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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2018-01-01
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 59: A Study on Corrosion Inhibitor for Mild Steel in Ethanol Fuel Blend Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11010059 Authors: Nguyen Vu Pham Hien Tran Man Vu Hanh Thu Mai Tri Nguyen Nam The main aim of this study is to investigate Aganonerion polymorphum leaf-ethyl acetate extract (APL-EAE) and its inhibiting effect for steel in ethanol fuel blend. The immersion test, electrochemical and surface analysis techniques were successfully carried out in this research. Scanning electron microscope images indicated that the ethanol fuel blend induced pitting corrosion of steel. Remarkably, the surface of the sample containing 1000 ppm APL-EAE is smoother than the others submerged in different conditions. The electrochemical impedance spectroscopy result shows that APL-EAE has formed a good protective layer, preventing corrosive factors from hitting the steel surface. The potentiodynamic polarization data argue that the corrosion inhibition efficiency was strengthened with the increase of APL-EAE concentration. The Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy demonstrated less intensity of Fe peaks, higher intensity of C1s peak and the appearance of organic peaks (N1s, P2p, O1s) from specimens with and without APL-EAE addition. Therefore, the results suggest the formation of the protective film on steel surface and affirm that APL-EAE has served as an effective corrosion inhibitor for steel in ethanol fuel blend.
    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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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2018-01-01
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 60: The Effect of Coatings and Nerve Growth Factor on Attachment and Differentiation of Pheochromocytoma Cells Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11010060 Authors: Anna Orlowska Pallale Perera Mohammad Al Kobaisi Andre Dias Huu Nguyen Shahram Ghanaati Vladimir Baulin Russell Crawford Elena Ivanova Cellular attachment plays a vital role in the differentiation of pheochromocytoma (PC12) cells. PC12 cells are noradrenergic clonal cells isolated from the adrenal medulla of Rattus norvegicus and studied extensively as they have the ability to differentiate into sympathetic neuron-like cells. The effect of several experimental parameters including (i) the concentration of nerve growth factor (NGF); (ii) substratum coatings, such as poly-L-lysine (PLL), fibronectin (Fn), and laminin (Lam); and (iii) double coatings composed of PLL/Lam and PLL/Fn on the differentiation process of PC12 cells were studied. Cell morphology was visualised using brightfield phase contrast microscopy, cellular metabolism and proliferation were quantified using a 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-5-(3-carboxymethoxyphenyl)-2-(4-sulfophenyl)-2H-tetrazolium (MTS) assay, and the neurite outgrowth and axonal generation of the PC12 cells were evaluated using wide field fluorescence microscopy. It was found that double coatings of PLL/Lam and PLL/Fn supported robust adhesion and a two-fold enhanced neurite outgrowth of PC12 cells when treated with 100 ng/mL of NGF while exhibiting stable metabolic activity, leading to the accelerated generation of axons.
    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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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2018-01-01
    Description: Geosciences, Vol. 8, Pages 6: Flood Hazard Management in Public Mountain Recreation Areas vs. Ungauged Fluvial Basins. Case Study of the Caldera de Taburiente National Park, Canary Islands (Spain) Geosciences doi: 10.3390/geosciences8010006 Authors: Julio Garrote Andrés Díez-Herrero José Bodoque María Perucha Pablo Mayer Mar Génova Las Angustias River is an ungauged stream in the Caldera de Taburiente National Park (Spain), where frequent intense flash-flood events occur. The aim of this research is to analyze the flood hazard at the Playa de Taburiente. Based on the limited information available (short time-series of daily precipitation), a statistical frequency analysis of 24 h rainfall was completed and the precipitation results were transformed into surface runoff. To determine if the model underestimates the flows that are generated in the basin, the dendro-geomorphological information available was used to calibrate results. The results of the HMS model were significantly lower. At this point, both the rainfall data and the rainfall-runoff model were re-analyzed to maximize the rainfall intensity values and the runoff generated (increasing the CN value for the basin). For the 1997 flood event, a 1250 m3·s−1 flood minimizes the RMSE for the disturbed tree sample; this flow value also clearly exceeds any peak flow derived from the rainfall-runoff analysis. It is only when rainfall intensity and surface runoff are maximized that the peak flows obtained approximate those associated with dendro-geomorphological data. The results highlight the difficulties of flood hazard management in ungauged torrential basins in mountain recreational areas (such as National Parks). Thus, in the absence of flow records, when considering the maximum rainfall intensity scenario may be a useful and effective tool for flood risk management.
    Electronic ISSN: 2076-3263
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2018-01-01
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 58: Effect of CeO2 on Microstructure and Wear Resistance of TiC Bioinert Coatings on Ti6Al4V Alloy by Laser Cladding Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11010058 Authors: Tao Chen Defu Liu Fan Wu Haojun Wang To solve the lack of wear resistance of titanium alloys for use in biological applications, various prepared coatings on titanium alloys are often used as wear-resistant materials. In this paper, TiC bioinert coatings were fabricated on Ti6Al4V by laser cladding using mixed TiC and ZrO2 powders as the basic pre-placed materials. A certain amount of CeO2 powder was also added to the pre-placed powders to further improve the properties of the TiC coatings. The effects of CeO2 additive on the phase constituents, microstructures and wear resistance of the TiC coatings were researched in detail. Although the effect of CeO2 on the phase constituents of the coatings was slight, it had a significant effect on the microstructure and wear resistance of the coatings. The crystalline grains in the TiC coatings, observed by a scanning electron microscope (SEM), were refined due to the effect of the CeO2. With the increase of CeO2 additive content in the pre-placed powders, finer and more compact dendrites led to improvement of the micro-hardness and wear resistance of the TiC coatings. Also, 5 wt % content of CeO2 additive in the pre-placed powders was the best choice for improving the wear properties of the TiC coatings.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2018-01-01
    Description: Remote Sensing, Vol. 10, Pages 54: LakeTime: Automated Seasonal Scene Selection for Global Lake Mapping Using Landsat ETM+ and OLI Remote Sensing doi: 10.3390/rs10010054 Authors: Evan Lyons Yongwei Sheng The Landsat series of satellites provide a nearly continuous, high resolution data record of the Earth surface from the early 1970s through to the present. The public release of the entire Landsat archive, free of charge, along with modern computing capacity, has enabled Earth monitoring at the global scale with high spatial resolution. With the large data volume and seasonality varying across the globe, image selection is a particularly important challenge for regional and global multitemporal studies to remove the interference of seasonality from long term trends. This paper presents an automated method for selecting images for global scale lake mapping to minimize the influence of seasonality, while maintaining long term trends in lake surface area dynamics. Using historical meteorological data and a simple water balance model, we define the most stable period after the rainy season, when inflows equal outflows, independently for each Landsat tile and select images acquired during that ideal period for lake surface area mapping. The images selected using this method provide nearly complete global area coverage at decadal episodes for circa 2000 and circa 2014 from Landsat Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) and Operational Land Imager (OLI) sensors, respectively. This method is being used in regional and global lake dynamics mapping projects, and is potentially applicable to any regional/global scale remote sensing application.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2018-01-01
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 98: A Localized Surface Plasmon Resonance Sensor Using Double-Metal-Complex Nanostructures and a Review of Recent Approaches Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18010098 Authors: Heesang Ahn Hyerin Song Jong-ryul Choi Kyujung Kim From active developments and applications of various devices to acquire outside and inside information and to operate based on feedback from that information, the sensor market is growing rapidly. In accordance to this trend, the surface plasmon resonance (SPR) sensor, an optical sensor, has been actively developed for high-sensitivity real-time detection. In this study, the fundamentals of SPR sensors and recent approaches for enhancing sensing performance are reported. In the section on the fundamentals of SPR sensors, a brief description of surface plasmon phenomena, SPR, SPR-based sensing applications, and several configuration types of SPR sensors are introduced. In addition, advanced nanotechnology- and nanofabrication-based techniques for improving the sensing performance of SPR sensors are proposed: (1) localized SPR (LSPR) using nanostructures or nanoparticles; (2) long-range SPR (LRSPR); and (3) double-metal-layer SPR sensors for additional performance improvements. Consequently, a high-sensitivity, high-biocompatibility SPR sensor method is suggested. Moreover, we briefly describe issues (miniaturization and communication technology integration) for future SPR sensors.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2018-01-01
    Description: Remote Sensing, Vol. 10, Pages 55: Using Multitemporal Sentinel-1 C-band Backscatter to Monitor Phenology and Classify Deciduous and Coniferous Forests in Northern Switzerland Remote Sensing doi: 10.3390/rs10010055 Authors: Marius Rüetschi Michael Schaepman David Small Efficient methods to monitor forested areas help us to better understand their processes. To date, only a few studies have assessed the usability of multitemporal synthetic aperture radar (SAR) datasets in this context. Here we present an analysis of an unprecedented set of C-band observations of mixed temperate forests. We demonstrate the potential of using multitemporal C-band VV and VH polarisation data for monitoring phenology and classifying forests in northern Switzerland. Each SAR acquisition was first radiometrically terrain corrected using digital elevation model-based image simulations of the local illuminated area. The flattened backscatter values and the local area values were input to a temporal compositing process integrating backscatter values from ascending and descending tracks. The process used local resolution weighting of each input, producing composite backscatter values that strongly mitigated terrain-induced distortions. Several descriptors were calculated to show the seasonal variation of European beech (Fagus sylvatica), oak (Quercus robur, Quercus petraea) and Norway spruce (Picea abies) in C-band data. Using their distinct seasonal signatures, the timing of leaf emergence and leaf fall of the deciduous species were estimated and compared to available ground observations. Furthermore, classifications for the forest types ‘deciduous’ and ‘coniferous’ and the investigated species were implemented using random forest classifiers. The deciduous species backscatter was about 1 dB higher than spruce throughout the year in both polarisations. The forest types showed opposing seasonal backscatter behaviours. At VH, deciduous species showed higher backscatter in winter than in summer, whereas spruce showed higher backscatter in summer than in winter. In VV, this pattern was similar for spruce, while no distinct seasonal behaviour was apparent for the deciduous species. The time differences between the estimations and the ground observations of the phenological events were approximately within the error margin ( ± 12 days) of the temporal resolution. The classification performances were promising, with higher accuracies achieved for the forest types (OA of 86% and κ = 0.73) than for individual species (OA of 72% and κ = 0.58). These results show that multitemporal C-band backscatter data have significant potential to supplement optical remote sensing data for ecological studies and mapping of mixed temperate forests.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2018-01-01
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 94: Integrated Temperature and Hydrogen Sensors with MEMS Technology Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18010094 Authors: Hongchuan Jiang Min Huang Yibing Yu Xiaoyu Tian Xiaohui Zhao Wanli Zhang Jianfeng Zhang Yifan Huang Kun Yu In this work, a PdNi thin film hydrogen gas sensor with integrated Pt thin film temperature sensor was designed and fabricated using the micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) process. The integrated sensors consist of two resistors: the former, based on Pt film, is used as a temperature sensor, while the latter had the function of hydrogen sensing and is based on PdNi alloy film. The temperature coefficient of resistance (TCR) in both devices was measured and the output response of the PdNi film hydrogen sensor was calibrated based on the temperature acquired by the Pt temperature sensor. The SiN layer was deposited on top of Pt film to inhibit the hydrogen diffusion and reduce consequent disturbance on temperature measurement. The TCR of the PdNi film and the Pt film was about 0.00122/K and 0.00217/K, respectively. The performances of the PdNi film hydrogen sensor were investigated with hydrogen concentrations from 0.3% to 3% on different temperatures from 294.7 to 302.2 K. With the measured temperature of the Pt resistor and the TCR of the PdNi film, the impact of the temperature on the performances of the PdNi film hydrogen sensor was reduced. The output response, response time and recovery time of the PdNi film hydrogen sensors under the hydrogen concentration of 0.5%, 1.0%, 1.5% and 2.0% were measured at 313 K. The output response of the PdNi thin film hydrogen sensors increased with increasing hydrogen concentration while the response time and recovery time decreased. A cycling test between pure nitrogen and 3% hydrogen concentration was performed at 313 K and PdNi thin film hydrogen sensor demonstrated great repeatability in the cycling test.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2018-01-01
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 93: Low-Cost Servomotor Driver for PFM Control Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18010093 Authors: David Aragon-Jurado Arturo Morgado-Estevez Fernando Perez-Peña Servomotors have already been around for some decades and they are extremely popular among roboticists due to their simple control technique, reliability and low-cost. They are usually controlled by using Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) and this paper aims to keep the idea of simplicity and low-cost, while introducing a new control technique: Pulse Frequency Modulation (PFM). The objective of this paper is to focus on our development of a low-cost servomotor controller which will allow the research community to use them with PFM. A low-cost commercial servomotor is used as the base system for the development: a small PCB that fits inside the case and allocates all the electronic components to control the motor has been designed to replace the original. The potentiometer is retained as the feedback sensor and a microcontroller is responsible for controlling the position of the motor. The paper compares the performance of a PWM and a PFM controlled servomotor. The comparison shows that the servomotor with our controller achieves a faster mechanism for switching targets and a lower latency. This controller can be used with neuromorphic systems to remove the conversion from events to PWM.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2018-01-01
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 86: Overview of the Main Disinfection Processes for Wastewater and Drinking Water Treatment Plants Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10010086 Authors: Maria Collivignarelli Alessandro Abbà Ilaria Benigna Sabrina Sorlini Vincenzo Torretta The use of water disinfection as a public health measure reduces the spread of diseases. Various disinfection technologies can be used to meet the pathogen inactivation demand in water. This work is an overview of the main disinfection technologies of wastewater and drinking water that reports for the conventional processes the action mechanism, the possible formation of by-products, the operative conditions, the advantages and disadvantages. For advanced and natural processes the action mechanisms are reported. Advanced technologies are interesting but are still in the research state, while conventional technologies are the most used. There is a tendency, especially in Italy, to use chlorine-based disinfectant, despite in some forms could lead to production of disinfection by-products.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 11
    Publication Date: 2018-01-01
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 88: The Effects of Operational Structure Change on Performance after Seasoned Equity Offerings Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10010088 Authors: Chihyoun Ahn Mi-Ok Kim Hyung-Rok Jung Sustainability is directly linked to firms’ survival in competitive markets. To survive, firms need extra capital, and seasoned equity offerings (SEOs) are one sustainability strategy. Additional resources from SEOs lead to changes in firms’ operational structure, which brings future sustainability. This study investigates whether there is sustainability in firms’ operational structure and the effects of sustainable development on operational performance and market reaction. We measure the operational structure change of firms as three proxies: (1) the rate of increase in the number of operating segments, (2) the Berry–Herfindahl index using the ratio of sales of each operating segment out of total sales, and (3) the size of net investment in plant and equipment. Our results show that operational structure change has a statistically significant and positive correlation with long-term operating performance. In addition, there is no significant stock price response at first, but the operating performance in the next term is perceived as a favorable factor after three years. The results show that there are different responses in the stock market toward operational structure change. The empirical results confirm that firms with SEO have sustainable development in operational structure and that markets recognize firms’ sustainability strategy arising from SEOs.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 12
    Publication Date: 2018-01-02
    Description: Energies, Vol. 11, Pages 89: Development of an Advanced Rule-Based Control Strategy for a PHEV Using Machine Learning Energies doi: 10.3390/en11010089 Authors: Hanho Son Hyunhwa Kim Sungho Hwang Hyunsoo Kim This paper presents an advanced rule-based mode control strategy (ARBC) for a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) considering the driving cycle characteristics and present battery state of charge (SOC). Using dynamic programming (DP) results, the behavior of the optimal operating mode was investigated for city (UDDS×2, JC08 ×2) and highway (HWFET ×2, NEDC ×2) driving cycles. It was found that the operating mode selection varies according to the driving cycle characteristics and battery SOC. To consider these characteristics, a predictive mode control map was developed using the machine learning algorithm, and ARBC was proposed, which can be implemented in real-time environments. The performance of ARBC was evaluated by comparing it with rule-based mode control (RBC), which is a CD-CS mode control strategy. It was found that the equivalent fuel economy of ARBC was improved by 1.9–3.3% by selecting the proper operating mode from the viewpoint of system efficiency for the whole driving cycle, regardless of the battery SOC.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 13
    Publication Date: 2018-01-02
    Description: Energies, Vol. 11, Pages 90: Experimental Study on the Heat Release Operational Characteristics of a Soil Coupled Ground Heat Exchanger with Assisted Cooling Tower Energies doi: 10.3390/en11010090 Authors: Weibo Yang Binbin Yang Rui Xu Hybrid ground source heat pump systems (HGSHPS) with assisted cooling towers is one of the most efficient cooling and heating technologies for buildings with cooling-dominated loads. For the system, the coupled heat release mode between the ground heat exchanger (GHE) and cooling tower is vital for underground soil temperature recovery characteristics and system operation performance. In order to obtain the heat release operation characteristics with different coupled modes of the GHE and cooling tower, a set of multi-functional heat release experimental systems of soil coupled GHE with assisted cooling tower was constructed. The experimental investigations on the system heat release operation characteristics operated in the separate GHE heat release mode, combination heat release mode and day and night alternate heat release mode were undertaken based on the experimental system. The results show that for the separate GHE heat release mode, the heat release rate of GHE rises rapidly during the first two hours of operation, then, gradually tends to be steady, and the soil excess temperatures at various depths gradually rise with time. For the combination heat release mode with continuous operation of cooling tower, in view of reducing soil heat accumulation and accelerating soil temperature recovery, it is more conducive to the heat release by opening the cooling tower on sunny days. For the combination heat release mode with intermittent operation of cooling tower, when the total time ratio of cooling tower running to stop is constant, the intermittent time is longer, the better the effect of soil temperature recovery. Additionally, the soil temperature recovery rate can be improved greatly by the release heat operation of cooling tower during night, and the longer the cooling tower runs, the closer the soil temperature is to the initial temperature.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 14
    Publication Date: 2018-01-02
    Description: Energies, Vol. 11, Pages 91: An Improved Grey Model and Scenario Analysis for Carbon Intensity Forecasting in the Pearl River Delta Region of China Energies doi: 10.3390/en11010091 Authors: Fei Ye Xinxiu Xie Li Zhang Xiaoling Hu Abstract: In this paper, an improved grey model and scenario analysis, GA-GM(1,N) is proposed to forecast the carbon intensity in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) region, one of the most developed regions in China. Moreover, to show the advantage and feasibility of the proposed model, the forecasting results of the GA-GM(1,N) model are compared with that of a single-variable grey model (GM (1,1)) and a multivariable form (GM(1,N)). Data from one sample period (2005–2012) are used to develop the models, and data from another sample period (2013–2015) are used to test them. The mean absolute percentage error (MAPE) is applied to measure the accuracy of prediction. The results show that, of the three models, GA-GM(1,N) produces the best carbon intensity forecasts, with MAPEs of 0.4–1.4% and 0.04–0.4% in the development and testing periods respectively. This indicates that the optimization of the genetic algorithm is effective. The realization of carbon reduction targets in different cities is also explored by combining grey models with scenario analysis. Only Guangzhou could achieve its reduction target under all scenarios, and it can serve as a reference for other cities. Policy recommendations are provided based on these results.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 15
    Publication Date: 2018-01-02
    Description: Energies, Vol. 11, Pages 43: Rate Decline Analysis for Modeling Volume Fractured Well Production in Naturally Fractured Reservoirs Energies doi: 10.3390/en11010043 Authors: Mingxian Wang Zifei Fan Guoqiang Xing Wenqi Zhao Heng Song Penghui Su Based on the property discontinuity in the radial direction, this paper develops a new composite model to simulate the productivity of volume fractured wells in naturally fractured reservoirs. The analytical solution of this model is derived in detail and its accuracy is verified by the same model’s numerical solution. Detailed analyses of the traditional transient and cumulative rate are provided for the composite model. Results show that volume fracturing mainly contributes to the early-flow period’s production rate. As interregional diffusivity ratio increases or interregional conductivity ratio decreases, the transient rate at the same wellbore pressure increases. Three characteristic decline stages may be observed on transient rate curves and the shape of traditional rate curves in the middle- and late-flow periods depends on naturally fractured medium and boundary condition. By introducing a new pseudo-steady constant, new Blasingame type curves are also established and their features are more salient than those of traditional rate curves. Five typical flow regimes can be observed on these new type curves. Sensitivity analysis indicates that new Blasingame type curves for varied interregional diffusivity ratio, interregional conductivity ratio, interporosity coefficient and dimensionless reservoir radius, except storativity ratio, will normalize in the late-flow period.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 16
    Publication Date: 2018-01-02
    Description: Energies, Vol. 11, Pages 68: Hourly Solar Radiation Forecasting Using a Volterra-Least Squares Support Vector Machine Model Combined with Signal Decomposition Energies doi: 10.3390/en11010068 Authors: Zhenyu Wang Cuixia Tian Qibing Zhu Min Huang Accurate solar forecasting facilitates the integration of solar generation into the grid by reducing the integration and operational costs associated with solar intermittencies. A novel solar radiation forecasting method was proposed in this paper, which uses two kinds of adaptive single decomposition algorithm, namely, empirical mode decomposition (EMD) and local mean decomposition (LMD), to decompose the strong non-stationary solar radiation sequence into a set of simpler components. The least squares support vector machine (LSSVM) and the Volterra model were employed to build forecasting sub-models for high-frequency components and low-frequency components, respectively, and the sub-forecasting results of each component were superimposed to obtain the final forecast results. The historical solar radiation data collected on Golden (CO, USA), in 2014 were used to evaluate the accuracy of the proposed model and its comparison with that of the ARIMA, the persistent model. The comparison demonstrated that the superior performance of the proposed hybrid method.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 17
    Publication Date: 2018-01-02
    Description: Energies, Vol. 11, Pages 75: ACT-R Cognitive Model Based Trajectory Planning Method Study for Electric Vehicle’s Active Obstacle Avoidance System Energies doi: 10.3390/en11010075 Authors: Aijuan Li Wanzhong Zhao Xibo Wang Xuyun Qiu The active obstacle avoidance system is one of the important components of the electric vehicle active safety system. In order to realize the active obstacle avoidance system driving the vehicle smoothly and without collision in complex road situation, a new dynamical trajectory planning method based on ACT-R (Adaptive Control of Thought-Rational) cognitive model is introduced. Firstly, the ACT-R cognitive architecture is introduced and the trajectory planning method’s framework structure based on ACT-R cognitive model is built. Secondly, the modeling method of ACT-R cognitive model is introduced, the main module of ACT-R cognitive model includes the initialized behavior module, trajectory planning module, estimated behavioral module, and weight adjustment behavior module. Finally, the verification of the trajectory planning method is conducted by the simulation and experiment results. The simulation and experiment results showed that the method of AR (ACT-R) is effective and feasible. The AR method is better than the methods that are based on the OC (Optimal Control) and FN (fuzzy neural network fusion); this paper’s method has more human behavior characteristics and can meet the demand of different constraints.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 18
    Publication Date: 2018-01-02
    Description: Energies, Vol. 11, Pages 65: Energy Consumption Prediction of a Greenhouse and Optimization of Daily Average Temperature Energies doi: 10.3390/en11010065 Authors: Yongtao Shen Ruihua Wei Lihong Xu Greenhouses are high energy-consuming and anti-seasonal production facilities. In some cases, energy consumption in greenhouses accounts for 50% of the cost of greenhouse production. The high energy consumption has become a major factor hindering the development of greenhouses. In order to improve the energy efficiency of the greenhouse, it is important to predict its energy consumption. In this study, the energy consumption mathematical model of a Venlo greenhouse is established based on the principle of energy conservation. Three optimization algorithms are used to identify the parameters which are difficult to determine in the energy consumption model. In order to examine the accuracy of the model, some verifications are made. The goal of achieving high yield, high quality and high efficiency production is a problem in the study of greenhouse environment control. Combining the prediction model of greenhouse energy consumption with the relatively accurate weather forecast data for the next week, the energy consumption of greenhouse under different weather conditions is predicted. Taking the minimum energy consumption as the objective function, the indoor daily average temperatures of 7 days are optimized to provide the theoretical reference for the decision-making of heating in the greenhouse. The results show that the optimized average daily temperatures save 9% of the energy cost during a cold wave.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 19
    Publication Date: 2018-01-02
    Description: Energies, Vol. 11, Pages 74: Power Transformer Spatial Acoustic Radiation Characteristics Analysis under Multiple Operating Conditions Energies doi: 10.3390/en11010074 Authors: Liming Ying Donghui Wang Jinwei Wang Guodong Wang Xiaowen Wu Jiangtao Liu Spatial acoustic radiation characteristics analysis is the precondition of reducing the noise influence of outdoor power transformer while multi-physical field coupling method can be applied to quantify and reveal these acoustic characteristics of a running power transformer. In this study, based on the theoretical analysis about noise generation and dissemination process, an acoustic radiation model about oil-immersed power transformer was established and verified with field test data in time and frequency domain. Then, far-field analysis and directivity analysis were accomplished to characterize acoustic field of power transformer under multiple operating conditions. Finally, the acoustic radiation influence on potential surrounding buildings were analyzed and discussed. The visual results and conclusion provide acoustic guide for the optimal planning and design about both power substation and ambient buildings.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 20
    Publication Date: 2018-01-02
    Description: Energies, Vol. 11, Pages 66: Rotor Position Self-Sensing of SRM Using PSO-RVM Energies doi: 10.3390/en11010066 Authors: Qianwen Xiang Ye Yuan Yanjun Yu Kunhua Chen The motors’ flux-linkage, current and angle obtained from the system with sensors were chosen as the sample data, and the estimation model of rotor position based on relevance vector machine (RVM) was built by training the sample data. The kernel function parameter in RVM model was optimized by the particle swarm algorithm in order to increase the fitting precision and generalization ability of RVM model. It achieved higher prediction accuracy with staying at the same on-line testing time as the RVM. And because the short on-line computation, the motor can operate at 3000 r/min in sensorless control with particle swarm optimization-relevance vector machine (PSO-RVM), which is higher than support vector machine (SVM) and neural network (NN). By simulation and experiment on the test motor, it is verified that the proposed estimation model can obtain the angle of full electrical period accurately under low speed and high speed operations in current chopped control and angle position control, which has satisfactory estimation precision.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 21
    Publication Date: 2018-01-02
    Description: Energies, Vol. 11, Pages 59: An Online State of Charge Estimation Algorithm for Lithium-Ion Batteries Using an Improved Adaptive Cubature Kalman Filter Energies doi: 10.3390/en11010059 Authors: Zhibing Zeng Jindong Tian Dong Li Yong Tian An accurate state of charge (SOC) estimation of the on-board lithium-ion battery is of paramount importance for the efficient and reliable operation of electric vehicles (EVs). Aiming to improve the accuracy and reliability of battery SOC estimation, an improved adaptive Cubature Kalman filter (ACKF) is proposed in this paper. The battery model parameters are online identified with the forgetting factor recursive least squares (FRLS) algorithm so that the accuracy of SOC estimation can be further improved. The proposed method is evaluated by two driving cycles, i.e., the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) and the Federal Urban Driving Schedule (FUDS), and compared with the existing unscented Kalman filter (UKF) and standard CKF algorithms to verify its superiority. The experimental results reveal that comparing with the UKF and standard CKF, the improved ACKF algorithm has a faster convergence rate to different initial SOC errors with higher estimation accuracy. The root mean square error of SOC estimation without initial SOC error is less than 0.5% under both the NEDC and FUDS cycles.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 22
    Publication Date: 2018-01-02
    Description: Energies, Vol. 11, Pages 32: High-Precision Speed Control Based on Multiple Phase-Shift Resonant Controllers for Gimbal System in MSCMG Energies doi: 10.3390/en11010032 Authors: Jian Feng Qing Wang Kun Liu The high precision speed control of gimbal servo system in magnetically suspended control moment gyro (MSCMG) suffers from periodic torque disturbances, which lead to periodic fluctuations in speed control. This paper proposes a novel multiple phase-shift resonant controller (MPRC) for a gimbal servo system to suppress the periodic torque ripples whose frequencies vary with the operational speed of the gimbal servo motor and high-speed motor. First, the periodic torque ripples caused by cogging torque, flux harmonics and the dynamic unbalance of the high speed rotor are analyzed. Second, the principle and structure of MPRC parallel with proportional integral (PI) controllers are discussed. The design and stability analysis of the proposed MPRC plus PI control scheme are given both for the current loop and speed loop. The closed-loop stability is ensured by adjusting the phase in the entire operational speed range. Finally, the effectiveness of the proposed control method is verified through simulation and experimental results.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 23
    Publication Date: 2018-01-02
    Description: Forests, Vol. 9, Pages 3: Bringing the Natives Back: Identifying and Alleviating Establishment Limitations of Native Hardwood Species in a Conifer Plantation Forests doi: 10.3390/f9010003 Authors: Yu-Tsen Li Yueh-Hsin Lo Yi-Ching Lin Biing Guan Juan Blanco Chi-How You To facilitate the reintroduction of five native late-successional Taiwanese Fagaceae species into Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica (D.) Don) plantations, we experimented with methods to alleviate their establishment limitations. We tested different combinations of tree species, seedling development stages, and site preparation techniques. First, we directly sowed both fresh and germinated acorns under both closed and opened (thinned) canopies. Both fresh and germinated acorns survived only six months at most. Wildlife consumption was the most critical factor hindering their survival. We subsequently experimented with different methods for increasing establishment rates, such as thinning in combination with understory control, applying chemical animal repellents to seeds, using physical barriers against seed predators, and using seedlings of different ages. Among the methods experimented, none was effective. The effects of silvicultural treatments to deter seed consumption lasted only the first few weeks after sowing, whereas the effects of physical barriers were inconsistent. We also tested planting 3-month and 1-year-old seedlings. Seedling survival after 9 months was about 20% on average for 3-month-old seedlings but reached 80% for 1-year-old seedlings. Our results suggest that planting seedlings older than six months or establishing physical obstacles to prevent seed predation will be the most effective strategies to reintroduce late-successional hardwood Fagaceae species into Japanese cedar plantations.
    Electronic ISSN: 1999-4907
    Topics: Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
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  • 24
    Publication Date: 2018-01-02
    Description: IJGI, Vol. 7, Pages 9: A New Geographical Cluster View on Passenger Vehicle Purchasing in Chinese Cities ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information doi: 10.3390/ijgi7010009 Authors: Daqian Liu Wei Song Jia Lu Chunyan Xie Xin Wen It is important to understand urban auto markets from a spatial perspective. Specifically, the question of how to simplify and visualize the relatedness of the complicated urban markets arises. Based on the concept of ‘product space’, this research explores the similarity between Chinese cities and identifies the city clusters using data of automobile sales in 2012. A city’s automobile market is shared by different manufacturers and the proximity between two cities is evaluated based on the similarity or relatedness in the structure of the two markets. The spatial structures of the ‘city clusters’ derived from the proximities of automobile markets among cities are mapped, examined, and interpreted. The analysis indicates that cities with higher proximity tend to be similar. According to the intercity proximity index, four geographical city-clusters are identified: the Southeast developed city-cluster, North China city-cluster, Northeast city-cluster, and West city-cluster. Cities in the same cluster tend to share many common characteristics while cities in different clusters exhibit obvious variances, especially in terms of economic status and dominant automakers.
    Electronic ISSN: 2220-9964
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geosciences
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  • 25
    Publication Date: 2018-01-02
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 61: Enhancing of Osseointegration with Propolis-Loaded TiO2 Nanotubes in Rat Mandible for Dental Implants Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11010061 Authors: Nithideth Somsanith Yu-Kyoung Kim Young-Seok Jang Young-Hee Lee Ho-Keun Yi Jong-Hwa Jang Kyoung-A Kim Tae-Sung Bae Min-Ho Lee TiO2 nanotubes (TNT) formation is beneficial for improving bone cell–material interaction and drug delivery for Ti dental implants. Among the natural drugs to be installed in TNT, selected propolis has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is a resinous natural product which is collected by the honeybees from the various types of plants with their salivary enzymes. This study concludes that TNT loaded with a propolis (PL-TNT-Ti) dental implant has the ability to improve osseointegration. The propolis particles were embedded within the TNT or adhered to the top. In a cytotoxicity test using osteoblast, PL-TNT-Ti group exhibited an increased cell proliferation and differentiation. A Sprague Dawley rat mandibular model was used to evaluate the osseointegration and bone bonding of TNT or PL-TNT-Ti. From the µ-CT and hematoxylin and eosin (HE) histological results after implantation at 1 and 4 weeks to rat mandibular, an increase in the extent of new bone formation and mineral density around the PL-TNT-Ti implant was confirmed. The Masson’s trichrome staining showed the expression of well-formed collagenous for bone formation on the PL-TNT-Ti. Immunohistochemistry staining indicate that bone morphogenetic proteins (BMP-2 and BMP-7) around the PL-TNT-Ti increased the expression of collagen fibers and of osteogenic differentiation whereas the expression of inflammatory cytokine such as interleukin-1 beta (IL-1ß) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) is decreased.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 26
    Publication Date: 2018-01-03
    Description: Energies, Vol. 11, Pages 99: Renewable Energy Assisted Traffic Aware Cellular Base Station Energy Cooperation Energies doi: 10.3390/en11010099 Authors: Faran Ahmed Muhammad Naeem Waleed Ejaz Muhammad Iqbal Alagan Anpalagan Hyung Kim With global concern for climate change, and for cutting down the energy cost, especially in off grid areas, use of renewable energy has been gaining widespread attention in many areas including cellular communication. The base station (BS) has emerged as a strong candidate for the integration of renewable energy sources (RES), particularly solar and wind. The incorporation of renewable energy opens many possibilities for energy conservation through strategies such as energy cooperation between BSs during the off-peak hours, when the energy harvested from renewable energy sources may become surplus. In this paper, we present the case for cellular BSs enabled with renewable energy sources (RES) to have an arrangement in which the BS provide surplus energy to a neighboring BS, thus minimizing the use of conventional energy. A realistic objective is developed for northern region of Pakistan, which entails modeling of solar panels and wind-turbine according to the average solar irradiation and wind speed of the region. We also model the dynamic load of the BS, which depicts temporal fluctuations with traffic variations. Based on these models we initiate an energy cooperation scheme between the BS in which an energy cost minimization framework is mathematically modeled and solved through the interior point method algorithm. Results are obtained for different times of the year for different number of base stations showing respective energy cost savings.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 27
    Publication Date: 2018-01-03
    Description: Energies, Vol. 11, Pages 94: Heating and Cooling Degree-Days Maps of Pakistan Energies doi: 10.3390/en11010094 Authors: Khuram Amber Muhammad Aslam Faraz Ikram Anila Kousar Hafiz Ali Naveed Akram Kamran Afzal Haroon Mushtaq The building sector consumes about 40% of the world’s primary energy. Seasonal climatic conditions have a significant effect on the energy consumption in buildings. One of the famous methods used for decoding this seasonal variation in buildings energy consumption is the “Degree Days Method”. Data has been widely published for the heating and cooling degree days of different countries. Unfortunately, there is very limited and outdated published data for the heating and cooling degree-days of Pakistan. In this study, yearly average heating and cooling degree-days for different regions of Pakistan are established by using 30 year long-term measured data for different base temperatures. The data is presented in tables and figures whereas heating and cooling degree-day maps of Pakistan have been developed.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 28
    Publication Date: 2018-01-03
    Description: Energies, Vol. 11, Pages 93: On the Evolution of the Integral Time Scale within Wind Farms Energies doi: 10.3390/en11010093 Authors: Huiwen Liu Imran Hayat Yaqing Jin Leonardo Chamorro A wind-tunnel investigation was carried out to characterize the spatial distribution of the integral time scale ( T u ) within, and in the vicinity of, two model wind farms. The turbine arrays were placed over a rough wall and operated under high turbulence. The two layouts consisted of aligned units distinguished only by the streamwise spacing ( Δ x T ) between the devices, set at five and ten rotor diameters d T (or S x = Δ x T / d T = 5 and 10). They shared the same spanwise spacing between turbines of 2.5 d T ; this resulted in arrays of 8 × 3 and 5 × 3 horizontal-axis turbines. Hotwire anemometry was used to characterize the instantaneous velocity at various vertical and transverse locations along the central column of the wind farms. Results show that T u was modulated by the wind farm layout. It was significantly reduced within the wind farms and right above them, where the internal boundary layer develops. The undisturbed levels above the wind farms were recovered only at ≈ d T / 2 above the top tip. This quantity appeared to reach adjusted values starting the fifth row of turbines in the S x = 5 wind farm, and earlier in the S x = 10 counterpart. Within the adjusted zone, the distribution of T u at hub height exhibited a negligible growth in the S x = 5 case; whereas it underwent a mild growth in the S x = 10 wind farm. In addition, the flow impinging the inner turbines exhibited T u / T i n c u < 1 , where T i n c u is the integral time scale of the overall incoming flow. Specifically, T u → β T i n c u at z = z h u b , where β < 1 within standard layouts of wind farms, in particular β ≈ 0.5 and 0.7 for S x = 5 and 10.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 29
    Publication Date: 2018-01-03
    Description: Entropy, Vol. 20, Pages 7: Information Theoretic Approaches for Motor-Imagery BCI Systems: Review and Experimental Comparison Entropy doi: 10.3390/e20010007 Authors: Rubén Martín-Clemente Javier Olias Deepa Thiyam Andrzej Cichocki Sergio Cruces Brain computer interfaces (BCIs) have been attracting a great interest in recent years. The common spatial patterns (CSP) technique is a well-established approach to the spatial filtering of the electroencephalogram (EEG) data in BCI applications. Even though CSP was originally proposed from a heuristic viewpoint, it can be also built on very strong foundations using information theory. This paper reviews the relationship between CSP and several information-theoretic approaches, including the Kullback–Leibler divergence, the Beta divergence and the Alpha-Beta log-det (AB-LD)divergence. We also revise other approaches based on the idea of selecting those features that are maximally informative about the class labels. The performance of all the methods will be also compared via experiments.
    Electronic ISSN: 1099-4300
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Physics
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  • 30
    Publication Date: 2018-01-03
    Description: Geosciences, Vol. 8, Pages 7: Multibeam Bathymetric Investigations of the Morphology and Associated Bedforms, Sulina Channel, Danube Delta Geosciences doi: 10.3390/geosciences8010007 Authors: Florin Duţu Nicolae Panin Gabriel Ion Laura Tiron Duţu In the Danube Delta, on the Sulina branch, the morphology, sediment, and bedform characteristics were investigated. Three-dimensional (3D) bathymetry, flow velocity, suspended-load concentration, and liquid and solid discharge data were acquired throughout several cross sections along the Sulina channel, in order to investigate the distribution of water and sediment discharges and their influence against the river bed. A single observation (in February 2007) was made regarding the geometry, sediment composition, and hydraulic conditions under which the dunes grew and degenerated. The investigation focuses here mostly on the geometrical parameters of these bedforms, such as height, length, as well as grain size characteristic of the sediment and water dynamics. Based on in-site measurements, different hydraulic parameters were calculated, such as bed shear stresses and Reynolds number. During the field campaign, the measured water mean velocity was from v = 0.22–1.13 m∙s−1. At the same time, the measured range of shear stresses within the dune field formation was from τ0 = 2.86 N·m−2 (on the cutoffs) to 8.62 N·m−2 (on the main channel). It was found that the correlation between height (H) and length (L) of the Sulina branch dunes describes the formula: H = 0.093L0.5268. The bedforms of the Sulina channel are, in general, developed in fine sand (D50 between 0.06 and 0.35 mm).
    Electronic ISSN: 2076-3263
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 31
    Publication Date: 2018-01-03
    Description: Geosciences, Vol. 8, Pages 9: Groundwater Natural Contamination by Toluene in Beja and Faro Districts, Portugal Geosciences doi: 10.3390/geosciences8010009 Authors: Gabriel Barberes Rui Pena dos Reis André Spigolon Paulo Fonseca Carlos Bandeira de Mello Maria Barata The focus area is located along Beja and Faro districts (southwestern of Portugal), where the Baixo Alentejo Flysch Group exists, is composed of the Mértola, Mira, and Brejeira Formations. The aim of this article is to characterize the groundwater contamination by toluene, one of the petroleum products that may originate from natural petroleum systems and have been introduced into the environment by natural seepage. For this study, twenty soil samples and thirty-one water samples were collected, in 2016, from artesian wells, boreholes, and springs, and analyzed in a GC-FID system. Sampling was performed using headspace vials, with distilled water and a bactericide to inhibit any bacterial activities. The results showed that 93.5% of water samples range between 1000 and 6000 μg/L, and 55% are higher than 3000 μg/L of toluene concentration. In soil samples, amounts of toluene are less than 1000 μg/L in general. These levels are much higher than the World Health Organization health-based guideline for drinkable water (700 μg/L) and higher than those usually found in other places, being only comparable with values from severe industrial contamination. Contaminated groundwater represents a serious concern for human health, and residents should be informed to avoid drinking contaminated ground water or using it for other domestic proposes.
    Electronic ISSN: 2076-3263
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 32
    Publication Date: 2018-01-03
    Description: Geosciences, Vol. 8, Pages 8: Subsidence Trends of Volturno River Coastal Plain (Northern Campania, Southern Italy) Inferred by SAR Interferometry Data Geosciences doi: 10.3390/geosciences8010008 Authors: Fabio Matano Marco Sacchi Marco Vigliotti Daniela Ruberti The Volturno Plain is one of the largest alluvial plains of peninsular Italy, which is one of the most susceptible plains to coastal hazards. This area is characterized by both natural and human-induced subsidence. This present study is based on the post-processing, analysis and mapping of the available Persistent Scatterer interferometry datasets. The latter were derived from the combination of both ascending and descending orbits of three different radar satellite systems during an observation period of almost two decades (June 1992–September 2010). The main output of this study is a map of vertical deformation, which provides new insights into the areal variability of the ground deformation processes (subsidence/uplift) of Volturno plain over the last few decades. The vertical displacement values obtained by the post-processing of the interferometric data show that the Volturno river plain is characterized by significant subsidence in the central axial sectors and in the river mouth area. Moderate uplift is detected in the eastern part of the plain, whereas other sectors of the study area are characterized by moderate subsidence and/or stability. On the basis of the analyzed subsoil stratigraphy, we inferred that the subsidence recorded in the Volturno plain is mainly a consequence of a natural process related to the compaction of the fluvial and palustrine deposits that form the alluvial plain. The anthropic influences (e.g., water exploitation, urbanization) are substantially considered to be an additional factor that may enhance subsidence only locally. The uplift mapped in the eastern sector of the plain is related to the tectonic activity. The study of the subsidence in the Volturno plain is a valuable tool for river flood analyses and the assessment of the coastal inundation hazards and related risk mitigation.
    Electronic ISSN: 2076-3263
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 33
    Publication Date: 2018-01-03
    Description: IJGI, Vol. 7, Pages 11: Space-Ruled Ecological Processes: Introduction to the Special Issue on Spatial Ecology ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information doi: 10.3390/ijgi7010011 Authors: Duccio Rocchini This special issue explores most of the scientific issues related to spatial ecology and its integration with geographical information at different spatial and temporal scales.[...]
    Electronic ISSN: 2220-9964
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geosciences
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  • 34
    Publication Date: 2018-01-04
    Description: IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 61: The Emergence and Unfolding of Telemonitoring Practices in Different Healthcare Organizations International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15010061 Authors: Jannie Christensen Telemonitoring, a sub-category of telemedicine, is promoted as a solution to meet the challenges in Western healthcare systems in terms of an increasing population of people with chronic conditions and fragmentation issues. Recent findings from large-scale telemonitoring programs reveal that these promises are difficult to meet in complex real-life settings which may be explained by concentrating on the practices that emerge when telemonitoring is used to treat patients with chronic conditions. This paper explores the emergence and unfolding of telemonitoring practices in relation to a large-scale, inter-organizational home telemonitoring program which involved 5 local health centers, 10 district nurse units, four hospitals, and 225 general practice clinics in Denmark. Twenty-eight interviews and 28 h of observations of health professionals and administrative staff were conducted over a 12-month period from 2014 to 2015. This study’s findings reveal how telemonitoring practices emerged and unfolded differently among various healthcare organizations. This study suggests that the emergence and unfolding of novel practices is the result of complex interplay between existing work practices, alterations of core tasks, inscriptions in the technology, and the power to either adopt or ignore such novel practices. The study enhances our understanding of how novel technology like telemonitoring impacts various types of healthcare organizations when implemented in a complex inter-organizational context.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 35
    Publication Date: 2018-01-04
    Description: IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 63: Food Safety Knowledge, Attitudes and Behavior among Dairy Plant Workers in Beijing, Northern China International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15010063 Authors: Yan Chen Hua Ji Li-Jun Chen Rong Jiang Yong-Ning Wu The safety of milk and dairy products has always been one of the focuses of consumers, the food industry and regulatory agencies. The purpose of this study was to gain insight into the food safety knowledge, attitudes and behavior of dairy plant workers. A cross-sectional survey was performed between May and August 2015 in three dairy plants in Beijing, northern China. A total of 194 dairy plant workers were interviewed to collect information on food safety knowledge, attitudes and self-reported behavior. The 194 dairy plant workers interviewed showed a sufficient level of knowledge (mean score 34 on a scale from 0–58), perfect attitudes (mean score 17 on a scale from 0–18), and perfect behavior (mean score 38 on a scale from 8–40). Only 39% of workers correctly determined specific pathogens or diseases that could be conveyed through milk and dairy products. 24% of workers knew the correct method of washing hands. A significant positive association was observed between attitudes and knowledge (p < 0.001) as well as behavior (p < 0.01). Education level was positively and significantly associated with food safety knowledge, attitudes, and behavior (p < 0.05). Workers in dairy enterprises in northern China have relatively low levels of knowledge, yet satisfactory attitudes and behavior. The knowledge of microbial food hazards and hand hygiene remains an issue that needs to be emphasized in future training programs. Education level is a determinant of attitudes and behavior with regard to the proper handling of milk and dairy products.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 36
    Publication Date: 2018-01-04
    Description: IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 62: An Empirical Study on Low-Carbon: Human Resources Performance Evaluation International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15010062 Authors: Quan Chen Sang-Bing Tsai Yuming Zhai Jie Zhou Jian Yu Li-Chung Chang Guodong Li Yuxiang Zheng Jiangtao Wang Low-carbon logistics meets the requirements of a low-carbon economy and is the most effective operating model for logistic development to achieve sustainability by coping with severe energy consumption and global warming. Low-carbon logistics aims to reduce carbon intensity rather than simply reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions. Human resources are an important part of the great competition in the logistics market and significantly affect the operations of enterprises. Performance evaluations of human resources are particularly important for low-carbon logistics enterprises with scarce talents. Such evaluations in these enterprises are of great significance for their strategic development. This study constructed a human resource performance evaluation system to assess non-managerial employees’ low-carbon job capacity, job performance, and job attitude in the low-carbon logistics sector. The case study results revealed that the investigated company enjoyed initial success after having promoted low-carbon concepts and values to its non-managerial employees, and the success was demonstrated by excellent performance in its employees’ job attitude and knowledge. This study adopts the AHP method to reasonably determine an indicator system of performance evaluation and its weight to avoid certain human-caused bias. This study not only fills the gap in the related literature, but can also be applied to industrial practice.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 37
    Publication Date: 2018-01-04
    Description: IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 60: The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit: Environmental Stressors and Supports International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15010060 Authors: Kristen Williams Kayla Patel Julie Stausmire Christy Bridges Mary Mathis Jennifer Barkin The relationship between maternal mental health and infant development has been established in the literature. The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is a particularly challenging environment for new mothers as several natural processes are disrupted. The objective of this study is to elucidate protective factors and environmental deficits associated with the NICU. The experiences of forty-six (n = 46) mothers of infants admitted to a Level III NICU in the Midwestern United States, who responded to a related open-ended question, were analyzed thematically. Five themes related to the NICU environment emerged as being either stressful or helpful: (1) amount and quality of communication with medical staff, (2) bedside manner of medical staff, (3) feeling alienated from infant’s care, (4) support from other NICU mothers and families, and (5) NICU Physical Environment and Regulations. There is a need for medical staff training on awareness, communication, empathy, and other behaviors that might improve maternal (and parental) experiences in the NICU. The physical environment, including rules and regulations of the NICU, should be reexamined with family comfort in mind in addition to the clinical care of the infant.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 38
    Publication Date: 2018-01-03
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 110: A Monolithic Multisensor Microchip with Complete On-Chip RF Front-End Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18010110 Authors: Massimo Merenda Corrado Felini Francesco Della Corte In this paper, a new wireless sensor, designed for a 0.35 µm CMOS technology, is presented. The microchip was designed to be placed on an object for the continuous remote monitoring of its temperature and illumination state. The temperature sensor is based on the temperature dependence of the I-V characteristics of bipolar transistors available in CMOS technology, while the illumination sensor is an integrated p-n junction photodiode. An on-chip 2.5 GHz transmitter, coupled to a mm-sized dipole radiating element fabricated on the same microchip and made in the top metal layer of the same die, sends the collected data wirelessly to a radio receiver using an On-Off Keying (OOK) modulation pattern.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 39
    Publication Date: 2018-01-03
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 108: Combination of Multi-Agent Systems and Wireless Sensor Networks for the Monitoring of Cattle Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18010108 Authors: Alberto Barriuso Gabriel Villarrubia González Juan De Paz Álvaro Lozano Javier Bajo Precision breeding techniques have been widely used to optimize expenses and increase livestock yields. Notwithstanding, the joint use of heterogeneous sensors and artificial intelligence techniques for the simultaneous analysis or detection of different problems that cattle may present has not been addressed. This study arises from the necessity to obtain a technological tool that faces this state of the art limitation. As novelty, this work presents a multi-agent architecture based on virtual organizations which allows to deploy a new embedded agent model in computationally limited autonomous sensors, making use of the Platform for Automatic coNstruction of orGanizations of intElligent Agents (PANGEA). To validate the proposed platform, different studies have been performed, where parameters specific to each animal are studied, such as physical activity, temperature, estrus cycle state and the moment in which the animal goes into labor. In addition, a set of applications that allow farmers to remotely monitor the livestock have been developed.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 40
    Publication Date: 2018-01-04
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 65: Photocatalytic Nanocomposites for the Protection of European Architectural Heritage Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11010065 Authors: Francesca Gherardi Marco Roveri Sara Goidanich Lucia Toniolo In the field of stone protection, the introduction of inorganic nanoparticles, such as TiO2, ZnO, and Ag in polymeric blends can enhance the protective action of pristine treatments, as well as confer additional properties (photocatalytic, antifouling, and antibacterial). In the framework of the “Nano-Cathedral” European project, nanostructured photocatalytic protective treatments were formulated by using different TiO2 nanoparticles, solvents, and silane/siloxane systems in the blends. The results about the characterization and application of two promising nano-TiO2 based products applied on Apuan marble and Ajarte limestone are here reported, aiming at investigating the complex system “treatment/stone-substrate”. The nanocomposites show better performances when compared to a commercial reference siloxane based protective treatment, resulting in different performances once applied on different carbonatic substrates, with very low and high open porosity, confirming the necessity of correlating precisely the characteristics of the stone material to those of the protective formulations. In particular, the TiO2 photocatalytic behavior is strictly linked to the amount of available nanoparticles and to the active surface area. The alkyl silane oligomers of the water-based formulation have a good penetration into the microstructure of Ajarte limestone, whereas the solvent-based and small size monomeric formulation shows better results for Apuan marble, granting a good coverage of the pores. The encouraging results obtained so far in lab will be confirmed by monitoring tests aiming at assessing the effectiveness of the treatments applied in pilot sites of historical Gothic Cathedrals.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 41
    Publication Date: 2018-01-04
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 66: Effects of T2 Heat Treatment on Microstructure and Properties of the Selective Laser Melted Aluminum Alloy Samples Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11010066 Authors: Lianfeng Wang Jing Sun Xiaogang Zhu Lingyu Cheng Yun Shi Lijie Guo Biao Yan In this paper, aluminum alloy samples were fabricated by selective laser melting (SLM) and subsequently T2 heat treatment was undertaken. In order to obtain comprehensive results, various experiments on densification, hardness, tensile strength, bending strength and microstructure characterization were carried out. The results show that densification of samples after T2 heat treatment does not vary very much from the SLMed ones, while the Brinell hardness and strength decreases to about 50%. Moreover, the plasticity and fracture deflection increases about 3 fold. The effects on the microstructure and the mechanical properties of the SLMed aluminum alloy samples and subsequent T2 heat treatment were studied.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 42
    Publication Date: 2018-01-04
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 67: A Novel Manufacturing Process for Compact, Low-Weight and Flexible Ultra-Wideband Cavity Backed Textile Antennas Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11010067 Authors: Dries Van Baelen Sam Lemey Jo Verhaevert Hendrik Rogier A novel manufacturing procedure for the fabrication of ultra-wideband cavity-backed substrate integrated waveguide antennas on textile substrates is proposed. The antenna cavity is constructed using a single laser-cut electrotextile patch, which is folded around the substrate. Electrotextile slabs protruding from the laser-cut patch are then vertically folded and glued to form the antenna cavity instead of rigid metal tubelets to implement the vertical cavity walls. This approach drastically improves mechanical flexibility, decreases the antenna weight to slightly more than 1 g and significantly reduces alignment errors. As a proof of concept, a cavity-backed substrate integrated waveguide antenna is designed and realized for ultra-wideband operation in the [5.15–5.85] GHz band. Antenna performance is validated in free space as well as in two on body measurement scenarios. Furthermore, the antenna’s figures of merit are characterized when the prototype is bent at different curvature radii, as commonly encountered during deployment on the human body. Also the effect of humidity content on antenna performance is studied. In all scenarios, the realized antenna covers the entire operating frequency band, meanwhile retaining a stable radiation pattern with a broadside gain above 5 dBi, and a radiation efficiency of at least 70%.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 43
    Publication Date: 2018-01-04
    Description: Minerals, Vol. 8, Pages 9: Heap Leaching: Modelling and Forecasting Using CFD Technology Minerals doi: 10.3390/min8010009 Authors: Diane McBride James Gebhardt Nick Croft Mark Cross Heap leach operations typically employ some form of modelling and forecasting tools to predict cash flow margins and project viability. However, these vary from simple spreadsheets to phenomenological models, with more complex models not commonly employed as they require the greatest amount of time and effort. Yet, accurate production modelling and forecasting are essential for managing production and potentially critical for successful operation of a complex heap, time and effort spent in setting up modelling tools initially may increase profitability in the long term. A brief overview of various modelling approaches is presented, but this paper focuses on the capabilities of a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model. Advances in computational capability allow for complex CFD models, coupled with leach kinetic models, to be applied to complex ore bodies. In this paper a comprehensive hydrodynamic CFD model is described and applied to chalcopyrite dissolution under heap operating conditions. The model is parameterized against experimental data and validated against a range of experimental leach tests under different thermal conditions. A three-dimensional ‘virtual’ heap, under fluctuating meteorological conditions, is simulated. Continuous and intermittent irrigation is investigated, showing copper recovery per unit volume of applied leach solution to be slightly increased for pulse irrigation.
    Electronic ISSN: 2075-163X
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 44
    Publication Date: 2018-01-04
    Description: Remote Sensing, Vol. 10, Pages 58: Incorporation of Satellite Data and Uncertainty in a Nationwide Groundwater Recharge Model in New Zealand Remote Sensing doi: 10.3390/rs10010058 Authors: Rogier Westerhoff Paul White Zara Rawlinson A nationwide model of groundwater recharge for New Zealand (NGRM), as described in this paper, demonstrated the benefits of satellite data and global models to improve the spatial definition of recharge and the estimation of recharge uncertainty. NGRM was inspired by the global-scale WaterGAP model but with the key development of rainfall recharge calculation on scales relevant to national- and catchment-scale studies (i.e., a 1 km × 1 km cell size and a monthly timestep in the period 2000–2014) provided by satellite data (i.e., MODIS-derived evapotranspiration, AET and vegetation) in combination with national datasets of rainfall, elevation, soil and geology. The resulting nationwide model calculates groundwater recharge estimates, including their uncertainty, consistent across the country, which makes the model unique compared to all other New Zealand estimates targeted towards groundwater recharge. At the national scale, NGRM estimated an average recharge of 2500 m 3 /s, or 298 mm/year, with a model uncertainty of 17%. Those results were similar to the WaterGAP model, but the improved input data resulted in better spatial characteristics of recharge estimates. Multiple uncertainty analyses led to these main conclusions: the NGRM model could give valuable initial estimates in data-sparse areas, since it compared well to most ground-observed lysimeter data and local recharge models; and the nationwide input data of rainfall and geology caused the largest uncertainty in the model equation, which revealed that the satellite data could improve spatial characteristics without significantly increasing the uncertainty. Clearly the increasing volume and availability of large-scale satellite data is creating more opportunities for the application of national-scale models at the catchment, and smaller, scales. This should result in improved utility of these models including provision of initial estimates in data-sparse areas. Topics for future collaborative research associated with the NGRM model include: improvement of rainfall-runoff models, establishment of snowmelt and river recharge modules, further improvement of estimates of rainfall and AET, and satellite-derived AET in irrigated areas. Importantly, the quantification of uncertainty, which should be associated with all future models, should give further impetus to field measurements of rainfall recharge for the purpose of model calibration.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 45
    Publication Date: 2018-01-04
    Description: Remote Sensing, Vol. 10, Pages 57: Early Detection of Vitality Changes of Multi-Temporal Norway Spruce Laboratory Needle Measurements—The Ring-Barking Experiment Remote Sensing doi: 10.3390/rs10010057 Authors: Anne Reichmuth Lea Henning Nicole Pinnel Martin Bachmann Derek Rogge The focus of this analysis is on the early detection of forest health changes, specifically that of Norway spruce (Picea abies L. Karst.). In this analysis, we planned to examine the time (degree of early detection), spectral wavelengths and appropriate method for detecting vitality changes. To accomplish this, a ring-barking experiment with seven subsequent laboratory needle measurements was carried out in 2013 and 2014 in an area in southeastern Germany near Altötting. The experiment was also accompanied by visual crown condition assessment. In total, 140 spruce trees in groups of five were ring-barked with the same number of control trees in groups of five that were selected as reference trees in order to compare their development. The laboratory measurements were analysed regarding the separability of ring-barked and control samples using spectral reflectance, vegetation indices and derivative analysis. Subsequently, a random forest classifier for determining important spectral wavelength regions was applied. Results from the methods are consistent and showed a high importance of the visible (VIS) spectral region, very low importance of the near-infrared (NIR) and minor importance of the shortwave infrared (SWIR) spectral region. Using spectral reflectance data as well as indices, the earliest separation time was found to be 292 days after ring-barking. The derivative analysis showed that a significant separation was observed 152 days after ring-barking for six spectral features spread through VIS and SWIR. A significant separation was detected using a random forest classifier 292 days after ring-barking with 58% separability. The visual crown condition assessment was analysed regarding obvious changes of vitality and the first indication was observed 302 days after ring-barking as bark beetle infestation and yellowing of foliage in the ring-barked trees only. This experiment shows that an early detection, compared with visual crown assessment, is possible using the proposed methods for this specific data set. This study will contribute to ongoing research for early detection of vitality changes that will support foresters and decision makers.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 46
    Publication Date: 2018-01-05
    Description: Energies, Vol. 11, Pages 122: Energy Flexibility from Large Prosumers to Support Distribution System Operation—A Technical and Legal Case Study on the Amsterdam ArenA Stadium Energies doi: 10.3390/en11010122 Authors: Dirk Kuiken Heyd Más Maryam Haji Ghasemi Niels Blaauwbroek Thai Vo Thijs van der Klauw Phuong Nguyen To deal with the rising integration of stochastic renewables and energy intensive distributed energy resources (DER) to the electricity network, alternatives to expensive network reinforcements are increasingly needed. An alternative solution often under consideration is integrating flexibility from the consumer side to system management. However, such a solution needs to be contemplated from different angles before it can be implemented in practice. To this end, this article considers a case study of the Amsterdam ArenA stadium and its surrounding network where flexibility is expected to be available to support the network in the future. The article studies the technical aspects of using this flexibility to determine to what extent, despite the different, orthogonal goals, the available flexibility can be used by various stakeholders in scenarios with a large load from electric vehicle charging points. Furthermore, a legal study is performed to determine the feasibility of the technical solutions proposed by analysing current European Union (EU) and Dutch law and focusing on the current agreements existing between the parties involved. The article shows that flexibility in the network provided by Amsterdam ArenA is able to significantly increase the number of charging points the network can accommodate. Nonetheless, while several uses of flexibility are feasible under current law, the use of flexibility provided by electric vehicles specifically faces several legal challenges in current arrangements.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 47
    Publication Date: 2018-01-05
    Description: Forests, Vol. 9, Pages 18: The Carbon Dynamics of Dry Tropical Afromontane Forest Ecosystems in the Amhara Region of Ethiopia Forests doi: 10.3390/f9010018 Authors: Beyene Belay Elisabeth Pötzelsberger Kibruyesfa Sisay Dessie Assefa Hubert Hasenauer Forest degradation due to land use change is a severe problem in Ethiopian Afromontane Forests. We investigated such degradation effects by comparing degraded agricultural land (previously covered with forest) with neighboring natural forests, 40 to 50 years after conversion. We selected four different study areas to cover the eco-climatic conditions of the Amhara region in Northwestern Ethiopia. For a paired-stand comparison we collected soil data on both land use types. We calculated forest biomass to evaluate the biogeochemical-mechanistic ecosystem model Biome-BGC, which is used as a diagnostic tool to assess the site and management impacts on productivity as well as ecosystem carbon and nitrogen accumulation. We applied Biome-BGC to assess rehabilitation options on such degraded land. Afromontane forests in the highlands of Ethiopia showed high soil C stocks, resulting from long lasting biomass accumulation. Removing the tree cover and converting forest areas to crop- or grassland, has led to a loss of 40–85% of the soil C stocks and thus a loss in soil fertility within only 40 to 50 years. Rehabilitation efforts by replanting trees will improve soil fertility, but may require over a thousand years to achieve a similar level in biomass and soil fertility versus the situation prior to the land use change.
    Electronic ISSN: 1999-4907
    Topics: Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
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  • 48
    Publication Date: 2018-01-05
    Description: IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 71: The Effect of Protracted Exposure to Radiation on Liver Injury: A Cohort Study of Industrial Radiographers in Xinjiang, China International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15010071 Authors: Qing Sun Weiming Mao Haiyue Jiang Xiaoyue Zhang Jing Xiao Yulong Lian Background: At present, a large number of studies indicate that high dose ionizing radiation exposure is an important risk factor for liver damage. Whether protracted exposure to low external doses of ionizing radiation could induce liver injury is unclear. The aim of this study was to assess the risk of liver injury following protracted exposure to occupational radiation compared to a group of unexposed workers. Methods: A three-year cohort study was initiated in Xinjiang, China in 2010 and included 508 industrial radiographers and 2156 unexposed workers. The incidence of liver injury was assessed clinically based on the evaluation of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate transaminase (AST) levels. Logistic regression was used to examine whether radiation is a risk factor for liver injury. Results: Compared with the unexposed group, protracted radiation exposure was found to be a risk factor for liver injury. Sex, age at baseline and alcohol consumption were not associated with liver injury. However, hypertension was a risk factor for liver injury. The association between cumulative recorded radiation dose and liver injury was not found in this study. Conclusions: These findings indicate that protracted exposure to radiation is a risk factor for liver injury.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 49
    Publication Date: 2018-01-05
    Description: IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 69: Dynamic Impact of Online Word-of-Mouth and Advertising on Supply Chain Performance International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15010069 Authors: Jian Feng Bin Liu Cooperative (co-op) advertising investments benefit brand goodwill and further improve supply chain performance. Meanwhile, online word-of-mouth (OWOM) can also play an important role in supply chain performance. On the basis of co-op advertising, this paper considers a single supply chain structure led by a manufacturer and examines a fundamental issue concerning the impact of OWOM on supply chain performance. Firstly, by the method of differential game, this paper analyzes the dynamic impact of OWOM and advertising on supply chain performance (i.e., brand goodwill, sales, and profits) under three different supply chain decisions (i.e., only advertising, and manufacturers with and without sharing cost of OWOM with retailers). We compare and analyze the optimal strategies of advertising and OWOM under the above different supply chain decisions. Secondly, the system dynamics model is established to reflect the dynamic impact of OWOM and advertising on supply chain performance. Finally, three supply chain decisions under two scenarios, strong brand and weak brand, are analyzed through the system dynamics simulation. The results show that the input of OWOM can enhance brand goodwill and improve earnings. It further promotes the OWOM reputation and improves the supply chain performance if manufacturers share the cost of OWOM with retailers. Then, in order to eliminate the retailers from word-of-mouth fraud and establish a fair competition mechanism, the third parties (i.e., regulators or e-commerce platforms) should take appropriate punitive measures against retailers. Furthermore, the effect of OWOM on supply chain performance under a strong brand differed from those under a weak brand. Last but not least, if OWOM is improved, there would be more remarkable performance for the weak brand than that for the strong brand in the supply chain.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 50
    Publication Date: 2018-01-05
    Description: IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 68: Self-Medication Practice and Associated Factors among Residents in Wuhan, China International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15010068 Authors: Xiaosheng Lei Heng Jiang Chaojie Liu Adamm Ferrier Janette Mugavin Background: This study aims to examine the prevalence and predictors associated with self-medication, and related consequences in Wuhan, China. Methods: Two-hundred-sixty residents were interviewed from randomly selected four districts of Wuhan, China. A modified version of Anderson’s health behavioral model was used in the survey to collect information of self-medication behavior. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were used to measure correlates of the prevalence of self-medication. Results: Nearly half of the respondents would select self-medication, and 39.1% would see a doctor if they felt sick. The most common self-medicated illnesses were cold and cough, cardiovascular disease and gastrointestinal disease. The main reasons for self-medication were that the illness was not severe (enough) to see the doctor (45%); the patient did not think that the trouble of seeing a doctor was worth the effort (23%); the patient had no time to see the doctor (12%), and the patient did not want to pay high medical costs (15%). Logistic regression results suggested that respondents tended to select self-medication if the illness was minor or short-term (less than seven days). Conclusions: Our findings suggest that more strict regulation on over-the-counter medicines may be required to reduce health risks related to self-medication. Targeted health education on the risks of self-medication should be considered.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 51
    Publication Date: 2018-01-05
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 123: Application of Hyperspectral Imaging to Detect Sclerotinia sclerotiorum on Oilseed Rape Stems Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18010123 Authors: Wenwen Kong Chu Zhang Weihao Huang Fei Liu Yong He Hyperspectral imaging covering the spectral range of 384–1034 nm combined with chemometric methods was used to detect Sclerotinia sclerotiorum (SS) on oilseed rape stems by two sample sets (60 healthy and 60 infected stems for each set). Second derivative spectra and PCA loadings were used to select the optimal wavelengths. Discriminant models were built and compared to detect SS on oilseed rape stems, including partial least squares-discriminant analysis, radial basis function neural network, support vector machine and extreme learning machine. The discriminant models using full spectra and optimal wavelengths showed good performance with classification accuracies of over 80% for the calibration and prediction set. Comparing all developed models, the optimal classification accuracies of the calibration and prediction set were over 90%. The similarity of selected optimal wavelengths also indicated the feasibility of using hyperspectral imaging to detect SS on oilseed rape stems. The results indicated that hyperspectral imaging could be used as a fast, non-destructive and reliable technique to detect plant diseases on stems.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 52
    Publication Date: 2018-01-05
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 122: High-Power DFB Diode Laser-Based CO-QEPAS Sensor: Optimization and Performance Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18010122 Authors: Yufei Ma Yao Tong Ying He Xin Yu Frank Tittel A highly sensitive carbon monoxide (CO) trace gas sensor based on quartz-enhanced photoacoustic spectroscopy (QEPAS) was demonstrated. A high-power distributed feedback (DFB), continuous wave (CW) 2.33 μm diode laser with an 8.8 mW output power was used as the QEPAS excitation source. By optimizing the modulation depth and adding an optimum micro-resonator, compared to a bare quartz tuning fork (QTF), a 10-fold enhancement of the CO-QEPAS signal amplitude was achieved. When water vapor acting as a vibrational transfer catalyst was added to the target gas, the signal was further increased by a factor of ~7. A minimum detection limit (MDL) of 11.2 ppm and a calculated normalized noise equivalent absorption (NNEA) coefficient of 1.8 × 10−5 cm−1W/√Hz were obtained for the reported CO-QEPAS sensor.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 53
    Publication Date: 2018-01-05
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 108: Transforming Municipal Services to Transform Cities: Understanding the Role and Influence of the Private Sector Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10010108 Authors: Sara Hughes Jacqueline Peterson Municipal services—such as water, energy, and waste management—play a significant role in shaping the sustainability of cities. In many places, these services are also fully or partially delivered by the private sector, but we are only beginning to understand the implications this has for the politics and administration of urban sustainability initiatives. In this paper, we use the case of organics waste recycling in the Twin Cities, Minnesota to identify and discuss three ways private sector engagement can shift the political and administrative landscapes of municipal service delivery: through the presence and form of accountability mechanisms, norms and conditions for entrepreneurship, and the feasibility and appropriateness of traditional policy tools for achieving urban sustainability transformations. The analysis highlights the need to better understand best practices available to local governments for pursuing urban sustainability in the context of privatization, the importance of public sector capacity, and the potential for corporate social responsibility in municipal service delivery.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 54
    Publication Date: 2018-01-05
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 106: Smart Cities in Taiwan: A Perspective on Big Data Applications Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10010106 Authors: Shiann Wu Tsung-chun Chen Yenchun Wu Miltiadis Lytras In this paper, we discuss the concept of a smart city based on information and communication technology (ICT), analyze the objectives of smart city development in Taiwan, and explain the supporting technologies that make such development possible. Subsequently, we propose a hierarchical structure framework of smart city systems with levels of complexity ranging from low to high and interconnections and interactive relationships in five dimensions: the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, Big Data, Mobile Network, and smart business. We integrate each key resource of the core operation systems of cities to promote the innovative operation of cities and further optimize city development. We then propose a Big Data platform data flow framework that uses information from ubiquitous sensor networks and information equipment to analyze the Big Data application process of smart cities and determine the resulting advantages and challenges. Additionally, we analyze the current state of development of smart cities in Taiwan. Finally, we discuss a new philosophy of smart city development and provide a practical blueprint for the formation, operation, and development of the smart cities with the aim of creating a bright future for the smart cities of Taiwan.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 55
    Publication Date: 2018-01-05
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 103: Impact of Infrastructure and Production Processes on Rioja Wine Supply Chain Performance Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10010103 Authors: José Díaz-Reza Jorge García-Alcaraz Valeria Martínez-Loya Liliana Avelar-Sosa Emilio Jiménez-Macías Julio Blanco-Fernández This paper presents a structural equation model for analyzing the relationship between four latent variables: infrastructure, production processes, transport benefits, and economic benefits within the supply chain for wine from La Rioja, Spain, by incorporating 12 observed variables. The model proposes six hypothesis that were tested using information gathered from 64 surveys completed by managers of several wineries in the region. The WarpPLS v.5® software (Version 5.0, Script Warp Systems, Laredo, TX, USA) was used to execute the model and analyze the direct, indirect, and total effects among latent variables. The results show that the control of production processes is a direct source of economic and transport benefits because of its higher explanatory power of those variables. Similarly, infrastructure is a direct source of transport and production benefits, and some of them are given indirectly. In addition, infrastructure does not have a direct effect on economic benefits; however, there were indirect effects given through production process and transport benefits. Infrastructure is a very important variable because of its influence in the final performance, but also because of its high environmental impact. Finally, economic benefits were explained in 43.8%, 19.1% belonging to production process, 21.1% coming from transport benefits, and 3.7% from infrastructure.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 56
    Publication Date: 2018-01-05
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 91: Spatial Characteristics, Health Risk Assessment and Sustainable Management of Heavy Metals and Metalloids in Soils from Central China Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10010091 Authors: Fei Li Ying Cai Jingdong Zhang The contents of seven toxic metals (Cu, Cr, Cd, Zn, Pb, Hg and As) in soils from Central China, including Henan Province, Hubei Province and Hunan Province, were collected from published papers from 2007 to 2017. The geoaccumulation index, health risk assessment model and statistics were adopted to study the spatial contamination pattern, to assess the human health risks and to identify the priority control pollutants. The concentrations of soil metals in Central China, especially Cd (1.31 mg/kg), Pb (44.43 mg/kg) and Hg (0.19 mg/kg), surpassed their corresponding background values, and the Igeo values of Cd and Hg varied the most, ranging from the unpolluted level to the extremely polluted level. The concentrations of toxic metals were higher in the southern and northern parts of Central China, contrasting to the lowest contents in the middle parts. For non-carcinogenic risk, the hazard index (HI) values for the children in Hubei Province (1.10) and Hunan Province (1.41) exceeded the safe level of one, with higher health risks to children than adults, and the hazard quotient (HQ) values of the three exposure pathways for both children and adults in Central China decreased in the following order: ingestion > dermal contact > inhalation. For carcinogenic risk (CR), the CR values for children in Hubei Province (2.55 × 10−4), Hunan Province (3.44 × 10−4) and Henan Province (1.69 × 10−4), and the CR for adults in Hubei Province (3.67 × 10−5), Hunan Province (4.92 × 10−5) and Henan Province (2.45 × 10−5) exceeded the unacceptable level (10−4) and acceptable level (10−6), respectively. Arsenic (As) appeared to be the main metalloid for both children and adults causing the high carcinogenic risk. For sustainable development in Central China, special attention should be paid to Cd, Hg, Cr, Pb and As, identified as the priority control soil metals. Importance should also be attached to public education, source control, and the remediation of the highly contaminated soils, especially in the areas where it can endanger the groundwater. Furthermore, it is necessary to appropriately adjust the industrial structure and cooperate more to form a complete economic zone.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 57
    Publication Date: 2018-01-05
    Description: Water, Vol. 10, Pages 38: Reducing the Content of Metal Ions from Mine Water by Using Converter Sludge Water doi: 10.3390/w10010038 Authors: Lucia Rozumová Jana Prehradná The aim of this paper was to study of utilization of converter sludge waste as a sorbent. The sorbent was utilized to reduce the content of manganese, cobalt, and nickel ions from mine water. Sorbent utilized in this work was obtained from the metallurgical industry from a process of gas treatment in an oxygen converter. Converter sludge was characterized by X-ray diffraction, Scanning Electron Microscope, X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, Specific Surface Area and Particle Size. Sorption experiments were conducted in a batch mode by using the real mine water. The impact of pH and contact time on the pollutant removal efficiency was observed. The sorption kinetics were evaluated with pseudo-first and pseudo-second order kinetic models. For the tested materials, the highest level of mine water purification was achieved; thus, the mine water could be discharged into the watercourse. The results of this study indicate that the application of metallurgical waste as a sorbent is highly effective for the treatment of multicomponent mine water.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4441
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 58
    Publication Date: 2018-01-05
    Description: Water, Vol. 10, Pages 36: Uptake of Zn2+ and As3+ from Wastewater by Adsorption onto Imine Functionalized Magnetic Nanoparticles Water doi: 10.3390/w10010036 Authors: Mike Ojemaye Omobola Okoh Anthony Okoh In this paper, imine functionalized magnetic nanoparticles (MNP-Maph) were employed to aqueous solutions for the uptake of Zn(II) and As(III). Characterization of the material showed the successful synthesis of this material. Factors affecting the uptake of metal ions in aqueous solution such as change in pH, time, adsorbent dose, adsorbate concentration, and temperature were investigated and optimized to determine the best experimental conditions for the effective adsorption of Zn(II) and As(III) from wastewater samples. The adsorption capacity of MNP-Maph followed similar patterns as that of amine functionalized magnetic nanoparticles (MNP-NH2) for the uptake of both metal ions from aqueous solution when solution pH was varied. Higher pH values favored the uptake of Zn(II) and As(III) by using both adsorbents. Also, increasing the contact time and temperature yielded a higher uptake of Zn(II) and As(III). Both processes can best be described with a pseudo-second order kinetic model, while the Langmuir maximum adsorption capacity (qm) for Zn(II) increased from 35.83 to 54.53 mg g−1, and for As(III) from 50.08 to 57.60 mg g−1. Of note is that the qm of As(III) was higher than that of Zn(II) because of the lower concentration of As(III) in solution compared to that of Zn(II), and thermodynamic parameters indicated that the adsorption processes were heat absorbing and rapid in nature. Experiments to evaluate if the adsorbent could be recycled showed excellent recyclability capacity of MNP-Maph after seven runs. Lastly, application of MNP-Maph for the uptake of Zn(II) and As(III) from municipal wastewater samples showed remarkable sorption performance confirming the potential of imine functionalized magnetic nanoparticles as an excellent adsorbent for the uptake of metal ions from aqueous solutions.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4441
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 59
    Publication Date: 2018-01-06
    Description: Algorithms, Vol. 11, Pages 2: Models for Multiple Attribute Decision-Making with Dual Generalized Single-Valued Neutrosophic Bonferroni Mean Operators Algorithms doi: 10.3390/a11010002 Authors: Jie Wang Xiyue Tang Guiwu Wei In this article, we expand the dual generalized weighted BM (DGWBM) and dual generalized weighted geometric Bonferroni mean (DGWGBM) operator with single valued neutrosophic numbers (SVNNs) to propose the dual generalized single-valued neutrosophic number WBM (DGSVNNWBM) operator and dual generalized single-valued neutrosophic numbers WGBM (DGSVNNWGBM) operator. Then, the multiple attribute decision making (MADM) methods are proposed with these operators. In the end, we utilize an applicable example for strategic suppliers selection to prove the proposed methods.
    Electronic ISSN: 1999-4893
    Topics: Computer Science
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  • 60
    Publication Date: 2018-01-06
    Description: Energies, Vol. 11, Pages 130: High Gain Boost Interleaved Converters with Coupled Inductors and with Demagnetizing Circuits Energies doi: 10.3390/en11010130 Authors: Michal Frivaldsky Branislav Hanko Michal Prazenica Jan Morgos This paper proposes double interleaved boost converters with high voltage gain and with magnetically coupled inductors, while a third coupled winding is used for magnetic flux reset of the core during converter operation. The topology of the proposal is simple, it does not require many additional components compared to standard interleaved topologies, and it improves the transfer characteristics, as well as system efficiency even for high power levels. The investigation of steady-state operation was undertaken. It was discovered that the proposed converter can be designed for a target application where very high voltage gain is required, while adjustment of voltage gain value can be done through duty-cycle variation or by the turns-ratio modification between individual coils. The 1 kW prototype was designed to test the theoretical analysis. The results demonstrate that the proposed converter achieves very high voltage gain (1:8), while for the designed prototype the peak efficiency reaches >96% even when two additional diodes and one winding were implemented within the converter’s main circuit. The dependency of the output voltage stiffness on load change is minimal. Thus, the presented converter might be a proper solution for applications where tight constant DC-bus voltage is required (a DC-DC converter for inverters).
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 61
    Publication Date: 2018-01-06
    Description: Energies, Vol. 11, Pages 128: Optimal Pole Number and Winding Designs for Low Speed–High Torque Synchronous Reluctance Machines Energies doi: 10.3390/en11010128 Authors: Gurutz Artetxe Jesus Paredes Borja Prieto Miguel Martinez-Iturralde Ibon Elosegui This paper studies the feasibility of using synchronous reluctance machines (SynRM) for low speed–high torque applications. The challenge lies in obtaining low torque ripple values, high power factor, and, especially, high torque density values, comparable to those of permanent magnet synchronous machines (PMSMs), but without resorting to use permanent magnets. A design and calculation procedure based on multistatic finite element analysis is developed and experimentally validated via a 200 Nm, 160 rpm prototype SynRM. After that, machine designs with different rotor pole and stator slot number combinations are studied, together with different winding types: integral-slot distributed-windings (ISDW), fractional-slot distributed-windings (FSDW) and fractional-slot concentrated-windings (FSCW). Some design criteria for low-speed SynRM are drawn from the results of the study. Finally, a performance comparison between a PMSM and a SynRM is performed for the same application and the conclusions of the study are summarized.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 62
    Publication Date: 2018-01-06
    Description: Entropy, Vol. 20, Pages 30: Human Postural Control: Assessment of Two Alternative Interpretations of Center of Pressure Sample Entropy through a Principal Component Factorization of Whole-Body Kinematics Entropy doi: 10.3390/e20010030 Authors: Thomas Haid Peter Federolf Sample entropy (SaEn), calculated for center of pressure (COP) trajectories, is often distinct for compromised postural control, e.g., in Parkinson, stroke, or concussion patients, but the interpretation of COP-SaEn remains subject to debate. The purpose of this paper is to test the hypotheses that COP-SaEn is related (Hypothesis 1; H1) to the complexity of the postural movement structures, i.e., to the utilization and coordination of the mechanical degrees of freedom; or (Hypothesis 2; H2) to the irregularity of the individual postural movement strategies, i.e., to the neuromuscular control of these movements. Twenty-one healthy volunteers (age 26.4 ± 2.4; 10 females), equipped with 27 reflective markers, stood on a force plate and performed 2-min quiet stances. Principal movement strategies (PMs) were obtained from a principal component analysis (PCA) of the kinematic data. Then SaEn was calculated for the COP and PM time-series. H1 was tested by correlating COP-SaEn to the relative contribution of the PMs to the subject specific overall movement and H2 by correlating COP-SaEn and PM-SaEn. Both hypotheses were supported. This suggests that in a healthy population the COP-SaEn is linked to the complexity of the coordinative structure of postural movements, as well as to the irregularity of the neuromuscular control of specific movement components.
    Electronic ISSN: 1099-4300
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Physics
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  • 63
    Publication Date: 2018-01-06
    Description: IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 74: Living with Smoker(s) and Smoking Cessation in Chinese Adult Smokers: Cross-Sectional and Prospective Evidence from Hong Kong Population Health Survey International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15010074 Authors: Zhi-Ming Mai Sai-Yin Ho Man-Ping Wang Lai-Ming Ho Tai-Hing Lam Background: Results on the environmental influence on unassisted quitting are scarce. We investigated the associations of living with smoker(s) with quitting in Chinese adult smokers. Methods: We examined both cross-sectional and prospective data in the Hong Kong Population Health Survey recruited participants in 2003/04, and followed up to 2006. Unconditional logistic regression yielded adjusted odds ratios (AORs) of (i) planning to quit, (ii) ex-smoking (cross-sectional), and quitting (prospective) for living with smoker(s). 1679 ever smokers aged 18+ years at baseline, and 323 of them who were successfully followed-up were included in the cross-sectional, and prospective analysis. Results: At baseline, living with smoker(s) was significantly associated with lower odds of planning to quit in current smokers (AOR 0.41, 95% CI 0.25–0.68), and lower odds of ex-smoking (AOR 0.45, 95% CI 0.34–0.58), particularly if the smoker(s) smoked inside home (AOR 0.35, 95% CI 0.26–0.47). Prospectively, living with smoker(s) non-significantly predicted lower odds of new quitting (AOR 0.48, 95% CI 0.13–1.78). Conclusions: Our study has provided the first evidence in a Chinese general population that living with smoker(s) is an important barrier against smoking cessation. To boost quit rate in nonusers of smoking cessation services, smoking at home should be banned, especially for populations living in crowed urban environments that are typical of economically developed cities in China.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 64
    Publication Date: 2018-01-06
    Description: IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 78: Environmental Risk Factors for Developing Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15010078 Authors: Tashi Dendup Xiaoqi Feng Stephanie Clingan Thomas Astell-Burt Different elements of the environment have been posited to influence type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). This systematic review summarizes evidence on the environmental determinants of T2DM identified in four databases. It proposes a theoretical framework illustrating the link between environment and T2DM, and briefly discusses some methodological challenges and potential solutions, and opportunities for future research. Walkability, air pollution, food and physical activity environment and roadways proximity were the most common environmental characteristics studied. Of the more than 200 reported and extracted relationships assessed in 60 studies, 82 showed significant association in the expected direction. In general, higher levels of walkability and green space were associated with lower T2DM risk, while increased levels of noise and air pollution were associated with greater risk. Current evidence is limited in terms of volume and study quality prohibiting causal inferences. However, the evidence suggests that environmental characteristics may influence T2DM prevention, and also provides a reasonable basis for further investigation with better quality data and longitudinal studies with policy-relevant environmental measures. This pursuit of better evidence is critical to support health-orientated urban design and city planning.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 65
    Publication Date: 2018-01-06
    Description: IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 72: Attitudes towards Potential New Tobacco Control Regulations among U.S. Adults International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15010072 Authors: Allison Schmidt Sarah Kowitt Allison Myers Adam Goldstein Favorable attitudes towards tobacco control policies can facilitate their implementation and success. We examined attitudes toward four potential U.S. Federal tobacco regulations (banning menthol from cigarettes, reducing nicotine levels in cigarettes, banning candy and fruit flavored electronic cigarettes, and banning candy and fruit flavored little cigars and cigarillos) and associations with individual and state variables. A nationally representative phone survey of 4337 adults assessed attitudes toward potential policies. Weighted logistic regression was used to assess relationships between attitudes and demographic factors, smoking behavior, beliefs about the government (knowledge, trust, and credibility), exposure to tobacco control campaigns, and state variables from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) State Tobacco Activities Tracking and Evaluation (STATE) System. Most respondents supported three out of four policies. Respondents that were female, non-white, Latino, living below the poverty line, had less than high school education, were of older age, did not smoke, had higher trust in government, and were exposed to national tobacco control campaigns had higher odds of expressing favorable attitudes toward potential new tobacco regulations than did their counterparts. No state-level effects were found. While differences in attitudes were observed by individual demographic characteristics, behaviors, and beliefs, a majority of participants supported most of the potential new tobacco regulations surveyed.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 66
    Publication Date: 2018-01-06
    Description: IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 73: Workaholism as a Mediator between Work-Related Stressors and Health Outcomes International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15010073 Authors: Cecilie Andreassen Ståle Pallesen Torbjørn Torsheim It is currently unknown if unfavorable working conditions, reflected by the demand–control–support model and the effort–reward imbalance model, directly influence health or if the effects may be mediated by work-related attitudes and behaviors such as workaholism. In the present study, 988 employees (55.6% males, mean age 36.09, SD = 9.23) from a large consultant firm participated in a cross-sectional survey assessing work variables such as job demands, job control, social support, effort, reward, and overcommitment. Workaholism was also assessed together with eight different health-related outcomes. Although direct effects of the work stressors on health were found on most health outcomes, the work-related stressors were overall strongly related to workaholism (R2 = 0.522), which, in turn, was positively related to four (anxiety/insomnia, somatic symptoms, emotional exhaustion, and social dysfunction) of the eight outcome variables. Of a total of 40 relationships between work-related stressors and health outcomes, workaholism fully mediated three of these, and partly mediated 12. Overall, the study suggests that the effects of work-related stressors on health in many cases may be mediated by workaholism.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
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    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 67
    Publication Date: 2018-01-06
    Description: IJGI, Vol. 7, Pages 16: Assessment of Sustainable Livelihood and Geographic Detection of Settlement Sites in Ethnically Contiguous Poverty-Stricken Areas in the Aba Prefecture, China ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information doi: 10.3390/ijgi7010016 Authors: Yanguo Liu Chengmin Huang Qing Wang Junwei Luan Mingtao Ding The Chinese government aims to deal with poverty by 2020 for people living in ethnic and rural regions, including mountainous ethnic regions with the highest concentration of poverty and chronic poverty. Based on a sustainable livelihood Framework, five capitals and 33 evaluation indices of livelihood were built, and 13 counties’ resources of the Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture were compared in order to calculate the degree of poverty. Topographic factors index of settlement sites (TFIS) were constructed by eight topographic factors, and diagnoses of the dominant factors of differentiation of 2699 settlements were calculated by using the geographical detector model to establish the poverty alleviation policies and models for different regions. The results showed that the livelihood capital evaluation indices were different (0.56–1.88), and natural capitals (mean value 1.56) had obvious advantages, but physical (mean value 0.56), financial (mean value 0.78), and human capital were lower (mean value 0.93), limiting the rate of transforming the ecological resources advantage into the economy. In the TFIS, the settlement points indicate topographic factors of natural breakpoint classification superposition, including elevation, slope, relief amplitude, surface incision, variance coefficient in elevation, surface roughness, distance to roads, and distance to rivers. These are within the 8–34 range, and their power determinant value to TFIS are 0.02, 0.70, 0.77, 0.76, 0.51, 0.66, 0.06, and 0.09. Livelihood capital evaluation indices and TFIS classification one (8–14) are positively correlated, and negative correlation (22–26 and 27–34) is at the 0.05 level. The county's poverty alleviation measures and development under different livelihood indices and TFIS indicate that the ecotourism industry has become the inevitable choice for promoting rapid and coordinated development of economy, society, and the environment in ethnic regions.
    Electronic ISSN: 2220-9964
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geosciences
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  • 68
    Publication Date: 2018-01-06
    Description: Remote Sensing, Vol. 10, Pages 66: A Comparison of Regression Techniques for Estimation of Above-Ground Winter Wheat Biomass Using Near-Surface Spectroscopy Remote Sensing doi: 10.3390/rs10010066 Authors: Jibo Yue Haikuan Feng Guijun Yang Zhenhai Li Above-ground biomass (AGB) provides a vital link between solar energy consumption and yield, so its correct estimation is crucial to accurately monitor crop growth and predict yield. In this work, we estimate AGB by using 54 vegetation indexes (e.g., Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, Soil-Adjusted Vegetation Index) and eight statistical regression techniques: artificial neural network (ANN), multivariable linear regression (MLR), decision-tree regression (DT), boosted binary regression tree (BBRT), partial least squares regression (PLSR), random forest regression (RF), support vector machine regression (SVM), and principal component regression (PCR), which are used to analyze hyperspectral data acquired by using a field spectrophotometer. The vegetation indexes (VIs) determined from the spectra were first used to train regression techniques for modeling and validation to select the best VI input, and then summed with white Gaussian noise to study how remote sensing errors affect the regression techniques. Next, the VIs were divided into groups of different sizes by using various sampling methods for modeling and validation to test the stability of the techniques. Finally, the AGB was estimated by using a leave-one-out cross validation with these powerful techniques. The results of the study demonstrate that, of the eight techniques investigated, PLSR and MLR perform best in terms of stability and are most suitable when high-accuracy and stable estimates are required from relatively few samples. In addition, RF is extremely robust against noise and is best suited to deal with repeated observations involving remote-sensing data (i.e., data affected by atmosphere, clouds, observation times, and/or sensor noise). Finally, the leave-one-out cross-validation method indicates that PLSR provides the highest accuracy (R2 = 0.89, RMSE = 1.20 t/ha, MAE = 0.90 t/ha, NRMSE = 0.07, CV (RMSE) = 0.18); thus, PLSR is best suited for works requiring high-accuracy estimation models. The results indicate that all these techniques provide impressive accuracy. The comparison and analysis provided herein thus reveals the advantages and disadvantages of the ANN, MLR, DT, BBRT, PLSR, RF, SVM, and PCR techniques and can help researchers to build efficient AGB-estimation models.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 69
    Publication Date: 2018-01-06
    Description: Remote Sensing, Vol. 10, Pages 67: Spatiotemporal Evaluation of GNSS-R Based on Future Fully Operational Global Multi-GNSS and Eight-LEO Constellations Remote Sensing doi: 10.3390/rs10010067 Authors: Fan Gao Tianhe Xu Nazi Wang Chunhua Jiang Yujun Du Wenfeng Nie Guochang Xu Spaceborne GNSS-R (global navigation satellite system reflectometry) is an innovative and powerful bistatic radar remote sensing technique that uses specialized GNSS-R instruments on LEO (low Earth orbit) satellites to receive GNSS L-band signals reflected by the Earth’s surface. Unlike monostatic radar, the illuminated areas are elliptical regions centered on specular reflection points. Evaluation of the spatiotemporal resolution of the reflections is necessary at the GNSS-R mission design stage for various applications. However, not all specular reflection signals can be received because the size and location of the GNSS-R antenna’s available reflecting ground coverage depends on parameters including the on-board receiver antenna gain, the signal frequency and power, the antenna face direction, and the LEO’s altitude. Additionally, the number of available reflections is strongly related to the number of GNSS-R LEO and GNSS satellites. By 2020, the Galileo and BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) constellations are scheduled to be fully operational at global scale and nearly 120 multi-GNSS satellites, including Global Positioning System (GPS) and Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS) satellites, will be available for use as illuminators. In this paper, to evaluate the future capacity for repetitive GNSS-R observations, we propose a GNSS satellite selection method and simulate the orbit of eight-satellite LEO and partial multi-GNSS constellations. We then analyze the spatiotemporal distribution characteristics of the reflections in two cases: (1) When only GPS satellites are available; (2) when multi-GNSS satellites are available separately. Simulation and analysis results show that the multi-GNSS-R system has major advantages in terms of available satellite numbers and revisit times over the GPS-R system. Additionally, the spatial density of the specular reflections on the Earth’s surface is related to the LEO inclination and constellation construction.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 70
    Publication Date: 2018-01-06
    Description: Remote Sensing, Vol. 10, Pages 64: Preliminary Study of Soil Available Nutrient Simulation Using a Modified WOFOST Model and Time-Series Remote Sensing Observations Remote Sensing doi: 10.3390/rs10010064 Authors: Zhiqiang Cheng Jihua Meng Yanyou Qiao Yiming Wang Wenquan Dong Yanxin Han The approach of using multispectral remote sensing (RS) to estimate soil available nutrients (SANs) has been recently developed and shows promising results. This method overcomes the limitations of commonly used methods by building a statistical model that connects RS-based crop growth and nutrient content. However, the stability and accuracy of this model require improvement. In this article, we replaced the statistical model by integrating the World Food Studies (WOFOST) model and time series of remote sensing (T-RS) observations to ensure stability and accuracy. Time series of HJ-1 A/B data was assimilated into the WOFOST model to extrapolate crop growth simulations from a single point to a large area using a specific assimilation method. Because nutrient-limited growth within the growing season is required and the SAN parameters can only be used at the end of the growing season in the original model, the WOFOST model was modified. Notably, the calculation order was changed, and new soil nutrient uptake algorithms were implemented in the model for nutrient-limited growth estimation. Finally, experiments were conducted in the spring maize plots of Hongxing Farm to analyze the effects of nutrient stress on crop growth and the SAN simulation accuracy. The results confirm the differences in crop growth status caused by a lack of soil nutrients. The new approach can take advantage of these differences to provide better SAN estimates. In general, the new approach can overcome the limitations of existing methods and simulate the SAN status with reliable accuracy.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 71
    Publication Date: 2018-01-06
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 139: Study of the Weathering Process of Gasoline by eNose Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18010139 Authors: María Aliaño-González Marta Ferreiro-González Gerardo Barbero Jesús Ayuso Miguel Palma Carmelo Barroso In a fire investigation the rapid detection of the presence of ignitable liquids like gasoline is of great importance as it allows appropriate treatment of the remains, the identification of prevention methods and detects the possible presence of an arsonist. In some cases, analysts cannot access the fire scene in the first few hours due to the dangers involved in the situation and, as a consequence, phenomena such as weathering start. Ignitable liquid weathering is an evaporation process that results in an increase in the abundance of non-volatile compounds relative to volatile compounds, and this process changes the chemical composition. In the present work, the weathering of samples of gasoline at different times (from 0 h to a month) has been studied using an electronic nose (eNose). The influence of the volume used (40 µL and 80 µL) and the type of support (cork, wood, paper and cotton sheet) has been studied. Chemometric tools have been used with the aim of ascertaining the weathering time for which the developed method is capable of detecting the presence of gasoline. The eNose was able to discriminate samples of weathered gasoline. The support used for the samples did not seem to have an influence on the detection and the system.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 72
    Publication Date: 2018-01-06
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 137: Fast Alignment of SINS for Marching Vehicles Based on Multi-Vectors of Velocity Aided by GPS and Odometer Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18010137 Authors: Chunxi Zhang Longjun Ran Lailiang Song In the strap-down inertial navigation system (SINS), the initial attitude matrix is acquired through alignment. Though there were multiple valid methods, alignment time and accuracy are still core issues, especially regarding the condition of the motion carrier. Inspired by the idea of constructing nonlinear vectors by velocity in a different coordinate frame, this paper proposes an innovative alignment method for a vehicle-mounted SINS in motion. In this method, the core issue of acquiring the attitude matrix is to calculate the matrix between the inertial frame and the initial body frame, which can be constructed through the nonlinear velocity vectors’ information from the GPS and the odometer at different moments, which denominate the multi-vector attitude determination. The possibility of collinearity can easily be avoided by a turning movement. The characteristic of propagation of error is analyzed in detail, based on which an improved method is put forward to depress the effect of random noise. Compared with the existing alignment methods, this method does not use the measurement information of accelerometers. In order to demonstrate its performance, the method is compared with the two-position alignment method and the traditional two-stage alignment method. Simulation and vehicle-based experiment results show that the proposed alignment method can establish an attitude reference in 100 s with an azimuth error of less than 0.06°, and that the accuracy does not have a strong correlation with the accelerometer.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 73
    Publication Date: 2018-01-06
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 138: Optical-Interferometry-Based CMOS-MEMS Sensor Transduced by Stress-Induced Nanomechanical Deflection Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18010138 Authors: Satoshi Maruyama Takeshi Hizawa Kazuhiro Takahashi Kazuaki Sawada We developed a Fabry–Perot interferometer sensor with a metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET) circuit for chemical sensing. The novel signal transducing technique was performed in three steps: mechanical deflection, transmittance change, and photocurrent change. A small readout photocurrent was processed by an integrated source follower circuit. The movable film of the sensor was a 350-nm-thick polychloro-para-xylylene membrane with a diameter of 100 µm and an air gap of 300 nm. The linearity of the integrated source follower circuit was obtained. We demonstrated a gas response using 80-ppm ethanol detected by small membrane deformation of 50 nm, which resulted in an output-voltage change with the proposed high-efficiency transduction.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 74
    Publication Date: 2018-01-06
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 135: Performance Analysis of Beidou-2/Beidou-3e Combined Solution with Emphasis on Precise Orbit Determination and Precise Point Positioning Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18010135 Authors: Xiaolong Xu Min Li Wenwen Li Jingnan Liu In 2015, the plan for global coverage by the Chinese BeiDou Navigation Satellite System was launched. Five global BeiDou experimental satellites (BeiDou-3e) are in orbit for testing. To analyze the performances of precise orbit determination (POD) and precise point positioning (PPP) of onboard BeiDou satellites, about two months of data from 24 tracking stations were used. According to quality analysis of BeiDou-2/BeiDou-3e data, there is no satellite-induced code bias in BeiDou-3e satellites, which has been found in BeiDou-2 satellites. This phenomenon indicates that the quality issues of pseudorange data in BeiDou satellites have been solved well. POD results indicate that the BeiDou-3e orbit precision is comparable to that of BeiDou-2 satellites. The ambiguity fixed solution improved the orbit consistency of inclined geosynchronous orbit satellites in along-track and cross-track directions, but had little effect in the radial direction. Satellite laser ranging of BeiDou-3e medium Earth orbit satellites (MEOs) achieved a standard deviation of about 4 cm. Differences in clock offset series after the removal of reference clock in overlapping arcs were used to assess clock quality, and standard deviation of clock offset could reach 0.18 ns on average, which was in agreement with the orbit precision. For static PPP, when BeiDou-3e satellites were included, the positioning performance for horizontal components was improved slightly. For kinematic PPP, when global positioning satellites (GPS) were combined with BeiDou-2 and BeiDou-3e satellites, the convergence time was 13.5 min with a precision of 2–3 cm for horizontal components, and 3–4 cm for the vertical component.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 75
    Publication Date: 2018-01-06
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 134: One-Dimensional Nanostructures: Microfluidic-Based Synthesis, Alignment and Integration towards Functional Sensing Devices Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18010134 Authors: Yanlong Xing Petra Dittrich Microfluidic-based synthesis of one-dimensional (1D) nanostructures offers tremendous advantages over bulk approaches e.g., the laminar flow, reduced sample consumption and control of self-assembly of nanostructures. In addition to the synthesis, the integration of 1D nanomaterials into microfluidic chips can enable the development of diverse functional microdevices. 1D nanomaterials have been used in applications such as catalysts, electronic instrumentation and sensors for physical parameters or chemical compounds and biomolecules and hence, can be considered as building blocks. Here, we outline and critically discuss promising strategies for microfluidic-assisted synthesis, alignment and various chemical and biochemical applications of 1D nanostructures. In particular, the use of 1D nanostructures for sensing chemical/biological compounds are reviewed.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 76
    Publication Date: 2018-01-06
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 128: Supervoxel Segmentation with Voxel-Related Gaussian Mixture Model Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18010128 Authors: Zhihua Ban Zhong Chen Jianguo Liu Extended from superpixel segmentation by adding an additional constraint on temporal consistency, supervoxel segmentation is to partition video frames into atomic segments. In this work, we propose a novel scheme for supervoxel segmentation to address the problem of new and moving objects, where the segmentation is performed on every two consecutive frames and thus each internal frame has two valid superpixel segmentations. This scheme provides coarse-grained parallel ability, and subsequent algorithms can validate their result using two segmentations that will further improve robustness. To implement this scheme, a voxel-related Gaussian mixture model (GMM) is proposed, in which each supervoxel is assumed to be distributed in a local region and represented by two Gaussian distributions that share the same color parameters to capture temporal consistency. Our algorithm has a lower complexity with respect to frame size than the traditional GMM. According to our experiments, it also outperforms the state-of-the-art in accuracy.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 77
    Publication Date: 2018-01-06
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 117: Motives for Corporate Social Responsibility in Chinese Food Companies Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10010117 Authors: Dongyong Zhang Qiaoyun Ma Stephen Morse This paper explores the connection between corporate social responsibility (CSR) and food safety and how best to promote CSR in Chinese food companies by comparing two groups of food companies, one which had food safety incidents in the previous three years and one which had no food safety incidents during the same period. Managers of 498 food companies in 17 regions of China were surveyed. It was found that companies where the senior management gave higher levels of support and commitment to CSR and companies that had higher levels of CSR engagement had lower food safety incident rates. Motives for CSR engagement by food companies are the expected benefits that might accrue to the company including helping to achieve strategic objectives, improving daily management, ensuring food safety, improving internal cooperation, enhancing food quality, improving employees’ skills at work, increasing employee benefit and improving their morale, and maintaining business integrity. It was also found that the external factors for CSR engagement are consumer demand, as well as pressures from the government and from other companies in the supply chain. Finally, the paper makes a number of suggestions for improvements in policy.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 78
    Publication Date: 2018-01-06
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 112: Estimation of Carbon Dioxide Emissions Generated by Building and Traffic in Taichung City Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10010112 Authors: Chou-Tsang Chang Tzu-Ping Lin The emissions of carbon dioxide generated by urban traffic is generally reflected by urban size. In order to discuss the traffic volume generated in developed buildings and road crossings in a single urban block, with the metropolitan area in Taichung, Taiwan as an example, this study calculates the mutual relationship between the carbon dioxide generated by the traffic volume and building development scale, in order to research energy consumption and relevance. In this research, the entire-day traffic volume of an important road crossing is subject to statistical analysis to obtain the prediction formula of total passenger car units in the main road crossing within 24 h. Then, the total CO2 emissions generated by the traffic volume in the entire year is calculated according to the investigation data of peak traffic hours within 16 blocks and the influential factors of the development scale of 95 buildings are counted. Finally, this research found that there is a passenger car unit of 4.72 generated in each square meter of land in the urban block every day, 0.99 in each square meter of floor area in the building and the average annual total CO2 emissions of each passenger car unit is 41.4 kgCO2/yr. In addition, the basic information of an integrated road system and traffic volume is used to present a readable urban traffic hot map, which can calculate a distribution map of passenger car units within one day in Taichung. This research unit can be used to forecast the development scale of various buildings in future urban blocks, in order to provide an effective approach to estimate the carbon dioxide generated by the traffic volume.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 79
    Publication Date: 2018-01-06
    Description: Water, Vol. 10, Pages 41: Modelling Wetland Growing Season Rainfall Interception Losses Based on Maximum Canopy Storage Measurements Water doi: 10.3390/w10010041 Authors: Wojciech Ciężkowski Tomasz Berezowski Małgorzata Kleniewska Sylwia Szporak-Wasilewska Jarosław Chormański This study estimates rainfall interception losses from natural wetland ecosystems based on maximum canopy storage measurements. Rainfall interception losses play an important role in water balance, which is crucial in wetlands, and has not yet been thoroughly studied in relation to this type of ecosystem. Maximum canopy storage was measured using the weight method. Based on these measurements, daily values of interception losses were estimated and then used to calculate long-term interception losses based on precipitation and potential evapotranspiration data for the 1971–2015 period. Depending mainly on the number of days with precipitation, the results show that total interception losses for the growing season as well as monthly interception losses are around 13% of gross rainfall. This value is similar to the values observed for some forests. Hence, interception losses should not be disregarded in hydrologic models of wetlands, especially because data trends in meteorological conditions (mainly number of days with precipitation) show that interception losses will increase in the future if those trends stay the same.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4441
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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    Publication Date: 2018-01-07
    Description: IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 81: Lipoprotein-Cholesterol Fractions in Marginalized Roma versus Majority Population International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15010081 Authors: Beáta Hubková Gabriel Bódy Jana Mašlanková Anna Birková Eugen Frišman Vladimír Kraus Mária Mareková The trend of modern clinical biochemistry is to emphasize the composition and the quality of lipoproteins over their quantity. The serum lipoprotein fractions and subfractions were analyzed by the Lipoprint Lipoprotein Subfractions Testing System, the parameters of lipid profile, as total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C), high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C) and triacylglycerides (TAG) were determined by an automated selective biochemical analyzer. Our results showed a significantly lower concentration of cholesterol in the LDL fractions 1 and 2 and in the HDL fractions 8 to 10 in Roma compared to the majority population. The most significant differences between Roma and the majority population when considering body mass index (BMI), waist-to-hip ratio and the index of central obesity were in very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL), intermediate-density lipoproteins, fraction A (IDL-A) and LDL-2. The last two listed were significantly higher in the majority population. VLDL was significantly higher in overweight or obese Roma men and in Roma men with central obesity compared to men from the majority population, as well as in Roma women with normal weight and physiological waist-to-hip ratio compared to the women from majority population. Our study is among the first describing the distribution of lipoprotein subfractions in different ethnic groups.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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