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  • Blackwell Publishing Ltd  (182,011)
  • American Chemical Society (ACS)  (125,805)
  • MDPI Publishing
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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2019-10-24
    Description: Microplastics (MPs, 〈5 mm) have been reported as emerging environmental contaminants, but reliable data are still lacking. We compared the two most promising techniques for MP analysis, namely, Raman and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, by analyzing MPs extracted from North Sea surface waters. Microplastics 〉500 μm were visually sorted and manually analyzed by μ-Raman and attenuated total reflection (ATR)-FTIR spectroscopy. Microplastics ≤500 μm were concentrated on gold-coated filters and analyzed by automated single-particle exploration coupled to μ-Raman (ASPEx-μ-Raman) and FTIR imaging (reflection mode). The number of identified MPs 〉500 μm was slightly higher for μ-Raman (+23%) than ATR-FTIR analysis. Concerning MPs ≤500 μm, ASPEx-μ-Raman quantified two-times higher MP numbers but required a four-times higher analysis time compared to FTIR imaging. Because ASPEx-μ-Raman revealed far higher MP concentrations (38–2621 particles m–3) compared to the results of previous water studies (0–559 particles m–3), the environmental concentration of MPs ≤500 μm may have been underestimated until now. This may be attributed to the exceptional increase in concentration with decreasing MP size found in this work. Our results demonstrate the need for further research to enable time-efficient routine application of ASPEx-μ-Raman for reliable MP counting down to 1 μm.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2018-03-21
    Description: IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 561: The Roles of Motivation and Coping Behaviours in Managing Stress: Qualitative Interview Study of Hong Kong Expatriate Construction Professionals in Mainland China International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15030561 Authors: Isabelle Chan Mei-yung Leung Qi Liang Driven by fast-growing economies worldwide, the number of international construction projects is booming, and employing expatriates has inevitably become a strategy used by construction firms. However, stress arising from expatriate assignments can lead to early return, assignment failure, and staff turnover, causing in significant losses to an organisation. Extensive research has focused on the effectiveness of coping behaviours in relation to stress. However, studies investigating the antecedents of coping are rare. The limited studies to date tend to focus on content-based motivations (identifying what), instead of on how coping behaviours can be motivated in the stress management process (identifying how). Focus on expatriate construction professionals (ECPs) is further limited. Hence, this study aims to investigate from a process theory perspective the role of motivation in the stress management process. Using a qualitative interview study approach, involving 22 in-depth interviews, this study first identifies the content of motivation, coping behaviours, performance, and stress in the context of Hong Kong ECPs working on cross-cultural projects in China; it then unveils and explains the associations between the identified variables. Based on the results, stakeholders are recommended to review pre-departure training, so as to ensure that key elements such as personal awareness of stress (cognitive, affective, and physical), expectancies of coping strategies on stress (adaptive or maladaptive), and expectancies of the influence of stress on performance are covered.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2018-03-21
    Description: IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 560: The Health Halo Trend in UK Television Food Advertising Viewed by Children: The Rise of Implicit and Explicit Health Messaging in the Promotion of Unhealthy Foods International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15030560 Authors: Rosa Whalen Joanne Harrold Simon Child Jason Halford Emma Boyland Monitoring the creative content within food marketing to children is strongly advocated by public health authorities, but few studies address the prevalence of health-related messaging in television adverts. Food and beverage adverts (n = 18,888 in 2008, n = 6664 in 2010) from UK television channels popular with children were coded and analyzed. Physical-activity depiction displayed an 18.8 percentage point increase from 2008 (4.4%) to 2010 (23.2%). Of the food adverts containing physical-activity depiction in 2010, 81.1% were for non-core foods. The appearance of health claims in food adverts in 2010 increased 4.1 percentage points from 2008 levels (20.7% to 24.8%) where the majority of food adverts featuring health and nutrition claims were for non-core foods (58.3%). Health-related (e.g., health/nutrition, weight loss/diet) appeals were used in 17.1% of food adverts during peak child-viewing times, rising to 33.0% of adverts shown on dedicated children’s channels in 2010. Implicit (physical activity) and explicit (health claims) health messages are increasingly prevalent in UK television food advertising viewed by children, and are frequently used to promote unhealthy foods. Policy makers in the UK should consider amendments to the existing statutory approach in order to address this issue.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2018-03-21
    Description: Journal of Chemical & Engineering Data DOI: 10.1021/acs.jced.7b00777
    Print ISSN: 0021-9568
    Electronic ISSN: 1520-5134
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Process Engineering, Biotechnology, Nutrition Technology
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2018-04-05
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 1072: Assessment of Building Damage Risk by Natural Disasters in South Korea Using Decision Tree Analysis Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10041072 Authors: KeumJi Kim SeongHwan Yoon The purpose of this study is to identify the relationship between weather variables and buildings damaged in natural disasters. We used four datasets on building damage history and 33 weather datasets from 230 regions in South Korea in a decision tree analysis to evaluate the risk of building damage. We generated the decision tree model to determine the risk of rain, gale, and typhoon (excluding gale with less damage). Using the weight and limit values of the weather variables derived using the decision tree model, the risk of building damage was assessed for 230 regions in South Korea until 2100. The number of regions at risk of rain damage increased by more than 30% on average. Conversely, regions at risk of damage from snowfall decreased by more than 90%. The regions at risk of typhoons decreased by 57.5% on average, while those at high risk of the same increased by up to 62.5% under RCP 8.5. The results of this study are highly fluid since they are based on the uncertainty of future climate change. However, the study is meaningful because it suggests a new method for assessing disaster risk using weather indices.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2018-04-05
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 1066: Supplier Risk Assessment Based on Best-Worst Method and K-Means Clustering: A Case Study Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10041066 Authors: Merve Er Kara Seniye Oktay Fırat Supplier evaluation and selection is one of the most critical strategic decisions for developing a competitive and sustainable organization. Companies have to consider supplier related risks and threats in their purchasing decisions. In today’s competitive and risky business environment, it is very important to work with reliable suppliers. This study proposes a clustering based approach to group suppliers based on their risk profile. Suppliers of a company in the heavy-machinery sector are assessed based on 17 qualitative and quantitative risk types. The weights of the criteria are determined by using the Best-Worst method. Four factors are extracted by applying Factor Analysis to the supplier risk data. Then k-means clustering algorithm is applied to group core suppliers of the company based on the four risk factors. Three clusters are created with different risk exposure levels. The interpretation of the results provides insights for risk management actions and supplier development programs to mitigate supplier risk.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2018-04-05
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 1070: Flame Retardant Contamination and Seafood Sustainability Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10041070 Authors: Andrea J. Noziglia Joshua K. Abbott Beth Polidoro Leah R. Gerber A growing body of evidence for chemical contamination in seafood has raised concerns about the safety of seafood consumption. Available data also indicate that some fishery stocks that are overharvested are also the most laden with certain contaminants. Flame retardant chemicals, used in textiles, plastics, and other products are a class of these seafood contaminants that are particularly concerning as they are linked to cancer and endocrine disruption. To investigate the potentially useful relationship between fishery sustainability and flame retardant concentration in seafood, we used polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) as a case study to assess how fishery status and species vulnerability coincide with levels of brominated flame retardants found in the tissue of popularly consumed fish. While none of our metrics of sustainability showed strong relationships to PBDE contamination rates, our results suggest that the same intrinsic biological and ecological traits, which facilitate the uptake of chemicals, also contribute to how species respond to fishing pressures. Given the dual challenges of ensuring seafood sustainability and protecting human health, we then explored the implications of bundling the public good of conservation with the private good of health.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2018-04-05
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 1073: Research on the Topological Properties of Air Quality Index Based on a Complex Network Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10041073 Authors: Yongli Zhang Sanggyun Na To analyze the dynamic characteristics of air quality for enforcing effective measures to prevent and evade air pollution harm, air quality index (AQI) time series data was selected and transformed into a symbol sequence consisting of characters (H, M, L) through the coarse graining process; then each 6-symbols series was treated as one vertex by time sequence to construct the AQI directed-weighted network; finally the centrality, clusterability, and ranking of the AQI network were analyzed. The results indicated that vertex strength and cumulative strength distribution, vertex strength and strength rank presented power law distributions, and the AQI network is a scale-free network. Only 17 vertices possessed a higher weighted clustering coefficient; meanwhile weighted clustering coefficient and vertex strength didn’t show a strong correlation. The AQI network did not have an obvious central tendency towards intermediaries in general, but 20.55% of vertices accounted for nearly 1/2 of the intermediaries, and the varieties still existed. The mean distance of 68.4932% of vertices was 6.120–9.973, the AQI network did not have obvious small-world phenomena, the conversion of AQI patterns presented the characteristics of periodicity and regularity, and 20.2055% of vertices had high proximity prestige. The vertices fell into six islands, the AQI pattern indicating heavy or serious air pollution lasting six days always lingered for a long time. The number of triads 2-012 was the largest, and the AQI network followed the transitivity model. The study has instructional significance in understanding time change regulation of air quality in Beijing, opening a new way for time series prediction research. Additionally, the factors causing the change of topological properties should be analyzed in the future research.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2018-04-05
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 1069: Measurement and Spatial Differentiation Characteristics of Transit Equity: A Case Study of Guangzhou, China Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10041069 Authors: Xiaoshu Cao Huiling Chen Feiwen Liang Wulin Wang Urban public transit is an important solution for narrowing the mobility gap between captive riders and choice riders and to address issues of social equity. An equitable transit system essentially could meet the needs of transit dependents and maximize the scope of public transit services. To acquire a better understanding of transit equity, we use Lorenz curves and the GINI coefficient to measure the relative supply of public transit to the population and employ the spatial overlay method to analyze the matching degree of transit supply and demand in Guangzhou, China. The findings show that there are obvious and unequal differences between the levels of transit service in the internal zones. The spatial coverage rate and number of stop services of the outer city are significantly less than that of the inner and middle city. Eighty percent of the population shares only 36.7% of the public transit supply in Guangzhou. Most communities of low-supply and high-need public transit are distributed contiguously in the eastern Baiyun and southern Huadu districts. This distribution pattern is beneficial to the transit agency, which could improve the supply in these areas to avoid the risk caused when a large number of residents lack access to public transit services. The results could serve as an excellent foundation for planning the handling of spatial gaps in the Guangzhou public transit supply.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2018-04-05
    Description: Symmetry, Vol. 10, Pages 97: A Watermarking Method for 3D Printing Based on Menger Curvature and K-Mean Clustering Symmetry doi: 10.3390/sym10040097 Authors: Giao Pham Suk-Hwan Lee Oh-Heum Kwon Ki-Ryong Kwon Nowadays, 3D printing is widely used in many areas of life. This leads to 3D printing models often being used illegally without any payment to the original providers. Therefore, providers need a solution to identify and protect the copyright of 3D printing. This paper presents a novel watermarking method for the copyright protection of 3D printing based on the Menger facet curvature and K-mean clustering. The facets of the 3D printing model are classified into groups based on the value of Menger curvature and the K-mean clustering, and the mean Menger curvature of each group will then be computed for embedding the watermark data. The watermark data are embedded into the groups of facets by changing the mean Menger curvature of each group according to the bit of watermark data. In each group, we select a facet that has the Menger curvature closest to the changed mean Menger curvature, and we then transform the vertices of the selected facet according to the changed Menger curvature for the watermarked 3D printing model generation. Watermark data are extracted from 3D-printed objects, which are printed from the watermarked 3D printing models by the 3D printer. Experimental results after embedding the watermark verified that the proposed method is invisible and robust to geometric attacks such as rotation, scaling and translation. In experiments with an XYZ Printing Pro 3D printer and 3D scanner, the accuracy and performance of the proposed method was higher than the two previous methods in the 3D printing watermarking domain. The proposed method provides a better solution for the copyright protection of 3D printing.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-8994
    Topics: Mathematics , Physics
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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  • 11
    Publication Date: 2018-04-05
    Description: Symmetry, Vol. 10, Pages 96: A Novel Multimodal Biometrics Recognition Model Based on Stacked ELM and CCA Methods Symmetry doi: 10.3390/sym10040096 Authors: Jucheng Yang Wenhui Sun Na Liu Yarui Chen Yuan Wang Shujie Han Multimodal biometrics combine a variety of biological features to have a significant impact on identification performance, which is a newly developed trend in biometrics identification technology. This study proposes a novel multimodal biometrics recognition model based on the stacked extreme learning machines (ELMs) and canonical correlation analysis (CCA) methods. The model, which has a symmetric structure, is found to have high potential for multimodal biometrics. The model works as follows. First, it learns the hidden-layer representation of biological images using extreme learning machines layer by layer. Second, the canonical correlation analysis method is applied to map the representation to a feature space, which is used to reconstruct the multimodal image feature representation. Third, the reconstructed features are used as the input of a classifier for supervised training and output. To verify the validity and efficiency of the method, we adopt it for new hybrid datasets obtained from typical face image datasets and finger-vein image datasets. Our experimental results demonstrate that our model performs better than traditional methods.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-8994
    Topics: Mathematics , Physics
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  • 12
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling DOI: 10.1021/acs.jcim.8b00040
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology
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  • 13
  • 14
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: Journal of Medicinal Chemistry DOI: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.8b00137
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology
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  • 15
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: Journal of Medicinal Chemistry DOI: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.7b01569
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology
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  • 16
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: The Journal of Organic Chemistry DOI: 10.1021/acs.joc.8b00203
    Print ISSN: 0022-3263
    Electronic ISSN: 1520-6904
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology
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  • 17
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: Journal of Medicinal Chemistry DOI: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.8b00465
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology
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  • 18
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: The Journal of Organic Chemistry DOI: 10.1021/acs.joc.8b00447
    Print ISSN: 0022-3263
    Electronic ISSN: 1520-6904
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology
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  • 19
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: The Journal of Organic Chemistry DOI: 10.1021/acs.joc.8b00207
    Print ISSN: 0022-3263
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  • 20
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: The Journal of Organic Chemistry DOI: 10.1021/acs.joc.7b03212
    Print ISSN: 0022-3263
    Electronic ISSN: 1520-6904
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology
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  • 21
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: The Journal of Organic Chemistry DOI: 10.1021/acs.joc.8b00150
    Print ISSN: 0022-3263
    Electronic ISSN: 1520-6904
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology
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  • 22
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: The Journal of Organic Chemistry DOI: 10.1021/acs.joc.8b00463
    Print ISSN: 0022-3263
    Electronic ISSN: 1520-6904
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology
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  • 23
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: Energies, Vol. 11, Pages 852: Shading Ratio Impact on Photovoltaic Modules and Correlation with Shading Patterns Energies doi: 10.3390/en11040852 Authors: Alonso Gutiérrez Galeano Michael Bressan Fernando Jiménez Vargas Corinne Alonso This paper presents the study of a simplified approach to model and analyze the performance of partially shaded photovoltaic modules using the shading ratio. This approach integrates the characteristics of shaded area and shadow opacity into the photovoltaic cell model. The studied methodology is intended to improve the description of shaded photovoltaic systems by specifying an experimental procedure to quantify the shadow impact. Furthermore, with the help of image processing, the analysis of the shading ratio provides a set of rules useful for predicting the current–voltage behavior and the maximum power points of shaded photovoltaic modules. This correlation of the shading ratio and shading patterns can contribute to the supervision of actual photovoltaic installations. The experimental results validate the proposed approach in monocrystalline and polycrystalline technologies of solar panels.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 24
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: Entropy, Vol. 20, Pages 254: Multiple Sclerosis Identification Based on Fractional Fourier Entropy and a Modified Jaya Algorithm Entropy doi: 10.3390/e20040254 Authors: Shui-Hua Wang Hong Cheng Preetha Phillips Yu-Dong Zhang Aim: Currently, identifying multiple sclerosis (MS) by human experts may come across the problem of “normal-appearing white matter”, which causes a low sensitivity. Methods: In this study, we presented a computer vision based approached to identify MS in an automatic way. This proposed method first extracted the fractional Fourier entropy map from a specified brain image. Afterwards, it sent the features to a multilayer perceptron trained by a proposed improved parameter-free Jaya algorithm. We used cost-sensitivity learning to handle the imbalanced data problem. Results: The 10 × 10-fold cross validation showed our method yielded a sensitivity of 97.40 ± 0.60%, a specificity of 97.39 ± 0.65%, and an accuracy of 97.39 ± 0.59%. Conclusions: We validated by experiments that the proposed improved Jaya performs better than plain Jaya algorithm and other latest bioinspired algorithms in terms of classification performance and training speed. In addition, our method is superior to four state-of-the-art MS identification approaches.
    Electronic ISSN: 1099-4300
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Physics
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  • 25
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: The Journal of Physical Chemistry B DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.8b00238
    Electronic ISSN: 1520-5207
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Physics
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  • 26
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: The Journal of Organic Chemistry DOI: 10.1021/acs.joc.8b00554
    Print ISSN: 0022-3263
    Electronic ISSN: 1520-6904
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology
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  • 27
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: The Journal of Organic Chemistry DOI: 10.1021/acs.joc.8b00529
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    Electronic ISSN: 1520-6904
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology
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  • 28
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: The Journal of Organic Chemistry DOI: 10.1021/acs.joc.8b00486
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    Electronic ISSN: 1520-6904
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  • 29
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: The Journal of Physical Chemistry B DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.8b01508
    Electronic ISSN: 1520-5207
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Physics
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  • 30
  • 31
    Publication Date: 2018-03-21
    Description: Organic Letters DOI: 10.1021/acs.orglett.7b03959
    Print ISSN: 1523-7060
    Electronic ISSN: 1523-7052
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology
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  • 32
    Publication Date: 2018-03-21
    Description: Organic Letters DOI: 10.1021/acs.orglett.8b00280
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    Electronic ISSN: 1523-7052
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  • 33
    Publication Date: 2018-03-21
    Description: Organic Letters DOI: 10.1021/acs.orglett.8b00302
    Print ISSN: 1523-7060
    Electronic ISSN: 1523-7052
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology
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  • 34
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: Journal of the American Chemical Society DOI: 10.1021/jacs.7b13783
    Print ISSN: 0002-7863
    Electronic ISSN: 1520-5126
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology
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  • 35
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: Journal of the American Chemical Society DOI: 10.1021/jacs.8b02319
    Print ISSN: 0002-7863
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  • 36
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: Journal of the American Chemical Society DOI: 10.1021/jacs.8b01087
    Print ISSN: 0002-7863
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  • 37
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: Journal of the American Chemical Society DOI: 10.1021/jacs.8b01638
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  • 38
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: Forests, Vol. 9, Pages 188: Comparing Thinning System Effects on Ecosystem Services Provision in Artificial Black Pine (Pinus nigra J. F. Arnold) Forests Forests doi: 10.3390/f9040188 Authors: Maurizio Marchi Alessandro Paletto Paolo Cantiani Elisa Bianchetto Isabella De Meo Provision of forest ecosystem services is influenced by site and stand characteristics as well as forest management practices. In order to evaluate the influence of forest management on ecosystem services provision, two artificial black pine forests located in Central Italy were studied where two different thinning approaches (traditional and selective) were applied under the SelPiBio LIFE project. Four main ecosystem services were selected and assessed: timber and bioenergy production, carbon sequestration, forest stand stability-protection, and biodiversity conservation. Even if not supported by statistical evidence, results highlighted an interesting trend just 2 years after treatment. The selective thinning was able to enhance the majority of ecosystem services compared to the traditional one. A higher growth rate of selected crop trees was measured (i.e., carbon sequestration). The slenderness ratio was sensibly reduced (i.e., mechanical stability) with a positive implication on soil retention and the prevention of landslides. Moreover, valuable and interesting commercial assortments have been proven to be retrieved from the stands with the selective approach. Larger and also better formed trees were harvested, given the impact of selective thinning on the co-dominant class. The Shannon index increased only with the selective thinning intervention. In conclusion, the provided results and methods are encouraging and might represent the basis for novel and longer monitoring efforts.
    Electronic ISSN: 1999-4907
    Topics: Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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  • 39
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: Forests, Vol. 9, Pages 186: Challenges and Opportunities for North American Hardwood Manufacturers to Adopt Customization Strategies in an Era of Increased Competition Forests doi: 10.3390/f9040186 Authors: David L. Nicholls Matthew S. Bumgardner Much of the North American wood products industry was severely impacted by the recession of 2008–2009. In addition, many sectors within this industry face intense global competition. Against this backdrop, we examine economic opportunities for hardwood manufacturers to achieve greater competitive advantage via product customization, through a literature review and synthesis. We also discuss several related themes including agility, lean manufacturing, and clustering. We found that, in globally competitive environments, hardwood producers must be agile to adapt to economic conditions and dynamic customer demand. We discuss how some sectors of the hardwood industry have effectively exhibited customized production, and subsequently fared relatively well in the current economy. We conclude the synthesis by evaluating the importance of supply chains to achieving customization for hardwood producers. In the future, supply chains will need to be configured to rapidly respond to changing consumer demands, and pressure to provide more services will likely extend further back up the supply chain to hardwood sawmills. It is expected that sustainability practices, including green supply chain management, will impact operational and economic performance of hardwood firms as well.
    Electronic ISSN: 1999-4907
    Topics: Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
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  • 40
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: Geosciences, Vol. 8, Pages 125: Groundwater Vulnerability to Pollution Map for Karst Aquifer Protection (Ziria Karst System, Southern Greece) Geosciences doi: 10.3390/geosciences8040125 Authors: Eleni-Anna Nanou Eleni Zagana In recent years vulnerability maps have been used as a tool to highlight the areas with the greatest potential for groundwater pollution based on the hydrogeological conditions and their respective human impacts. Several regions of Greece depend completely or partially on drinking water from karst aquifers; thus, the production of vulnerability maps for such karstic areas is considered essential. In the present study, an assessment of aquifer intrinsic vulnerability has been conducted applying the COP method in the Ziria karst system. The latter is located at the Northeast part of Peloponnese in South Greece and is used as a public resource for drinking water. This method, which has been developed for carbonate (karst) aquifers, uses the properties of the overlying layers above the water table (O factor), the concentration of flow (C factor) and the precipitation regime (P factor) over the aquifer. The COP method considers karstic landforms as factors that decrease the natural protection provided by the overlying layers of a karst aquifer. With the use of GIS tools, vulnerability maps were produced highlighting the different degrees of intrinsic vulnerability in the karst system of Ziria.
    Electronic ISSN: 2076-3263
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 41
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: Geosciences, Vol. 8, Pages 124: The Influence of Pre-Existing Deformation and Alteration Textures on Rock Strength, Failure Modes and Shear Strength Parameters Geosciences doi: 10.3390/geosciences8040124 Authors: Tamara Everall Ioan Sanislav This study uses the uniaxial compressive strength (UCS), the indirect tensile strength (ITS) and the point load tests (PLT) to determine the strength and deformation behavior of previously deformed and altered tonalite and anorthosite. In general, veined samples show higher strength because the vein material has both cohesive and adhesive properties while fractures have no cohesion, only frictional resistance. This implies that each rock category has to be treated independently and absolute strength predictions are inaccurate. Thus, the conversion factor k is a sample specific parameter and does not have a universal value. The ratio of UCS/ITS appears to be related to the rock strength and can be used to classify rocks based on their strength. The shear strength parameters, the friction angle and the cohesion, cannot be calculated for rocks with pre-existing planes of weakness. Reactivation is favoured only for planes oriented less than 20° to the maximum stress. For planes oriented between 20° and 50° to the maximum stress, failure occurs by a combination of reactivation and newly formed fractures, while for orientations above 50°, new shear fractures are favoured. This suggest that the Byerlee’s law of reactivation operates exclusively for planes oriented ≤10° to the maximum stress.
    Electronic ISSN: 2076-3263
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 42
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 691: Suicide Precipitants Differ Across the Lifespan but Are Not Significant in Predicting Medically Severe Attempts International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15040691 Authors: Carol Choo Peter Chew Roger Ho An important risk factor for suicide assessment is the suicide precipitant. This study explores suicide attempt precipitants across the lifespan. Three years of medical records related to suicide attempters who were admitted to the emergency department of a large teaching hospital in Singapore were subjected to analysis. These cases were divided into three age groups: Adolescence, Early Adulthood, and Middle Adulthood. A total of 540 cases were examined (70.9% females; 63.7% Chinese, 13.7% Malays, 15.9% Indians), whose ages ranged from 12 to 62. There were eight cases above the age of 65 years which were excluded from the analysis. Significant differences were found in precipitants for suicide attempts across the lifespan. Middle adults had relatively fewer relationship problems, and adolescents had comparatively fewer financial and medical problems. The models to predict medically severe attempts across the age groups using suicide precipitants were not significant. The findings were discussed in regards to implications in suicide assessment and primary prevention in Singapore, as well as limitations and recommendations for future research.
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  • 43
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 690: Using a Counting Process Method to Impute Censored Follow-Up Time Data International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15040690 Authors: Jimmy Efird Charulata Jindal Censoring occurs when complete follow-up time information is unavailable for patients enrolled in a clinical study. The process is considered to be informative (non-ignorable) if the likelihood function for the model cannot be partitioned into a set of response parameters that are independent of the censoring parameters. In such cases, estimated survival time probabilities may be biased, prompting the need for special statistical methods to remedy the situation. The problem is especially salient when censoring occurs early in a study. In this paper, we describe a method to impute censored follow-up times using a counting process method.
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  • 44
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: Forests, Vol. 9, Pages 187: Evidence of Ash Tree (Fraxinus spp.) Specific Associations with Soil Bacterial Community Structure and Functional Capacity Forests doi: 10.3390/f9040187 Authors: Michael Ricketts Charles Flower Kathleen Knight Miquel Gonzalez-Meler The spread of the invasive emerald ash borer (EAB) across North America has had enormous impacts on temperate forest ecosystems. The selective removal of ash trees (Fraxinus spp.) has resulted in abnormally large inputs of coarse woody debris and altered forest tree community composition, ultimately affecting a variety of ecosystem processes. The goal of this study was to determine if the presence of ash trees influences soil bacterial communities and/or functions to better understand the impacts of EAB on forest successional dynamics and biogeochemical cycling. Using 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing of soil DNA collected from ash and non-ash plots in central Ohio during the early stages of EAB infestation, we found that bacterial communities in plots with ash differed from those without ash. These differences were largely driven by Acidobacteria, which had a greater relative abundance in non-ash plots. Functional genes required for sulfur cycling, phosphorus cycling, and carbohydrate metabolism (specifically those which breakdown complex sugars to glucose) were estimated to be more abundant in non-ash plots, while nitrogen cycling gene abundance did not differ. This ash-soil microbiome association implies that EAB-induced ash decline may promote belowground successional shifts, altering carbon and nutrient cycling and changing soil properties beyond the effects of litter additions caused by ash mortality.
    Electronic ISSN: 1999-4907
    Topics: Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
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  • 45
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 686: Source Apportionment and Influencing Factor Analysis of Residential Indoor PM2.5 in Beijing International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15040686 Authors: Yibing Yang Liu Liu Chunyu Xu Na Li Zhe Liu Qin Wang Dongqun Xu In order to identify the sources of indoor PM2.5 and to check which factors influence the concentration of indoor PM2.5 and chemical elements, indoor concentrations of PM2.5 and its related elements in residential houses in Beijing were explored. Indoor and outdoor PM2.5 samples that were monitored continuously for one week were collected. Indoor and outdoor concentrations of PM2.5 and 15 elements (Al, As, Ca, Cd, Cu, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, Na, Pb, Se, Tl, V, Zn) were calculated and compared. The median indoor concentration of PM2.5 was 57.64 μg/m3. For elements in indoor PM2.5, Cd and As may be sensitive to indoor smoking, Zn, Ca and Al may be related to indoor sources other than smoking, Pb, V and Se may mainly come from outdoor. Five factors were extracted for indoor PM2.5 by factor analysis, explained 76.8% of total variance, outdoor sources contributed more than indoor sources. Multiple linear regression analysis for indoor PM2.5, Cd and Pb was performed. Indoor PM2.5 was influenced by factors including outdoor PM2.5, smoking during sampling, outdoor temperature and time of air conditioner use. Indoor Cd was affected by factors including smoking during sampling, outdoor Cd and building age. Indoor Pb concentration was associated with factors including outdoor Pb and time of window open per day, building age and RH. In conclusion, indoor PM2.5 mainly comes from outdoor sources, and the contributions of indoor sources also cannot be ignored. Factors associated indoor and outdoor air exchange can influence the concentrations of indoor PM2.5 and its constituents.
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  • 46
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 687: Keeping Antibiotics at Home Promotes Self-Medication with Antibiotics among Chinese University Students International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15040687 Authors: Xiaomin Wang Leesa Lin Ziming Xuan Lu Li Xudong Zhou Background: Inappropriate use of antibiotics has caused antimicrobial resistance, presenting a major health challenge to the world population. Self-medication with antibiotics (SMA) is currently at an alarming level in China. Objectives: To determine the sources of antibiotics leftover at home, the risk factors of keeping antibiotics at home, and the associations between keeping antibiotics at home and SMA among Chinese university students. Methods: Six provinces were purposely selected from six regions of China, and one multi-disciplinary university was selected from each chosen province. A total of 11,192 university students were selected using cluster random sampling from the selected universities. Logistic regression was conducted to examine the relationship between keeping antibiotics at home and SMA. Results: Out of the 11,192 students surveyed, 7057 (63.1%) reported keeping antibiotics at home at the time they were surveyed. Of those who kept antibiotics in their home, 1965 (27.8%) reported that these antibiotics were left over from a previous prescription by a doctor and 4893 (69.3%), purchased antibiotics over the counter. Additionally, 29.6% (507/1711) of students self-medicated with antibiotics when ill during the month before the survey. Students keeping antibiotics at home were five times (95% CI 3.53, 7.05) more likely to engage in SMA when ill and 2.6 times (95% CI 2.34, 2.89) more likely to self-medicating with antibiotics for prophylaxis than the other students. Female students, those with a family background of higher education, and those who had a parent working in the medical field had a significantly higher chance of keeping antibiotics at home. Conclusions: The high prevalence of keeping antibiotics at home and SMA among young adults is a serious concern. Professional regulations and population-tailored health education are needed.
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  • 47
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 689: Underestimation of Self-Reported Smoking Prevalence in Korean Adolescents: Evidence from Gold Standard by Combined Method International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15040689 Authors: Jun Hwang Jong Kim Do Lee Hye Jung Soon-Woo Park The objective of this study was to evaluate the validity of self-reported smoking prevalence in Korean adolescents by using an improved gold standard by a combined method. Using a stratified sampling method, we selected 13 schools from among 397 high schools that participated in the 2015 Korean Youth Health Risk Behavior Web-Based Survey (KYRBS). A second survey (repeated self-reporting questionnaire and urinary cotinine test) was conducted on 1058 students who completed the KYRBS. The gold standard of current smoker was defined as those either self-reporting as a smoker in the second survey or having a urinary cotinine concentration ≥50 ng/mL. The current smoking prevalence in the first survey (KYRBS) was 7.9% (boys 16.5% and girls 1.8%), which was lower than the results based on gold standard (11.3% total, boys 21.9% and girls 3.7%). The sensitivity and specificity of self-reported smoking status was 62.5% and 99.0%, respectively. In particular, the sensitivity of girls (43.5%) was lower than that of boys (67.0%). The self-reported smoking prevalence in Korean adolescents was underestimated, particularly among girls. Careful attention should be paid to interpreting adolescents’ smoking prevalence, and supplementary surveys or periodic validity tests need to be considered in Asian countries.
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  • 48
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 684: Toxic Effects of Bisphenol A, Propyl Paraben, and Triclosan on Caenorhabditis elegans International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15040684 Authors: María García-Espiñeira Lesly Tejeda-Benítez Jesus Olivero-Verbel Bisphenol A (BPA) is a ubiquitous plasticizer which is absorbed by ingestion and dermal contact; propyl paraben (PPB) inhibits the microbiome and extends the shelf life of many personal care products, whereas triclosan (TCS) is commonly found in antiseptics, disinfectants, or additives. In this work, Caenorhabditis elegans was used as a biological model to assess the toxic effects of BPA, PPB, and TCS. The wild type strain, Bristol N2, was used in bioassays with the endpoints of lethality, growth, and reproduction; green fluorescent protein (GFP) transgenic strains with the hsp-3, hsp-4, hsp-16.2, hsp-70, sod-1, sod-4, cyp-35A4, cyp-29A2, and skn-1 genes were evaluated for their mRNA expression through fluorescence measurement; and quick Oil Red O (q ORO) was utilized to stain lipid deposits. Lethality was concentration-dependent, while TCS and PPB showed more toxicity than BPA. BPA augmented worm length, while PPB reduced it. All toxicants moderately increased the width and the width–length ratio. BPA and PPB promoted reproduction, in contrast to TCS, which diminished it. All toxicants affected the mRNA expression of genes related to cellular stress, control of reactive oxygen species, and nuclear receptor activation. Lipid accumulation occurred in exposed worms. In conclusion, BPA, PPB, and TCS alter the physiology of growth, lipid accumulation, and reproduction in C. elegans, most likely through oxidative stress mechanisms.
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  • 49
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 688: Subclinical Enteric Parasitic Infections and Growth Faltering in Infants in São Tomé, Africa: A Birth Cohort Study International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15040688 Authors: Marisol Garzón Luís Pereira-da-Silva Jorge Seixas Ana Papoila Marta Alves The associations between enteric pathogenic parasites and growth in infants in São Tomé were explored using a refined anthropometric approach to recognize early growth faltering. A birth cohort study was conducted with follow-up to 24 months of age. Microscopic examination for protozoa and soil-transmitted helminths was performed. Anthropometric assessments included: z-scores for weight-for-length (WLZ), length-for-age (LAZ), weight (WAVZ) and length velocities (LAVZ), length-for-age difference (LAD), and wasting and stunting risk (≤−1 SD). Generalized additive mixed effects regression models were used to explore the associations between anthropometric parameters and enteric parasitic infections and cofactors. A total of 475 infants were enrolled, and 282 completed the study. The great majority of infants were asymptomatic. Giardia lamblia was detected in 35.1% of infants in at least one stool sample, helminths in 30.4%, and Cryptosporidium spp. in 14.7%. Giardia lamblia and helminth infections were significantly associated with mean decreases of 0.10 in LAZ and 0.32 in LAD, and of 0.16 in LAZ and 0.48 in LAD, respectively. Cryptosporidium spp. infection was significantly associated with a mean decrease of 0.43 in WAVZ and 0.55 in LAVZ. The underestimated association between subclinical parasitic enteric infections and mild growth faltering in infants should be addressed in public health policies.
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  • 50
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: Remote Sensing, Vol. 10, Pages 560: A General Approach to Enhance Short Wave Satellite Imagery by Removing Background Atmospheric Effects Remote Sensing doi: 10.3390/rs10040560 Authors: Ronald Scheirer Adam Dybbroe Martin Raspaud Atmospheric interaction distorts the surface signal received by a space-borne instrument. Images derived from visible channels appear often too bright and with reduced contrast. This hampers the use of RGB imagery otherwise useful in ocean color applications and in forecasting or operational disaster monitoring, for example forest fires. In order to correct for the dominant source of atmospheric noise, a simple, fast and flexible algorithm has been developed. The algorithm is implemented in Python and freely available in PySpectral which is part of the PyTroll family of open source packages, allowing easy access to powerful real-time image-processing tools. Pre-calculated look-up tables of top of atmosphere reflectance are derived by off-line calculations with RTM DISORT as part of the LibRadtran package. The approach is independent of platform and sensor bands, and allows it to be applied to any band in the visible spectral range. Due to the use of standard atmospheric profiles and standard aerosol loads, it is possible just to reduce the background disturbance. Thus signals from excess aerosols become more discernible. Examples of uncorrected and corrected satellite images demonstrate that this flexible real-time algorithm is a useful tool for atmospheric correction.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 51
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: Remote Sensing, Vol. 10, Pages 563: Modeling and Testing of Growth Status for Chinese Cabbage and White Radish with UAV-Based RGB Imagery Remote Sensing doi: 10.3390/rs10040563 Authors: Dong-Wook Kim Hee Yun Sang-Jin Jeong Young-Seok Kwon Suk-Gu Kim Won Suk Lee Hak-Jin Kim Conventional crop-monitoring methods are time-consuming and labor-intensive, necessitating new techniques to provide faster measurements and higher sampling intensity. This study reports on mathematical modeling and testing of growth status for Chinese cabbage and white radish using unmanned aerial vehicle-red, green and blue (UAV-RGB) imagery for measurement of their biophysical properties. Chinese cabbage seedlings and white radish seeds were planted at 7–10-day intervals to provide a wide range of growth rates. Remotely sensed digital imagery data were collected for test fields at approximately one-week intervals using a UAV platform equipped with an RGB digital camera flying at 2 m/s at 20 m above ground. Radiometric calibrations for the RGB band sensors were performed on every UAV flight using standard calibration panels to minimize the effect of ever-changing light conditions on the RGB images. Vegetation fractions (VFs) of crops in each region of interest from the mosaicked ortho-images were calculated as the ratio of pixels classified as crops segmented using the Otsu threshold method and a vegetation index of excess green (ExG). Plant heights (PHs) were estimated using the structure from motion (SfM) algorithm to create 3D surface models from crop canopy data. Multiple linear regression equations consisting of three predictor variables (VF, PH, and VF × PH) and four different response variables (fresh weight, leaf length, leaf width, and leaf count) provided good fits with coefficients of determination (R2) ranging from 0.66 to 0.90. The validation results using a dataset of crop growth obtained in a different year also showed strong linear relationships (R2 > 0.76) between the developed regression models and standard methods, confirming that the models make it possible to use UAV-RGB images for quantifying spatial and temporal variability in biophysical properties of Chinese cabbage and white radish over the growing season.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
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  • 52
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: Remote Sensing, Vol. 10, Pages 562: Effects of Ambient Ozone on Soybean Biophysical Variables and Mineral Nutrient Accumulation Remote Sensing doi: 10.3390/rs10040562 Authors: Vasit Sagan Matthew Maimaitiyiming Jack Fishman The effects of increasing ambient ozone (O3) concentrations on food security has become a major concern as the demand for agricultural productivity is projected to increase significantly over the next several decades. In this contribution, the responses of common soybean genotypes (AK-HARROW, PI88788, DWIGHT, PANA, and WILLIAMS82) to ambient O3 are characterized using hyperspectral data and foliar biophysical, mineral nutrient concentrations and soybean yield. Specifically, leaf reflectance spectra measured at different growth stages and canopy layers were used to examine the spectral indices that were most strongly correlated with leaf physiological status. The effects of elevated O3 on six important nutrients (K, Ca, Mg, Fe, Mn and Cu) were evaluated by analyzing the variations in nutrient concentrations at two critical growth stages with increasing ambient O3 concentration using Partial Least Square Regression (PLSR). Lastly, the identified best spectral indices and the robust nutrient prediction models were extrapolated to the entire growth period to explore their ability to track the effects of ambient O3 concentrations on soybean physiology and nutrient uptake. The results showed that fluorescence yield (ΔF/Fm’) and photochemical quenching (qP) appear to be good indicators of soybean physiological responses to O3 stress that are echoed by the harvest index (HI). Newly identified normalized difference spectral index (NDSI) [R416, R2371] always had the highest correlation (R2 > 0.6) with ΔF/Fm’, qP and electron transport rate (ETR, μmol m−2 s−1) compared to the published indices. Additionally, there were significant and broad spectral regions in visible and near infrared region that were well-correlated with ΔF/Fm’ and selected NDSIs that were applicable to satellite observations. The results of nutrient modeling using PLSR explained 54–87% of the variance in nutrient concentrations, and the predicted mineral nutrient accumulation throughout the growing season reflected the responses of ozone tolerant and sensitive genotypes well. NDSI [R416, R2371] demonstrated great potential in regard to its sensitivity in tracking plant physiological responses to changing ambient O3 concentrations. The outcome of this research has potential implications for development of space-based observation of large-scale crop responses to O3 damage, as well as for biotechnological breeding efforts to improve ozone tolerance under future climate scenarios.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
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  • 53
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: Remote Sensing, Vol. 10, Pages 561: Appraisal of Opportunities and Perspectives for the Systematic Condition Assessment of Heritage Sites with Copernicus Sentinel-2 High-Resolution Multispectral Imagery Remote Sensing doi: 10.3390/rs10040561 Authors: Deodato Tapete Francesca Cigna Very high-resolution (VHR) optical satellite imagery (≤5 m) is nowadays an established source of information to monitor cultural and archaeological heritage that is exposed to hazards and anthropogenic threats to their conservation, whereas few publications specifically investigate the role that regularly acquired images from high-resolution (HR) satellite sensors (5–30 m) may play in this application domain. This paper aims to appraise the potential of the multispectral constellation Sentinel-2 of the European Commission Earth observation programme Copernicus to detect prominent features and changes in heritage sites, during both ordinary times and crisis. We test the 10 m spatial resolution of the 3 visible spectral bands of Sentinel-2 for substantiation of single local events—that is, wall collapses in the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Old City of Aleppo (Syria)—and for hotspot mapping of recurrent incidents—that is, the archaeological looting in the archaeological site of Apamea (Syria). By screening long Sentinel-2 time series consisting of 114 images for Aleppo and 57 images for Apamea, we demonstrate that changes of textural properties and surface reflectance can be logged accurately in time and space and can be associated to events relevant for conservation. VHR imagery from Google Earth was used for the validation and identification of trends occurring prior to the Sentinel-2 launch. We also demonstrate how to exploit the Sentinel-2 short revisiting time (5 days) and large swath (290 km) for multi-temporal tracking of spatial patterns of urban sprawl across the cultural landscape of the World Heritage Site of Cyrene (Libya), and the three coastal ancient Greek sites of Tocra, Ptolemais, and Apollonia in Cyrenaica. With the future development of tailored machine learning approaches of feature extraction and pattern detection, Sentinel-2 can become extremely useful to screen wider regions with short revisiting times and to undertake comparative condition assessment analyses of different heritage sites.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
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  • 54
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: Remote Sensing, Vol. 10, Pages 559: Railway Track Condition Assessment at Network Level by Frequency Domain Analysis of GPR Data Remote Sensing doi: 10.3390/rs10040559 Authors: Simona Fontul André Paixão Mercedes Solla Lara Pajewski The railway track system is a crucial infrastructure for the transportation of people and goods in modern societies. With the increase in railway traffic, the availability of the track for monitoring and maintenance purposes is becoming significantly reduced. Therefore, continuous non-destructive monitoring tools for track diagnoses take on even greater importance. In this context, Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) technique results yield valuable information on track condition, mainly in the identification of the degradation of its physical and mechanical characteristics caused by subsurface malfunctions. Nevertheless, the application of GPR to assess the ballast condition is a challenging task because the material electromagnetic properties are sensitive to both the ballast grading and water content. This work presents a novel approach, fast and practical for surveying and analysing long sections of transport infrastructure, based mainly on expedite frequency domain analysis of the GPR signal. Examples are presented with the identification of track events, ballast interventions and potential locations of malfunctions. The approach, developed to identify changes in the track infrastructure, allows for a user-friendly visualisation of the track condition, even for GPR non-professionals such as railways engineers, and may further be used to correlate with track geometric parameters. It aims to automatically detect sudden variations in the GPR signals, obtained with successive surveys over long stretches of railway lines, thus providing valuable information in asset management activities of infrastructure managers.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
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  • 55
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 1112: Vibration and Noise in Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Vocal Tract: Differences between Whole-Body and Open-Air Devices Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18041112 Authors: Jiří Přibil Anna Přibilová Ivan Frollo This article compares open-air and whole-body magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) equipment working with a weak magnetic field as regards the methods of its generation, spectral properties of mechanical vibration and acoustic noise produced by gradient coils during the scanning process, and the measured noise intensity. These devices are used for non-invasive MRI reconstruction of the human vocal tract during phonation with simultaneous speech recording. In this case, the vibration and noise have negative influence on quality of speech signal. Two basic measurement experiments were performed within the paper: mapping sound pressure levels in the MRI device vicinity and picking up vibration and noise signals in the MRI scanning area. Spectral characteristics of these signals are then analyzed statistically and compared visually and numerically.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 56
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 1113: 3D-Subspace-Based Auto-Paired Azimuth Angle, Elevation Angle, and Range Estimation for 24G FMCW Radar with an L-Shaped Array Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18041113 Authors: HyungSoo Nam Ying-Chun Li ByungGil Choi Daegun Oh In this paper, a three-dimensional (3D)-subspace-based azimuth angle, elevation angle, and range estimation method with auto-pairing is proposed for frequency-modulated continuous waveform (FMCW) radar with an L-shaped array. The proposed method is designed to exploit the 3D shift-invariant structure of the stacked Hankel snapshot matrix for auto-paired azimuth angle, elevation angle, and range estimation. The effectiveness of the proposed method is verified through a variety of experiments conducted in a chamber. For the realization of the proposed method, K-band FMCW radar is implemented with an L-shaped antenna.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 57
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 1109: Statistical Analysis of SSMIS Sea Ice Concentration Threshold at the Arctic Sea Ice Edge during Summer Based on MODIS and Ship-Based Observational Data Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18041109 Authors: Qing Ji Fei Li Xiaoping Pang Cong Luo The threshold of sea ice concentration (SIC) is the basis for accurately calculating sea ice extent based on passive microwave (PM) remote sensing data. However, the PM SIC threshold at the sea ice edge used in previous studies and released sea ice products has not always been consistent. To explore the representable value of the PM SIC threshold corresponding on average to the position of the Arctic sea ice edge during summer in recent years, we extracted sea ice edge boundaries from the Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sea ice product (MOD29 with a spatial resolution of 1 km), MODIS images (250 m), and sea ice ship-based observation points (1 km) during the fifth (CHINARE-2012) and sixth (CHINARE-2014) Chinese National Arctic Research Expeditions, and made an overlay and comparison analysis with PM SIC derived from Special Sensor Microwave Imager Sounder (SSMIS, with a spatial resolution of 25 km) in the summer of 2012 and 2014. Results showed that the average SSMIS SIC threshold at the Arctic sea ice edge based on ice-water boundary lines extracted from MOD29 was 33%, which was higher than that of the commonly used 15% discriminant threshold. The average SIC threshold at sea ice edge based on ice-water boundary lines extracted by visual interpretation from four scenes of the MODIS image was 35% when compared to the average value of 36% from the MOD29 extracted ice edge pixels for the same days. The average SIC of 31% at the sea ice edge points extracted from ship-based observations also confirmed that choosing around 30% as the SIC threshold during summer is recommended for sea ice extent calculations based on SSMIS PM data. These results can provide a reference for further studying the variation of sea ice under the rapidly changing Arctic.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
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  • 58
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 1107: A Temperature-Hardened Sensor Interface with a 12-Bit Digital Output Using a Novel Pulse Width Modulation Technique Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18041107 Authors: Emna Chabchoub Franck Badets Frédérick Mailly Pascal Nouet Mohamed Masmoudi A fully integrated sensor interface for a wide operational temperature range is presented. It translates the sensor signal into a pulse width modulated (PWM) signal that is then converted into a 12-bit digital output. The sensor interface is based on a pair of injection locked oscillators used to implement a differential time-domain architecture with low sensitivity to temperature variations. A prototype has been fabricated using a 180 nm partially depleted silicon-on-insulator (SOI) technology. Experimental results demonstrate a thermal stability as low as 65 ppm/°C over a large temperature range from −20 °C up to 220 °C.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 59
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 1106: A Two-Stage Reconstruction Processor for Human Detection in Compressive Sensing CMOS Radar Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18041106 Authors: Kuei-Chi Tsao Ling Lee Ta-Shun Chu Yuan-Hao Huang Complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) radar has recently gained much research attraction because small and low-power CMOS devices are very suitable for deploying sensing nodes in a low-power wireless sensing system. This study focuses on the signal processing of a wireless CMOS impulse radar system that can detect humans and objects in the home-care internet-of-things sensing system. The challenges of low-power CMOS radar systems are the weakness of human signals and the high computational complexity of the target detection algorithm. The compressive sensing-based detection algorithm can relax the computational costs by avoiding the utilization of matched filters and reducing the analog-to-digital converter bandwidth requirement. The orthogonal matching pursuit (OMP) is one of the popular signal reconstruction algorithms for compressive sensing radar; however, the complexity is still very high because the high resolution of human respiration leads to high-dimension signal reconstruction. Thus, this paper proposes a two-stage reconstruction algorithm for compressive sensing radar. The proposed algorithm not only has lower complexity than the OMP algorithm by 75% but also achieves better positioning performance than the OMP algorithm especially in noisy environments. This study also designed and implemented the algorithm by using Vertex-7 FPGA chip (Xilinx, San Jose, CA, USA). The proposed reconstruction processor can support the 256 × 13 real-time radar image display with a throughput of 28.2 frames per second.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 60
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 1104: A Lightweight Continuous Authentication Protocol for the Internet of Things Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18041104 Authors: Yo-Hsuan Chuang Nai-Wei Lo Cheng-Ying Yang Ssu-Wei Tang Modern societies are moving toward an information-oriented environment. To gather and utilize information around people’s modern life, tiny devices with all kinds of sensing devices and various sizes of gateways need to be deployed and connected with each other through the Internet or proxy-based wireless sensor networks (WSNs). Within this kind of Internet of Things (IoT) environment, how to authenticate each other between two communicating devices is a fundamental security issue. As a lot of IoT devices are powered by batteries and they need to transmit sensed data periodically, it is necessary for IoT devices to adopt a lightweight authentication protocol to reduce their energy consumption when a device wants to authenticate and transmit data to its targeted peer. In this paper, a lightweight continuous authentication protocol for sensing devices and gateway devices in general IoT environments is introduced. The concept of valid authentication time period is proposed to enhance robustness of authentication between IoT devices. To construct the proposed lightweight continuous authentication protocol, token technique and dynamic features of IoT devices are adopted in order to reach the design goals: the reduction of time consumption for consecutive authentications and energy saving for authenticating devices through by reducing the computation complexity during session establishment of continuous authentication. Security analysis is conducted to evaluate security strength of the proposed protocol. In addition, performance analysis has shown the proposed protocol is a strong competitor among existing protocols for device-to-device authentication in IoT environments.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 61
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 1103: The Cramér–Rao Bounds and Sensor Selection for Nonlinear Systems with Uncertain Observations Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18041103 Authors: Zhiguo Wang Xiaojing Shen Ping Wang Yunmin Zhu This paper considers the problems of the posterior Cramér–Rao bound and sensor selection for multi-sensor nonlinear systems with uncertain observations. In order to effectively overcome the difficulties caused by uncertainty, we investigate two methods to derive the posterior Cramér–Rao bound. The first method is based on the recursive formula of the Cramér–Rao bound and the Gaussian mixture model. Nevertheless, it needs to compute a complex integral based on the joint probability density function of the sensor measurements and the target state. The computation burden of this method is relatively high, especially in large sensor networks. Inspired by the idea of the expectation maximization algorithm, the second method is to introduce some 0–1 latent variables to deal with the Gaussian mixture model. Since the regular condition of the posterior Cramér–Rao bound is unsatisfied for the discrete uncertain system, we use some continuous variables to approximate the discrete latent variables. Then, a new Cramér–Rao bound can be achieved by a limiting process of the Cramér–Rao bound of the continuous system. It avoids the complex integral, which can reduce the computation burden. Based on the new posterior Cramér–Rao bound, the optimal solution of the sensor selection problem can be derived analytically. Thus, it can be used to deal with the sensor selection of a large-scale sensor networks. Two typical numerical examples verify the effectiveness of the proposed methods.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 62
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 1102: Motor Subtypes of Parkinson’s Disease Can Be Identified by Frequency Component of Postural Stability Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18041102 Authors: Saba Rezvanian Thurmon Lockhart Christopher Frames Rahul Soangra Abraham Lieberman Parkinson’s disease (PD) can be divided into two subtypes based on clinical features—namely tremor dominant (TD) and postural instability and gait difficulty (PIGD). This categorization is important at the early stage of PD, since identifying the subtypes can help to predict the clinical progression of the disease. Accordingly, correctly diagnosing subtypes is critical in initiating appropriate early interventions and tracking the progression of the disease. However, as the disease progresses, it becomes increasingly difficult to further distinguish those attributes that are relevant to the subtypes. In this study, we investigated whether a method using the standing center of pressure (COP) time series data can separate two subtypes of PD by looking at the frequency component of COP (i.e., COP position and speed). Thirty-six participants diagnosed with PD were evaluated, with their bare feet on the force platform, and were instructed to stand upright with their arms by their sides for 20 s (with their eyes open and closed), which is consistent with the traditional COP measures. Fast Fourier transform (FFT) and wavelet transform (WT) were performed to distinguish between the motor subtypes using the COP measures. The TD group exhibited larger amplitudes at the frequency range of 3–7 Hz when compared to the PIGD group. Both the FFT and WT methods were able to differentiate the subtypes. COP time series information can be used to differentiate between the two motor subtypes of PD, using the frequency component of postural stability.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 63
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 1101: Real-Life/Real-Time Elderly Fall Detection with a Triaxial Accelerometer Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18041101 Authors: Angela Sucerquia José López Jesús Vargas-Bonilla The consequences of a fall on an elderly person can be reduced if the accident is attended by medical personnel within the first hour. Independent elderly people often stay alone for long periods of time, being in more risk if they suffer a fall. The literature offers several approaches for detecting falls with embedded devices or smartphones using a triaxial accelerometer. Most of these approaches have not been tested with the target population or cannot be feasibly implemented in real-life conditions. In this work, we propose a fall detection methodology based on a non-linear classification feature and a Kalman filter with a periodicity detector to reduce the false positive rate. This methodology requires a sampling rate of only 25 Hz; it does not require large computations or memory and it is robust among devices. We tested our approach with the SisFall dataset achieving 99.4% of accuracy. We then validated it with a new round of simulated activities with young adults and an elderly person. Finally, we give the devices to three elderly persons for full-day validations. They continued with their normal life and the devices behaved as expected.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 64
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 1105: Adaptive LINE-P: An Adaptive Linear Energy Prediction Model for Wireless Sensor Network Nodes Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18041105 Authors: Faisal Ahmed Gert Tamberg Yannick Le Moullec Paul Annus In the context of wireless sensor networks, energy prediction models are increasingly useful tools that can facilitate the power management of the wireless sensor network (WSN) nodes. However, most of the existing models suffer from the so-called fixed weighting parameter, which limits their applicability when it comes to, e.g., solar energy harvesters with varying characteristics. Thus, in this article we propose the Adaptive LINE-P (all cases) model that calculates adaptive weighting parameters based on the stored energy profiles. Furthermore, we also present a profile compression method to reduce the memory requirements. To determine the performance of our proposed model, we have used real data for the solar and wind energy profiles. The simulation results show that our model achieves 90–94% accuracy and that the compressed method reduces memory overheads by 50% as compared to state-of-the-art models.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 65
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 1108: Cu(OH)2 and CuO Nanorod Synthesis on Piezoresistive Cantilevers for the Selective Detection of Nitrogen Dioxide Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18041108 Authors: Laurent Schlur Manuel Hofer Ahmad Ahmad Karine Bonnot Mathias Holz Denis Spitzer Self-controlled active oscillating microcantilevers with a piezoresistive readout are very promising sensitive sensors, despite their small surface. In order to increase this surface and consequently their sensitivity, we nanostructured them with copper hydroxide (Cu(OH)2) or with copper oxide (CuO) nanorods. The Cu(OH)2 rods were grown, on a homogeneous copper layer previously evaporated on the top of the cantilever. The CuO nanorods were further obtained by the annealing of the copper hydroxide nanostructures. Then, these copper based nanorods were used to detect several molecules vapors. The results showed no chemical affinity (no formation of a chemical bond) between the CuO cantilevers and the tested molecules. The cantilever with Cu(OH)2 nanorods is selective to nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in presence of humidity. Indeed, among all the tested analytes, copper hydroxide has only an affinity with NO2. Despite the absence of affinity, the cantilevers could even so condensate explosives (1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazinane (RDX) and pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN) on their surface when the cantilever temperature was lower than the explosives source, allowing their detection. We proved that in condensation conditions, the cantilever surface material has no importance and that the nanostructuration is useless because a raw silicon cantilever detects as well as the nanostructured ones.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 66
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 1100: Dual-Polarization Ku-Band Compact Spaceborne Antenna Based on Dual-Reflectarray Optics Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18041100 Authors: Carolina Tienda Jose Encinar Mariano Barba Manuel Arrebola This article demonstrated an accurate analysis technique for dual-reflectarray antennas that take into account the angle of incidence of the impinging electric field on the main reflectarray cells. The reflected field on the sub and the main reflectarray surfaces is computed using Method of Moments in the spectral domain and assuming local periodicity. The sub-reflectarray is divided into groups of elements and the field radiated by each group is used to compute the incident and reflected field on the main reflectarray cells. A 50-cm demonstrator in Ku-band that provides European coverage has been designed, manufactured and tested to validate the analysis technique. The measured radiation patterns match the simulations and they fulfill the coverage requirements, achieving a cross-polar discrimination better than 25 dB in the frequency range: 12.975–14.25 GHz.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 67
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 1111: Evaluation for Bearing Wear States Based on Online Oil Multi-Parameters Monitoring Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18041111 Authors: Si-Yuan Wang Ding-Xin Yang Hai-Feng Hu As bearings are critical components of a mechanical system, it is important to characterize their wear states and evaluate health conditions. In this paper, a novel approach for analyzing the relationship between online oil multi-parameter monitoring samples and bearing wear states has been proposed based on an improved gray k-means clustering model (G-KCM). First, an online monitoring system with multiple sensors for bearings is established, obtaining oil multi-parameter data and vibration signals for bearings through the whole lifetime. Secondly, a gray correlation degree distance matrix is generated using a gray correlation model (GCM) to express the relationship of oil monitoring samples at different times and then a KCM is applied to cluster the matrix. Analysis and experimental results show that there is an obvious correspondence that state changing coincides basically in time between the lubricants’ multi-parameters and the bearings’ wear states. It also has shown that online oil samples with multi-parameters have early wear failure prediction ability for bearings superior to vibration signals. It is expected to realize online oil monitoring and evaluation for bearing health condition and to provide a novel approach for early identification of bearing-related failure modes.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 68
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 1110: Recognition of Broken Wire Rope Based on Remanence using EEMD and Wavelet Methods Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18041110 Authors: Juwei Zhang Pengbo Zheng Xiaojiang Tan The magnetic flux leakage method is widely used for non-destructive testing in wire rope applications. A non-destructive testing device for wire rope based on remanence was designed to solve the problems of large volume, low accuracy, and complex operations seen in traditional devices. A wavelet denoising method based on ensemble empirical mode decomposition was proposed to reduce the system noise in broken wire rope testing. After extracting the defects image, the wavelet super-resolution reconstruction technique was adopted to improve the resolution of defect grayscale. A back propagation neural network was designed to classify defects by the feature vectors of area, rectangle, stretch length, and seven invariant moments. The experimental results show that the device was not only highly precise and sensitive, but also easy to operate; noise is effectively suppressed by the proposed filtering algorithm, and broken wires are classified by the network.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 69
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 1096: A Weighted Deep Representation Learning Model for Imbalanced Fault Diagnosis in Cyber-Physical Systems Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18041096 Authors: Zhenyu Wu Yang Guo Wenfang Lin Shuyang Yu Yang Ji Predictive maintenance plays an important role in modern Cyber-Physical Systems (CPSs) and data-driven methods have been a worthwhile direction for Prognostics Health Management (PHM). However, two main challenges have significant influences on the traditional fault diagnostic models: one is that extracting hand-crafted features from multi-dimensional sensors with internal dependencies depends too much on expertise knowledge; the other is that imbalance pervasively exists among faulty and normal samples. As deep learning models have proved to be good methods for automatic feature extraction, the objective of this paper is to study an optimized deep learning model for imbalanced fault diagnosis for CPSs. Thus, this paper proposes a weighted Long Recurrent Convolutional LSTM model with sampling policy (wLRCL-D) to deal with these challenges. The model consists of 2-layer CNNs, 2-layer inner LSTMs and 2-Layer outer LSTMs, with under-sampling policy and weighted cost-sensitive loss function. Experiments are conducted on PHM 2015 challenge datasets, and the results show that wLRCL-D outperforms other baseline methods.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 70
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 1099: A Vehicular Mobile Standard Instrument for Field Verification of Traffic Speed Meters Based on Dual-Antenna Doppler Radar Sensor Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18041099 Authors: Lei Du Qiao Sun Changqing Cai Jie Bai Zhe Fan Yue Zhang Traffic speed meters are important legal measuring instruments specially used for traffic speed enforcement and must be tested and verified in the field every year using a vehicular mobile standard speed-measuring instrument to ensure speed-measuring performances. The non-contact optical speed sensor and the GPS speed sensor are the two most common types of standard speed-measuring instruments. The non-contact optical speed sensor requires extremely high installation accuracy, and its speed-measuring error is nonlinear and uncorrectable. The speed-measuring accuracy of the GPS speed sensor is rapidly reduced if the amount of received satellites is insufficient enough, which often occurs in urban high-rise regions, tunnels, and mountainous regions. In this paper, a new standard speed-measuring instrument using a dual-antenna Doppler radar sensor is proposed based on a tradeoff between the installation accuracy requirement and the usage region limitation, which has no specified requirements for its mounting distance and no limitation on usage regions and can automatically compensate for the effect of an inclined installation angle on its speed-measuring accuracy. Theoretical model analysis, simulated speed measurement results, and field experimental results compared with a GPS speed sensor with high accuracy showed that the dual-antenna Doppler radar sensor is effective and reliable as a new standard speed-measuring instrument.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 71
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 1097: QuantifyMe: An Open-Source Automated Single-Case Experimental Design Platform Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18041097 Authors: Sara Taylor Akane Sano Craig Ferguson Akshay Mohan Rosalind Picard Smartphones and wearable sensors have enabled unprecedented data collection, with many products now providing feedback to users about recommended step counts or sleep durations. However, these recommendations do not provide personalized insights that have been shown to be best suited for a specific individual. A scientific way to find individualized recommendations and causal links is to conduct experiments using single-case experimental design; however, properly designed single-case experiments are not easy to conduct on oneself. We designed, developed, and evaluated a novel platform, QuantifyMe, for novice self-experimenters to conduct proper-methodology single-case self-experiments in an automated and scientific manner using their smartphones. We provide software for the platform that we used (available for free on GitHub), which provides the methodological elements to run many kinds of customized studies. In this work, we evaluate its use with four different kinds of personalized investigations, examining how variables such as sleep duration and regularity, activity, and leisure time affect personal happiness, stress, productivity, and sleep efficiency. We conducted a six-week pilot study (N = 13) to evaluate QuantifyMe. We describe the lessons learned developing the platform and recommendations for its improvement, as well as its potential for enabling personalized insights to be scientifically evaluated in many individuals, reducing the high administrative cost for advancing human health and wellbeing.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 72
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 1098: Dynamically Rough Boundary Scattering Effect on a Propagating Continuous Acoustical Wave in a Circular Pipe with Flow Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18041098 Authors: Anna V. Romanova Kirill V. Horoshenkov Anton Krynkin The pattern of the free surface of the turbulent flow in a partially filled circular pipe contains information on the underlying hydraulic processes. However, the roughness of the free surface of flow and its temporal variation in a pipe is a dynamic and non-stationary process that is difficult to measure directly. This work examines a new acoustic method that is used to study the characteristics of the free surface roughness under controlled laboratory conditions. The acoustic method makes use of a continuous sine wave that is transmitted through the air above the turbulent flow of water over a section of the pipe instrumented with an array of wave probes and microphones. The results obtained for a representative range of flow regimes and variety of pipe bed conditions illustrate that it is possible to unambiguously relate variations in the recorded acoustic field to the standard deviation in the free surface roughness and mean flow depth. These variations are clearly linked to the hydraulic friction factor of the pipe, which is shown to be related to airborne acoustic data obtained non-invasively.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 73
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 1096: “Slowing” and “Narrowing” the Flow of Metals for Consumer Goods: Evaluating Opportunities and Barriers Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10041096 Authors: Elsa Dominish Monique Retamal Samantha Sharpe Ruth Lane Muhammad Rhamdhani Glen Corder Damien Giurco Nick Florin Metal resources are essential materials for many consumer products, including vehicles and a wide array of electrical and electronic goods. These metal resources often cause adverse social and environmental impacts from their extraction, supply and disposal, and it is therefore important to increase the sustainability of their production and use. A broad range of strategies and actions to improve the sustainability of resources are increasingly being discussed within the evolving concept of the circular economy. This paper uses this lens to evaluate the opportunities and barriers to improve the sustainability of metals in consumer products in Australia, with a focus on strategies that “slow” and “narrow” material flow loops. We have drawn on Allwood’s characterisation of material efficiency strategies, as they have the potential to reduce the total demand for metals. These strategies target the distribution, sale, and use of products, which have received less research attention compared to the sustainability of mining, production, and recycling, yet it is vitally important for changing patterns of consumption in a circular economy. Specifically, we have considered the strategies of product longevity (life extension, intensity of use, repair, and resale), remanufacturing, component reuse, and using less material for the same product or service (digitisation, servicisation, and light-weighting). Within the Australian context, this paper identifies the strategies that have the greatest opportunity to increase material efficiency for metal-containing products (such as mobility, household appliances, and personal electronics), by evaluating current implementation of these strategies and identifying the material, economic, and social barriers to and opportunities for expanding these strategies. We find that many of these strategies have been successfully implemented for mobility, while applying these strategies to personal electronics remains the biggest challenge. Product longevity emerged as the strategy with the most significant opportunity for further implementation in Australia, as it is the most broadly applicable across product types and has significant potential for material efficiency benefits. The barriers to material efficiency strategies highlight the need for policies that broaden the focus beyond closing the loop to “slowing” and “narrowing” material loops.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 74
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 1095: The Structure and Diversity of Bacterial Communities in Differently Managed Soils Studied by Molecular Fingerprinting Methods Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10041095 Authors: Katarína Ondreičková Michaela Piliarová Rastislav Bušo Roman Hašana Ľudovít Schreiber Jozef Gubiš Ján Kraic The soil bacterial community structure is sensitive to different agricultural management practices and changes in the soil community composition can affect ecosystem sustainability and ecosystem stability. The basic idea of reduced and conservation soil tillage technologies is to preserve favorable soil parameters and also to enhance soil fertility and to reduce the negative impacts on the soil. Four soil tillage treatments—conventional, reduced, mulch-till, and no-till—were studied for their bacterial communities at a soil depth of 10 cm in September 2013 and April 2014 using the automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis (ARISA) and the terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) methods. The total microbial biomass was statistically higher in April 2014 than in September 2013 in all tillage treatments. On the other hand, no statistical differences were detected in the bacterial richness between the sampling dates in all tillage treatments. Only one statistical difference regarding the bacterial richness was detected between the conventional and reduced tillage in September 2013 by using ARISA. Bacterial genetic diversity measured by the Gini–Simpson, Shannon, and Pielou indices did not indicate differences among the four types of soil management systems. Additionally, no substantial variation in the composition of bacterial communities under different treatments was observed based on the principal component analysis and cluster analysis. Additionally, the changes in bacterial community composition between both sampling dates have not occurred overall or within the individual agricultural management systems.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 75
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 1093: The Influence of Interactive Learning Materials on Self-Regulated Learning and Learning Satisfaction of Primary School Teachers in Mongolia Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10041093 Authors: Shengru Li Shinobu Yamaguchi Jun-ichi Takada The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of interactive learning materials on learners’ self-regulated learning processes and learning satisfaction. A two-group experimental design was employed for 285 primary school teachers involved in teacher training. Teachers in the experimental group utilised interactive learning materials along with training videos and guidelines for their self-development at the school level. Teachers in the control group conducted self-development only with training videos and guidelines. The result was analysed using self-regulated learning theory explaining how one’s self-regulation processes affect learning satisfaction. Five self-regulation processes were identified in this study: internal motivation, motivation for better assessment, planning and organizing skills, critical and positive thinking skills, and effort regulation. The analysis was conducted in two steps. First, t-test analysis was used to identify the significant differences between the experimental group and the control group. The analysis revealed: (1) teachers conducting self-development with interactive learning materials were highly motivated to achieve better teacher assessment, (2) teachers with interactive learning materials had higher learning satisfaction. Second, the study further investigated the effect of interactive materials on the relationship between self-regulation processes and learning satisfaction, using moderation analysis. The results showed that interactive materials significantly affect the relationship between motivation for better assessment and learning satisfaction, as well as the relationship between internal motivation and learning satisfaction. These results were complemented by qualitative analysis including interviews and focus group discussions with teachers.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 76
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 1091: The Effect of China’s New Circular Collective Forest Tenure Reform on Household Non-Timber Forest Product Production in Natural Forest Protection Project Regions Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10041091 Authors: Yang Ren Jari Kuuluvainen Anne Toppinen Shunbo Yao Sami Berghäll Heimo Karppinen Caixia Xue Liu Yang The implementation of China’s natural forest protection project (Protection Project) in 1998 changed households’ forestry production modes in project regions, and China’s new circular collective forest tenure reform (Tenure Reform) has been implemented since 2003 with the goal of motivating household forestry production and increasing household income from forests. Policymakers expect that Tenure Reform could also stimulate households to engage in non-timber forest products (NTFPs) production in Protection Project regions. However, only a few studies have investigated the effect of Tenure Reform on household NTFP production in Protection Project regions. To fill this gap, we built an integrative conceptual framework and estimated a corresponding structural equation model (SEM) using survey data from 932 households in Protection Project regions in southwestern China. In our research framework, there are four factors, including household characteristics, labour and social capital, forestland characteristics, and the Tenure Reform, affecting household NTFP production. The results substantiate that Tenure Reform has had a significant positive effect on household NTFP production. Additionally, household and forestland characteristics have promoted household NTFP production, but quantitatively less than Tenure Reform. This report can be used to inform the government that future investment in Tenure Reform still needs to be enhanced, and policy enforcement still needs to be strengthened.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 77
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 1089: Study on the Improvement of Expected Energy Savings and Actual Energy Savings in Apartments Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10041089 Authors: Won-Jun Park Hye-Mi Kim Regulating energy consumption can reduce both greenhouse gas emissions and expenditures. In order to maximize efficiency, appropriate energy protocols for buildings must be devised and implemented. This study examines predicted and real energy savings, the differences between them, and the methods which might reduce these discrepancies. Analyses for 195 high-efficiency apartment units (certified based on the energy efficiency rating system in use in Korea) indicated an average difference of 23% between predicted and real energy savings. This was found to be due to the fact that predictions failed to take variables such as Heating Type, Corridor Type, and Climate into account. By accounting for these factors, an appropriate calculation formula may be established. Using the revised calculation formula to reevaluate the predicted energy savings of 13 apartment units resulted in a reduction of 7% in the aforementioned discrepancy between predicted and real energy savings. Using the proposed formula to predict energy savings in buildings could improve accuracy, thus facilitating the setting of appropriate standards for restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions of buildings.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 78
    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 1085: Social Sustainability through Social Interaction—A National Survey on Community Gardens in Germany Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10041085 Authors: Nicole Rogge Insa Theesfeld Carola Strassner Community gardening has become a growing movement in cities all over the world, where these diverse collectively managed spaces provide various economic, ecological, and social benefits for urban residents. Particularly in developed countries such as Germany, social benefits are the motivation to participate in community gardens more so than the harvests. Although research on community gardens has grown, including the question of their benefits to a sustainable development, there is little literature studying the social importance and social sustainability of community gardens. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to examine social interaction, participation, and perceived success as a concept to assess social sustainability. The paper further aims to examine the conditions influencing social sustainability within community gardens. With the help of an online survey, we collect data from 123 community gardens throughout Germany, with which we assess diverse degrees of social sustainability. Causalities of gardens’ social sustainability are analyzed with a multiple linear regression model. Results indicate that there is no significant relationship between size of community and social sustainability, rather aspects of trust and management have a strong effect on social sustainability. Findings like these lead to a better understanding of social interaction in urban communities that contribute to more social sustainability.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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    Publication Date: 2018-04-06
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 1094: Internal Social Network, Absorptive Capacity and Innovation: Evidence from New Ventures in China Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10041094 Authors: Wei Shan Chu Zhang Jingyi Wang This research investigates the impact of the internal social network on new venture’s innovation by building a comprehensive structural equation modeling (SEM) that integrates three streams of research: internal social network, innovation, and absorptive capacity. Based on a sample of 279 new ventures from China, the current study’s results show that absorptive capacity plays a full mediating effect in the relationship of the internal social network and innovation. Particularly, among the skill set of absorptive capacity, a mere skill of knowledge acquisition does not guarantee an enhancement of new venture’s innovation. For new ventures to better utilize the social capital generated by the internal network in the process of innovation, they must focus more on the skills of knowledge digestion and knowledge application. The authors further separate the new ventures into two different sub-samples: the new venture supported by mature enterprises (M-type) and the independent new venture (I-type). This study’s findings indicate that the effect of the social network on innovation through knowledge digestion is greater in the M-type sample than in the I-type sample; internal social network heterogeneity in general plays a less important role in improving a new venture’s innovation than internal social network density, for both M-type and I-type new ventures.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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  • 80
    Publication Date: 2018-04-07
    Description: Crystal Growth & Design DOI: 10.1021/acs.cgd.8b00390
    Print ISSN: 1528-7483
    Electronic ISSN: 1528-7505
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Geosciences , Physics
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