Open Science Research Excellence

Open Science Index

Commenced in January 2007 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Paper Count: 413

A Unification and Relativistic Correction for Boltzmann’s Law

The distribution of velocities of particles in plasma is a well understood discipline of plasma physics. Boltzmann’s law and the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution describe the distribution of velocity of a particle in plasma as a function of mass and temperature. Particles with the same mass tend to have the same velocity. By expressing the same law in terms of energy alone, the author obtains a distribution independent of mass. In summary, for particles in plasma, the energies tend to equalize, independent of the masses of the individual particles. For high-energy plasma, the original law predicts velocities greater than the speed of light. If one uses Einstein’s formula for energy (E=mc2), then a relativistic correction is not required.

Technical and Economic Analysis of Smart Micro-Grid Renewable Energy Systems: An Applicable Case Study

Renewable energy-based micro-grids are presently attracting significant consideration. The smart grid system is presently considered a reliable solution for the expected deficiency in the power required from future power systems. The purpose of this study is to determine the optimal components sizes of a micro-grid, investigating technical and economic performance with the environmental impacts. The micro grid load is divided into two small factories with electricity, both on-grid and off-grid modes are considered. The micro-grid includes photovoltaic cells, back-up diesel generator wind turbines, and battery bank. The estimated load pattern is 76 kW peak. The system is modeled and simulated by MATLAB/Simulink tool to identify the technical issues based on renewable power generation units. To evaluate system economy, two criteria are used: the net present cost and the cost of generated electricity. The most feasible system components for the selected application are obtained, based on required parameters, using HOMER simulation package. The results showed that a Wind/Photovoltaic (W/PV) on-grid system is more economical than a Wind/Photovoltaic/Diesel/Battery (W/PV/D/B) off-grid system as the cost of generated electricity (COE) is 0.266 $/kWh and 0.316 $/kWh, respectively. Considering the cost of carbon dioxide emissions, the off-grid will be competitive to the on-grid system as COE is found to be (0.256 $/kWh, 0.266 $/kWh), for on and off grid systems.

Bioremediation Potential in Recalcitrant Areas of PCE in Alluvial Fan Deposits

In the transition zone between aquifers and basal aquitards, the perchloroethene (PCE)-pools are more recalcitrant than those elsewhere in the aquifer. Although biodegradation of chloroethenes occur in this zone, it is a slow process and a remediation strategy is needed. The aim of this study is to demonstrate that combined strategy of biostimulation and in situ chemical reduction (ISCR) is more efficient than the two separated strategies. Four different microcosm experiments with sediment and groundwater of a selected field site where an aged pool exists at the bottom of a transition zone were designed under i) natural conditions, ii) biostimulation with lactic acid, iii) ISCR with zero-value iron (ZVI) and under iv) a combined strategy with lactic acid and ZVI. Biotic and abiotic dehalogenation, terminal electron acceptor processes and evolution of microbial communities were determined for each experiment. The main results were: i) reductive dehalogenation of PCE-pools occurs under sulfate-reducing conditions; ii) biostimulation with lactic acid supports more pronounced reductive dehalogenation of PCE and trichloroethene (TCE), but results in an accumulation of 1,2-cis-dichloroethene (cDCE); iii) ISCR with ZVI produces a sustained dehalogenation of PCE and its metabolites iv) combined strategy of biostimulation and ISCR results in a fast dehalogenation of PCE and TCE and a sustained dehalogenation of cisDCE. These findings suggest that biostimulation and ISCR with ZVI are the most suitable strategies for a complete reductive dehalogenation of PCE-pools in the transition zone and further to enable the dissolution of dense non-aqueous phase liquids.

Linear Prediction System in Measuring Glucose Level in Blood

Diabetes is a medical condition that can lead to various diseases such as stroke, heart disease, blindness and obesity. In clinical practice, the concern of the diabetic patients towards the blood glucose examination is rather alarming as some of the individual describing it as something painful with pinprick and pinch. As for some patient with high level of glucose level, pricking the fingers multiple times a day with the conventional glucose meter for close monitoring can be tiresome, time consuming and painful. With these concerns, several non-invasive techniques were used by researchers in measuring the glucose level in blood, including ultrasonic sensor implementation, multisensory systems, absorbance of transmittance, bio-impedance, voltage intensity, and thermography. This paper is discussing the application of the near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy as a non-invasive method in measuring the glucose level and the implementation of the linear system identification model in predicting the output data for the NIR measurement. In this study, the wavelengths considered are at the 1450 nm and 1950 nm. Both of these wavelengths showed the most reliable information on the glucose presence in blood. Then, the linear Autoregressive Moving Average Exogenous model (ARMAX) model with both un-regularized and regularized methods was implemented in predicting the output result for the NIR measurement in order to investigate the practicality of the linear system in this study. However, the result showed only 50.11% accuracy obtained from the system which is far from the satisfying results that should be obtained.

Proposal of Blue and Green Infrastructure for the Jaguaré Stream Watershed, São Paulo, Brazil

The blue-green infrastructure in recent years has been pointed out as a possibility to increase the environmental quality of watersheds. The regulation ecosystem services brought by these areas are many, such as the improvement of the air quality of the air, water, soil, microclimate, besides helping to control the peak flows and to promote the quality of life of the population. This study proposes a blue-green infrastructure scenario for the Jaguaré watershed, located in the western zone of the São Paulo city in Brazil. Based on the proposed scenario, it was verified the impact of the adoption of the blue and green infrastructure in the control of the peak flow of the basin, the benefits for the avifauna that are also reflected in the flora and finally, the quantification of the regulation ecosystem services brought by the adoption of the scenario proposed. A survey of existing green areas and potential areas for expansion and connection of these areas to form a network in the watershed was carried out. Based on this proposed new network of green areas, the peak flow for the proposed scenario was calculated with the help of software, ABC6. Finally, a survey of the ecosystem services contemplated in the proposed scenario was made. It was possible to conclude that the blue and green infrastructure would provide several regulation ecosystem services for the watershed, such as the control of the peak flow, the connection frame between the forest fragments that promoted the environmental enrichment of these fragments, improvement of the microclimate and the provision of leisure areas for the population.

Effect of Reynolds Number and Concentration of Biopolymer (Gum Arabic) on Drag Reduction of Turbulent Flow in Circular Pipe

Biopolymers are popular in many areas, like petrochemicals, food industry and agriculture due to their favorable properties like environment-friendly, availability, and cost. In this study, a biopolymer gum Arabic was used to find its effect on the pressure drop at various concentrations (100 ppm – 300 ppm) with various Reynolds numbers (10000 – 45000). A rheological study was also done by using the same concentrations to find the effect of the shear rate on the shear viscosity. Experiments were performed to find the effect of injection of gum Arabic directly near the boundary layer and to investigate its effect on the maximum possible drag reduction. Experiments were performed on a test section having i.d of 19.50 mm and length of 3045 mm. The polymer solution was injected from the top of the test section by using a peristaltic pump. The concentration of the polymer solution and the Reynolds number were used as parameters to get maximum possible drag reduction. Water was circulated through a centrifugal pump having a maximum 3000 rpm and the flow rate was measured by using rotameter. Results were validated by using Virk's maximum drag reduction asymptote. A maximum drag reduction of 62.15% was observed with the maximum concentration of gum Arabic, 300 ppm. The solution was circulated in the closed loop to find the effect of degradation of polymers with a number of cycles on the drag reduction percentage. It was observed that the injection of the polymer solution in the boundary layer was showing better results than premixed solutions.

Multi-Objective Optimization of Run-of-River Small-Hydropower Plants Considering Both Investment Cost and Annual Energy Generation

This paper presents the techno-economic evaluation of run-of-river small-hydropower plants. In this regard, a multi-objective optimization procedure is proposed for the optimal sizing of the hydropower plants, and NSGAII is employed as the optimization algorithm. Annual generated energy and investment cost are considered as the objective functions, and number of generator units (n) and nominal turbine flow rate (QT) constitute the decision variables. Site of Yeripao in Benin is considered as the case study. We have categorized the river of this site using its environmental characteristics: gross head, and first quartile, median, third quartile and mean of flow. Effects of each decision variable on the objective functions are analysed. The results gave Pareto Front which represents the trade-offs between annual energy generation and the investment cost of hydropower plants, as well as the recommended optimal solutions. We noted that with the increase of the annual energy generation, the investment cost rises. Thus, maximizing energy generation is contradictory with minimizing the investment cost. Moreover, we have noted that the solutions of Pareto Front are grouped according to the number of generator units (n). The results also illustrate that the costs per kWh are grouped according to the n and rise with the increase of the nominal turbine flow rate. The lowest investment costs per kWh are obtained for n equal to one and are between 0.065 and 0.180 €/kWh. Following the values of n (equal to 1, 2, 3 or 4), the investment cost and investment cost per kWh increase almost linearly with increasing the nominal turbine flowrate while annual generated. Energy increases logarithmically with increasing of the nominal turbine flowrate. This study made for the Yeripao river can be applied to other rivers with their own characteristics.

Overcrowding and Adequate Housing: The Potential of Adaptability

Adequate housing has been a widely discussed theme in academic circles related to low-cost housing, whereas its physical features are easy to deal with, overcrowding (related to social, cultural and economic aspects) is still ambiguous, particularly regarding the set of indicators that can accurately reflect and measure it. This paper develops research on low-cost housing models for developing countries and what is the best method to embed overcrowding as an important parameter for adaptability. A critical review of international overcrowding indicators and their application in two developing countries, Cape Verde and Angola, is presented. The several rationales and the constraints for an accurate assessment of overcrowding are considered, namely baseline data (statistics), which can induce misjudgments, as well as social and cultural factors (such as personal choices of residents). This paper proposes a way to tackle overcrowding through housing adaptability, considering factors such as physical flexibility, functional ambiguity, and incremental expansion schemes. Moreover, a case-study is presented to establish a framework for the theoretical application of the proposed approach.

Warm Mix and Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement: A Greener Road Approach

Utilization of a high percentage of reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) requires higher production temperatures and consumes more energy. High production temperature expedites the aging of bitumen in RAP, which could affect the mixture performance. Warm mix asphalt (WMA) additive enables reduced production temperatures as a result of viscosity reduction. This paper evaluates the integration of a high percentage of RAP with a WMA additive known as RH-WMA. The optimum dosage of RH-WMA was determined from basic properties tests. A total of 0%, 30% and 50% RAP contents from two roads sources were modified with RH-WMA. The modified RAP bitumen were examined for viscosity, stiffness, rutting resistance and greenhouse gas emissions. The addition of RH-WMA improved the flow of bitumen by reducing the viscosity, and thus, decreased the construction temperature. The stiffness of the RAP modified bitumen reduced with the incorporation of RH-WMA. The positive improvement in rutting resistance was observed on bitumen with the addition of RAP and RH-WMA in comparison with control. It was estimated that the addition of RH-WMA could potentially reduce fuel usage and GHG emissions by 22 %. Hence, the synergy of RAP and WMA technology can be an alternative in green road construction.

Effective Planning of Public Transportation Systems: A Decision Support Application

Decision making on the true planning of the public transportation systems to serve potential users is a must for metropolitan areas. To take attraction of travelers to projected modes of transport, adequately fair overall travel times should be provided. In this fashion, other benefits such as lower traffic congestion, road safety and lower noise and atmospheric pollution may be earned. The congestion which comes with increasing demand of public transportation is becoming a part of our lives and making residents’ life difficult. Hence, regulations should be done to reduce this congestion. To provide a constructive and balanced regulation in public transportation systems, right stations should be located in right places. In this study, it is aimed to design and implement a Decision Support System (DSS) Application to determine the optimal bus stop places for public transport in Istanbul which is one of the biggest and oldest cities in the world. Required information is gathered from IETT (Istanbul Electricity, Tram and Tunnel) Enterprises which manages all public transportation services in Istanbul Metropolitan Area. By using the most real-like values, cost assignments are made. The cost is calculated with the help of equations produced by bi-level optimization model. For this study, 300 buses, 300 drivers, 10 lines and 110 stops are used. The user cost of each station and the operator cost taken place in lines are calculated. Some components like cost, security and noise pollution are considered as significant factors affecting the solution of set covering problem which is mentioned for identifying and locating the minimum number of possible bus stops. Preliminary research and model development for this study refers to previously published article of the corresponding author. Model results are represented with the intent of decision support to the specialists on locating stops effectively.

DC-Link Voltage Control of DC-DC Boost Converter-Inverter System with PI Controller
In this paper, the DC-link voltage control of DC-DC boost converter–inverter system is proposed. The mathematical model is developed from four different sub-circuits that depended on the switch positions. The developed differential equations are combined to develop the dynamic model. Transfer function is generated from the switched function model. Fluctuation of DC-link voltage causes connected loads malfunction. For this problem, a kind of traditional controller, the PI controller is applied to achieve constant DC-link voltage. The PI controller gains are obtained based on transfer function step response. The simulation work has been studied by using MATLAB/Simulink software and hardware prototype is implemented with a low-cost microcontroller Arduino Nano. Experimental results are collected by using ArduinoIO library package. Closed-loop DC-link voltage control system is tested with various line and load disturbances. It is found that the experimental results give equal responses with the simulation results.
Double Loop Control of H-Bridge DC Chopper Fed Permanent Magnet DC Motor Drives Using Low Cost Hardware
This paper presents the two loop proportional integral (PI) controller for speed control of permanent magnet DC motor (PMDC) motor drive with H-bridge DC chopper. PMDC motors are widely used in many applications because of having a good performance and it is easy to apply the speed control. The speed can be adjusted by using armature voltage control as it had only the armature circuit. H-bridge DC chopper circuit is used to obtain the desired speed in any direction. In this system, the two loop PI controller is designed by using pole-zero cancellation method. The speed and current controller gains are considered depending on the sampling frequency of the microcontroller. An Arduino IO package is used to implement the control algorithm. Both simulation and experimental results are presented to prove the correctness of the mathematical model.
Implementation of a Low-Cost Instrumentation for an Open Cycle Wind Tunnel to Evaluate Pressure Coefficient
Wind tunnel experiments for aerodynamic profiles display numerous advantages, such as: clean steady laminar flow, controlled environmental conditions, streamlines visualization, and real data acquisition. However, the experiment instrumentation usually is expensive, and hence, each test implies a incremented in design cost. The aim of this work is to select and implement a low-cost static pressure data acquisition system for a NACA 2412 airfoil in an open cycle wind tunnel. This work compares wind tunnel experiment with Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulation and parametric analysis. The experiment was evaluated at Reynolds of 1.65 e5, with increasing angles from -5° to 15°. The comparison between the approaches show good enough accuracy, between the experiment and CFD, additional parametric analysis results differ widely from the other methods, which complies with the lack of accuracy of the lateral approach due its simplicity.
Implementation the Average Input Current Mode Control of Two-Phase Interleaved Boost Converter Using Low-Cost Microcontroller

In this paper, the average input current mode control is proposed for two-phase interleaved boost converter with two separate input inductors operating in continuous conduction mode (CCM). The required mathematical model is obtained from the equivalent circuits of its different four modes of operation. The small ripple approximation is derived to find the transfer functions from dynamic model using switching function. In average input current mode control, the inner current loop and outer voltage loop are designed with PI controller using bode analysis. Anti-windup structure is applied for PI controllers in control system. Moreover, the simulation work is carried out by MATLAB/Simulink. And, the hardware prototype is implemented by using low-cost microcontroller Arduino Nano. Finally, the laboratory prototype, available from the local market, is constructed to validate the mathematical model. The results show that the output voltage response is the faster rise time and settling time with acceptable overshoot.

Blood Glucose Level Measurement from Breath Analysis

The constant monitoring of blood glucose level is necessary for maintaining health of patients and to alert medical specialists to take preemptive measures before the onset of any complication as a result of diabetes. The current clinical monitoring of blood glucose uses invasive methods repeatedly which are uncomfortable and may result in infections in diabetic patients. Several attempts have been made to develop non-invasive techniques for blood glucose measurement. In this regard, the existing methods are not reliable and are less accurate. Other approaches claiming high accuracy have not been tested on extended dataset, and thus, results are not statistically significant. It is a well-known fact that acetone concentration in breath has a direct relation with blood glucose level. In this paper, we have developed the first of its kind, reliable and high accuracy breath analyzer for non-invasive blood glucose measurement. The acetone concentration in breath was measured using MQ 138 sensor in the samples collected from local hospitals in Pakistan involving one hundred patients. The blood glucose levels of these patients are determined using conventional invasive clinical method. We propose a linear regression classifier that is trained to map breath acetone level to the collected blood glucose level achieving high accuracy.

Preparation of Carbon Nanofiber Reinforced HDPE Using Dialkylimidazolium as a Dispersing Agent: Effect on Thermal and Rheological Properties

High-density polyethylene reinforced with carbon nanofibers (HDPE/CNF) have been prepared via melt processing using dialkylimidazolium tetrafluoroborate (ionic liquid) as a dispersion agent. The prepared samples were characterized by thermogravimetric (TGA) and differential scanning calorimetric (DSC) analyses. The samples blended with imidazolium ionic liquid exhibit higher thermal stability. DSC analysis showed clear miscibility of ionic liquid in the HDPE matrix and showed single endothermic peak. The melt rheological analysis of HDPE/CNF composites was performed using an oscillatory rheometer. The influence of CNF and ionic liquid concentration (ranging from 0, 0.5, and 1 wt%) on the viscoelastic parameters was investigated at 200 °C with an angular frequency range of 0.1 to 100 rad/s. The rheological analysis shows the shear-thinning behavior for the composites. An improvement in the viscoelastic properties was observed as the nanofiber concentration increases. The progress in the modulus values was attributed to the structural rigidity imparted by the high aspect ratio CNF. The modulus values and complex viscosity of the composites increased significantly at low frequencies. Composites blended with ionic liquid exhibit slightly lower values of complex viscosity and modulus over the corresponding HDPE/CNF compositions. Therefore, reduction in melt viscosity is an additional benefit for polymer composite processing as a result of wetting effect by polymer-ionic liquid combinations.

Improved Blood Glucose-Insulin Monitoring with Dual-Layer Predictive Control Design

In response to widely used wearable medical devices equipped with a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and insulin pump, the advanced control methods are still demanding to get the full benefit of these devices. Unlike costly clinical trials, implementing effective insulin-glucose control strategies can provide significant contributions to the patients suffering from chronic diseases such as diabetes. This study deals with a key role of two-layer insulin-glucose regulator based on model-predictive-control (MPC) scheme so that the patient’s predicted glucose profile is in compliance with the insulin level injected through insulin pump automatically. It is achieved by iterative optimization algorithm which is called an integrated perturbation analysis and sequential quadratic programming (IPA-SQP) solver for handling uncertainties due to unexpected variations in glucose-insulin values and body’s characteristics. The feasibility evaluation of the discussed control approach is also studied by means of numerical simulations of two case scenarios via measured data. The obtained results are presented to verify the superior and reliable performance of the proposed control scheme with no negative impact on patient safety.

Financial Burden of Family for the Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is the fastest growing serious developmental disorder characterized by social deficits, communicative difficulties, and repetitive behaviors. ASD is an emerging public health issue globally which is associated with huge financial burden to the family, community and the nation. The aim of this study was to assess the financial burden of family for the children with Autism spectrum Disorder. This cross-sectional study was carried out from July 2015 to June 2016 among 154 children with ASD to assess the financial burden of family. Data were collected by face-to-face interview with semi-structured questionnaire following systematic random sampling technique. Majority (73.4%) children were male and mean (±SD) age was 6.66 ± 2.97 years. Most (88.8%) of the children were from urban areas with average monthly family income Tk. 41785.71±23936.45. Average monthly direct cost of the children was Tk.17656.49 ± 9984.35, while indirect cost was Tk. 13462.90 ± 9713.54 and total treatment cost was Tk. 23076.62 ± 15341.09. Special education cost (Tk. 4871.00), cost of therapy (Tk. 4124.07) and travel cost (Tk. 3988.31) were the major types of direct cost, while loss of income (Tk.14570.18) was the chief indirect cost incurred by the families. The study found that majority (59.8%) of the children attended special schools were incurred Tk.20001-78700 as total treatment cost, which were statistically significant (p<0.001). Again, families with higher monthly family income incurred higher treatment cost (r=0.526, p<0.05). Difference between mean direct and indirect cost was found significant (t=4.190, df=61, p<0.001). According to the analysis of variance, mean difference of father’s educational status among direct cost (F=10.337, p<0.001) and total treatment cost (F=7.841, p<0.001), which were statistically significant. The study revealed that maximum children with ASD were under five years, three-fourth were male. According to monthly family income, maximum family were in middle class. The study recommends cost effective interventions and financial safety-net measures to reduce the financial burden of families for the children with ASD.

Molding Properties of Cobalt-Chrome-Based Feedstocks Used in Low-Pressure Powder Injection Molding

Low-pressure powder injection molding is an emerging technology for cost-effectively producing complex shape metallic parts with the proper dimensional tolerances, either in high or in low production volumes. In this study, the molding properties of cobalt-chrome-based feedstocks were evaluated for use in a low-pressure powder injection molding process. The rheological properties of feedstock formulations were obtained by mixing metallic powder with a proprietary wax-based binder system. Rheological parameters such as reference viscosity, shear rate sensitivity index, and activation energy for viscous flow, were extracted from the viscosity profiles and introduced into the Weir model to calculate the moldability index. Feedstocks were experimentally injected into a spiral mold cavity to validate the injection performance calculated with the model.

Providing a Practical Model to Reduce Maintenance Costs: A Case Study in GeG Company

In the past, we could increase profit by increasing product prices. But in the new decade, a competitive market does not let us to increase profit with increased prices. Therefore, the only way to increase profit will be to reduce costs. A significant percentage of production costs are the maintenance costs, and analysis of these costs could achieve more profit. Most maintenance strategies such as RCM (Reliability-Center-Maintenance), TPM (Total Productivity Maintenance), PM (Preventive Maintenance) and etc., are trying to reduce maintenance costs. In this paper, decreasing the maintenance costs of Concentration Plant of Golgohar Iron Ore Mining & Industrial Company (GeG) was examined by using of MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures) and MTTR (Mean Time To Repair) analyses. These analyses showed that instead of buying new machines and increasing costs in order to promote capacity, the improving of MTBF and MTTR indexes would solve capacity problems in the best way and decrease costs.

High Performance Electrocardiogram Steganography Based on Fast Discrete Cosine Transform
Based on fast discrete cosine transform (FDCT), the authors present a high capacity and high perceived quality method for electrocardiogram (ECG) signal. By using a simple adjusting policy to the 1-dimentional (1-D) DCT coefficients, a large volume of secret message can be effectively embedded in an ECG host signal and be successfully extracted at the intended receiver. Simulations confirmed that the resulting perceived quality is good, while the hiding capability of the proposed method significantly outperforms that of existing techniques. In addition, our proposed method has a certain degree of robustness. Since the computational complexity is low, it is feasible for our method being employed in real-time applications.
Optimized and Secured Digital Watermarking Using Entropy, Chaotic Grid Map and Its Performance Analysis

This paper presents an optimized, robust, and secured watermarking technique. The methodology used in this work is the combination of entropy and chaotic grid map. The proposed methodology incorporates Discrete Cosine Transform (DCT) on the host image. To improve the imperceptibility of the method, the host image DCT blocks, where the watermark is to be embedded, are further optimized by considering the entropy of the blocks. Chaotic grid is used as a key to reorder the DCT blocks so that it will further increase security while selecting the watermark embedding locations and its sequence. Without a key, one cannot reveal the exact watermark from the watermarked image. The proposed method is implemented on four different images. It is concluded that the proposed method is giving better results in terms of imperceptibility measured through PSNR and found to be above 50. In order to prove the effectiveness of the method, the performance analysis is done after implementing different attacks on the watermarked images. It is found that the methodology is very strong against JPEG compression attack even with the quality parameter up to 15. The experimental results are confirming that the combination of entropy and chaotic grid map method is strong and secured to different image processing attacks.

Low-Cost Robotic-Assisted Laparoscope

Laparoscopy is a surgical operation, well known as keyhole surgery. The operation is performed through small holes, hence, scars of a patient become much smaller, patients can recover in a short time and the hospital stay becomes shorter in comparison to an open surgery. Several tools are used at laparoscopic operations; among them, the laparoscope has a crucial role. It provides the vision during the operation, which will be the main focus in here. Since the operation area is very small, motion of the surgical tools might be limited in laparoscopic operations compared to traditional surgeries. To overcome this limitation, most of the laparoscopic tools have become more precise, dexterous, multi-functional or automated. Here, we present a robotic-assisted laparoscope that is controlled with pedals directly by a surgeon. Thus, the movement of the laparoscope might be controlled better, so there will not be a need to calibrate the camera during the operation. The need for an assistant that controls the movement of the laparoscope will be eliminated. The duration of the laparoscopic operation might be shorter since the surgeon will directly operate the camera.

A Non-Linear Eddy Viscosity Model for Turbulent Natural Convection in Geophysical Flows
Eddy viscosity models in turbulence modeling can be mainly classified as linear and nonlinear models. Linear formulations are simple and require less computational resources but have the disadvantage that they cannot predict actual flow pattern in complex geophysical flows where streamline curvature and swirling motion are predominant. A constitutive equation of Reynolds stress anisotropy is adopted for the formulation of eddy viscosity including all the possible higher order terms quadratic in the mean velocity gradients, and a simplified model is developed for actual oceanic flows where only the vertical velocity gradients are important. The new model is incorporated into the one dimensional General Ocean Turbulence Model (GOTM). Two realistic oceanic test cases (OWS Papa and FLEX' 76) have been investigated. The new model predictions match well with the observational data and are better in comparison to the predictions of the two equation k-epsilon model. The proposed model can be easily incorporated in the three dimensional Princeton Ocean Model (POM) to simulate a wide range of oceanic processes. Practically, this model can be implemented in the coastal regions where trasverse shear induces higher vorticity, and for prediction of flow in estuaries and lakes, where depth is comparatively less. The model predictions of marine turbulence and other related data (e.g. Sea surface temperature, Surface heat flux and vertical temperature profile) can be utilized in short term ocean and climate forecasting and warning systems.
Optimal Mitigation of Slopes by Probabilistic Methods

A probabilistic formulation to assess the slopes safety under the hazard of strong storms is presented and illustrated through a slope in Mexico. The formulation is based on the classical safety factor (SF) used in practice to appraise the slope stability, but it is introduced the treatment of uncertainties, and the slope failure probability is calculated as the probability that SF<1. As the main hazard is the rainfall on the area, statistics of rainfall intensity and duration are considered and modeled with an exponential distribution. The expected life-cycle cost is assessed by considering a monetary value on the slope failure consequences. Alternative mitigation measures are simulated, and the formulation is used to get the measures driving to the optimal one (minimum life-cycle costs). For the example, the optimal mitigation measure is the reduction on the slope inclination angle.

Economics of Open and Distance Education in the University of Ibadan, Nigeria

One of the major objectives of the Nigeria national policy on education is the provision of equal educational opportunities to all citizens at different levels of education. With regards to higher education, an aspect of the policy encourages distance learning to be organized and delivered by tertiary institutions in Nigeria. This study therefore, determines how much of the Government resources are committed, how the resources are utilized and what alternative sources of funding are available for this system of education. This study investigated the trends in recurrent costs between 2004/2005 and 2013/2014 at University of Ibadan Distance Learning Centre (DLC). A descriptive survey research design was employed for the study. Questionnaire was the research instrument used for the collection of data. The population of the study was 280 current distance learning education students, 70 academic staff and 50 administrative staff. Only 354 questionnaires were correctly filled and returned. Data collected were analyzed and coded using the frequencies, ratio, average and percentages were used to answer all the research questions. The study revealed that staff salaries and allowances of academic and non-academic staff represent the most important variable that influences the cost of education. About 55% of resources were allocated to this sector alone. The study also indicates that costs rise every year with increase in enrolment representing a situation of diseconomies of scale. This study recommends that Universities who operates distance learning program should strive to explore other internally generated revenue option to boost their revenue. University of Ibadan, being the premier university in Nigeria, should be given foreign aid and home support, both financially and materially, to enable the institute to run a formidable distance education program that would measure up in planning and implementation with those of developed nation.

Mixed Integer Programing for Multi-Tier Rebate with Discontinuous Cost Function

One challenge faced by procurement decision-maker during the acquisition process is how to compare similar products from different suppliers and allocate orders among different products or services. This work focuses on allocating orders among multiple suppliers considering rebate. The objective function is to minimize the total acquisition cost including purchasing cost and rebate benefit. Rebate benefit is complex and difficult to estimate at the ordering step. Rebate rules vary for different suppliers and usually change over time. In this work, we developed a system to collect the rebate policies, standardized the rebate policies and developed two-stage optimization models for ordering allocation. Rebate policy with multi-tiers is considered in modeling. The discontinuous cost function of rebate benefit is formulated for different scenarios. A piecewise linear function is used to approximate the discontinuous cost function of rebate benefit. And a Mixed Integer Programing (MIP) model is built for order allocation problem with multi-tier rebate. A case study is presented and it shows that our optimization model can reduce the total acquisition cost by considering rebate rules.

A Ground Structure Method to Minimize the Total Installed Cost of Steel Frame Structures

This paper presents a ground structure method to optimize the topology and discrete member sizing of steel frame structures in order to minimize total installed cost, including material, fabrication and erection components. The proposed method improves upon existing cost-based ground structure methods by incorporating constructability considerations well as satisfying both strength and serviceability constraints. The architecture for the method is a bi-level Multidisciplinary Feasible (MDF) architecture in which the discrete member sizing optimization is nested within the topology optimization process. For each structural topology generated, the sizing optimization process seek to find a set of discrete member sizes that result in the lowest total installed cost while satisfying strength (member utilization) and serviceability (node deflection and story drift) criteria. To accurately assess cost, the connection details for the structure are generated automatically using accurate site-specific cost information obtained directly from fabricators and erectors. Member continuity rules are also applied to each node in the structure to improve constructability. The proposed optimization method is benchmarked against conventional weight-based ground structure optimization methods resulting in an average cost savings of up to 30% with comparable computational efficiency.

A Comparative Analysis of the Performance of COSMO and WRF Models in Quantitative Rainfall Prediction
The Numerical weather prediction (NWP) models are considered powerful tools for guiding quantitative rainfall prediction. A couple of NWP models exist and are used at many operational weather prediction centers. This study considers two models namely the Consortium for Small–scale Modeling (COSMO) model and the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. It compares the models’ ability to predict rainfall over Uganda for the period 21st April 2013 to 10th May 2013 using the root mean square (RMSE) and the mean error (ME). In comparing the performance of the models, this study assesses their ability to predict light rainfall events and extreme rainfall events. All the experiments used the default parameterization configurations and with same horizontal resolution (7 Km). The results show that COSMO model had a tendency of largely predicting no rain which explained its under–prediction. The COSMO model (RMSE: 14.16; ME: -5.91) presented a significantly (p = 0.014) higher magnitude of error compared to the WRF model (RMSE: 11.86; ME: -1.09). However the COSMO model (RMSE: 3.85; ME: 1.39) performed significantly (p = 0.003) better than the WRF model (RMSE: 8.14; ME: 5.30) in simulating light rainfall events. All the models under–predicted extreme rainfall events with the COSMO model (RMSE: 43.63; ME: -39.58) presenting significantly higher error magnitudes than the WRF model (RMSE: 35.14; ME: -26.95). This study recommends additional diagnosis of the models’ treatment of deep convection over the tropics.
Time and Cost Efficiency Analysis of Quick Die Change System on Metal Stamping Industry

Manufacturing cost and setup time are the hot topics to improve in Metal Stamping industry because material and components price are always rising up while costumer requires to cut down the component price year by year. The Single Minute Exchange of Die (SMED) is one of many methods to reduce waste in stamping industry. The Japanese Quick Die Change (QDC) dies system is one of SMED systems that could reduce both of setup time and manufacturing cost. However, this system is rarely used in stamping industries. This paper will analyze how deep the QDC dies system could reduce setup time and the manufacturing cost. The research is conducted by direct observation, simulating and comparing of QDC dies system with conventional dies system. In this research, we found that the QDC dies system could save up to 35% of manufacturing cost and reduce 70% of setup times. This simulation proved that the QDC die system is effective for cost reduction but must be applied in several parallel production processes.

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