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  • 1
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    MDPI Publishing
    Online: 1(1).2015 –
    Publisher: MDPI Publishing
    Electronic ISSN: 2312-7481
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology
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  • 2
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    MDPI Publishing
    Online: 1(1).2012 –
    Publisher: MDPI Publishing
    Electronic ISSN: 2079-6382
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Medicine
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  • 3
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    MDPI Publishing
    Online: 1(1).2013 –
    Publisher: MDPI Publishing
    Electronic ISSN: 2075-4434
    Topics: Physics
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  • 4
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    MDPI Publishing | International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS)
    Online: 1.2012 –
    Publisher: MDPI Publishing , International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS)
    Electronic ISSN: 2220-9964
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geosciences
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  • 5
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    MDPI Publishing
    Online: 1.2010 –
    Publisher: MDPI Publishing
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4433
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 6
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    MDPI Publishing
    Online: 1.2011 –
    Publisher: MDPI Publishing
    Electronic ISSN: 2076-3263
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 7
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    MDPI Publishing
    Online: 1(1).2012 –
    Publisher: MDPI Publishing
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-445X
    Topics: Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
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  • 8
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    MDPI Publishing
    Online: 1.2011 –
    Publisher: MDPI Publishing
    Electronic ISSN: 2075-163X
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 9
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    MDPI Publishing
    Online: 1(1).2012 –
    Publisher: MDPI Publishing
    Electronic ISSN: 2079-9276
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 10
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    MDPI Publishing
    Online: 1(1).2015 –
    Publisher: MDPI Publishing
    Electronic ISSN: 2313-576X
    Topics: Technology
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  • 11
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    MDPI Publishing
    Online: 1(1).2012 –
    Publisher: MDPI Publishing
    Electronic ISSN: 2076-0825
    Topics: Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology , Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 12
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    MDPI Publishing
    Online: 1.2011 –
    Publisher: MDPI Publishing
    Electronic ISSN: 2077-0472
    Topics: Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
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  • 13
    Publication Date: 2015-04-22
    Description: The aim of this research is to produce self-healing cementitious composites based on the use of cylindrical capsules containing a repairing agent. Cementitious hollow tubes (CHT) having two different internal diameters (of 2 mm and 7.5 mm) were produced by extrusion and used as containers and releasing devices for cement paste/mortar healing agents. Based on the results of preliminary mechanical tests, sodium silicate was selected as the healing agent. The morphological features of several mix designs used to manufacture the extruded hollow tubes, as well as the coatings applied to increase the durability of both core and shell materials are discussed. Three-point bending tests were performed on samples produced with the addition of the above-mentioned cementitious hollow tubes to verify the self-healing effectiveness of the proposed solution. Promising results were achieved, in particular when tubes with a bigger diameter were used. In this case, a substantial strength and stiffness recovery was observed, even in specimens presenting large cracks (>1 mm). The method is inexpensive and simple to scale up; however, further research is needed in view of a final optimization.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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  • 14
    Publication Date: 2015-04-22
    Description: We have studied three-dimensional (3D) configurations of dislocations in the β phase of a Ti–35mass%Nb alloy by means of single-axis tilt tomography using bright-field scanning transmission electron microscopy (BF-STEM). To visualize dislocations, the hh0 systematic reflections were excited throughout tilt-series acquisition with the maximum tilt angle of 70°. Dislocations in the β grains were clearly reconstructed by the weighted back-projection algorithm. The slip planes of the dislocations were deduced by rotating the reconstructed volumes with the aid of selected area electron diffraction patterns. It was found that BF-STEM images with relatively low contrasts, taken along low-order zone axes, are capable to reproduce and preserve the quality of reconstructed image of dislocations. We also found that tilt angles as low as 40° are practically acceptable to visualize 3D configurations of dislocations, while there exists limitation in resolution due to the existence of a large missing wedge.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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  • 15
    Publication Date: 2015-04-22
    Description: It is known that the mechanical properties of bone-mimicking porous biomaterials are a function of the morphological properties of the porous structure, including the configuration and size of the repeating unit cell from which they are made. However, the literature on this topic is limited, primarily because of the challenge in fabricating porous biomaterials with arbitrarily complex morphological designs. In the present work, we studied the relationship between relative density (RD) of porous Ti6Al4V EFI alloy and five compressive properties of the material, namely elastic gradient or modulus (Es20–70), first maximum stress, plateau stress, yield stress, and energy absorption. Porous structures with different RD and six different unit cell configurations (cubic (C), diamond (D), truncated cube (TC), truncated cuboctahedron (TCO), rhombic dodecahedron (RD), and rhombicuboctahedron (RCO)) were fabricated using selective laser melting. Each of the compressive properties increased with increase in RD, the relationship being of a power law type. Clear trends were seen in the influence of unit cell configuration and porosity on each of the compressive properties. For example, in terms of Es20–70, the structures may be divided into two groups: those that are stiff (comprising those made using C, TC, TCO, and RCO unit cell) and those that are compliant (comprising those made using D and RD unit cell).
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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  • 16
    Publication Date: 2015-04-22
    Description: The engineering of quantum dot solids with low defect concentrations and efficient carrier transport through a ligand strategy is crucial to achieve efficient quantum dot (QD) optoelectronic devices. Here, we study the consequences of various surface ligand treatments on the light emission properties of PbS quantum dot films using 1,3-benzenedithiol (1,3-BDT), 1,2-ethanedithiol (EDT), mercaptocarboxylic acids (MPA) and ammonium sulfide ((NH4)2S). We first investigate the influence of different ligand treatments on the inter-dot separation, which mainly determines the conductivity of the QD films. Then, through a combination of photoluminescence and transient photoluminescence characterization, we demonstrate that the radiative and non-radiative recombination mechanisms in the quantum dot films depend critically on the length and chemical structure of the surface ligands.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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  • 17
    Publication Date: 2015-04-22
    Description: Land cover identification and area quantification are key aspects of implementing the European Common Agriculture Policy. Legitimacy of support provided to farmers is monitored using the Land Parcel Identification System (LPIS), with land cover identification performed by visual image interpretation. While the geometric orthoimage quality required for correct interpretation is well understood, little is known about the photometric quality needed for LPIS applications. This paper analyzes the orthoimage quality characteristics chosen by authors as being most suitable for visual identification of agricultural fields. We designed a survey to assess users’ preferred brightness and contrast ranges for orthoimages used for LPIS purposes. Survey questions also tested the influence of a background color on the preferred orthoimage brightness and contrast, the preferred orthoimage format and color composite, assessments of orthoimages with shadowed areas, appreciation of image enhancements and, finally, consistency of individuals’ preferred brightness and contrast settings across multiple sample images. We find that image appreciation is stable at the individual level, but preferences vary across respondents. We therefore recommend that LPIS operators be enabled to personalize photometric settings, such as brightness and contrast values, and to choose the displayed band combination from at least four spectral bands.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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  • 18
    Publication Date: 2015-04-22
    Description: Surface net radiation plays an important role in land–atmosphere interactions. The net radiation can be retrieved from satellite radiative products, yet its accuracy needs comprehensive assessment. This study evaluates monthly surface net radiation generated from the Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) and the Surface Radiation Budget project (SRB) products, respectively, with quality-controlled radiation data from 50 meteorological stations in China for the period from March 2000 to December 2007. Our results show that surface net radiation is generally overestimated for CERES (SRB), with a bias of 26.52 W/m2 (18.57 W/m2) and a root mean square error of 34.58 W/m2 (29.49 W/m2). Spatially, the satellite-retrieved monthly mean of surface net radiation has relatively small errors for both CERES and SRB at inland sites in south China. Substantial errors are found at northeastern sites for two datasets, in addition to coastal sites for CERES. Temporally, multi-year averaged monthly mean errors are large at sites in western China in spring and summer, and in northeastern China in spring and winter. The annual mean error fluctuates for SRB, but decreases for CERES between 2000 and 2007. For CERES, 56% of net radiation errors come from net shortwave (NSW) radiation and 44% from net longwave (NLW) radiation. The errors are attributable to environmental parameters including surface albedo, surface water vapor pressure, land surface temperature, normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) of land surface proxy, and visibility for CERES. For SRB, 65% of the errors come from NSW and 35% from NLW radiation. The major influencing factors in a descending order are surface water vapor pressure, surface albedo, land surface temperature, NDVI, and visibility. Our findings offer an insight into error patterns in satellite-retrieved surface net radiation and should be valuable to improving retrieval accuracy of surface net radiation. Moreover, our study on radiation data of China provides a case example for worldwide validation.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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  • 19
    Publication Date: 2015-04-22
    Description: In this paper we investigate the economic and environmental efficiency of charities and NGO’s “rescuing” food waste, using a 2008 case study of food rescue organisations in Australia. We quantify the tonnages, costs, and environmental impact of food rescued, and then compare food rescue to other food waste disposal methods composting and landfill. To our knowledge this is the first manuscript to comprehend the psychical flows of charity within an Input-Output framework—treating the charity donations as a waste product. We found that 18,105 tonnes of food waste was rescued, and calculate that food rescue operations generate approximately six kilograms of food waste per tonne of food rescued, at a cost of US$222 per tonne of food rescued. This a lower cost than purchasing a tonne of comparable edible food at market value. We also found that per US dollar spent on food rescue, edible food to the value of US$5.71 (1863 calories) was rescued. Likewise, every US dollar spent on food rescue redirected food that represented 6.6 m3 of embodied water, 40.13 MJ of embodied energy, and 7.5 kilograms of embodied greenhouse gasses (CO2 equivalents) from being sent to landfill or composting, and into mouths of the food insecure. We find that food rescue—though more economically costly than landfill or composting—is a lower cost method of obtaining food for the food insecure than direct purchasing.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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  • 20
    Publication Date: 2015-04-23
    Description: The power production of the linear generator wave energy converter developed at Uppsala University is affected by variations of mean sea level. The reason is that these variations change the distance between the point absorber located on the surface and the linear generator located on the seabed. This shifts the average position of the translator with respect to the center of the stator, thereby reducing the generator output power. A device mounted on the point absorber that compensates for tides of small range by regulating the length of the connection line between the buoy at the surface and the linear generator has been constructed and tested. This paper describes the electro-mechanical, measurement, communication and control systems installed on the buoy and shows the results obtained before its connection to the generator. The adjustment of the line was achieved through a linear actuator, which shortens the line during low tides and vice versa. The motor that drives the mechanical device was activated remotely via SMS. The measurement system that was mounted on the buoy consisted of current and voltage sensors, accelerometers, strain gauges and inductive and laser sensors. The data collected were transferred via Internet to a Dropbox server. As described within the paper, after the calibration of the sensors, the buoy was assembled and tested in the waters of Lysekil harbor, a few kilometers from the Uppsala University research site. Moreover, the performance of the sensors, the motion of the mechanical device, the power consumption, the current control strategy and the communication system are discussed.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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  • 21
    Publication Date: 2015-04-23
    Description: High dependence on imported oil has increased U.S. strategic vulnerability and prompted more research in the area of renewable energy production. Ethanol production from renewable woody biomass, which could be a substitute for gasoline, has seen increased interest. This study analysed energy use and greenhouse gas emission impacts on the forest biomass supply chain activities within the State of Michigan. A life-cycle assessment of harvesting and transportation stages was completed utilizing peer-reviewed literature. Results for forest-delivered ethanol were compared with those for petroleum gasoline using data specific to the U.S. The analysis from a woody biomass feedstock supply perspective uncovered that ethanol production is more environmentally friendly (about 62% less greenhouse gas emissions) compared with petroleum based fossil fuel production. Sensitivity analysis was conducted with key inputs associated with harvesting and transportation operations. The results showed that research focused on improving biomass recovery efficiency and truck fuel economy further reduced GHG emissions and energy consumption.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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  • 22
    Publication Date: 2015-04-23
    Description: This paper describes the design, evaluation, and implementation of a compensation scheme for a measurement voltage transformer (VT) using the hysteresis characteristics of the core. The error of a VT is caused by the primary winding voltage and secondary winding voltage. The latter depends on the secondary current, whereas the former depends on the primary current, which is an aggregate of the exciting and secondary currents. The secondary current is obtained directly from the secondary voltage and is used to obtain the voltage across the secondary winding. For the primary current, the exciting current is decomposed into two components: core-loss and magnetizing currents. The magnetizing current is obtained by the flux-magnetizing current curve instead of the hysteresis loop to minimize the required loops for compensation. The core-loss current is obtained by dividing the primary induced voltage by the core-loss resistance. Finally, the estimated voltages across the primary and secondary windings are added to the measured secondary voltage for compensation. The scheme can significantly improve the accuracy of a VT. The results of the performance of compensator are shown in the experimental test. The accuracy of the measurement VT improves from 1.0C class to 0.1C class. The scheme can help to significantly reduce the required core cross section of a measurement VT in an electrical energy system.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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  • 23
    Publication Date: 2015-04-23
    Description: To explore the problems associated with applying dynamic programming (DP) in the energy management strategies of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), a plug-in hybrid bus powertrain is introduced and its dynamic control model is constructed. The numerical issues, including the discretization resolution of the relevant variables and the boundary issue of their feasible regions, were considered when implementing DP to solve the optimal control problem of PHEVs. The tradeoff between the optimization accuracy when using the DP algorithm and the computational burden was systematically investigated. As a result of overcoming the numerical issues, the DP-based approach has the potential to improve the fuel-savings potential of PHEVs. The results from comparing the DP-based strategy and the traditional control strategy indicate that there is an approximately 20% improvement in fuel economy.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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  • 24
    Publication Date: 2015-04-23
    Description: This study uses a company’s due diligence system (DDS) as an operational tool to ensure the origin of wood coming from northwestern Russia. The company exports a majority of its wood products to European Union (EU) countries, and its DDS consists of a statement of origin, geographical information, and field verification audits. Its DDS is assessed against the European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR). Enforcement of the EUTR began in March 2013 and is compulsory for all companies importing wood-based material from outside the EU. The DDS must contain three key components: access to information on operator’s supply of timber or timber products placed on the market, a risk assessment, and a risk mitigation method. The workflow of the conformity assessment must include a literature review, statistical and field data collection, and further analysis of the requirements. Although enforcement of the EUTR began almost two years ago, there is little research on its implementation. This DDS system showed high functionality of its existing components corresponding with the general requirements of the standards developed by the Nature Ecology and People Consult (NepCon), a non-profit organization recognized as the monitoring organization by the European Commission. This wood origin system also meets the requirements of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification system, while maintaining full harmonization with the EUTR legislation. However, major obstacles persist in implementation of legislation by EU member states, in terms of interpretation of requirements, prosecutions and fines, and the role of third-party evidence.
    Electronic ISSN: 1999-4907
    Topics: Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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  • 25
    Publication Date: 2015-04-24
    Description: Multilayered polymer films with biomimicking, layered structures have unique microstructures and many potential applications. However, a major limitation of polymer films is the deterioration of mechanical properties in working environments. To facilitate the design and development of multilayered polymer films, the impact of thermal aging on the mechanical behavior of micro- and nano-layered polymer films has been investigated experimentally. The composition of the polymer films that have been studied is 50 vol% polycarbonate (PC) and 50 vol% poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA). The current study focuses on the effect of film and layer thickness and temperature on the mechanical properties of the materials subjected to thermal aging. To study the effect of film and layer thickness, films with the same thickness, but various layer thicknesses, and films with the same layer thickness, but various film thicknesses, were thermally aged at 100 °C in a constant temperature oven for up to six weeks. The results show that as the layer thickness decreases to 31 nm, the film has a higher stiffness and strength, and the trend of the mechanical properties is relatively stable over aging. The ductility of all of the films decreases with aging time. To study the effect of temperature, the films with 4,096 layers (31 nm thick for each layer) were aged at 100 °C, 115 °C and 125 °C for up to four weeks. While the 100 °C aging results in a slight increase of the stiffness and strength of the films, the higher aging temperature caused a decrease of the stiffness and strength of the films. The ductility decreases with the aging time for all of the temperatures. The films become more brittle for higher aging temperatures.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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  • 26
    Publication Date: 2015-04-24
    Description: Photocatalytic removal of organic pollution such as waste colored dyes was a promising technique for environment technique. However, effective photocatalysts were needed to enhance the photocatalytic efficiency. Ag/AgCl was regarded as high performance catalyst for photocatalytic degradation. Ag/AgCl nanoparticles were biochemically prepared with metabolin of living fungi which was used as reductant and characterized by X-Ray diffraction (XRD), UV-visible spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The Ag/AgCl nanoparticle composites showed spherical aggregation shape with an average size of about 3–5 nm which is well inside the quantum regime. The UV-visible study showed that Ag/AgCl nanoparticles had strong visible light absorption and exhibited excellent visible-light-driven photocatalytic performance. Photocatalytic results indicated that the obtained Ag/AgCl nanoparticles were suitable for photocatalytic removal of RhB dye under visible light irradiation. The excellent photocatalytic activities could be attributed to the quantum size nanoparticles and the Plasmon resonance of Ag/AgCl composites.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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  • 27
    Publication Date: 2015-04-24
    Description: This study develops a modelling framework for utilizing very high-resolution (VHR) aerial imagery for monitoring stocks of above-ground biomass (AGB) in a tropical forest in Southeast Asia. Three different texture-based methods (grey level co-occurrence metric (GLCM), Gabor wavelets and Fourier-based textural ordination (FOTO)) were used in conjunction with two different machine learning (ML)-based regression techniques (support vector regression (SVR) and random forest (RF) regression). These methods were implemented on both 50-cm resolution Digital Globe data extracted from Google Earth™ (GE) and 8-cm commercially obtained VHR imagery. This study further examines the role of forest biophysical parameters, such as ground-measured canopy cover and vertical canopy height, in explaining AGB distribution. Three models were developed using: (i) horizontal canopy variables (i.e., canopy cover and texture variables) plus vertical canopy height; (ii) horizontal variables only; and (iii) texture variables only. AGB was variable across the site, ranging from 51.02 Mg/ha to 356.34 Mg/ha. GE-based AGB estimates were comparable to those derived from commercial aerial imagery. The findings demonstrate that novel use of this array of texture-based techniques with GE imagery can help promote the wider use of freely available imagery for low-cost, fine-resolution monitoring of forests parameters at the landscape scale.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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  • 28
    Publication Date: 2015-04-24
    Description: In this study, the Land Use/Cover Area frame statistical Survey (LUCAS) of 2009 was used as a reference dataset for validating a Land Cover Map of Greece for 2007, produced with remote sensing by the Greek Office of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF Hellas). First, all class definitions were decomposed in terms of four vegetation parameters (type, height, density, and composition), considered as critical in indicating unconformities between LUCAS and the WWF Hellas map; their inter-class relations were described in a table of correspondence. Then, a two-tier methodology was applied: an “automated” process, where thematic agreement was based exclusively on the main land cover attribute of LUCAS (LC1); and a “supervised” process, where thematic agreement was based on the reinterpretation of LUCAS ground photos and use of ancillary earth observation imagery; non-square error matrix was deployed in both processes. For the supervised process specifically, a decision-tree was designed, using the critical vegetation parameters (mentioned above) as quantified criteria, thus allowing objective labelling of testing points in both systems. The results show that only a small proportion of the reassessed points verified the WWF Hellas map predictions and that the overall accuracy of the supervised process was reduced compared to that of the automated process. In conclusion, the LUCAS point database was found to be supportive, but not fully efficient, for identifying the various sources of error in country-scale land cover maps derived with remote sensing. Synergy with very high resolution satellite images and air photos, or a dedicated ground truth campaign, seems to be inevitable in order to validate their thematic accuracy, especially in highly heterogeneous environments. In this direction, LUCAS could be used as a verification, rather than a validation, dataset.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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  • 29
    Publication Date: 2015-04-24
    Description: Polarimetric target decomposition enables the interpretation of radar images more easily, mostly based on physical assumptions, i.e., fitting physically-based scattering models to the polarimetric SAR observations. However, the model-fitting result cannot be always successful. Particularly, the performance of model-fitting in sloping forests is still an open question. In this study, the effect of ground topography on the model-fitting-based polarimetric decomposition techniques is investigated. The estimation accuracy of each scattering component in the decomposition results are evaluated based on the simulated target matrix by using the incoherent vegetation scattering model that accounts for the tilted scattering surface beneath the forest canopy. Experimental results show that the surface and the double-bounce scattering components can be significantly misestimated due to the topographic slope, even when the volume scattering power is successfully estimated.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 30
    Publication Date: 2015-04-24
    Description: The opacity of clouds is the main problem for optical and thermal space-borne sensors, like the Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). Especially during polar nighttime, the low thermal contrast between clouds and the underlying snow/ice results in deficiencies of the MODIS cloud mask and affected products. There are different approaches to retrieve information about frequently cloud-covered areas, which often operate with large amounts of days aggregated into single composites for a long period of time. These approaches are well suited for static-nature, slow changing surface features (e.g., fast-ice extent). However, this is not applicable to fast-changing features, like sea-ice polynyas. Therefore, we developed a spatial feature reconstruction to derive information for cloud-covered sea-ice areas based on the surrounding days weighted directly proportional with their temporal proximity to the initial day of interest. Its performance is tested based on manually-screened and artificially cloud-covered case studies of MODIS-derived polynya area data for the polynya in the Brunt Ice Shelf region of Antarctica. On average, we are able to completely restore the artificially cloud-covered test areas with a spatial correlation of 0.83 and a mean absolute spatial deviation of 21%.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 31
    Publication Date: 2015-04-24
    Description: To address the need for timely information on newly deforested areas at medium resolution scale, we introduce a Bayesian approach to combine SAR and optical time series for near real-time deforestation detection. Once a new image of either of the input time series is available, the conditional probability of deforestation is computed using Bayesian updating, and deforestation events are indicated. Future observations are used to update the conditional probability of deforestation and, thus, to confirm or reject an indicated deforestation event. A proof of concept was demonstrated using Landsat NDVI and ALOS PALSAR time series acquired at an evergreen forest plantation in Fiji. We emulated a near real-time scenario and assessed the deforestation detection accuracies using three-monthly reference data covering the entire study site. Spatial and temporal accuracies for the fused Landsat-PALSAR case (overall accuracy = 87.4%; mean time lag of detected deforestation = 1.3 months) were consistently higher than those of the Landsat- and PALSAR-only cases. The improvement maintained even for increasing missing data in the Landsat time series.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 32
    Publication Date: 2015-04-24
    Description: This paper presents an unrestrained measurement system based on a wearable wireless ultrasonic sensor network to track the lower extremity joint and trunk kinematics during a squat exercise with only one ultrasonic sensor attached to the trunk. The system consists of an ultrasound transmitter (mobile) and multiple receivers (anchors) whose positions are known. The proposed system measures the horizontal and vertical displacement, together with known joint constraints, to estimate joint flexion/extension angles using an inverse kinematic model based on the damped least-squares technique. The performance of the proposed ultrasonic measurement system was validated against a camera-based tracking system on eight healthy subjects performing a planar squat exercise. Joint angles estimated from the ultrasonic system showed a root mean square error (RMSE) of 2.85° ± 0.57° with the reference system. Statistical analysis indicated great agreements between these two systems with a Pearson’s correlation coefficient (PCC) value larger than 0.99 for all joint angles’ estimation. These results show that the proposed ultrasonic measurement system is useful for applications, such as rehabilitation and sports.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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  • 33
    Publication Date: 2015-04-24
    Description: This paper aims to incorporate the diffusion of innovation theory and conformity theory to explain consumers’ green purchase intentions. To this end, a conceptual model has been proposed and subjected to empirical verification with the use of a survey method. Using a sample of Taiwanese consumers who had the actual purchase experience of green detergents, this study employed structural equation modeling to verify the hypothesis proposed. The empirical results suggested that green viral communication was positively related to normative interpersonal influence, informational interpersonal influence and green purchase intention. Informational interpersonal influence also had a positive impact on green purchase intention. However, the relationship between consumer’s normative interpersonal influence and green purchase intention was not supported. Thus, this study concludes that green marketers must strengthen their green viral communications skills to enhance consumers’ purchase intentions. In addition, this study also contributes to the literature by stating that consumers’ susceptibility to informational interpersonal relationships is an important mediator in the green viral communication and green purchase intentions relationship. This study discusses implications of the findings and research limitations at the end of the paper.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 34
    Publication Date: 2015-04-24
    Description: China’s renewable energy power has developed rapidly in recent years. Evaluating the external benefits of renewable energy power can provide a reference for the Chinese government to set diverse development goals and to implement differentiated supporting policies for different renewable energy power types, which can promote their sustainable development. In this paper, a hybrid MCDM method was applied to evaluate the external benefits of China’s renewable energy power. Firstly, the impacts of renewable energy power accessing the power grid for multiple stakeholders in the electric power system were analyzed. Secondly, the external benefit evaluation index system for renewable energy power was built from the economic, social and environmental factors, based on the concept of sustainability. Then, the basic theory of the hybrid MCDM method employed in this paper was introduced in two parts: the superiority linguistic ratings and entropy weighting method for index weight determination and the fuzzy grey relation analysis for ranking alternatives. Finally, the external benefits of wind power, solar PV power and biomass power were evaluated. Taking a regional electric power system as an example, the results show that PV power has the greatest external benefit, followed by wind power and biomass power. Therefore, more policies supporting PV power should be put in place to promote the harmonious and sustainable development of the whole renewable energy power industry.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 35
    Publication Date: 2015-04-24
    Description: In this paper we present a novel unsupervised approach to detecting and segmenting objects as well as their constituent symmetric parts in an image. Traditional unsupervised image segmentation is limited by two obvious deficiencies: the object detection accuracy degrades with the misaligned boundaries between the segmented regions and the target, and pre-learned models are required to group regions into meaningful objects. To tackle these difficulties, the proposed approach aims at incorporating the pair-wise detection of symmetric patches to achieve the goal of segmenting images into symmetric parts. The skeletons of these symmetric parts then provide estimates of the bounding boxes to locate the target objects. Finally, for each detected object, the graphcut-based segmentation algorithm is applied to find its contour. The proposed approach has significant advantages: no a priori object models are used, and multiple objects are detected. To verify the effectiveness of the approach based on the cues that a face part contains an oval shape and skin colors, human objects are extracted from among the detected objects. The detected human objects and their parts are finally tracked across video frames to capture the object part movements for learning the human activity models from video clips. Experimental results show that the proposed method gives good performance on publicly available datasets.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-8994
    Topics: Mathematics , Physics
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  • 36
    Publication Date: 2015-04-24
    Description: In this paper, angular displacement and angular velocity sensors based on coplanar waveguide (CPW) transmission lines and S-shaped split ring resonators (S-SRRs) are presented. The sensor consists of two parts, namely a CPW and an S-SRR, both lying on parallel planes. By this means, line-to-resonator magnetic coupling arises, the coupling level being dependent on the line-to-resonator relative angular orientation. The line-to-resonator coupling level is the key parameter responsible for modulating the amplitude of the frequency response seen between the CPW ports in the vicinity of the S-SRR fundamental resonance frequency. Specifically, an amplitude notch that can be visualized in the transmission coefficient is changed by the coupling strength, and it is characterized as the sensing variable. Thus, the relative angular orientation between the two parts is measured, when the S-SRR is attached to a rotating object. It follows that the rotation angle and speed can be inferred either by measuring the frequency response of the S-SRR-loaded line, or the response amplitude at a fixed frequency in the vicinity of resonance. It is in addition shown that the angular velocity can be accurately determined from the time-domain response of a carrier time-harmonic signal tuned at the S-SRR resonance frequency. The main advantage of the proposed device is its small size directly related to the small electrical size of the S-SRR, which allows for the design of compact angular displacement and velocity sensors at low frequencies. Despite the small size of the fabricated proof-of-concept prototype (electrically small structures do not usually reject signals efficiently), it exhibits good linearity (on a logarithmic scale), sensitivity and dynamic range.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 37
    Publication Date: 2015-04-25
    Description: As the use of fossil fuel has increased, not only in construction, but also in agriculture due to the drastic industrial development in recent times, the problems of heating costs and global warming are getting worse. Therefore, the introduction of more reliable and environmentally-friendly alternative energy sources has become urgent and the same trend is found in large-scale horticulture facilities. In this study, among many alternative energy sources, we investigated the reserves and the potential of various different unused energy sources which have infinite potential, but are nowadays wasted due to limitations in their utilization. This study investigated the effects of the distance between the greenhouse and the actual heat source by taking into account the heat transfer taking place inside the pipe network. This study considered CO2 emissions and economic aspects to determine the optimal heat source. Payback period analysis against initial investment cost shows that a heat pump based on a power plant’s waste heat has the shortest payback period of 7.69 years at a distance of 0 km. On the other hand, the payback period of a heat pump based on geothermal heat showed the shortest payback period of 10.17 year at the distance of 5 km, indicating that heat pumps utilizing geothermal heat were the most effective model if the heat transfer inside the pipe network between the greenhouse and the actual heat source is taken into account.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 38
    Publication Date: 2015-04-25
    Description: This study explores the spatial association between social vulnerability and smoke plume dispersion at the census block group level for the 13 southern states in the USDA Forest Service’s Region 8. Using environmental justice as a conceptual basis, we use Exploratory Spatial Data Analysis to identify clusters or “hot spots” for the incidence of both higher than average socially marginal populations and plume dispersion. The larger health disparities and environmental justice literature suggests that lower income and minority populations in the U.S. face greater exposure than middle/upper income, non-minority populations to environmental pollutants; however, we are aware of only a few studies examining this relationship in the context of population exposure to wildfires or prescribed fires in the U.S. South, despite the high occurrence of wildfires in the region. Analyses were conducted across five ecoregions in the South and for winter and spring/summer seasons. Results by ecoregion show significant spatial clustering of high social vulnerability block groups in the vicinity of block groups with a high number of smoke plumes (i.e., “hot spots”). Overall, however, socially vulnerable communities are not exposed to more smoke than non-socially vulnerable communities. Data limitations and suggestions for further research are discussed.
    Electronic ISSN: 1999-4907
    Topics: Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
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  • 39
    Publication Date: 2015-04-25
    Description: Leaded gasoline in Taiwan was gradually phased out from 1983 to 2000. However, it is unclear whether unleaded gasoline still contributes to atmospheric lead (Pb) exposure in urban areas. In this study, Pb isotopic compositions of unleaded gasolines, with octane numbers of 92, 95, 98, and diesel from two local suppliers in Taipei were determined by multi-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry with a two-sigma uncertainty of ± 0.02 %. Lead isotopic ratios of vehicle exhaust (208Pb/207Pb: 2.427, 206Pb/207Pb: 1.148, as estimated from petroleum fuels) overlap with the reported aerosol data. This agreement indicates that local unleaded petroleum fuels, containing 10–45 ng·Pb·g−1, are merely one contributor among various sources to urban aerosol Pb. Additionally, the distinction between the products of the two companies is statistically significant in their individual 208Pb/206Pb ratios (p-value 〈 0.001, t test). Lead isotopic characterization appears to be applicable as a “fingerprinting” tool for tracing the sources of Pb pollution.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 40
    Publication Date: 2015-04-25
    Description: Inorganic arsenic (iAs) and fluoride (F−) are naturally occurring drinking water contaminants. However, co-exposure to these contaminants and its effects on human health are understudied. The goal of this study was examined exposures to iAs and F− in Chihuahua, Mexico, where exposure to iAs in drinking water has been associated with adverse health effects. All 1119 eligible Chihuahua residents (>18 years) provided a sample of drinking water and spot urine samples. iAs and F− concentrations in water samples ranged from 0.1 to 419.8 µg As/L and from 0.05 to 11.8 mg F−/L. Urinary arsenic (U-tAs) and urinary F− (U-F−) levels ranged from 0.5 to 467.9 ng As/mL and from 0.1 to 14.4 µg F−/mL. A strong positive correlation was found between iAs and F− concentrations in drinking water (rs = 0.741). Similarly, U-tAs levels correlated positively with U-F− concentrations (rs = 0.633). These results show that Chihuahua residents exposed to high iAs concentrations in drinking water are also exposed to high levels of F−, raising questions about possible contribution of F− exposure to the adverse effects that have so far been attributed only to iAs exposure. Thus, investigation of possible interactions between iAs and F− exposures and its related health risks deserves immediate attention.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 41
    Publication Date: 2015-04-25
    Description: Recently it has been estimated that the annual cost of diseases caused by the waterborne pathogens Legionella pneumonia, Mycobacterium avium, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa is $500 million. For the period 2001–2012, the estimated cost of hospital admissions for nontuberculous mycobacterial pulmonary disease, the majority caused by M. avium, was almost $1 billion. These three waterborne opportunistic pathogens are normal inhabitants of drinking water—not contaminants—that share a number of key characteristics that predispose them to survival, persistence, and growth in drinking water distribution systems and premise plumbing. Herein, I list and describe these shared characteristics that include: disinfectant-resistance, biofilm-formation, growth in amoebae, growth at low organic carbon concentrations (oligotrophic), and growth under conditions of stagnation. This review is intended to increase awareness of OPPPs, identify emerging OPPPs, and challenge the drinking water industry to develop novel approaches toward their control.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 42
    Publication Date: 2015-04-25
    Description: In China the exclusive breastfeeding rate remains low and infant formula is widely used. This study aimed to elicit and compare mothers’ and hospital staff perceptions of the reasons that shaped mothers’ decision to formula feed. In-depth interviews with 50 mothers, and four focus group discussions with 33 hospital staff, were conducted in Hangzhou and Shenzhen in November 2014. Responses given by the mothers and hospital staff showed a number of commonalities. The perception of “insufficient breast milk” was cited by the majority of women (n = 37, 74%) as the reason for formula feeding. Mothers’ confidence in breastfeeding appears to be further reduced by maternal mothers or mothers-in-law’s and “confinement ladies” misconceptions about infant feeding. Inadequate breastfeeding facilities and limited flexibility at their workplace was another common reason given for switching to formula feeding. A substantial proportion of mothers (n = 27, 54%) lacked an understanding of the health benefits of breastfeeding. Antenatal education on breastfeeding benefits for expectant mothers and their families is recommended. Moreover, mothers should be provided with breastfeeding support while in hospital and be encouraged to seek professional assistance to deal with breastfeeding problems after discharge. Employers should also make work environments more breastfeeding-friendly.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 43
    Publication Date: 2015-04-25
    Description: Community, state, and federal approaches to conventional and cumulative risk assessment (CRA) were described and compared to assess similarities and differences, and develop recommendations for a consistent CRA approach, acceptable across each level as a rigorous scientific methodology, including partnership formation and solution development as necessary practices. Community, state, and federal examples were described and then summarized based on their adherence to CRA principles of: (1) planning, scoping, and problem formulation; (2) risk analysis and ranking, and (3) risk characterization, interpretation, and management. While each application shared the common goal of protecting human health and the environment, they adopted different approaches to achieve this. For a specific project-level analysis of a particular place or instance, this may be acceptable, but to ensure long-term applicability and transferability to other projects, recommendations for developing a consistent approach to CRA are provided. This approach would draw from best practices, risk assessment and decision analysis sciences, and historical lessons learned to provide results in an understandable and accepted manner by all entities. This approach is intended to provide a common ground around which to develop CRA methods and approaches that can be followed at all levels.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 44
    Publication Date: 2015-04-25
    Description: The advances in open data, free and open source software solutions and open access to research publications have influenced the emergence of open educational resources (OER) initiatives. These initiatives permit access to openly licensed learning resources including courses, webinars, training materials and textbooks. Thereby, an increasing number of users has the opportunity to broaden their knowledge and gain new skills. The goal of this paper is to evaluate open education initiatives in the geospatial domain and its synergies with open spatial data and software movements. The paper is focusing on the Massive Open Online Course (MOOCs) movement. The advantages and challenges of open geospatial education will be thoroughly discussed.
    Electronic ISSN: 2220-9964
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geosciences
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  • 45
    Publication Date: 2015-04-25
    Description: This study was performed to develop alternating dentine adhesion models that could help in the evaluation of a self-bonding dental composite. For this purpose dentine from human and ivory was characterized chemically and microscopically before and after acid etching using Raman and SEM. Mechanical properties of dentine were determined using 3 point bend test. Composite bonding to dentine, with and without use of acid pre-treatment and/or the adhesive, were assessed using a shear bond test. Furthermore, micro gap formation after restoration of 3 mm diameter cavities in dentine was assessed by SEM. Initial hydroxyapatite level in ivory was half that in human dentine. Surface hydroxyapatites decreased by approximately half with every 23 s of acid etch. The human dentine strength (56 MPa) was approximately double that of ivory, while the modulus was almost comparable to that of ivory. With adhesive use, average shear bond strengths were 30 and 26 MPa with and without acid etching. With no adhesive, average bond strength was 6 MPa for conventional composites. This, however, increased to 14 MPa with a commercial flowable “self–bonding” composite or upon addition of low levels of an acidic monomer to the experimental composite. The acidic monomer additionally reduced micro-gap formation with the experimental composite. Improved bonding and mechanical properties should reduce composite failures due to recurrent caries or fracture respectively.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 46
    Publication Date: 2015-04-25
    Description: Canopy structural parameters and light radiation are important for evaluating the light use efficiency and grain yield of crops. Their spatial variation within canopies and temporal variation over growth stages could be simulated using dynamic models with strong application and predictability. Based on an optimized canopy structure vertical distribution model and the Beer-Lambert law combined with hyperspectral remote sensing (RS) technology, we established a new dynamic model for simulating leaf area index (LAI), leaf angle (LA) distribution and light radiation at different vertical heights and growth stages. The model was validated by measuring LAI, LA and light radiation in different leaf layers at different growth stages of two different types of rice (Oryza sativa L.), i.e., japonica (Wuxiangjing14) and indica (Shanyou63). The results show that the simulated values were in good agreement with the observed values, with an average RRMSE (relative root mean squared error) between simulated and observed LAI and LA values of 14.75% and 21.78%, respectively. The RRMSE values for simulated photosynthetic active radiation (PAR) transmittance and interception rates were 14.25% and 9.22% for Wuxiangjing14 and 15.71% and 4.40% for Shanyou63, respectively. In addition, the corresponding RRMSE values for red (R), green (G) and blue (B) radiation transmittance and interception rates were 16.34%, 15.96% and 15.36% for Wuxiangjing14 and 5.75%, 8.23% and 5.03% for Shanyou63, respectively. The results indicate that the model performed well for different rice cultivars and under different cultivation conditions.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 47
    Publication Date: 2015-04-25
    Description: Validation is an essential and important step before the application of remote sensing products. This paper introduces a prototype of the validation network for remote sensing products in China (VRPC). The VRPC aims to improve remote sensing products at a regional scale in China. These improvements will enhance the applicability of the key remote sensing products in understanding and interpretation of typical land surface processes in China. The framework of the VRPC is introduced first, including its four basic components. Then, the basic selection principles of the observation sites are described, and the principles for the validation of the remote sensing products are established. The VRPC will be realized in stages. In the first stage, four stations that have improved remote sensing observation facilities have been incorporated according to the selection principles. Certain core observation sites have been constructed at these stations. Next the Heihe Station is introduced in detail as an example. The three levels of observation (the research base, pixel-scale validation sites, and regional coverage) adopted by the Heihe Station are carefully explained. The pixel-scale validation sites with nested multi-scale observation systems in this station are the most unique feature, and these sites aim to solve some key scientific problems associated with remote sensing product validation (e.g., the scale effect and scale transformation). Multi-year of in situ measurements will ensure the high accuracy and inter-annual validity of the land products, which will provide dynamic regional monitoring and simulation capabilities in China. The observation sites of the VRPC are open, with the goal of increasing cooperation and exchange with global programs.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 48
    Publication Date: 2015-04-25
    Description: We tested a supervised classification approach with Landsat 5 Thematic Mapper (TM) data for time-series mapping of seagrass in a subtropical lagoon. Seagrass meadows are an integral link between marine and inland ecosystems and are at risk from upstream processes such as runoff and erosion. Despite the prevalence of image-specific approaches, the classification accuracies we achieved show that pixel-based spectral classes may be generalized and applied to a time series of images that were not included in the classifier training. We employed in-situ data on seagrass abundance from 2007 to 2011 to train and validate a classification model. We created depth-invariant bands from TM bands 1, 2, and 3 to correct for variations in water column depth prior to building the classification model. In-situ data showed mean total seagrass cover remained relatively stable over the study area and period, with seagrass cover generally denser in the west than the east. Our approach achieved mapping accuracies (67% and 76% for two validation years) comparable with those attained using spectral libraries, but was simpler to implement. We produced a series of annual maps illustrating inter-annual variability in seagrass occurrence. Accuracies may be improved in future work by better addressing the spatial mismatch between pixel size of remotely sensed data and footprint of field data and by employing atmospheric correction techniques that normalize reflectances across images.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 49
    Publication Date: 2015-04-25
    Description: We evaluate the performance of full waveform LiDAR decomposition algorithms with a high-resolution single band airborne LiDAR bathymetry system in shallow rivers. A continuous wavelet transformation (CWT) is proposed and applied in two fluvial environments, and the results are compared to existing echo retrieval methods. LiDAR water depths are also compared to independent field measurements. In both clear and turbid water, the CWT algorithm outperforms the other methods if only green LiDAR observations are available. However, both the definition of the water surface, and the turbidity of the water significantly influence the performance of the LiDAR bathymetry observations. The results suggest that there is no single best full waveform processing algorithm for all bathymetric situations. Overall, the optimal processing strategies resulted in a determination of water depths with a 6 cm mean at 14 cm standard deviation for clear water, and a 16 cm mean and 27 cm standard deviation in more turbid water.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 50
    Publication Date: 2015-04-25
    Description: In this study, an in situ application for identifying neodymium (Nd) enriched surface materials that uses multitemporal hyperspectral images is presented (HySpex sensor). Because of the narrow shape and shallow absorption depth of the neodymium absorption feature, a method was developed for enhancing and extracting the necessary information for neodymium from image spectra, even under illumination conditions that are not optimal. For this purpose, the two following approaches were developed: (1) reducing noise and analyzing changing illumination conditions by averaging multitemporal image scenes and (2) enhancing the depth of the desired absorption band by deconvolving every image spectrum with a Gaussian curve while the rest of the spectrum remains unchanged (Richardson-Lucy deconvolution). To evaluate these findings, nine field samples from the Fen complex in Norway were analyzed using handheld X-ray fluorescence devices and by conducting detailed laboratory-based geochemical rare earth element determinations. The result is a qualitative outcrop map that highlights zones that are enriched in neodymium. To reduce the influences of non-optimal illumination, particularly at the studied site, a minimum of seven single acquisitions is required. Sharpening the neodymium absorption band allows for robust mapping, even at the outer zones of enrichment. From the geochemical investigations, we found that iron oxides decrease the applicability of the method. However, iron-related absorption bands can be used as secondary indicators for sulfidic ore zones that are mainly enriched with rare earth elements. In summary, we found that hyperspectral spectroscopy is a noninvasive, fast and cost-saving method for determining neodymium at outcrop surfaces.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 51
    Publication Date: 2015-04-25
    Description: Cambodia is one of the most flood-prone countries in Southeast Asia. It is geographically situated in the downstream region of the Mekong River with a lowland floodplain in the middle, surrounded by plateaus and high mountains. It usually experiences devastating floods induced by an overwhelming concentration of rainfall water over the Tonle Sap Lake’s and Mekong River’s banks during monsoon seasons. Flood damage assessment in the rice ecosystem plays an important role in this region as local residents rely heavily on agricultural production. This study introduced an object-based approach to flood mapping and affected rice field estimation in central Cambodia. In this approach, image segmentation processing was conducted with optimal scale parameter estimation based on the variation of objects’ local variances. The inundated area was identified by using Landsat 8 images with an overall accuracy of higher than 95% compared to those derived from finer spatial resolution images. Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) vegetation index products were utilized to identify the paddy rice field based on seasonal inter-variation between vegetation and water index during the transplanting stage. The rice classification result was well correlated with the statistical data at a commune level (R2 = 0.675). The flood mapping and affected rice estimation results are useful to provide local governments with valuable information for flooding mitigation and post-flooding compensation and restoration.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 52
    Publication Date: 2015-04-25
    Description: The spread of an alien invasive grass (gamba grass—Andropogon gayanus) in the tropical savannas of Northern Australia is a major threat to habitat quality and biodiversity in the region, primarily through its influence on fire intensity. Effective control and eradication of this invader requires better insight into its spatial distribution and rate of spread to inform management actions. We used full-waveform airborne LiDAR to map areas of known A. gayanus invasion in the Batchelor region of the Northern Territory, Australia. Our stratified sampling campaign included wooded savanna areas with differing degrees of A. gayanus invasion and adjacent areas of native grass and woody tree mixtures. We used height and spatial contiguity based metrics to classify returns from A. gayanus and developed spatial representations of A. gayanus occurrence (1 m resolution) and canopy cover (10 m resolution). The cover classification proved robust against two independent field-based investigations at 500 m2 (R2 = 0.87, RMSE = 12.53) and 100 m2 (R2 = 0.79, RMSE = 14.13) scale. Our mapping results provide a solid benchmark for evaluating the rate and pattern of A. gayanus spread from future LiDAR campaigns. In addition, this high-resolution mapping can be used to inform satellite image analysis for the evaluation of A. gayanus invasion over broader regional scales. Our research highlights the huge potential that airborne LiDAR holds for facilitating the monitoring and management of savanna habitat condition.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 53
    Publication Date: 2015-04-25
    Description: Wireless communication is a trend nowadays for the industrial environment. A number of different technologies have emerged as solutions satisfying strict industrial requirements (e.g., WirelessHART, ISA100.11a, WIA-PA). As the industrial environment presents a vast range of applications, adopting an adequate solution for each case is vital to obtain good performance of the system. In this context, the routing and scheduling schemes associated with these technologies have a direct impact on important features, like latency and energy consumption. This situation has led to the development of a vast number of routing and scheduling schemes. In the present paper, we focus on the WirelessHART technology, emphasizing its most important routing and scheduling aspects in order to guide both end users and the developers of new algorithms. Furthermore, we provide a detailed literature review of the newest routing and scheduling techniques forWirelessHART, discussing each of their features. These routing algorithms have been evaluated in terms of their objectives, metrics, the usage of theWirelessHART structures and validation method. In addition, the scheduling algorithms were also evaluated by metrics, validation, objectives and, in addition, by multiple superframe support, as well as by the redundancy method used. Moreover, this paper briefly presents some insights into the main WirelessHART simulation modules available, in order to provide viable test platforms for the routing and scheduling algorithms. Finally, some open issues in WirelessHART routing and scheduling algorithms are discussed.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 54
    Publication Date: 2015-04-25
    Description: A number of research works has studied packet scheduling policies in energy scavenging wireless sensor networks, based on the predicted amount of harvested energy. Most of them aim to achieve energy neutrality, which means that an embedded system can operate perpetually while meeting application requirements. Unlike other renewable energy sources, solar energy has the feature of distinct periodicity in the amount of harvested energy over a day. Using this feature, this paper proposes a packet transmission control policy that can enhance the network performance while keeping sensor nodes alive. Furthermore, this paper suggests a novel solar energy prediction method that exploits the relation between cloudiness and solar radiation. The experimental results and analyses show that the proposed packet transmission policy outperforms others in terms of the deadline miss rate and data throughput. Furthermore, the proposed solar energy prediction method can predict more accurately than others by 6.92%.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 55
    Publication Date: 2015-04-25
    Description: Optical fiber sensors, thanks to their compactness, fast response and real-time measurements, have a large impact in the fields of life science research, drug discovery and medical diagnostics. In recent years, advances in nanotechnology have resulted in the development of nanotools, capable of entering the single cell, resulting in new nanobiosensors useful for the detection of biomolecules inside living cells. In this paper, we provide an application of a nanotip coupled with molecular beacons (MBs) for the detection of DNA. The MBs were characterized by hybridization studies with a complementary target to prove their functionality both free in solution and immobilized onto a solid support. The solid support chosen as substrate for the immobilization of the MBs was a 30 nm tapered tip of an optical fiber, fabricated by chemical etching. With this set-up promising results were obtained and a limit of detection (LOD) of 0.57 nM was reached, opening up the possibility of using the proposed nanotip to detect mRNAs inside the cytoplasm of living cells.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 56
    Publication Date: 2015-04-25
    Description: While land serves numerous societal functions and contributes to sustainable development, it is often unclear how these functions are affected by political decisions and common drivers of land use change, such as economic development, climate change and demographic change. This study evaluates alternative land use scenarios in reference to a rural region of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region (China), where various processes and decisions have historically triggered unsustainable development. The scientifically tested “Framework for Participatory Impact Assessment (FoPIA)” method is developed further to address specific features of the case study region, and its function as a knowledge-brokerage (KB) tool is evaluated. Three scenarios are developed and analysed in expert workshops. “Land intensification: Agriculture” and “Land intensification: Mining” scenarios are found to have mainly negative environmental and social effects and positive economic impacts, while the “Environmental conservation and tourism” scenario is found to more positively affect all three sustainability dimensions. Assessments of methodological phases show that the FoPIA primarily serves to establish the KB process and that the framework particularly benefits from early examinations of scientific results by policy makers.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 57
    Publication Date: 2015-04-25
    Description: The Australian National Soil Research, Development and Extension Strategy identifies soil security as a foundation for the current and future productivity and profitability of Australian agriculture. Current agricultural production is attenuated by soil degradation. Future production is highly dependent on the condition of Australian soils. Soil degradation in Australia is dominated in its areal extent by soil erosion. We reiterate the use of soil erosion as a reliable indicator of soil condition/quality and a practical measure of soil degradation. We describe three key phases of soil degradation since European settlement, and show a clear link between inappropriate agricultural practices and the resultant soil degradation. We demonstrate that modern agricultural practices have had a marked effect on reducing erosion. Current advances in agricultural soil management could lead to further stabilization and slowing of soil degradation in addition to improving productivity. However, policy complacency towards soil degradation, combined with future climate projections of increased rainfall intensity but decreased volumes, warmer temperatures and increased time in drought may once again accelerate soil degradation and susceptibility to erosion and thus limit the ability of agriculture to advance without further improving soil management practices. Monitoring soil degradation may indicate land degradation, but we contend that monitoring will not lead to soil security. We propose the adoption of a triaging approach to soil degradation using the soil security framework, to prioritise treatment plans that engage science and agriculture to develop practices that simultaneously increase productivity and improve soil condition. This will provide a public policy platform for efficient allocation of public and private resources to secure Australia’s soil resource.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 58
    Publication Date: 2015-04-25
    Description: Children are an important stakeholder group for sustainable development, as they represent the interface between current and future generations. A comprehensive assessment of child development (CD) in the context of sustainable development is still missing. In this paper, as a first step, a literature review is conducted to identify relevant aspects and gaps related to the assessment of CD. The main issues of CD are categorized into seven themes: health, education, safety, economic status, relationships, participation, and newly proposed environmental aspects. The corresponding subthemes and criteria are classified accordingly (e.g., nutrition, child mortality, immunization, etc., are assigned to the theme health). However, gaps in current studies, such as the heterogeneous classification of relevant aspects, regional and societal bias in addressing certain aspects, the limited number of subthemes, and criteria and the missing inclusion of environmental aspects impede the assessment of sustainable child development. To address the existing gaps, a comprehensive framework, the Sustainable Child Development Index (SCDI), is proposed. The SCDI is based on sustainable development as the core value, considers relevant aspects of CD with regard to newly-proposed environmental aspects and includes 26 aspects on an outcome and 37 indicators on a context level to tackle the heterogeneous classifications and interdependencies of relevant aspects. The proposed index intends to strengthen the stakeholder perspective of children in sustainability assessment.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 59
    Publication Date: 2015-04-25
    Description: In this work, it is argued that effective protection of geological objects displaying heritage value requires the local community’s involvement in all geoconservation actions, i.e., inventory, evaluation, conservation, valuation and monitoring procedures, and not only at the final part of the process, when it is expected from local communities that the physical integrity of such objects is guaranteed. Community involvement in geoheritage inventory and evaluation procedures can be appraised by using a classification system that integrates both the geoheritage properties displayed by the geological objects and usually recognized by geoscientists (i.e., relevance grade) and the social role attributed to geological objects by communities outside Earth scientists that arise from the public perception of such objects (i.e., abstract perceptiveness). Using two case studies from southern Angola (Huíla Province) where both social and scientific components were taken into account in geoheritage evaluation procedures (Tundavala and Leba geosites), we propose a conceptual community-based model, which can be applicable to geoconservation purposes and actions in other African regions and converging with the main goals of the “African Alive Corridors” initiative.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 60
    Publication Date: 2015-04-25
    Description: A calibrated three-dimensional hydrodynamic model was applied to study subtidal water and salt exchanges at various cross sections of the Perdido Bay and Wolf Bay system using the Eulerian decomposition method from 6 September 2008 to 13 July 2009. Salinity, velocity, and water levels at each cross section were extracted from the model output to compute flow rates and salt fluxes. Eulerian analysis concluded that salt fluxes (exchanges) at the Perdido Pass and Dolphin Pass cross sections were dominated by tidal oscillatory transport FT, whereas shear dispersive transport FE (shear dispersion due to vertical and lateral shear transport) was dominant at the Perdido Pass complex, the Wolf-Perdido canal, and the lower Perdido Bay cross sections. The flow rate QF and total salt transport rate FS showed distinct variation in response to complex interactions between discharges from upstream rivers and tidal boundaries. QF and FS ranged from −619 m3·s−1 (seaward) to 179 m3·s−1 (landward) and −13,480–6289 kg·s−1 at Perdido Pass when river discharges ranged 11.0–762.5 m3·s−1 in the 2008–2009 simulation period.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4441
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 61
    Publication Date: 2015-04-28
    Description: In this paper, the stabilization problem in switched linear systems with time-varying delay under constrained state and control is investigated. The synthesis of bounded state-feedback controllers with memory ensures that a closed-loop state is positive and stable. Firstly, synthesis with a sign-restricted (nonnegative and negative) control is considered for general switched systems; then, the stabilization issue under bounded controls including the asymmetrically bounded controls and states constraints are addressed. In addition, the results are extended to systems with interval and polytopic uncertainties. All the proposed conditions are solvable in term of linear programming. Numerical examples illustrate the applicability of the results.
    Electronic ISSN: 1099-4300
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Physics
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  • 62
    Publication Date: 2015-04-28
    Description: Passenger flow modeling and station dwelling time estimation are significant elements for railway mass transit planning, but system operators usually have limited information to model the passenger flow. In this paper, an artificial-intelligence technique known as fuzzy logic is applied for the estimation of the elements of the origin-destination matrix and the dwelling time of stations in a railway transport system. The fuzzy inference engine used in the algorithm is based in the principle of maximum entropy. The approach considers passengers’ preferences to assign a level of congestion in each car of the train in function of the properties of the station platforms. This approach is implemented to estimate the passenger flow and dwelling times of the recently opened Line 1 of the Panama Metro. The dwelling times obtained from the simulation are compared to real measurements to validate the approach.
    Electronic ISSN: 1099-4300
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Physics
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  • 63
    Publication Date: 2015-04-28
    Description: In this work, the analysis of TerraSAR-X satellite images combining both conventional and advanced Differential Synthetic Aperture Radar Interferometry (DInSAR) approaches has proven to be effective to detect and monitor fast evolving mining subsidence on urban areas in the Upper Silesian Coal Basin (Poland). This region accounts for almost three million inhabitants where mining subsidence has produced severe damage to urban structures and infrastructures in recent years. Conventional DInSAR approach was used to generate 28 differential interferograms between 5 July 2011 and 21 June 2012 identifying 31 subsidence troughs that account up to 245 mm of displacement in 54 days (equivalent to 1660 mm/year). SqueeSARTM processing yielded a very dense measurement point distribution, failing to detect faster displacements than 330 mm/year, which occur within the subsidence troughs detected with conventional DInSAR. Despite this limitation, this approach was useful to delimit stable areas where mining activities are not conducted and areas affected by residual subsidence surrounding the detected subsidence troughs. These residual subsidence mining areas are located approximately 1 km away from the 31 detected subsidence troughs and account for a subsidence rate greater than 17 mm/year on average. The validation of this methodology has been performed over Bytom City were underground mining activity produced severe damages in August 2011. Conventional DInSAR permitted to successfully map subsidence troughs between July and August 2011 that coincide spatially and temporally with the evolution of underground mining excavations, as well as with the demolition of 28 buildings of Karb district. Additionally, SqueeSARTM displacement estimates were useful to delimit an area of 8.3 km2 of Bytom city that is affected by a residual mining subsidence greater than 5 mm/year and could potentially suffer damages in the midterm. The comparison between geodetic data and SqueeSARTM for the common monitoring period yields and average absolute difference of 7 mm/year, which represents 14% of the average displacement rate measured by the geodetic benchmarks. These results demonstrate that the combined exploitation of high-resolution satellite SAR data through both conventional and advanced DInSAR techniques could be crucial to monitor fast evolving mining subsidence, which may severely impact highly populated mining areas such as the Upper Silesia Coal Basin (USCB).
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 64
    Publication Date: 2015-04-28
    Description: Development of a sensitive and selective detection system for pathogenic viral agents is essential for medical healthcare from diagnostics to therapeutics. However, conventional detection systems are time consuming, resource-intensive and tedious to perform. Hence, the demand for sensitive and selective detection system for virus are highly increasing. To attain this aim, different aspects and techniques have been applied to develop virus sensor with improved sensitivity and selectivity. Here, among those aspects and techniques, this article reviews HIV virus particle detection systems incorporated with nanotechnology to enhance the sensitivity. This review mainly focused on four different detection system including vertically configured electrical detection based on scanning tunneling microscopy (STM), electrochemical detection based on direct electron transfer in virus, optical detection system based on localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) and surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) using plasmonic nanoparticle.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 65
    Publication Date: 2015-04-28
    Description: In this paper, an NO2 optical fiber sensor is presented for pollution monitoring in road traffic applications. This sensor exploits the simultaneous transmission of visible light, as a measurement signal, and UV light, for the recovery of the NO2 sensitive materials. The sensor is based on a multimode fiber tip coated with a thin film of lutetium bisphthalocyanine (LuPc2). The simultaneous injection of UV light through the fiber is an improvement on the previously developed NO2 sensors and allows the simplification of the sensor head, rendering the external UV illumination of the film unnecessary. Coatings of different thicknesses were deposited on the optical fiber tips and the best performance was obtained for a 15 nm deposited thickness, with a sensitivity of 5.02 mV/ppm and a resolution of 0.2 ppb in the range 0–5 ppm. The response and recovery times are not dependent on thickness, meaning that NO2 does not diffuse completely in the films.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 66
    Publication Date: 2015-04-28
    Description: Smartphones have been widely used recently to monitor heart rate and activity, since they have the necessary processing power, non-invasive and cost-effective sensors, and wireless communication capabilities. Consequently, healthcare applications (apps) using smartphone-based sensors have been highlighted for non-invasive physiological monitoring. In addition, several healthcare apps have received FDA clearance. However, in spite of their potential, healthcare apps with smartphone-based sensors are mostly used outside of hospitals and have not been widely adopted for patient care in hospitals until recently. In this paper, we describe the experience of using smartphone apps with sensors in a large medical center in Korea. Among >20 apps developed in our medical center, four were extensively analyzed (“My Cancer Diary”, “Point-of-Care HIV Check”, “Blood Culture” and “mAMIS”), since they use smartphone-based sensors such as the camera and barcode reader to enter data into the electronic health record system. By analyzing the usage patterns of these apps for data entry with sensors, the current limitations of smartphone-based sensors in a clinical setting, hurdles against adoption in the medical center, benefits of smartphone-based sensors and potential future research directions could be evaluated.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 67
    Publication Date: 2015-04-28
    Description: A pressure-sensitive film was used to characterize the asperity contacts alonga polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) interface in the laboratory. The film has structuralhealth monitoring (SHM) applications for flanges and other precision fittings and trainrail condition monitoring. To calibrate the film, simple spherical indentation tests wereperformed and validated against a finite element model (FEM) to compare normal stressprofiles. Experimental measurements of the normal stress profiles were within
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 68
    Publication Date: 2015-04-28
    Description: A valuable aid to assessing and managing flood risk lies in a reliable database of historical floods. In this study, a newspaper-based flood database for Shanghai (NFDS) for the period 1949–2009 was developed through a systematic scanning of newspapers. After calibration and validation of the database, Mann-Kendall tests and correlation analysis were applied to detect possible changes in flood frequencies. The analysis was carried out for three different flood types: overbank flood, agricultural waterlogging, and urban waterlogging. The compiled NFDS registered 146 floods and 92% of them occurred in the flood-prone season from June to September. The statistical analyses showed that both the annual flood and the floods in June–August increased significantly. Urban waterlogging showed a very strong increasing trend, probably because of insufficient capacity of urban drainage system and impacts of rapid urbanization. By contrast, the decrease in overbank flooding and the slight increase in agricultural waterlogging were likely because of the construction of river levees and seawalls and the upgrade of agricultural drainage systems, respectively. This study demonstrated the usefulness of local newspapers in building a historical flood database and in assessing flood characterization.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4441
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 69
    Publication Date: 2015-04-28
    Description: Wetlands provide invaluable ecosystem services and contribute significantly to food security around the world. To maintain these functions, wetlands need to be protected from rapid transformation and overuse. Spatially-explicit information is required for sustainable wetland management. Development of wetland maps based on remote sensing requires a clear-cut definition of wetlands. This review was undertaken to improve the understanding of these habitats from a remote sensing perspective and to determine available wetland map layers for the East African countries of Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. This study includes three components: (1) a review of the availability and types of wetland definitions from the scientific literature record (including 245 separate references); (2) a systematic analysis of land use/land cover classifications and the conceptual approaches and spatial coverages of wetland classes for each system; and (3) a depiction of wetland layers and a discussion of their suitability for use in regional inventories. Our literature review shows that a standard definition of wetlands is not in use, and a specific definition of wetlands is not given in more than 40% of the reviewed remote sensing publications. Spatial information on East African wetlands is currently insufficient for use in regional wetland management.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 70
    Publication Date: 2015-04-28
    Description: Timely and nondestructive monitoring of leaf area index (LAI) using remote sensing techniques is crucial for precise and efficient management of crops. In this paper, a new spectral index (SI) for estimating LAI of winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is proposed on the basis of field hyperspectral measurements. A simple index based on the empirical relationships between LAIs and SIs of all available two-waveband combinations from hyperspectral data is developed by considering the difference between reflectance values at 760 and 739 nm (DSIR760–R739 = R760 – R739). Among published and newly developed SIs, DSIR760–R739 exhibited a significant and strong linear relationship with LAI and showed outstanding performance in LAI assessments. The permissible bandwidths for broad-band DSIR760–R739 investigated using simulated reflectance were 5 nm for both 760 and 739 nm center wavelengths. The results indicate that the linear regression model based on the narrow-band and broad-band DSIR760–R739 is a simple but accurate method for timely and nondestructive monitoring of LAI.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 71
    Publication Date: 2015-04-28
    Description: In order to study forests at the global scale, a detailed link budget for a lidar system onboard satellite is presented. It is based on an original approach coupling airborne lidar observations and an end-to-end simulator. The simulator is initialized by airborne lidar measurements performed over temperate and tropical forests on the French territory, representing a wide range of forests ecosystems. Considering two complementary wavelengths of 355 and 1064 nm, the end-to-end simulator computes the performance of spaceborne lidar systems for different orbits. The analysis is based on forest structural (tree top height, quadratic mean canopy height) and optical (forest optical thickness) parameters. Although an ultraviolet lidar appears to be a good candidate for airborne measurements, our results show that the limited energy is not favorable for spaceborne missions with such a wavelength. A near infrared wavelength at 1064 nm is preferable, requiring ~100 mJ laser emitted energy, which is in agreement with current and future spaceborne missions involving a lidar. We find that the signal-to-noise ratio at the ground level to extract both the structural and optical parameters of forests must be larger than 10. Hence, considering the presence of clouds and aerosols in the atmosphere and assuming a stationary forest, a good detection probability of 99% can be reached when 4 or 5 satellite revisits are considered for a lidar system onboard the ISS or ICESat, respectively. This concerns ~90% of forest covers observed from the lidar, which have an optical thickness less than 3.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 72
    Publication Date: 2015-04-28
    Description: Static strain can be detected by measuring a cross-correlation of reflection spectra from two fiber Bragg gratings (FBGs). However, the static-strain measurement resolution is limited by the dominant Gaussian noise source when using this traditional method. This paper presents a novel static-strain demodulation algorithm for FBG-based Fabry-Perot interferometers (FBG-FPs). The Hilbert transform is proposed for changing the Gaussian distribution of the two FBG-FPs’ reflection spectra, and a cross third-order cumulant is used to use the results of the Hilbert transform and get a group of noise-vanished signals which can be used to accurately calculate the wavelength difference of the two FBG-FPs. The benefit by these processes is that Gaussian noise in the spectra can be suppressed completely in theory and a higher resolution can be reached. In order to verify the precision and flexibility of this algorithm, a detailed theory model and a simulation analysis are given, and an experiment is implemented. As a result, a static-strain resolution of 0.9 nε under laboratory environment condition is achieved, showing a higher resolution than the traditional cross-correlation method.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 73
    Publication Date: 2015-04-28
    Description: This study is to construct a non-contact pulse automatic positioning measurement system for Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) using optical triangulation measurements. The system consists of a linear laser, a CMOS image sensor and image analysis software. The linear laser is projected on the pulse beat location on the wrists; the CMOS image sensor records the process and the software analyzes the images. The program mainly uses the optical centroid and fast Fourier transform (FFT) principles to calculate centroid changes (pulse amplitude changes) from the images taken by the CMOS image sensor. It returns the positions of cun, guan and chi pulses automatically in terms of the amplitudes and the signals are then transformed from the time domain (time-amplitude) into the frequency domain (frequency-amplitude) via FFT to obtain the waveforms and frequencies of the cun, guan and chi pulses. It successfully extracts the data from the TCM pulse reading and can be a medical aid system for TCM. Combining the advantages of optical measurement and computer automation, this system provides a non-contact, easy to operate, fast in detection and low-cost equipment design.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 74
    Publication Date: 2015-04-28
    Description: Optical-resolution photoacoustic microscopy (OR-PAM) is an imaging tool to provide in vivo optically sensitive images in biomedical research. To achieve a small size, fast imaging speed, wide scan range, and high signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs) in a water environment, we introduce a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)-based 2-axis scanner for a flexible and waterproof structure. The design, theoretical background, fabrication process and performance of the scanner are explained in details. The designed and fabricated scanner has dimensions of 15 × 15 × 15 mm along the X, Y and Z axes, respectively. The characteristics of the scanner are tested under DC and AC conditions. By pairing with electromagnetic forces, the maximum scanning angles in air and water are 18° and 13° along the X and Y axes, respectively. The measured resonance frequencies in air and water are 60 and 45 Hz along the X axis and 45 and 30 Hz along the Y axis, respectively. Finally, OR-PAM with high SNRs is demonstrated using the fabricated scanner, and the PA images of micro-patterned samples and microvasculatures of a mouse ear are successfully obtained with high-resolution and wide-field of view. OR-PAM equipped with the 2-axis PDMS based waterproof scanner has lateral and axial resolutions of 3.6 μm and 26 μm, respectively. This compact OR-PAM system could potentially and widely be used in preclinical and clinical applications.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 75
    Publication Date: 2015-04-28
    Description: Organic growers face unique challenges when raising sweet corn, and benefit from varieties that maintain high eating quality, germinate consistently, deter insect pests, and resist diseases. Genotype by environment rank changes can occur in the performance of cultivars grown on conventional and organic farms, yet few varieties have been bred specifically for organic systems. The objective of this experiment was to evaluate the changes made to open-pollinated sweet corn populations using recurrent selection and a participatory plant breeding (PPB) methodology. From 2008 to 2011, four cycles of two open-pollinated (OP) sweet corn populations were selected on a certified organic farm in Minnesota using a modified ear-to-row recurrent selection scheme. Selections were made in collaboration with an organic farmer, with selection criteria based on traits identified by the farmer. In 2012 and 2013, the population cycles were evaluated in a randomized complete block design in two certified organic locations in Wisconsin, with multiple replications in each environment. Significant linear trends were found among cycles of selection for quantitative and qualitative traits, suggesting the changes were due to recurrent selection and PPB methodology for these populations. However, further improvement is necessary to satisfy the requirements for a useful cultivar for organic growers.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 76
    Publication Date: 2015-04-28
    Description: The objective of this paper was to spatially quantify diffuse pollution sources and estimate the potential efficiency of applying riparian buffer zones as a conservation practice for mitigating chemical pollutant losses. This study was conducted using a semi-distributed Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model that underwent extensive calibration and validation in the Sulejów Reservoir catchment (SRC), which occupies 4900 km2 in central Poland. The model was calibrated and validated against daily discharges (10 gauges), NO3-N and TP loads (7 gauges). Overall, the model generally performed well during the calibration period but not during the validation period for simulating discharge and loading of NO3-N and TP. Diffuse agricultural sources appeared to be the main contributors to the elevated NO3-N and TP loads in the streams. The existing, default representation of buffer zones in SWAT uses a VFS sub-model that only affects the contaminants present in surface runoff. The results of an extensive monitoring program carried out in 2011–2013 in the SRC suggest that buffer zones are highly efficient for reducing NO3-N and TP concentrations in shallow groundwater. On average, reductions of 56% and 76% were observed, respectively. An improved simulation of buffer zones in SWAT was achieved through empirical upscaling of the measurement results. The mean values of the sub-basin level reductions are 0.16 kg NO3/ha (5.9%) and 0.03 kg TP/ha (19.4%). The buffer zones simulated using this approach contributed 24% for NO3-N and 54% for TP to the total achieved mean reduction at the sub-basin level. This result suggests that additional measures are needed to achieve acceptable water quality status in all water bodies of the SRC, despite the fact that the buffer zones have a high potential for reducing contaminant emissions.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4441
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 77
    Publication Date: 2015-04-28
    Description: Palm oil fuel ash (POFA) has previously been used as a partial cement replacement in concrete. However, limited research has been undertaken to utilize POFA in high volume in concrete. This paper presents a study on the treatment and utilization of POFA in high volume of up to 50% by weight of cement in self-consolidating high strength concrete (SCHSC). POFA was treated via heat treatment to reduce the content of unburned carbon. Ordinary Portland cement was substituted with 0%, 10%, 20%, 30%, and 50% treated POFA in SCHSC. Tests have been conducted on the fresh properties, such as filling ability, passing ability and segregation resistance, as well as compressive strength, drying shrinkage and acid attack resistance to check the effect of high volume treated POFA on SCHSC. The results revealed that compared to the control concrete mix, the fresh properties, compressive strength, drying shrinkage, and resistance against acid attack have been significantly improved. Conclusively, treated POFA can be used in high volume as a cement replacement to produce SCHSC with an improvement in its properties.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 78
    Publication Date: 2015-04-28
    Description: In this work, the results obtained from studying the corrosion of cast iron in freely aerated stagnant Arabian Gulf seawater (AGS) at room temperature were reported. The study was carried out using weight-loss (WL), cyclic potentiodynamic polarization (CPP), open-circuit potential (OCP), and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) measurements and complemented by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) investigations. WL experiments between two and 10 days’ immersion in the test electrolyte indicated that the weight-loss the cast iron increases with increasing the time of immersion. CPP measurements after 1 h and 24 h exposure period showed that the increase of time decreases the corrosion via decreasing the anodic and cathodic currents, as well as decreasing the corrosion current and corrosion rate and increasing the polarization resistance of the cast iron. EIS data confirmed the ones obtained by WL and CPP that the increase of immersion time decreases the corrosion of cast iron by increasing its polarization resistance.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 79
    Publication Date: 2015-04-28
    Description: Characterizing the way satellite-based aerosol statistics change near clouds is important for better understanding both aerosol-cloud interactions and aerosol direct radiative forcing. This study focuses on the question of whether the observed near-cloud increases in aerosol optical thickness and particle size may be explained by a combination of two factors: (i) Near-cloud data coming from areas with higher cloud fractions than far-from-cloud data and (ii) Cloud fraction being correlated with aerosol optical thickness and particle size. This question is addressed through a statistical analysis of aerosol parameters included in the MODIS (MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) ocean color product. Results from ten Septembers (2002–2011) over part of the northeast Atlantic Ocean confirm that the combination of these two factors working together explains a significant but not dominant part (in our case, 15%–30%) of mean optical thickness changes near clouds. Overall, the findings show that cloud fraction plays a large role in shaping the way aerosol statistics change with distance to clouds. This implies that both cloud fraction and distance to clouds are important to consider when aerosol-cloud interactions or aerosol direct radiative effects are examined in satellite or modeling studies.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 80
    Publication Date: 2015-04-29
    Description: Activated carbon has been synthesized from local palm shell, cardboard and plastics municipal waste in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It exhibits a surface area of 930 m2/g and total pore volume of 0.42 cm3/g. This pristine activated carbon has been further anchored with nickel, palladium and platinum metal particles by ultrasound-assisted impregnation. Deposition of nanosized Pt particles as small as 3 nm has been achieved, while for Ni and Pd their size reaches 100 nm. The solid-gas hydrogenation properties of the pristine and metal-anchored activated carbon have been determined. The pristine material exhibits a reversible hydrogen storage capacity of 2.3 wt% at 77 K and 3 MPa which is higher than for the doped ones. In these materials, the spillover effect due to metal doping is of minor importance in enhancing the hydrogen uptake compared with the counter-effect of the additional mass of the metal particles and pore blocking on the carbon surface.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 81
    Publication Date: 2015-04-29
    Description: Estimation of state of charge (SOC) is of great importance for lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries used in electric vehicles. This paper presents a state of charge estimation method using nonlinear predictive filter (NPF) and evaluates the proposed method on the lithium-ion batteries with different chemistries. Contrary to most conventional filters which usually assume a zero mean white Gaussian process noise, the advantage of NPF is that the process noise in NPF is treated as an unknown model error and determined as a part of the solution without any prior assumption, and it can take any statistical distribution form, which improves the estimation accuracy. In consideration of the model accuracy and computational complexity, a first-order equivalent circuit model is applied to characterize the battery behavior. The experimental test is conducted on the LiCoO2 and LiFePO4 battery cells to validate the proposed method. The results show that the NPF method is able to accurately estimate the battery SOC and has good robust performance to the different initial states for both cells. Furthermore, the comparison study between NPF and well-established extended Kalman filter for battery SOC estimation indicates that the proposed NPF method has better estimation accuracy and converges faster.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 82
    Publication Date: 2015-04-29
    Description: Effective population size (Ne) is a crucial metric for evaluating the current status of genetic diversity and conservation management. Population of Kandelia obovata, a mangrove species that is patchily distributed along the estuaries off Southeastern China, is genetically structured. Here, we applied skyline analyses to infer the demographic history of K. obovata based on Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphisms (AFLP) data. Congruent trends of population growth rate among populations, but concurrent change in Ne estimates, were inferred in all populations. The recent rapid habitat expansion explains the high census population size but small Ne of populations in Northern Taiwan. Our study also revealed lower Ne of reforested populations than their sources. In silico demographic analyses simulate the small or biased sampling of seedlings for reforestation and revealed over 90% and 99% Ne reduction when only 1/2 and 1/10 samples were collected, respectively. These results emphasize the importance of a comprehensive sampling of seeds for restoration. Overall, this study rendered, not only the current Ne of K. obovata populations, but also indicates the importance of Ne estimation on restoration.
    Electronic ISSN: 1999-4907
    Topics: Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition