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  • 1
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-08-25
    Description: IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 1835: Healthcare Utilization and All-Cause Premature Mortality in Hungarian Segregated Roma Settlements: Evaluation of Specific Indicators in a Cross-Sectional Study International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15091835 Authors: János Sándor Anita Pálinkás Ferenc Vincze Nóra Kovács Valéria Sipos László Kőrösi Zsófia Falusi László Pál Gergely Fürjes Magor Papp Róza Ádány Roma is the largest ethnic minority of Europe with deprived health status, which is poorly explored due to legal constrains of ethnicity assessment. We aimed to elaborate health indicators for adults living in segregated Roma settlements (SRS), representing the most vulnerable Roma subpopulation. SRSs were mapped in a study area populated by 54,682 adults. Records of all adults living in the study area were processed in the National Institute of Health Insurance Fund Management. Aggregated, age-sex standardized SRS-specific and non-SRS-specific indicators on healthcare utilization and all-cause premature death along with the ratio of them (RR) were computed with 95% confidence intervals. The rate of GP appointments was significantly higher among SRS inhabitants (RR = 1.152, 95% CI: 1.136–1.167). The proportion of subjects hospitalized (RR = 1.286, 95% CI: 1.177–1.405) and the reimbursement for inpatient care (RR = 1.060, 95% CI: 1.057–1.064) were elevated for SRS. All-cause premature mortality was significantly higher in SRSs (RR = 1.711, 1.085–2.696). Our study demonstrated that it is possible to compute the SRS-specific version of routine healthcare indicators without violating the protection of personal data by converting a sensitive ethical issue into a non-sensitive small-area geographical analysis; there is an SRS-specific healthcare utilization pattern, which is associated with elevated costs and increased risk of all-cause premature death.
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  • 2
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-08-25
    Description: IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 1832: Prenatal Exposure to Perfluoroalkyl Substances and Birth Outcomes; An Updated Analysis from the Danish National Birth Cohort International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15091832 Authors: Meng Inoue Ritz Olsen Liew Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are widespread industrial pollutants that are extremely persistent in the environment. A previous study in the Danish National Birth Cohort (DNBC) found prenatal perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) exposure was associated with decreased birth weight, but had insufficient statistical power to evaluate adverse birth outcomes. Here, we conducted additional analyses in three samples originating from the DNBC for 3535 mothers and infant pairs to evaluate associations between prenatal PFASs exposures and low birth weight and preterm birth. Maternal plasma concentrations were measured for six types of PFASs in early pregnancy. Several PFASs were associated with a reduction in birth weight and gestational age. We estimated a nearly 2-fold increase in risks of preterm birth for the higher quartiles of PFOA and perflourooctanesulfonate (PFOS) exposure. In spline models, risk of preterm birth was increased for perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), perfluoroheptane sulfonate (PFHpS) and perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDA) in higher exposure ranges. We also observed some elevated risks for low birth weight but these estimates were less precise. Our findings strengthen the evidence that in-utero PFASs exposures affect fetal growth. Future studies are needed to evaluate whether these associations persist with the decline of PFOA and PFOS in populations and should also investigate newer types of fluorinated compounds introduced more recently.
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  • 3
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-08-25
    Description: IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 1831: Hospitalisation Cost of Patients with Diabetic Foot Ulcers in Valencia (Spain) in the Period 2009–2013: A Retrospective Descriptive Analysis International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15091831 Authors: Pilar Nieto-Gil Ana Belen Ortega-Avila Manuel Pardo-Rios Manuel Cobo-Najar Carlos Blasco-Garcia Gabriel Gijon-Nogueron Ulcers are the main cause of hospitalisation and clinical complications in patients with diabetes. We analyse the length and cost of hospital stay of patients with diabetic foot ulcers, taking into consideration that hospitalisation and, if necessary, amputation represent the greatest area of expense to the healthcare system for such patients. This analysis focuses on the treatment provided to these patients in public hospitals in the region of Valencia (Spain), registered in the Spanish Minimum Basic Data Set, during the period 2009–2013. The number of acute hospital admissions in this respect is increasing and has a high socioeconomic cost. During the study period, there were over 2700 hospital admissions, an average of nearly 550 per year. The total hospital stay for these patients was 30,886 days, with an average of 11.4 days and a cost of €7633 per admission. Preventive policies and the deployment of multidisciplinary teams are essential to reduce these costs and avoid future complications such as amputation.
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  • 4
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-08-25
    Description: IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 1833: European Web-Based Platform for Recording International Health Regulations Ship Sanitation Certificates: Results and Perspectives International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15091833 Authors: Varvara Mouchtouri Diederik Van Reusel Nikolaos Bitsolas Antonis Katsioulis Raf Van den Bogaert Björn Helewaut Inge Steenhout Dion Damman Miguel Dávila Cornejo Christos Hadjichristodoulou the EU SHIPSAN ACT Joint Action Partnership The purpose of this study was to report the data analysis results from the International Health Regulations (2005) Ship Sanitation Certificates (SSCs), recorded in the European Information System (EIS). International sea trade and population movements by ships can contribute to the global spread of diseases. SSCs are issued to ensure the implementation of control measures if a public health risk exists on board. EIS designed according to the World Health Organization (WHO) “Handbook for Inspection of Ships and Issuance of SSC”. Inspection data were recorded and SSCs issued by inspectors working at European ports were analysed. From July 2011–February 2017, 107 inspectors working at 54 ports in 11 countries inspected 5579 ships. Of these, there were 29 types under 85 flags (including 19 EU Member States flags). As per IHR (2005) 10,281 Ship Sanitation Control Exception Certificates (SSCECs) and 296 Ship Sanitation Control Certificates (SSCCs) were issued, 74 extensions to existing SSCs were given, 7565 inspection findings were recorded, and 47 inspections were recorded without issuing an SSC. The most frequent inspection findings were the lack of potable water quality monitoring reports (23%). Ships aged ≥12 years (odds ratio, OR = 1.77, 95% confidence intervals, CI = 1.37–2.29) with an absence of cargo at time of inspection (OR = 3.36, 95% CI = 2.51–4.50) had a higher probability of receiving an SSCC, while ships under the EU MS flag had a lower probability of having inspection findings (OR = 0.72, 95% CI = 0.66–0.79). Risk factors to prioritise the inspections according to IHR were identified by using the EIS. A global information system, or connection of national or regional information systems and data exchange, could help to better implement SSCs using common standards and procedures.
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  • 5
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-08-25
    Description: IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 1830: Mind–Body (Baduanjin) Exercise Prescription for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15091830 Authors: Shi-Jie Liu Zhanbing Ren Lin Wang Gao-Xia Wei Liye Zou Baduanjin exercise is a traditional Chinese health Qigong routine created by an ancient physician for health promotion. Its mild-to-moderate exercise intensity is suitable for individuals with medical conditions. Recently, a large number of trials have been conducted to investigate the effects of Baduanjin exercise in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It remains to be determined whether Baduanjin exercise prescription is beneficial for the management of COPD patients. Thus, we conducted a systematic review to objectively evaluate the existing literature on this topic. We searched six databases (PubMed, Web of Science, Cochrane Library, Scopus, China National Knowledge Infrastructure, and Wanfang) from inception until early May 2018. The adapted Physical Therapy Evidence Database (PEDro) scale was used for study quality assessment of all randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Based on 95% confidence interval (CI), the pooled effect size (Hedge’s g) of exercise capability (6-Minute Walking Test, 6-MWT), lung function parameters (forced expiratory volume in one second, FEV1; forced volume vital capacity, FVC; FEV1/FVC ratio), and quality of life were calculated based on the random-effects model. Twenty RCTs (n = 1975 COPD patients) were included in this review, with sum scores of the adapted PEDro scale between 5 and 9. Study results of the meta-analysis indicate that Baduanjin is effective in improving exercise capability (Hedge’s g = 0.69, CI 0.44 to 0.94, p < 0.001, I2 = 66%), FEV1 (Hedge’s g = 0.47, CI 0.22 to 0.73, p < 0.001, I2 = 68.01%), FEV1% (Hedge’s g = 0.38, CI 0.21 to 0.56, p < 0.001, I2 = 54.74%), FVC (Hedge’s g = 0.39, CI 0.22 to 0.56, p < 0.001, I2 = 14.57%), FEV1/FVC (Hedge’s g = 0.5, CI 0.33 to 0.68, p < 0.001, I2 = 53.49%), and the quality of life of COPD patients (Hedge’s g = −0.45, CI −0.77 to −0.12, p < 0.05, I2 = 77.02%), as compared to control groups. Baduanjin exercise as an adjunctive treatment may potentially improve exercise capability and pulmonary function of COPD patients as well as quality of life. Baduanjin exercise could be tentatively prescribed for COPD in combination with the conventional rehabilitation program to quicken the process of recovery. To confirm the positive effects of Baduanjin exercise for COPD patients, future researchers need to consider our suggestions mentioned in this article.
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  • 6
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-08-25
    Description: IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 1829: Market Returns, External Pressure, and Safe Pesticide Practice—Moderation Role of Information Acquisition International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15091829 Authors: Jianhua Wang Yuanyuan Deng Hanyu Diao The main objective of this study is to examine how market returns and external pressure influence farmers’ standardized pesticide application and to investigate the moderating role of information acquisition. Data were collected from 986 farmers following a multi-stage sampling method from five major agricultural provinces in China. A hierarchical regression analysis was performed to test the hypothesis. The results show that market returns and information acquisition of pesticide application had a significant and positive influence on standardized pesticide application. Also, interaction effects were found between acquisition of policy information and market returns, and also between acquisition of pesticide application information and external pressure. The policy implication is that the improvement of market returns of safe agricultural products is a potential way to improve farmers’ pesticide usage behaviors. Policy information and pesticide application information should be widely provided to farmers in order to facilitate the transition to standardized pesticide application.
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  • 7
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-08-25
    Description: IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 1828: The Effects of Vitamin E from Elaeis guineensis (Oil Palm) in a Rat Model of Bone Loss Due to Metabolic Syndrome International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15091828 Authors: Sok Kuan Wong Kok-Yong Chin Farihah Hj Suhaimi Fairus Ahmad Soelaiman Ima-Nirwana The beneficial effects of vitamin E in improving components of MetS or bone loss have been established. This study aimed to investigate the potential of palm vitamin E (PVE) as a single agent, targeting MetS and bone loss concurrently, using a MetS animal model. Twelve-week-old male Wistar rats were divided into five groups. The baseline group was sacrificed upon arrival. The normal group was given standard rat chow. The remaining three groups were fed with high-carbohydrate high-fat (HCHF) diet and treated with tocopherol-stripped corn oil (vehicle), 60 mg/kg or 100 mg/kg PVE. At the end of the study, the rats were evaluated for MetS parameters and bone density. After euthanasia, blood and femurs were harvested for the evaluation of lipid profile, bone histomorphometric analysis, and remodeling markers. PVE improved blood pressure, glycemic status, and lipid profile; increased osteoblast surface, osteoid surface, bone volume, and trabecular thickness, as well as decreased eroded surface and single-labeled surface. Administration of PVE also significantly reduced leptin level in the HCHF rats. PVE is a potential agent in concurrently preventing MetS and protecting bone loss. This may be, in part, achieved by reducing the leptin level and modulating the bone remodeling activity in male rats.
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  • 8
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-08-25
    Description: IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 1827: Can Urban-Rural Patterns of Hospital Selection Be Changed Using a Report Card Program? A Nationwide Observational Study International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15091827 Authors: Tsung-Hsien Yu Nikolas Matthes Chung-Jen Wei Background: Guiding patients to choose high-quality healthcare providers helps ensure that patients receive excellent care and helps reduce health disparities among patients of different socioeconomic backgrounds. The purpose of this study was to examine and compare the effect of implementing a report-card program on the patterns of hospital selection in patients from different socioeconomic subgroups. Patients undergoing total knee replacement (TKR) surgery were used as the sample population. Methods: A patient-level, retrospective, observational and cross-sectional study design was conducted. Taiwan National Health Insurance claims data were used and all patients in this database who had received TKR between April 2007–March 2008 (prior to report-card program implementation) and between April 2009–March 2010 (after program implementation) were included. Those patients who were under 18 years of age or who lacked area-of-residence or National Health Insurance premium information were excluded. Travelling distance to the hospital and level of hospital performance were used to evaluate the effect of the report-card program. Results: A total of 32,821 patients were included in this study. The results showed that patterns of hospital selection varied based on the socioeconomic characteristics of patients. In terms of travelling distance and hospital selection, the performance of urban and higher income patients was shorter and better, respectively, than their rural and lower-income peers both before and after report-card-program implementation. Moreover, although the results of multivariate analysis showed that the urban-rural difference in travelling distance enlarged (by 4.75 km) after implementation of the report-card program, this increase was shown to not be significantly related to this program. Furthermore, the results revealed that implementation of the report-card program did not significantly affect the urban-rural difference in terms of level of hospital performance. Conclusions: A successful report-card program should ensure that patients in all socioeconomic groups obtain comprehensive information. However, the results of this study indicate that those in higher socioeconomic subgroups attained more benefits from the program than their lower-subgroup peers. Ensuring that all have equal opportunity to access high-quality healthcare providers may therefore be the next issue that needs to be addressed and resolved.
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  • 9
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-08-25
    Description: IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 1826: Spatiotemporal Characteristics of Bacillary Dysentery from 2005 to 2017 in Zhejiang Province, China International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15091826 Authors: Congcong Yan Yijuan Chen Ziping Miao Shuwen Qin Hua Gu Jian Cai Background: This study aimed to analyze the epidemiological and spatiotemporal characteristics of bacillary dysentery in Zhejiang Province and to provide the basis for its monitoring, prevention and control. Methods: This study included cases registered in China Information System for Diseases Control and Prevention from 1 January 2005 to 31 December 2017 in Zhejiang. Descriptive methods were employed to investigate the long trend of this disease: gender distribution, high-risk population, seasonality, and circular distribution was explored to detect the peak period; incidence maps were made to show the incidence trend of disease at county level; spatial autocorrelation was explored and the regions with autocorrelation were detected; and spatiotemporal scan was conducted to map out the high-risk regions of disease and how long they lasted. Statistical significance was assumed at p value of <0.05. Results: A total of 105,577 cases of bacillary dysentery were included, the incidence declining sharply from 45.84/100,000 to 3.44/100,000 with an obvious seasonal peak from July to October. Males were more predisposed to the infection than females. Pre-education children had the highest proportion among all occupation categories. Incidence in all age groups were negatively correlated with the year (p < 0.001), and the incidences were negatively correlated with the age groups in 2005–2008 (p = 0.022, 0.025, 0.044, and 0.047, respectively). Local autocorrelation showed that counties in Hangzhou were high-risk regions of bacillary dysentery. The spatiotemporal scan indicated that all clusters occurred before 2011, and the most likely cluster for disease was found in Hangzhou, Jiaxing and Huzhou. Conclusions: The incidence of bacillary dysentery in Zhejiang from 2005 to 2017 featured spatiotemporal clustering, and remained high in some areas and among the young population. Findings in this study serve as a panorama of bacillary dysentery in Zhejiang and provide useful information for better interventions and public health planning.
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  • 10
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-06-29
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 2215: Agri-Food Chain Establishment as a Means to Increase Sustainability in Food Systems: Lessons from Sunflower in Brazil Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10072215 Authors: Lucas Oliveira de Sousa Marcelo Dias Paes Ferreira Marcus Mergenthaler The growing international food demand, the call for plant proteins to improve sustainability, the technological possibilities for sunflower protein ingredients, and the prominent role of Brazil in the world agricultural supply constitute the research background of this article. The aim is to analyze the process of establishment of the major sunflower agri-food chain in Brazil, seeking to support the future development of new sunflower chains to meet an expected increasing demand for high-quality sunflower proteins. A case study research design was applied, involving interviews with stakeholders from the input, farming, and processing segments. Moreover, the case analysis was guided by an analytical framework that regards the agri-food chain establishment as an entrepreneurial process. The findings show that the successful process of the sunflower agri-food chain establishment in Mato Grosso (MT) stems from a set of interconnected driving forces composed of entrepreneurial skills, social network, resource availability, and crop suitability. Furthermore, the analysis indicates the potential for the development of new sunflower chains among soybean farmers from other regions in MT, especially if new sunflower protein food ingredients lead to higher sunflowers prices, which would make this crop economically more attractive. Finally, this case study suggests that the collective establishment of agri-food chains is a challenging endeavor, especially if conducted by outside actors.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
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  • 11
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-06-29
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 2213: Soil Fertility Management by Transition Matrices and Crop Rotation: On Spatial and Dynamic Aspects in Programming of Ecosystem Services Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10072213 Authors: Ernst-August Nuppenau This paper deals with crop rotation as a method to improve soil fertility and control pests from an economic point of view. It outlines a new framework for modelling of more sustainable decision-making of farmers under the auspices of ecosystem services. It is intended for practical application in extension and farmer communication to show values of rotations referring to natural capital. In the past farmers created complex rotations to benefit from ecological processes which enabled them to control natural pests (at least partly), to build soil fertility on recycling of organics (humus formation), and to promote pollination (including wild bees and other insects) and water retention (diverse water requests of different crops). Farmers which were accommodating cropping orders in small parcels of fields used long lists of crop sequences and offered mixed farming systems: this was a major feature of agriculture. Cropping orders evolved from necessity and were followed as rules. Today we are faced with large fields and monoculture, instead, and ecosystem services are diminished. Usually, attempts to recognize economic pay-offs from rotation through modelling are meagre because of complexity. We address the issue of complexity by suggesting a new flexible type of modelling crop rotations (dynamic optimization) which condenses ecological information into matrices. A newly-hosted transfer matrix shall delineate the impacts of cropping patterns in period t to fertility of land in t + 1. Categorizing different states of nature (which have to be brought in line with farmers’ knowledge of externalities), it can be implemented in models on rotation decision.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
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  • 12
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-06-29
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 2212: Is the Maker Movement Contributing to Sustainability? Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10072212 Authors: Jeremy Millard Marie N. Sorivelle Sarah Deljanin Elisabeth Unterfrauner Christian Voigt ICT has already revolutionized content creation and communications. In principle, today, everybody with Internet access, the right skills and equipment can produce digital content composed of virtual “bits” and make it instantly available across the globe. The same is now happening to manufacturing for everyone with access to tools like 3D printers. This inter-changeability of bits and atoms is being called the maker movement, which started as a community-based, socially-driven bottom-up movement but is today also impacting mainstream manufacturing through increased efficiencies, distributed local production and the circular economy. The maker movement thus has significant promise for increasing social, economic and environmental sustainability, but is it currently living up to this potential? This paper reports on work undertaken by the European-funded MAKE-IT project has examined this question through detailed qualitative and quantitative empirical research, including ten in-depth case studies across Europe and a detailed examination of 42 maker initiatives at Europe’s foremost city-based maker faire, supplemented by extensive secondary research. Despite the maker movement’s short history, the overall results provide sound evidence of its important though variable contribution to sustainability thus far. In addition, there is a strong gender dimension showing that females are underrepresented both as users and leaders of maker initiatives, whilst female leaders tend to achieve much higher sustainability impacts than their male counterparts. There is also clear evidence that maker initiatives in close collaboration with each other and other actors in city- and region-wide ecosystems are much more successful in achieving sustainability impacts than others.
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  • 13
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-06-29
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 2210: Merging Vehicles and Lane Speed-Flow Relationship in a Work Zone Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10072210 Authors: Li Li Dong Zhang In addition to closed merge lanes as physical bottlenecks of work zones, traffic oscillations caused by merging vehicles at multiple locations could reduce work-zone capacity. This study took a step-wise procedure to reveal spatial distributions of merging vehicles along work zones and their influence on speed-flow relationships of lane traffic flows. Field data showed that inserting vehicles from merge lanes could spread their influence over adjacent unclosed through lanes. Moreover, with increases in total volume, merging vehicles could choose their inserting positions further upstream of the work zone, which could induce oscillations near the insertion point. At the identified upstream bottlenecks, capacity drop was found in speed-flow diagrams of through-lane traffic, but it was not found in the diagrams of merge-lane traffic flows. Lack of sufficient demand and special merging behaviors on merge lanes could be attributed to the distinct speed-flow relationship. Two-part piecewise regression models were developed to fit the speed-flow relationships of uncongested and congested flows of through lanes. By comparing the estimated speed-flow models, it was found that when a queue is forming, the extent of the capacity drop and speed reduction is different for through lanes. Queue discharge uses different lengths of time on through lanes and multiple merging locations.
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  • 14
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-08-25
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 3014: Toward a New Cycle: Short-Term Population Dynamics, Gentrification, and Re-Urbanization of Milan (Italy) Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10093014 Authors: Margherita Carlucci Francesco Maria Chelli Luca Salvati After sequential cycles of urbanization and suburbanization, European cities underwent a (more or less intense) re-urbanization wave. The present study analyzes short-term population dynamics in the core of a large metropolitan region (Milan, northern Italy), providing evidence of spatially-heterogeneous re-urbanization characterized by spatially-complex population growth (or shrinkage) at a local scale. Population dynamics over 1999–2017 were assessed in 88 urban districts partitioning Milan′s municipal area and projected up to 2036 for the same spatial units. Empirical results identify spatially-complex and temporally non-linear dynamics with expanding or declining districts distributed heterogeneously across the study area. Multivariate analysis outlines a generalized population decline during 1999–2008 and an opposite pattern afterward (2008–2017), with spatially-homogeneous population expansion expected in the near future. Spatial analysis finally highlights that local-scale population growth rates were more clustered in 2008–2017 than in 1999–2008. While the population decreased continuously in the inner districts (<1 km from the city centre), sub-central districts (1–5 km far from the city centre) experienced mixed patterns of population growth and stability. These results confirm the relevance of local-scale policies managing urban renewal and rehabilitation and promoting metropolitan expansion in a spatially-coordinated manner.
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  • 15
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-06-29
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 2208: The Influence of Corporate Social Responsibility on Organizational Commitment: The Sequential Mediating Effect of Meaningfulness of Work and Perceived Organizational Support Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10072208 Authors: Byung-Jik Kim Mohammad Nurunnabi Tae-Hyun Kim Se-Youn Jung Although many scholars have investigated the influence of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in an organization, there has been relatively minimal research regarding the CSR’s impacts on employees as well as the underlying mechanisms of it. Considering the research gaps, in the present research, we examine how CSR practices influence attitudes of employees. In particular, we hypothesize that perceived CSR would enhance organizational commitment (OC) of employees through the sequential mediation of meaningfulness of work (MOW) and perceived organizational support (POS). In order to empirically test this, we utilized two-wave time-lagged survey data from 378 employees who work for companies in South Korea. The results show that MOW and POS sequentially mediate the relationship between perceived CSR and OC. The findings suggest that CSR practices could be an active investment which enhances important attitudes of employees, instead of merely being a cost or obligation for firms.
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  • 16
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-06-29
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 2209: Machine Vision Retrofit System for Mechanical Weed Control in Precision Agriculture Applications Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10072209 Authors: Federico Pallottino Paolo Menesatti Simone Figorilli Francesca Antonucci Roberto Tomasone Andrea Colantoni Corrado Costa This paper presents a machine vision retrofit system designed for upgrading used tractors to allow the control of the tillage implements and enable real-time field operation. The retrofit package comprises an acquisition system placed in the cabin, a front-mounted RGB camera sensor, and a rear-mounted Peiseler encoder wheel. The method combines shape analysis and colorimetric k-nearest neighbor (k-NN) clustering for in-field weed discrimination. This low-cost retrofit package can use interchangeable sensors, supplying flexibility of use with different farming implements. Field tests were conducted within lettuce and broccoli crops to develop the image analysis system for the autonomous control of an intra-row hoeing implement. The performance showed by the system in the trials was judged in terms of accuracy and speed. The system was capable of discriminating weed plants from crop with few errors, achieving a fairly high performance, given the severe degree of weed infestation encountered. The actuation time for image processing, currently implemented in MATLAB integrated with the retrofit kit, was about 7 s. The correct detection rate was higher for lettuce (from 69% to 96%) than for broccoli (from 65% to 79%), also considering the negative effect of shadows. To be implementable, the experimental code needs to be optimized to reduce acquisition and processing times. A software utility was developed in Java to reach a processing time of two images per second.
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  • 17
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-06-29
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 2207: PCR Species-Specific Primers for Molecular Gut Content Analysis to Determine the Contribution of Generalist Predators to the Biological Control of the Vector of Xylella fastidiosa Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10072207 Authors: Esther Lantero Beatriz Matallanas Susana Pascual Carmen Callejas The European Union (EU) is facing the recent arrival of the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa. Its fast spread has caused great alarm because of the economic impact it implies for the agroeconomy of European countries. Among its insect vectors, Philaenus spumarius has been demonstrated to transmit the bacterium from infected to uninfected trees in the EU, where different measures have been established to control it. One of the proposals to manage this vector is the augmentation of natural enemy populations. However, the identification of candidate predator species is essential if such a management system is to be introduced. The present paper describes a set of species-specific primers designed to detect the presence of P. spumarius DNA in soil arthropod fauna generalist predators’ gut which can reveal candidate species for the pest’s biological control. Such primers have been proven to be a useful and reliable taxonomic tool for P. spumarius identification at any life stage, i.e., nymphs. This rapid and accurate identification is essential for control strategies designed to avoid the spread of the pest and consequently the considerable economic losses it causes in crops.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 18
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    Publication Date: 2018-06-29
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 2206: Striving towards the Deployment of Bio-Energy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS): A Review of Research Priorities and Assessment Needs Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10072206 Authors: Vassilis Stavrakas Niki-Artemis Spyridaki Alexandros Flamos Assessing the performance or the implications of climate change mitigation options (CCMOs) is instrumental in achieving research and innovation efficiency in the field of climate change and becomes more imperative considering the Paris Agreement (‘the Agreement’). Many climate scientists already believe that meeting the Agreement’s goals and stabilizing “well-below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels” signals the deployment of currently undetermined and contentious mitigation technologies, such as bio-energy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS). BECCS is considered one of the most promising negative emissions technologies (NETs) with many scenarios already exhibiting its mitigation potential. However, stakeholders and policymakers remain skeptical about widespread reliance on BECCS questioning its unproven credibility. In this article, we aim at identifying research priorities and assessment needs to intensify the further deployment of BECCS, considering relevant technology associations’ and platforms’ perspectives and insights raised by scientific literature. The main outcome of our study is a list of 10 research priorities along with more specific assessment needs for each priority area. We also focus attention on several implications for potential end-users involved in the field of policy and practice. Overall, our work seeks to bridge the gap between market/industry and academia and to assist policymakers to make better-informed decisions.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 19
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    In: Materials
    Publication Date: 2018-08-25
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 1521: Treatment Technology of Hazardous Water Contaminated with Radioisotopes with Paper Sludge Ash-Based Geopolymer—Stabilization of Immobilization of Strontium and Cesium by Mixing Seawater Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11091521 Authors: Zhuguo Li Mariko Nagashima Ko Ikeda Long-term immobilization ratios of strontium (Sr2+) and cesium (Cs+) in paper sludge ash-based geopolymer (PS-GP) were investigated in one year. PS-GP paste specimens were prepared in the conditions of 20 °C and 100% R.H., using two kinds of paper sludge ash (PS-ash). Two kinds of alkaline solution were used in the PS-GP as activator. One was prepared by diluting aqueous Na-disilicate (water glass) with seawater. Another was a mixture of this solution and caustic soda of 10 M concentration. When seawater was mixed into the alkaline solution, unstable fixations of Sr2+ and Cs+ were greatly improved, resulting stable and high immobilization ratios at any age up to one year, no matter what kind of PS-ash and alkaline solution were used. Element maps obtained by EPMA exhibited nearly even distribution of Cs+. However Sr2+ was biased, making domains so firmly related to Ca2+ presence. The mechanism that seawater stabilizes immobilization of Sr2+ and Cs+ was discussed in this study, but still needs to further investigation. Chemical composition analyses of PS-GP were also conducted by SEM-EDS. Two categories of GP matrix were clearly observed, so called N-A-S-H and C-A-S-H gels, respectively. By plotting in ternary diagrams of SiO2-(CaO + Na2O)-Al2O3 and Al2O3-CaO-Na2O, compositional trends were discussed in view of ‘plagioclase gels’ newly found in this study. As a result, it is suggested that the N-A-S-H and C-A-S-H gels should be strictly called Na-rich N-C-A-S-H and Ca-rich N-C-A-S-H gels, respectively.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 20
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    In: Minerals
    Publication Date: 2018-08-25
    Description: Minerals, Vol. 8, Pages 367: Cr Release from Cr-Substituted Goethite during Aqueous Fe(II)-Induced Recrystallization Minerals doi: 10.3390/min8090367 Authors: Jian Hua Manjia Chen Chengshuai Liu Fangbai Li Jian Long Ting Gao Fei Wu Jing Lei Minghua Gu The interaction between aqueous Fe(II) (Fe(II)aq) and iron minerals is an important reaction of the iron cycle, and it plays a critical role in impacting the environmental behavior of heavy metals in soils. Metal substitution into iron (hydr)oxides has been reported to reduce Fe atom exchange rates between Fe(II)aq and metal-substituted iron (hydr)oxides and inhibit the recrystallization of iron (hydr)oxides. However, the environmental behaviors of the substituted metal during these processes remain unclear. In this study, Fe(II)aq-induced recrystallization of Cr-substituted goethite (Cr-goethite) was investigated, along with the sequential release behavior of substituted Cr(III). Results from a stable Fe isotopic tracer and Mössbauer characterization studies show that Fe atom exchange occurred between Fe(II)aq and structural Fe(III) (Fe(III)oxide) in Cr-goethites, during which the Cr-goethites were recrystallized. The Cr substitution inhibited the rates of Fe atom exchange and Cr-goethite recrystallization. During the recrystallization of Cr-goethites induced by Fe(II)aq, Cr(III) was released from Cr-goethite. In addition, Cr-goethites with a higher level of Cr-substituted content released more Cr(III). The highest Fe atom exchange rate and the highest amount of released Cr(III) were observed at a pH of 7.5. Under reaction conditions involving a lower pH of 5.5 or a higher pH of 8.5, there were substantially lower rates of Fe atom exchange and Cr(III) release. This trend of Cr(III) release was similar with changes in Fe atom exchange, suggesting that Cr(III) release is driven by Fe atom exchange. The release and reincorporation of Cr(III) occurred simultaneously during the Fe(II)aq-induced recrystallization of Cr-goethites, especially during the late stage of the observed reactions. Our findings emphasize an important role for Fe(II)aq-induced recrystallization of iron minerals in changing soil metal characteristics, which is critical for the evaluation of soil metal activities, especially those in Fe-rich soils.
    Electronic ISSN: 2075-163X
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 21
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    Publication Date: 2018-08-25
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 3004: Spatial Suitability Evaluation of an Arid City Based on the Perspective of Major Function Oriented Zoning: A Case Study of Urumqi City in Xinjiang, China Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10093004 Authors: Dongli Chen Degang Yang Xinhuan Zhang Yannan Zhao Yufang Zhang The realization of regional sustainable development has been a popular research topic during the process of urbanization. To explore the coordination relationships between urban development and ecological security—taking Urumqi city, a representative arid city in Xinjiang, China, as a study area—this study has constructed a framework of spatial suitability evaluation based on the characteristics of a Mountain–Oasis–Desert System (MODS) in an arid area under the framework of major function oriented zoning (MFOZ). A spatial overlay analysis using Geographic Information System (GIS) with a 5 m × 5 m grid or towns and streets as the basic unit was applied to comprehensively evaluate spatial suitability. The results showed that the study area was zoned into a forbidden development zone (as patches set in towns and streets), an ecological protection zone (nine towns or streets), a moderate development zone (16 towns or streets), and a key development zone (82 towns or streets), accounting for 30.35%, 32.50%, 23.79%, and 13.36%, respectively. The zoning results provided a basis to pointedly put forward the development and protection strategies of each administrative unit; and the research framework can be applied to other arid areas for the decision-making related to the urban space layout and environmental management.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 22
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    In: Symmetry
    Publication Date: 2018-08-25
    Description: Symmetry, Vol. 10, Pages 360: Hyperbolicity on Graph Operators Symmetry doi: 10.3390/sym10090360 Authors: J. A. Méndez-Bermúdez Rosalío Reyes José M. Rodríguez José M. Sigarreta A graph operator is a mapping F : Γ → Γ ′ , where Γ and Γ ′ are families of graphs. The different kinds of graph operators are an important topic in Discrete Mathematics and its applications. The symmetry of this operations allows us to prove inequalities relating the hyperbolicity constants of a graph G and its graph operators: line graph, Λ ( G ) ; subdivision graph, S ( G ) ; total graph, T ( G ) ; and the operators R ( G ) and Q ( G ) . In particular, we get relationships such as δ ( G ) ≤ δ ( R ( G ) ) ≤ δ ( G ) + 1 / 2 , δ ( Λ ( G ) ) ≤ δ ( Q ( G ) ) ≤ δ ( Λ ( G ) ) + 1 / 2 , δ ( S ( G ) ) ≤ 2 δ ( R ( G ) ) ≤ δ ( S ( G ) ) + 1 and δ ( R ( G ) ) − 1 / 2 ≤ δ ( Λ ( G ) ) ≤ 5 δ ( R ( G ) ) + 5 / 2 for every graph which is not a tree. Moreover, we also derive some inequalities for the Gromov product and the Gromov product restricted to vertices.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-8994
    Topics: Mathematics , Physics
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  • 23
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    In: Water
    Publication Date: 2018-08-25
    Description: Water, Vol. 10, Pages 1132: Quantity and Quality of Surface and Subsurface Runoff from an Eroded Loess Slope Used for Agricultural Purposes Water doi: 10.3390/w10091132 Authors: Andrzej Mazur The purpose of the work was to determine the surface and subsurface water runoff and selected constituents of the matter contained and carried out from the eroded loess slope used as arable land. The research was carried out in 2008–2011 on the Lublin Upland. The quantity of water flowing out of the slope was measured and samples were collected in order to determine the concentration of the soil suspension of nitrogen and its forms as well as phosphorus and potassium. Soil tests were also carried out and the rainfall amount and intensity was monitored. The research results show that the amount of precipitation was significantly statistically correlated with the quantity of surface and subsurface water runoff and with the precipitation and surface runoff erosion indicator EI30 (correlations at the level of r = 0.75–0.78). In addition, the mass of eroded soil was strongly correlated with the erosion indicator of rain and surface runoff EI30 (r = 0.86). The annual soil losses were from 21.1 to 173.1 Mg ha−1. The concentration of chemical components dissolved in the surface and subsurface runoff water in most cases proved to be negatively statistically correlated with the amount of precipitation and indicator EI30. The correlation coefficients (r) were at levels from −0.32 to −0.52. The annual loss of nutrients caused by chemical erosion was: nitrogen 7.210–29.949 kg ha−1, phosphorus 0.846–5.279 kg ha−1 and potassium 7.065–21.660 kg ha−1. The highest intensity of water erosion was recorded in 2010, when root crops were grown in the field.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4441
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 24
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    In: Water
    Publication Date: 2018-08-25
    Description: Water, Vol. 10, Pages 1129: Development of Bubble Characteristics on Chute Spillway Bottom Water doi: 10.3390/w10091129 Authors: Ruidi Bai Chang Liu Bingyang Feng Shanjun Liu Faxing Zhang Chute aerators introduce a large air discharge through air supply ducts to prevent cavitation erosion on spillways. There is not much information on the microcosmic air bubble characteristics near the chute bottom. This study was focused on examining the bottom air-water flow properties by performing a series of model tests that eliminated the upper aeration and illustrated the potential for bubble variation processes on the chute bottom. In comparison with the strong air detrainment in the impact zone, the bottom air bubble frequency decreased slightly. Observations showed that range of probability of the bubble chord length tended to decrease sharply in the impact zone and by a lesser extent in the equilibrium zone. A distinct mechanism to control the bubble size distribution, depending on bubble diameter, was proposed. For bubbles larger than about 1–2 mm, the bubble size distribution followed a—5/3 power-law scaling with diameter. Using the relationship between the local dissipation rate and bubble size, the bottom dissipation rate was found to increase along the chute bottom, and the corresponding Hinze scale showed a good agreement with the observations.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4441
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 25
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    In: Water
    Publication Date: 2018-08-25
    Description: Water, Vol. 10, Pages 1131: Water Resources Carrying Capacity Analysis of YarLung Tsangpo River Basin (I) Water doi: 10.3390/w10091131 Authors: Lili Wang Zhonggen Wang Xiaocong Liu Water resources carrying capacity (WRCC) analysis is critically important in providing guidance to the sustainable development strategies of the YarLung Tsangpo River Basin (YTRB) due to the conflicts among the ample water resources, low development level of society, and the fragile ecological environment. This study evaluated the scheduled developing mode of YTRB in the planning years from 2016 to 2030 with a WRCC system containing three components: a hydrological informatics modeling system (HIMS), water resources carrying capacity (WRCC) model, and an index evaluation system. The averaged WRCC index is 4.29, 1.19, and 0.06 for the planning years, and 2.61, 0.98, 0.05 for the baseline years for the three sub-basins. The water deficiency problem becomes more severe in the upper sub-basin and appears in the middle sub-basin with the WRCC index greater than 1, while the water resources are not fully utilized in the lower sub-basin in the planning years, with the WRCC index far less than 1. The GDP of the three sub-basins is greater in the planning years, with 2.25 × 108, 54.60 × 108, and 3.94 × 108 dollars year−1 than those in the baseline years with 1.97 × 108, 47.71 × 108, 3.43 × 108 dollars year−1. However, GDP per capita/cubic meter keeps decreasing due to the great population growth rate and non-enhanced water use efficiency. The sustainability index is 0.04, 0.23, and 0.47 in the planning years, which is lower than the 0.04, 0.31, and 0.50 in the baseline years. Therefore, the scheduled growth rates of the population, urbanization, and GDP are a developing mode with low sustainability and are not appropriate to be continued in the planning years. Further work is needed to identify a sustainable developing mode with a decreased population growth rate, enhanced water use efficiency in the economic system, and the optimized allocation of water resources distribution in the three sub-basins with hydraulic facilities.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4441
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 26
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    In: Water
    Publication Date: 2018-08-25
    Description: Water, Vol. 10, Pages 1130: Flood Routing in River Reaches Using a Three-Parameter Muskingum Model Coupled with an Improved Bat Algorithm Water doi: 10.3390/w10091130 Authors: Saeed Farzin Vijay P. Singh Hojat Karami Nazanin Farahani Mohammad Ehteram Ozgur Kisi Mohammed Falah Allawi Nuruol Syuhadaa Mohd Ahmed El-Shafie Design of hydraulic structures, flood warning systems, evacuation measures, and traffic management require river flood routing. A common hydrologic method of flood routing is the Muskingum method. The present study attempted to develop a three-parameter Muskingum model considering lateral flow for flood routing, coupling with a new optimization algorithm namely, Improved Bat Algorithm (IBA). The major function of the IBA is to optimize the estimated value of the three-parameters associated with the Muskingum model. The IBA acts based on the chaos search tool, which mainly enhances the uniformity and erogidicty of the population. In addition, the current research, unlike the other existing models which consider flood routing, is based on dividing one reach to a few intervals to increase the accuracy of flood routing models. Three case studies with lateral flow were considered for this study, including the Wilson flood, Karahan flood, and Myanmar flood. Seven performance indexes were examined to evaluate the performance of the proposed Muskingum model integrated with IBA, with other models that were also based on the Muskingum Model with three-parameters but utilized different optimization algorithms. The results for the Wilson flood showed that the proposed model could reduce the Sum of Squared Deviations (SSD) value by 89%, 51%, 93%, 69%, and 88%, compared to the Genetic Algorithm (GA), Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO) algorithm, Pattern Search (PS) algorithm, Harmony Search (HS) algorithm, and Honey Bee Mating Optimization (HBMO), respectively. In addition, increasing the number of intervals for flood routing significantly improved the accuracy of the results. The results indicated that the Sum of Absolute Deviations (SAD) using IBA for the Karahan flood was 117, which had reduced by 83%, 88%, 94%, and 12%, compared to the PSO, GA, HS, and BA, respectively. Furthermore, the achieved results for the Myanmar flood showed that SSD for IBA relative to GA, BA, and PSO was reduced by 32%, 11%, and 42%, respectively. In conclusion, the proposed Muskingum Model integrated with IBA considering the existence of lateral flow, outperformed the existing applied simple Muskingum models in previous studies. In addition, the more the number of intervals used in the model, the better the accuracy of flood routing prediction achieved.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4441
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 27
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    In: Water
    Publication Date: 2018-08-25
    Description: Water, Vol. 10, Pages 1128: Microbial Electrochemical Technologies for Wastewater Treatment: Principles and Evolution from Microbial Fuel Cells to Bioelectrochemical-Based Constructed Wetlands Water doi: 10.3390/w10091128 Authors: Carlos A. Ramírez-Vargas Amanda Prado Carlos A. Arias Pedro N. Carvalho Abraham Esteve-Núñez Hans Brix Microbial electrochemical technologies (MET) rely on the presence of the metabolic activity of electroactive bacteria for the use of solid-state electrodes for oxidizing different kinds of compound that can lead to the synthesis of chemicals, bioremediation of polluted matrices, the treatment of contaminants of interest, as well as the recovery of energy. Keeping these possibilities in mind, there has been growing interest in the use of electrochemical technologies for wastewater treatment, if possible with simultaneous power generation, since the beginning of the present century. In the last few years, there has been growing interest in exploring the possibility of merging MET with constructed wetlands offering a new option of an intensified wetland system that could maintain a high performance with a lower footprint. Based on that interest, this paper explains the general principles of MET, and the different known extracellular electron transfer mechanisms ruling the interaction between electroactive bacteria and potential solid-state electron acceptors. It also looks at the adoption of those principles for the development of MET set-ups for simultaneous wastewater treatment and power generation, and the challenges that the technology faces. Ultimately, the most recent developments in setups that merge MET with constructed wetlands are presented and discussed.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4441
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 28
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    In: Energies
    Publication Date: 2018-08-26
    Description: Energies, Vol. 11, Pages 2231: Compact Water-Cooled Thermoelectric Generator (TEG) Based on a Portable Gas Stove Energies doi: 10.3390/en11092231 Authors: Hongkun Lv Guoneng Li Youqu Zheng Jiangen Hu Jian Li A compact water-cooled thermoelectric generator (TEG) based on a portable gas stove was designed and analyzed to supply electricity in off-grid scenarios. The TEG incorporates a newly designed heat collector, eight thermoelectric (TE) modules, and a radiator to ensure its portability (5.9 kg) and sufficiency of electric power (12.9 W). Detailed measurements and discussions on power load feature and TE efficiency are presented. Experiments showed that the power generation capability of the proposed TEG is compromised by its compactness over previous water-cooled TEGs. A theoretical model incorporated with heat leaks from various origins has been developed to illustrate that the designed TEG exerts the potential of every TE module, and to reveal the proportion of various heat fluxes. The predicted electric power, various heat fluxes, and TE efficiency agree well with experimental data. The limitations of TE efficiency and the nonlinearity caused by Joule heat are discussed quantitatively.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 29
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    In: Energies
    Publication Date: 2018-08-26
    Description: Energies, Vol. 11, Pages 2230: Numerical Investigation on the Effects of Baffles with Various Thermal and Geometrical Conditions on Thermo-Fluid Dynamics and Kinetic Power of a Solar Updraft Tower Energies doi: 10.3390/en11092230 Authors: Seungjin Lee Yoon Seok Kim Joong Yull Park Solar updraft towers (SUTs) are used for renewable power generation, taking advantage of the thermal updraft air flow caused by solar energy. Aerodynamic devices have been applied to SUTs to improve their performance and the baffle is one such device. Here, we investigate the effect of baffle installation on the thermo-fluid dynamic phenomena in the collector of an SUT and how it enhances the overall SUT performance using computational fluid dynamics analysis. Two geometric parameters (height and width of baffle) and two thermal boundary conditions of the baffle (adiabatic condition and heat flux condition) were tested through simulations with 10 different models. The vortex generated by the baffle has a positive effect on the delivery of heat energy from the ground to the main flow; however, one disadvantage is that the baffle inherently increases the resistance of the main flow. Over 3% higher kinetic power was achieved with some of the simulated baffle models. Therefore, an optimum design for baffle installation can be achieved by considering the positive and negative thermo-fluid dynamics of baffles.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 30
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    In: Energies
    Publication Date: 2018-08-26
    Description: Energies, Vol. 11, Pages 2228: Development and Validation of Numerical Models for Evaluation of Foam-Vacuum Insulation Panel Composite Boards, Including Edge Effects Energies doi: 10.3390/en11092228 Authors: Kaushik Biswas A combined finite element analysis (FEA) and experimental validation approach to estimating effective edge conductivities of vacuum insulation panels (VIPs) embedded in foam-VIP composites is presented. The edge conductivities were estimated by comparing the simulation results with measurements of small-scale (0.61 × 0.61 m) foam-VIP composites and using an error minimization method. The two composites contained multiple VIPs that were butt-jointed with each other in one composite and separated by foam insulation in the other. Edge conductivities were estimated by considering the neighboring materials, i.e., whether the VIPs were adjacent to other VIPs or foam insulation. Models incorporating the edge conductivities were then used to simulate additional small- and large-scale (2.44 × 1.22 m) composites for validation and evaluation of the overall thermal transmission properties. The simulations used either the same boundary conditions as the experiments or used the experimental parameters to define the appropriate boundary conditions.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 31
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    In: Energies
    Publication Date: 2018-08-26
    Description: Energies, Vol. 11, Pages 2229: Biodiesel by Transesterification of Rapeseed Oil Using Ultrasound: A Kinetic Study of Base-Catalysed Reactions Energies doi: 10.3390/en11092229 Authors: José María Encinar Ana Pardal Nuria Sánchez Sergio Nogales The objective of this work was to study the acceleration that ultrasound causes in the rate of biodiesel transesterification reactions. The effect of different operating variables, such as ultrasound power, catalyst (KOH) concentration and methanol:oil molar ratio, was studied. The evolution of the process was followed by gas chromatography, determining the concentration of methyl esters at different reaction times. The biodiesel was characterized by its density, viscosity, saponification and iodine values, acidity index, water content, flash and combustion points, cetane index and cold filter plugging point (CFPP), according to EN 14214 standard. High methyl ester yield and fast reaction rates were obtained in short reaction times. Ultrasound power and catalyst concentration had a positive effect on the yield and the reaction rate. The methanol:oil molar ratio also increased the yield of the reaction, but negatively influenced the process rate. The reaction followed a pseudo-first order kinetic model and the rate constants at several temperatures were determined. The activation energy was also determined using the Arrhenius equation. The main conclusion of this work is that the use of ultrasound irradiation did not require any additional heating, which could represent an energy savings for biodiesel manufacture.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 32
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    In: Entropy
    Publication Date: 2018-08-26
    Description: Entropy, Vol. 20, Pages 640: Fixed-Rate Universal Lossy Source Coding and Model Identification: Connection with Zero-Rate Density Estimation and the Skeleton Estimator Entropy doi: 10.3390/e20090640 Authors: Jorge F. Silva Milan S. Derpich This work demonstrates a formal connection between density estimation with a data-rate constraint and the joint objective of fixed-rate universal lossy source coding and model identification introduced by Raginsky in 2008 (IEEE TIT, 2008, 54, 3059–3077). Using an equivalent learning formulation, we derive a necessary and sufficient condition over the class of densities for the achievability of the joint objective. The learning framework used here is the skeleton estimator, a rate-constrained learning scheme that offers achievable results for the joint coding and modeling problem by optimally adapting its learning parameters to the specific conditions of the problem. The results obtained with the skeleton estimator significantly extend the context where universal lossy source coding and model identification can be achieved, allowing for applications that move from the known case of parametric collection of densities with some smoothness and learnability conditions to the rich family of non-parametric L 1 -totally bounded densities. In addition, in the parametric case we are able to remove one of the assumptions that constrain the applicability of the original result obtaining similar performances in terms of the distortion redundancy and per-letter rate overhead.
    Electronic ISSN: 1099-4300
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Physics
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  • 33
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    In: Entropy
    Publication Date: 2018-08-26
    Description: Entropy, Vol. 20, Pages 638: 1-D versus 2-D Entropy Velocity Law for Water Discharge Assessment in a Rough Ditch Entropy doi: 10.3390/e20090638 Authors: Michele Greco Giovanni Martino Water discharge assessment in open channel flow is one of the most crucial issues for hydraulic engineers in the fields of water resource management, river dynamics, ecohydraulics, irrigation, and hydraulic structure design, among others. Recent studies state that the entropy velocity law allows expeditive methodology for discharge estimation and rating curve development due to the simple mathematical formulation and implementation. Many works have been developed based on the one-dimensional (1-D) formulation of the entropy velocity profile, supporting measurements in the lab and the field for rating curve assessment, but in recent years, the two-dimensional (2-D) formulation was proposed and applied in studies of regular ditch flow, showing good performance. The present work deals with a comparison between the 1-D and 2-D approaches in order to give a general framework of threats and opportunities related to the robust operational application of such laws. The analysis was carried out on a laboratory ditch with regular roughness, under controlled boundary conditions, and in different stages, generating an exhaustive dashboard for better appraisal of the approaches.
    Electronic ISSN: 1099-4300
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Physics
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  • 34
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    In: Entropy
    Publication Date: 2018-08-26
    Description: Entropy, Vol. 20, Pages 639: Convex Optimization via Symmetrical Hölder Divergence for a WLAN Indoor Positioning System Entropy doi: 10.3390/e20090639 Authors: Osamah Abdullah Modern indoor positioning system services are important technologies that play vital roles in modern life, providing many services such as recruiting emergency healthcare providers and for security purposes. Several large companies, such as Microsoft, Apple, Nokia, and Google, have researched location-based services. Wireless indoor localization is key for pervasive computing applications and network optimization. Different approaches have been developed for this technique using WiFi signals. WiFi fingerprinting-based indoor localization has been widely used due to its simplicity, and algorithms that fingerprint WiFi signals at separate locations can achieve accuracy within a few meters. However, a major drawback of WiFi fingerprinting is the variance in received signal strength (RSS), as it fluctuates with time and changing environment. As the signal changes, so does the fingerprint database, which can change the distribution of the RSS (multimodal distribution). Thus, in this paper, we propose that symmetrical Hölder divergence, which is a statistical model of entropy that encapsulates both the skew Bhattacharyya divergence and Cauchy–Schwarz divergence that are closed-form formulas that can be used to measure the statistical dissimilarities between the same exponential family for the signals that have multivariate distributions. The Hölder divergence is asymmetric, so we used both left-sided and right-sided data so the centroid can be symmetrized to obtain the minimizer of the proposed algorithm. The experimental results showed that the symmetrized Hölder divergence consistently outperformed the traditional k nearest neighbor and probability neural network. In addition, with the proposed algorithm, the position error accuracy was about 1 m in buildings.
    Electronic ISSN: 1099-4300
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Physics
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  • 35
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    In: Entropy
    Publication Date: 2018-08-26
    Description: Entropy, Vol. 20, Pages 637: Comparative Performance Analysis of a Simplified Curzon-Ahlborn Engine Entropy doi: 10.3390/e20090637 Authors: Ricardo T. Páez-Hernández Juan Carlos Chimal-Eguía Delfino Ladino-Luna Juan Manuel Velázquez-Arcos This paper presents a finite-time thermodynamic optimization based on three different optimization criteria: Maximum Power Output (MP), Maximum Efficient Power (MEP), and Maximum Power Density (MPD), for a simplified Curzon-Ahlborn engine that was first proposed by Agrawal. The results obtained for the MP are compared with those obtained using MEP and MPD criteria. The results show that when a Newton heat transfer law is used, the efficiency values of the engine working inthe MP regime are lowerthan the efficiency values ( τ ) obtained withthe MEP and MPD regimesfor all values of the parameter τ = T 2 / T 1 , where T 1 and T 2 are the hot and cold temperatures of the engine reservoirs ( T 2 < T 1 ) , respectively. However, when a Dulong-Petit heat transfer law is used, the efficiency values of the engine working at MEP are larger than those obtained withthe MP and the MPD regimesfor all values of τ . Notably, when 0 < τ < 0.68 , the efficiency values for the MP regime are larger than those obtained withthe MPD regime. Also, when 0.68 < τ < 1 , the efficiency values for the aforementioned regimes are similar. Importantly, the parameter τ plays a crucial role in the engine performance, providing guidance during the design of real power plants.
    Electronic ISSN: 1099-4300
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Physics
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  • 36
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    In: Entropy
    Publication Date: 2018-08-26
    Description: Entropy, Vol. 20, Pages 636: New Binary Locally Repairable Codes with Locality 2 and Uneven Availabilities for Hot Data Entropy doi: 10.3390/e20090636 Authors: Kang-Seok Lee Hosung Park Jong-Seon No In this paper, a new family of binary LRCs (BLRCs) with locality 2 and uneven availabilities for hot data is proposed, which has a high information symbol availability and low parity symbol availabilities for the local repair of distributed storage systems. The local repair of each information symbol for the proposed codes can be done not by accessing other information symbols but only by accessing parity symbols. The proposed BLRCs with k = 4 achieve the optimality on the information length for their given code length, minimum Hamming distance, locality, and availability in terms of the well-known theoretical upper bound.
    Electronic ISSN: 1099-4300
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Physics
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  • 37
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    In: Forests
    Publication Date: 2018-08-26
    Description: Forests, Vol. 9, Pages 515: 25 Years of Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management: Why Some Intergovernmental C&I Processes Flourished While Others Faded Forests doi: 10.3390/f9090515 Authors: Stefanie Linser Bernhard Wolfslehner Fady Asmar Simon R. J. Bridge David Gritten Vicente Guadalupe Mostafa Jafari Steven Johnson Pablo Laclau Guy Robertson The use of criteria and indicators (C&I) for data collection, monitoring, assessing and reporting on sustainable forest management (SFM) has been growing since the Earth Summit in 1992, supported by eleven intergovernmental, regional and international forest-related C&I processes. The initial effort led to varying levels of implementation across countries. Several processes never went much beyond the adoption of a first set of C&I while others have made substantial progress. In recent years, interest in C&I for SFM has again increased. In light of the Sustainable Development Goals and emerging global challenges the contribution of C&I to monitor, assess and report on forest conditions and trends is increasingly important. We compare and analyse the structure, activities and progress of the intergovernmental C&I processes. The work is based on document analysis and questionnaires sent to the secretariats of the processes and C&I experts. We found many similarities but also major differences in the structure and content of the C&I sets. The results provide a context for discussing and understanding why some of the C&I processes are successful in their work while others have stalled. Finally, we propose the required ingredients for success for the future activities of the forest-related intergovernmental C&I processes.
    Electronic ISSN: 1999-4907
    Topics: Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
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  • 38
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    In: Materials
    Publication Date: 2018-08-26
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 1533: Study of the Portevin-Le Chatelier (PLC) Characteristics of a 5083 Aluminum Alloy Sheet in Two Heat Treatment States Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11091533 Authors: Ni Tian Guangdong Wang Yiran Zhou Kun Liu Gang Zhao Liang Zuo In the present work, the role of Mg atoms in the form of either Mg clusters or β phase on the moving dislocations in 5083 aluminum alloy sheet were investigated by comparing the plastic flow behavior and Portevin-Le Chatelier (PLC) character in annealed and quenched conditions. It is found that the tensile strength of quenched sheets at different strain rates is slightly higher than those under annealed condition while the yield strength at both conditions is similar. In annealed sheets, the yield plateau was clearly observed at all tested strain rates with a strain less than 0.012, and its width increased with the increasing strain rate. However, no yield plateau was observed in quenched sheets. On the other hand, the characters of PLC are greatly varied with applied conditions and strain rate. Generally, annealed sheets have a higher waiting time, but lower critical strain/stress at lower strain rate (~1 × 10−4 s−1), but they are similar at a higher strain rate (1 × 10−2 s−1). However, the falling time at both annealed and quenched conditions are almost the same at tested strain rates.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 39
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    Publication Date: 2018-08-26
    Description: IJGI, Vol. 7, Pages 348: Nesting Patterns of Loggerhead Sea Turtles (Caretta caretta): Development of a Multiple Regression Model Tested in North Carolina, USA ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information doi: 10.3390/ijgi7090348 Authors: Joanne N. Halls Alyssa L. Randall Numerous environmental conditions may influence when a female Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) selects a nesting site. Limited research has used Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and statistical analysis to study sea turtle spatial patterns and temporal trends. Therefore, the goals of this research were to identify areas that were most prevalent for nesting and to test social and environmental variables to create a nesting suitability predictive model. Data were analyzed at all barrier island beaches in North Carolina, USA (515 km) and several variables were statistically significant: distance to hardened structures, beach nourishment, house density, distance to inlets, and beach elevation, slope, and width. Interestingly, variables that were not significant were population density, proximity to the Gulf Stream, and beach aspect. Several statistical techniques were tested and Negative Binomial Distribution produced good regional results while Geographically Weighted Regression models successfully predicted the number of nests with an average of 75% of the variance explained. Therefore, the combination of traditional and spatial statistics provided insightful predictive modeling results that may be incorporated into management strategies and may have important implications for the designation of critical Loggerhead nesting habitats.
    Electronic ISSN: 2220-9964
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geosciences
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  • 40
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    Publication Date: 2018-08-26
    Description: IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 1838: Risk Assessment and Source Identification of Toxic Metals in the Agricultural Soil around a Pb/Zn Mining and Smelting Area in Southwest China International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15091838 Authors: Jinnan Wu Jian Long Lingfei Liu Juan Li Hongkai Liao Mingjiang Zhang Chang Zhao Qiusheng Wu Mining and smelting activities are the primary sources of toxic metal pollution in China. The purpose of this study was to investigate the pollution risk and identify sources of metals in the arable soil of a Zn/Pb mining and smelting district located in Huize, in Southwest China. Topsoil (346) and profile (three) samples were collected and analyzed to determine the total concentrations of eight toxic elements (Cd, Hg, As, Pb, Cr, Cu, Zn and Ni). The results showed that the mean Cd, Hg, As, Pb, Cr, Cu, Zn and Ni concentrations were 9.07, 0.37, 25.0, 512, 88.7, 239, 1761 and 90.3 mg/kg, respectively, all of which exceeded both the Huize and Yunnan soil background levels. Overall the topsoil was quite acidic, with a mean pH of 5.51. The mean geoaccumulation index (Igeo) revealed that the pollution level was in the order of Pb > Zn > Cd > Hg > As > Ni > Cu > Cr. The ecological risk index (Ei) indicated that there were serious contamination risks for Cd and Hg, high risk for Pb, moderate risk for As, and Cd and Hg were the dominant contributors to the high combined ecological risk index (Er) with a mean parameter of 699 meaning a serious ecological risk. The Nemerow pollution index (Pn) showed that 99.1% of soil samples were highly polluted or worse. Horizontally, high concentrations of Cd, Hg, As, Pb and Zn appeared in the north and middle of the study area, while Cr, Cu and Ni showed an opposite trend. Vertically, as the depth increased, Cd, Hg, As, Pb and Zn contents declined, but Cr, Cu and Ni exhibited an increasing trend. The mobilities of the metals were in the order of Zn > Cd > Hg > As > Pb. Horizontal and vertical distribution, coupled with correlation analysis, PCA and CA suggested that Cd, Hg, As, Pb and Zn mainly came from the anthropogenic sources, whereas Cr and Ni had a lithogenic origin. The source of Cu was a combination of the presence of parent materials as well as human activities. This study provides a base for the local government to control the toxic metal pollution and restore the soil environment system and an effective method to identify the sources of the studied pollutants.
    Print ISSN: 1661-7827
    Electronic ISSN: 1660-4601
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering , Medicine
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  • 41
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    In: Materials
    Publication Date: 2018-08-26
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 1530: Photovoltage Reversal in Organic Optoelectronic Devices with Insulator-Semiconductor Interfaces Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11091530 Authors: Laigui Hu Wei Jin Rui Feng Muhammad Zaheer Qingmiao Nie Guoping Chen Zhi-Jun Qiu Chunxiao Cong Ran Liu Photoinduced space-charges in organic optoelectronic devices, which are usually caused by poor mobility and charge injection imbalance, always limit the device performance. Here we demonstrate that photoinduced space-charge layers, accumulated at organic semiconductor-insulator interfaces, can also play a role for photocurrent generation. Photocurrent transients from organic devices, with insulator-semiconductor interfaces, were systematically studied by using the double-layer model with an equivalent circuit. Results indicated that the electric fields in photoinduced space-charge layers can be utilized for charge generation and can even induce a photovoltage reversal. Such an operational process of light harvesting would be promising for photoelectric conversion in organic devices.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 42
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    In: Materials
    Publication Date: 2018-08-26
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 1532: 3D Printing of Porous Scaffolds with Controlled Porosity and Pore Size Values Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11091532 Authors: Irene Buj-Corral Ali Bagheri Oriol Petit-Rojo 3D printed scaffolds can be used, for example, in medical applications for simulating body tissues or for manufacturing prostheses. However, it is difficult to print porous structures of specific porosity and pore size values with fused deposition modelling (FDM) technology. The present paper provides a methodology to design porous structures to be printed. First, a model is defined with some theoretical parallel planes, which are bounded within a geometrical figure, for example a disk. Each plane has randomly distributed points on it. Then, the points are joined with lines. Finally, the lines are given a certain volume and the structure is obtained. The porosity of the structure depends on three geometrical variables: the distance between parallel layers, the number of columns on each layer and the radius of the columns. In order to obtain mathematical models to relate the variables with three responses, the porosity, the mean of pore diameter and the variance of pore diameter of the structures, design of experiments with three-level factorial analysis was used. Finally, multiobjective optimization was carried out by means of the desirability function method. In order to favour fixation of the structures by osseointegration, porosity range between 0.5 and 0.75, mean of pore size between 0.1 and 0.3 mm, and variance of pore size between 0.000 and 0.010 mm2 were selected. Results showed that the optimal solution consists of a structure with a height between layers of 0.72 mm, 3.65 points per mm2 and a radius of 0.15 mm. It was observed that, given fixed height and radius values, the three responses decrease with the number of points per surface unit. The increase of the radius of the columns implies the decrease of the porosity and of the mean of pore size. The decrease of the height between layers leads to a sharper decrease of both the porosity and the mean of pore size. In order to compare calculated and experimental values, scaffolds were printed in polylactic acid (PLA) with FDM technology. Porosity and pore size were measured with X-ray tomography. Average value of measured porosity was 0.594, while calculated porosity was 0.537. Average value of measured mean of pore size was 0.372 mm, while calculated value was 0.434 mm. Average value of variance of pore size was 0.048 mm2, higher than the calculated one of 0.008 mm2. In addition, both round and elongated pores were observed in the printed structures. The current methodology allows designing structures with different requirements for porosity and pore size. In addition, it can be applied to other responses. It will be very useful in medical applications such as the simulation of body tissues or the manufacture of prostheses.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 43
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    In: Materials
    Publication Date: 2018-08-26
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 1531: A Tangible Educative 3D Printed Atlas of the Rat Brain Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11091531 Authors: Darío R. Quiñones Jorge Ferragud-Agulló Ricardo Pérez-Feito Juan A. García-Manrique Santiago Canals David Moratal In biology and neuroscience courses, brain anatomy is usually explained using Magnetic Resonance (MR) images or histological sections of different orientations. These can show the most important macroscopic areas in an animals’ brain. However, this method is neither dynamic nor intuitive. In this work, an anatomical 3D printed rat brain with educative purposes is presented. Hand manipulation of the structure, facilitated by the scale up of its dimensions, and the ability to dismantle the “brain” into some of its constituent parts, facilitates the understanding of the 3D organization of the nervous system. This is an alternative method for teaching students in general and biologists in particular the rat brain anatomy. The 3D printed rat brain has been developed with eight parts, which correspond to the most important divisions of the brain. Each part has been fitted with interconnections, facilitating assembling and disassembling as required. These solid parts were smoothed out, modified and manufactured through 3D printing techniques with poly(lactic acid) (PLA). This work presents a methodology that could be expanded to almost any field of clinical and pre-clinical research, and moreover it avoids the need for dissecting animals to teach brain anatomy.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 44
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    In: Minerals
    Publication Date: 2018-08-26
    Description: Minerals, Vol. 8, Pages 370: Revisiting the Organic Template Model through the Microstructural Study of Shell Development in Pinctadamargaritifera, the Polynesian Pearl Oyster Minerals doi: 10.3390/min8090370 Authors: Cuif Dauphin Luquet Medjoubi Somogyi Perez-Huerta A top-down approach to the mineralized structures and developmental steps that can be separated in the shells of Pinctada margaritifera was carried out. Detailed characterizations show that each of the two major layers usually taken into account (the outer prismatic layer and the inner nacreous layer) is actually the result of a complex process during which the microstructural patterns were progressively established. From its early growing stages in the deeper part of the periostracal grove up to the formation of the most inner nacreous layers, this species provides a demonstrative case study illustrating the leading role of specifically secreted organic structures as determinants of the crystallographic properties of the shell-building units. Gathering data established at various observational scales ranging from morphology to the nanometer level, this study allows for a reexamination of the recent and current biomineralization models.
    Electronic ISSN: 2075-163X
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 45
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    In: Minerals
    Publication Date: 2018-08-26
    Description: Minerals, Vol. 8, Pages 368: New Insights into the Configurations of Lead(II)-Benzohydroxamic Acid Coordination Compounds in Aqueous Solution: A Combined Experimental and Computational Study Minerals doi: 10.3390/min8090368 Authors: Jianyong He Haisheng Han Chenyang Zhang Yuehua Hu Dandan Yuan Mengjie Tian Daixiong Chen Wei Sun Novel collector lead(II)-benzohydroxamic acid (Pb(II)–BHA) complexes in aqueous solution were characterized by using experimental approaches, including Ultraviolet-visible (UV-Vis) spectroscopy and electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry (ESI-MS), as well as first-principle density functional theory (DFT) calculations with consideration for solvation effects. The Job plot delineated that a single coordinated Pb(BHA)+ should be formed first, and that the higher coordination number complexes can be formed subsequently. Moreover, the Pb(II)–BHA species can aggregate with each other to form complicated structures, such as Pb(BHA)2 or highly complicated complexes. ESI-MS results validated the existence of Pb-(BHA)n=1,2 under different solution pH values. Further, the first-principles calculations suggested that Pb(BHA)+ should be the most stable structure, and the Pb atom in Pb(BHA)+ will act as an active site to attack nucleophiles. These findings are meaningful to further illustrate the adsorption mechanism of Pb(II)–BHA complexes, and are helpful for developing new reagents in mineral processing.
    Electronic ISSN: 2075-163X
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 46
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    In: Minerals
    Publication Date: 2018-08-26
    Description: Minerals, Vol. 8, Pages 369: Effects of Xanthate on Flotation Kinetics of Chalcopyrite and Talc Minerals doi: 10.3390/min8090369 Authors: Limei Bai Jie Liu Yuexin Han Kai Jiang Wenqing Zhao This paper investigated the effects of using or not using potassium butyl xanthate (PBX) as a collector on the flotation kinetics of talc and chalcopyrite. By means of atomic force microscopy (AFM), Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), a contact angle measuring instrument and particle size analyzer, the underlying causes behind the flotation rate changes of talc and chalcopyrite are analyzed. Experimental results showed that in collectorless flotation, the law of change in the flotation rate constant (k) of the two minerals over time is independent of pH, and k values of chalcopyrite are much smaller than those of talc. In the presence of PBX, the flotation speed of chalcopyrite greatly increases, and the k values of chalcopyrite are far larger than those of talc. This is mainly because the amount of xanthate adsorbed on the surface of chalcopyrite is large and the adsorption is in the form of chemisorption, while the adsorption of xanthate on the talcum surface is in very small amounts and in the form of physical adsorption. Simulation results indicated that the collectorless flotation of chalcopyrite conform to the classical first-order kinetics model and the Kelsall model, whereas that of talc only conform to the latter, which is due to the layered structure of talc. In the presence of the collector, talc flotation conforms to the two model, because talc has a higher floatability and particle morphology has less influence on the flotation rate.
    Electronic ISSN: 2075-163X
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 47
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    Publication Date: 2018-08-26
    Description: Remote Sensing, Vol. 10, Pages 1355: Multifrequency and Full-Polarimetric SAR Assessment for Estimating Above Ground Biomass and Leaf Area Index in the Amazon Várzea Wetlands Remote Sensing doi: 10.3390/rs10091355 Authors: Luciana O. Pereira Luiz F. A. Furtado Evlyn M. L. M. Novo Sidnei J. S. Sant’Anna Veraldo Liesenberg Thiago S. F. Silva The aim of this study is to evaluate the potential of multifrequency and Full-polarimetric Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data for retrieving both Above Ground Biomass (AGB) and Leaf Area Index (LAI) in the Amazon floodplain forest environment. Two specific questions were proposed: (a) Does multifrequency SAR data perform more efficiently than single-frequency data in estimating LAI and AGB of várzea forests?; and (b) Are quad-pol SAR data more efficient than single- and dual-pol SAR data in estimating LAI and AGB of várzea forest? To answer these questions, data from different sources (TerraSAR-X Multi Look Ground Range Detected (MGD), Radarsat-2 Standard Qual-Pol, advanced land observing satellite (ALOS)/ phased-arrayed L-band SAR (PALSAR-1). Fine-beam dual (FDB) and quad Polarimetric mode) were combined in 10 different scenarios to model both LAI and AGB. A R-platform routine was implemented to automatize the selection of the best regression models. Results indicated that ALOS/PALSAR variables provided the best estimates for both LAI and AGB. Single-frequency L-band data was more efficient than multifrequency SAR. PALSAR-FDB HV-dB provided the best LAI estimates during low-water season. The best AGB estimates at high-water season were obtained by PALSAR-1 quad-polarimetric data. The top three features for estimating AGB were proportion of volumetric scattering and both the first and second dominant phase difference between trihedral and dihedral scattering, extracted from Van Zyl and Touzi decomposition, respectively. The models selected for both AGB and LAI were parsimonious. The Root Mean Squared Error (RMSEcv), relative overall RMSEcv (%) and R2 value for LAI were 0.61%, 0.55% and 13%, respectively, and for AGB, they were 74.6 t·ha−1, 0.88% and 46%, respectively. These results indicate that L-band (ALOS/PALSAR-1) has a high potential to provide quantitative and spatial information about structural forest attributes in floodplain forest environments. This potential may be extended not only with PALSAR-2 data but also to forthcoming missions (e.g., NISAR, Global Ecosystems Dynamics Investigation Lidar (GEDI), BIOMASS, Tandem-L) for promoting wall-to-wall AGB mapping with a high level of accuracy in dense tropical forest regions worldwide.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 48
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    Publication Date: 2018-08-26
    Description: Remote Sensing, Vol. 10, Pages 1354: Validation of CryoSat-2 SARIn Data over Austfonna Ice Cap Using Airborne Laser Scanner Measurements Remote Sensing doi: 10.3390/rs10091354 Authors: Louise Sandberg Sørensen Sebastian B. Simonsen Kirsty Langley Laurence Gray Veit Helm Johan Nilsson Lars Stenseng Henriette Skourup René Forsberg Malcolm W. J. Davidson The study presented here is focused on the assessment of surface elevations derived from CryoSat-2 SARIn level 1b data over the Austfonna ice cap, Svalbard, in 2016. The processing chain that must be applied to the CryoSat-2 waveforms to derive heights is non-trivial, and consists of multiple steps, all requiring subjective choices of methods such as the choice of retracker, geo-relocation, and outlier rejection. Here, we compare six CryoSat-2 level-2 type data sets of surface elevations derived using different SARIn processing chains. These data sets are validated against surface elevation data collected from an airborne laser scanner, during a dedicated CryoSat validation experiment field campaign carried out in April 2016. The flight pattern of the airborne campaign was designed so that elevations were measured in a grid pattern rather than along single lines, as has previously been the standard procedure. The flight grid pattern was chosen to optimize the comparison with the CryoSat-2 SARIn elevation data, the location of which can deviate from nadir by several kilometers due to topography within the satellite footprint. The processing chains behind the six data sets include different outlier/error rejection approaches, and do not produce the same number of data points in our region of interest. To make a consistent analysis, we provide statistics from the validation of both the full data sets from each processing chain, and on only those data that all the six data sets provide a geo-located elevation estimate for. We find that the CryoSat-2 data sets that agree best with the validation data are those derived from dedicated land ice processing schemes. This study may serve as a benchmark for future CryoSat-2 retracker developments, and the evaluation software and data set are made publicly available.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 49
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    Publication Date: 2018-08-26
    Description: Remote Sensing, Vol. 10, Pages 1353: An Analysis of Factors Influencing the Relationship between Satellite-Derived AOD and Ground-Level PM10 Remote Sensing doi: 10.3390/rs10091353 Authors: Roland Stirnberg Jan Cermak Hendrik Andersen Air pollution can endanger human health, especially in urban areas. Assessment of air quality primarily relies on ground-based measurements, but these provide only limited information on the spatial distribution of pollutants. In recent years, satellite derived Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) has been used to approximate particulate matter (PM) with varying success. In this study, the relationship between hourly mean concentrations of particulate matter with a diameter of 10 micrometers or less (PM10) and instantaneous AOD measurements is investigated for Berlin, Germany, for 2001–2015. It is found that the relationship between AOD and PM10 is rarely linear and strongly influenced by ambient relative humidity (RH), boundary layer height (BLH), wind direction and wind speed. Generally, when a moderately dry atmosphere (30% < RH ≤ 50%) coincides with a medium BLH (600–1200 m), AOD and PM10 are in the same range on a semi-quantitative scale. AOD increases with ambient RH, leading to an overestimation of the dry particle concentration near ground. However, this effect can be compensated if a low boundary layer (<600 m) is present, which in turn significantly increases PM10, eventually leading to satellite AOD and PM10 measurements of similar magnitude. Insights of this study potentially influence future efforts to estimate near-ground PM concentrations based on satellite AOD.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 50
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    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-08-26
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 2808: Superpixel Segmentation Based Synthetic Classifications with Clear Boundary Information for a Legged Robot Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18092808 Authors: Yaguang Zhu Kailu Luo Chao Ma Qiong Liu Bo Jin In view of terrain classification of the autonomous multi-legged walking robots, two synthetic classification methods for terrain classification, Simple Linear Iterative Clustering based Support Vector Machine (SLIC-SVM) and Simple Linear Iterative Clustering based SegNet (SLIC-SegNet), are proposed. SLIC-SVM is proposed to solve the problem that the SVM can only output a single terrain label and fails to identify the mixed terrain. The SLIC-SegNet single-input multi-output terrain classification model is derived to improve the applicability of the terrain classifier. Since terrain classification results of high quality for legged robot use are hard to gain, the SLIC-SegNet obtains the satisfied information without too much effort. A series of experiments on regular terrain, irregular terrain and mixed terrain were conducted to present that both superpixel segmentation based synthetic classification methods can supply reliable mixed terrain classification result with clear boundary information and will put the terrain depending gait selection and path planning of the multi-legged robots into practice.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 51
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    MDPI Publishing
    Publication Date: 2018-08-26
    Description: Remote Sensing, Vol. 10, Pages 1352: Variation of Net Primary Production and Its Correlation with Climate Change and Anthropogenic Activities over the Tibetan Plateau Remote Sensing doi: 10.3390/rs10091352 Authors: Zhaohui Luo Wenchen Wu Xijun Yu Qingmei Song Jian Yang Jiahui Wu Hengjun Zhang Grasslands in the Tibetan Plateau are claimed to be sensitive and vulnerable to climate change and anthropogenic activities. Quantifying the impacts of climate change and anthropogenic activities on grassland growth is an essential step for developing sustainable grassland ecosystem management strategies under the background of climate change and increasing anthropogenic activities occurring in the plateau. Net primary productivity (NPP) is one of the key components in the carbon cycle of terrestrial ecosystems, and can serve an important role in the assessment of vegetation growth. In this study, a modified Carnegie–Ames–Stanford Approach (CASA) model, which considers remote sensing information for the estimation of the water stress coefficient and time-lag effects of climatic factors on NPP simulation, was applied to simulate NPP in the Tibetan Plateau from 2001 to 2015. Then, the spatiotemporal variations of NPP and its correlation with climatic factors and anthropogenic activities were analyzed. The results showed that the mean values of NPP were 0.18 kg∙C∙m−2∙a−1 and 0.16 kg∙C∙m−2∙a−1 for the original CASA model and modified CASA model, respectively. The modified CASA model performed well in estimating NPP compared with field-observed data, with root mean square error (RMSE) and mean absolute error (MAE) of 0.13 kg∙C∙m−2∙a−1 and 0.10 kg∙C∙m−2∙a−1, respectively. Relative RMSE and MAE decreased by 45.8% and 44.4%, respectively, compared to the original CASA model. The variation of NPP showed gradients decreasing from southeast to northwest spatially, and displayed an overall decreasing trend for the study area temporally, with a mean value of −0.02 × 10−2 kg∙C∙m−2∙a−1 due to climate change and increasing anthropogenic activities (i.e., land use and land cover change). Generally, 54% and 89% of the total pixels displayed a negative relationship between NPP and mean annual temperature, as well as annual cumulative precipitation, respectively, with average values of –0.0003 (kg∙C∙m−2 a−1)/°C and −0.254 (g∙C∙m−2∙a−1)/mm for mean annual temperature and annual cumulative precipitation, respectively. Additionally, about 68% of the total pixels displayed a positive relationship between annual cumulative solar radiation and NPP, with a mean value of 0.038 (g∙C∙m−2·a−1)/(MJ m−2). Anthropogenic activities had a negative effect on NPP variation, and it was larger than that of climate change, implying that human intervention plays a critical role in mitigating the degenerating ecosystem. In terms of human intervention, ecological destruction has a significantly negative effect on the NPP trend, and the absolute value was larger than that of ecological restoration, which has a significantly positive effect on NPP the trend. Our results indicate that ecological destruction should be paid more attention, and ecological restoration should be conducted to mitigate the overall decreasing trend of NPP in the plateau.
    Electronic ISSN: 2072-4292
    Topics: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying , Geography
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  • 52
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    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-08-26
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 2810: Aspect-Aware Target Detection and Localization by Wireless Sensor Networks Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18092810 Authors: Li Hu Shilian Wang Eryang Zhang This paper considers the active detection of a stealth target with aspect dependent reflection (e.g., submarine, aircraft, etc.) using wireless sensor networks (WSNs). When the target is detected, its localization is also of interest. Due to stringent bandwidth and energy constraints, sensor observations are quantized into few-bit data individually and then transmitted to a fusion center (FC), where a generalized likelihood ratio test (GLRT) detector is employed to achieve target detection and maximum likelihood estimation of the target location simultaneously. In this context, we first develop a GLRT detector using one-bit quantized data which is shown to outperform the typical counting rule and the detection scheme based on the scan statistic. We further propose a GLRT detector based on adaptive multi-bit quantization, where the sensor observations are more precisely quantized, and the quantized data can be efficiently transmitted to the FC. The Cramer-Rao lower bound (CRLB) of the estimate of target location is also derived for the GLRT detector. The simulation results show that the proposed GLRT detector with adaptive 2-bit quantization achieves much better performance than the GLRT based on one-bit quantization, at the cost of only a minor increase in communication overhead.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 53
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    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-08-28
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 2820: Indoor Positioning Algorithm Based on the Improved RSSI Distance Model Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18092820 Authors: Guoquan Li Enxu Geng Zhouyang Ye Yongjun Xu Jinzhao Lin Yu Pang The Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) cannot achieve accurate positioning and navigation in the indoor environment. Therefore, efficient indoor positioning technology has become a very active research topic. Bluetooth beacon positioning is one of the most widely used technologies. Because of the time-varying characteristics of the Bluetooth received signal strength indication (RSSI), traditional positioning algorithms have large ranging errors because they use fixed path loss models. In this paper, we propose an RSSI real-time correction method based on Bluetooth gateway which is used to detect the RSSI fluctuations of surrounding Bluetooth nodes and upload them to the cloud server. The terminal to be located collects the RSSIs of surrounding Bluetooth nodes, and then adjusts them by the RSSI fluctuation information stored on the server in real-time. The adjusted RSSIs can be used for calculation and achieve smaller positioning error. Moreover, it is difficult to accurately fit the RSSI distance model with the logarithmic distance loss model due to the complex electromagnetic environment in the room. Therefore, the back propagation neural network optimized by particle swarm optimization (PSO-BPNN) is used to train the RSSI distance model to reduce the positioning error. The experiment shows that the proposed method has better positioning accuracy than the traditional method.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 54
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    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-08-28
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 2818: Plasmonic-Ceria Nanoparticles as Fluorescence Intensity and Lifetime Quenching Optical Sensor Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18092818 Authors: Nader Shehata Effat Samir Ishac Kandas Ceria nanoparticles have been recently used as an optical fluorescent material with visible emission under ultraviolet excitation, due to the formation of trivalent cerium ions with corresponding oxygen vacancies. This paper introduces the enhancement of both fluorescence emission and lifetime through adding gold nanoparticles. The reason is due to possible coupling between the plasmonic resonance of gold nanoparticles and the fluorescence emission of ceria that has been achieved, along with enhanced formation of trivalent cerium ions. Both factors lead to higher fluorescence intensity peaks and shorter fluorescence lifetimes. As an application, gold-ceria nanoparticles have been used as an optical sensing material for lead particles in aqueous media based on fluorescence quenching. Stern-Volmer constant of in-situ gold-ceria nanoparticles is found to be 2.424 M−1, with a relative intensity change of up to 40% at 0.2 g/L.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 55
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    In: Sensors
    Publication Date: 2018-08-28
    Description: Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 2816: Accurate Device-Free Tracking Using Inexpensive RFIDs Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18092816 Authors: Liyao Li Chongzheng Guo Yang Liu Lichao Zhang Xiaofei Qi Yuhui Ren Baoying Liu Feng Chen Without requiring targets to carry any device, device-free-based tracking is playing an important role in many emerging applications such as smart homes, fitness tracking, intruder detection, etc. While promising, current device-free tracking systems based on inexpensive commercial devices perform well in the training environment, but poorly in other environments because of different multipath reflections. This paper introduces RDTrack, a system that leverages changes in Doppler shifts, which are not sensitive to multipath, to accurately track the target. Moreover, RDTrack identifies particular patterns for fine-grained motions such as turning, walking straightly, etc., which can achieve accurate tracking. For the purpose of achieving a fine-grained device-free tracking system, this paper builds a trajectory estimating model using HMM (Hidden Markov Model) to improve the matching accuracy and reduce the time complexity. We address several challenges including estimating the tag influenced time period, identifying moving path and reducing false positives due to multipath. We implement RDTrack with inexpensive commercial off-the-shelf RFID (Radio Frequency IDentification) hardware and extensively evaluate RDTrack in a lobby, staircase and library. Our results show that RDTrack is effective in tracking the moving target, with a low tracking error of 32 cm. This accuracy is robust for different environments, highlighting RDTrack’s ability to enable future essential device-free moving-based interaction with RFID devices.
    Electronic ISSN: 1424-8220
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology , Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
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  • 56
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    Publication Date: 2018-08-28
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 3047: Brazier Effect of Thin Angle-Section Beams under Bending Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10093047 Authors: Zhiguang Zhou Liuyun Xu Chaoxin Sun Songtao Xue Thin-walled section beams have Brazier effect to exhibit a nonlinear response to bending moments, which is a geometric nonlinearity problem and different from eigenvalue problem. This paper is aimed at investigating the Brazier effect in thin-walled angle-section beams subjected to pure bending about its weak axis. The derivation using energy method is presented to predict the maximum bending moment and section deformation. Both numerical analyses and experimental results were used to show the validity of the proposed formula. Numerical results show that the boundary condition can influence the results due to the end effect, and that the influence tends to be negligible when the length of angle beam goes up to 30 times as the length of beam side. When the collapse in experiments is governed by Brazier flattening, the moment vs. curvature curve deviates significantly from the linear beam theory, but coincides well with the proposed formula in consideration of the restraint due to limited span of experimental setup. It can be concluded that the proposed formula shows good agreement with numerical results and experimental results.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 57
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    In: Materials
    Publication Date: 2018-08-27
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 1535: Simultaneous Strain and Temperature Sensor Based on a Fiber Mach-Zehnder Interferometer Coated with Pt by Iron Sputtering Technology Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11091535 Authors: Xinran Dong Haifeng Du Xiaoyan Sun Ji’an Duan We demonstrated a fiber in-line Mach-Zehnder interferometer (MZI) coated with platinum (Pt) for the simultaneous measurement of strain and temperature. The sensor was fabricated by splicing a section of multimode fiber (MMF) between two single mode fibers (SMFs) and the Pt coating was prepared by iron sputtering technology. Fine interference fringes of over 20 dB with a compact size of 20 mm were achieved. The experimental results of the two different resonant dips showed strain sensitivities of −2.06 pm/με and −2.21 pm/με, as well as temperature sensitivities of 55.2 pm/°C and 53.4 pm/°C, respectively. Furthermore, it was found that the Pt coating can improve the strain sensitivity significantly, resulting in an increase of about 54.5%. In addition, the sensor has advantages of easy fabrication, low cost, and high sensitivity, showing great potential for the dual-parameter sensing of strain and temperature.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 58
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    In: Materials
    Publication Date: 2018-08-27
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 1536: Synergistic Enhancement of Thermal Conductivity and Dielectric Properties in Al2O3/BaTiO3/PP Composites Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11091536 Authors: Junlong Yao Li Hu Min Zhou Feng You Xueliang Jiang Lin Gao Qing Wang Zhengguang Sun Jun Wang Multifunctional polymer composites with both high dielectric constants and high thermal conductivity are urgently needed by high-temperature electronic devices and modern microelectromechanical systems. However, high heat-conduction capability or dielectric properties of polymer composites all depend on high-content loading of different functional thermal-conductive or high-dielectric ceramic fillers (every filler volume fraction ≥ 50%, i.e., ffiller ≥ 50%), and an overload of various fillers (fthermal-conductive filler + fhigh-dielectric filler > 50%) will decrease the processability and mechanical properties of the composite. Herein, series of alumina/barium titanate/polypropylene (Al2O3/BT/PP) composites with high dielectric- and high thermal-conductivity properties are prepared with no more than 50% volume fraction of total ceramic fillers loading, i.e., ffillers ≤ 50%. Results showed the thermal conductivity of the Al2O3/BT/PP composite is up to 0.90 W/m·K with only 10% thermal-conductive Al2O3 filler, which is 4.5 times higher than the corresponding Al2O3/PP composites. Moreover, higher dielectric strength (Eb) is also found at the same loading, which is 1.6 times higher than PP, and the Al2O3/BT/PP composite also exhibited high dielectric constant ( ε r = 18 at 1000 Hz) and low dielectric loss (tan δ ≤ 0.030). These excellent performances originate from the synergistic mechanism between BaTiO3 macroparticles and Al2O3 nanoparticles.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 59
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    In: Materials
    Publication Date: 2018-08-27
    Description: Materials, Vol. 11, Pages 1534: Al/Si Nanopillars as Very Sensitive SERS Substrates Materials doi: 10.3390/ma11091534 Authors: Giovanni Magno Benoit Bélier Grégory Barbillon In this paper, we present a fast fabrication of Al/Si nanopillars for an ultrasensitive SERS detection of chemical molecules. The fabrication process is only composed of two steps: use of a native oxide layer as a physical etch mask followed by evaporation of an aluminum layer. A random arrangement of well-defined Al/Si nanopillars is obtained on a large-area wafer of Si. A good uniformity of SERS signal is achieved on the whole wafer. Finally, we investigated experimentally the sensitivity of these Al/Si nanopillars for SERS sensing, and analytical enhancement factors in the range of 1.5 × 10 7 − 2.5 × 10 7 were found for the detection of thiophenol molecules. Additionally, 3D FDTD simulations were used to better understand optical properties of Al/Si nanopillars as well as the Raman enhancement.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1944
    Topics: Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
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  • 60
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    In: Water
    Publication Date: 2018-08-26
    Description: Water, Vol. 10, Pages 1139: Optimizing Policy for Balanced Industrial Profit and Water Pollution Control under a Complex Socioecological System Using a Multiagent-Based Model Water doi: 10.3390/w10091139 Authors: Caiyun Deng Hongrui Wang Weiguang Zhang Zhiqian Jiao Water pollution is a prominent and urgent environmental problem that represents a significant challenge in solving the water resource crisis. The ability to choose an optimal environmental policy can provide support for decision makers to effectively control water pollution. This study presents an agent-based model (ABM) approach involving two classes of agents, agricultural household agents and factory agents, to simulate pollutant discharge, and discusses the effectiveness of the whole system and subsystems under multiple policy scenarios involving a combination of environmental tax (ET) and payments for environmental services (PES). This idea is applied to the Shanmei Reservoir watershed, one of the important reservoirs watersheds in China. The results showed that: (1) the ABM represented well pollutant discharge scenarios where Nash coefficient (NSE) values were greater than 0.76; (2) though ET and PES policies were both effective in reducing water pollution, PES was more effective at reducing pollution from households, while ET was more effective at controlling industrial pollution emissions; (3) considering the environmental costs and general effect of the system, a medium degree of PES for agricultural household agents and a medium degree of ET for factory agents were found to be optimal for controlling water pollution in this watershed. A differential compensation mechanism and the introduction of market incentives were recommended to reduce the financial burden of the government. The results also demonstrated that ABM was helpful for choosing an effective policy to control pollution emissions and realizing environmental objectives and socio-economic co-benefits. The model structure and parameters should be optimized in specific cases because of the uncertainty of partial parameters and the neglect of the consumption process. These findings could be helpful for providing guidelines for water pollution control and sustainable water management in China.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4441
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 61
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    In: Water
    Publication Date: 2018-08-26
    Description: Water, Vol. 10, Pages 1137: Using a Hierarchical Approach to Calibrate SWAT and Predict the Semi-Arid Hydrologic Regime of Northeastern Brazil Water doi: 10.3390/w10091137 Authors: Carlos A. S. Santos Carina Almeida Tiago B. Ramos Felizardo A. Rocha Rodrigo Oliveira Ramiro Neves The Paraguaçu watershed in northeastern Brazil faces increasing water scarcity, with water resources unable to meet the increasing demand. Accurate assessment of water availability is thus essential for efficient planning and management of local resources. In this work, the potential of the SWAT model for predicting daily and monthly variability of the hydrologic regime of the Paraguaçu River was assessed. Model calibration/validation followed: (i) A hierarchical framework; (ii) the assessment of maximum, average and minimum streamflow based on paired t-test and linear regression analysis; and (iii) the definition of permanence curves for streamflow with a probability of occurrence of 90% (Q90) and 95% (Q95). The goodness-of-fit indicators revealed a “satisfactory” model performance (model efficiency ranged from 0.42 to 0.83) when predicting streamflow in monitored sub-basins using a unique set of parameters for wet and dry conditions. The flow duration curves also showed that the model underestimated higher flows resulting from extreme events but performed well for flows with exceedance probabilities of <90%. The regression analysis and paired t-test demonstrated that the SWAT model can be used for estimating maximum, average and minimum monthly streamflow in a region where information is insufficient to support water authorities in the decision-making process. The SWAT model can thus be considered adequate for simulating monthly streamflow in the Paraguaçu watershed.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4441
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 62
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    In: Water
    Publication Date: 2018-08-26
    Description: Water, Vol. 10, Pages 1136: Drivers of Ecosystem Metabolism in Two Managed Shallow Lakes with Different Salinity and Trophic Conditions: The Sauce Grande and La Salada Lakes (Argentina) Water doi: 10.3390/w10091136 Authors: María Belén Alfonso Andrea Soledad Brendel Alejandro José Vitale Carina Seitz María Cintia Piccolo Gerardo Miguel Eduardo Perillo Understanding the drivers and how they affect ecosystem metabolism is essential for developing effective management policy and plans. In this study, net ecosystem production (NEP), ecosystem respiration (R), and gross primary production (GPP) rates were estimated in relation to physicochemical, hydrological, and meteorological variables in La Salada (LS) and Sauce Grande (SG), two shallow lakes located in an important agricultural region with water management. LS is a mesosaline, mesotrophic-eutrophic lake, whereas SG is a hyposaline and eutrophic lake. GPP and R showed daily and seasonal variations, with R exceeding GPP during most of the study period in both lakes. Net heterotrophic conditions prevailed during the study period (NEP LS: −1.1 mmol O2 m−2 day−1 and NEP SG: −1.25 mmol O2 m−2 day−1). From data analysis, the temperature, wind speed, and lake volume are the main drivers of ecosystem metabolism for both lakes. Despite the significant differences between the two lakes, the NEP values were similar. The different hydrological characteristics (endorheic vs. flushing lake) were crucial in explaining why the two different systems presented similar ecosystem metabolic rates, emphasizing the importance of water management.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4441
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 63
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    In: Water
    Publication Date: 2018-08-26
    Description: Water, Vol. 10, Pages 1135: Hydrological Modeling of Climate Change Impacts in a Tropical River Basin: A Case Study of the Cauto River, Cuba Water doi: 10.3390/w10091135 Authors: Yalina Montecelos-Zamora Tereza Cavazos Thomas Kretzschmar Enrique R. Vivoni Gerald Corzo Eugenio Molina-Navarro The soil and water assessment tool (SWAT) model was applied for the first time in Cuba to assess the potential impacts of climate change on water availability in the Cauto River basin. The model was calibrated (and validated) for the 2001–2006 (2007–2010) period at a monthly timescale in two subbasins La Fuente and Las Coloradas, representative of middle and upper sections of the Cauto basin; the calibrated models showed good performance. The output available for the regional climate Model RegCM4.3 was used to force the calibrated SWAT models to simulate a baseline (1970–2000) period and near-future (2015–2039) hydrologic regimes under the representative concentration pathway (RCP) 8.5 emission scenario. The future projections suggest regional increases of 1.5 °C in mean annual temperature and a 38% decrease in mean annual precipitation in the subbasins. These changes translate to possible reductions in the annual streamflow of up to 61% with respect to the baseline period, whereas the aquifer recharge in the basin is expected to decrease up to 58%, with a consequent reduction of groundwater flow, especially during the boreal summer wet season. These projection scenarios should be of interest to water resources managers in tropical regions.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4441
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 64
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    In: Water
    Publication Date: 2018-08-26
    Description: Water, Vol. 10, Pages 1134: Modelling Spatiotemporal Dynamics of Large Wood Recruitment, Transport, and Deposition at the River Reach Scale during Extreme Floods Water doi: 10.3390/w10091134 Authors: Andreas Paul Zischg Niccolo Galatioto Silvana Deplazes Rolf Weingartner Bruno Mazzorana Large wood (LW) can lead to clogging at bridges and thus cause obstruction, followed by floodplain inundation. Moreover, colliding logs can cause severe damage to bridges, defense structures, and other infrastructure elements. The factors influencing spatiotemporal LW dynamics (LWD) during extreme floods vary remarkably across river basins and flood scenarios. However, there is a lack of methods to estimate the amount of LW in rivers during extreme floods. Modelling approaches allow for a reliable assessment of LW dynamics during extreme flood events by determining LW recruitment, transport, and deposition patterns. Here, we present a method for simulating LWD on a river reach scale implemented in R (LWDsimR). We extended a previously developed LW transport model with a tree recognition model on the basis of Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data for LW recruitment simulation. In addition, we coupled the LWD simulation model with the hydrodynamic simulation model Basic Simulation Environment for Computation of Environmental Flow and Natural Hazard Simulation (BASEMENT-ETH) by adapting the existing LW transport model to be used on irregular meshes. The model has been applied in the Aare River basin (Switzerland) to quantify mobilized LW volumes and the associated flow paths in a probable maximum flood scenario.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4441
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 65
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    In: Water
    Publication Date: 2018-08-26
    Description: Water, Vol. 10, Pages 1133: Biofouling Formation and Bacterial Community Structure in Hybrid Moving Bed Biofilm Reactor-Membrane Bioreactors: Influence of Salinity Concentration Water doi: 10.3390/w10091133 Authors: Alejandro Rodriguez-Sanchez Juan Carlos Leyva-Diaz Barbara Muñoz-Palazon Maria Angustias Rivadeneyra Miguel Hurtado-Martinez Daniel Martin-Ramos Alejandro Gonzalez-Martinez Jose Manuel Poyatos Jesus Gonzalez-Lopez Two pilot-scale hybrid moving bed biofilm reactor-membrane bioreactors were operated in parallel for the treatment of salinity-amended urban wastewater under 6 hours of hydraulic retention time and 2500 mg L−1 total solids concentration. Two salinity conditions were tested: the constant salinity of 6.5 mS cm−1 electric conductivity (3.6 g L−1 NaCl) and the tidal-like variable salinity with maximum 6.5 mS cm−1 electric conductivity. An investigation was developed on the biofouling produced on the ultrafiltration membrane surface evaluating its bacterial community structure and its potential function in the fouling processes. The results showed that biofouling was clearly affected by salinity scenarios in terms of α-diversity and β-diversity and bacterial community structure, which confirms lower bacterial diversity under variable salinity conditions with Rhodanobacter and Dyella as dominant phylotypes. Microorganisms identified as bio-mineral formers belonged to genera Bacillus, Citrobacter, and Brevibacterium. These findings will be of help for the prevention and control of biofouling in saline wastewater treatment systems.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4441
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 66
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    In: Energies
    Publication Date: 2018-08-27
    Description: Energies, Vol. 11, Pages 2238: Adaptive Sliding Mode Speed Control for Wind Energy Experimental System Energies doi: 10.3390/en11092238 Authors: Adel Merabet In this paper, an adaptive sliding mode speed control algorithm with an integral-operation sliding surface is proposed for a variable speed wind energy experimental system. In the control design, an estimator is designed to compensate for the uncertainties and the unknown turbine torque. In addition, the bound of the sliding mode is investigated to deal with uncertainties. The stability of the system can be guaranteed in the sense of the Lyapunov stability theorem. The laboratory size DC generator wind energy system is controlled using a buck-boost DC-DC converter interface. The control system is validated by experimentation and results demonstrate the achievement of favorable speed tracking performance and robustness against parametric variations and external disturbances.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 67
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    In: Energies
    Publication Date: 2018-08-27
    Description: Energies, Vol. 11, Pages 2239: Analysis, Modeling, and Control of Half-Bridge Current-Source Converter for Energy Management of Supercapacitor Modules in Traction Applications Energies doi: 10.3390/en11092239 Authors: Jorge Garcia Pablo Garcia Fabio Giulii Capponi Giulio De Donato In this work, an in-depth investigation was performed on the properties of the half-bridge current-source (HBCS) bidirectional direct current (DC)-to-DC converter, used to interface two DC-link voltage sources with a high-voltage-rating mismatch. The intended implementation is particularly suitable for the interfacing of a supercapacitor (SC) module and a battery stack in a hybrid storage system (HSS) for automotive applications. It is demonstrated that the use of a synchronous rectification (SR) modulation scheme benefits both the power-stage performance (in terms of efficiency and reliability) and the control-stage performance (in terms of simplicity and versatility). Furthermore, an average model of the converter, valid for every operating condition, is derived and utilized as a tool for the design of the control system. This model includes the effects of parasitic elements (mainly the leakage inductance of the transformer) and of the converter snubbers. A 3 kW prototype of the converter was used for experimental validation of the converter modeling, design, and performance. Finally, a discussion on the control strategy of the converter operation is included.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 68
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    In: Energies
    Publication Date: 2018-08-27
    Description: Energies, Vol. 11, Pages 2236: Adaptive Consensus Algorithm for Distributed Heat-Electricity Energy Management of an Islanded Microgrid Energies doi: 10.3390/en11092236 Authors: Xiaofeng Dong Xiaoshun Zhang Tong Jiang This paper proposes a novel adaptive consensus algorithm (ACA) for distributed heat-electricity energy management (HEEM) of an islanded microgrid. In order to simultaneously satisfy the heat-electricity energy balance constraints, ACA is implemented with a switch between unified consensus and independent consensus according to the dynamic energy mismatches. The feasible operation region of a combined heat and power (CHP) unit is decomposed into eight searching sub-regions, thus its electricity and heat energy outputs can simultaneously match the incremental cost consensus requirement and the heat-electricity energy balance constraints. Case studies are thoroughly carried out to verify the performance of ACA for distributed HEEM of an islanded microgrid.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 69
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    In: Energies
    Publication Date: 2018-08-27
    Description: Energies, Vol. 11, Pages 2234: Design, Development and Implementation of a Weather Station Prototype for Renewable Energy Systems Energies doi: 10.3390/en11092234 Authors: Carlos Morón Jorge Pablo Diaz Daniel Ferrández Pablo Saiz The production of energy at the global level is conditioned by the use of fossil fuels that have a great environmental impact. In the last decades, renewable energy production systems have been implemented, and networks of nearly zero-energy buildings have been created, with a consequent complexity in the design phase in order to optimize the results. In this way, electronic prototype development methods like the one that is proposed in this paper improve the tasks of design and modelling. Thus, a new weather station based on an Arduino platform has been developed to collect and store ambient temperature, relative humidity, barometric pressure, wind speed and air quality data, comparing the obtained data to those obtained using a validation station containing commercial sensors. The results show how the use of low cost Arduino sensors allow one to obtain similar values to those collected by more professional meteorological stations with insignificant scatter between both technologies.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 70
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    In: Energies
    Publication Date: 2018-08-27
    Description: Energies, Vol. 11, Pages 2235: A Hybrid Machine Learning Model for Electricity Consumer Categorization Using Smart Meter Data Energies doi: 10.3390/en11092235 Authors: Zigui Jiang Rongheng Lin Fangchun Yang Time-series smart meter data can record precisely electricity consumption behaviors of every consumer in the smart grid system. A better understanding of consumption behaviors and an effective consumer categorization based on the similarity of these behaviors can be helpful for flexible demand management and effective energy control. In this paper, we propose a hybrid machine learning model including both unsupervised clustering and supervised classification for categorizing consumers based on the similarity of their typical electricity consumption behaviors. Unsupervised clustering algorithm is used to extract the typical electricity consumption behaviors and perform fuzzy consumer categorization, followed by a proposed novel algorithm to identify distinct consumer categories and their consumption characteristics. Supervised classification algorithm is used to classify new consumers and evaluate the validity of the identified categories. The proposed model is applied to a real dataset of U.S. non-residential consumers collected by smart meters over one year. The results indicate that large or special institutions usually have their distinct consumption characteristics while others such as some medium and small institutions or similar building types may have the same characteristics. Moreover, the comparison results with other methods show the improved performance of the proposed model in terms of category identification and classifying accuracy.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 71
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    In: Energies
    Publication Date: 2018-08-27
    Description: Energies, Vol. 11, Pages 2237: Design and Experimental Verification of 400-WClass LED Driver with Cooperative Control Method for Two-Parallel Connected DC/DC Converters Energies doi: 10.3390/en11092237 Authors: Tomoharu Yada Yuta Katamoto Hiroaki Yamada Toshihiko Tanaka Masayuki Okamoto Tsuyoshi Hanamoto This paper deals with a design and experimental verification of 400-W class light-emitting diode (LED) driver with cooperative control method for two-parallel connected DC/DC converters. In the cooperative control method, one DC/DC converter is selected to supply the output current for the LED, based on the reference value of the LED current. Thus, the proposed cooperative-control strategy achieves wide dimming range operation. The discontinuous current conduction mode (DCM) operation improves the total harmonic distortion (THD) value on the AC side of the LED driver. The standard of Electrical Applications and Materials Safety Act in Japan has defined the flicker frequency and minimum optical output. The smoothing capacitors are designed by considering the power flow and LED current ripple for satisfying the standard. A prototype LED driver is constructed and tested. Experimental results demonstrate that a wide dimming operation range from 1 to 100% is achieved with a THD value less than 10% on the AC side, by the proposed control strategy. The authors compare the power conversion efficiency between Si- and SiC-metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistors (MOSFETs) based LED driver. The maximum power conversion efficiency by using SiC-MOSFETs based LED driver is 91.4%. Finally, the variable switching frequency method is proposed for improving the power conversion efficiency for a low LED current region.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 72
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    In: Energies
    Publication Date: 2018-08-27
    Description: Energies, Vol. 11, Pages 2232: Using Generalized Generation Distribution Factors in a MILP Model to Solve the Transmission-Constrained Unit Commitment Problem Energies doi: 10.3390/en11092232 Authors: Guillermo Gutierrez-Alcaraz Victor H. Hinojosa This study proposes a mixed-integer linear programming (MILP) model to figure out the transmission-constrained direct current (DC)-based unit commitment (UC) problem using the generalized generation distribution factors (GGDF) for modeling the transmission network constraints. The UC problem has been reformulated using these linear distribution factors without sacrificing optimality. Several test power systems (PJM 5-bus, IEEE-24, and 118-bus) have been used to validate the introduced formulation. Results demonstrate that the proposed approach is more compact and less computationally burdensome than the classical DC-based formulation, which is commonly employed in the technical literature to carry out the transmission network constraints. Therefore, there is a potential applicability of the accomplished methodology to carry out the UC problem applied to medium and large-scale electrical power systems.
    Electronic ISSN: 1996-1073
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 73
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    Publication Date: 2018-08-28
    Description: Atmosphere, Vol. 9, Pages 337: The Concept of Large‐Scale Conditioning of Climate Model Simulations of Atmospheric Coastal Dynamics: Current State and Perspectives Atmosphere doi: 10.3390/atmos9090337 Authors: Hans von Storch Leone Cavicchia Frauke Feser Delei Li We review the state of dynamical downscaling with scale-constrained regional and global models. The methodology, in particular spectral nudging, has become a routine and well-researched tool for hindcasting climatologies of sub-synoptic atmospheric disturbances in coastal regions. At present, the spectrum of applications is expanding to other phenomena, but also to ocean dynamics and to extended forecasting. Additionally, new diagnostic challenges are appearing such as spatial characteristics of small-scale phenomena such as Low Level Jets.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4433
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 74
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    Publication Date: 2018-08-28
    Description: Atmosphere, Vol. 9, Pages 335: Modeling Wildfire Smoke Pollution by Integrating Land Use Regression and Remote Sensing Data: Regional Multi-Temporal Estimates for Public Health and Exposure Models Atmosphere doi: 10.3390/atmos9090335 Authors: Mojgan Mirzaei Stefania Bertazzon Isabelle Couloigner To understand the health effects of wildfire smoke, it is important to accurately assess smoke exposure over space and time. Particulate matter (PM) is a predominant pollutant in wildfire smoke. In this study, we develop land-use regression (LUR) models to investigate the impact that a cluster of wildfires in the northwest USA had on the level of PM in southern Alberta (Canada), in the summer of 2015. Univariate aerosol optical depth (AOD) and multivariate AOD-LUR models were used to estimate the level of PM2.5 in urban and rural areas. For epidemiological studies, it is also important to distinguish between wildfire-related PM2.5 and PM2.5 originating from other sources. We therefore subdivided the study period into three sub-periods: (1) Pre-fire, (2) during-fire, and (3) post-fire. We then developed separate models for each sub-period. With this approach, we were able to identify different predictors significantly associated with smoke-related PM2.5 verses PM2.5 of different origin. Leave-one-out cross-validation (LOOCV) was used to evaluate the models’ performance. Our results indicate that model predictors and model performance are highly related to the level of PM2.5, and the pollution source. The predictive ability of both uni- and multi-variate models were higher in the during-fire period than in the pre- and post-fire periods.
    Electronic ISSN: 2073-4433
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 75
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    Publication Date: 2018-08-28
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 3041: A Study on Airbnb’s Trust Mechanism and the Effects of Cultural Values—Based on a Survey of Chinese Consumers Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10093041 Authors: Xiaojun Wu Jiabin Shen A sharing economy is developing rapidly worldwide, especially in China. Trust has been considered as a crucial factor in facilitating the practice of the short-term rental business, where hosts and renters are strangers. However, not only has the inherent trust-building mechanism of this newly emerged business model not been fully explored, but how cultural values affect the trust-building path also remains unknown. This study proposes a model of the trust-building mechanism in the sharing economy platforms, with three central modes—institutional trust, product trust, and interpersonal trust—and introduces national cultural values dimensions at the individual level as moderators to explore the impact on the inherent mechanism of trust-building on Airbnb. The data collected from 210 Chinese Airbnb consumers by survey provides support for the proposed structural equation model. The results show that institutional trust has a positive influence on product trust and interpersonal trust, and that product trust has a positive influence on interpersonal trust as well. For the moderating effect of cultural values, the relationship between the institutional trust and product trust is regulated by power distance (PDI), individualism (IDV), uncertainty avoidance (UAI), and long-term orientation (LTO), while the relationship between product trust and interpersonal trust is regulated by PDI, IDV, and UAI. This paper indicates that in order to foster trust in the sharing economy, practitioners should enhance institutional trust, product trust, and interpersonal trust synchronously, as these three modes of trust are positively inter-related; they must also be sensitive to local cultural value dispositions when conduct sharing business internationally.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 76
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    Publication Date: 2018-08-28
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 3042: Sustainable Distribution Organization Based on the Supply–Demand Coordination in Large Chinese Cities Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10093042 Authors: Sijing Liu Jiuping Xu Xiaoyuan Shi Guoqi Li Dinglong Liu In large Chinese cities, inefficient logistics organization, a rapid increase in freight demand, and the spreading of city logistics space have jointly contributed to the urban problems related to goods movement, such as spatial conflicts, traffic congestion, and air pollution. To address these problems and improve urban sustainability, we proposed a new spatial organization model of supply–demand coordination. We used the data from the Third China Economic Census and online point-of-interest (POI) for China’s four direct-controlled municipalities and 13 sub-provincial cities. We found that: (1) the freight supply and demand in China’s large cities are both spatially decentralized and clustered. However, there is a significant spatial mismatch between freight supply and demand in most of the studied cities. (2) The 17 studied cities can be divided into three types—highly unbalanced, unbalanced, and balanced—in light of the spatial mismatch between freight supply and demand. (3) The capacities of road surface and logistics nodes spatially differ. The supply capacity of the road systems in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou can only accommodate 18.4%, 35.5%, and 32.2% of the demand, respectively, while the supply capacity of the logistics nodes is more than twice that of the actual demand in these cities. Based on the findings, this paper proposed a differentiated method of demand management in different areas of the cities. To achieve the goals of low-carbon and sustainable development in logistics distribution, policy makers may consider planning urban freight activities along metro lines and intercity rail lines. Thus, this paper will provide a new perspective for understanding the urban freight distribution and management in large Chinese cities.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 77
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    Publication Date: 2018-08-28
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 3040: Analysis of the Learning Effectiveness of the STEAM-6E Special Course—A Case Study about the Creative Design of IoT Assistant Devices for the Elderly Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10093040 Authors: Chih-Chao Chung Chien-Linag Lin Shi-Jer Lou This study developed a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math)-6E (Engage, Explore, Explain, Extend, Enrich, Evaluate; 6E Learning by Design) special course based on the theme of creative design of IoT (Internet of Things) assistant devices for the elderly and investigated the impact of this course on students’ learning effectiveness. It invited eight experts and scholars for focus interviews, jointly developed the STEAM-6E special course, designed teaching activities around the theme of creative design of IoT assistant devices for the elderly, and created a learning effectiveness scale. Furthermore, it selected 46 students majoring in nursing in a vocational and technological college as its subjects and distributed copies of a questionnaire among them to explore learning effectiveness. This study reached the following conclusions. The STEAM-6E special course on the creative design of IoT assistant devices for the elderly included three dimensions, that is, the STEAM course, 6E teaching, and the acquisition of professional knowledge, as well as 17 competence indicators. The nursing students affirmed the learning outcome in the STEAM-6E course, the 6E teaching model, and thematic knowledge after attending the STEAM-6E course. The hands-on activities of the STEAM-6E special course could guide students to learn key points step by step. The STEAM-6E special course can strengthen students’ abilities to integrate STEAM knowledge and improve their learning effectiveness in each discipline. The STEAM-6E special course for the elderly improved the cooperative learning, professional knowledge, and confidence of the students. In light of these conclusions, this study developed a teaching model for the STEAM-6E special course on the creative design of IoT assistant devices for the elderly and proposed several suggestions for curriculum planning and the implementation of a STEAM-6E special course.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 78
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    Publication Date: 2018-08-28
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 3039: The Role of Manufacturing in Sustainable Economic Development: A Case of Guangzhou, China Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10093039 Authors: Wei Li Desheng Xue Xu Huang Economic development is the natural requirement of urban sustainability. Faced with uncertainty in society, including economic crisis and risk, the ability to reduce the stress and increase the security of economic life should be considered. World cities, deeply impacted by globalization and urbanization, deserve more attention with respect to the economic dimension of sustainable development. This study explored the role of manufacturing in the sustainable economic development of world cities, based on research in Guangzhou, China. This paper applies the grounded theory method, whereas data collection was performed through in-depth semi-structured interviews and field observations. This research found industrial interactions between manufacturing and a variety of relevant advanced producer services facilitate industrial upgrading and diversity, which exert positive effects on the city’s economic dimension of sustainable development.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 79
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    Publication Date: 2018-08-28
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 3036: Mechanical Performance of Eco-Friendly Concretes with Volcanic Powder and Recycled Concrete Aggregates Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10093036 Authors: Viviana Letelier José Marcos Ortega Ester Tarela Pedro Muñoz Bastián I. Henríquez-Jara Giacomo Moriconi At present, reducing the environmental impact of the construction industry is a major subject of study. In terms of the use of recycled concrete aggregates (RCA), most recently conducted studies have shown that the use of a limited percentage of those aggregates does not significantly affect the properties of concretes. This work analysed the mechanical properties of medium-strength concretes with a high contribution to sustainability, where cement and natural coarse aggregates (NCA) were partially replaced by volcanic powder (VP) and RCA, respectively. Three mixing ratios of VP replacement were tested in concretes without RCA and concretes with 30% RCA replacing NCA. Results show that when VP is used without RCA, up to 10% of the cement can be replaced by VP without a significant loss in the mechanical properties. When a combination of 5% VP and 30% RCA is used, the weakness of the recycled concrete is strengthened, obtaining stronger concretes than a control concrete with no recycled materials. Finally, the greenhouse gas assessment showed that the simultaneous incorporation of VP and RCA reduces CO2 emissions produced in the manufacture of concrete by up to 13.6%.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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  • 80
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    Publication Date: 2018-08-28
    Description: Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 3038: Exploring Advertising Effectiveness of Tourist Hotels’ Marketing Images Containing Nature and Performing Arts: An Eye-Tracking Analysis Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10093038 Authors: Tsai Chiao Wang Chia Liang Tsai Ta Wei Tang The beautiful, natural environment in a tourist hotel’s marketing images can evoke relaxing and soothing emotions. However, can tourist hotels use nature as a servicescape to make their performing arts services more attractive? Based on attention restoration and servicescape theory, this study explores and compares the influence of tourist hotels’ performing arts images with nature- or built-based servicescapes on the advertising effectiveness (i.e., customer visual attention and behavioral intention). To analyze visual attention on the marketing images, this study uses eye-tracking technology to record customer visual trajectories. This experiment used a total of 113 participants. The sample size of the nature-based servicescape group was 59 (age with mean = 39.04), and that of the built-based servicescape group was 54 (age with mean = 40.17). A tourist hotel’s (Volando Urai Spring Spa & Resort) marketing images were chosen as stimuli. All participants were randomly assigned to the nature-based or the built-based servicescape group. In each experimental group, all the images were randomly presented to reduce any order effects of the images. By using eye-tracking analysis, the experimental findings were as follows: (1) A nature-based servicescape can arouse more visual attention of customers than a built-based servicescape can; (2) Marketing images with performing arts activities in nature-based servicescapes attract the visual attention of customers; (3) Nature-based servicescapes stimulate higher behavioral intentions of consumers than built-based servicescape.
    Electronic ISSN: 2071-1050
    Topics: Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
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