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  • 1
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-02-28
    Description: Algorithms, Vol. 11, Pages 24: A Class of Algorithms for Continuous Wavelet Transform Based on the Circulant Matrix Algorithms doi: 10.3390/a11030024 Authors: Hua Yi Shi-You Xin Jun-Feng Yin The Continuous Wavelet Transform (CWT) is an important mathematical tool in signal processing, which is a linear time-invariant operator with causality and stability for a fixed scale and real-life application. A novel and simple proof of the FFT-based fast method of linear convolution is presented by exploiting the structures of circulant matrix. After introducing Equivalent Condition of Time-domain and Frequency-domain Algorithms of CWT, a class of algorithms for continuous wavelet transform are proposed and analyzed in this paper, which can cover the algorithms in JLAB and WaveLab, as well as the other existing methods such as the c w t function in the toolbox of MATLAB. In this framework, two theoretical issues for the computation of CWT are analyzed. Firstly, edge effect is easily handled by using Equivalent Condition of Time-domain and Frequency-domain Algorithms of CWT and higher precision is expected. Secondly, due to the fact that linear convolution expands the support of the signal, which parts of the linear convolution are just the coefficients of CWT is analyzed by exploring the relationship of the filters of Frequency-domain and Time-domain algorithms, and some generalizations are given. Numerical experiments are presented to further demonstrate our analyses.
    Electronic ISSN: 1999-4893
    Topics: Computer Science
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  • 2
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-02-28
    Description: Atmosphere, Vol. 9, Pages 86: Evaluation of Analysis by Cross-Validation. Part I: Using Verification Metrics Atmosphere doi: 10.3390/atmos9030086 Authors: Richard Ménard Martin Deshaies-Jacques We examine how passive and active observations are useful to evaluate an air quality analysis. By leaving out observations from the analysis, we form passive observations, and the observations used in the analysis are called active observations. We evaluated the surface air quality analysis of O3 and PM2.5 against passive and active observations using standard model verification metrics such as bias, fractional bias, fraction of correct within a factor of 2, correlation and variance. The results show that verification of analyses against active observations always give an overestimation of the correlation and an underestimation of the variance. Evaluation against passive or any independent observations display a minimum of variance and maximum of correlation as we vary the observation weight, thus providing a mean to obtain the optimal observation weight. For the time and dates considered, the correlation between (independent) observations and the model is 0.55 for O3 and 0.3 for PM2.5 and for the analysis, with optimal observation weight, increases to 0.74 for O3 and 0.54 for PM2.5. We show that bias can be a misleading measure of evaluation and recommend the use of a fractional bias such as the modified normalized mean bias (MNMB). An evaluation of the model bias and variance as a function of model values also show a clear linear dependence with the model values for both O3 and PM2.5.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4433
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 3
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 431: An Empirical Study of Chronic Diseases in the United States: A Visual Analytics Approach to Public Health International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15030431 Authors: Wullianallur Raghupathi Viju Raghupathi In this research we explore the current state of chronic diseases in the United States, using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and applying visualization and descriptive analytics techniques. Five main categories of variables are studied, namely chronic disease conditions, behavioral health, mental health, demographics, and overarching conditions. These are analyzed in the context of regions and states within the U.S. to discover possible correlations between variables in several categories. There are widespread variations in the prevalence of diverse chronic diseases, the number of hospitalizations for specific diseases, and the diagnosis and mortality rates for different states. Identifying such correlations is fundamental to developing insights that will help in the creation of targeted management, mitigation, and preventive policies, ultimately minimizing the risks and costs of chronic diseases. As the population ages and individuals suffer from multiple conditions, or comorbidity, it is imperative that the various stakeholders, including the government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), policy makers, health providers, and society as a whole, address these adverse effects in a timely and efficient manner.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 4
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 383: Sonication-Induced Modification of Carbon Nanotubes: Effect on the Rheological and Thermo-Oxidative Behaviour of Polymer-Based Nanocomposites Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11030383 Authors: Rossella Arrigo Rosalia Teresi Cristian Gambarotti Filippo Parisi Giuseppe Lazzara Nadka Dintcheva The aim of this work is the investigation of the effect of ultrasound treatment on the structural characteristics of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and the consequent influence that the shortening induced by sonication exerts on the morphology, rheological behaviour and thermo-oxidative resistance of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE)-based nanocomposites. First, CNTs have been subjected to sonication for different time intervals and the performed spectroscopic and morphological analyses reveal that a dramatic decrease of the CNT’s original length occurs with increased sonication time. The reduction of the initial length of CNTs strongly affects the nanocomposite rheological behaviour, which progressively changes from solid-like to liquid-like as the CNT sonication time increases. The study of the thermo-oxidative behaviour of the investigated nanocomposites reveals that the CNT sonication has a detrimental effect on the thermo-oxidative stability of nanocomposites, especially for long exposure times. The worsening of the thermo-oxidative resistance of sonicated CNT-containing nanocomposites could be attributed to the lower thermal conductivity of low-aspect-ratio CNTs, which causes the increase of the local temperature at the polymer/nanofillers interphase, with the consequent acceleration of the degradative phenomena.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 5
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 376: Design and 4D Printing of Cross-Folded Origami Structures: A Preliminary Investigation Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11030376 Authors: Joanne Teoh Jia An Xiaofan Feng Yue Zhao Chee Chua Yong Liu In 4D printing research, different types of complex structure folding and unfolding have been investigated. However, research on cross-folding of origami structures (defined as a folding structure with at least two overlapping folds) has not been reported. This research focuses on the investigation of cross-folding structures using multi-material components along different axes and different horizontal hinge thickness with single homogeneous material. Tensile tests were conducted to determine the impact of multi-material components and horizontal hinge thickness. In the case of multi-material structures, the hybrid material composition has a significant impact on the overall maximum strain and Young’s modulus properties. In the case of single material structures, the shape recovery speed is inversely proportional to the horizontal hinge thickness, while the flexural or bending strength is proportional to the horizontal hinge thickness. A hinge with a thickness of 0.5 mm could be folded three times prior to fracture whilst a hinge with a thickness of 0.3 mm could be folded only once prior to fracture. A hinge with a thickness of 0.1 mm could not even be folded without cracking. The introduction of a physical hole in the center of the folding/unfolding line provided stress relief and prevented fracture. A complex flower petal shape was used to successfully demonstrate the implementation of overlapping and non-overlapping folding lines using both single material segments and multi-material segments. Design guidelines for establishing cross-folding structures using multi-material components along different axes and different horizontal hinge thicknesses with single or homogeneous material were established. These guidelines can be used to design and implement complex origami structures with overlapping and non-overlapping folding lines. Combined overlapping folding structures could be implemented and allocating specific hole locations in the overall designs could be further explored. In addition, creating a more precise prediction by investigating sets of in between hinge thicknesses and comparing the folding times before fracture, will be the subject of future work.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 6
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 374: Mechanical Properties of Optimized Diamond Lattice Structure for Bone Scaffolds Fabricated via Selective Laser Melting Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11030374 Authors: Fei Liu David Zhang Peng Zhang Miao Zhao Salman Jafar Developments in selective laser melting (SLM) have enabled the fabrication of periodic cellular lattice structures characterized by suitable properties matching the bone tissue well and by fluid permeability from interconnected structures. These multifunctional performances are significantly affected by cell topology and constitutive properties of applied materials. In this respect, a diamond unit cell was designed in particular volume fractions corresponding to the host bone tissue and optimized with a smooth surface at nodes leading to fewer stress concentrations. There were 33 porous titanium samples with different volume fractions, from 1.28 to 18.6%, manufactured using SLM. All of them were performed under compressive load to determine the deformation and failure mechanisms, accompanied by an in-situ approach using digital image correlation (DIC) to reveal stress–strain evolution. The results showed that lattice structures manufactured by SLM exhibited comparable properties to those of trabecular bone, avoiding the effects of stress-shielding and increasing longevity of implants. The curvature of optimized surface can play a role in regulating the relationship between density and mechanical properties. Owing to the release of stress concentration from optimized surface, the failure mechanism of porous titanium has been changed from the pattern of bottom-up collapse by layer (or cell row) to that of the diagonal (45°) shear band, resulting in the significant enhancement of the structural strength.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 7
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 371: Regulating the Emission Spectrum of CsPbBr3 from Green to Blue via Controlling the Temperature and Velocity of Microchannel Reactor Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11030371 Authors: Yong Tang Hanguang Lu Longshi Rao Zongtao Li Xinrui Ding Caiman Yan Binhai Yu The ability to precisely obtain tunable spectrum of lead halide perovskite quantum dots (QDs) is very important for applications, such as in lighting and display. Herein, we report a microchannel reactor method for synthesis of CsPbBr3 QDs with tunable spectrum. By adjusting the temperature and velocity of the microchannel reactor, the emission peaks of CsPbBr3 QDs ranging from 520 nm to 430 nm were obtained, which is wider than that of QDs obtained in a traditional flask without changing halide component. The mechanism of photoluminescence (PL) spectral shift of CsPbBr3 QDs was investigated, the result shows that the supersaturation control enabled by the superior mass and heat transfer performance in the microchannel is the key to achieve the wide range of PL spectrum, with only a change in the setting of the temperature controller required. The wide spectrum of CsPbBr3 QDs can be applied to light-emitting diodes (LEDs), photoelectric sensors, lasers, etc.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 8
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 370: Novel Wearable Electrodes Based on Conductive Chitosan Fabrics and Their Application in Smart Garments Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11030370 Authors: Haiming Qin Junrong Li Beihai He Jingbo Sun Lingrui Li Liying Qian Smart garments, which can capture electrocardiogram signals at any time or location, can alert others to the risk of heart attacks and prevent sudden cardiac death when people are sleeping, walking, or running. Novel wearable electrodes for smart garments based on conductive chitosan fabrics were fabricated by electroless plating of silver nanoparticles onto the surfaces of the fibers. The electrical resistance, which is related to the silver content of the composite fabrics, can be as low as 0.0332 ± 0.0041 Ω/sq due to the strong reactivity between amine groups and silver ions. After washing these fabrics eight times, the electrical resistance remained below 1 Ω/sq. The conductive chitosan fabrics were applied to smart garments as wearable electrodes to capture electrocardiogram signals of the human body in static state, jogging state, and running state, which showed good data acquisition ability and sensitivity.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 9
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 367: Highly-Bioreactive Silica-Based Mesoporous Bioactive Glasses Enriched with Gallium(III) Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11030367 Authors: Sandra Sanchez-Salcedo Gianluca Malavasi Antonio Salinas Gigliola Lusvardi Luca Rigamonti Ledi Menabue Maria Vallet-Regi Beneficial effects in bone cell growth and antibacterial action are currently attributed to Ga3+ ions. Thus, they can be used to upgrade mesoporous bioactive glasses (MBGs), investigated for tissue engineering, whenever they released therapeutic amounts of gallium ions to the surrounding medium. Three gallium-enriched MBGs with composition (in mol %) xSiO2–yCaO–zP2O5–5Ga2O3, being x = 70, y = 15, z = 10 for Ga_1; x = 80, y = 12, z = 3 for Ga_2; and x = 80, y = 15, z = 0 for Ga_3, were investigated and compared with the gallium-free 80SiO2–15CaO–5P2O5 MBG (B). 29Si and 31P MAS NMR analyses indicated that Ga3+ acts as network modifier in the glass regions with higher polymerization degree and as network former in the zones with high concentration of classical modifiers (Ca2+ ions). Ga_1 and Ga_2 exhibited a quick in vitro bioactive response because they were coated by an apatite-like layer after 1 and 3 days in simulated body fluid. Although we have not conducted biological tests in this paper (cells or bacteria), Ga_1 released high but non-cytotoxic amounts of Ga3+ ions in Todd Hewitt Broth culture medium that were 140 times higher than the IC90 of Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria, demonstrating its potential for tissue engineering applications.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 10
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 365: RGB-Stack Light Emitting Diode Modules with Transparent Glass Circuit Board and Oil Encapsulation Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11030365 Authors: Ying-Chang Li Yuan-Hsiao Chang Preetpal Singh Liann-Be Chang Der-Hwa Yeh Ting-Yu Chao Si-Yun Jian Yu-Chi Li Cher Tan Chao-Sung Lai Lee Chow Shang-Ping Ying The light emitting diode (LED) is widely used in modern solid-state lighting applications, and its output efficiency is closely related to the submounts’ material properties. Most submounts used today, such as low-power printed circuit boards (PCBs) or high-power metal core printed circuit boards (MCPCBs), are not transparent and seriously decrease the output light extraction. To meet the requirements of high light output and better color mixing, a three-dimensional (3-D) stacked flip-chip (FC) LED module is proposed and demonstrated. To realize light penetration and mixing, the mentioned 3-D vertically stacking RGB LEDs use transparent glass as FC package submounts called glass circuit boards (GCB). Light emitted from each GCB stacked LEDs passes through each other and thus exhibits good output efficiency and homogeneous light-mixing characteristics. In this work, the parasitic problem of heat accumulation, which caused by the poor thermal conductivity of GCB and leads to a serious decrease in output efficiency, is solved by a proposed transparent cooling oil encapsulation (OCP) method.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 11
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 364: Impact of Different Binders on the Roughness, Adhesion Strength, and Other Properties of Mortars with Expanded Cork Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11030364 Authors: Danuta Barnat-Hunek Marcin Widomski Małgorzata Szafraniec Grzegorz Łagód The aim of the research that is presented in this paper was to evaluate the physical and mechanical properties of heat-insulating mortars with expanded cork aggregates and different binders. In this work, the measurements of surface roughness and adhesion strength, supported by determination of basic mechanical and physical parameters, such as density, bulk density, open porosity, total porosity, absorbability, thermal conductivity coefficient, compressive strength, flexural strength, and frost resistance of mortars containing expanded oak cork, were performed. The scanning electron microscope (SEM) investigations demonstrated the microstructure, contact zone, and distribution of pores in the heat-insulating mortars containing expanded cork. The results indicated that the addition of expanded cork and different binders in heat-insulating mortars triggers changes in their roughness and adhesion strength. The SEM research confirmed the very good adhesion of the paste to the cork aggregate.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 12
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 361: Comparative Study of Ferroelectric and Piezoelectric Properties of BNT-BKT-BT Ceramics near the Phase Transition Zone Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11030361 Authors: David Fernandez-Benavides Aixa Gutierrez-Perez Angelica Benitez-Castro Maria Ayala-Ayala Barbara Moreno-Murguia Juan Muñoz-Saldaña We report a comprehensive comparative study of ferroelectric and piezoelectric properties of BNT-BKT-BT ceramics through the MPB (morphotropic phase boundary) zone, from the rhombohedral to the tetragonal phases in the system (97.5−x)(Bi0.5Na0.5)TiO3 + x(Bi0.5K0.5)TiO3 + 2.5(BaTiO3), where x = 0 to 24.5 mol %. The structural transitions were studied by XRD patterns and Raman spectra. The MPB was confirmed between x = 10 and 12.5 mol % BKT. The dielectric/ferroelectric/piezoelectric properties of the BNT-BKT-BT system are maximized in the MPB region exhibiting a dielectric constant of 1506, a remanent polarization of 34.4 μC/cm2, a coercive field = 36.9 kV/cm, and piezoelectric values of d33 = 109 pC/N, kt = 0.52, and kp = 0.24. Changes in microstructure as a function of BKT content are also presented and discussed.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 13
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 360: Rough Titanium Oxide Coating Prepared by Micro-Arc Oxidation Causes Down-Regulation of hTERT Expression, Molecular Presentation, and Cytokine Secretion in Tumor Jurkat T Cells Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11030360 Authors: Igor Khlusov Larisa Litvinova Valeria Shupletsova Olga Khaziakhmatova Elena Melashchenko Kristina Yurova Vladimir Leitsin Marina Khlusova Vladimir Pichugin Yurii Sharkeev The response of the human Jurkat T cell leukemia-derived cell line (Jurkat T cells) after 24 h of in vitro exposure to a titanium substrate (12 × 12 × 1 mm3) with a bilateral rough (Ra = 2.2–3.7 μm) titanium oxide coating (rTOC) applied using the micro-arc method in a 20% orthophosphoric acid solution was studied. A 1.5-fold down-regulation of hTERT mRNA expression and decreases in CD3, CD4, CD8, and CD95 presentation and IL-4 and TNFα secretion were observed. Jurkat T cell inactivation was not correlated with the generation of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) and was not mediated by TiO2 nanoparticles with a diameter of 14 ± 8 nm at doses of 1 mg/L or 10 mg/L. The inhibitory effect of the rTOC (Ra = 2.2–3.7 μm) on the survival of Jurkat T cells (Spearman’s coefficient rs = −0.95; n = 9; p < 0.0001) was demonstrated by an increase in the necrotic cell count among the cell population. In turn, an elevation of the Ra index of the rTOC was accompanied by a linear increase (r = 0.6; p < 0.000001, n = 60) in the magnitude of the negative electrostatic potential of the titanium oxide surface. Thus, the roughness of the rTOC induces an electrostatic potential and decreases the viability of the immortalized Jurkat T cells through mechanisms unrelated to ROS generation. This may be useful for replacement surgery applications of rough TiO2 implants in cancer patients.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 14
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 357: Mapping the Galvanic Corrosion of Three Metals Coupled with a Wire Beam Electrode: The Influence of Temperature and Relative Geometrical Position Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11030357 Authors: Hong Ju Yuan-Feng Yang Yun-Fei Liu Shu-Fa Liu Jin-Zhuo Duan Yan Li The local electrochemical properties of galvanic corrosion for three coupled metals in a desalination plant were investigated with three wire-beam electrodes as wire sensors: aluminum brass (HAl77-2), titanium (TA2), and 316L stainless steel (316L SS). These electrodes were used with artificial seawater at different temperatures. The potential and current–density distributions of the three-metal coupled system are inhomogeneous. The HAl77-2 wire anodes were corroded in the three-metal coupled system. The TA2 wires acted as cathodes and were protected; the 316L SS wires acted as secondary cathodes. The temperature and electrode arrangement have important effects on the galvanic corrosion of the three-metal coupled system. The corrosion current of the HAl77-2 increased with temperature indicating enhanced anode corrosion at higher temperature. In addition, the corrosion of HAl77-2 was more significant when the HAl77-2 wires were located in the middle of the coupled system than with the other two metal arrangement styles.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 15
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 355: Enhanced Charge Extraction of Li-Doped TiO2 for Efficient Thermal-Evaporated Sb2S3 Thin Film Solar Cells Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11030355 Authors: Chunfeng Lan Jingting Luo Huabin Lan Bo Fan Huanxin Peng Jun Zhao Huibin Sun Zhuanghao Zheng Guangxing Liang Ping Fan We provided a new method to improve the efficiency of Sb2S3 thin film solar cells. The TiO2 electron transport layers were doped by lithium to improve their charge extraction properties for the thermal-evaporated Sb2S3 solar cells. The Mott-Schottky curves suggested a change of energy band and faster charge transport in the Li-doped TiO2 films. Compared with the undoped TiO2, Li-doped mesoporous TiO2 dramatically improved the photo-voltaic performance of the thermal-evaporated Sb2S3 thin film solar cells, with the average power conversion efficiency (PCE) increasing from 1.79% to 4.03%, as well as the improved open-voltage (Voc), short-circuit current (Jsc) and fill factors. The best device based on Li-doped TiO2 achieved a power conversion efficiency up to 4.42% as well as a Voc of 0.645 V, which are the highest values among the reported thermal-evaporated Sb2S3 solar cells. This study showed that Li-doping on TiO2 can effectively enhance the charge extraction properties of electron transport layers, offering a new strategy to improve the efficiency of Sb2S3-based solar cells.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 16
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 353: Innovative Chemical Process for Recycling Thermosets Cured with Recyclamines® by Converting Bio-Epoxy Composites in Reusable Thermoplastic—An LCA Study Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11030353 Authors: Angela La Rosa Ignazio Blanco Diosdado Banatao Stefan Pastine Anna Björklund Gianluca Cicala An innovative recycling process for thermoset polymer composites developed by Connora Technologies (Hayward, CA, USA) was studied. The process efficacy has already been tested, and it is currently working at the plant level. The main aspect investigated in the present paper was the environmental impact by means of the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) method. Because of the need to recycle and recover materials at their end of life, the Connora process creates a great innovation in the market of epoxy composites, as they are notoriously not recyclable. Connora Technologies developed a relatively gentle chemical recycling process that induces the conversion of thermosets into thermoplastics. The LCA demonstrated that low environmental burdens are associated with the process itself and, furthermore, impacts are avoided due to the recovery of the epoxy-composite constituents (fibres and matrix). A carbon fibre (CF) epoxy-composite panel was produced through Vacuum Resin Transfer Moulding (VRTM) and afterwards treated using the Connora recycling process. The LCA results of both the production and the recycling phases are reported.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 17
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Minerals, Vol. 8, Pages 95: Fossilization History of Fossil Resin from Jambi Province (Sumatra, Indonesia) Based on Physico-Chemical Studies Minerals doi: 10.3390/min8030095 Authors: Beata Naglik Barbara Kosmowska-Ceranowicz Lucyna Natkaniec-Nowak Przemysław Drzewicz Magdalena Dumańska-Słowik Jakub Matusik Marian Wagner Rastislav Milovsky Paweł Stach Arkadiusz Szyszka A unique specimen of fossil resin originating from the Dipterocarpaceae tree family found in Miocene brown coal deposits in Jambi Province (Sumatra, Indonesia) was investigated via microscopic observations, microhardness testing and infrared and Raman spectroscopic methods. Its form is rare in nature, being an aggregate of three varieties of resin differing in colour, transparency and internal structure. This suggests the formation of the resins at different stages. Further alteration processes, including fossilization and maturation of the resin in a swamp environment resulted in stepwise aromatization of the cyclohexane ring in steroids and cross-linking through formation of ester bonds as well as carbon–carbon bonds between steroid molecules. The various environmental and geological conditions affecting the formation processes of the resins were recorded in their physico-chemical properties. Additionally, heating conditions accelerated by volcanism were proposed as a factor determining the maturation grade of the resin.
    Electronic ISSN: 2075-163X
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 18
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Minerals, Vol. 8, Pages 93: Platy Galena from the Viburnum Trend, Southeast Missouri: Character, Mine Distribution, Paragenetic Position, Trace Element Content, Nature of Twinning, and Conditions of Formation Minerals doi: 10.3390/min8030093 Authors: Richard Hagni The Viburnum Trend of southeast Missouri is one of the world’s largest producers of lead. The lead occurs as galena, predominantly in two crystallographic forms, octahedrons and cubes. Many studies have shown that octahedral galena is paragentically early, the more abundant of the two crystal forms, and is commonly modified in the cube. Those studies also have shown that the cubic form is paragenetically later, less abundant than the octahedrons, and may exhibit minor octahedral modifications. Viburnum Trend galena crystals that exhibit a platy form have received almost no study. The reason for their lack of study is the rarity of their occurrence. This communication discusses their character, mine distribution, paragenetic position, trace element contents, nature of twinning, and speculated conditions of formation. It also compares their character to similar platy galena occurrences in Germany, Bulgaria, Russia, Mexico, and notes their occurrence at the Pine Point District in the Northwest Territories of Canada and at the Black Cloud mine in Colorado. Flat, platy galena crystals have been recognized to occur in very small amounts in the Magmont, Buick, Fletcher, Brushy Creek, and Sweetwater mines in the Viburnum Trend. In contrast, platy galena has never been observed to occur at the Casteel, West Fork, #27, #28, and #29 mines in the Trend. The platy crystals have formed early in the paragenetic sequence of the ores, prior to and coated by subsequently deposited druzy quartz and cubic galena. Spinel twinning of the octahedron produces flat platy crystals. The platy galena crystals of the Viburnum Trend are very similar in crystal morphology to platy galena crystals interpreted to be spinel twins in the Gonderbach Ag mine in NW Germany, the Dalnegorsk Pb-Zn (skarn deposit) mine in SE Russia, the Madan ore field of skarn Pb-Zn-Ag deposits of southern Bulgaria, and the large Naica skarn Pb mine of northern Mexico. The crystallization of certain crystal forms of galena has been ascribed to the incorporation of elevated contents of trace elements in some lead districts. Analysis of Viburnum platy galena crystals shows that they contain very low levels of trace elements: 3.1 ppm Ag, <2 ppm Bi, <2 ppm Sb, and <2 ppm As. Thus, elevated trace element content is not the cause for the development of Viburnum platy galena. It is speculated that the Viburnum spinel-twinned galena crystals were the result of rapid crystallization from oversaturated hydrothermal ore fluids.
    Electronic ISSN: 2075-163X
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 19
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    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Minerals, Vol. 8, Pages 91: Density Functional Theory Study of Arsenate Adsorption onto Alumina Surfaces Minerals doi: 10.3390/min8030091 Authors: Katie Corum Ali Abbaspour Tamijani Sara Mason Atomistic modeling of mineral–water interfaces offers a way of confirming (or refuting) experimental information about structure and reactivity. Molecular-level understanding, such as orbital-based descriptions of bonding, can be developed from charge density and electronic structure analysis. First-principles calculations can be used to identify weaknesses in empirical models. This provides direction on how to propose more robust representations of systems of increasing size that accurately represent the underlying physical factors governing reactivity. In this study, inner-sphere complex geometries of arsenate on hydrated alumina surfaces are modeled at the density functional theory (DFT)–continuum solvent level. According to experimental studies, arsenate binds to alumina surfaces in a bidentate binuclear (BB) fashion. While the DFT calculations support the preference of the BB configuration, the optimized geometries show distortion from the ideal tetrahedral geometry of the arsenic atom. This finding suggests that steric factors, and not just coordination arguments, influences reactivity. The Osurf–As–Osurf angle for the more favorable arsenate configurations is closest to the ideal tetrahedral angle of 109.5°. Comparing the results of arsenate adsorption using a small cluster model with a periodic slab model, we report that the two model geometries yield results that differ qualitatively and quantitatively. This relates the steric factors and rigidity of the surface models.
    Electronic ISSN: 2075-163X
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 20
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    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Minerals, Vol. 8, Pages 92: A Fluid Inclusion Study of the Brookbank Deposit, Northwestern Ontario: A Transition from Mesothermal to Epithermal Gold Deposition Minerals doi: 10.3390/min8030092 Authors: Barbara Kowalski Stephen Kissin The Brookbank and Cherbourg Zone gold deposits are located in the Beardmore–Geraldton greenstone belt of the Wabigoon Subprovince of the Archean Superior Province of the Canadian Shield. Brookbank is a shear zone deposit, whereas the Cherbourg Zone, joined by a shear zone to the Brookbank, is a fissure vein deposit, presumably formed by the same ore-depositing fluid. A total of 375 fluid inclusions, all with low salinity (generally <1 °C freezing point depression) and presence of CO2, from the two deposits were studied. Cross-cutting relationships delineated three stages of vein formation: (1) pre-ore, (2) ore stage and (3) post-ore. Stage 1 inclusions homogenized at ca. 230 °C with low salinity, although at Brookbank a high temperature episode at ca. 360 °C was noted. Stage 2 homogenized at ca. 266 °C at the Cherbourg Zone and over a range 258–269 °C with somewhat higher salinity. Eutectic temperatures indicate that the fluid composition was within the MgCl2-NaCl-H2O system. Fluid immiscibility was prominent in that inclusions homogenized to liquid and vapor at the same temperature were observed. The majority of inclusions from Brookbank homogenized to vapor, whereas those from the Cherbourg Zone homogenized to liquid, marking the transition from mesothermal to epithermal lode gold deposition. Stage 3 fluid inclusions from the Cherbourg Zone homogenized at slightly elevated temperatures and contained fluid possibly representing metastable hydrates of KCl. These post-ore fluids may have been the source of potassium feldspar alteration that overprinted earlier alteration assemblages.
    Electronic ISSN: 2075-163X
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 21
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    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Minerals, Vol. 8, Pages 89: Mapping of Trace Elements in Coal and Ash Research Based on a Bibliometric Analysis Method Spanning 1971–2017 Minerals doi: 10.3390/min8030089 Authors: Liu Yang Qiqi Wang Xue Bai Jun Deng Yinjie Hu Coal is the most important fossil energy used in China. The environmental impact of trace elements released in coal combustion has become one of the hottest issues in recent years. Based on a software named CiteSpace, and social network analysis (SNA), a bibliometric analysis of research into trace elements in coal and ash field during 1971–2017 is presented with the information of authors, countries, institutions, journals, hot issues and research trends in the present study. The study results indicate that: (1) Shifeng Dai, Robert B Finkelman, Guijian Liu and James C Hower have a large number of publications with great influence. (2) China (29.8%) and USA (22.2%) have high productivity in total publications. China and the USA correlate closely in the cooperative web system. (3) China University of Mining and Technology and Chinese Academy of Sciences take the leading position in the quantity of publications among all research institutions. (4) Energy and fuels, engineering and environmental science are three disciplines with the most studies in this field. (5) International Journal of Coal Geology, Fuel, Energy and Fuels and Fuel Processing Technology are the top four journals with the most publications in this field. (6) The enrichment origin and modes of occurrence of trace elements are the mainstream research related to trace elements in coal and ash. The environmental problems caused by coal combustion have promoted the development of trace elements in coal research, and human health is getting more and more popular in recent years. The study findings provide a better understanding of features of trace elements in coal and ash research, which could be taken as a reference for future studies in this field.
    Electronic ISSN: 2075-163X
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 22
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    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 790: Hybrid GMR Sensor Detecting 950 pT/sqrt(Hz) at 1 Hz and Room Temperature Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18030790 Authors: André Guedes Rita Macedo Gerardo Jaramillo Susana Cardoso Paulo Freitas David Horsley Advances in the magnetic sensing technology have been driven by the increasing demand for the capability of measuring ultrasensitive magnetic fields. Among other emerging applications, the detection of magnetic fields in the picotesla range is crucial for biomedical applications. In this work Picosense reports a millimeter-scale, low-power hybrid magnetoresistive-piezoelectric magnetometer with subnanotesla sensitivity at low frequency. Through an innovative noise-cancelation mechanism, the 1/f noise in the MR sensors is surpassed by the mechanical modulation of the external magnetic fields in the high frequency regime. A modulation efficiency of 13% was obtained enabling a final device’s sensitivity of ~950 pT/Hz1/2 at 1 Hz. This hybrid device proved to be capable of measuring biomagnetic signals generated in the heart in an unshielded environment. This result paves the way for the development of a portable, contactless, low-cost and low-power magnetocardiography device.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 23
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    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 787: Coupling p+n Field-Effect Transistor Circuits for Low Concentration Methane Gas Detection Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18030787 Authors: Xinyuan Zhou Liping Yang Yuzhi Bian Xiang Ma Ning Han Yunfa Chen Nowadays, the detection of low concentration combustible methane gas has attracted great concern. In this paper, a coupling p+n field effect transistor (FET) amplification circuit is designed to detect methane gas. By optimizing the load resistance (RL), the response to methane of the commercial MP-4 sensor can be magnified ~15 times using this coupling circuit. At the same time, it decreases the limit of detection (LOD) from several hundred ppm to ~10 ppm methane, with the apparent response of 7.0 ± 0.2 and voltage signal of 1.1 ± 0.1 V. This is promising for the detection of trace concentrations of methane gas to avoid an accidental explosion because its lower explosion limit (LEL) is ~5%. The mechanism of this coupling circuit is that the n-type FET firstly generates an output voltage (VOUT) amplification process caused by the gate voltage-induced resistance change of the FET. Then, the p-type FET continues to amplify the signal based on the previous VOUT amplification process.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 24
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    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 784: A New Method for Immobilization of His-Tagged Proteins with the Application of Low-Frequency AC Electric Field Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18030784 Authors: Shunsuke Takahashi Kazuki Kishi Ryota Hiraga Kazuki Hayashi Youhei Mamada Masahiko Oshige Shinji Katsura Continued advancement of protein array, bioelectrode, and biosensor technologies is necessary to develop methods for higher amount and highly oriented immobilization activity of proteins. In pursuit of these goals, we developed a new immobilization method by combining electrostatic transport and subsequent molecular diffusion of protein molecules. Our developed immobilization method is based on a model that transports proteins toward the substrate surface due to steep concentration gradient generated by low-frequency AC electric field. The immobilization of the maximum amounts can be obtained by the application of the AC voltage of 80 Vpp, 20 Hz both for His-tagged Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) and Discosoma sp. Red Fluorescent Protein (DsRed), used as model proteins. The amounts of the immobilized His-tagged GFP and DsRed were approximately seven-fold higher than that in the absence of the application of low-frequency AC electric field. Furthermore, the positively and negatively charged His-tagged GFP at acidic and alkaline pH were immobilized by applying of low-frequency AC electric field, whereas the non-charged His-tagged GFP at the pH corresponding to its isoelectric point (pI) was not immobilized. Therefore, unless the pH is equal to pI, the immobilization of electrically charged proteins was strongly enhanced through electrostatic transport and subsequent molecular diffusion.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 25
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    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 730: Redox Cycling Realized in Paper-Based Biochemical Sensor for Selective Detection of Reversible Redox Molecules Without Micro/Nano Fabrication Process Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18030730 Authors: So Yamamoto Shigeyasu Uno This paper describes a paper-based biochemical sensor that realizes redox cycling with close interelectrode distance. Two electrodes, the generator and collector electrodes, can detect steady-state oxidation and reduction currents when suitable potential is held at each electrode. The sensor has two gold plates on both sides of a piece of chromatography paper and defines the interelectrode distance by the thickness of the paper (180 μm) without any micro-fabrication processes. Our proposed sensor geometry has successfully exhibited signatures of redox cycling. As a result, the concentration of ferrocyanide as reversible redox molecules was successfully quantified under the interference by ascorbic acid as a strong irreversible reducing agent. This was possible because the ascorbic acids are completely consumed by the irreversible reaction, while maintaining redox cycling of reversible ferrocyanide. This suggests that a sensor based on the redox cycling method will be suitable for detecting target molecules at low concentration.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 26
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    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 728: Sensing Magnetic Fields with Magnetosensitive Ion Channels Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18030728 Authors: Igor Goychuk [-15]Magnetic nanoparticles are met across many biological species ranging from magnetosensitive bacteria, fishes, bees, bats, rats, birds, to humans. They can be both of biogenetic origin and due to environmental contamination, being either in paramagnetic or ferromagnetic state. The energy of such naturally occurring single-domain magnetic nanoparticles can reach up to 10–20 room k B T in the magnetic field of the Earth, which naturally led to supposition that they can serve as sensory elements in various animals. This work explores within a stochastic modeling framework a fascinating hypothesis of magnetosensitive ion channels with magnetic nanoparticles serving as sensory elements, especially, how realistic it is given a highly dissipative viscoelastic interior of living cells and typical sizes of nanoparticles possibly involved.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 27
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    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Remote Sensing, Vol. 10, Pages 390: Understanding Temporal and Spatial Distribution of Crop Residue Burning in China from 2003 to 2017 Using MODIS Data Remote Sensing doi: 10.3390/rs10030390 Authors: Yan Zhuang Ruiyuan Li Hao Yang Danlu Chen Ziyue Chen Bingbo Gao Bin He Crop residue burning, which is a convenient approach to process excessive crop straws, has a negative impact on local and regional air quality and soil structures. China, as a major agricultural country with a large population, should take more effective measures to control crop residue burning. In this case, a better understanding of long-term spatio-temporal variations of crop residue burning in China is required. The MODIS products MOD14A1/MYD14A1 were employed in this research. Meanwhile, due to the vast territory of China, we divided the study area into seven regions based on the national administrative divisions to examine crop residue burning in each region, respectively. The temporal analysis of crop residue burning in different regions demonstrates a fluctuated, but generally upward, trend from 2003 to 2017. For monthly variations of crop residue burning in different regions, detected fire spots in June mainly concentrated in Central China (CC), East China (EC), and North China (NC). A majority of detected fire spots in Northeast China (NEC) and Northwest China (NWC) appeared in April and October. For other months, a small number of fire spots were distributed in all regions in a scattered manner. Furthermore, from a spatio-temporal perspective, this research revealed that crop residue burning in NEC was the most active among all regions both in spring and autumn. For summer, EC holds a larger proportion of burning spots than other regions. For winter, the number of burning spots in most regions was close. This research conducts a comprehensive analysis of crop residue burning in China at both a national and regional scale. The methodology and results from this research provide useful reference for better monitoring and controlling crop residue burning in China.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 28
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    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Remote Sensing, Vol. 10, Pages 387: Assessment of the Structural Integrity of the Roman Bridge of Alcántara (Spain) Using TLS and GPR Remote Sensing doi: 10.3390/rs10030387 Authors: Juan Pérez José de Sanjosé Blasco Alan Atkinson Luis del Río Pérez The Roman bridge of Alcántara is the largest in Spain. Its preservation is of the utmost importance and to this end different aspects must be studied. The most prominent is the assessment of its structure, and this is especially important as the bridge remains in use. This paper documents the way the assessment of structural safety was carried out. The assessment methodology of existing structures was applied. The preliminary assessment was based on bibliographic data and non-destructive techniques. The geometric data of the bridge were obtained by Terrestrial Laser Scanning (TLS), which made possible the analysis of its deformations and assessment of its structure. Ground-Penetrating Radar (GPR) was also used with different antennae to work at different depths and spatial resolutions with the aim of analysing structural elements. From the above information, the assessment of structural safety was made using the limit analysis method by applying the historical works carried out on it and those described in the regulation of obligatory compliance in Spain (IAP11), studying the sensitivity of safety to the most relevant parameters. The state of preservation and structural integrity of the bridge is discussed and conclusions are drawn on the areas of greatest risk and the bases for the following assessment phase of preservation of the bridge.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 29
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    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Remote Sensing, Vol. 10, Pages 384: Paddy Field Expansion and Aggregation Since the Mid-1950s in a Cold Region and Its Possible Causes Remote Sensing doi: 10.3390/rs10030384 Authors: Fengqin Yan Lingxue Yu Chaobin Yang Shuwen Zhang Over the last six decades, paddy fields on the Sanjiang Plain have experienced rapid expansion and aggregation. In our study, land use and land cover changes related to paddy fields were studied based on information acquired from topographic maps and remote-sensing images. Paddy field expansion and aggregation were investigated through landscape indices and trajectory codes. Furthermore, the possible causes of paddy field expansion and aggregation were explored. Results indicated that such fields have increased by approximately 42,704 ha·y−1 over the past six decades. Approximately 98% of paddy fields in 2015 were converted from other land use types. In general, the gravity center moved 254.51 km toward the northeast, at a rate of approximately 4.17 km·y−1. The cohesion index increased from 96.8208 in 1954 to 99.5656 in 2015, and the aggregation index grew from 91.3533 in 1954 to 93.4448 in 2015, indicating the apparent aggregation of paddy fields on the Sanjiang Plain. Trajectory analyses showed that the transformations from marsh as well as from grassland to dry farmland and then into paddy fields were predominant. Climate warming provided a favorable environment for rice planting. Meanwhile, population growth, technological progress, and government policies drove paddy field expansion and aggregation during the study period.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
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  • 30
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    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Remote Sensing, Vol. 10, Pages 383: Land Cover Classification Using Integrated Spectral, Temporal, and Spatial Features Derived from Remotely Sensed Images Remote Sensing doi: 10.3390/rs10030383 Authors: Yongguang Zhai Zhongyi Qu Lei Hao Obtaining accurate and timely land cover information is an important topic in many remote sensing applications. Using satellite image time series data should achieve high-accuracy land cover classification. However, most satellite image time-series classification methods do not fully exploit the available data for mining the effective features to identify different land cover types. Therefore, a classification method that can take full advantage of the rich information provided by time-series data to improve the accuracy of land cover classification is needed. In this paper, a novel method for time-series land cover classification using spectral, temporal, and spatial information at an annual scale was introduced. Based on all the available data from time-series remote sensing images, a refined nonlinear dimensionality reduction method was used to extract the spectral and temporal features, and a modified graph segmentation method was used to extract the spatial features. The proposed classification method was applied in three study areas with land cover complexity, including Illinois, South Dakota, and Texas. All the Landsat time series data in 2014 were used, and different study areas have different amounts of invalid data. A series of comparative experiments were conducted on the annual time-series images using training data generated from Cropland Data Layer. The results demonstrated higher overall and per-class classification accuracies and kappa index values using the proposed spectral-temporal-spatial method compared to spectral-temporal classification methods. We also discuss the implications of this study and possibilities for future applications and developments of the method.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
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  • 31
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    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Remote Sensing, Vol. 10, Pages 381: A Relative Radiometric Calibration Method Based on the Histogram of Side-Slither Data for High-Resolution Optical Satellite Imagery Remote Sensing doi: 10.3390/rs10030381 Authors: Mi Wang Chaochao Chen Jun Pan Ying Zhu Xueli Chang Relative radiometric calibration, or flat fielding, is indispensable for obtaining high-quality optical satellite imagery for sensors that have more than one detector per band. High-resolution optical push-broom sensors with thousands of detectors per band are now common. Multiple techniques have been employed for relative radiometric calibration. One technique, often called side-slither, where the sensor axis is rotated 90° in yaw relative to normal acquisitions, has been gaining popularity, being applied to Landsat 8, QuickBird, RapidEye, and other satellites. Side-slither can be more time efficient than some of the traditional methods, as only one acquisition may be required. In addition, the side-slither does not require any onboard calibration hardware, only a satellite capability to yaw and maintain a stable yawed attitude. A relative radiometric calibration method based on histograms of side-slither data is developed. This method has three steps: pre-processing, extraction of key points, and calculation of coefficients. Histogram matching and Otsu’s method are used to extract key points. Three datasets from the Chinese GaoFen-9 satellite were used: one to obtain the relative radiometric coefficients, and the others to verify the coefficients. Root-mean-square deviations of the corrected imagery were better than 0.1%. The maximum streaking metrics was less than 1. This method produced significantly better relative radiometric calibration than the traditional method used for GaoFen-9.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
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  • 32
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    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Remote Sensing, Vol. 10, Pages 379: Reconstructing the Roman Site “Aquis Querquennis” (Bande, Spain) from GPR, T-LiDAR and IRT Data Fusion Remote Sensing doi: 10.3390/rs10030379 Authors: Iván Puente Mercedes Solla Susana Lagüela Javier Sanjurjo-Pinto This work presents the three-dimensional (3D) reconstruction of one of the most important archaeological sites in Galicia: “Aquis Querquennis” (Bande, Spain) using in-situ non-invasive ground-penetrating radar (GPR) and Terrestrial Light Detection and Ranging (T-LiDAR) techniques, complemented with infrared thermography. T-LiDAR is used for the recording of the 3D surface of this particular case and provides high resolution 3D digital models. GPR data processing is performed through the novel software tool “toGPRi”, developed by the authors, which allows the creation of a 3D model of the sub-surface and the subsequent XY images or time-slices at different depths. All these products are georeferenced, in such a way that the GPR orthoimages can be combined with the orthoimages from the T-LiDAR for a complete interpretation of the site. In this way, the GPR technique allows for the detection of the structures of the barracks that are buried, and their distribution is completed with the structure measured by the T-LiDAR on the surface. In addition, the detection of buried elements made possible the identification and labelling of the structures of the surface and their uses. These structures are additionally inspected with infrared thermography (IRT) to determine their conservation condition and distinguish between original and subsequent constructions.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 33
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    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 711: Quantifying the Economy-Environment Interactions in Tourism: Case of Gansu Province, China Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10030711 Authors: Chenyu Lu Wenlei Li Min Pang Bing Xue Hong Miao Together, the regional economy, tourism industry, and ecological environment form mutually interactive and interdependent relationships. Therefore, a better understanding of their evolutionary relationships could help reveal the spatial-temporal evolution patterns of their coordinated development and promote a successful implementation of strategies for regional sustainable development. By choosing the 14 cities (12 cities and 2 city-level prefectures) in Gansu Province as cases, this study establishes the respective evaluation indices for assessing the coordinated developmental level of the tourism system. With a combination of varying quantitative methods including order parameter analysis, fuzzy membership classification, regression analysis and gray correlation analysis, measurement models for assessing the coordinated developmental level and analyzing the associated spatial-temporal evolution patterns are established between 2000 and 2016. The conclusions are as follows. Between 2000 and 2016, the development of the regional economy, tourism industry, and ecological environment mutually reinforced one another in Gansu Province. Overall, the coordinated developmental level kept gradually improving over time. However, the development of the ecological environment lagged behind that of the tourism industry and economic growth, and synchronous and coordinated development among these three subsystems was not achieved. The overall level of coordination among 14 cities was also gradually improved, as manifested by the good level of coordinated development. However, spatial differences still existed.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 34
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    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 708: Daily Monitoring of Shallow and Fine-Grained Water Patterns in Wet Grasslands Combining Aerial LiDAR Data and In Situ Piezometric Measurements Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10030708 Authors: Sébastien Rapinel Nicolas Rossignol Oliver Gore Olivier Jambon Guillaume Bouger Jérome Mansons Anne Bonis The real-time monitoring of hydrodynamics in wetlands at fine spatial and temporal scales is crucial for understanding ecological and hydrological processes. The key interest of light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data is its ability to accurately detect microtopography. However, how such data may account for subtle wetland flooding changes in both space and time still needs to be tested, even though the degree to which these changes impact biodiversity patterns is of upmost importance. This study assesses the use of 1 m × 1 m resolution aerial LiDAR data in combination with in situ piezometric measurements in order to predict the flooded areas at a daily scale along a one-year hydrological period. The simulation was applied over 663 ha of wet grasslands distributed on six sites across the Marais Poitevin (France). A set of seven remote sensing images was used as the reference data in order to validate the simulation and provide a high overall accuracy (76–94%). The best results were observed in areas where the ditch density was low, whereas the highly drained sites showed a discrepancy with the predicted flooded areas. The landscape proportion index was calculated for the daily steps. The results highlighted the spatiotemporal dynamics of the shallow flooded areas. We showed that the differences in the flooding durations among the years were mainly related to a narrow contrast in topography (40 cm), and occurred over a short period of time (two months).
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 705: A Duopoly Manufacturers’ Game Model Considering Green Technology Investment under a Cap-and-Trade System Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10030705 Authors: Yi Zheng Gaoxun Zhang Weiwei Zhang This research studied the duopoly manufacturers’ decision-making considering green technology investment and under a cap-and-trade system. It was assumed there were two manufacturers producing products which were substitutable for one another. On the basis of this assumption, the optimal production capacity, price, and green technology investment of the duopoly manufacturers under a cap-and-trade system were obtained. The increase or decrease of the optimal production quantity of the duopoly manufacturers under a cap-and-trade system was decided by their green technology level. The increase of the optimal price as well as the increase or decrease of the maximum expected profits were decided by the initial carbon emission quota granted by the government. Our research indicates that the carbon emission of unit product is inversely proportional to the market share of an enterprise and becomes an important index to measure the core competitiveness of an enterprise.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 702: Responsible Research and Innovation in Industry—Challenges, Insights and Perspectives Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10030702 Authors: André Martinuzzi Vincent Blok Alexander Brem Bernd Stahl Norma Schönherr The responsibility of industry towards society and the environment is a much discussed topic, both in academia and in business. Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) has recently emerged as a new concept with the potential to advance this discourse in light of two major challenges industry is facing today. The first relates to the accelerating race to innovate in order to stay competitive in a rapidly changing world. The second concerns the need to maintain public trust in industry through innovations that generate social value in addition to economic returns. This Special Issue provides empirical and conceptual contributions that explore corporate motivations to adopt RRI, the state of implementation of concrete RRI practices, the role of stakeholders in responsible innovation processes, as well as drivers and barriers to the further diffusion of RRI in industry. Overall, these contributions highlight the relevance of RRI for firms of different sizes and sectors. They also provide insights and suggestions for managers, policymakers and researchers wishing to engage with responsibility in innovation. This editorial summarizes the most pertinent conclusions across the individual articles published in this Special Issue and concludes by outlining some fruitful avenues for future research in this space.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 37
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    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 699: Livelihood Benefits from Post-Earthquake Nature-Based Tourism Development: A Survey of Local Residents in Rural China Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10030699 Authors: Shuwen Liu Lewis Cheung Alex Lo Wei Fang Large-scale tourism development after a natural disaster often leads to substantial changes in the living conditions of local residents. Few studies have examined how these changes are perceived by residents and related to their support to tourism development. We conducted a household survey in Wolong National Nature Reserve, which is a popular nature-based tourist location severely devastated by a catastrophic earthquake in 2008. Structural equation modelling (SEM) was employed to explore the association between residents’ expectation of tourism impacts and their willingness to support tourism development. Results indicated that they held high expectations about development and believed that it would be enhance Wolong’s economic progress and improve their personal living conditions. Expected economic benefits (EEB) had a significant and positive relationship with the expected improvement of their personal living conditions, but not with their support to tourism development. The latter two variables, however, were associated with each other, suggesting that expected improvement of living conditions mediated between expected benefits and stated support to tourism development. Similar results were not found for resistance and concerns about tourism development. Policy-makers and tourism planners should recognize that public support to tourism development is not necessarily driven directly by expected economic benefits.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 38
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    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 696: Effect of Puccinia silphii on Yield Components and Leaf Physiology in Silphium integrifolium: Lessons for the Domestication of a Perennial Oilseed Crop Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10030696 Authors: M. Turner Damian Ravetta David Van Tassel New crops with greater capacity for delivering ecosystem services are needed to increase agricultural sustainability. However, even in these crops, seed yield is usually the main criteria for grain domestication. This focus on yield can cause unintended structural and functional changes. Leaves of selected plants tend to be more vulnerable to infection, which can reduce performance, assimilates, and ultimately yield. Our objectives were to determine the impact of rust (caused by Puccinia silphii) on yield and leaf function in selected Silphium integrifolium (Asteraceae) plants. We tested the effect of a fungicide treatment on rust severity and yield, compared the rust infection of individuals in a population selected for yield, and related this to chemical changes at the leaf level. We also estimated heritability for rust resistance. We found that productivity indicators (head number and weight, leaf weight) and leaf processes (photosynthetic capacity, water use efficiency) were reduced when silphium leaves and stems were more heavily infected by P. silphii. Leaf resin content increased when susceptible plants were infected. Fungicide treatments were effective at reducing rust infection severity, but were ineffective at preventing yield losses. We propose that disease resistance should be included early in the selection process of new perennial crops.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 39
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    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 693: The Impact of Technical–Nontechnical Factors Synergy on Innovation Performance: The Moderating Effect of Talent Flow Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10030693 Authors: Hong-Bo Shi Yong-Cai Cui Sang-Bing Tsai Dong-Mei Wang Innovation and talent are the guarantee of the sustainable development of an enterprise. However, internet companies are facing two major problems: innovation scarcity and frequent talent flow. The gradual intensification of competition is leading internet companies to realize the importance of collaborative innovation of an enterprise’s internal elements. Previous studies have pointed out that appropriate talent flow is conducive to improve the corporation’s innovation performance, too low or too high talent flow has a negative impact on the enterprise’s innovation ability. This study explores the relationship between talent flow, technical–nontechnical element synergy and collaborative innovation performance in the internet industry. The results show that the technical–nontechnical element synergy is beneficial to improve the collaborative innovation performance, and the comprehensive coordination of the elements can generate integration advantages that single element synergy cannot produce. As a moderator variable, talent flow can positively moderate the relationship between technical–market synergy, technical–strategy synergy, technical–institution synergy and collaborative innovation performance. However, because of the particularity of organization and culture, talent flow has no moderating effect on the relationship between technical–culture synergy, technical–organization synergy and innovation performance. Finally, this paper puts forward some suggestions on how to promote internet enterprise internal element synergy and use the talent flow frequency to improve collaborative innovation performance.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 40
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    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 690: Integration of a Communal Henhouse and Community Composter to Increase Motivation in Recycling Programs: Overview of a Three-Year Pilot Experience in Noáin (Spain) Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10030690 Authors: Francesco Storino Ramón Plana Monika Usanos David Morales Pedro Aparicio-Tejo Julio Muro Ignacio Irigoyen This paper presents a three-year pilot experience of a new municipal waste management system developed in Navarre, Spain that integrates composting and hens. The aim of this new system is to motivate the general public to participate more in waste prevention programs. The Composter-Henhouse (CH) is a compact facility comprised of a henhouse and three composters. This is shared by 30 families who provide the organic part of their kitchen waste to feed the hens. Hens help speed up the composting process by depositing their droppings and turning the organic residue into compost. This study assesses the CH in terms of treatment capacity, the technical adequacy of the composting process, the quality and safety of the compost obtained and some social aspects. Over three years, the CH has managed nearly 16.5 tons of organic waste and produced approximately 5600 kg of compost and more than 6000 high-quality fresh eggs. No problems or nuisances have been reported and the level of animal welfare has been very high. The follow up of the composting process (temperature, volume reduction and compost maturity) and a physicochemical and microbiological analysis of the compost have ensured the proper management of the process. The level of involvement and user satisfaction has been outstanding and the project has presented clear social benefits.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 41
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    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 773: Non-Enzymatic Electrochemical Sensing of Malathion Pesticide in Tomato and Apple Samples Based on Gold Nanoparticles-Chitosan-Ionic Liquid Hybrid Nanocomposite Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18030773 Authors: Gulcin Bolat Serdar Abaci Malathion (MLT) is an organophosphorous type pesticide and having seriously high toxicity and electrochemical platforms for rapid, simple, inexpensive and sensitive determination of pesticides is still a special concern. This paper describes a simple preparation of a composite film consisting of ionic liquid (IL), chitosan (CS) and electrochemically synthesized gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) on single use pencil graphite electrodes (PGEs). The microscopic and electrochemical characterization of AuNP-CS-IL/PGE was studied using scanning electron microscopy, cyclic voltammetry and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. This fabricated surface was then explored for the first time as a sensing matrix for the non-enzymatic electrochemical sensing of malathion by cyclic voltammetry and square wave voltammetry measurements. The proposed AuNP-CS-IL/PGE showed excellent characteristics and possessed remarkable affinity for malathion. The voltammetric current response exhibited two linear dynamic ranges, 0.89–5.94 nM and 5.94–44.6 nM reflecting two binding sites, with a detection limit of 0.68 nM. The method was applied in real sample analysis of apple and tomato. The results demonstrate the feasibility of AuNP-CS-IL-modified electrodes for simple, fast, ultrasensitive and inexpensive detection of MLT.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 42
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    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 770: Forward Behavioral Modeling of a Three-Way Amplitude Modulator-Based Transmitter Using an Augmented Memory Polynomial Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18030770 Authors: Jatin Chatrath Mohsin Aziz Mohamed Helaoui Reconfigurable and multi-standard RF front-ends for wireless communication and sensor networks have gained importance as building blocks for the Internet of Things. Simpler and highly-efficient transmitter architectures, which can transmit better quality signals with reduced impairments, are an important step in this direction. In this regard, mixer-less transmitter architecture, namely, the three-way amplitude modulator-based transmitter, avoids the use of imperfect mixers and frequency up-converters, and their resulting distortions, leading to an improved signal quality. In this work, an augmented memory polynomial-based model for the behavioral modeling of such mixer-less transmitter architecture is proposed. Extensive simulations and measurements have been carried out in order to validate the accuracy of the proposed modeling strategy. The performance of the proposed model is evaluated using normalized mean square error (NMSE) for long-term evolution (LTE) signals. NMSE for a LTE signal of 1.4 MHz bandwidth with 100,000 samples for digital combining and analog combining are recorded as −36.41 dB and −36.9 dB, respectively. Similarly, for a 5 MHz signal the proposed models achieves −31.93 dB and −32.08 dB NMSE using digital and analog combining, respectively. For further validation of the proposed model, amplitude-to-amplitude (AM-AM), amplitude-to-phase (AM-PM), and the spectral response of the modeled and measured data are plotted, reasonably meeting the desired modeling criteria.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 43
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    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 767: Conductometric Sensor for PAH Detection with Molecularly Imprinted Polymer as Recognition Layer Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18030767 Authors: Usman Latif Liu Ping Franz Dickert A conductometric sensor based on screen-printed interdigital gold electrodes on glass substrate coated with molecularly imprinted polyurethane layers was fabricated to detect polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in water. The results prove that screen-printed interdigital electrodes are very suitable transducers to fabricate low-cost sensor systems for measuring change in resistance of PAH-imprinted layers while exposing to different PAHs. The sensor showed good selectivity to its templated molecules and high sensitivity with a detection limit of 1.3 nmol/L e.g., for anthracene in water which is lower than WHO’s permissible limit.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 44
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    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 764: Three-Dimensional Reconstruction from Single Image Base on Combination of CNN and Multi-Spectral Photometric Stereo Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18030764 Authors: Liang Lu Lin Qi Yisong Luo Hengchao Jiao Junyu Dong Multi-spectral photometric stereo can recover pixel-wise surface normal from a single RGB image. The difficulty lies in that the intensity in each channel is the tangle of illumination, albedo and camera response; thus, an initial estimate of the normal is required in optimization-based solutions. In this paper, we propose to make a rough depth estimation using the deep convolutional neural network (CNN) instead of using depth sensors or binocular stereo devices. Since high-resolution ground-truth data is expensive to obtain, we designed a network and trained it with rendered images of synthetic 3D objects. We use the model to predict initial normal of real-world objects and iteratively optimize the fine-scale geometry in the multi-spectral photometric stereo framework. The experimental results illustrate the improvement of the proposed method compared with existing methods.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 45
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    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 761: A Three-Step Resolution-Reconfigurable Hazardous Multi-Gas Sensor Interface for Wireless Air-Quality Monitoring Applications Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18030761 Authors: Subin Choi Kyeonghwan Park Seungwook Lee Yeongjin Lim Byungjoo Oh Hee Chae Chan Park Heugjoo Shin Jae Kim This paper presents a resolution-reconfigurable wide-range resistive sensor readout interface for wireless multi-gas monitoring applications that displays results on a smartphone. Three types of sensing resolutions were selected to minimize processing power consumption, and a dual-mode front-end structure was proposed to support the detection of a variety of hazardous gases with wide range of characteristic resistance. The readout integrated circuit (ROIC) was fabricated in a 0.18 μm CMOS process to provide three reconfigurable data conversions that correspond to a low-power resistance-to-digital converter (RDC), a 12-bit successive approximation register (SAR) analog-to-digital converter (ADC), and a 16-bit delta-sigma modulator. For functional feasibility, a wireless sensor system prototype that included in-house microelectromechanical (MEMS) sensing devices and commercial device products was manufactured and experimentally verified to detect a variety of hazardous gases.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 46
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    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 792: Quality Control Procedure Based on Partitioning of NMR Time Series Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18030792 Authors: Michał Staniszewski Agnieszka Skorupa Łukasz Boguszewicz Maria Sokół Andrzej Polański The quality of the magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) depends on the stability of magnetic resonance (MR) system performance and optimal hardware functioning, which ensure adequate levels of signal-to-noise ratios (SNR) as well as good spectral resolution and minimal artifacts in the spectral data. MRS quality control (QC) protocols and methodologies are based on phantom measurements that are repeated regularly. In this work, a signal partitioning algorithm based on a dynamic programming (DP) method for QC assessment of the spectral data is described. The proposed algorithm allows detection of the change points—the abrupt variations in the time series data. The proposed QC method was tested using the simulated and real phantom data. Simulated data were randomly generated time series distorted by white noise. The real data were taken from the phantom quality control studies of the MRS scanner collected for four and a half years and analyzed by LCModel software. Along with the proposed algorithm, performance of various literature methods was evaluated for the predefined number of change points based on the error values calculated by subtracting the mean values calculated for the periods between the change-points from the original data points. The time series were checked using external software, a set of external methods and the proposed tool, and the obtained results were comparable. The application of dynamic programming in the analysis of the phantom MRS data is a novel approach to QC. The obtained results confirm that the presented change-point-detection tool can be used either for independent analysis of MRS time series (or any other) or as a part of quality control.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 47
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    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 789: Single Image Super-Resolution Based on Multi-Scale Competitive Convolutional Neural Network Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18030789 Authors: Xiaofeng Du Xiaobo Qu Yifan He Di Guo Deep convolutional neural networks (CNNs) are successful in single-image super-resolution. Traditional CNNs are limited to exploit multi-scale contextual information for image reconstruction due to the fixed convolutional kernel in their building modules. To restore various scales of image details, we enhance the multi-scale inference capability of CNNs by introducing competition among multi-scale convolutional filters, and build up a shallow network under limited computational resources. The proposed network has the following two advantages: (1) the multi-scale convolutional kernel provides the multi-context for image super-resolution, and (2) the maximum competitive strategy adaptively chooses the optimal scale of information for image reconstruction. Our experimental results on image super-resolution show that the performance of the proposed network outperforms the state-of-the-art methods.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 48
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    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 720: Diagnosis of Insulation Condition of MV Switchgears by Application of Different Partial Discharge Measuring Methods and Sensors Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18030720 Authors: Fernando Álvarez Gómez Ricardo Albarracín-Sánchez Fernando Garnacho Vecino Ricardo Granizo Arrabé Partial discharges (PD) measurement provides valuable information for the condition assessment of the insulation status of high-voltage (HV) electrical installations. During the last three decades, several PD sensors and measuring techniques have been developed to perform accurate diagnostics when PD measurements are carried out on-site and on-line. For utilities, the most attractive characteristics of on-line measurements are that once the sensors are installed in the grid, the electrical service is uninterrupted and that electrical systems are tested in real operating conditions. In medium-voltage (MV) and HV installations, one of the critical points where an insulation defect can occur is inside metal-clad switchgears (including the cable terminals connected to them). Thus, this kind of equipment is increasingly being monitored to carry out proper maintenance based on their condition. This paper presents a study concerning the application of different electromagnetic measuring techniques (compliant with IEC 62478 and IEC 60270 standards), together with the use of suitable sensors, which enable the evaluation of the insulation condition mainly in MV switchgears. The main scope is to give a general overview about appropriate types of electromagnetic measuring methods and sensors to be applied, while considering the level of detail and accuracy in the diagnosis and the particular fail-save requirements of the electrical installations where the switchgears are located.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 49
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    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 718: A Custom Approach for a Flexible, Real-Time and Reliable Software Defined Utility Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18030718 Authors: Agustín Zaballos Joan Navarro Ramon Martín De Pozuelo Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have enabled the evolution of traditional electric power distribution networks towards a new paradigm referred to as the smart grid. However, the different elements that compose the ICT plane of a smart grid are usually conceived as isolated systems that typically result in rigid hardware architectures, which are hard to interoperate, manage and adapt to new situations. In the recent years, software-defined systems that take advantage of software and high-speed data network infrastructures have emerged as a promising alternative to classic ad hoc approaches in terms of integration, automation, real-time reconfiguration and resource reusability. The purpose of this paper is to propose the usage of software-defined utilities (SDUs) to address the latent deployment and management limitations of smart grids. More specifically, the implementation of a smart grid’s data storage and management system prototype by means of SDUs is introduced, which exhibits the feasibility of this alternative approach. This system features a hybrid cloud architecture able to meet the data storage requirements of electric utilities and adapt itself to their ever-evolving needs. Conducted experimentations endorse the feasibility of this solution and encourage practitioners to point their efforts in this direction.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 50
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    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 717: Experimental Investigation of the Influence of the Laser Beam Waist on Cold Atom Guiding Efficiency Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18030717 Authors: Ningfang Song Di Hu Xiaobin Xu Wei Li Xiangxiang Lu Yitong Song The primary purpose of this study is to investigate the influence of the vertical guiding laser beam waist on cold atom guiding efficiency. In this study, a double magneto-optical trap (MOT) apparatus is used. With an unbalanced force in the horizontal direction, a cold atomic beam is generated by the first MOT. The cold atoms enter the second chamber and are then re-trapped and cooled by the second MOT. By releasing a second atom cloud, the process of transferring the cold atoms from MOT to the dipole trap, which is formed by a red-detuned converged 1064-nm laser, is experimentally demonstrated. And after releasing for 20 ms, the atom cloud is guided to a distance of approximately 3 mm. As indicated by the results, the guiding efficiency depends strongly on the laser beam waist; the efficiency reaches a maximum when the waist radius (w0) of the laser is in the range of 15 to 25 μm, while the initial atom cloud has a radius of 133 μm. Additionally, the properties of the atoms inside the dipole potential trap, such as the distribution profile and lifetime, are deduced from the fluorescence images.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 51
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    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 700: Wide Strip Backfill Mining for Surface Subsidence Control and Its Application in Critical Mining Conditions of a Coal Mine Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10030700 Authors: Wenhao Cao Xufeng Wang Peng Li Dongsheng Zhang Chundong Sun Dongdong Qin Critical mining under buildings, railways, and water bodies (BRW) brings the contradiction between high recovery rate and minor environmental hazards. To lessen this contradiction, an innovative mining method referred to as “wide strip backfill mining” (WSBM) was proposed in this study. A Winkler beam model is applied to the primary key strata (PKS), and the study revealed a surface subsidence control mechanism and designed the technical parameters of the method. The respective numerical simulations suggested the feasibility of the proposed method and the main influencing factors on surface subsidence can be ranked in descending order as wide filling strip width (WFSW), filling ratio, and pillar width. Meanwhile, a drop in the WFSW from 96 m to 72 m brought out the surface subsidence reduction by 44.5%. By using the super-high water content filling material, the proposed method was applied in the Taoyi coal mine under critical mining conditions. The resulting surface subsidence and deformations met the safety requirements for building protection level 1, and the recovery rate reached 75.9%. Moreover, the application of the method achieved significant technical and economic benefits. The research can provide a theoretical and experimental substantiation for critical mining under BRW.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 52
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    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 697: The US Shale Gas Revolution and Its Externality on Crude Oil Prices: A Counterfactual Analysis Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10030697 Authors: Hongxun Liu Jianglong Li The expansion of shale gas production since the mid-2000s which is commonly referred to as “shale gas revolution” has had large impacts on global energy outlook. The impact is particularly substantial when it comes to the oil market because natural gas and oil are substitutes in consumption and complements and rivals in production. This paper investigates the price externality of shale gas revolution on crude oil. Applying a structural vector autoregressive model (VAR) model, the effect of natural gas production on real oil price is identified in particular, and then based on the identification, counterfactuals of oil price without shale gas revolution are constructed. We find that after the expansion of shale gas production, the real West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil price is depressed by 10.22 USD/barrel on average from 2007 to 2017, and the magnitude seems to increase with time. In addition, the period before shale gas revolution is used as a “thought experiment” for placebo study. The results support the hypothesis that real WTI oil price can be reasonably reproduced by our models, and the estimated gap for oil price during 2007–2017 can be attributed to shale gas revolution. The methodology and framework can be applied to evaluate the economic impacts of other programs or policies.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 53
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    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 694: Climate Chamber Experiment-Based Thermal Analysis and Design Improvement of Traditional Huizhou Masonry Walls Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10030694 Authors: Ling Dong Hailong Zhou Hongxian Li Fei Liu Hong Zhang Mohamed Al-Hussein Supported by thousands of years of history, traditional Huizhou buildings have played a vital role, both functionally and culturally, as residential buildings in China. Masonry walls are one of the key building components of a Huizhou building; however, the traditional Huizhou masonry wall structure, predominantly a hollow brick structure, cannot meet the local building energy code requirements, and thus needs to be improved. Within this context, the present research measures the actual thermal performance of traditional Huizhou masonry walls for historical buildings and new-built buildings, which results in mean thermal transmittances of 1.892 W/m2·K and 2.821 W/m2·K, respectively, while the local building energy code requires a minimum thermal transmittance of 1.500 W/m2·K. In order to improve the thermal performance of traditional Huizhou masonry walls, four design scenarios for wall insulation are proposed and tested in a climate chamber: (1) hollow brick wall with inorganic interior insulation mortar, (2) solid brick wall with inorganic interior insulation mortar, (3) hollow brick wall with foamed concrete, and (4) hollow brick wall with foamed concrete plus inorganic interior insulation mortar. The experiment results indicate that, among the four proposed design scenarios, only scenario 4 can significantly improve the thermal performance of Huizhou masonry walls and meet the building energy code requirements, with a mean thermal transmittance of 1.175 W/m2·K. This research lays the foundation for improving the thermal performance of Huizhou masonry walls with new insulation and construction technology, thereby helping to improve the quality of life of Huizhou residents while respecting the cultural significance of the traditional Huizhou building.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 54
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    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 691: Entrepreneurship Education: An Experimental Study with Information and Communication Technology Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10030691 Authors: Yenchun Wu Chih-Hung Yuan Chia-I Pan Entrepreneurship has been regarded as a new science in the promotion of economic development, which has led to rapid development in entrepreneurship education. The growing number of students enrolled in entrepreneurship programs creates unprecedented challenges on educators. Although multiple teaching and learning activities are adopted in entrepreneurship education, these are mainly carried out using traditional classroom lectures, case studies and group discussions. Nowadays, information & communication technology (ICT) is used to enhance the effectiveness of traditional teaching methods and competency training. PowToon is a web-based ICT tool that hat allows teachers and students to quickly and easily create animated presentations. Using quasi-experimental design and qualitative method, this study is to examine whether PowToon is an effective tool for business plan presentation. The study find that the animated presentations attracted more investment than the groups that did not prepare animated videos. It reflects that developed videos which helps entrepreneurial team to better deliver their business ideas to investors in a well-thought out way. In addition, the results of the study show that individuals who generate a business idea did not necessarily significantly influence their investment decisions. Our findings challenge the concept on self-biases evaluations of the economic potential of their own business ideas. Finally, the students were very willing to adopt new ways of delivering their business ideas.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 688: Has Selection for Grain Yield Altered Intermediate Wheatgrass? Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10030688 Authors: Douglas Cattani Sean Asselin Perennial grains are demonstrating a greater probability of occupying land currently dedicated to other agricultural production. Arable land that is currently in use for forage or annual crop production becomes utilized. Breeding materials for the introduction of perennial grains directly into the human food chain has required utilizing existing plant materials in the domestication of species or manufacturing diverse crosses to introduce perenniality into existing crops. In the domestication of intermediate wheatgrass (Thinopyrum intermedium (Host), Barkworth and Dewey), existing forage cultivars or plant accessions were used to develop populations selected for grain production. A comparison of Cycle 3 materials from The Land Institute (TLI), Salina, KS, USA to USDA-Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) accessions took place under space-planted field conditions at Carman, MB, Canada from 2011 to 2014. One hundred plants (75 TLI and 25 GRIN identified in May 2012) were followed through three seed harvests cycles with phenological, morphological and agronomic traits measured throughout. Selection for seed productivity (TLI materials) reduced the importance of biomass plant−1 on seed yield plant−1, leading to an increase in harvest index. Principal component analysis demonstrated the separation of the germplasm sources and the differential impact of years on the performance of all accessions. Path coefficient analysis also indicated that plant biomass production was of less importance on seed yield plant−1 in the TLI materials. Analysis removing area plant−1 as a factor increased both the importance of biomass and heads on seed yield cm−2 in the TLI materials, especially in the first two seed production years. Plant differences due to selection appear to have reduced overall plant area and increased harvest index in the TLI materials, indicating progress for grain yield under selection. However, a greater understanding of the dynamics within a seed production field is needed to provide insight into the development of more effective selection criteria for long-term field level production.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
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  • 56
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    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 685: An Optimization-LCA of a Prestressed Concrete Precast Bridge Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10030685 Authors: Vicent Penadés-Plà Tatiana García-Segura José Martí Víctor Yepes The construction sector is one of the most active sectors, with a high economic, environmental and social impact. For this reason, the sustainable design of structures and buildings is a trend that must be followed. Bridges are one of the most important structures in the construction sector, as their construction and maintenance are crucial to achieve and retain the best transport between different places. Nowadays, the choice of bridge design depends on the initial economic criterion but other criteria should be considered to assess the environmental and social aspects. Furthermore, for a correct choice, the influence of these criteria during the bridge life-cycle must be taken into account. This study aims to analyse the life-cycle environmental impact of efficient structures from the economic point of view. Life-cycle assessment process is used to obtain all the environmental information about bridges. In this paper, a prestressed concrete precast bridge is cost-optimized and afterwards, the life-cycle assessment is carried out to achieve the environmental information about the bridge.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 57
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    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 682: Visualizing the Academic Discipline of Knowledge Management Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10030682 Authors: Peng Wang Fang-Wei Zhu Hao-Yang Song Jian-Hua Hou Jin-Lan Zhang The aim of this paper was to evaluate the research status of knowledge management (KM) and identify the characteristics of KM in the literature. We selected and studied in detail 7628 original research articles from the Web of Science from 1974 to 2017. Although many studies have contributed to the evolution of the KM domain, our results showed that a comprehensive bibliometric and visualization investigation was required. The literature on KM has grown rapidly since the 1970s. The United States of America, as the original contributing country, has also internationally collaborated the most in this field of study. The National Cheng Kung University has made the highest number of contributions. The majority of authors contributed a small number of publications. Additionally, the most common category in KM research was management. The main publications for KM research include Journal of Knowledge Management, and Knowledge Management Research & Practice. A keywords analysis determined that “knowledge sharing”, “innovation”, “ontology”, and “knowledge management” were consistent hotspots in knowledge management research. Through a document co-citation analysis, the intellectual structures of knowledge management were defined, and four emerging trends were identified that focus on new phenomenon, the practice of knowledge management, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) management based on knowledge perspective, innovation and performance, and big data-enabled KM. We also provide eight research questions for future studies. Our results will benefit academics, researchers, and research students who want to rapidly obtain an overview of knowledge management research. This study can also be a starting point for communication between academics and practitioners.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
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  • 58
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    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 716: Conceptual Urban Water Balance Model for Water Policy Testing: An Approach for Large Scale Investigation Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10030716 Authors: Peter Zeisl Michael Mair Ulrich Kastlunger Peter Bach Wolfgang Rauch Robert Sitzenfrei Manfred Kleidorfer Urban water management will face various challenges in the future. Growing population in cities, changing climatic conditions and uncertain availability of water resources necessitate forward-looking water policy strategies. In this paper, we introduce a new water balance model to evaluate urban water strategies at a city scale. The aim is to evaluate decentralised water management measures within a large-scale investigation and to reduce external potable water demand. The upscaling process of local information (water demand, areal data) to a conceptual model approach is described. The modelling approach requires simplification of detailed processes to enable the execution with limited computing capacity. The model was applied to Greater Metropolitan Melbourne, Australia, a highly sprawled city with nearly four million inhabitants. Scenario analysis demonstrated the impact of using different water resources of different quality classes, the extensive implementation of water saving appliances and decentralised water storage strategies on the city’s water balance. Results indicate a potential reduction of potable water demand of up to 25% with a conservative rainwater reuse and, even 60% with widespread implementation of rain- and greywater recycling. Furthermore, we demonstrate that even small systems implemented at a local level can have noticeable effects when operated as clustered schemes.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
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  • 59
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    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 713: Environmental Practices. Motivations and Their Influence on the Level of Implementation Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10030713 Authors: María del Río-Rama José Álvarez-García Cristiana Oliveira The objective of this research is to identify and analyze good environmental practices followed by the Thermal sector in Spain. It is also to analyze if the motivations that lead thermal establishments to implement environmental practices influence their level of implementation. The methodology used is the performance of a descriptive and regression analysis of the data obtained through a structured questionnaire. The target population consists of 112 health resorts, obtaining a sample size of 62 valid surveys, which implies a response rate of 55.36%. The results obtained have enabled the performance of an environmental diagnosis of the Thermal sector in Spain, identifying the strengths and weaknesses of Environmental Management, as well as corroborating that motivations affect the level of implementation of environmental practices.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
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  • 60
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    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 710: A Model Approach for Yield-Zone-Specific Cost Estimation of Greenhouse Gas Mitigation by Nitrogen Fertilizer Reduction Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10030710 Authors: Yusuf Karatay Andreas Meyer-Aurich Nitrogen use in agriculture has been intensified to feed the growing world population, which led to concerns on environmental harms, including greenhouse gas emissions. A reduction in nitrogen fertilization can abate greenhouse gas emissions, however, it may result in crop yield penalties and, accordingly, income loss. Assessment tools are necessary to understand the dynamics of nitrogen management issues both in environmental and economic aspects and both at low and high aggregation levels. Our study presents a model approach, estimating yield-zone-specific costs of greenhouse gas mitigation by moderate reduction of mineral nitrogen fertilizer application. Comparative advantages of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions by nitrogen fertilizer reduction were simulated for five yield-zones with different soil fertility in the state of Brandenburg, Germany. The results suggest that differences in yield response to nitrogen fertilizer lead to considerable differences in greenhouse gas mitigation costs. Overall cost-efficiency of a regional greenhouse gas mitigation by nitrogen fertilizer reduction can be substantially improved, if crop and yield-zone-specific yield responses are taken into account. The output of this study shall help to design cost-efficient agro-environmental policies targeting with specific crop yield response functions at different sites.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
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  • 61
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    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 707: Potential of Ripe Plantain Fruit Peels as an Ecofriendly Catalyst for Biodiesel Synthesis: Optimization by Artificial Neural Network Integrated with Genetic Algorithm Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10030707 Authors: Anietie Etim Eriola Betiku Sheriff Ajala Peter Olaniyi Tunde Ojumu The present work was aimed at assessing the possible use of ripe plantain fruit peel as a green-base catalyst in synthesizing Azadirachta indica oil methyl esters (AIOME). The free fatty acid content of the oil (5.81 wt %) was initially reduced to 0.90 wt % using methanol: oil at 2.19 v/v, Fe2(SO4)3 at 6 wt %, time of 15 min and temperature of 65 °C. The pretreated oil was converted to AIOME in a transesterification process with calcined ripe plantain peel ash (CRPPA) at 700 °C as catalyst. The process was modeled by artificial neural network and optimized using genetic algorithm. The effectiveness of the developed CRPPA is ascribable to its high K content and microstructural transformation. The reliability of the model obtained was confirmed with a high coefficient of determination (R2) of 0.996 and a low mean relative percentage deviation (MRPD) of 8.10%. The best operating variables combination for the process was methanol:oil of 0.73 v/v, CRPPA of 0.65 wt % and time of 57 min while the temperature was kept constant at 65 °C with a corresponding AIOME yield of 99.2 wt %. The results of this work demonstrated the potentials of ripe plantain peels and neem oil as cheap feedstocks for biodiesel production.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
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  • 62
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    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 704: Linking Importance–Performance Analysis, Satisfaction, and Loyalty: A Study of Savannah, GA Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10030704 Authors: Jinyang Deng Chad Pierskalla Importance–performance analysis (IPA) has been widely used to examine the relationship between importance, performance, and overall satisfaction in tourism destinations. IPA implicitly assumes that attribute performance will have little impact on overall satisfaction when stated importance is low. However, this assumption is rarely tested. This study, for the first time, tested this assumption by including attributes in each IPA quadrant into a second-order structural equation model. Results indicate that attributes with lower ratings of importance in the “low priority” and “potential overkill” quadrants do not contribute to overall satisfaction, regardless of performance, while the opposite is true for attributes in the “keep up the good work” quadrant with higher ratings of importance and performance, thus confirming the validity of this assumption. This novel approach allowed us to take a fresh look at an old debate, and the results suggest stated importance may be more useful than previously thought. Theoretical, methodological, and managerial implications are discussed.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
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  • 63
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    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 701: Ensuring Efficient Incentive and Disincentive Values for Highway Construction Projects: A Systematic Approach Balancing Road User, Agency and Contractor Acceleration Costs and Savings Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10030701 Authors: Eul-Bum Lee Douglas Alleman United States State Highway Agencies (SHAs) use Incentive/Disincentives (I/D) to minimize negative impacts of construction on the traveling public through construction acceleration. Current I/D practices have the following short-comings: not standardized, over- or under-compensate contractors, lack of auditability result in disincentives that leave SHAs vulnerable to contractor claims and litigation and are based on agency costs/savings rather than contractor acceleration. Presented within this paper is an eleven-step I/D valuation process. The processes incorporate a US-nationwide RUC and agency cost calculation program, CA4PRS and a time-cost tradeoff I/D process. The incentive calculation used is the summation of the contractor acceleration and a reasonable contractor bonus (based on shared agency savings) with an optional reduction of contractor’s own saving from schedule compression (acceleration). The process has a capability to be used both within the US and internationally with minor modifications, relies on historical costs, is simple and is auditable and repeatable. As such, it is a practical tool for optimizing I/D amounts and bridges the gap in existing literature both by its industry applicability, integrating the solution into existing SHA practices and its foundation of contractor acceleration costs.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
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  • 64
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    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 698: The Outcomes of Corporate Social Responsibility to Employees: Empirical Evidence from a Developing Country Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10030698 Authors: Behrooz Gharleghi Asghar Afshar Jahanshahi Khaled Nawaser Employees creativity has been recognized as a crucial part of an organization’s ability to be innovative. To know which factors contribute to employee involvement in creative work, in this paper, we first examine the effects of corporate social responsibility (CSR) to employees. Moreover, we study the employees’ positive work attitudes and their intention to leave as a mediating mechanism to explain the effect of CSR to employees on the involvement of employees in creative work. Survey data from 209 employees in 45 small-sized enterprises in Iran were used to test the hypotheses of the study. The hypotheses were tested with hierarchical regression analyses using SPSS software. The results support the direct impact of CSR to employees on employees’ creative work involvement. In addition, the findings indicate that the indirect effect of CSR to employees on the involvement of employees in creative work through positive work attitudes and their intention to leave are significant. Consequently, small-sized enterprises should reinforce CSR to employees to elevate their involvement in creative work.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
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  • 65
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    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 695: Brand Awareness in the Context of Mistrust: The Case Study of an Employment Agency Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10030695 Authors: Kristina Ročkutė Inga Minelgaitė Ligita Zailskaitė-Jakštė Robertas Damaševičius Brand awareness is important for a good market performance of a company. However, research on the contextual preconditions needed for the improvement of brand awareness is limited, particularly in specific service sectors such as employment agencies. We present the research results of the preconditions for the improvement of awareness (which is one of the dimensions of brand equity) in an employment agency. We also analyze the effects of the perceived trust of customers on the improvement of brand awareness in the employment sector. As a case study, we present an example of an employment agency in Lithuania. This research is particularly timely in the Lithuanian context, where high levels of emigration are having a considerable negative impact on companies and their major internal operations—human resource management, marketing, and strategic planning—challenging the aims of long-term socially sustainable development. This research paper has a high relevance for other high-emigration economies.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
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  • 66
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    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 692: ASPIE: A Framework for Active Sensing and Processing of Complex Events in the Internet of Manufacturing Things Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10030692 Authors: Shaobo Li Weixing Chen Jie Hu Jianjun Hu Rapid perception and processing of critical monitoring events are essential to ensure healthy operation of Internet of Manufacturing Things (IoMT)-based manufacturing processes. In this paper, we proposed a framework (active sensing and processing architecture (ASPIE)) for active sensing and processing of critical events in IoMT-based manufacturing based on the characteristics of IoMT architecture as well as its perception model. A relation model of complex events in manufacturing processes, together with related operators and unified XML-based semantic definitions, are developed to effectively process the complex event big data. A template based processing method for complex events is further introduced to conduct complex event matching using the Apriori frequent item mining algorithm. To evaluate the proposed models and methods, we developed a software platform based on ASPIE for a local chili sauce manufacturing company, which demonstrated the feasibility and effectiveness of the proposed methods for active perception and processing of complex events in IoMT-based manufacturing.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
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  • 67
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    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 689: Green and Clean: Reviewing the Justification of Claims for Nanomaterials from a Sustainability Point of View Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10030689 Authors: Georgios Pallas Willie Peijnenburg Jeroen Guinée Reinout Heijungs Martina Vijver Nanotechnology is an emerging technology with the potential to contribute towards sustainability. However, there are growing concerns about the potential environmental and human health impacts of nanomaterials. Clearly, nanomaterials have advantages and disadvantages, and a balanced view is needed to assess the overall benefit. The current “green and clean” claims of proponents of nanomaterials across different sectors of the economy are evaluated in this review study. Focusing on carbon emissions and energy use, we have reviewed 18 life cycle assessment studies on nanomaterials in the solar, energy, polymer, medical and food sectors. We find that the “green and clean” claims are not supported for the majority of the reviewed studies in the energy sector. In the solar sector, only specific technologies tend to support the “green and clean” claims. In the polymer sector, only some applications support the “green and clean” claims. The main findings show that nanomaterials have high cradle-to-gate energy demand that result in high carbon emissions. Synthesis of nanomaterials is the main contributor of carbon emissions in the majority of the studies. Future improvements in reducing parameter uncertainties and in the energy efficiency of the synthesis processes of nanomaterials might improve the environmental performance of nanotechnologies.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
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  • 68
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    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 686: Selecting Network-Level Project Sections for Sustainable Pavement Management in Texas Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10030686 Authors: Dae Kim Seokho Chi Janghwan Kim In recent years, the increasing gap between available funding and preservation needs has influenced district pavement engineers to select and prioritize projects to effectively use funding. However, currently, projects are often selected after an informal assessment, based on local conditions and local district engineers’ experience, in the absence of a statewide systematic process. The primary objective of this study is to determine network-level project sections for effective sustainable pavement management using logistic regression analysis. A large volume of inventory data, documented using pavement-management information systems (PMIS), was used to develop the logistic regression (LR) model for selecting candidate sections. The LR model was subsequently validated using a single 50/50 split sample method. The findings of this study will assist the Austin, Texas, USA district to select and evaluate candidate projects. Furthermore, the study will eventually contribute to improved efficiency in project selection and prioritization by reducing not only the amount of time necessary to review the district PMIS data to identify project candidates, but also the potential for human error.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
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  • 69
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    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 683: Sustainable Development in Project-Based Industries–Supporting the Realization of Explorative Innovation Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10030683 Authors: Lisa Larsson Johan Larsson Both exploitative and explorative innovations are needed for sustainable development in any industry, but balancing the two types is a delicate matter, and exploitation tends to be strongly prioritized in many industries. This is typically evident in project-based industries (PBIs), which are characterized by a fragmented supply chain and the delivery of one-off solutions in business projects. Realizing explorative innovations in this context is complex due to the need to transfer new knowledge between the organization developing the innovations and actors in inter-organizational business projects. The aim of this paper is to highlight areas in the management of explorative innovations developed outside business projects, to increase the understanding of where the specific market setting of PBIs might necessitate an adapted approach for successful realization. A case study of three innovation projects in organizations operating in PBIs have been conducted. The findings confirm that the major challenges lie in the transition between development project and business project. We highlight three aspects linked to this transition that require a flexible management approach: the assignation and acceptance of suitable responsibilities and roles, flexible support for the innovation process, and system acceptance. The findings may provide guidance for actors in PBIs strategically seeking to promote sustainable development, and provide foundations for further research to develop support for explorative innovation.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
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  • 70
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    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 680: Optimal Cost–Quality Trade-Off Model for Differentiating Presale Housing Quality Strategies Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10030680 Authors: Yi-Kai Juan I-Chieh Lin Housing quality (HQ) has been a long-standing concern for both developers and homebuyers. Currently, HQ depends on the expected profit and subjectivity of the developers, and homebuyers only have a passive choice of whether to accept housing with such quality. Asian housing supply markets have largely adopted the presale housing system. Under this system, developers are able to verify future occupants before commencing construction, enabling them to provide customized designs and differentiated quality items in order to meet user demands and value. Consequently, HQ can be enhanced. A cost–quality trade-off model was developed using a genetic algorithm to help decision-makers identify the optimal HQ differentiation strategy that simultaneously satisfies homebuyers’ expectations of quality and developers’ expectations of profits. The findings showed that the presale housing system effectively improves HQ. A 6% increase in homebuyers’ budgets can achieve the optimal quality improvement effect, while an 8% or more increase in developers’ construction costs in order to improve HQ can generate an additional premium for the developers.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
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  • 71
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    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 628: Measuring the Dynamic Efficiency of Regional Industrial Green Transformation in China Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10030628 Authors: Jinpeng Fu Guirong Xiao Lingling Guo Chunyou Wu The green concept has become one of the key demands of the current era of development in China. As an attempt to cope with climate change and constraints of resources and environment, the industrial green transformation is bound to have a dramatic impact on the whole society. This paper enriches the understanding of industrial green transformation by highlighting its social attributes. Combining a hybrid model with a window analysis, this paper measures the dynamic efficiency of regional industrial green transformation in China from 2006 to 2015. In general, Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian, Shandong and Guangdong obtain the best performance; industrial water use has the lowest and most unstable efficiency among various resources. Tobit regression model, thereafter, is used to analyze the impact of hypothetical factors on the efficiency of industrial green transformation. The findings demonstrate that reduction and lean management of state-owned property, promoting the development of the productive service industry, minimizing the proportion of fossil energy use and establishing an excellent economic basis can have nationally positive impacts on the regional industrial green transformation; the progress of the productive service industry is the key to industrial green transformation in Eastern China, while the internal optimization of the industrial sector should be paid more attention in other regions, especially in Western China. Finally, detailed discussions and policy suggestions at a regional level as well as research prospects are given.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
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  • 72
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    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 625: Blue Water Footprint Management in a UK Poultry Supply Chain under Environmental Regulatory Constraints Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10030625 Authors: Naoum Tsolakis Jagjit Srai Eirini Aivazidou Chicken is the most consumed meat in the UK, accounting for 40% of meat consumption, while national production sufficiency reaches about 80%. As a farmed animal product, chicken meat is responsible for significant freshwater appropriation volumes during its production cycle. In this context, this research aims at exploring freshwater dynamics in the UK processed poultry industry. Specifically, we develop a System Dynamics model to capture the blue water footprint, as a key sustainability performance indicator of a poultry supply chain, in the case that relevant environmental and regulatory constraints are applied. The model contributes towards investigating the impact of two potential policy-making scenarios, namely, the “water penalty” and the “water tax”, on the nexus between profitability and water usage across the poultry supply chain. Responding to the regulatory constraints, the food processor either reconfigures the supply chain through rethinking desired inventory levels or implements a water management intervention. The results indicate that investing in water-friendly production technologies could offer a greater advantage to sustainable supply chains in terms of blue water efficiency and profitability, compared to employing inventory management strategies. Overall, our analysis highlights that effective policy-making and technology-driven interventions could provide potential towards ensuring economic growth and environmental sustainability of the UK poultry sector.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
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    In: Water
    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Water, Vol. 10, Pages 276: Exploratory Assessment of Risks from Drinking and Recreational Water Exposure to Children in the State of New Jersey Water doi: 10.3390/w10030276 Authors: Brandon Owen Neha Sunger In this study, we conducted a worst-case risk assessment for children’s health from ingestion exposure to water sources in two densely populated counties of the Piedmont province of New Jersey—Hunterdon and Mercer counties. Carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic health risk estimates for 19 contaminants, representing 3 different chemical classes—organic, inorganic and contaminants of emerging concern (CEC), for which environmental monitoring data are available—were generated. The three exposure scenarios examined were: (1) ingestion exposure to untreated groundwater from contaminated private wells; (2) recreational exposure through incidental ingestion of water from the Delaware River; and (3) ingestion exposure through fish consumption sourced from the Delaware River. The total health hazard posed by each contaminant across all the three exposure scenarios was compared to prioritize contaminants based on health risk potential. As a result of this analysis, arsenic and trichloroethylene in private well water were identified as key drivers of health risk and, hence, are proposed as the contaminants of primary concern for the target population. Significantly high total excess cancer risk of 2.13 × 10−3 from arsenic exposure was estimated, highlighting the need for testing and treating water sources as well as setting a framework for more detailed work in the future.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4441
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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    In: Water
    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Water, Vol. 10, Pages 273: Optimal Operation of Hydropower Reservoirs under Climate Change: The Case of Tekeze Reservoir, Eastern Nile Water doi: 10.3390/w10030273 Authors: Fikru Abera Dereje Asfaw Agizew Engida Assefa Melesse Optimal operation of reservoirs is very essential for water resource planning and management, but it is very challenging and complicated when dealing with climate change impacts. The objective of this paper was to assess existing and future hydropower operation at the Tekeze reservoir in the face of climate change. In this study, a calibrated and validated Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) was used to model runoff inflow into the Tekeze hydropower reservoir under present and future climate scenarios. Inflow to the reservoir was simulated using hydro-climatic data from an ensemble of downscaled climate data based on the Coordinated Regional climate Downscaling Experiment over African domain (CORDEX-Africa) with Coupled Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) simulations under Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP)4.5 and RCP8.5 climate scenarios. Observed and projected inflows to Tekeze hydropower reservoir were used as input to the US Army Corps of Engineer’s Reservoir Evaluation System Perspective Reservoir Model (HEC-ResPRM), a reservoir operation model, to optimize hydropower reservoir release, storage and pool level. Results indicated that climate change has a clear impact on reservoir inflow and showed increase in annual and monthly inflow into the reservoir except in dry months from May to June under RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 climate scenarios. HEC-ResPRM optimal operation results showed an increase in Tekeze reservoir power storage potential up to 25% and 30% under RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 climate scenarios, respectively. This implies that Tekeze hydropower production will be affected by climate change. This analysis can be used by water resources planners and mangers to develop reservoir operation techniques considering climate change impact to increase power production.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4441
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    In: Water
    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Water, Vol. 10, Pages 270: Water Resources Allocation in Transboundary River Based on Asymmetric Nash–Harsanyi Leader–Follower Game Model Water doi: 10.3390/w10030270 Authors: Jisi Fu Ping-An Zhong Feilin Zhu Juan Chen Ye-nan Wu Bin Xu Transboundary river water resources allocation is important in water resources management. Conflicts often arise when different water users compete for a limited water supply. This study proposes a two-level asymmetric Nash–Harsanyi Leader–Follower game model to resolve conflicts of interest in transboundary river water resources allocation problems. In the proposed model, we use bankruptcy theory to derive disagreement points and determine the bargaining weights considering the principles of equity and efficiency. For comparison, a model that does not consider disagreement points and bargaining weights are also used to demonstrate the importance of disagreement points and bargaining weights. The proposed model is applied to a real case of the Huaihe River basin in China, which is facing water shortages. In the case study, the watershed management agency serves as the leader, three provinces (Henan, Anhui and Jiangsu) serve as followers, and successive linear programming is used to solve the model for followers. The results show that the proposed disagreement points can guarantee basic water demand, and the bargaining weights can better balance the economic development levels among followers.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4441
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 76
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    MDPI Publishing
    In: Water
    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Water, Vol. 10, Pages 267: Atoyac River Pollution in the Metropolitan Area of Puebla, México Water doi: 10.3390/w10030267 Authors: Gabriela Pérez Castresana Víctor Tamariz Flores Lucía López Reyes Fernando Hernández Aldana Rosalía Castelán Vega José Morán Perales Wendy García Suastegui Alfonso Díaz Fonseca Anabella Handal Silva The Atoyac River crosses the metropolitan area of Puebla-Tlaxcala in Mexico and presents a state of pollution that has been scarcely studied. In 2016, the water quality of the river was evaluated based on physicochemical and bacteriological parameters, under the guidelines established for the Maximum Permissible Limit (MPL) for Aquatic Life Protection (ALP) and Agricultural Irrigation (AI). The sampling sites were the Covadonga Dam, the Echeverría Dam, and an irrigation canal. Water from wells and a spring in the Emilio Portes Gil (EPG) population that uses Atoyac water for agricultural irrigation was also analyzed. The data obtained from the river were compared with the 2011 data published in the declaration of classification of Atoyac and Xochiac or Hueyapan and its tributaries. There was a notable increase in hemical oxygen demand (COD) (49%) and in heavy metals with varying percentages. The anoxic condition of the river (mean 1.47 mg of O2/L) with large populations of coliform bacteria was demonstrated, 11 pathogenic members of the Enterobacteriaceae were found, and high organic pollution concentrations were shown, particularly during droughts. Irrigation and well water was contaminated with fecal bacteria (104–549 NMP/100 mL), which included pathogens.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4441
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 77
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    In: Water
    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Water, Vol. 10, Pages 264: In Situ Water Quality Measurements Using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) System Water doi: 10.3390/w10030264 Authors: Cengiz Koparan Ali Koc Charles Privette Calvin Sawyer An unmanned aerial vehicle-assisted water quality measurement system (UAMS) was developed for in situ surface water quality measurement. A custom-built hexacopter was equipped with an open-source electronic sensors platform to measure the temperature, electrical conductivity (EC), dissolved oxygen (DO), and pH of water. Electronic components of the system were coated with a water-resistant film, and the hexacopter was assembled with flotation equipment. The measurements were made at thirteen sampling waypoints within a 1.1 ha agricultural pond. Measurements made by an open-source multiprobe meter (OSMM) attached to the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) were compared to the measurements made by a commercial multiprobe meter (CMM). Percent differences between the OSMM and CMM measurements for DO, EC, pH, and temperature were 2.1 %, 3.43 %, 3.76 %, and <1.0 %, respectively. The collected water quality data was used to interpret the spatial distribution of measurements in the pond. The UAMS successfully made semiautonomous in situ water quality measurements from predetermined waypoints. Water quality maps showed homogeneous distribution of measured constituents across the pond. The concept presented in this paper can be applied to the monitoring of water quality in larger surface waterbodies.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4441
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 78
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    In: Water
    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Water, Vol. 10, Pages 261: Evaluating the Timing and Interdependence of Hydrologic Processes at the Watershed Scale Based on Continuously Monitored Data Water doi: 10.3390/w10030261 Authors: Antonio Arenas Keith Schilling James Niemeier Larry Weber A quantitative understanding of the interplay between the different components of the hydrologic cycle at the watershed scale can be gained from analyzing high-frequency hydrologic time series. High-frequency measurements of precipitation, soil water content, shallow groundwater, and streamflow were collected and analyzed in Otter Creek, a 122 km2 watershed located in Northeast Iowa, USA. For selected rainfall events occurring in 2014, it was found that there is at least 4 h of delay between soil water content and water table time series response and streamflow peak. This is true even when the water table was approximately 6.5 m below the ground surface before rainfall started. Data reveal a strong linear dependence between the soil water content and the water table, which suggests the existence of a capillary fringe that extends approximately 2.5 m above the water table. The highest streamflow values in Otter Creek occurred when both the water table was close to the ground surface and the near surface soil (top 65 cm) was close to full saturation. Analyses show that, in the study area, data on depth to water table or deep soil water content have the potential to play a key role in the development of a flood warning system. The transformation of rainfall into streamflow is a complex process that we simplified in this study. Additional analyses using physically based coupled surface-subsurface models or non-linear or stochastic models are recommended for more rigorous analysis.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4441
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 79
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    MDPI Publishing
    In: Water
    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Water, Vol. 10, Pages 258: Impacts of Climate Change on the Irrigation Districts of the Rio Bravo Basin Water doi: 10.3390/w10030258 Authors: Jorge Paredes-Tavares Miguel Gómez-Albores Carlos Mastachi-Loza Carlos Díaz-Delgado Rocio Becerril-Piña Héctor Martínez-Valdés Khalidou Bâ This paper analyzed the evolution of climate data in the Rio Bravo Basin in Mexico from 1980–2009 and projects future climate conditions in this region. Then, the potential impacts of climate change on water resources for crops in the nine irrigation districts (IDs) of the Rio Bravo Basin were evaluated. Specifically, climate data on precipitation, maximum and minimum temperatures, and evapotranspiration from the baseline period of 1980–2009 were compared with projected climate conditions for 2015–2039, 2045–2069, and 2075–2099. The projections were based on two representative concentration pathways (RCPs) of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5). Patterns in the behavior of the analyzed climate variables over the past ten decades were examined and compared to the projected evolution of these variables through to the end of the century. Overall, in the future, temperatures, rates of evapotranspiration, and crop water demand are expected to increase. Also, the future precipitation patterns of all IDs were modified under the considered scenarios. Finally, the IDs of Acuña-Falcón and Delicias will be the most impacted by climate changes, while Palestina will be the least affected.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4441
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 80
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    In: Water
    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Water, Vol. 10, Pages 255: Irrigation with Treated Municipal Wastewater on Artichoke Crop: Assessment of Soil and Yield Heavy Metal Content and Human Risk Water doi: 10.3390/w10030255 Authors: Giuseppe Gatta Anna Gagliardi Grazia Disciglio Antonio Lonigro Matteo Francavilla Emanuele Tarantino Marcella Giuliani Industrial and municipal wastewaters are often used for irrigating agricultural fields in arid and semi-arid countries, representing the most attractive option to alleviate pressure on fresh-water resources. However, the wastewater may contain various potentially toxic elements and organic matters with highly harmful effects on human and animal health. During two growing seasons of globe artichoke, the effects of irrigation with secondary (SWW) and tertiary (TWW) municipal wastewater on heavy metal soil and plant content were evaluated, together with the consequent human risk from artichoke head consumption. The heavy metal contents (i.e., Al, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Ni, Pb, Zn, and Mn) of the irrigation water, soil, plant, and yield were analyzed. Total and extractable heavy metals were quantified to determine the bioaccumulation factors, and the health risks to adults and children were determined according to hazard indices. The heavy metal contents of the artichoke heads harvested after SWW and TWW irrigation were lower than the international threshold values, and low bioaccumulation factors suggested that these heavy metals did not accumulate in the edible part of the artichoke crop. The hazard indices that were based on the consumption of the artichoke heads remained <1.0 for both adults and children, thus indicating that the health risks involving the different heavy metals are not significant.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4441
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 81
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    In: Water
    Publication Date: 2018-03-06
    Description: Water, Vol. 10, Pages 252: Extracting Farmland Features from Lidar-Derived DEM for Improving Flood Plain Delineation Water doi: 10.3390/w10030252 Authors: Tianlu Qian Dingtao Shen Changbai Xi Jie Chen Jiechen Wang Flood plains, which are commonly distributed in flat river or lake basins, often contain large tracts of farmland. Therefore, flood plains require precise and detailed information on the role played by farmland in flood routing simulations, flood risk evaluation, and flood loss evaluation. In farmland, cultivated land parcels are not directly adjacent. The intervening non-cultivable land, which might include trails and ditches, can cover large areas. Currently, the area of non-cultivable land between cultivated land parcels is usually measured by artificial visual interpretation or by fieldwork. This study focused on the extraction of uncultivable trails, ditches, and cultivated field parcels within farmland on the basis of a Light Detection and Ranging-derived (LiDAR-derived) high-resolution gridded Digital Elevation Model (DEM). The proposed approach was applied to generate polygons of individual land parcels in a flood storage and detention area. The DEM was first smoothed and then subtracted. To remove small spots and to smooth the boundaries of the land parcels, inner and outer buffers were created to generalize the extracted polygons. Experiments proved that this approach is applicable in flood plain farmland and demonstrated that the chosen parameters were appropriate. This approach is more efficient than traditional surveying methods. For field parcel extraction, the accuracy achieved was 93.42%, using official statistics for comparison, and the Cohen’s kappa coefficient was 0.90, using a visual interpretation of an aerial image for comparison. The kappa coefficients were 0.87 and 0.77 for trail and ditch extraction, respectively.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4441
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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