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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2018-05-08
    Description: Minerals, Vol. 8, Pages 198: Structure Simulation and Host–Guest Interaction of Histidine-Intercalated Hydrotalcite–Montmorillonite Complex Minerals doi: 10.3390/min8050198 Authors: Chen-Xi Wang Min Pu Pei-Huan Zhang Yang Gao Zuo-Yin Yang Ming Lei The structures of histidine intercalated hydrotalcite–montmorillonite complex (His–LDHs–MMT) were studied using the DMol3 code, GGA/PW91 function, and DND basis set of the density functional theory (DFT). The geometries of His–LDHs–MMT were optimized, and their electronic properties were calculated. The results showed that the structure of the complex can be seen as that the quaternary ammonium group of histidine was adsorbed on the oxygen of MMT lamella, and its oxygen on the carboxylic acid anion was combined with the hydrogen atoms of the LDHs lamella. It was determined that the interaction mainly consisted in hydrogen bonding and electrostatic force. The average binding energies per histidine of His–LDHs and His–MMT were about −65.89 and −78.44 kcal/mol, respectively. The density of states of the complexes showed that the 2p orbitals of oxygen were dominant, and the 1s orbit of hydrogen near the Fermi level indicate the formation of hydrogen bonds in the complex. The charge density data displayed the density field of histidine carboxylic acid anion overlapped with that of hydrotalcite layer, indicating that a strong hydrogen bond interaction existed between histidine and hydrotalcite layer. The analysis of the electrostatic potential of complex indicated that the electrostatic interaction between histidine and MMT is obviously stronger than that of LDHs. The simulated XRD spectra showed the special diffraction peaks of LDHs and MMT layer in the complex.
    Electronic ISSN: 2075-163X
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2018-05-09
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 756: Macrophage Biocompatibility of CoCr Wear Particles Produced under Polarization in Hyaluronic Acid Aqueous Solution Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11050756 Authors: Blanca Teresa Perez-Maceda María Encarnación López-Fernández Iván Díaz Aaron Kavanaugh Fabrizio Billi María Lorenza Escudero María Cristina García-Alonso Rosa María Lozano Macrophages are the main cells involved in inflammatory processes and in the primary response to debris derived from wear of implanted CoCr alloys. The biocompatibility of wear particles from a high carbon CoCr alloy produced under polarization in hyaluronic acid (HA) aqueous solution was evaluated in J774A.1 mouse macrophages cultures. Polarization was applied to mimic the electrical interactions observed in living tissues. Wear tests were performed in a pin-on-disk tribometer integrating an electrochemical cell in phosphate buffer solution (PBS) and in PBS supplemented with 3 g/L HA, an average concentration that is generally found in synovial fluid, used as lubricant solution. Wear particles produced in 3 g/L HA solution showed a higher biocompatibility in J774A.1 macrophages in comparison to those elicited by particles obtained in PBS. A considerable enhancement in macrophages biocompatibility in the presence of 3 g/L of HA was further observed by the application of polarization at potentials having current densities typical of injured tissues suggesting that polarization produces an effect on the surface of the metallic material that leads to the production of wear particles that seem to be macrophage-biocompatible and less cytotoxic. The results showed the convenience of considering the influence of the electric interactions in the chemical composition of debris detached from metallic surfaces under wear corrosion to get a better understanding of the biological effects caused by the wear products.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2018-05-09
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 751: Experimentally Achievable Accuracy Using a Digital Image Correlation Technique in measuring Small-Magnitude (〈0.1%) Homogeneous Strain Fields Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11050751 Authors: Alice Acciaioli Giacomo Lionello Massimiliano Baleani Measuring small-magnitude strain fields using a digital image correlation (DIC) technique is challenging, due to the noise-signal ratio in strain maps. Here, we determined the level of accuracy achievable in measuring small-magnitude (<0.1%) homogeneous strain fields. We investigated different sets of parameters for image processing and imaging pre-selection, based on single-image noise level. The trueness of DIC was assessed by comparison of Young’s modulus (E) and Poisson’s ratio (ν) with values obtained from strain gauge measurements. Repeatability was improved, on average, by 20–25% with experimentally-determined optimal parameters and image pre-selection. Despite this, the intra- and inter-specimen repeatability of strain gauge measurements was 5 and 2.5 times better than DIC, respectively. Moreover, although trueness was also improved, on average, by 30–45%, DIC consistently overestimated the two material parameters by 1.8% and 3.2% for E and ν, respectively. DIC is a suitable option to measure small-magnitude homogeneous strain fields, bearing in mind the limitations in achievable accuracy.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2018-05-09
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 754: The Multifaceted Uses and Therapeutic Advantages of Nanoparticles for Atherosclerosis Research Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11050754 Authors: Nicholas DiStasio Stephanie Lehoux Ali Khademhosseini Maryam Tabrizian Nanoparticles are uniquely suited for the study and development of potential therapies against atherosclerosis by virtue of their size, fine-tunable properties, and ability to incorporate therapies and/or imaging modalities. Furthermore, nanoparticles can be specifically targeted to the atherosclerotic plaque, evading off-target effects and/or associated cytotoxicity. There has been a wealth of knowledge available concerning the use of nanotechnologies in cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosis, in particular in animal models, but with a major focus on imaging agents. In fact, roughly 60% of articles from an initial search for this review included examples of imaging applications of nanoparticles. Thus, this review focuses on experimental therapy interventions applied to and observed in animal models. Particular emphasis is placed on how nanoparticle materials and properties allow researchers to learn a great deal about atherosclerosis. The objective of this review was to provide an update for nanoparticle use in imaging and drug delivery studies and to illustrate how nanoparticles can be used for sensing and modelling, for studying fundamental biological mechanisms, and for the delivery of biotherapeutics such as proteins, peptides, nucleic acids, and even cells all with the goal of attenuating atherosclerosis. Furthermore, the various atherosclerosis processes targeted mainly for imaging studies have been summarized in the hopes of inspiring new and exciting targeted therapeutic and/or imaging strategies.
    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: 2018-05-09
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 750: Study of Fluorinated Quantum Dots-Protein Interactions at the Oil/Water Interface by Interfacial Surface Tension Changes Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11050750 Authors: Carolina Carrillo-Carrión Marta Gallego Wolfgang J. Parak Mónica Carril Understanding the interaction of nanoparticles with proteins and how this interaction modifies the nanoparticles’ surface is crucial before their use for biomedical applications. Since fluorinated materials are emerging as potential imaging probes and delivery vehicles, their interaction with proteins of biological interest must be studied in order to be able to predict their performance in real scenarios. It is known that fluorinated planar surfaces may repel the unspecific adsorption of proteins but little is known regarding the same process on fluorinated nanoparticles due to the scarce examples in the literature. In this context, the aim of this work is to propose a simple and fast methodology to study fluorinated nanoparticle-protein interactions based on interfacial surface tension (IFT) measurements. This technique is particularly interesting for fluorinated nanoparticles due to their increased hydrophobicity. Our study is based on the determination of IFT variations due to the interaction of quantum dots of ca. 5 nm inorganic core/shell diameter coated with fluorinated ligands (QD_F) with several proteins at the oil/water interface. Based on the results, we conclude that the presence of QD_F do not disrupt protein spontaneous film formation at the oil/water interface. Even if at very low concentrations of proteins the film formation in the presence of QD_F shows a slower rate, the final interfacial tension reached is similar to that obtained in the absence of QD_F. The differential behaviour of the studied proteins (bovine serum albumin, fibrinogen and apotransferrin) has been discussed on the basis of the adsorption affinity of each protein towards DCM/water interface and their different sizes. Additionally, it has been clearly demonstrated that the proposed methodology can serve as a complementary technique to other reported direct and indirect methods for the evaluation of nanoparticle-protein interactions at low protein concentrations.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2018-05-09
    Description: Minerals, Vol. 8, Pages 202: Changes and Distribution of Modes of Occurrence of Seventeen Potentially-Hazardous Trace Elements during Entrained Flow Gasification of Coals from Ningdong, China Minerals doi: 10.3390/min8050202 Authors: Yuegang Tang Xin Guo Xi Pan Robert B. Finkelman Yafeng Wang Binbin Huan Shaoqing Wang In order to reveal the migration of trace elements from coal to gasification residues, the modes of occurrence of potentially-hazardous trace elements (Be, V, Cr, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, As, Se, Mo, Cd, Sb, Ba, Hg, Tl, Pb, and U) were determined by a five steps sequential chemical extraction procedure. Samples were collected from a coal-to-methanol plant (GE water-slurry coal gasification, formerly Texaco) and a coal-to-olefins plant (Gaskombimat Schwarze Pumpe pulverized coal gasification, GSP) in the Ningdong Energy and Chemical Industry Base, China. Concentrations of As and Se were determined using atomic fluorescence spectrometry (AFS). The content of Hg was determined using a DMA-80 mercury analyzer. Other trace elements (Be, Cr, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Mo, Cd, Sb, Ba, Tl, Pb, and U) were analyzed using inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). XRD and SEM-EDX were employed to determine the minerals or other inorganic phases in samples. The modes of occurrence of trace elements in feed coals can influence their behavior, including their volatility during coal gasification and, ultimately, the element’s mode of occurrence in the gasification residues. Knowing an element’s mode of occurrence in the feed coal may aid in anticipating which components the elements are likely to combine with during liquid slag cooling. Based on the relative enrichment of trace elements in the residues, elements Be, V, Cu, Mo, Ba, and Hg showed volatility during the GE and GSP gasification processes; As and Se showed volatilization-condensation behavior during the GE and GSP gasification processes; Cr, Ni, Zn, Cd, Sb, Tl, Pb, and U showed volatility during the GE gasification process; Zn, Cd, Sb, Pb, and Tl in the GSP samples, as well as Co in the GE samples, showed volatilization-condensation behavior; and Cr, Co, Ni, and U showed less volatility during the GSP gasification process. In the gasification residues, quartz, calcite, and Al–Si glass were the main inorganic phases, carbonates and iron and manganese oxides (likely recrystallized calcite) were the main hosts of most trace elements in the residues, including Be, V, Cr, Co, Ni, Zn, As, Cd, Ba, Hg, Tl, Pb, and U. Copper, Zn, Se, Cd, and Sb tended to stay in the Al–Si glass. Molybdenum is likely precipitated with the sulfides in the residues.
    Electronic ISSN: 2075-163X
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2018-05-10
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 1491: Optimal Control for Aperiodic Dual-Rate Systems With Time-Varying Delays Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18051491 Authors: Ernesto Aranda-Escolástico Julián Salt María Guinaldo Jesús Chacón Sebastián Dormido In this work, we consider a dual-rate scenario with slow input and fast output. Our objective is the maximization of the decay rate of the system through the suitable choice of the n-input signals between two measures (periodic sampling) and their times of application. The optimization algorithm is extended for time-varying delays in order to make possible its implementation in networked control systems. We provide experimental results in an air levitation system to verify the validity of the algorithm in a real plant.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2018-05-10
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 1484: State Recognition of Bone Drilling Based on Acoustic Emission in Pedicle Screw Operation Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18051484 Authors: Fengqing Guan Yu Sun Xiaozhi Qi Ying Hu Gang Yu Jianwei Zhang Pedicle drilling is an important step in pedicle screw fixation and the most significant challenge in this operation is how to determine a key point in the transition region between cancellous and inner cortical bone. The purpose of this paper is to find a method to achieve the recognition for the key point. After acquiring acoustic emission (AE) signals during the drilling process, this paper proposed a novel frequency distribution-based algorithm (FDB) to analyze the AE signals in the frequency domain after certain processes. Then we select a specific frequency domain of the signal for standard operations and choose a fitting function to fit the obtained sequence. Characters of the fitting function are extracted as outputs for identification of different bone layers. The results, which are obtained by detecting force signal and direct measurement, are given in the paper. Compared with the results above, the results obtained by AE signals are distinguishable for different bone layers and are more accurate and precise. The results of the algorithm are trained and identified by a neural network and the recognition rate reaches 84.2%. The proposed method is proved to be efficient and can be used for bone layer identification in pedicle screw fixation.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2018-05-10
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 1503: Multidisciplinary Investigation of the Imperial Gates of the 17th Century Wooden Church in Sălișca, Cluj County, Romania Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10051503 Authors: Calin Neamtu Victor Constantin Marutoiu Ioan Bratu Olivia Florena Marutoiu Constantin Marutoiu Ioan Chirilă Mihai Dragomir Daniela Popescu One of the most beautiful elements of cultural heritage in Romanian villages is the Transylvanian wooden churches. Unfortunately, these heritage elements have experienced considerable deterioration. This paper presents the results of a project whose main goal was the scientific investigation of the Imperial Gates belonging to the wooden church in Sălișca, Cluj County, Romania. To digitally preserve and document the Imperial Gates, a scientific investigation into the wooden support and the painting materials (ground, pigments) were performed using Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) and x-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectroscopy. FTIR spectroscopy provided information about the wooden support, whereas XRF and FTIR methods were used to structurally characterize the painting materials. These structural data were correlated with the artistic, theological, and historical analysis of the religious heritage monument. Starting from the information acquired about the wooden support and the painting materials, the Imperial Gates were three-dimensional (3D) scanned using state-of-the-art laser scanners. The digitization of the Imperial Gates and the interior of the church was performed to maintain the current preservation status and disseminate this information to the public using online instruments.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2018-05-10
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 1496: Which Media do Polish Teachers Use to Support Sustainable Development among Students? Analysis of Research Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10051496 Authors: Anna Mróz Iwona Ocetkiewicz Katarzyna Walotek-Ściańska Modern media, to a large extent, create the social, economic and environmental reality. They may become a support for the teachers who implement the assumptions of education for sustainable development in their teaching–learning process. The authors of the present text focused on the problem of using media in teaching by Polish teachers at the 3rd and 4th grade educational level. The main research enquiry was concerning media Polish teachers use to support sustainable development among students. As the results show, Polish teachers are not prepared enough to use the media to promote sustainable development.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 11
    Publication Date: 2018-05-10
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 1493: Experimental Analysis of Soil and Mandarin Orange Plants Treated with Heavy Metals Found in Oilfield-Produced Wastewater Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10051493 Authors: Ailin Zhang Veronica Cortes Bradley Phelps Hal van Ryswyk Tanja Srebotnjak Despite a declining trend, California remains a significant oil-producing state. For every barrel of crude oil, an average of 15 barrels of oilfield produced water (OPW) is generated, some of which is used to boost freshwater sources for crop irrigation in the agriculturally important Central Valley. OPW is known to contain salts, metals, hydrocarbons, alkylphenols, naturally radioactive materials, biocides, and other compounds from drilling and production processes. Less is known about the potential uptake and accumulation of these compounds in crops and soil irrigated with OPW. In this study, 23 potted mandarin orange plants were irrigated two to three times weekly (depending on season) with water containing three different concentrations of the known OPW heavy metals barium, chromium, lead, and silver. Seven sets of samples of soil and leaves and 11 fruits were collected and processed using microwave-assisted digestion (EPA Method 3051A). Processed samples were analyzed using inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES). Analysis of variance (ANOVA) and covariance (ANCOVA) coupled with Tukey’s honest significant difference test were used to examine the effects of metal concentrations in the irrigation water and number of watering days, respectively, on the metal concentrations in the soil, leaf, and fruit samples. Accumulation of barium in soil and leaves was strongly positively associated with sample and number of watering days, increasing nearly 2000-fold. Lead also showed an upward trend, increasing up to 560-fold over the baseline level. Total chromium showed an increase in the soil that tapered off, but less consistent results in the leaves and fruit. The silver results were more volatile, but also indicated at least some level of accumulation in the tested media. The smallest absolute accumulation was observed for chromium. Concentrations in the fruit were highest in the peel, followed by pith and juice. Accumulation of all heavy metals was generally highest in the soil and plants that received the highest irrigation water concentration. Considering the potential for adverse human health effects associated with ingesting soluble barium contained in food and drinking water, and to a lesser extent chromium and lead, the study signals that it is important to conduct further research into the accessibility and bioavailability of the tested heavy metals in the soil and whether they pose risks to consumers.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 12
    Publication Date: 2018-05-10
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 1490: Quantifying the Spatio-Temporal Dynamics of Rural Settlements and the Associated Impacts on Land Use in an Undeveloped Area of China Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10051490 Authors: Jie Wang Weiwei Zhang Zengxiang Zhang Rapid urbanization and economic growth in China have accelerated changes in rural settlements and associated land-use types that are expected to alter ecological services and the environment. Relevant studies of the dynamics of rural settlements and corresponding rural land-use changes are in short supply, however, especially in undeveloped areas in China. This study, therefore, investigated the spatio-temporal dynamics of rural settlements and their impacts on other land-use types by using 30 m rural settlement status and dynamic maps from the end of the 1980s to 2010. These maps were generated by visual interpretation with strict product quality control and accuracy. Henan province was selected as a case study of undeveloped regions in China. We examined in particular how the expansion of rural settlements affected cultivated lands and the processes of rural settlement urbanization. This study looked at three periods: the end of the 1980s–2000, 2000–2010, and the end of the 1980s–2010, with two spatial scales of province and prefecture city. Major findings about the rural settlements in Henan from the end of the 1980s to 2010 include (1) the area of rural settlements grew continuously, although the increasing trend slowed; (2) the expansion of rural settlements showed a negative trend contrary to the trend of the urbanization of rural settlements; (3) rural settlement expansion occupied considerable expanse of cultivated lands, which accounted for up to 96% of the total expansion lands; (4) urbanization of rural settlements was the main mode by which rural residential lands vanished, accounting for more than 98% of the lost lands. This study can provide suggestions for the conservation and sustainability of the rural environment and inform reasonable policies on rural development.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 13
    Publication Date: 2018-05-10
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 1484: Climate Change Adaptation Strategies and Constraints in Northern Ghana: Evidence of Farmers in Sissala West District Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10051484 Authors: Clifford James Fagariba Shaoxian Song Serge Kevin Gildas Soule Baoro Research findings indicate that most African countries are vulnerable to climate change as a result of challenges such as poverty, weather extremes, and insufficient governmental agricultural support. For this reason, the researchers used the Sissala West District as a case study to determine factors influencing farmers’ adaptation to climate change and strategies used to avert climate change impact. A total of 330 small-scale farmers were sampled for survey and 150 key informants were used in focus group discussions. Utilizing the logistic regression model, the study indicated irregular rainfall, high temperature, weather information, and high evaporation as the factors that highly influenced farmers’ ability to adapt to climate change. A Weighted Average Index used to measure weather extremes revealed that drought and temperature had the highest level of occurrence. Furthermore, climate change adaptation strategies assessed in the study showed that agroforestry practices, drought-resistant crops, and mulching were the most preferred methods. The study concluded that farmers’ ability to adapt to climate change can be improved if the Environmental Protection Agency and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture intensify climate adaptation campaigns, increase access to weather information, and train farmers on adaptable strategies including, but not limited to, alternative sources of livelihood.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 14
    Publication Date: 2018-05-11
    Description: Algorithms, Vol. 11, Pages 69: A Multi-Stage Algorithm for a Capacitated Vehicle Routing Problem with Time Constraints Algorithms doi: 10.3390/a11050069 Authors: Lucia Cassettari Melissa Demartini Roberto Mosca Roberto Revetria Flavio Tonelli The Vehicle Routing Problem (VRP) is one of the most optimized tasks studied and it is implemented in a huge variety of industrial applications. The objective is to design a set of minimum cost paths for each vehicle in order to serve a given set of customers. Our attention is focused on a variant of VRP, the capacitated vehicle routing problem when applied to natural gas distribution networks. Managing natural gas distribution networks includes facing a variety of decisions ranging from human resources and material resources to facilities, infrastructures, and carriers. Despite the numerous papers available on vehicle routing problem, there are only a few that study and analyze the problems occurring in capillary distribution operations such as those found in a metropolitan area. Therefore, this work introduces a new algorithm based on the Saving Algorithm heuristic approach which aims to solve a Capacitated Vehicle Routing Problem with time and distance constraints. This joint algorithm minimizes the transportation costs and maximizes the workload according to customer demand within the constraints of a time window. Results from a real case study in a natural gas distribution network demonstrates the effectiveness of the approach.
    Electronic ISSN: 1999-4893
    Topics: Computer Science
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  • 15
    Publication Date: 2018-05-11
    Description: Energies, Vol. 11, Pages 1225: Zero-Axis Virtual Synchronous Coordinate Based Current Control Strategy for Grid-Connected Inverter Energies doi: 10.3390/en11051225 Authors: Longyue Yang Chunchun Feng Yan Zhao Jianhua Liu Unbalanced power has a great influence on the safe and stable operation of the distribution network system. The static power compensator, which is essentially a grid-connected inverter, is an effective solution to the three-phase power imbalance problem. In order to solve the tracking error problem of zero-sequence AC current signals, a novel control strategy based on zero-axis virtual synchronous coordinates is proposed in this paper. By configuring the operation of filter transmission matrices, a specific orthogonal signal is obtained for zero-axis reconstruction. In addition, a controller design scheme based on this method is proposed. Compared with the traditional zero-axis direct control, this control strategy is equivalent to adding a frequency tuning module by the orthogonal signal generator. The control gain of an open loop system can be equivalently promoted through linear transformation. With its clear mathematical meaning, zero- sequence current control can be controlled with only a first-order linear controller. Through reasonable parameter design, zero steady-state error, fast response and strong stability can be achieved. Finally, the performance of the proposed control strategy is verified by both simulations and experiments.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 16
    Publication Date: 2018-05-11
    Description: Energies, Vol. 11, Pages 1222: Control Strategy for Vehicle Inductive Wireless Charging Based on Load Adaptive and Frequency Adjustment Energies doi: 10.3390/en11051222 Authors: Shichun Yang Xiaoyu Yan Hong He Peng Yang Zhaoxia Peng Haigang Cui Wireless charging system for electric vehicles is a hot research issue in the world today. Since the existing research on wireless charging is mostly forward-looking aimed at low-power appliances like household appliances, while electric vehicles need a high-power, high-efficiency, and strong coupling wireless charging system. In this paper, we have specifically designed a 6.6 KW wireless charging system for electric vehicles and have proposed a control strategy suitable for electric vehicles according to its power charging characteristics and existing common wired charging protocol. Firstly, the influence of the equivalent load and frequency bifurcation on a wireless charging system is analyzed in this paper. Secondly, an adaptive load control strategy matching the characteristics of the battery, and the charging pile is put forward to meet the constant current and constant voltage charging requirements to improve the system efficiency. In addition, the frequency adjustment control strategy is designed to realize the real-time dynamic optimization of the entire system. It utilizes the improved methods of rapid judgment, variable step length matching and frequency splitting recognition, which are not adopted in early related researches. Finally, the results of 6.6 kW test show that the control strategy works perfectly since system response time can be reduced to less than 1 s, and the overall efficiency of the wireless charging system and the grid power supply module can reach up to 91%.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 17
    Publication Date: 2018-05-11
    Description: Energies, Vol. 11, Pages 1220: On the Mobile Communication Requirements for the Demand-Side Management of Electric Vehicles Energies doi: 10.3390/en11051220 Authors: Stefano Rinaldi Marco Pasetti Emiliano Sisinni Federico Bonafini Paolo Ferrari Mattia Rizzi Alessandra Flammini The rising concerns about global warming and environmental pollution are increasingly pushing towards the replacement of road vehicles powered by Internal Combustion Engines (ICEs). Electric Vehicles (EVs) are generally considered the best candidates for this transition, however, existing power grids and EV management systems are not yet ready for a large penetration of EVs, and the current opinion of the scientific community is that further research must be done in this field. The so-called Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) concept plays a relevant role in this scenario by providing the communication capabilities required by advanced control and Demand-Side Management (DSM) strategies. Following this research trend, in this paper the communication requirements for the DSM of EVs in urban environments are discussed, by focusing on the mobile communication among EVs and smart grids. A specific system architecture for the DSM of EVs moving inside urban areas is proposed and discussed in terms of the required data throughput. In addition, the use of a Low-Power Wide-Area Network (LPWAN) solution—the Long-Range Wide Area Network (LoRaWAN) technology—is proposed as a possible alternative to cellular-like solutions, by testing an experimental communication infrastructure in a real environment. The results show that the proposed LPWAN technology is capable to handle an adequate amount of information for the considered application, and that one LoRa base station is able to serve up to 438 EVs per cell, and 1408 EV charging points.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 18
    Publication Date: 2018-05-11
    Description: Energies, Vol. 11, Pages 1218: Ash and Flue Gas from Oil Shale Oxy-Fuel Circulating Fluidized Bed Combustion Energies doi: 10.3390/en11051218 Authors: Lauri Loo Alar Konist Dmitri Neshumayev Tõnu Pihu Birgit Maaten Andres Siirde Carbon dioxide emissions are considered a major environmental threat. To enable power production from carbon-containing fuels, carbon capture is required. Oxy-fuel combustion technology facilitates carbon capture by increasing the carbon dioxide concentration in flue gas. This study reports the results of calcium rich oil shale combustion in a 60 kWth circulating fluidized bed (CFB) combustor. The focus was on the composition of the formed flue gas and ash during air and oxy-fuel combustion. The fuel was typical Estonian oil shale characterized by high volatile and ash contents. No additional bed material was used in the CFB; the formed ash was enough for the purpose. Two modes of oxy-fuel combustion were investigated and compared with combustion in air. When N2 in the oxidizer was replaced with CO2, the CFB temperatures decreased by up to 100 °C. When oil shale was fired in the CFB with increased O2 content in CO2, the temperatures in the furnace were similar to combustion in air. In air mode, the emissions of SO2 and NOx were low (<14 and 141 mg/Nm3 @ 6% O2, respectively). Pollutant concentrations in the flue gas during oxy-fuel operations remained low (for OXY30 SO2 < 14 and NOx 130 mg/Nm3 @ 6% O2 and for OXY21 SO2 23 and NOx 156 mg/Nm3 @ 6% O2). Analyses of the collected ash samples showed a decreased extent of carbonate minerals decomposition during both oxy-fuel experiments. This results in decreased carbon dioxide emissions. The outcomes show that oxy-fuel CFB combustion of the oil shale ensures sulfur binding and decreases CO2 production.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 19
    Publication Date: 2018-05-11
    Description: Forests, Vol. 9, Pages 257: Corsican Pine (Pinus laricio Poiret) Stand Management: Medium and Long Lasting Effects of Thinning on Biomass Growth Forests doi: 10.3390/f9050257 Authors: Rodolfo Picchio Rachele Venanzi Francesco Latterini Enrico Marchi Andrea Laschi Angela Lo Monaco With the aim of acquiring better comprehension of the ecological and productive aspects of the management of pine forests, we monitored logging damage and evaluated the effects of thinning on stand growth 20 years after the treatment in a Pinus laricio Poiret stand in central Italy. The objectives of the present study were to estimate the injury levels to the remaining trees after thinning; to assess logging damage in the long-term by monitoring residual trees at the end of thinning; to evaluate the effect of damage on the radial growth of trees; to assess the stand dynamics in relation to injury levels and the treatment applied in a twenty-year range; to understand a possible treatment return time; and to evaluate the existence of the “thinning shock”. The results were that 20 years after treatment, the stand dynamics showed a complete recovery; logging damage did not affect the radial growth of P. laricio over time; a second treatment seem to be sustainable starting from the fifteenth year after the previous treatment; and the thinning shock can be clearly evaluated in the first six to seven years after the treatment.
    Electronic ISSN: 1999-4907
    Topics: Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
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  • 20
    Publication Date: 2018-05-11
    Description: Geosciences, Vol. 8, Pages 171: Role of Aeolian Dust in Shaping Landscapes and Soils of Arid and Semi-Arid South Africa Geosciences doi: 10.3390/geosciences8050171 Authors: Joseph R. McAuliffe Leslie D. McFadden M. Timm Hoffman The deposition of fine aeolian sediment profoundly influences the morphology of several different landscapes of the arid and semi-arid western portion of South Africa. Such landscapes and features include: (1) regularly-spaced mounds known as heuweltjies of the succulent Karoo region, (2) barren stone pavements in the more arid regions, and (3) hillslopes with smooth, curvilinear slope profiles that are mantled with coarse, stony colluvium. Investigations of each of these are presented, together with comparisons of similar features found within arid and semi-arid portions of Western North America. Recent findings suggest that the formation of the distinct, regularly-spaced heuweltjies involves a linked set of biological and physical processes. These include nutrient accumulation by termites and the production of dense vegetation patches, which, in turn, serve as a trap for aeolian sediments. Dust deposition is also responsible for the formation of stone pavements as demonstrated by research conducted principally in the Mojave Desert region of the United States. Mineralogical and geochronological studies have demonstrated that the stone clasts remain on the surface as fine aeolian sediments are translocated downward beneath the clasts resulting in a silt-rich soil horizon directly beneath the clasts. Pavements examined in South Africa have the same morphological features that can only be explained by the same process. The formation of soils on hillslopes mantled with stony colluvium are commonly viewed as having formed through the in-situ weathering of the stony colluvium. However, like pavements, mantles of coarse, stony colluvium are effective dust traps that provide the long-term stability required for advanced development of thick, fine-grained soils. This process contributes to the evolution of smooth, vegetated, curvilinear slope profiles. In each of these examples, the accumulation of dust has a profound influence, not only in soil formation, but also on the development of dominant landform characteristics. A greater awareness of these processes will contribute considerably to the growth of knowledge about soils and landscape development in the drylands of South Africa.
    Electronic ISSN: 2076-3263
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 21
    Publication Date: 2018-05-11
    Description: IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 955: Single Mothers’ Experiences with Pregnancy and Child Rearing in Korea: Discrepancy between Social Services/Policies and Single Mothers’ Needs International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15050955 Authors: Jung-Eun Kim Jin Yong Lee Sang Hyung Lee This study aims to explore single mothers’ experiences with social services/policies for their independent living and to identify gaps between these experiences and the needs of single mothers. A focus group discussion was performed to collect data. Seven single mothers discussed their experiences in significant periods of their lives: pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting. Findings from the qualitative thematic analysis show discrepancies between the direction of social services/policies and single mothers’ needs, in terms of difficulties in healthcare, childcare, housing, employment, and income security. To the single mothers in this study, the social safety net is not inclusive, compared to that which is available to two-parent families or adoptive families. It is necessary to intervene in current blind spots of services/policies for single mothers, and to provide a social safety net to strengthen single mothers’ self-reliance and their children’s social security in the long term.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 22
    Publication Date: 2018-05-11
    Description: IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 953: Sport Activity for Health!! The Effects of Karate Participants’ Involvement, Perceived Value, and Leisure Benefits on Recommendation Intention International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15050953 Authors: Ying-Chih Chang Tsu-Ming Yeh Fan-Yun Pai Tai-Peng Huang This study intends to discuss the effects of participants’ involvement, perceived value, and leisure benefits on recommendation intention in the sport of karate. The questionnaires were collected online by karate clubs on Facebook and included 369 valid participants. The research findings show that karate participants from different places of residence do not display significant differences in involvement, perceived value, leisure benefits, and recommendation intention. Furthermore, “attraction” in the involvement category reveals the highest mean, “paid spirit and energy being worthy” in perceived value appears as the highest mean, and “physiological benefits” in leisure benefits shows the highest mean. The Pearson correlation analysis result presents significant strong positive correlations between involvement, perceived value, leisure benefits, and recommendation intention. Finally, multiple regression analysis reveals that leisure benefits, except “physiological benefits”, show notably positive effects on recommendation intention. According to the research results, suggestions are proposed for the reference of karate teaching business managers, participants, and future research.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 23
    Publication Date: 2018-05-11
    Description: IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 950: Caring for Young People Who Self-Harm: A Review of Perspectives from Families and Young People International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15050950 Authors: Sophie Curtis Pinar Thorn Alison McRoberts Sarah Hetrick Simon Rice Jo Robinson Self-harm among young people remains largely stigmatised and misunderstood. Parents have been identified as key facilitators in the help-seeking process, yet they typically report feeling ill-equipped to support the young person in their care. The aim of this review was to examine the perspectives of both young people (aged 12–28) and parents and to develop the conceptual framework for a future qualitative study. A systematic search of MEDLINE and PsycINFO was performed to identify articles that focused on the experiences of family members and young people related to managing the discovery of self-harm. Fourteen articles were included for review. Four addressed the perspectives of young people and 10 reported on the impact of adolescent self-harm on parents. The impact of self-harm is substantial and there exists a discrepancy between the most common parental responses and the preferences of young people. In addition, parents are often reluctant to seek help for themselves due to feelings of shame and guilt. This highlights the need for accessible resources that seek to alleviate parents’ distress, influence the strategies implemented to manage the young person’s self-harm behaviour, reduce self-blame of family members, and increase the likelihood of parental help seeking.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 24
    Publication Date: 2018-05-11
    Description: IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 949: A New TS Algorithm for Solving Low-Carbon Logistics Vehicle Routing Problem with Split Deliveries by Backpack—From a Green Operation Perspective International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15050949 Authors: Yangkun Xia Zhuo Fu Sang-Bing Tsai Jiangtao Wang In order to promote the development of low-carbon logistics and economize logistics distribution costs, the vehicle routing problem with split deliveries by backpack is studied. With the help of the model of classical capacitated vehicle routing problem, in this study, a form of discrete split deliveries was designed in which the customer demand can be split only by backpack. A double-objective mathematical model and the corresponding adaptive tabu search (TS) algorithm were constructed for solving this problem. By embedding the adaptive penalty mechanism, and adopting the random neighborhood selection strategy and reinitialization principle, the global optimization ability of the new algorithm was enhanced. Comparisons with the results in the literature show the effectiveness of the proposed algorithm. The proposed method can save the costs of low-carbon logistics and reduce carbon emissions, which is conducive to the sustainable development of low-carbon logistics.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 25
    Publication Date: 2018-05-11
    Description: IJGI, Vol. 7, Pages 182: Semi-Supervised Ground-to-Aerial Adaptation with Heterogeneous Features Learning for Scene Classification ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information doi: 10.3390/ijgi7050182 Authors: Zhipeng Deng Hao Sun Shilin Zhou Currently, huge quantities of remote sensing images (RSIs) are becoming available. Nevertheless, the scarcity of labeled samples hinders the semantic understanding of RSIs. Fortunately, many ground-level image datasets with detailed semantic annotations have been collected in the vision community. In this paper, we attempt to exploit the abundant labeled ground-level images to build discriminative models for overhead-view RSI classification. However, images from the ground-level and overhead view are represented by heterogeneous features with different distributions; how to effectively combine multiple features and reduce the mismatch of distributions are two key problems in this scene-model transfer task. Specifically, a semi-supervised manifold-regularized multiple-kernel-learning (SMRMKL) algorithm is proposed for solving these problems. We employ multiple kernels over several features to learn an optimal combined model automatically. Multi-kernel Maximum Mean Discrepancy (MK-MMD) is utilized to measure the data mismatch. To make use of unlabeled target samples, a manifold regularized semi-supervised learning process is incorporated into our framework. Extensive experimental results on both cross-view and aerial-to-satellite scene datasets demonstrate that: (1) SMRMKL has an appealing extension ability to effectively fuse different types of visual features; and (2) manifold regularization can improve the adaptation performance by utilizing unlabeled target samples.
    Electronic ISSN: 2220-9964
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geosciences
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  • 26
    Publication Date: 2018-05-11
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 763: Influence of Manufacturing Parameters on Microstructure and Hydrogen Sorption Behavior of Electron Beam Melted Titanium Ti-6Al-4V Alloy Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11050763 Authors: Natalia Pushilina Maxim Syrtanov Egor Kashkarov Tatyana Murashkina Viktor Kudiiarov Roman Laptev Andrey Lider Andrey Koptyug Influence of manufacturing parameters (beam current from 13 to 17 mA, speed function 98 and 85) on microstructure and hydrogen sorption behavior of electron beam melted (EBM) Ti-6Al-4V parts was investigated. Optical and scanning electron microscopies as well as X-ray diffraction were used to investigate the microstructure and phase composition of EBM Ti-6Al-4V parts. The average α lath width decreases with the increase of the speed function at the fixed beam current (17 mA). Finer microstructure was formed at the beam current 17 mA and speed function 98. The hydrogenation of EBM Ti-6Al-4V parts was performed at the temperatures 500 and 650 °С at the constant pressure of 1 atm up to 0.3 wt %. The correlation between the microstructure and hydrogen sorption kinetics by EBM Ti-6Al-4V parts was demonstrated. Lower average hydrogen sorption rate at 500 °C was in the sample with coarser microstructure manufactured at the beam current 17 mA and speed function 85. The difference of hydrogen sorption kinetics between the manufactured samples at 650 °C was insignificant. The shape of the kinetics curves of hydrogen sorption indicates the phase transition αH + βH→βH.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 27
    Publication Date: 2018-05-11
    Description: Minerals, Vol. 8, Pages 205: Classical Polarizable Force Field to Study Hydrated Hectorite: Optimization on DFT Calculations and Validation against XRD Data Minerals doi: 10.3390/min8050205 Authors: Ragnhild Hånde Vivien Ramothe Stéphane Tesson Baptiste Dazas Eric Ferrage Bruno Lanson Mathieu Salanne Benjamin Rotenberg Virginie Marry Following our previous works on dioctahedral clays, we extend the classical Polarizable Ion Model (PIM) to trioctahedral clays, by considering dry Na-, Cs-, Ca- and Sr-hectorites as well as hydrated Na-hectorite. The parameters of the force field are determined by optimizing the atomic forces and dipoles on density functional theory calculations. The simulation results are validated by comparison with experimental X-ray diffraction (XRD) data. The XRD patterns calculated from classical molecular dynamics simulations performed with the PIM force field are in very good agreement with experimental results. In the bihydrated state, the less structured electronic density profile obtained with PIM compared to the one from the state-of-the-art non-polarizable force field clayFF explains the slightly better agreement between the PIM results and experiments.
    Electronic ISSN: 2075-163X
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 28
    Publication Date: 2018-05-11
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 767: The Effect of Kinematic Conditions and Synovial Fluid Composition on the Frictional Behaviour of Materials for Artificial Joints Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11050767 Authors: David Nečas Martin Vrbka Ivan Křupka Martin Hartl The paper introduces an experimental investigation of frictional behaviour of materials used for joint replacements. The measurements were performed using a ball-on-disc tribometer, while four material combinations were tested; metal-on-metal, ceramic-on-ceramic, metal-on-polyethylene, and ceramic-on-polyethylene, respectively. The contact was lubricated by pure saline and various protein solutions. The experiments were realized at two mean speeds equal to 5.7 mm/s and 22 mm/s and two slide-to-roll ratios, −150% and 150%. It was found that the implant material is the fundamental parameter affecting friction. In general, the metal pair exhibited approximately two times higher friction compared to the ceramic. In particular, the friction in the case of the metal varied between 0.3 and 0.6 while the ceramic pair exhibited friction within the range from 0.15 to 0.3 at the end of the test. The lowest friction was observed for polyethylene while it decreased to 0.05 under some conditions. It can be also concluded that adding proteins to the lubricant has a positive impact on friction in the case of hard-on-hard pairs. For hard-on-soft pairs, no substantial influence of proteins was observed. The effect of kinematic conditions was found to be negligible in most cases.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 29
    Publication Date: 2018-05-11
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 768: Textile-Based, Interdigital, Capacitive, Soft-Strain Sensor for Wearable Applications Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11050768 Authors: Ozgur Atalay The electronic textile area has gained considerable attention due to its implementation of wearable devices, and soft sensors are the main components of these systems. In this paper, a new sensor design is presented to create stretchable, capacitance-based strain sensors for human motion tracking. This involves the use of stretchable, conductive-knit fabric within the silicone elastomer matrix, as interdigitated electrodes. While conductive fabric creates a secure conductive network for electrodes, a silicone-based matrix provides encapsulation and dimensional-stability to the structure. During the benchtop characterization, sensors show linear output, i.e., R2 = 0.997, with high response time, i.e., 50 ms, and high resolution, i.e., 1.36%. Finally, movement of the knee joint during the different scenarios was successfully recorded.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 30
    Publication Date: 2018-05-11
    Description: Remote Sensing, Vol. 10, Pages 738: A Hierarchical Sparsity Unmixing Method to Address Endmember Variability in Hyperspectral Image Remote Sensing doi: 10.3390/rs10050738 Authors: Jinlin Zou Jinhui Lan Yang Shao With a low spectral resolution hyperspectral sensor, the signal recorded from a given pixel against the complex background is a mixture of spectral contents. To improve the accuracy of classification and subpixel object detection, hyperspectral unmixing (HU) is under research in the field of remote sensing. Two factors affect the accuracy of unmixing results including the search of global rather than local optimum in the HU procedure and the spectral variability. With that in mind, this paper proposes a hierarchical weighted sparsity unmixing (HWSU) method to improve the separation of similar interclass endmembers. The hierarchical strategy with abundance sparsity representation in each layer aims to obtain the global optimal solution. In addition, considering the significance of different bands, a weighted matrix of spectra is used to decrease the variability of intra-class endmembers. Both simulations and experiments with real hyperspectral data show that the proposed method can correctly obtain distinct signatures, accurate abundance estimation, and outperforms previous methods. Additionally, the test data shows that the mean spectral angle distance is less than 0.12 and the root mean square error is superior to 0.01.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 31
    Publication Date: 2018-05-11
    Description: Remote Sensing, Vol. 10, Pages 735: Evaluation of Climate Change Impacts on Wetland Vegetation in the Dunhuang Yangguan National Nature Reserve in Northwest China Using Landsat Derived NDVI Remote Sensing doi: 10.3390/rs10050735 Authors: Feifei Pan Jianping Xie Juming Lin Tingwei Zhao Yongyuan Ji Qi Hu Xuebiao Pan Cheng Wang Xiaohuan Xi Based on 541 Landsat images between 1988 and 2016, the normalized difference vegetation indices (NDVIs) of the wetland vegetation at Xitugou (XTG) and Wowachi (WWC) inside the Dunhuang Yangguan National Nature Reserve (YNNR) in northwest China were calculated for assessing the impacts of climate change on wetland vegetation in the YNNR. It was found that the wetland vegetation at the XTG and WWC had both shown a significant increasing trend in the past 20–30 years and the increase in both the annual mean temperature and annual peak snow depth over the Altun Mountains led to the increase of the wetland vegetation. The influence of the local precipitation on the XTG wetland vegetation was greater than on the WWC wetland vegetation, which demonstrates that in extremely arid regions, the major constraint to the wetland vegetation is the availability of water in soils, which is greatly related to the surface water detention and discharge of groundwater. At both XTG and WWC, the snowmelt from the Altun Mountains is the main contributor to the groundwater discharge, while the local precipitation plays a lesser role in influencing the wetland vegetation at the WWC than at the XTG, because the wetland vegetation grows on a relatively flat terrain at the WWC, while it grows on a stream channel at the XTG.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 32
    Publication Date: 2018-05-11
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 1509: An Adaption Broadcast Radius-Based Code Dissemination Scheme for Low Energy Wireless Sensor Networks Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18051509 Authors: Shidi Yu Xiao Liu Anfeng Liu Naixue Xiong Zhiping Cai Tian Wang Due to the Software Defined Network (SDN) technology, Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) are getting wider application prospects for sensor nodes that can get new functions after updating program codes. The issue of disseminating program codes to every node in the network with minimum delay and energy consumption have been formulated and investigated in the literature. The minimum-transmission broadcast (MTB) problem, which aims to reduce broadcast redundancy, has been well studied in WSNs where the broadcast radius is assumed to be fixed in the whole network. In this paper, an Adaption Broadcast Radius-based Code Dissemination (ABRCD) scheme is proposed to reduce delay and improve energy efficiency in duty cycle-based WSNs. In the ABCRD scheme, a larger broadcast radius is set in areas with more energy left, generating more optimized performance than previous schemes. Thus: (1) with a larger broadcast radius, program codes can reach the edge of network from the source in fewer hops, decreasing the number of broadcasts and at the same time, delay. (2) As the ABRCD scheme adopts a larger broadcast radius for some nodes, program codes can be transmitted to more nodes in one broadcast transmission, diminishing the number of broadcasts. (3) The larger radius in the ABRCD scheme causes more energy consumption of some transmitting nodes, but radius enlarging is only conducted in areas with an energy surplus, and energy consumption in the hot-spots can be reduced instead due to some nodes transmitting data directly to sink without forwarding by nodes in the original hot-spot, thus energy consumption can almost reach a balance and network lifetime can be prolonged. The proposed ABRCD scheme first assigns a broadcast radius, which doesn’t affect the network lifetime, to nodes having different distance to the code source, then provides an algorithm to construct a broadcast backbone. In the end, a comprehensive performance analysis and simulation result shows that the proposed ABRCD scheme shows better performance in different broadcast situations. Compared to previous schemes, the transmission delay is reduced by 41.11~78.42%, the number of broadcasts is reduced by 36.18~94.27% and the energy utilization ratio is improved up to 583.42%, while the network lifetime can be prolonged up to 274.99%.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 33
    Publication Date: 2018-05-11
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 1503: Quantitative Determining of Ultra-Trace Aluminum Ion in Environmental Samples by Liquid Phase Microextraction Assisted Anodic Stripping Voltammetry Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18051503 Authors: Liuyang Zhang Jinju Luo Xinyu Shen Chunya Li Xian Wang Bei Nie Huaifang Fang Direct detecting of trace amount Al(III) in aqueous solution by stripping voltammetry is often frustrated by its irreversible reduction, resided at −1.75 V (vs. Ag/AgCl reference), which is in a proximal potential of proton reduction. Here, we described an electroanalytical approach, combined with liquid phase microextraction (LPME) using ionic liquid (IL), to quantitatively assess trace amount aluminum in environmental samples. The Al(III) was caged by 8-hydroxyquinoline, forming a superb hydrophobic metal–chelate, which sequentially transfers and concentrates in the bottom layer of IL-phase during LPME. The preconcentrated Al(III) was further analyzed by a square-wave anodic stripping voltammetry (SW-ASV). The resulting Al-deposited electrodes were characterized by scanning electron microscopy and powder X-ray diffraction, showing the intriguing amorphous nanostructures. The method developed provides a linear calibration ranging from 0.1 to 1.2 ng L−1 with a correlation coefficient of 0.9978. The LOD attains as low as 1 pmol L−1, which reaches the lowest report for Al(III) detection using electroanalytical techniques. The applicable methodology was implemented for monitoring Al(III) in commercial distilled water.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 34
    Publication Date: 2018-05-11
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 1499: An Emotion Aware Task Automation Architecture Based on Semantic Technologies for Smart Offices Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18051499 Authors: Sergio Muñoz Oscar Araque J. Fernando Sánchez-Rada Carlos A. Iglesias The evolution of the Internet of Things leads to new opportunities for the contemporary notion of smart offices, where employees can benefit from automation to maximize their productivity and performance. However, although extensive research has been dedicated to analyze the impact of workers’ emotions on their job performance, there is still a lack of pervasive environments that take into account emotional behaviour. In addition, integrating new components in smart environments is not straightforward. To face these challenges, this article proposes an architecture for emotion aware automation platforms based on semantic event-driven rules to automate the adaptation of the workplace to the employee’s needs. The main contributions of this paper are: (i) the design of an emotion aware automation platform architecture for smart offices; (ii) the semantic modelling of the system; and (iii) the implementation and evaluation of the proposed architecture in a real scenario.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 35
    Publication Date: 2018-05-11
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 1500: Marginal Contribution-Based Distributed Subchannel Allocation in Small Cell Networks Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18051500 Authors: Shashi Shah Somsak Kittipiyakul Yuto Lim Yasuo Tan The paper presents a game theoretic solution for distributed subchannel allocation problem in small cell networks (SCNs) analyzed under the physical interference model. The objective is to find a distributed solution that maximizes the welfare of the SCNs, defined as the total system capacity. Although the problem can be addressed through best-response (BR) dynamics, the existence of a steady-state solution, i.e., a pure strategy Nash equilibrium (NE), cannot be guaranteed. Potential games (PGs) ensure convergence to a pure strategy NE when players rationally play according to some specified learning rules. However, such a performance guarantee comes at the expense of complete knowledge of the SCNs. To overcome such requirements, properties of PGs are exploited for scalable implementations, where we utilize the concept of marginal contribution (MC) as a tool to design learning rules of players’ utility and propose the marginal contribution-based best-response (MCBR) algorithm of low computational complexity for the distributed subchannel allocation problem. Finally, we validate and evaluate the proposed scheme through simulations for various performance metrics.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 36
    Publication Date: 2018-05-11
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 1498: Investigation of the Temperature Fluctuation of Single-Phase Fluid Based Microchannel Heat Sink Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18051498 Authors: Tao Wang Jiejun Wang Jian He Chuangui Wu Wenbo Luo Yao Shuai Wanli Zhang Chengkuo Lee The temperature fluctuation in a single-phase microchannel heat sink (MCHS) is investigated using the integrated temperature sensors with deionized water as the coolant. Results show that the temperature fluctuation in single phase is not negligible. The causes of the temperature fluctuation are revealed based on both simulation and experiment. It is found that the inlet temperature fluctuation and the gas bubbles separated out from coolant are the main causes. The effect of the inlet temperature fluctuation is global, where the temperatures at different locations change simultaneously. Meanwhile, the gas bubble effect is localized where the temperature changes at different locations are not synchronized. In addition, the relation between temperature fluctuation and temperature gradient is established. The temperature fluctuation increases with the temperature gradient accordingly.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 37
    Publication Date: 2018-05-11
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 1496: Discriminating between Different Heavy Metal Ions with Fullerene-Derived Nanoparticles Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18051496 Authors: Erica Ciotta Paolo Prosposito Pietro Tagliatesta Chiara Lorecchio Lorenzo Stella Saulius Kaciulis Peiman Soltani Ernesto Placidi Roberto Pizzoferrato A novel type of graphene-like nanoparticle, synthesized by oxidation and unfolding of C60 buckminsterfullerene fullerene, showed multiple and reproducible sensitivity to Cu2+, Pb2+, Cd2+, and As(III) through different degrees of fluorescence quenching or, in the case of Cd2+, through a remarkable fluorescence enhancement. Most importantly, only for Cu2+ and Pb2+, the fluorescence intensity variations came with distinct modifications of the optical absorption spectrum. Time-resolved fluorescence study confirmed that the common origin of these diverse behaviors lies in complexation of the metal ions by fullerene-derived carbon layers, even though further studies are required for a complete explanation of the involved processes. Nonetheless, the different response of fluorescence and optical absorbance towards distinct cationic species makes it possible to discriminate between the presence of Cu2+, Pb2+, Cd2+, and As(III), through two simple optical measurements. To this end, the use of a three-dimensional calibration plot is discussed. This property makes fullerene-derived nanoparticles a promising material in view of the implementation of a selective, colorimetric/fluorescent detection system.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 38
    Publication Date: 2018-05-11
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 1518: Comparative Analysis of Public Attitudes toward Nuclear Power Energy across 27 European Countries by Applying the Multilevel Model Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10051518 Authors: Jaesun Wang Seoyong Kim Despite its potential risks, nuclear power energy offers some economic benefits including cheap electricity. This benefit clarifies part of the reason why people support nuclear energy. Our research examined whether there was a difference in the acceptance of nuclear energy across 27 European countries in 2009, before the Fukushima accident. In particular, we analyzed how each factor at the individual and contextual level influences the acceptance. To answer this question, we set up the acceptance of nuclear energy as a dependent variable, and 5 perception variables at the individual level and 11 structural ones at the contextual level as independent variables. We executed multilevel modeling by using a Eurobarometer survey, which covered 27 European countries. The analysis results showed that at the individual level, the perceived benefit explained the largest variance of the acceptance, followed by perceived risk and trust. At the contextual level, the share of the energy supply by nuclear power, environmentalism and ideology influenced the acceptance of nuclear energy. This study shows that individuals’ acceptance of nuclear energy is based on individual beliefs and perceptions, but it is also influenced by the institutional and socio-cultural context which each country faces.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 39
    Publication Date: 2018-05-11
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 1516: Applying Place-Based Social-Ecological Research to Address Water Scarcity: Insights for Future Research Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10051516 Authors: Antonio J. Castro Cristina Quintas-Soriano Jodi Brandt Carla L. Atkinson Colden V. Baxter Morey Burnham Benis N. Egoh Marina García-Llorente Jason P. Julian Berta Martín-López Felix Haifeng Liao Katrina Running Caryn C. Vaughn Albert V. Norström Globally, environmental and social change in water-scarce regions challenge the sustainability of social-ecological systems. WaterSES, a sponsored working group within the Program for Ecosystem Change and Society, explores and compares the social-ecological dynamics related to water scarcity across placed-based international research sites with contrasting local and regional water needs and governance, including research sites in Spain and Sweden in Europe, South Africa, China, and Alabama, Idaho, Oklahoma, and Texas in the USA. This paper aims to provide a commentary on insights into conducting future solutions-oriented research on water scarcity based on the understanding of the social-ecological dynamics of water scarce regions.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 40
    Publication Date: 2018-05-11
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 1511: Household Energy Expenditures in North Carolina: A Geographically Weighted Regression Approach Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10051511 Authors: Selima Sultana Nastaran Pourebrahim Hyojin Kim The U.S. household (HH) energy consumption is responsible for approximately 20% of annual global GHG emissions. Identifying the key factors influencing HH energy consumption is a major goal of policy makers to achieve energy sustainability. Although various explanatory factors have been examined, empirical evidence is inconclusive. Most studies are either aspatial in nature or neglect the spatial non-stationarity in data. Our study examines spatial variation of the key factors associated with HH energy expenditures at census tract level by utilizing geographically weighted regression (GWR) for the 14 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) in North Carolina (NC). A range of explanatory variables including socioeconomic and demographic characteristics of households, local urban form, housing characteristics, and temperature are analyzed. While GWR model for HH transportation expenditures has a better performance compared to the utility model, the results indicate that the GWR model for both utility and transportation has a slightly better prediction power compared to the traditional ordinary least square (OLS) model. HH median income, median age of householders, urban compactness, and distance from the primary city center explain spatial variability of HH transportation expenditures in the study area. HH median income, median age of householders, and percent of one-unit detached housing are identified as the main influencing factors on HH utility expenditures in the GWR model. This analysis also provides the spatial variability of the relationship between HH energy expenditures and the associated factors suggesting the need for location-specific evaluation and suitable guidelines to reduce the energy consumption.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 41
    Publication Date: 2018-05-11
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 1509: Climate Change Communication in an Online Q&A Community: A Case Study of Quora Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10051509 Authors: Hanchen Jiang Maoshan Qiang Dongcheng Zhang Qi Wen Bingqing Xia Nan An An emerging research trend in climate change studies is to use user-generated-data collected from social media to investigate the public opinion and science communication of climate change issues. This study collected data from the social Q&A website Quora to explore the key factors influencing the public preferences in climate change knowledge and opinions. Using web crawler, topic modeling, and count data regression modeling, this study quantitatively analyzed the effects of an answer’s textual and auxiliary features on the number of up-votes received by the answer. Compared with previous studies based on open-ended surveys of citizens, the topic modeling result indicates that Quora users are more likely to talk about the energy, human and societal issues, and scientific research rather than the natural phenomena of climate change. The regression modeling results show that: (i) answers with more emphasis on specific subjects, but not popular knowledge, about climate change can get significantly more up-votes; (ii) answers with more terms of daily dialogue will get significantly fewer up-votes; and (iii) answers written by an author with more followers, with a longer text, with more images, or belonging to a question with more followers, can get significantly more up-votes.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 42
    Publication Date: 2018-05-11
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 1507: Establishing Design Strategies and an Assessment Tool of Home Appliances to Promote Sustainable Behavior for the New Poor Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10051507 Authors: Jui-Che Tu Yukari Nagai Min-Chieh Shih Environmental benefits related to home appliance life cycles depend on how these products are used. Designing home appliances that promote sustainable behavior is an effective way to reduce environmental impacts. This study aimed to increase relevant opportunities for promoting sustainable behavior practices on the new poor through home appliances, which is rarely discussed in the fields of design for sustainable behavior (DfSB) and product design. In particular, relevant assessment tools or indicators are lacking in DfSB, and people’s use of home appliances is generally unsustainable. Therefore, repertory grid technology was used to understand the perceptions of the new poor, develop an assessment tool, and construct design strategies for home appliances that promote sustainable behavior. Data were collected from the new poor and from designers. Through cluster and principal component analyses, three strategy types were proposed that corresponded to different product features, suggestions, and guidance. In addition, the effectiveness and potential of an assessment tool were demonstrated using the Wilcoxon rank test. The findings could be used by designers, retailers, and green marketers to propose effective product design programs that promote sustainable behavior of the new poor during product use.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 43
    Publication Date: 2018-05-11
    Description: Water, Vol. 10, Pages 628: Data Pre-Analysis and Ensemble of Various Artificial Neural Networks for Monthly Streamflow Forecasting Water doi: 10.3390/w10050628 Authors: Jianzhong Zhou Tian Peng Chu Zhang Na Sun This paper introduces three artificial neural network (ANN) architectures for monthly streamflow forecasting: a radial basis function network, an extreme learning machine, and the Elman network. Three ensemble techniques, a simple average ensemble, a weighted average ensemble, and an ANN-based ensemble, were used to combine the outputs of the individual ANN models. The objective was to highlight the performance of the general regression neural network-based ensemble technique (GNE) through an improvement of monthly streamflow forecasting accuracy. Before the construction of an ANN model, data preanalysis techniques, such as empirical wavelet transform (EWT), were exploited to eliminate the oscillations of the streamflow series. Additionally, a theory of chaos phase space reconstruction was used to select the most relevant and important input variables for forecasting. The proposed GNE ensemble model has been applied for the mean monthly streamflow observation data from the Wudongde hydrological station in the Jinsha River Basin, China. Comparisons and analysis of this study have demonstrated that the denoised streamflow time series was less disordered and unsystematic than was suggested by the original time series according to chaos theory. Thus, EWT can be adopted as an effective data preanalysis technique for the prediction of monthly streamflow. Concurrently, the GNE performed better when compared with other ensemble techniques.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4441
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 44
    Publication Date: 2018-05-11
    Description: Water, Vol. 10, Pages 623: Objectives and Indexes for Implementation of Sponge Cities—A Case Study of Changzhou City, China Water doi: 10.3390/w10050623 Authors: Zhengzhao Li Mingjing Dong Tony Wong Jianbing Wang Alagarasan Jagadeesh Kumar Rajendra Prasad Singh This paper presents a framework of objectives and indexes for sponge cities implementation in China. The proposed objectives and indexes aims to reflect whether the city is in accord with the sponge city. Different cities have different objectives and indexes as each city has its own geologic and hydrogeological conditions. Therefore, the main problems (e.g., water security and flood risks) in the central urban area of Changzhou city, China were evaluated scientifically. According to the local conditions, four objectives and eleven indexes have been made as a standard to estimate the sponge city and set a goal for the city development to reach the goal of sustainable urban development. The strategy of process control was implemented to improve the standard of urban drainage and flood control facilities, regulate total runoff and reduce storm peak flow, and the ecological monitoring of the function of the rivers and lakes. The objectives of sponge cities include water security, water quality improvement, healthy water ecosystems, and water utilization efficiency. Urban flood prevention capacity, river and lake water quality compliance, and annual runoff control are the key objectives to encourage the use of non-conventional water resources.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4441
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 45
    Publication Date: 2018-05-11
    Description: Water, Vol. 10, Pages 626: Bioremediation of Aluminium from the Waste Water of a Conventional Water Treatment Plant Using the Freshwater Macroalga Oedogonium Water doi: 10.3390/w10050626 Authors: David A. Roberts Laura Shiels Julian Tickle Rocky de Nys Nicholas A. Paul Conventional water treatment processes use aluminium sulphate (alum) as a coagulant in the production of potable water. While alum is an inexpensive and reliable means of treating water, the process generates waste water containing dissolved Al. This waste water is primarily dealt with via on-site retention. In this study we investigate the cultivation of the freshwater macroalga Oedogonium as a means to sequester dissolved Al from waste water from a conventional water treatment plant. Furthermore, we examine the use of CO2 to manipulate the pH of cultivation as a means of enhancing the sequestration of Al by either increasing the productivity of Oedogonium or increasing the bioavailability of Al in the waste water. The relative bioavailability of Al under conditions of CO2 and no-CO2 provision was contrasted by comparing Al uptake by Diffusive Gradients in Thin Films (DGTs). Oedogonium was able to grow rapidly in the waste water (12 g dry weight m−2 day−1) while consistently sequestering Al. The Oedogonium-treated waste water had a sufficiently low Al concentration that it could be used in unrestricted irrigation in the surrounding region. When CO2 was added to the waste water containing concentrations of Al up to 8 mg L−1, there was a slight increase (~10%) in the rate of sequestration of Al by Oedogonium relative to waste water not receiving CO2. This was due to two concurrent processes. The provision of CO2 increased the productivity of Oedogonium by 15% and the bioavailability of Al by up to 200%, as measured by the DGTs. Despite this strong effect of CO2 on Al bioavailability, the increase in Al sequestration by Oedogonium when CO2 was provided was modest (~10%). Al was sequestered by Oedogonium to concentrations below permissible limits for discharge without the need for the addition CO2. The cultivation of Oedogonium in waste water from conventional treatments plants can simultaneously treat waste water for re-use and provide a biomass source for value-added applications.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4441
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 46
    Publication Date: 2018-05-11
    Description: Water, Vol. 10, Pages 619: Decrease in Snow Cover over the Aysén River Catchment in Patagonia, Chile Water doi: 10.3390/w10050619 Authors: Tomás Pérez Cristian Mattar Rodrigo Fuster The evidence for global warming can be seen in various forms, such as glacier shrinkage, sea ice retreat, sea level rise and air temperature increases. The magnitude of these changes tends to be critical over pristine and extreme biomes. Chilean Patagonia is one of the most pristine and uninhabited regions in the world, home to some of the most important freshwater reservoirs as well as to evergreen forest, lakes and fiords. Furthermore, this region presents a sparse and weak network of ground stations which must be complemented with satellite information to determine trends on biophysical parameters. The main objective of this work is to present the first assessment on snow cover over the Aysén basin in Patagonia-Chile by using Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data from the period 2000–2016. The MOD10A2 product was processed at 500 × 500 m spatial resolution. The time-series analysis consisted in the application of non-parametric tests such as the Mann–Kendall test and Sen’s slope for annual and seasonal mean of snow covered area (SCA). Data from ground meteorological network and river discharges were also included in this work to show the trends in air temperature, precipitation and stream flow during the last decades. Results indicate that snow cover shows a decreasing non-significant trend in annual mean SCA with a −20.01 km2⋅year−1 slope, and neither seasonal mean shows statistical significance. The comparison with in situ data shows a seasonal decrease in stream flows and precipitation during summer. The hydrological year 2016 was the year with the most negative standardized joint anomalies in the period. However, the lack of in situ snow-monitoring stations in addition to the persistence of cloud cover over the basin can impact trends, creating some uncertainties in the data. Finally, this work provides an initial analysis of the possible impacts of global warming as seen by snow cover in Chilean Patagonia.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4441
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 47
    Publication Date: 2018-05-12
    Description: Atmosphere, Vol. 9, Pages 183: Simulation and Analysis of the Initiation of a Squall Line within a Meiyu Frontal System in East China Atmosphere doi: 10.3390/atmos9050183 Authors: Xia Luo Ming Xue Jianfang Fei Based on the ARPS (Advanced Regional Prediction System) at 2 km grid spacing, the convective initiation (CI) of cells that evolved into a squall line on the southern flank of a Meiyu front in East China is investigated. The initiations of four convective cells, denoted CI-A through CI-D, are reasonably captured in the simulation. For CI-A and CI-B, locally enhanced convergence bands associated with boundary layer horizontal convective rolls (HCRs) play a crucial role in determining the exact locations of CIs, whereas a cold outflow boundary from earlier frontal precipitation contributes to additional convergence forcing. For CI-C, initiation occurs directly over the gust front, with the frontal convergence providing the main forcing. CI-D occurs south of and sufficiently far from the gust front, and is mainly forced by the HCR circulations. With surface heat flux turned off in the model, CI is much delayed. Therefore, surface heating increases the convective instability of air south of the front and causes the development of HCRs; it also enhances the gust front convergence by mixing higher southwesterly momentum toward the surface. When the condensation process is turned off, HCRs and/or gust frontal forcing are still able to lift the low-level air to super-saturation where CI is expected.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4433
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 48
    Publication Date: 2018-05-11
    Description: Water, Vol. 10, Pages 620: Potential of Biofilters for Treatment of De-Icing Chemicals Water doi: 10.3390/w10050620 Authors: Gema Sakti Raspati Hanna Kristine Haug Lindseth Tone Merete Muthanna Kamal Azrague Organic de-icing chemicals, such as propylene glycol and potassium formate, cause environmental degradation in receiving water if left untreated, due to the high organic load resulting in oxygen depletion. Biofilters are commonly used for the treatment of biodegradable organic carbon in water treatment. This study investigated the potential for using biofilters for treating organic de-icing compounds. Lab-scale adsorption tests using filter media made of crushed clay (Filtralite) and granular activated carbon were conducted. Further, a column filtration experiment testing two different crushed clay size ranges was carried out investigating the effect of filter media depth, nutrient addition, and filtration rate. The surrogate parameter used to monitor the removal of de-icing chemicals was dissolved organic carbon (DOC). The adsorption test showed no significant adsorption of DOC was observed. The column test showed that the most active separation occurred in the first ~20 cm of the filter depth. This was confirmed by results from (1) water quality analysis (i.e., DOC removal and adenosine tri-phosphate (ATP) measurement); and (2) calculations based on a filtration performance analysis (Iwasaki model) and filter hydraulic evaluation (Lindquist diagram). The results showed that, for the highest C:N:P ratio tested (molar ratio of 24:7:1), 50–60% DOC removal was achieved. The addition of nutrients was found to be important for determining the biofilter performance.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4441
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 49
    Publication Date: 2018-05-12
    Description: Atmosphere, Vol. 9, Pages 182: Ambulance Service Resource Planning for Extreme Temperatures: Analysis of Ambulance 999 Calls during Episodes of Extreme Temperature in London, UK Atmosphere doi: 10.3390/atmos9050182 Authors: Giorgos Papadakis Zaid Chalabi John E. Thornes The association between episodes of extreme temperature and ambulance 999 calls has not yet been properly quantified. In this study we propose a statistical physics-based method to estimate the true mean number of ambulance 999 calls during episodes of extreme temperatures. Simple arithmetic mean overestimates the true number of calls during such episodes. Specifically, we apply the physics-based framework of nonextensive statistical mechanics (NESM) for estimating the probability distribution of extreme events to model the positive daily variation of ambulance calls. In addition, we combine NESM with the partitioned multiobjective method (PMRM) to determine the true mean of the positive daily difference of calls during periods of extreme temperature. We show that the use of the standard mean overestimates the true mean number of ambulance calls during episodes of extreme temperature. It is important to correctly estimate the mean value of ambulance 999 calls during such episodes in order for the ambulance service to efficiently manage their resources.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4433
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 50
    Publication Date: 2018-05-12
    Description: Energies, Vol. 11, Pages 1229: Numerical Study on the Characteristic of Temperature Drop of Crude Oil in a Model Oil Tanker Subjected to Oscillating Motion Energies doi: 10.3390/en11051229 Authors: Guojun Yu Qiuli Yang Bing Dai Zaiguo Fu Duanlin Lin During tanker transportation, crude oil is heated occasionally to ensure its good flowability. Whether the heating scheme is scientific or not directly influences the safety and economy of the tanker transportation. The determination of a scientific heating scheme requires fully understanding of the characteristic of oil temperature drop during tanker transportation. However, the oscillation caused by the marine environment leads to totally different thermal and hydraulic characteristic from that of the static cases. Therefore, a systematic investigation of thermal and hydraulic process of the motion system is more than necessary. Since the marine is subjected to rotational and/or translational motion, the essence of the temperature drop process is an unsteady mixed convection process accompanied with free liquid surface movement. In this study, the movement of the free liquid surface and the characteristic of the temperature drop of the crude oil in the cargo when the tanker is subjected to rotational motion were investigated using ANSYS FLUENT (15.0, Ansys, Inc., Canonsburg, PA, USA) with user defined functions. The research result shows that the oscillating motion leads to the motion of the free surface, converting the natural convection for the static case to forced convection, and thus significantly enhancing the temperature drop rate. It is found that the temperature drop rate is positively related to the rotational angular velocity.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 51
    Publication Date: 2018-05-12
    Description: Energies, Vol. 11, Pages 1231: Analysis of Carbon Leakage under Phase III of the EU Emissions Trading System: Trading Patterns in the Cement and Aluminium Sectors Energies doi: 10.3390/en11051231 Authors: Sean Healy Katja Schumacher Wolfgang Eichhammer This paper contributes to the existing literature on carbon leakage by using a range of different publically available datasets in order to develop a systematic approach for identifying whether products are potentially at risk of carbon leakage. The scope of this paper focuses on the cement and aluminium sectors at different levels of product aggregation to demonstrate the variation in trade patterns that exist over time. The evolution of EU-28 trade flows with third countries for these sectors between 2000 and 2016 enables the selection of key third countries that could warrant further investigation via more quantitative techniques in order to determine the impact of carbon pricing on trade patterns. This systematic approach could be replicated for additional sectors in further research as part of a more regular assessment to provide evidence of carbon leakage for European industry. No evidence of carbon leakage is found in this paper for clinker and cement, while there is no conclusive evidence for unwrought non-alloyed aluminium and aluminium products.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 52
    Publication Date: 2018-05-12
    Description: Entropy, Vol. 20, Pages 359: Water Resources Carrying Capacity Evaluation and Diagnosis Based on Set Pair Analysis and Improved the Entropy Weight Method Entropy doi: 10.3390/e20050359 Authors: Yi Cui Ping Feng Juliang Jin Li Liu To quantitatively evaluate and diagnose the carrying capacity of regional water resources under uncertain conditions, an index system and corresponding grade criteria were constructed from the perspective of carrying subsystem. Meanwhile, an improved entropy weight method was used to determine the objective weight of the index. Then, an evaluation model was built by applying set pair analysis, and a set pair potential based on subtraction was proposed to identify the carrying vulnerability factors. Finally, an empirical study was carried out in Anhui Province. The results showed that the consistency among objective weights of each index was considered, and the uncertainty between the index and grade criterion was reasonably dealt with. Furthermore, although the carrying situation in Anhui was severe, the development tended to be improved. The status in Southern Anhui was superior to that in the middle area, and that in the northern part was relatively grim. In addition, for Northern Anhui, the fewer water resources chiefly caused its long-term overloaded status. The improvement of capacity in the middle area was mainly hindered by its deficient ecological water consumption and limited water-saving irrigation area. Moreover, the long-term loadable condition in the southern part was due largely to its relatively abundant water resources and small population size. This evaluation and diagnosis method can be widely applied to carrying issues in other resources and environment fields.
    Electronic ISSN: 1099-4300
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Physics
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  • 53
    Publication Date: 2018-05-12
    Description: Entropy, Vol. 20, Pages 361: A Hybrid De-Noising Algorithm for the Gear Transmission System Based on CEEMDAN-PE-TFPF Entropy doi: 10.3390/e20050361 Authors: Lili Bai Zhennan Han Yanfeng Li Shaohui Ning In order to remove noise and preserve the important features of a signal, a hybrid de-noising algorithm based on Complete Ensemble Empirical Mode Decomposition with Adaptive Noise (CEEMDAN), Permutation Entropy (PE), and Time-Frequency Peak Filtering (TFPF) is proposed. In view of the limitations of the conventional TFPF method regarding the fixed window length problem, CEEMDAN and PE are applied to compensate for this, so that the signal is balanced with respect to both noise suppression and signal fidelity. First, the Intrinsic Mode Functions (IMFs) of the original spectra are obtained using the CEEMDAN algorithm, and the PE value of each IMF is calculated to classify whether the IMF requires filtering, then, for different IMFs, we select different window lengths to filter them using TFPF; finally, the signal is reconstructed as the sum of the filtered and residual IMFs. The filtering results of a simulated and an actual gearbox vibration signal verify that the de-noising results of CEEMDAN-PE-TFPF outperforms other signal de-noising methods, and the proposed method can reveal fault characteristic information effectively.
    Electronic ISSN: 1099-4300
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Physics
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  • 54
    Publication Date: 2018-05-12
    Description: Forests, Vol. 9, Pages 264: Socioeconomic Constraints to Biomass Removal from Forest Lands for Fire Risk Reduction in the Western U.S. Forests doi: 10.3390/f9050264 Authors: David Nicholls Jeffrey Halbrook Michelle Benedum Han-Sup Han Eini Lowell Dennis Becker R. Barbour Many socioeconomic constraints exist for biomass removals from federal lands in the western U.S. We examine several issues of importance, including biomass supply chains and harvesting costs, innovative new uses for bioenergy products, and the policy framework in place to provide incentives for biomass use. Western states vary greatly in the extent and utilization of forest resources, the proportion of land under federal ownership, and community and stakeholder structure and dynamics. Our research—which focused on the socioeconomic factors associated with biomass removal, production, and use—identified several important trends. Long-term stewardship projects could play a role in influencing project economics while being conducive to private investment. State policies are likely to help guide the growth of biomass utilization for energy products. New markets and technologies, such as biofuels, for use in the aviation industry, torrefied wood, mobile pyrolysis, and wood coal cofiring could greatly change the landscape of biomass use. Social needs of residents in wildland urban interfaces will play an important role, especially in an era of megafires. All of these trends—including significant unknowns, like the volatile prices of fossil energy—are likely to affect the economics of biomass removal and use in western forests.
    Electronic ISSN: 1999-4907
    Topics: Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
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  • 55
    Publication Date: 2018-05-12
    Description: Geosciences, Vol. 8, Pages 176: Low Cost, Lightweight Gravity Coring and Improved Epoxy Impregnation Applied to Laminated Maar Sediment in Vietnam Geosciences doi: 10.3390/geosciences8050176 Authors: Jan P. Schimmelmann Hướng Nguyễn-Văn Dương Nguyễn-Thuỳ Arndt Schimmelmann In response to the need for lightweight and affordable sediment coring and high-resolution structural documentation of unconsolidated sediment, we developed economical and fast methods for (i) recovering short sediment cores with undisturbed topmost sediment, without the need for a firmly anchored coring platform, and (ii) rapid epoxy-impregnation of crayon-shaped subcores in preparation for thin-sectioning, with minimal use of solvents and epoxy resin. The ‘Autonomous Gravity Corer’ (AGC) can be carried to remote locations and deployed from an inflatable or makeshift raft. Its utility was tested on modern unconsolidated lacustrine sediment from a ~21 m deep maar lake in Vietnam’s Central Highlands near Pleiku. The sedimentary fabric fidelity of the epoxy-impregnation method was demonstrated for finely laminated artificial flume sediment. Our affordable AGC is attractive not only for work in developing countries, but lends itself broadly for coring in remote regions where challenging logistics prevent the use of heavy coring equipment. The improved epoxy-impregnation technique saves effort and costly chemical reagents, while at the same time preserving the texture of the sediment.
    Electronic ISSN: 2076-3263
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 56
    Publication Date: 2018-05-12
    Description: IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 964: Biodegradation of Di-(2-ethylhexyl) Phthalate by Rhodococcus ruber YC-YT1 in Contaminated Water and Soil International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15050964 Authors: Ting Yang Lei Ren Yang Jia Shuanghu Fan Junhuan Wang Jiayi Wang Ruth Nahurira Haisheng Wang Yanchun Yan Di-(2-ethylehxyl) phthalate (DEHP) is one of the most broadly representative phthalic acid esters (PAEs) used as a plasticizer in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) production, and is considered to be an endocrine-disrupting chemical. DEHP and its monoester metabolites are responsible for adverse effects on human health. An efficient DEHP-degrading bacterial strain Rhodococcus ruber YC-YT1, with super salt tolerance (0–12% NaCl), is the first DEHP-degrader isolated from marine plastic debris found in coastal saline seawater. Strain YC-YT1 completely degraded 100 mg/L DEHP within three days (pH 7.0, 30 °C). According to high-performance liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS) analysis, DEHP was transformed by strain YC-YT1 into phthalate (PA) via mono (2-ethylehxyl) phthalate (MEHP), then PA was used for cell growth. Furthermore, YC-YT1 metabolized initial concentrations of DEHP ranging from 0.5 to 1000 mg/L. Especially, YC-YT1 degraded up to 60% of the 0.5 mg/L initial DEHP concentration. Moreover, compared with previous reports, strain YC-YT1 had the largest substrate spectrum, degrading up to 13 kinds of PAEs as well as diphenyl, p-nitrophenol, PA, benzoic acid, phenol, protocatechuic acid, salicylic acid, catechol, and 1,2,3,3-tetrachlorobenzene. The excellent environmental adaptability of strain YC-YT1 contributed to its ability to adjust its cell surface hydrophobicity (CSH) so that 79.7–95.9% of DEHP-contaminated agricultural soil, river water, coastal sediment, and coastal seawater were remedied. These results demonstrate that R. ruber YC-YT1 has vast potential to bioremediate various DEHP-contaminated environments, especially in saline environments.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 57
    Publication Date: 2018-05-12
    Description: IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 959: Inflamed Phylloides Tumour in a Girl: A Challenging Diagnosis in Paediatric Breast Lesions International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15050959 Authors: Ilaria Testa Cristina Salvatori Marco Prestipino Maria Elena Laurenti Paolo Gerli Giuseppe Di Cara Nicola Principi Susanna Esposito Mirko Bertozzi Introduction: Phylloides tumours (PTs) are rare fibroepithelial neoplasms that account for 0.3–0.9% of all breast tumours. These tumours typically occur in women aged 30–70 years. The occurrence of these tumours in older children and adolescents poses particular diagnostic and therapeutic problems. However, early diagnosis is mandatory because although most of the cases of PTs in children are benign, the borderline and malignant cases with potential negative outcomes cannot be excluded. Case presentation: A 12-year-old girl presented at the Paediatric Emergency Department for hyperaemia and warmth of the left breast that occurred a few days prior without fever. The girl experienced menarche 8 months previously. She experienced no previous trauma and she had no family history of breast cancer. On physical examination, the left breast was painful, enlarged and tender. The overlying skin was erythematous and warm. A breast ultrasonography (US) revealed a large mass with features of an abscess, including a hyperechoic wall, scattered internal echoes and hypoechoic peripheral lacunae of apparent colliquative nature. After 4 days of unsuccessful antibiotic therapy, surgical drainage was performed due to the suspicion of a mammary abscess. At the surgical incision site, the lesion was not-well circumscribed and lacked a capsule. In addition, purulent material was not detected. Histological examination revealed that the tissue alterations were compatible with benign PT. With this diagnosis, the girl underwent definitive surgical removal of the lesion. The postoperative period passed without negative events. An US performed 6 months later revealed that no new mass was present at this time, suggesting no recurrence of the tumour. Conclusion: This case shows that in the presence of a clinical picture suggesting the inflammation of the breast in adolescent females, PT should be considered as a possible diagnosis and US-guided core biopsy should be considered to confirm this suspicion. Thereafter, when surgical excision is performed, particular attention must be paid to both the preservation of all the normal breast parenchyma and future aesthetic problems.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 58
    Publication Date: 2018-05-12
    Description: IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 952: Current and Potential Future Seasonal Trends of Indoor Dwelling Temperature and Likely Health Risks in Rural Southern Africa International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15050952 Authors: Thandi Kapwata Michael Gebreslasie Angela Mathee Caradee Wright Climate change has resulted in rising temperature trends which have been associated with changes in temperature extremes globally. Attendees of Conference of the Parties (COP) 21 agreed to strive to limit the rise in global average temperatures to below 2 °C compared to industrial conditions, the target being 1.5 °C. However, current research suggests that the African region will be subjected to more intense heat extremes over a shorter time period, with projections predicting increases of 4–6 °C for the period 2071–2100, in annual average maximum temperatures for southern Africa. Increased temperatures may exacerbate existing chronic ill health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, cerebrovascular disease, and diabetes-related conditions. Exposure to extreme temperatures has also been associated with mortality. This study aimed to consider the relationship between temperatures in indoor and outdoor environments in a rural residential setting in a current climate and warmer predicted future climate. Temperature and humidity measurements were collected hourly in 406 homes in summer and spring and at two-hour intervals in 98 homes in winter. Ambient temperature, humidity and windspeed were obtained from the nearest weather station. Regression models were used to identify predictors of indoor apparent temperature (AT) and to estimate future indoor AT using projected ambient temperatures. Ambient temperatures will increase by a mean of 4.6 °C for the period 2088–2099. Warming in winter was projected to be greater than warming in summer and spring. The number of days during which indoor AT will be categorized as potentially harmful will increase in the future. Understanding current and future heat-related health effects is key in developing an effective surveillance system. The observations of this study can be used to inform the development and implementation of policies and practices around heat and health especially in rural areas of South Africa.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 59
    Publication Date: 2018-05-12
    Description: Minerals, Vol. 8, Pages 209: The Carbonation of Wollastonite: A Model Reaction to Test Natural and Biomimetic Catalysts for Enhanced CO2 Sequestration Minerals doi: 10.3390/min8050209 Authors: Fulvio Di Lorenzo Cristina Ruiz-Agudo Aurelia Ibañez-Velasco Rodrigo Gil-San Millán Jorge Navarro Encarnacion Ruiz-Agudo Carlos Rodriguez-Navarro One of the most promising strategies for the safe and permanent disposal of anthropogenic CO2 is its conversion into carbonate minerals via the carbonation of calcium and magnesium silicates. However, the mechanism of such a reaction is not well constrained, and its slow kinetics is a handicap for the implementation of silicate mineral carbonation as an effective method for CO2 capture and storage (CCS). Here, we studied the different steps of wollastonite (CaSiO3) carbonation (silicate dissolution → carbonate precipitation) as a model CCS system for the screening of natural and biomimetic catalysts for this reaction. Tested catalysts included carbonic anhydrase (CA), a natural enzyme that catalyzes the reversible hydration of CO2(aq), and biomimetic metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). Our results show that dissolution is the rate-limiting step for wollastonite carbonation. The overall reaction progresses anisotropically along different [hkl] directions via a pseudomorphic interface-coupled dissolution–precipitation mechanism, leading to partial passivation via secondary surface precipitation of amorphous silica and calcite, which in both cases is anisotropic (i.e., (hkl)-specific). CA accelerates the final carbonate precipitation step but hinders the overall carbonation of wollastonite. Remarkably, one of the tested Zr-based MOFs accelerates the dissolution of the silicate. The use of MOFs for enhanced silicate dissolution alone or in combination with other natural or biomimetic catalysts for accelerated carbonation could represent a potentially effective strategy for enhanced mineral CCS.
    Electronic ISSN: 2075-163X
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 60
    Publication Date: 2018-05-12
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 776: Morphology and Mechanical Properties of Polyamide 6/Polystyrene Blends Prepared by Diffusion and Subsequent Polymerization of Styrene in Polyamide 6 Pellets Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11050776 Authors: Yin-Le Tan Cheng-Huan Huang Zhao-Xia Guo Jian Yu Polyamide 6 (PA6)/polystyrene (PS) blend pellets were prepared by diffusion and subsequent polymerization of styrene in commercial PA6 pellets and processed into cuboid-shaped bars by injection molding. The average PS particle size in the bars was 240 nm, slightly higher than that in the blend pellets (120 nm), showing that only limited coalescence occurs during injection molding. The mechanical properties of PA6/PS bars were investigated by tensile, flexural, and notched impact tests. A 41% increase in notched impact strength was found without decreasing the modulus, tensile, and flexural strengths and elongation to break, when compared with those of neat PA6 bars. These good mechanical properties were attributed to the small PS particle sizes, and the good interfacial adhesion between PS particles and the PA6 matrix resulted from the occurrence of PS grafting onto PA6 during the preparation of the blend pellets and injection molding. The water sorption and water-induced dimensional changes in PA6/PS bars were significantly less than those of neat PA6 bars because of the presence of the hydrophobic PS phase. This work reveals that the PA6/PS quasi-nanoblend pellets are useful stock for plastic production.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 61
    Publication Date: 2018-05-12
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 772: Novel Sustainable Composites Based on Poly(hydroxybutyrate-co-hydroxyvalerate) and Seagrass Beach-CAST Fibers: Performance and Degradability in Marine Environments Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11050772 Authors: Maurizia Seggiani Patrizia Cinelli Elena Balestri Norma Mallegni Eleonora Stefanelli Alessia Rossi Claudio Lardicci Andrea Lazzeri In order to produce sustainable, bio-based and highly biodegradable materials, composites based on poly(hydroxybutyrate-co-hydroxyvalerate) (PHBV) and fibers of Posidonia oceanica (PO), a dominant Mediterranean seagrass, were produced by simple melt mixing and characterized in terms of thermal stability, morphology and rheological/mechanical properties. In view of their potential application in marine environments, degradation of the developed composites was evaluated under simulated and real marine environmental conditions for 1 year. Using 10 wt % of acetyl tributyl citrate (ATBC) as a plasticizer, smooth processing was achieved for up to 30 wt % of PO fibers, despite the reduction of the melt fluidity observed with increasing fiber loading. The tensile modulus slightly increased (from 2 to 2.4 GPa) while the tensile strength and the elongation decreased (from 23.6 to 21.5 MPa and from 3.2 to 1.9%, respectively) by increasing the PO fiber content from 0 to 30 wt %. Interestingly, the impact resistance of the composites increased with the increasing of the PO content: the Charpy’s impact energy increased from 3.6 (without fiber) to 4.4 kJ/m2 for the composite with 30 wt %. The results of the aerobic biodegradation under simulated marine conditions showed that the presence of PO fibers favored the physical disintegration of the composite increasing the biodegradation rate of the polymeric matrix: after 216 days, the composite with 20 wt % PO fibers showed a biodegradability of about 30% compared to 20% of the composite without fibers. Under real marine conditions, the specimens containing PO fibers showed higher weight losses and deterioration of tensile properties compared to those without fibers. Presumably, biodegradation occurred after colonization of the specimen, and the specimens with 20 wt % PO fibers showed well-developed biofilm consisting of bacteria and fungi on the surface after only 3 months of incubation in marine sediments, unlike the no-fiber specimens. Consequently, the persistence of an adequate mechanical performance for a relatively long period (1 year), due to a moderate rate of biodegradation in the marine environment, make the developed PHBV/PO composites particularly suitable for the production of relatively low-cost and biodegradable items which are usable in the sea and/or sand dunes, increasing the market opportunities for biopolymers such as PHBV and, at the same time, finding an eco-sustainable valorization for the PO fibrous residues accumulated in large quantities on Mediterranean beaches, which represents a problem for coastal municipalities.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 62
    Publication Date: 2018-05-12
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 773: The Effects of Excess Co on the Phase Composition and Thermoelectric Properties of Half-Heusler NbCoSb Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11050773 Authors: Lihong Huang Junchen Wang Xi Chen Ran He Jing Shuai Jianjun Zhang Qinyong Zhang Zhifeng Ren NbCoSb with nominal 19 valence electrons, and is supposed to be metallic, has recently been reported to also exhibit the thermoelectric properties of a heavily doped n-type semiconductor. In this study, we prepared Co-rich NbCo1+xSb samples (x = 0, 0.2, 0.3, 0.4, 0.5), and their phase compositions, microstructures and thermoelectric properties were investigated. The Seebeck coefficient increased a great deal with increasing x, due to decreasing carrier concentration, and the total thermal conductivity reduced mainly because of declining κe. Finally, a peak thermoelectric figure of merit, ZT, was about 0.46 for NbCo1.3Sb at 973 K. This enhancement was mainly attributed to the reduction of electric thermal conductivity and the increase of Seebeck coefficient. The excess Co had effects on the carrier concentration, deformation potential Edef and DOS effective mass m*. Adding an excessive amount of Co leads to a very high Edef, which was detrimental for transport characteristics.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 63
    Publication Date: 2018-05-12
    Description: Minerals, Vol. 8, Pages 208: Removal Process of Structural Oxygen from Tetrahedrons in Muscovite during Acid Leaching of Vanadium-Bearing Shale Minerals doi: 10.3390/min8050208 Authors: Qiushi Zheng Yimin Zhang Tao Liu Jing Huang Nannan Xue Process mineralogy shows that most vanadium in mica-type black shale exists in the octahedral sites of muscovite. The extraction of vanadium mainly occurs in the acid leaching process with participation of H ions. In this work, we firstly analyzed the dissolution rules of elements in acid leaching of muscovite, then adopted the density functional theory (DFT) calculation to accurately visualize the primary process of the surface corrosion of muscovite by H ions. The experimental results show that K releases the fastest and the release of Al is consistent with K. The simulation results find that the H preferentially shifts to the unsaturated structured O of the tetrahedron to form a strong 001 surface hydroxyl after replacing K, as well as relaxing the near Al(Si)–O bonds for the further removal of structural oxygen. Then, the 001 surface hydroxyls more likely participate in the dehydroxylation reaction through the reverse-path mechanism to remove the structural oxygen and break the hexagonal rings of the tetrahedral sheets. Remarkably, the formation and removal of structural water are overall endoergic, meaning that the disintegration of muscovite requires a sustained supply of heat. Further, the octahedral sheets where vanadium exists can be exposed to the acid environment for overall destruction. This detailed atomic migration process in acid leaching of black shale is visualized, which not only illuminates the reaction mechanism of H ions with the muscovite, but also provides guidance for vanadium extraction from black shale and a new concept for the destruction of other minerals.
    Electronic ISSN: 2075-163X
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 64
    Publication Date: 2018-05-12
    Description: Remote Sensing, Vol. 10, Pages 747: A Descriptor-less Well-Distributed Feature Matching Method Using Geometrical Constraints and Template Matching Remote Sensing doi: 10.3390/rs10050747 Authors: Hani Mahmoud Mohammed Naser El-Sheimy The problem of feature matching comprises detection, description, and the preliminary matching of features. Commonly, these steps are followed by Random Sample Consensus (RANSAC) or one of its variants in order to filter the matches and find a correct model, which is usually the fundamental matrix. Unfortunately, this scheme may encounter some problems, such as mismatches of some of the features, which can be rejected later by RANSAC. Hence, important features might be discarded permanently. Another issue facing the matching scheme, especially in three-dimensional (3D) reconstruction, is the degeneracy of the fundamental matrix. In such a case, RANSAC tends to select matches that are concentrated over a particular area of the images and rejects other correct matches. This leads to a fundamental matrix that differs from the correct one, which can be obtained using the camera parameters. In this paper, these problems are tackled by providing a descriptor-less method for matching features. The proposed method utilises the geometric as well as the radiometric properties of the image pair. Starting with an initial set of roughly matched features, we can compute the homography and the fundamental matrix. These two entities are then used to find other corresponding features. Then, template matching is used to enhance the predicted locations of the correspondences. The method is a tradeoff between the number and distribution of matches, and the matching accuracy. Moreover, the number of outliers is usually small, which encourages the use of least squares to estimate the fundamental matrix, instead of RANSAC. As a result, the problem of degeneracy is targeted at the matching level, rather than at the RANSAC level. The method was tested on images taken by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), with a focus on applications of 3D reconstruction, and on images taken by the camera of a smartphone for an indoor environment. The results emphasise that the proposed method is more deterministic rather than probabilistic and is also robust to the difference in orientation and scale. It also achieves a higher number of accurate and well-distributed matches compared with state-of-the-art methods.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 65
    Publication Date: 2018-05-12
    Description: Remote Sensing, Vol. 10, Pages 745: Hyperspectral Anomaly Detection via Discriminative Feature Learning with Multiple-Dictionary Sparse Representation Remote Sensing doi: 10.3390/rs10050745 Authors: Dandan Ma Yuan Yuan Qi Wang Most hyperspectral anomaly detection methods directly utilize all the original spectra to recognize anomalies. However, the inherent characteristics of high spectral dimension and complex spectral correlation commonly make their detection performance unsatisfactory. Therefore, an effective feature extraction technique is necessary. To this end, this paper proposes a novel anomaly detection method via discriminative feature learning with multiple-dictionary sparse representation. Firstly, a new spectral feature selection framework based on sparse presentation is designed, which is closely guided by the anomaly detection task. Then, the representative spectra which can significantly enlarge anomaly’s deviation from background are picked out by minimizing residues between background spectrum reconstruction error and anomaly spectrum recovery error. Finally, through comprehensively considering the virtues of different groups of representative features selected from multiple dictionaries, a global multiple-view detection strategy is presented to improve the detection accuracy. The proposed method is compared with ten state-of-the-art methods including LRX, SRD, CRD, LSMAD, RSAD, BACON, BACON-target, GRX, GKRX, and PCA-GRX on three real-world hyperspectral images. Corresponding to each competitor, it has the average detection performance improvement of about 9.9 % , 7.4 % , 24.2 % , 10.1 % , 26.2 % , 20.1 % , 5.1 % , 19.3 % , 10.7 % , and 2.0 % respectively. Extensive experiments demonstrate its superior performance in effectiveness and efficiency.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 66
    Publication Date: 2018-05-12
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 1516: Polyimide-Based Capacitive Humidity Sensor Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18051516 Authors: Jamila Boudaden Matthias Steinmaßl Hanns-Erik Endres Andreas Drost Ignaz Eisele Christoph Kutter Peter Müller-Buschbaum The development of humidity sensors with simple transduction principles attracts considerable interest by both scientific researchers and industrial companies. Capacitive humidity sensors, based on polyimide sensing material with different thickness and surface morphologies, are prepared. The surface morphology of the sensing layer is varied from flat to rough and then to nanostructure called nanograss by using an oxygen plasma etch process. The relative humidity (RH) sensor selectively responds to the presence of water vapor by a capacitance change. The interaction between polyimide and water molecules is studied by FTIR spectroscopy. The complete characterization of the prepared capacitive humidity sensor performance is realized using a gas mixing setup and an evaluation kit. A linear correlation is found between the measured capacitance and the RH level in the range of 5 to 85%. The morphology of the humidity sensing layer is revealed as an important parameter influencing the sensor performance. It is proved that a nanograss-like structure is the most effective for detecting RH, due to its rapid response and recovery times, which are comparable to or even better than the ones of commercial polymer-based sensors. This work demonstrates the readiness of the developed RH sensor technology for industrialization.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 67
    Publication Date: 2018-05-12
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 1525: Biometric Authentication Using the PPG: A Long-Term Feasibility Study Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18051525 Authors: Jorge Sancho Álvaro Alesanco José García The photoplethysmogram (PPG) is a biomedical signal that can be used to estimate volumetric blood flow changes in the peripheral circulation. During the past few years, several works have been published in order to assess the potential for PPGs to be used in biometric authentication systems, but results are inconclusive. In this paper we perform an analysis of the feasibility of using the PPG as a realistic biometric alternative in the long term. Several feature extractors (based on the time domain and the Karhunen–Loève transform) and matching metrics (Manhattan and Euclidean distances) have been tested using four different PPG databases (PRRB, MIMIC-II, Berry, and Nonin). We show that the false match rate (FMR) and false non-match rate (FNMR) values remain constant in different time instances for a selected threshold, which is essential for using the PPG for biometric authentication purposes. On the other hand, obtained equal error rate (EER) values for signals recorded during the same session range from 1.0% for high-quality signals recorded in controlled conditions to 8% for those recorded in conditions closer to real-world scenarios. Moreover, in certain scenarios, EER values rise up to 23.2% for signals recorded over different days, signaling that performance degradation could take place with time.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 68
    Publication Date: 2018-05-12
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 1522: A Strategy toward Collaborative Filter Recommended Location Service for Privacy Protection Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18051522 Authors: Peng Wang Jing Yang Jianpei Zhang A new collaborative filtered recommendation strategy was proposed for existing privacy and security issues in location services. In this strategy, every user establishes his/her own position profiles according to their daily position data, which is preprocessed using a density clustering method. Then, density prioritization was used to choose similar user groups as service request responders and the neighboring users in the chosen groups recommended appropriate location services using a collaborative filter recommendation algorithm. The two filter algorithms based on position profile similarity and position point similarity measures were designed in the recommendation, respectively. At the same time, the homomorphic encryption method was used to transfer location data for effective protection of privacy and security. A real location dataset was applied to test the proposed strategy and the results showed that the strategy provides better location service and protects users’ privacy.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 69
    Publication Date: 2018-05-12
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 1520: An Energy Centric Cluster-Based Routing Protocol for Wireless Sensor Networks Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18051520 Authors: A. Hosen Gi Cho Clustering is an effective way to prolong the lifetime of a wireless sensor network (WSN). The common approach is to elect cluster heads to take routing and controlling duty, and to periodically rotate each cluster head’s role to distribute energy consumption among nodes. However, a significant amount of energy dissipates due to control messages overhead, which results in a shorter network lifetime. This paper proposes an energy-centric cluster-based routing mechanism in WSNs. To begin with, cluster heads are elected based on the higher ranks of the nodes. The rank is defined by residual energy and average distance from the member nodes. With the role of data aggregation and data forwarding, a cluster head acts as a caretaker for cluster-head election in the next round, where the ranks’ information are piggybacked along with the local data sending during intra-cluster communication. This reduces the number of control messages for the cluster-head election as well as the cluster formation in detail. Simulation results show that our proposed protocol saves the energy consumption among nodes and achieves a significant improvement in the network lifetime.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 70
    Publication Date: 2018-05-12
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 1519: Data Gathering and Energy Transfer Dilemma in UAV-Assisted Flying Access Network for IoT Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18051519 Authors: Sara Arabi Essaid Sabir Halima Elbiaze Mohamed Sadik Recently, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have emerged as an alternative solution to assist wireless networks, thanks to numerous advantages they offer in comparison to terrestrial fixed base stations. For instance, a UAV can be used to embed a flying base station providing an on-demand nomadic access to network services. A UAV can also be used to wirelessly recharge out-of-battery ground devices. In this paper, we aim to deal with both data collection and recharging depleted ground Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices through a UAV station used as a flying base station. To extend the network lifetime, we present a novel use of UAV with energy harvesting module and wireless recharging capabilities. However, the UAV is used as an energy source to empower depleted IoT devices. On one hand, the UAV charges depleted ground IoT devices under three policies: (1) low-battery first scheme; (2) high-battery first scheme; and (3) random scheme. On the other hand, the UAV station collects data from IoT devices that have sufficient energy to transmit their packets, and in the same phase, the UAV exploits the Radio Frequency (RF) signals transmitted by IoT devices to extract and harvest energy. Furthermore, and as the UAV station has a limited coverage time due to its energy constraints, we propose and investigate an efficient trade-off between ground users recharging time and data gathering time. Furthermore, we suggest to control and optimize the UAV trajectory in order to complete its travel within a minimum time, while minimizing the energy spent and/or enhancing the network lifetime. Extensive numerical results and simulations show how the system behaves under different scenarios and using various metrics in which we examine the added value of UAV with energy harvesting module.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 71
    Publication Date: 2018-05-12
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 1517: Heterogeneous Wireless Networks for Smart Grid Distribution Systems: Advantages and Limitations Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18051517 Authors: Tarek Khalifa Atef Abdrabou Khaled Shaban A. M. Gaouda Supporting a conventional power grid with advanced communication capabilities is a cornerstone to transferring it to a smart grid. A reliable communication infrastructure with a high throughput can lay the foundation towards the ultimate objective of a fully automated power grid with self-healing capabilities. In order to realize this objective, the communication infrastructure of a power distribution network needs to be extended to cover all substations including medium/low voltage ones. This shall enable information exchange among substations for a variety of system automation purposes with a low latency that suits time critical applications. This paper proposes the integration of two heterogeneous wireless technologies (such as WiFi and cellular 3G/4G) to provide reliable and fast communication among primary and secondary distribution substations. This integration allows the transmission of different data packets (not packet replicas) over two radio interfaces, making these interfaces act like a one data pipe. Thus, the paper investigates the applicability and effectiveness of employing heterogeneous wireless networks (HWNs) in achieving the desired reliability and timeliness requirements of future smart grids. We study the performance of HWNs in a realistic scenario under different data transfer loads and packet loss ratios. Our findings reveal that HWNs can be a viable data transfer option for smart grids.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 72
    Publication Date: 2018-05-12
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 1513: Microwave Metamaterial-Based Sensor for Dielectric Characterization of Liquids Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18051513 Authors: André Soffiatti Yuri Max Sandro G. Silva Laércio M. de Mendonça This article proposed to build a system founded on metamaterial sensor antennas, which can be used to evaluate impurities in aqueous substances according to the quality of transmission between the sensor antennas. In order to do this, a dedicated setup with tests in several frequencies was deployed so as to monitor the behavior of transmission variation between sensors. These sensors are microstrip antennas with a ground plane of resonant cleaved metallic rings; the substrate functions as a metamaterial for the irradiating element. In this study, an analysis was made of transmission between the sensors, looking for variation in angles of incidence of signal and of distance between the antennas. The sensor was tested at various operating frequencies, as such 1.8 GHz, 2.4 GHz, 3.4 GHz and 4.1 GHz, resulting in different values of sensitivity. The prototypes were constructed and tested so as to analyze the dielectric effects of the impurities on NaCl and C2H4O2 substances. The research aims to use these control systems of impurities in industrial premises.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 73
    Publication Date: 2018-05-12
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 1512: Real-Time Adaptive Control of a Magnetic Levitation System with a Large Range of Load Disturbance Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18051512 Authors: Zhizhou Zhang Xiaolong Li In an idle light-load or a full-load condition, the change of the load mass of a suspension system is very significant. If the control parameters of conventional control methods remain unchanged, the suspension performance of the control system deteriorates rapidly or even loses stability when the load mass changes in a large range. In this paper, a real-time adaptive control method for a magnetic levitation system with large range of mass changes is proposed. First, the suspension control system model of the maglev train is built up, and the stability of the closed-loop system is analyzed. Then, a fast inner current-loop is used to simplify the design of the suspension control system, and an adaptive control method is put forward to ensure that the system is still in a stable state when the load mass varies in a wide range. Simulations and experiments show that when the load mass of the maglev system varies greatly, the adaptive control method is effective to suspend the system stably with a given displacement.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 74
    Publication Date: 2018-05-12
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 1510: Experiments and Analysis of Close-Shot Identification of On-Branch Citrus Fruit with RealSense Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18051510 Authors: Jizhan Liu Yan Yuan Yao Zhou Xinxin Zhu Tabinda Naz Syed Fruit recognition based on depth information has been a hot topic due to its advantages. However, the present equipment and methods cannot meet the requirements of rapid and reliable recognition and location of fruits in close shot for robot harvesting. To solve this problem, we propose a recognition algorithm for citrus fruit based on RealSense. This method effectively utilizes depth-point cloud data in a close-shot range of 160 mm and different geometric features of the fruit and leaf to recognize fruits with a intersection curve cut by the depth-sphere. Experiments with close-shot recognition of six varieties of fruit under different conditions were carried out. The detection rates of little occlusion and adhesion were from 80–100%. However, severe occlusion and adhesion still have a great influence on the overall success rate of on-branch fruits recognition, the rate being 63.8%. The size of the fruit has a more noticeable impact on the success rate of detection. Moreover, due to close-shot near-infrared detection, there was no obvious difference in recognition between bright and dark conditions. The advantages of close-shot limited target detection with RealSense, fast foreground and background removal and the simplicity of the algorithm with high precision may contribute to high real-time vision-servo operations of harvesting robots.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 75
    Publication Date: 2018-05-12
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 1535: The Causal Effects of Trade and Technology Transfer on Human Capital and Economic Growth in the United Arab Emirates Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10051535 Authors: Athanasia S. Kalaitzi This research empirically investigates the causality between trade, technology, human capital and economic growth in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over the period 1980–2016. To investigate the existence of a long-run relationship between the variables, this study performs the Johansen cointegration test, while the direction of the short-run causality is examined by applying the Granger causality test in a Vector Error Correction Model (VECM) framework. Moreover, a modified Wald test in an augmented Vector Autoregressive Model is applied in order to find the direction of the long-run causality. This research provides evidence to support a short-run bi-directional causality between primary imports and economic growth, while an indirect causality runs from manufactured imports and human capital to economic growth, through exports and primary imports. Empirical results do not provide evidence of either an Import-Led growth (ILG) or Export-Led Growth (ELG) hypothesis in the long-run, while no causality runs from primary imports, manufactured imports or exports to human capital.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 76
    Publication Date: 2018-05-12
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 1537: Decision Making Based on Benefit-Costs Analysis: Costs of Preventive Retrofit versus Costs of Repair after Earthquake Hazards Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10051537 Authors: Maria Dan The reduction of seismic risk through the retrofitting of historic buildings serves catastrophe management. In the application of such measures, actors from the spheres of the passive public, experts, as well as active affected people, are involved. The focus of this work is on planning management in the expert area, with a detailed view on the decision space between goals, means, benefits and costs. Buildings of a typology were modelled, and the models translated using a finite elements software with fibre-based modelling of plasticity. The concept of retrofit elements was developed, in order to connect building surveys, construction management, structural simulations, and costs computation based on devices, all related to these retrofit elements. With a view to the general methodology, in order to compare the costs for repairs to buildings after an earthquake with the costs associated with preventive retrofitting of an undamaged building, several cases were considered: damages on a non-retrofitted building, damages on retrofitted building, retrofitting on an undamaged building, retrofitting on a pre-damaged building, and the subsequent damages in an earthquake for the last two. The innovative part of this research lies in the use of the tension-elongation approach to models of building size. Such an analysis allows not only the description of ways of collapsing and the setting of limit states, but also exactly the specific amount and position of the structural members which fail in certain performance criteria. This type of results can form the basis for interdisciplinary studies, such as economic efficiency studies. The method was applied for early reinforced concrete buildings, which are common in Bucharest, Romania, in a deterministic method which takes into account recorded earthquakes. In conclusion, depending on the size of an earthquake, the timing and extent of the retrofit to be applied differ, if we are to obtain cost savings in preventive retrofitting compared to post-earthquake repair. This is presented through a range of costs curves.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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  • 77
    Publication Date: 2018-05-12
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 1530: Financial Hazard Map: Financial Vulnerability Predicted by a Random Forests Classification Model Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10051530 Authors: Katsuyuki Tanaka Takuji Kinkyo Shigeyuki Hamori This study develops a systematic framework for assessing a country’s financial vulnerability using a predictive classification model of random forests. We introduce a new indicator that quantifies the potential loss in bank assets and measures a country’s overall vulnerability by aggregating these indicators across the banking sector. We also visualize the degree of vulnerability by creating a Financial Hazard Map that highlights countries and regions with underlying risks in their banking sectors.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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  • 78
    Publication Date: 2018-05-12
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 1528: Identifying the Impacts of Social, Economic, and Environmental Factors on Population Aging in the Yangtze River Delta Using the Geographical Detector Technique Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10051528 Authors: Xin Xu Yuan Zhao Xinlin Zhang Siyou Xia Under the background of social transformation and space reconstruction, population aging in China is becoming more and more diverse and complex. “Aging before getting rich”, a notion in population and economic development, has been a serious threat to sustainable development in China. On the basis of town- and street block-scale data from the Fifth and Sixth National Census in the Yangtze River Delta, we studied spatial distribution characteristics of population aging using global Moran’s I and hotspot analysis, and applied the geographical detector technique to explain the spatial heterogeneity of population aging. Several conclusions were drawn. (1) The promotion and replacement of aging coexist. Cluster of aging degree exhibits an increasing trend. Population aging is more severe in suburban areas than urban areas. (2) Migration is the main factor affecting the spatial heterogeneity of population aging. Per capital GDP and road network density are the second most influential factors. By contrast, the relief degree of land surface and the air quality index minimally influence population aging. The mechanisms of aging in various regions are affected by varying development levels. (3) The interaction among social, economic, and environmental factors enhances their effects and, thus, interacting factors have a greater influence on population aging than any single factor. The findings of this study have significant implications for local inhabitants and policy makers to address the population aging challenge in achieving sustainability of society, economy, and environment.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
    Published by MDPI Publishing
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