber layers could be controlled as the volume of used dispersed CuInSe2-isopropyl alcohol solution was controlled. In this work, X-ray diffraction patterns, field emission scanning electron microscopy, and Hall parameter measurements were performed in order to verify the quality of the CuInSe2 absorber layers obtained by the Spray Coating Method.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 18
    Publication Date: 2014-01-04
    Description: A new electrochemical model has been carefully established to explain the carbonation behavior of cement mortar, and the model has been validated by the experimental results. In fact, it is shown by this study that the electrochemical impedance behavior of mortars varies in the process of carbonation. With the cement/sand ratio reduced, the carbonation rate reveals more remarkable. The carbonation process can be quantitatively accessed by a parameter, which can be obtained by means of the electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS)-based electrochemical model. It has been found that the parameter is a function of carbonation depth and of carbonation time. Thereby, prediction of carbonation depth can be achieved.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 19
    Publication Date: 2014-01-07
    Description: Annual solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR) is mostly determined by latitude and altitude. Over the last decades, increasing UVR ground levels have been observed. Exposure to UVR is associated with a life-time risk to develop melanoma, a malign skin cancer. Thus, we hypothesized that melanoma incidence in Austria is associated with altitude of place of living and time of diagnosis. We investigated this hypothesis in an ecological study by district and year for Austrian melanoma incidence (1990–2010) and mortality (1970–2011) data. As expected, incidence rates increased with altitude (about 2% per 10 m) and year (about 2%). Additionally, melanoma incidence rates were about 50% higher in urban than in rural districts. In contrast, mortality rates decreased with altitude (for males: 0.4% per 10 m, for women: 0.7% per 10 m, respectively). The observed discrepancy between incidence and mortality data could partly be explained by melanoma diagnosis at earlier tumor stage in districts with higher altitude. Possible reasons for this finding include higher awareness of patients, better diagnostic performance of medical professionals working at higher altitudes, or slower tumor growth due to protective effects of sun light-associated vitamin D synthesis.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 20
    Publication Date: 2014-01-07
    Description: Arctic warming alters regional hydrological systems, as permafrost thaw increases active layer thickness and in turn alters the pathways of water flow through the landscape. Further, permafrost thaw may change the connectivity between deeper and shallower groundwater and surface water altering the terrestrial water balance and distribution. Thermokarst lakes and wetlands in the Arctic offer a window into such changes as these landscape elements depend on permafrost and are some of the most dynamic and widespread features in Arctic lowland regions. In this study we used Landsat remotely sensed imagery to investigate potential shifts in thermokarst lake size-distributions, which may be brought about by permafrost thaw, over three distinct time periods (1973, 1987–1988, and 2007–2009) in three hydrological basins in northwestern Siberia. Results revealed fluctuations in total area and number of lakes over time, with both appearing and disappearing lakes alongside stable lakes. On the whole basin scales, there is no indication of any sustained long-term change in thermokarst lake area or lake size abundance over time. This statistical temporal consistency indicates that spatially variable change effects on local permafrost conditions have driven the individual lake changes that have indeed occurred over time. The results highlight the importance of using multi-temporal remote sensing data that can reveal complex spatiotemporal variations distinguishing fluctuations from sustained change trends, for accurate interpretation of thermokarst lake changes and their possible drivers in periods of climate and permafrost change.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 21
    Publication Date: 2014-01-07
    Description: Region growing is frequently applied in automated individual tree crown delineation (ITCD) studies. Researchers have developed various rules for initial seed selection and stop criteria when applying the algorithm. However, research has rarely focused on the impact of tree-oriented growth order. This study implemented a marker-controlled region growing (MCRG) algorithm that considers homogeneity, crown size, and shape using airborne laser scanning (ALS) data, and investigated the impact of three growth orders (i.e., sequential, independent, and simultaneous) on tree crown delineation. The study also investigated the benefit of combining ALS data and orthoimagery in treetop detection at both plot and individual tree levels. The results showed that complementary data from the orthoimagery reduced omission error associated with small trees in the treetop detection procedure and improved treetop detection percentage on a plot level by 2%–5% compared to ALS alone. For tree crown delineation, the growth order applied in the MCRG algorithm influenced accuracy. Simultaneous growth yielded slightly higher accuracy (about 2% improvement for producer’s and user’s accuracy) than sequential growth. Independent growth provided comparable accuracy to simultaneous growth in this study by dealing with overlapping pixels among trees according to crown shape. This study provides several recommendations for applying region growing in future ITCD research.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 22
    Publication Date: 2014-01-07
    Description: Sensor networks are becoming an essential part of ubiquitous systems and applications. However, there are no well-defined protocols or mechanisms to access the sensor network from the enterprise information system. We consider this issue as a heterogeneous network interconnection problem, and as a result, the same concepts may be applied. Specifically, we propose the use of object-oriented middlewares to provide a virtual private network in which all involved elements (sensor nodes or computer applications) will be able to communicate as if all of them were in a single and uniform network.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 23
    Publication Date: 2014-01-07
    Description: In this paper, a new application of an electro-active-polymer for a radio frequency (RF) switch is presented. We used an ionic polymer metallic composite (IPMC) switch to change the operating frequency of an inverted-F antenna. This switch is light in weight, small in volume, and low in cost. In addition, the IPMC is suitable for mobile devices because of its driving voltage of 3 volts and thickness of 200 μm. The IPMC acts as a normally-on switch to control the operating frequency of a reconfigurable antenna in mobile phones. We experimentally demonstrated by network analysis that the IPMC switch could shift its operating frequency from 1.1 to 2.1 GHz, with return losses of than −10 dB at both frequencies. To minimize electrolysis and maximize the operation time in air, propylene carbonate electrolyte with lithium perchlorate (LiClO4) was applied inside the IPMC. The results showed that when the IPMC was actuated over three months at 3.5 V, the tip displacement fell by less than 10%. Therefore, an IPMC actuator is a promising choice for application to a reconfigurable antenna.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 24
    Publication Date: 2014-01-07
    Description: The paper considers problems and possibilities connected with governing and realising the “transition to sustainability”—or at least to a more deeply resilient energy system. Conceptually its focus is on neo-institutional analysis and critical discourse analysis and the development of a discourse-institutional perspective. The first strand of the paper outlines the limitations of and potential insights into the governance of sustainability transitions that may be derived from adopting an approach based on a more thoroughgoing appreciation and application of work in sociology on neo-institutional theory. The second strand of the paper concerns discourse, recognising the role of text, discursive practice and social structures in framing the possibilities considered available and legitimate for governance. The two strands are brought together in a discourse-institutionalist framework, an approach that is illustrated by a case study of microgeneration in the UK. The paper’s conclusion makes suggestions regarding the conduct of future research employing the proposed approach, and for furthering our understanding of issues connected with the governance of sustainability transitions.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 25
    Publication Date: 2014-01-08
    Description: Tobacco use and exposure is unequally distributed across populations and countries and among women and men. These trends and patterns reflect and cause gender and economic inequities along with negative health impacts. Despite a commitment to gender analysis in the preamble to Framework Convention on Tobacco Control there is much yet to be done to fully understand how gender operates in tobacco control. Policies, program and research in tobacco control need to not only integrate gender, but rather operationalize gender with the goal of transforming gender and social inequities in the course of tobacco control initiatives. Gender transformative tobacco control goes beyond gender sensitive efforts and challenges policy and program developers to apply gender theory in designing their initiatives, with the goal of changing negative gender and social norms and improving social, economic, health and social indicators along with tobacco reduction. This paper outlines what is needed to progress tobacco control in enhancing the status of gendered and vulnerable groups, with a view to reducing gender and social inequities due to tobacco use and exposure.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 26
    Publication Date: 2014-01-08
    Description: In the Earth Observation sensor web environment, the rapid, accurate, and unified discovery of diverse remote sensing satellite sensors, and their association to yield an integrated solution for a comprehensive response to specific emergency tasks pose considerable challenges. In this study, we propose a remote sensing satellite sensor object model, based on the object-oriented paradigm and the Open Geospatial Consortium Sensor Model Language. The proposed model comprises a set of sensor resource objects. Each object consists of identification, state of resource attribute, and resource method. We implement the proposed attribute state description by applying it to different remote sensors. A real application, involving the observation of floods at the Yangtze River in China, is undertaken. Results indicate that the sensor inquirer can accurately discover qualified satellite sensors in an accurate and unified manner. By implementing the proposed union operation among the retrieved sensors, the inquirer can further determine how the selected sensors can collaboratively complete a specific observation requirement. Therefore, the proposed model provides a reliable foundation for sharing and integrating multiple remote sensing satellite sensors and their observations.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 27
    Publication Date: 2014-01-08
    Description: Rice crop height is an important agronomic trait linked to plant type and yield potential. This research developed an automatic image processing technique to detect rice crop height based on images taken by a digital camera attached to a field server. The camera acquires rice paddy images daily at a consistent time of day. The images include the rice plants and a marker bar used to provide a height reference. The rice crop height can be indirectly measured from the images by measuring the height of the marker bar compared to the height of the initial marker bar. Four digital image processing steps are employed to automatically measure the rice crop height: band selection, filtering, thresholding, and height measurement. Band selection is used to remove redundant features. Filtering extracts significant features of the marker bar. The thresholding method is applied to separate objects and boundaries of the marker bar versus other areas. The marker bar is detected and compared with the initial marker bar to measure the rice crop height. Our experiment used a field server with a digital camera to continuously monitor a rice field located in Suphanburi Province, Thailand. The experimental results show that the proposed method measures rice crop height effectively, with no human intervention required.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 28
    Publication Date: 2014-01-08
    Description: This study investigated the performance and stability of an anaerobic baffled filter reactor in the treatment of algae-laden water from Taihu Lake at several organic loading rates. The study also evaluated the capability of soft filler to train granule sludge and improve the anaerobic environment and sludge activity in the anaerobic baffled reactor (ABR), thereby enhancing the treatment efficiency. The ABR consisted of five rectangular compartments, each of which was 120 cm long, 80 cm wide, 80 cm high, and packed with soft filler. The anaerobic baffled filter reactor was found to be an efficient reactor configuration for the treatment of algae-laden water. The reactor was operated at an organic loading rate of 1.5 kg chemical oxygen demand (COD)/(m3d) and an ambient temperature of 30 °C; under these conditions, the COD removal efficiency was 80% and the biogas production rate was 293 mL/(Ld). Moreover, the soft filler increased the biomass retention time and decreased the rate at which solids were washed out from the reactor, promoting an improved spatial distribution of the microbial communities within the compartments. Methanoregula, Methanobacteriaceae, Methanosaeta, Methanoculleu, and Thermogymnomonas were the dominant archaeal species in each compartment during an operational period of approximately 100 days. The protease activity in the reactor decreased longitudinally down the reactor from Compartments 1 to 5, whereas the activity of coenzyme F420 increased. The soft filler played a key role in successfully treating algae-laden water with the anaerobic baffled filter reactor.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4441
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 29
    Publication Date: 2014-01-09
    Description: In times of economic crisis, most countries face the dual challenge of fighting unemployment while restraining social expenditures and closing budget deficits. The spending cuts and lack of employment affect a large number of decisions that have a direct or indirect impact on health. This impact is likely to be unevenly distributed among different groups within the population, and therefore not only health levels may be at risk, but also their distribution. The main purpose of this paper is to explore links between unemployment, economic growth, inequality, and health. We regress a measure of health, the Health Human Development Index (HHDI), against a set of explanatory variables accounting for the countries’ economic performance (GDP growth, unemployment, and income inequality), and some institutional factors related to welfare spending and the nature of the health systems for the past three decades. In addition, we explore the causes for different results obtained using an inequality-adjusted HHDI, vs. the unadjusted HHDI. We describe a panel data model, estimated by random effects, for 32 countries from 1980–2010, in five-year intervals. Our conclusion is that the high economic growth observed in the last decades, together with an increase in the levels of income inequality and/or poverty, explain the observed changes of our index, particularly when this indicator is weighted by health inequality. The remaining institutional variables (the share of social spending, health care expenditure, and the type of health systems) show the expected sign but are not statistically significant. A comment on the methodological pitfalls of the approach completes the analysis.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
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    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 30
    Publication Date: 2014-01-09
    Description: This paper studies the problem of multiple vehicle cooperative localization with spatial registration in the formulation of the probability hypothesis density (PHD) filter. Assuming vehicles are equipped with proprioceptive and exteroceptive sensors (with biases) to cooperatively localize positions, a simultaneous solution for joint spatial registration and state estimation is proposed. For this, we rely on the sequential Monte Carlo implementation of the PHD filtering. Compared to other methods, the concept of multiple vehicle cooperative localization with spatial registration is first proposed under Random Finite Set Theory. In addition, the proposed solution also addresses the challenges for multiple vehicle cooperative localization, e.g., the communication bandwidth issue and data association uncertainty. The simulation result demonstrates its reliability and feasibility in large-scale environments.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 31
    Publication Date: 2014-01-10
    Description: The purpose of this paper is to present a new kind of analytical method, the so-called residual power series, to predict and represent the multiplicity of solutions to nonlinear boundary value problems of fractional order. The present method is capable of calculating all branches of solutions simultaneously, even if these multiple solutions are very close and thus rather difficult to distinguish even by numerical techniques. To verify the computational efficiency of the designed proposed technique, two nonlinear models are performed, one of them arises in mixed convection flows and the other one arises in heat transfer, which both admit multiple solutions. The results reveal that the method is very effective, straightforward, and powerful for formulating these multiple solutions.
    Electronic ISSN: 1099-4300
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Physics
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  • 32
    Publication Date: 2014-01-10
    Description: We compare the recently developed Universal Thermal Climate Index (UTCI) with other thermal indices in analysing heat- and cold-related effects on cardiovascular (CVD) mortality in two different (urban and rural) regions in the Czech Republic during the 16-year period from 1994–2009. Excess mortality is represented by the number of deaths above expected daily values, the latter being adjusted for long-term changes, annual and weekly cycles, and epidemics of influenza/acute respiratory infections. Air temperature, UTCI, Apparent Temperature (AT) and Physiologically Equivalent Temperature (PET) are applied to identify days with heat and cold stress. We found similar heat effects on CVD mortality for air temperature and the examined thermal indices. Responses of CVD mortality to cold effects as characterised by different indices were much more varied. Particularly important is the finding that air temperature provides a weak cold effect in comparison with the thermal indices in both regions, so its application—still widespread in epidemiological studies—may underestimate the magnitude of cold-related mortality. These findings are important when possible climate change effects on heat- and cold-related mortality are estimated. AT and PET appear to be more universal predictors of heat- and cold- related mortality than UTCI when both urban and rural environments are of concern. UTCI tends to select windy rather than freezing days in winter, though these show little effect on mortality in the urban population. By contrast, significant cold-related mortality in the rural region if UTCI is used shows potential for UTCI to become a useful tool in cold exposure assessments.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 33
    Publication Date: 2014-01-10
    Description: The popularity of smokeless tobacco (ST) is growing rapidly and its prevalence of use is rising globally. Consumption of Gutkha, an addictive form of ST, is particularly common amongst South Asian communities throughout the World. This includes within the US, following large-scale immigration into the country. However, there exists a lack of knowledge concerning these alternative tobacco products. To this end, a study was carried out to determine the toxicity of gutkha, and what role, if any, nicotine contributes to the effects. Adult male mice were treated daily for 3-week (5 day/week, once/day), via the oral mucosa, with equal volumes (50 μL) of either sterile water (control), a solution of nicotine dissolved in water (0.24 mg of nicotine), or a solution of lyophilized guthka dissolved in water (21 mg lyophilized gutkha). Serum cotinine, measured weekly, was 36 and 48 ng/mL in gutkha- and nicotine-treated mice, respectively. Results demonstrated that exposure to nicotine and gutkha reduced heart weight, while exposure to gutkha, but not nicotine, decreased liver weight, body weight, and serum testosterone levels (compared to controls). These findings suggest that short-term guhtka use adversely impacts growth and circulating testosterone levels, and that gutkha toxicity may be driven by components other than nicotine. As use of guthka increases worldwide, future studies are needed to further delineate toxicological implications such that appropriate policy decisions can be made.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
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    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 34
    Publication Date: 2014-01-10
    Description: This paper applies the generalised linear model for modelling geographical variation to esophageal cancer incidence data in the Caspian region of Iran. The data have a complex and hierarchical structure that makes them suitable for hierarchical analysis using Bayesian techniques, but with care required to deal with problems arising from counts of events observed in small geographical areas when overdispersion and residual spatial autocorrelation are present. These considerations lead to nine regression models derived from using three probability distributions for count data: Poisson, generalised Poisson and negative binomial, and three different autocorrelation structures. We employ the framework of Bayesian variable selection and a Gibbs sampling based technique to identify significant cancer risk factors. The framework deals with situations where the number of possible models based on different combinations of candidate explanatory variables is large enough such that calculation of posterior probabilities for all models is difficult or infeasible. The evidence from applying the modelling methodology suggests that modelling strategies based on the use of generalised Poisson and negative binomial with spatial autocorrelation work well and provide a robust basis for inference.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 35
    Publication Date: 2014-01-10
    Description: The progress of medical therapies, which rely on the transplantation of microencapsulated living cells, depends on the quality of the encapsulating material. Such material has to be biocompatible, and the microencapsulation process must be simple and not harm the cells. Alginate-poly(ethylene glycol) hybrid microspheres (alg-PEG-M) were produced by combining ionotropic gelation of sodium alginate (Na-alg) using calcium ions with covalent crosslinking of vinyl sulfone-terminated multi-arm poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG-VS). In a one-step microsphere formation process, fast ionotropic gelation yields spherical calcium alginate gel beads, which serve as a matrix for simultaneously but slowly occurring covalent cross-linking of the PEG-VS molecules. The feasibility of cell microencapsulation was studied using primary human foreskin fibroblasts (EDX cells) as a model. The use of cell culture media as polymer solvent, gelation bath, and storage medium did not negatively affect the alg-PEG-M properties. Microencapsulated EDX cells maintained their viability and proliferated. This study demonstrates the feasibility of primary cell microencapsulation within the novel microsphere type alg-PEG-M, serves as reference for future therapy development, and confirms the suitability of EDX cells as control model.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 36
    Publication Date: 2014-01-10
    Description: In this research, the sensitivity distribution properties of a phase-shifted fiber Bragg grating (PS-FBG) to ultrasonic waves were investigated employing the surface attachment method. A careful consideration was taken and examined by experimental results to explain that the distances and angles between the sensor and ultrasonic source influence not only the amplitudes, but also the initial phases, waveforms, and spectra of detected signals. Furthermore, factors, including the attachment method and the material’s geometric dimensions, were also discussed. Although these results were obtained based on PS-FBG, they are also applicable to a normal FBG sensor or even an optical fiber sensor, due to the identical physical changes induced by ultrasonic waves in all three. Thus, these results are useful for applications of optical fiber sensors in non-destructive testing and structural health monitoring.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 37
    Publication Date: 2014-01-11
    Description: The next generation of the Internet Protocol (IPv6) is currently about to be introduced in many organizations. However, its security features are still a very novel area of expertise for many practitioners. This study evaluates guidelines for secure deployment of IPv6, published by the U.S. NIST and the German federal agency BSI, for topicality, completeness and depth. The later two are scores defined in this paper and are based on the Requests for Comments relevant for IPv6 that were categorized, weighted and ranked for importance using an expert survey. Both guides turn out to be of practical value, but have a specific focus and are directed towards different audiences. Moreover, recommendations for possible improvements are presented. Our results could also support strategic management decisions on security priorities as well as for the choice of security guidelines for IPv6 roll-outs.
    Electronic ISSN: 1999-5903
    Topics: Computer Science
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  • 38
    Publication Date: 2014-01-11
    Description: Tropospheric ozone (O3) pollution is a major problem worldwide, including in the United States of America (USA), particularly during the summer months. Ozone oxidative capacity and its impact on human health have attracted the attention of the scientific community. In the USA, sparse spatial observations for O3 may not provide a reliable source of data over a geo-environmental region. Geostatistical Analyst in ArcGIS has the capability to interpolate values in unmonitored geo-spaces of interest. In this study of eastern Texas O3 pollution, hourly episodes for spring and summer 2012 were selectively identified. To visualize the O3 distribution, geostatistical techniques were employed in ArcMap. Using ordinary Kriging, geostatistical layers of O3 for all the studied hours were predicted and mapped at a spatial resolution of 1 kilometer. A decent level of prediction accuracy was achieved and was confirmed from cross-validation results. The mean prediction error was close to 0, the root mean-standardized-prediction error was close to 1, and the root mean square and average standard errors were small. O3 pollution map data can be further used in analysis and modeling studies. Kriging results and O3 decadal trends indicate that the populace in Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Beaumont-Port Arthur, San Antonio, and Longview are repeatedly exposed to high levels of O3-related pollution, and are prone to the corresponding respiratory and cardiovascular health effects. Optimization of the monitoring network proves to be an added advantage for the accurate prediction of exposure levels.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
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    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 39
    Publication Date: 2014-01-11
    Description: Detecting and monitoring forest degradation in the tropics has implications for various fields of interest (biodiversity, emission calculations, self-sustenance of indigenous communities, timber exploitation). However, remote-sensing-based detection of forest degradation is difficult, as these subtle degradation signals are not easy to detect in the first place and quickly lost over time due to fast re-vegetation. To overcome these shortcomings, a time series analysis has been developed to map and monitor forest degradation over a longer period of time, with frequent updates based on Landsat data. This time series approach helps to reduce both the commission and the omission errors compared to, e.g., bi- or tri-temporal assessments. The approach involves a series of pre-processing steps, such as geometric and radiometric adjustments, followed by spectral mixture analysis and classification of spectral curves. The resulting pixel-based classification is then aggregated to degradation areas. The method was developed on a study site in Cameroon and applied to a second site in Central African Republic. For both areas, the results were finally evaluated against visual interpretation of very high-resolution optical imagery. Results show overall accuracies in both study sites above 85% for mapping degradation areas with the presented methods.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 40
    Publication Date: 2014-01-11
    Description: Peatlands are important terrestrial carbon stores. Restoration of degraded peatlands to restore ecosystem services is a major area of conservation effort. Monitoring is crucial to judge the success of this restoration. Remote sensing is a potential tool to provide landscape-scale information on the habitat condition. Using an empirical modelling approach, this paper aims to use airborne hyperspectral image data with ground vegetation survey data to model vegetation abundance for a degraded upland blanket bog in the United Kingdom (UK), which is undergoing restoration. A predictive model for vegetation abundance of Plant Functional Types (PFT) was produced using a Partial Least Squares Regression (PLSR) and applied to the whole restoration site. A sensitivity test on the relationships between spectral data and vegetation abundance at PFT and single species level confirmed that PFT was the correct scale for analysis. The PLSR modelling allows selection of variables based upon the weighted regression coefficient of the individual spectral bands, showing which bands have the most influence on the model. These results suggest that the SWIR has less value for monitoring peatland vegetation from hyperspectral images than initially predicted. RMSE values for the validation data range between 10% and 16% cover, indicating that the models can be used as an operational tool, considering the subjective nature of existing vegetation survey results. These predicted coverage images are the first quantitative landscape scale monitoring results to be produced for the site. High resolution hyperspectral mapping of PFTs has the potential to assess recovery of peatland systems at landscape scale for the first time.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 41
    Publication Date: 2014-01-14
    Description: Two-phase bimetal composites contain both grain boundaries and bi-phase interfaces between dissimilar crystals. In this work, we use a crystal plasticity finite element framework to explore the effects of grain boundary interactions on the plastic stability of bi-phase interfaces. We show that neighboring grain interactions do not significantly alter interface plastic stability during plane strain compression. The important implications are that stable orientations at bimetal interfaces can be different than those within the bulk layers. This finding provides insight into bi-phase microstructural development and suggests a pathway for tuning interface properties via severe plastic deformation.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 42
    Publication Date: 2014-01-14
    Description: There is a growing interest in modulating the temperature under the illumination of light. As a heat source, metal nanoparticles (NPs) have played an important role to pave the way for a new branch of plasmonics, i.e., thermo-plasmonics. While thermo-plasmonics have been well established in photo-thermal therapy, it has received comparatively less attention in materials science and chemistry. Here, we demonstrate the first proof of concept experiment of local chemistry and graphitization of metalized polymeric nanofibers through thermo-plasmonic effect. In particular, by tuning the plasmonic absorption of the nanohybrid through a change in the thickness of the deposited silver film on the fibers, the thermo-plasmonic effect can be adjusted in such a way that high enough temperature is generated enabling local welding and graphitization of the polymeric nanofibers.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 43
    Publication Date: 2014-01-15
    Description: Health information, provided through the Internet, has recently received attention from consumers and healthcare providers as an efficient method of motivating people to get screened for colorectal cancer (CRC). In this study, the primary purpose was to investigate the extent to which consumers were better educated about CRC screening information because of the information available on the Internet. Another purpose was to identify how better-informed consumers, with reliable and trustworthy health information, were enabled to make sound decisions regarding CRC screening. The data used in this study was taken from the 2003 Health Information National Trends Survey. People aged 55 and older were classified based on their compliance with recommended CRC screening. The study applied the PRECEDE-PROCEED model to evaluate the effects of health information taken from the Internet regarding CRC screening. The credibility and reliance of cancer related information on the Internet was significantly associated with patient compliance to be screened for CRC. Experience and knowledge of Internet use had a significant impact on the utilization of CRC screening. This analysis suggests that the design and publishing websites concerning CRC should emphasize credibility and reliance. Websites providing information about CRC must also contain the most current information so that people are able to make educated decisions about CRC screening.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
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  • 44
    Publication Date: 2014-01-15
    Description: The impacts of environmental change and degradation on human populations, including the possibility of sharp increases in the number of people considered “environmental migrants” have gained considerable attention. Migrating communities may try to distribute their members along particular lines of kinship, gender, marriage and/or services linked to land exploitation and agriculture. This paper explores archives and narratives of African migrants in northwestern Benin and northeastern Ghana. These regions have been marked by severe ecological change and resource deterioration over the years, as well as changes in marital patterns, family relations and customary practices. In the case of Benin, the paper looks at different ethnic groups that migrated from neighboring countries to the study region. It then focuses on the Biali, who undertake marriage journeys after practicing rituals, which are often related to agricultural activities. The Frafra (Ghana), who, in their bid to out-migrate as a livelihood/coping strategy in the advent of environmental deterioration and rainfall variability, are confronted with high bride prices, changing family relations and customary practices. The paper concludes by highlighting socio-cultural changes that ensue in the face of outmigration among different ethnic groups, especially the Biali and Frafra, and the relationship between non-environmental and environmental factors, and mobility strategies.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 45
    Publication Date: 2014-01-16
    Description: While the use of timber harvests is generally accepted as an effective approach to controlling bark beetles during outbreaks, in reality there has been a dearth of monitoring to assess outcomes, and failures are often not reported. Additionally, few studies have focused on how these treatments affect forest structure and function over the long term, or our forests’ ability to adapt to climate change. Despite this, there is a widespread belief in the policy arena that timber harvesting is an effective and necessary tool to address beetle infestations. That belief has led to numerous proposals for, and enactment of, significant changes in federal environmental laws to encourage more timber harvests for beetle control. In this review, we use mountain pine beetle as an exemplar to critically evaluate the state of science behind the use of timber harvest treatments for bark beetle suppression during outbreaks. It is our hope that this review will stimulate research to fill important gaps and to help guide the development of policy and management firmly based in science, and thus, more likely to aid in forest conservation, reduce financial waste, and bolster public trust in public agency decision-making and practice.
    Electronic ISSN: 1999-4907
    Topics: Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
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  • 46
    Publication Date: 2014-01-16
    Description: We investigated the self-oscillating behaviors of two types of polymer chains induced by the Belousov–Zhabotinsky (BZ) reaction. One consisted of N-isopropylacrylamide (NIPAAm) and the Ru catalyst of the BZ reaction, and the other consisted of NIPAAm, the Ru catalyst, and acrylamide-2-methylpropanesulfonic acid (AMPS) with a negatively charged domain as a solubility control site. A comparison of the two types of self-oscillation systems showed that the anionic AMPS portion of the polymer chain significantly affected the self-oscillating behavior under strongly acidic condition. The periods of self-oscillation for the two types of self-oscillating polymer chains were investigated by changing the initial concentrations of the three BZ substrates and the temperature. As a result, it was demonstrated that the period of self-oscillation could be controlled by the concentration of the BZ substrates and the temperature. Furthermore, the activation energies of the two types of the self-oscillating polymer chains gave similar values as normal BZ reactions, i.e., not including the self-oscillating polymer system with a Ru moiety. In addition, it was clarified the activation energy was hardly affected by the initial concentration of the three BZ substrates.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 47
    Publication Date: 2014-01-17
    Description: Modeling financial time series at different time scales is still an open challenge. The choice of a suitable indicator quantifying the distance between the model and the data is therefore of fundamental importance for selecting models. In this paper, we propose a multiscale model selection method based on the Jensen–Shannon distance in order to select the model that is able to better reproduce the distribution of price changes at different time scales. Specifically, we consider the problem of modeling the ultra high frequency dynamics of an asset with a large tick-to-price ratio. We study the price process at different time scales and compute the Jensen–Shannon distance between the original dataset and different models, showing that the coupling between spread and returns is important to model return distribution at different time scales of observation, ranging from the scale of single transactions to the daily time scale.
    Electronic ISSN: 1099-4300
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Physics
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  • 48
    Publication Date: 2014-01-17
    Description: Using mobile phone records and information theory measures, our daily lives have been recently shown to follow strict statistical regularities, and our movement patterns are, to a large extent, predictable. Here, we apply entropy and predictability measures to two datasets of the behavioral actions and the mobility of a large number of players in the virtual universe of a massive multiplayer online game. We find that movements in virtual human lives follow the same high levels of predictability as offline mobility, where future movements can, to some extent, be predicted well if the temporal correlations of visited places are accounted for. Time series of behavioral actions show similar high levels of predictability, even when temporal correlations are neglected. Entropy conditional on specific behavioral actions reveals that in terms of predictability, negative behavior has a wider variety than positive actions. The actions that contain the information to best predict an individual’s subsequent action are negative, such as attacks or enemy markings, while the positive actions of friendship marking, trade and communication contain the least amount of predictive information. These observations show that predicting behavioral actions requires less information than predicting the mobility patterns of humans for which the additional knowledge of past visited locations is crucial and that the type and sign of a social relation has an essential impact on the ability to determine future behavior.
    Electronic ISSN: 1099-4300
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Physics
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  • 49
    Publication Date: 2014-01-17
    Description: In this paper, new techniques that allow conditional entropy to estimate the combinatorics of symbols are applied to animal communication studies to estimate the communication’s repertoire size. By using the conditional entropy estimates at multiple orders, the paper estimates the total repertoire sizes for animal communication across bottlenose dolphins, humpback whales and several species of birds for an N-gram length of one to three. In addition to discussing the impact of this method on studies of animal communication complexity, the reliability of these estimates is compared to other methods through simulation. While entropy does undercount the total repertoire size due to rare N-grams, it gives a more accurate picture of the most frequently used repertoire than just repertoire size alone.
    Electronic ISSN: 1099-4300
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Physics
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  • 50
    Publication Date: 2014-01-17
    Description: Fusarium graminearum is the main causal pathogen affecting small-grain cereals, and it produces deoxynivalenol, a kind of mycotoxin, which displays a wide range of toxic effects in human and animals. Bacterial strains isolated from peanut shells were investigated for their activities against F. graminearum by dual-culture plate and tip-culture assays. Among them, twenty strains exhibited potent inhibition to the growth of F. graminearum, and the inhibition rates ranged from 41.41% to 54.55% in dual-culture plate assay and 92.70% to 100% in tip-culture assay. Furthermore, eighteen strains reduced the production of deoxynivalenol by 16.69% to 90.30% in the wheat kernels assay. Finally, the strains with the strongest inhibitory activity were identified by morphological, physiological, biochemical methods and also 16S rDNA and gyrA gene analysis as Bacillus amyloliquefaciens. The current study highlights the potential application of antagonistic microorganisms and their metabolites in the prevention of fungal growth and mycotoxin production in wheat kernels. As a biological strategy, it might avoid safety problems and nutrition loss which always caused by physical and chemical strategies.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
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    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 51
    Publication Date: 2014-01-17
    Description: As-received BaTiO3 nanopowders of average grain sizes 50 nm and 100 nm were functionalized by (3-aminopropyl)triethoxysilane (APTES) and mixed with poly(methyl methacrylate)/toluene solution. The nanocomposite solution was spin coated on Si substrates to form thin films. The photoluminescence spectrum of the pure powder was composed of a bandgap emission at 3.0 eV and multiple bands centered about 2.5 eV. Surface functionalization of the BaTiO3 powder via APTES increases overall luminescence at room temperature while only enhancing bandgap emission at low-temperature. Polymer coating of the functionalized nanoparticles significantly enhances bandgap emissions while decreasing emissions associated with near-surface lattice distortions at 2.5 eV.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 52
    Publication Date: 2014-01-18
    Description: Tm3+:Li3Ba2Gd3(MoO4)8 crystal has been grown by the top seeded solution growth (TSSG) method from a Li2MoO4 flux. The room temperature polarized absorption spectra, fluorescence spectra, and fluorescence decay curves of the crystal were measured. Based on the Judd-Ofelt (J-O) theory, the main spectroscopic parameters of the crystal, including the spontaneous emission probabilities, fluorescence branching ratios, and radiative lifetimes were calculated and analyzed. The broad and strong absorption bands of the crystal show that it can be efficiently pumped by the diode laser, while the large emission cross-sections of the 3F4 → 3H6 transition indicate that the crystal is a promising candidate for tunable and short pulse lasers.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 53
    Publication Date: 2014-01-18
    Description: This work presents the chemical and biological characteristics of drinking water shuttled from the main land (Naples, Campania, Italy) to the Eolian islands (situated off the north-eastern coast of Sicily). The data obtained from a one year surveillance program, (January to December, 2012) indicate that the quality of the water delivered to the islands meets the drinking water quality standard year-round. During summer, when requests for drinking water increase with the increase of the islands population, the quality of the shipped water decreases, most likely due to the use of older vessels in addition to those used during the rest of the year. The results suggest an implementation of a monitoring program at the point-of-use in order to identify potential sources of contamination early in shipped drinking water and, therefore, to manage the potential risk of waterborne illness more effectively.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4441
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 54
    Publication Date: 2014-01-21
    Description: In organic-inorganic nanocomposites, interfacial regions are primarily influenced by the dispersion uniformity of nanoparticles and the strength of interfacial bonds between the nanoparticles and the polymer matrix. The insulating performance of organic-inorganic dielectric nanocomposites is highly influenced by the characteristics of interfacial regions. In this study, we prepare polyethylene oxide (PEO)-like functional layers on silica nanoparticles through plasma polymerization. Epoxy resin/silica nanocomposites are subsequently synthesized with these plasma-polymerized nanoparticles. It is found that plasma at a low power (i.e., 10 W) can significantly increase the concentration of C–O bonds on the surface of silica nanoparticles. This plasma polymerized thin layer can not only improve the dispersion uniformity by increasing the hydrophilicity of the nanoparticles, but also provide anchoring sites to enable the formation of covalent bonds between the organic and inorganic phases. Furthermore, electrical tests reveal improved electrical treeing resistance and decreased dielectric constant of the synthesized nanocomposites, while the dielectric loss of the nanocomposites remains unchanged as compared to the pure epoxy resin.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 55
    Publication Date: 2014-01-22
    Description: A thermoelectric gas sensor (TGS) with a combustion catalyst is a calorimetric sensor that changes the small heat of catalytic combustion into a signal voltage. We analyzed the thermal balance of a TGS to quantitatively estimate the sensor parameters. The voltage signal of a TGS was simulated, and the heat balance was calculated at two sections across the thermoelectric film of a TGS. The thermal resistances in the two sections were estimated from the thermal time constants of the experimental signal curves of the TGS. The catalytic combustion heat Qcatalyst required for 1 mV of ∆Vgas was calculated to be 46.1 μW. Using these parameters, we find from simulations for the device performance that the expected Qcatalyst for 200 and 1,000 ppm H2 was 3.69 μW and 11.7 μW, respectively.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 56
    Publication Date: 2014-01-22
    Description: The 3rd edition of the World Sustainability Forum (WSF) was again a success. This electronic conference, held from 1–30 November 2013 on the platform sciforum.net, attracted more than 160 authors from all over the world, who contributed over 50 papers to the multidisciplinary sections comprising the Forum. This brief report sums up the contributions and discussions generated at the 3rd World Sustainability Forum, and provides an overview of the Forum concept, the presented topical sections and a summary about the output of the discussion. Already aiming for the 4th edition, we include an outlook for the upcoming World Sustainability Forum in 2014.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 57
    Publication Date: 2014-01-22
    Description: The objective of this paper is to describe a developed model and its corresponding application, known as System to Evaluate the Water Consumption at Home (SEWAT). The aim is to create a new model to evaluate the efficiency of water consumption. Thanks to the input of the water bills by users, the model allows them to check if water consumption is efficient, in order to give them an opportunity to evaluate their water usage. To succeed in it, several researches were tracked in order to establish consumer trends and to identify the most efficient value for this magnitude. Furthermore, a survey was conducted to obtain updated values to validate information from previous studies. However, the main aim of this model is to use the resources efficiently, so it has to be useful accordingly. Therefore, after the evaluation, the application has a section with recommendations for the users to reduce their water consumption through a range of different indications. This section is divided into four: bathroom, kitchen, new appliance and reusing water. Each section shows the expected benefits if the users follow the recommended options. The main result is a unique application in Spain, which includes a system of evaluation, comparison and a section of recommendations for the users. Eventually, the model will have a promising outcome, because it surely will change the awareness of citizens about this subject.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4441
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 58
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2014-01-23
    Description: We describe a flow model related to ordinary network flows the same way as stable matchings are related to maximum matchings in bipartite graphs. We prove that there always exists a stable flow and generalize the lattice structure of stable marriages to stable flows. Our main tool is a straightforward reduction of the stable flow problem to stable allocations. For the sake of completeness, we prove the results we need on stable allocations as an application of Tarski’s fixed point theorem.
    Electronic ISSN: 1999-4893
    Topics: Computer Science
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  • 59
    Publication Date: 2014-01-23
    Description: In Part I of this work, a static voltage security region was introduced to guarantee the safety of wind farm reactive power outputs under both base conditions and N-1 contingency. In this paper, a mathematical representation of the approximate N-1 security region has further studied to provide better coordination among wind farms and help prevent cascading tripping following a single wind farm trip. Besides, the influence of active power on the security region is studied. The proposed methods are demonstrated for N-1 contingency cases in a nine-bus system. The simulations verify that the N-1 security region is a small subset of the security region under base conditions. They also illustrate the fact that if the system is simply operated below the reactive power limits, without coordination among the wind farms, the static voltage is likely to exceed its limit. A two-step optimal adjustment strategy is introduced to shift insecure operating points into the security region under N-1 contingency. Through extensive numerical studies, the effectiveness of the proposed technique is confirmed.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 60
    Publication Date: 2014-01-23
    Description: Organic and inorganic contaminants in sewage sludge may cause their presence also in the by-products formed during gasification processes. Thus, this paper presents multidirectional chemical instrumental activation analyses of dried sewage sludge as well as both solid (ash, char coal) and liquid (tar) by-products formed during sewage gasification in a fixed bed reactor which was carried out to assess the extent of that phenomenon. Significant differences were observed in the type of contaminants present in the solid and liquid by-products from the dried sewage sludge gasification. Except for heavy metals, the characteristics of the contaminants in the by-products, irrespective of their form (solid and liquid), were different from those initially determined in the sewage sludge. It has been found that gasification promotes the migration of certain valuable inorganic compounds from sewage sludge into solid by-products which might be recovered. On the other hand, the liquid by-products resulting from sewage sludge gasification require a separate process for their treatment or disposal due to their considerable loading with toxic and hazardous organic compounds (phenols and their derivatives).
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 61
    Publication Date: 2014-01-23
    Description: The current digital revolution has ignited the evolution of communications grids and the development of new schemes for productive systems. Traditional technologic scenarios have been challenged, and Smart Cities have become the basis for urban competitiveness. The citizen is the one who has the power to set new scenarios, and that is why a definition of the way people interact with their cities is needed, as is commented in the first part of the article. At the same time, a lack of clarity has been detected in the way of describing what Smart Cities are, and the second part will try to set the basis for that. For all before, the information and communication technologies that manage and transform 21st century cities must be reviewed, analyzing their impact on new social behaviors that shape the spaces and means of communication, as is posed in the experimental section, setting the basis for an analysis matrix to score the different elements that affect a Smart City environment. So, as the better way to evaluate what a Smart City is, there is a need for a tool to score the different technologies on the basis of their usefulness and consequences, considering the impact of each application. For all of that, the final section describes the main objective of this article in practical scenarios, considering how the technologies are used by citizens, who must be the main concern of all urban development.
    Electronic ISSN: 1999-5903
    Topics: Computer Science
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  • 62
    Publication Date: 2014-01-23
    Description: Jarosite minerals (AB3(TO4)2(OH)6) are iron hydroxysulfate minerals that can readily incorporate trace metals into their mineral structure. A range of metals can be incorporated into the jarosite structure, including oxyanions such as selenate (SeO42−). Selenium is a micronutrient, but is toxic in relatively low doses. Selenium is present in aqueous systems in its two oxyanion forms: selenate and selenite (SeO32−). The tetrahedral sulfate coordination site can be completely substituted for selenate in jarosite minerals (NaFe3(SO4)x(SeO4)2-x(OH)6). Bacteria have been observed to reduce Se oxyanions to both more reduced forms and insoluble elemental Se. This is a pathway for selenium immobilization at contaminated sites. This experiment investigates the reductive dissolution of two Se-jarosites (solid substitution containing high and low selenium concentrations) in the presence of Shewanella putrefaciens CN32. It was observed that both Fe(III) and selenate were metabolically reduced and released into solution through jarosite dissolution . Selenate was also found to be incorporated intracellularly and reduced to particulate Se which was released upon cell lysis. Compared to the abiotic samples, enhanced dissolution was found with both the live and dead bacteria treatments.
    Electronic ISSN: 2075-163X
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 63
    Publication Date: 2014-01-23
    Description: In this paper, we deal with Markov Jump Linear Systems-based filtering applied to robotic rehabilitation. The angular positions of an impedance-controlled exoskeleton, designed to help stroke and spinal cord injured patients during walking rehabilitation, are estimated. Standard position estimate approaches adopt Kalman filters (KF) to improve the performance of inertial measurement units (IMUs) based on individual link configurations. Consequently, for a multi-body system, like a lower limb exoskeleton, the inertial measurements of one link (e.g., the shank) are not taken into account in other link position estimation (e.g., the foot). In this paper, we propose a collective modeling of all inertial sensors attached to the exoskeleton, combining them in a Markovian estimation model in order to get the best information from each sensor. In order to demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach, simulation results regarding a set of human footsteps, with four IMUs and three encoders attached to the lower limb exoskeleton, are presented. A comparative study between the Markovian estimation system and the standard one is performed considering a wide range of parametric uncertainties.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 64
    Publication Date: 2014-01-01
    Description: The frequency and severity of forest fires, coupled with changes in spatial and temporal precipitation and temperature patterns, are likely to severely affect the characteristics of forest and permafrost patterns in boreal eco-regions. Forest fires, however, are also an ecological factor in how forest ecosystems form and function, as they affect the rate and characteristics of tree recruitment. A better understanding of fire regimes and forest recovery patterns in different environmental and climatic conditions will improve the management of sustainable forests by facilitating the process of forest resilience. Remote sensing has been identified as an effective tool for preventing and monitoring forest fires, as well as being a potential tool for understanding how forest ecosystems respond to them. However, a number of challenges remain before remote sensing practitioners will be able to better understand the effects of forest fires and how vegetation responds afterward. This article attempts to provide a comprehensive review of current research with respect to remotely sensed data and methods used to model post-fire effects and forest recovery patterns in boreal forest regions. The review reveals that remote sensing-based monitoring of post-fire effects and forest recovery patterns in boreal forest regions is not only limited by the gaps in both field data and remotely sensed data, but also the complexity of far-northern fire regimes, climatic conditions and environmental conditions. We expect that the integration of different remotely sensed data coupled with field campaigns can provide an important data source to support the monitoring of post-fire effects and forest recovery patterns. Additionally, the variation and stratification of pre- and post-fire vegetation and environmental conditions should be considered to achieve a reasonable, operational model for monitoring post-fire effects and forest patterns in boreal regions.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 65
    Publication Date: 2014-01-03
    Description: This paper derives the entropy of a generalized half-logistic distribution based on Type-II censored samples, obtains some entropy estimators by using Bayes estimators of an unknown parameter in the generalized half-logistic distribution based on Type-II censored samples and compares these estimators in terms of the mean squared error and the bias through Monte Carlo simulations.
    Electronic ISSN: 1099-4300
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Physics
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  • 66
    Publication Date: 2014-01-03
    Description: The flow of a compressible fluid with slip through a cylinder with an asymmetric local constriction has been considered both numerically, as well as analytically. For the numerical work, a particle-based method whose dynamics is governed by the multiparticle collision (MPC) rule has been used together with a generalized boundary condition that allows for slip at the wall. Since it is well known that an MPC system corresponds to an ideal gas and behaves like a compressible, viscous flow on average, an approximate analytical solution has been derived from the compressible Navier–Stokes equations of motion coupled to an ideal gas equation of state using the Karman–Pohlhausen method. The constriction is assumed to have a polynomial form, and the location of maximum constriction is varied throughout the constricted portion of the cylinder. Results for centerline densities and centerline velocities have been compared for various Reynolds numbers, Mach numbers, wall slip values and flow geometries.
    Electronic ISSN: 1099-4300
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Physics
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  • 67
    Publication Date: 2014-01-03
    Description: This study explored the associations of the volume and intensity of physical activity and the volume of sedentary time with subjective well-being in a diverse group of 228 older adults in the UK (111 female, mean age 78.2 years (SD 5.8)). Physical activity (PA) and sedentary behaviour were assessed by accelerometry deriving mean steps per day, mean moderate/vigorous PA minutes per hour (MVPA min·h−1) and minutes of sedentary time per hour (ST min·h−1). Lower limb function was assessed by the Short Physical Performance Battery. Subjective well-being was assessed using the SF-12 health status scale, the Ageing Well Profile and the Satisfaction with Life Scale. Linear regressions were used to investigate associations between the independent variables which included physical activity (steps and MVPA), sedentary time, participant characteristics (gender, age, BMI, education, number of medical conditions), and lower limb function and dependent variables which included mental and physical well-being. Steps, MVPA and lower limb function were independently and moderately positively associated with perceived physical well-being but relationships with mental well-being variables were weak. No significant associations between sedentary behaviours and well-being were observed. The association between objectively evaluated physical activity and function and subjective evaluations of physical well-being suggest that improving perceptions of physical health and function may provide an important target for physical activity programmes. This in turn may drive further activity participation.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 68
    Publication Date: 2014-01-03
    Description: This study investigates the association between neighborhood racial composition and adult obesity risks by race and gender, and explores whether neighborhood social and built environment mediates the observed protective or detrimental effects of racial composition on obesity risks. Cross-sectional data from the 2006 and 2008 Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey are merged with census-tract profiles from 2005–2009 American Community Survey and Geographic Information System-based built-environment data. The analytical sample includes 12,730 whites and 4,290 blacks residing in 953 census tracts. Results from multilevel analysis suggest that black concentration is associated with higher obesity risks only for white women, and this association is mediated by lower neighborhood social cohesion and socioeconomic status (SES) in black-concentrated neighborhoods. After controlling for neighborhood SES, black concentration and street connectivity are associated with lower obesity risks for white men. No association between black concentration and obesity is found for blacks. The findings point to the intersections of race and gender in neighborhood effects on obesity risks, and highlight the importance of various aspects of neighborhood social and built environment and their complex roles in obesity prevention by socio-demographic groups.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 69
    Publication Date: 2014-01-03
    Description: Electronic fetal monitoring (EFM) systems integrate many previously separate clinical activities related to fetal monitoring. Promoting the use of ubiquitous fetal monitoring services with real time status assessments requires a robust information platform equipped with an automatic diagnosis engine. This paper presents the design and development of a mobile multi-agent platform-based open information systems (IMAIS) with an automated diagnosis engine to support intensive and distributed ubiquitous fetal monitoring. The automatic diagnosis engine that we developed is capable of analyzing data in both traditional paper-based and digital formats. Issues related to interoperability, scalability, and openness in heterogeneous e-health environments are addressed through the adoption of a FIPA2000 standard compliant agent development platform—the Java Agent Development Environment (JADE). Integrating the IMAIS with light-weight, portable fetal monitor devices allows for continuous long-term monitoring without interfering with a patient’s everyday activities and without restricting her mobility. The system architecture can be also applied to vast monitoring scenarios such as elder care and vital sign monitoring.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 70
    Publication Date: 2014-01-03
    Description: This paper describes the development of a multi-parameter system for monitoring volcanic activity. The system permits the remote access and the connection of several modules in a network. An embedded ARMTM processor has been used, allowing a great flexibility in hardware configuration. The use of a complete Linux solution (DebianTM) as Operating System permits a quick, easy application development to control sensors and communications. This provides all the capabilities required and great stability with relatively low energy consumption. The cost of the components and applications development is low since they are widely used in different fields. Sensors and commercial modules have been combined with other self-developed modules. The Modular Volcano Monitoring System (MVMS) described has been deployed on the active Deception Island (Antarctica) volcano, within the Spanish Antarctic Program, and has proved successful for monitoring the volcano, with proven reliability and efficient operation under extreme conditions. In another context, i.e., the recent volcanic activity on El Hierro Island (Canary Islands) in 2011, this technology has been used for the seismic equipment and GPS systems deployed, thus showing its efficiency in the monitoring of a volcanic crisis.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 71
    Publication Date: 2014-01-03
    Description: Recently introduced passive wireless strain sensors based on microstrip patch antennas have shown great potential for reliable health and usage monitoring in aerospace and civil industries. However, the wireless interrogation range of these sensors is limited to few centimeters, which restricts their practical application. This paper presents an investigation on the effect of circular microstrip patch antenna (CMPA) design on the quality factor and the maximum practical wireless reading range of the sensor. The results reveal that by using appropriate substrate materials the interrogation distance of the CMPA sensor can be increased four-fold, from the previously reported 5 to 20 cm, thus improving considerably the viability of this type of wireless sensors for strain measurement and damage detection.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 72
    Publication Date: 2014-01-04
    Description: Demand response (DR) can be very useful for an industrial facility, since it allows noticeable reductions in the electricity bill due to the significant value of energy demand. Although most industrial processes have stringent constraints in terms of hourly active power, DR only becomes attractive when performed with the contemporaneous use of battery energy storage systems (BESSs). When this option is used, an optimal sizing of BESSs is desirable, because the investment costs can be significant. This paper deals with the optimal sizing of a BESS installed in an industrial facility to reduce electricity costs. A four-step procedure, based on Decision Theory, was used to obtain a good solution for the sizing problem, even when facing uncertainties; in fact, we think that the sizing procedure must properly take into account the unavoidable uncertainties introduced by the cost of electricity and the load demands of industrial facilities. Three approaches provided by Decision Theory were applied, and they were based on: (1) the minimization of expected cost; (2) the regret felt by the sizing engineer; and (3) a mix of (1) and (2). The numerical applications performed on an actual industrial facility provided evidence of the effectiveness of the proposed procedure.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 73
    Publication Date: 2014-01-04
    Description: Background: Germany’s 16 states regulate smoking differently within health protection principles laid down in the federal law. All state smoke-free laws in Germany have undergone at least one change since taking effect. Methods: We systematically review federal and state laws regulating smoking, as well as petitions, popular initiatives and referenda that aimed at changing statutory smoking bans. Data generated through the systematic review were correlated with state smoking rates. Results: The protection from the dangers of secondhand smoke is the primary motive for smoking bans in Germany. The first smoke-free laws affecting smoking in pubs, restaurants and several other public places were introduced in 2007. In 2008, the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany ruled in a leading decision on the smoke-free laws of two states that some common smoking ban exemptions of the introduced smoke-free laws violate the basic right to freely exercise a profession and mandated revisions. All states but Bavaria and Saarland, whose smoking bans were more and less comprehensive than those judged by the constitutional court, respectively, needed to change the smoking ban exemptions to reconcile their smoke-free laws with the constitution. Direct democracy initiatives to change smoking bans were only successful in Bavaria in 2010, but a total of 15 initiatives by citizens’ or interest groups attempted to influence non-smokers protection legislation through direct democratic procedures. Early ratification of a smoking ban in a federal state correlates with a higher reduction in the smoking rate from 2005 to 2009 (Spearman’s ρ = 0.51, p = 0.04). Conclusions: The federal government structure and direct democratic participation in smoke-free legislation in Germany has produced a diversity of local smoking bans and exemptions.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 74
    Publication Date: 2014-01-04
    Description: Early onset and increasing proliferation of illicit adolescent drug-use poses a global health concern. This study aimed to examine the correlation between Protective Motivation Theory (PMT) measures and the intention to use drugs among adolescents. An exploratory quantitative correlation design and convenience sampling were adopted. A total of 318 students completed a self-reported questionnaire that solicited information related to their demographics and activities, measures of threat appraisal and coping appraisal, and the intention to use drugs. Logistic regression analysis showed that intrinsic and extrinsic rewards were significant predictors of intention. The odds ratios were equal to 2.90 (p 〈 0.05) and 8.04 (p 〈 0.001), respectively. The logistic regression model analysis resulted in a high Nagelkerke R2 of 0.49, which suggests that PMT related measures could be used in predicting drug use intention among adolescents. Further research should be conducted with non-school adolescents to confirm the application.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 75
    Publication Date: 2014-01-04
    Description: Tactile sensing provides critical information, such as force, texture, shape or temperature, in manipulation tasks. In particular, tactile sensors traditionally used in robotics are emphasized in contact force determination for grasping control and object recognition. Nevertheless, slip detection is also crucial to successfully manipulate an object. Several approaches have appeared to detect slipping, the majority being a combination of complex sensors with complex algorithms. In this paper, we deal with simplicity, analyzing how a novel, but simple, algorithm, based on micro-vibration detection, can be used in a simple, but low-cost and durable, force sensor. We also analyze the results of using the same principle to detect slipping in other force sensors based on flexible parts. In particular, we show and compare the slip detection with: (i) a flexible finger, designed by the authors, acting as a force sensor; (ii) the finger torque sensor of a commercial robotic hand; (iii) a commercial six-axis force sensor mounted on the wrist of a robot; and (iv) a fingertip piezoresistive matrix sensor.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 76
    Publication Date: 2014-01-04
    Description: Cloud manufacturing (CMfg) is a new-generation service-oriented networked manufacturing model that provides distributed users centralized managed manufacturing resources, ability, and services. CMfg is applied here to a semiconductor manufacturing factory. Benefits are classified into five aspects: cost savings, efficiency, additional data analysis capabilities, flexibility, and closer partner relationships. A strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat (SWOT) analysis is done which guides a semiconductor manufacturer in planning CMfg implementation projects. Simulation of a wafer fabrication factory (wafer fab) is used as an example. Several CMfg services are proposed for assisting the fab simulation activities through the collaboration of cloud service providers, software vendors, equipment suppliers, and the wafer fab. The connection with the competitiveness and sustainability of a wafer fab is also stressed.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 77
    Publication Date: 2014-01-04
    Description: This paper explores how inertial Pedestrian Dead-Reckoning (PDR) location systems can be improved with the use of a light sensor to measure the illumination gradients created when a person walks under ceiling-mounted unmodified indoor lights. The process of updating the inertial PDR estimates with the information provided by light detections is a new concept that we have named Light-matching (LM). The displacement and orientation change of a person obtained by inertial PDR is used by the LM method to accurately propagate the location hypothesis, and vice versa; the LM approach benefits the PDR approach by obtaining an absolute localization and reducing the PDR-alone drift. Even from an initially unknown location and orientation, whenever the person passes below a switched-on light spot, the location likelihood is iteratively updated until it potentially converges to a unimodal probability density function. The time to converge to a unimodal position hypothesis depends on the number of lights detected and the asymmetries/irregularities of the spatial distribution of lights. The proposed LM method does not require any intensity illumination calibration, just the pre-storage of the position and size of all lights in a building, irrespective of their current on/off state. This paper presents a detailed description of the light-matching concept, the implementation details of the LM-assisted PDR fusion scheme using a particle filter, and several simulated and experimental tests, using a light sensor-equipped Galaxy S3 smartphone and an external foot-mounted inertial sensor. The evaluation includes the LM-assisted PDR approach as well as the fusion with other signals of opportunity (WiFi, RFID, Magnetometers or Map-matching) in order to compare their contribution in obtaining high accuracy indoor localization. The integrated solution achieves a localization error lower than 1 m in most of the cases.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 78
    Publication Date: 2014-01-07
    Description: In this paper a correction factor for Jennrich’s statistic is introduced in order to be able not only to test the stability of correlation structure, but also to identify the time windows where the instability occurs. If Jennrich’s statistic is only to test the stability of correlation structure along predetermined non-overlapping time windows, the corrected statistic provides us with the history of correlation structure dynamics from time window to time window. A graphical representation will be provided to visualize that history. This information is necessary to make further analysis about, for example, the change of topological properties of minimal spanning tree. An example using NYSE data will illustrate its advantages.
    Electronic ISSN: 1099-4300
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Physics
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  • 79
    Publication Date: 2014-01-07
    Description: Glaciers and icefields are critical components of Earth’s cryosphere to study and monitor for understanding the effects of a changing climate. To provide a regional perspective of glacier melt dynamics for the past several decades, brightness temperatures (Tb) from the passive microwave sensor Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSM/I) were used to characterize melt regime patterns over large glacierized areas in Alaska and Patagonia. The distinctness of the melt signal at 37V-GHz and the ability to acquire daily data regardless of clouds or darkness make the dataset ideal for studying melt dynamics in both hemispheres. A 24-year (1988–2011) time series of annual Tb histograms was constructed to (1) characterize and assess temporal and spatial trends in melt patterns, (2) determine years of anomalous Tb distribution, and (3) investigate potential contributing factors. Distance from coast and temperature were key factors influencing melt. Years of high percentage of positive Tb anomalies were associated with relatively higher stream discharge (e.g., Copper and Mendenhall Rivers, Alaska, USA and Rio Baker, Chile). The characterization of melt over broad spatial domains and a multi-decadal time period offers a more comprehensive picture of the changing cryosphere and provides a baseline from which to assess future change.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 80
    Publication Date: 2014-01-07
    Description: Conventional metallic strain sensors are flexible, but they can sustain maximum strains of only ~5%, so there is a need for sensors that can bear high strains for multifunctional applications. In this study, we report stretchable and flexible high-strain sensors that consist of entangled and randomly distributed multiwall carbon nanotubes or graphite flakes on a natural rubber substrate. Carbon nanotubes/graphite flakes were sandwiched in natural rubber to produce these high-strain sensors. Using field emission scanning electron microscopy, the morphology of the films for both the carbon nanotube and graphite sensors were assessed under different strain conditions (0% and 400% strain). As the strain was increased, the films fractured, resulting in an increase in the electrical resistance of the sensor; this change was reversible. Strains of up to 246% (graphite sensor) and 620% (carbon nanotube sensor) were measured; these values are respectively ~50 and ~120 times greater than those of conventional metallic strain sensors.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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  • 81
    Publication Date: 2014-01-08
    Description: A strategy was proposed to determine the optimal operating point for the proportional-integral-derivative (PID) controller of a wind turbine, and identify the stability regions in the parameter space. The proposed approach combined particle swarm optimization (PSO) and radial basis function neural network (RBFNN) algorithms. These intelligent algorithms are artificial learning mechanisms that can determine the optimal operating points, and were used to generate the function representing the most favorable operating  parameters from each parameter of  for the stability region of the PID controller. A graphical method was used to determine the 2D or 3D vision boundaries of the PID-type controller space in closed-loop wind turbine systems. The proposed techniques were demonstrated using simulations of a drive train model without time delay and a pitch control model with time delay. Finally, the 3D stability boundaries were determined the proposed graphical approach with and without time delay systems.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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  • 82
    Publication Date: 2014-01-08
    Description: A proton-conductive solid oxide fuel cell (H-SOFC) has the advantage of operating at higher temperatures than a PEM fuel cell, but at lower temperatures than a SOFC. This study proposes a mathematical model for an H-SOFC in order to simulate the performance and optimize the flow channel designs. The model analyzes the average mass transfer and species’ concentrations in flow channels, which allows the determination of an average concentration polarization in anode and cathode gas channels, the proton conductivity of electrolyte membranes, as well as the activation polarization. An electrical circuit for the current and proton conduction is applied to analyze the ohmic losses from an anode current collector to a cathode current collector. The model uses relatively less amount of computational time to find the V-I curve of the fuel cell, and thus it can be applied to compute a large amount of cases with different flow channel dimensions and operating parameters for optimization. The modeling simulation results agreed satisfactorily with the experimental results from literature. Simulation results showed that a relatively small total width of flow channel and rib, together with a small ratio of the rib’s width versus the total width, are preferable for obtaining high power densities and thus high efficiency.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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