Scholarly Research Excellence

Digital Open Science Index

Commenced in January 2007 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Paper Count: 904

Big Brain: A Single Database System for a Federated Data Warehouse Architecture
Traditional federated architectures for data warehousing work well when corporations have existing regional data warehouses and there is a need to aggregate data at a global level. Schibsted Media Group has been maturing from a decentralised organisation into a more globalised one and needed to build both some of the regional data warehouses for some brands at the same time as the global one. In this paper, we present the architectural alternatives studied and why a custom federated approach was the notable recommendation to go further with the implementation. Although the data warehouses are logically federated, the implementation uses a single database system which presented many advantages like: cost reduction and improved data access to global users allowing consumers of the data to have a common data model for detailed analysis across different geographies and a flexible layer for local specific needs in the same place.
Teachers' Preferences on the Issue of Segregation of Gifted Pupils in Czech Educational System

The issue of inclusion - segregation in the current Czech educational system is highly actual due to changes in legislation. It applies primarily to pupils with special educational needs, but it should also apply to pupils with giftedness. The paper presents chosen results of an exploratory survey that was carried out on a convenience sample of 1101 Czech teachers working in lower secondary education (ISCED2). The rate of teachers´ agreement with segregation of gifted pupils in the education system was monitored during this investigation. A validated questionnaire of our own design was used for the purpose of this investigation. The results were compared across groups of teachers in terms of selected variables. Results show that 36,3 % of teachers incline to segregation (rather than inclusion) of gifted pupils. Teachers who are not educated in this field and have no experience in teaching gifted pupils tend to support their segregation more in comparison with other teachers. Teachers of specialized schools for gifted pupils paradoxically agree with segregation to a slightly lesser extent than teachers from traditional schools, but they also manifest the most hesitant attitude in this issue. Preferences for segregation of gifted pupils are not related to attitudes toward gifted pupils or teachers' self-evaluation in terms of care for the gifted. Investigation indicates that the issue of education of gifted children and their inclusion in the educational system needs more space within the further education of teachers.

Urban Waste Water Governance in South Africa: A Case Study of Stellenbosch
Due to climate change, population growth and rapid urbanization, the demand for water in South Africa is inevitably surpassing supply. To address similar challenges globally, there has been a paradigm shift from conventional urban waste water management “government” to a “governance” paradigm. From the governance paradigm, Integrated Urban Water Management (IUWM) principle emerged. This principle emphasizes efficient urban waste water treatment and production of high-quality recyclable effluent. In so doing mimicking natural water systems, in their processes of recycling water efficiently, and averting depletion of natural water resources.  The objective of this study was to investigate drivers of shifting the current urban waste water management approach from a “government” paradigm towards “governance”. The study was conducted through Interactive Management soft systems research methodology which follows a qualitative research design. A case study methodology was employed, guided by realism research philosophy. Qualitative data gathered were analyzed through interpretative structural modelling using Concept Star for Professionals Decision-Making tools (CSPDM) version 3.64.  The constructed model deduced that the main drivers in shifting the Stellenbosch municipal urban waste water management towards IUWM “governance” principles are mainly social elements characterized by overambitious expectations of the public on municipal water service delivery, mis-interpretation of the constitution on access to adequate clean water and sanitation as a human right and perceptions on recycling water by different communities. Inadequate public participation also emerged as a strong driver. However, disruptive events such as draught may play a positive role in raising an awareness on the value of water, resulting in a shift on the perceptions on recycled water. Once the social elements are addressed, the alignment of governance and administration elements towards IUWM are achievable. Hence, the point of departure for the desired paradigm shift is the change of water service authorities and serviced communities’ perceptions and behaviors towards shifting urban waste water management approaches from “government” to “governance” paradigm.
Combustion Improvements by C4/C5 Bio-Alcohol Isomer Blended Fuels Combined with Supercharging and EGR in a Diesel Engine

Next generation bio-alcohols produced from non-food based sources like cellulosic biomass are promising renewable energy sources. The present study investigates engine performance, combustion characteristics, and emissions of a small single cylinder direct injection diesel engine fueled by four kinds of next generation bio-alcohol isomer and diesel fuel blends with a constant blending ratio of 3:7 (mass). The tested bio-alcohol isomers here are n-butanol and iso-butanol (C4 alcohol), and n-pentanol and iso-pentanol (C5 alcohol). To obtain simultaneous reductions in NOx and smoke emissions, the experiments employed supercharging combined with EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation). The boost pressures were fixed at two conditions, 100 kPa (naturally aspirated operation) and 120 kPa (supercharged operation) provided with a roots blower type supercharger. The EGR rates were varied from 0 to 25% using a cooled EGR technique. The results showed that both with and without supercharging, all the bio-alcohol blended diesel fuels improved the trade-off relation between NOx and smoke emissions at all EGR rates while maintaining good engine performance, when compared with diesel fuel operation. It was also found that regardless of boost pressure and EGR rate, the ignition delays of the tested bio-alcohol isomer blends are in the order of iso-butanol > n-butanol > iso-pentanol > n-pentanol. Overall, it was concluded that, except for the changes in the ignition delays the influence of bio-alcohol isomer blends on the engine performance, combustion characteristics, and emissions are relatively small.

Analyzing the Changing Pattern of Nigerian Vegetation Zones and Its Ecological and Socio-Economic Implications Using Spot-Vegetation Sensor

This study assesses the major ecological zones in Nigeria with the view to understanding the spatial pattern of vegetation zones and the implications on conservation within the period of sixteen (16) years. Satellite images used for this study were acquired from the SPOT-VEGETATION between 1998 and 2013. The annual NDVI images selected for this study were derived from SPOT-4 sensor and were acquired within the same season (November) in order to reduce differences in spectral reflectance due to seasonal variations. The images were sliced into five classes based on literatures and knowledge of the area (i.e. <0.16 Non-Vegetated areas; 0.16-0.22 Sahel Savannah; 0.22-0.40 Sudan Savannah, 0.40-0.47 Guinea Savannah and >0.47 Forest Zone). Classification of the 1998 and 2013 images into forested and non forested areas showed that forested area decrease from 511,691 km2 in 1998 to 478,360 km2 in 2013. Differencing change detection method was performed on 1998 and 2013 NDVI images to identify areas of ecological concern. The result shows that areas undergoing vegetation degradation covers an area of 73,062 km2 while areas witnessing some form restoration cover an area of 86,315 km2. The result also shows that there is a weak correlation between rainfall and the vegetation zones. The non-vegetated areas have a correlation coefficient (r) of 0.0088, Sahel Savannah belt 0.1988, Sudan Savannah belt -0.3343, Guinea Savannah belt 0.0328 and Forest belt 0.2635. The low correlation can be associated with the encroachment of the Sudan Savannah belt into the forest belt of South-eastern part of the country as revealed by the image analysis. The degradation of the forest vegetation is therefore responsible for the serious erosion problems witnessed in the South-east. The study recommends constant monitoring of vegetation and strict enforcement of environmental laws in the country.

Economic Growth Relations to Domestic and International Air Passenger Transport in Brazil

This study examined cointegration and causal relationships between economic growth and regular domestic and international passenger air transport in Brazil. Total passengers embarked and disembarked were used as a proxy for air transport activity and gross domestic product (GDP) as a proxy for economic development. The test spanned the period from 2000 to 2015 for domestic passenger traffic and from 1995 to 2015 for international traffic. The results confirm the hypothesis that there is cointegration between passenger traffic series and economic development, showing a bi-directional Granger causal relationship between domestic traffic and economic development and unidirectional influence by economic growth on international passenger air transport demand. Variance decomposition of the series showed that domestic air transport was far more important than international transport to promoting economic development in Brazil.

Photopolymerization of Dimethacrylamide with (Meth)acrylates
A photopolymerizable dimethacrylamide was synthesized and copolymerized with the selected (meth)acrylates. The polymerization rate, degree of conversion, gel time, and compressive strength of the formed neat resins were investigated. The results show that in situ photo-polymerization of the synthesized dimethacrylamide with comonomers having an electron-withdrawing and/or acrylate group dramatically increased the polymerization rate, degree of conversion, and compressive strength. On the other hand, an electron-donating group on either carbon-carbon double bond or the ester linkage slowed down the polymerization. In contrast, the triethylene glycol dimethacrylate-based system did not show a clear pattern. Both strong hydrogen-bonding between (meth)acrylamide and organic acid groups may be responsible for higher compressive strengths. Within the limitation of this study, the photo-polymerization of dimethacrylamide can be greatly accelerated by copolymerization with monomers having electron-withdrawing and/or acrylate groups. The monomers with methacrylate group can significantly reduce the polymerization rate and degree of conversion.
Effect of Curing Temperature on Mechanical Properties of Jute Fiber Reinforced Polylactic Acid Based Green Composite
Global warming, growing awareness of the environment, waste management issues, dwindling fossil resources, and rising oil prices resulted to increase the research in the materials that are friendly to our health and environment. Due to these reasons, green products are increasingly being promoted for sustainable development. In this work, fully biodegradable green composites have been developed using jute fibers as reinforcement and poly lactic acid as matrix material by film stacking technique. The effect of curing temperature during development of composites ranging from 160 °C, 170 °C, 180 °C and 190 °C was investigated for various mechanical properties. Results obtained from various tests indicate that impact strength decreases with an increase in curing temperature, but tensile and flexural strength increases till 180 °C, thereafter both the properties decrease. This study gives an optimum curing temperature for the development of jute/PLA composites.
Modelling Conditional Volatility of Saving Rate by a Time-Varying Parameter Model

The present paper used time-varying parameters which are based on the score function of a probability density at time t to model volatility of saving rate. We used a scaled likelihood function to update the parameters of the model overtime. Our results revealed high diligence of time-varying since the location parameter is greater than zero. Furthermore, we discovered a leptokurtic condition on saving rate’s distribution. Kapetanios, Shin-Shell Nonlinear Augmented Dickey-Fuller (KSS-NADF) test showed that the saving rate has a nonlinear unit root; therefore, it can be modeled by a generalised autoregressive score (GAS) model. Additionally, value at risk (VaR) and conditional tail expectation (CTE) indicate that 99% of the time people in Lesotho are saving more than spending. This puts the economy in high risk of not expanding. Therefore, the monetary policy committee (MPC) of Lesotho should revise their monetary policies towards this high saving rates risk.

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.

The Impact of Supply Chain Strategy and Integration on Supply Chain Performance: Supply Chain Vulnerability as a Moderator

The objective of a supply chain strategy is to reduce waste and increase efficiency to attain cost benefits, and to guarantee supply chain flexibility when facing the ever-changing market environment in order to meet customer requirements. Strategy implementation aims to fulfill common goals and attain benefits by integrating upstream and downstream enterprises, sharing information, conducting common planning, and taking part in decision making, so as to enhance the overall performance of the supply chain. With the rise of outsourcing and globalization, the increasing dependence on suppliers and customers and the rapid development of information technology, the complexity and uncertainty of the supply chain have intensified, and supply chain vulnerability has surged, resulting in adverse effects on supply chain performance. Thus, this study aims to use supply chain vulnerability as a moderating variable and apply structural equation modeling (SEM) to determine the relationships among supply chain strategy, supply chain integration, and supply chain performance, as well as the moderating effect of supply chain vulnerability on supply chain performance. The data investigation of this study was questionnaires which were collected from the management level of enterprises in Taiwan and China, 149 questionnaires were received. The result of confirmatory factor analysis shows that the path coefficients of supply chain strategy on supply chain integration and supply chain performance are positive (0.497, t= 4.914; 0.748, t= 5.919), having a significantly positive effect. Supply chain integration is also significantly positively correlated to supply chain performance (0.192, t = 2.273). The moderating effects of supply chain vulnerability on supply chain strategy and supply chain integration to supply chain performance are significant (7.407; 4.687). In Taiwan, 97.73% of enterprises are small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) focusing on receiving original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and original design manufacturer (ODM) orders. In order to meet the needs of customers and to respond to market changes, these enterprises especially focus on supply chain flexibility and their integration with the upstream and downstream enterprises. According to the observation of this research, the effect of supply chain vulnerability on supply chain performance is significant, and so enterprises need to attach great importance to the management of supply chain risk and conduct risk analysis on their suppliers in order to formulate response strategies when facing emergency situations. At the same time, risk management is incorporated into the supply chain so as to reduce the effect of supply chain vulnerability on the overall supply chain performance.

The Relationship between the Energy of Gravitational Field and the Representative Pseudotensor

As is known, the role of the energy-momentum pseudotensors of the gravitational field is to extend the conservation law to the gravitational interaction by taking into account the energy and momentum of the gravitational field. We calculated the contribution of the Einstein pseudotensor to the total mass of a stationary material body and its gravitational field. It turned out that this contribution is positive, despite the fact that the mass-energy of a stationary gravitational field is negative. We concluded that the pseudotensor incorrectly describes the energy of the gravitational field. Nevertheless, this pseudotensor has been used in a large number of scientific works for 100 years. We explain this by the fact that the covariant component of the pseudotensor was regarded as the mass-energy. Besides, we prove the advantage of the covariant energy-momentum conservation law for matter in the Minkowski space-time.

Dynamic Variation in Nano-Scale CMOS SRAM Cells Due to LF/RTS Noise and Threshold Voltage

The dynamic variation in memory devices such as the Static Random Access Memory can give errors in read or write operations. In this paper, the effect of low-frequency and random telegraph noise on the dynamic variation of one SRAM cell is detailed. The effect on circuit noise, speed, and length of time of processing is examined, using the Supply Read Retention Voltage and the Read Static Noise Margin. New test run methods are also developed. The obtained results simulation shows the importance of noise caused by dynamic variation, and the impact of Random Telegraph noise on SRAM variability is examined by evaluating the statistical distributions of Random Telegraph noise amplitude in the pull-up, pull-down. The threshold voltage mismatch between neighboring cell transistors due to intrinsic fluctuations typically contributes to larger reductions in static noise margin. Also the contribution of each of the SRAM transistor to total dynamic variation has been identified.

A 15 Minute-Based Approach for Berth Allocation and Quay Crane Assignment

In traditional integrated berth allocation with quay crane assignment models, time dimension is usually assumed in hourly based. However, nowadays, transshipment becomes the main business to many container terminals, especially in Southeast Asia (e.g. Hong Kong and Singapore). In these terminals, vessel arrivals are usually very frequent with small handling volume and very short staying time. Therefore, the traditional hourly-based modeling approach may cause significant berth and quay crane idling, and consequently cannot meet their practical needs. In this connection, a 15-minute-based modeling approach is requested by industrial practitioners. Accordingly, a Three-level Genetic Algorithm (3LGA) with Quay Crane (QC) shifting heuristics is designed to fulfill the research gap. The objective function here is to minimize the total service time. Preliminary numerical results show that the proposed 15-minute-based approach can reduce the berth and QC idling significantly.

Biodegradation Behavior of Cellulose Acetate with DS 2.5 in Simulated Soil

The relationship between biodegradation and mechanical behavior is fundamental for studies of the application of cellulose acetate films as a possible material for biodegradable packaging. In this work, the biodegradation of cellulose acetate (CA) with DS 2.5 was analyzed in simulated soil. CA films were prepared by casting and buried in the simulated soil. Samples were taken monthly and analyzed, the total time of biodegradation was 6 months. To characterize the biodegradable CA, the DMA technique was employed. The main result showed that the time of exposure to the simulated soil affects the mechanical properties of the films and the values of crystallinity. By DMA analysis, it was possible to conclude that as the CA is biodegraded, its mechanical properties were altered, for example, storage modulus has increased with biodegradation and the modulus of loss has decreased. Analyzes of DSC, XRD, and FTIR were also carried out to characterize the biodegradation of CA, which corroborated with the results of DMA. The observation of the carbonyl band by FTIR and crystalline indices obtained by XRD were important to evaluate the degradation of CA during the exposure time.

Proposition of an Ontology of Diseases and Their Signs from Medical Ontologies Integration
To assist medical diagnosis, we propose a federation of several existing and open medical ontologies and terminologies. The goal is to merge the strengths of all these resources to provide clinicians the access to a variety of shared knowledges that can facilitate identification and association of human diseases and all of their available characteristic signs such as symptoms and clinical signs. This work results to an integration model loaded from target known ontologies of the bioportal platform such as DOID, MESH, and SNOMED for diseases selection, SYMP, and CSSO for all existing signs.
Introduction of an Approach of Complex Virtual Devices to Achieve Device Interoperability in Smart Building Systems
One of the major challenges for sustainable smart building systems is to support device interoperability, i.e. connecting sensor or actuator devices from different vendors, and present their functionality to the external applications. Furthermore, smart building systems are supposed to connect with devices that are not available yet, i.e. devices that become available on the market sometime later. It is of vital importance that a sustainable smart building platform provides an appropriate external interface that can be leveraged by external applications and smart services. An external platform interface must be stable and independent of specific devices and should support flexible and scalable usage scenarios. A typical approach applied in smart home systems is based on a generic device interface used within the smart building platform. Device functions, even of rather complex devices, are mapped to that generic base type interface by means of specific device drivers. Our new approach, presented in this work, extends that approach by using the smart building system’s rule engine to create complex virtual devices that can represent the most diverse properties of real devices. We examined and evaluated both approaches by means of a practical case study using a smart building system that we have developed. We show that the solution we present allows the highest degree of flexibility without affecting external application interface stability and scalability. In contrast to other systems our approach supports complex virtual device configuration on application layer (e.g. by administration users) instead of device configuration at platform layer (e.g. platform operators). Based on our work, we can show that our approach supports almost arbitrarily flexible use case scenarios without affecting the external application interface stability. However, the cost of this approach is additional appropriate configuration overhead and additional resource consumption at the IoT platform level that must be considered by platform operators. We conclude that the concept of complex virtual devices presented in this work can be applied to improve the usability and device interoperability of sustainable intelligent building systems significantly.
Generation of Numerical Data for the Facilitation of the Personalized Hyperthermic Treatment of Cancer with An Interstital Antenna Array Using the Method of Symmetrical Components
The method of moments combined with the method of symmetrical components is used for the analysis of interstitial hyperthermia applicators. The basis and testing functions are both piecewise sinusoids, qualifying our technique as a Galerkin one. The dielectric coatings are modeled by equivalent volume polarization currents, which are simply related to the conduction current distribution, avoiding in that way the introduction of additional unknowns or numerical integrations. The results of our method for a four dipole circular array, are in agreement with those already published in literature for a same hyperthermia configuration. Apart from being accurate, our approach is more general, more computationally efficient and takes into account the coupling between the antennas.
Performance Improvement of Information System of a Banking System Based on Integrated Resilience Engineering Design

Integrated resilience engineering (IRE) is capable of returning banking systems to the normal state in extensive economic circumstances. In this study, information system of a large bank (with several branches) is assessed and optimized under severe economic conditions. Data envelopment analysis (DEA) models are employed to achieve the objective of this study. Nine IRE factors are considered to be the outputs, and a dummy variable is defined as the input of the DEA models. A standard questionnaire is designed and distributed among executive managers to be considered as the decision-making units (DMUs). Reliability and validity of the questionnaire is examined based on Cronbach's alpha and t-test. The most appropriate DEA model is determined based on average efficiency and normality test. It is shown that the proposed integrated design provides higher efficiency than the conventional RE design. Results of sensitivity and perturbation analysis indicate that self-organization, fault tolerance, and reporting culture respectively compose about 50 percent of total weight.

Applying the Integrative Design Process in Architectural Firms: An Analytical Study on Egyptian Firms

An architect carrying the design process alone is the main reason for the deterioration of the quality of the architectural product as the complexity of the projects makes it a multi-disciplinary work; then, the Integrative Design Process (IDP) must be applied in the architectural firm especially from the early design phases to improve the product’s quality and to eliminate the ignorance of the principles of design causing the occurrence of low-grade buildings. The research explores the Integrative Design (ID) principles that fit in the architectural practice. Constraints facing this application are presented with strategies and solutions to overcome them. A survey questionnaire was conducted to collect data from a number of recognized Egyptian Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) firms that explores their opinions on using the IDP. This survey emphasizes the importance of the IDP in firms and presents the reasons preventing the firms from applying the IDP. The aim here is to investigate the potentials of integrating this approach into architectural firms emphasizing the importance of this application which ensures the realization of the project’s goal and eliminates the reduction in the project’s quality.

Autonomic Management for Mobile Robot Battery Degradation

The majority of today’s mobile robots are very dependent on battery power. Mobile robots can operate untethered for a number of hours but eventually they will need to recharge their batteries in-order to continue to function. While computer processing and sensors have become cheaper and more powerful each year, battery development has progress very little. They are slow to re-charge, inefficient and lagging behind in the general progression of robotic development we see today. However, batteries are relatively cheap and when fully charged, can supply high power output necessary for operating heavy mobile robots. As there are no cheap alternatives to batteries, we need to find efficient ways to manage the power that batteries provide during their operational lifetime. This paper proposes the use of autonomic principles of self-adaption to address the behavioral changes a battery experiences as it gets older. In life, as we get older, we cannot perform tasks in the same way as we did in our youth; these tasks generally take longer to perform and require more of our energy to complete. Batteries also suffer from a form of degradation. As a battery gets older, it loses the ability to retain the same charge capacity it would have when brand new. This paper investigates how we can adapt the current state of a battery charge and cycle count, to the requirements of a mobile robot to perform its tasks.

Replicating Brain’s Resting State Functional Connectivity Network Using a Multi-Factor Hub-Based Model
The brain’s functional connectivity while temporally non-stationary does express consistency at a macro spatial level. The study of stable resting state connectivity patterns hence provides opportunities for identification of diseases if such stability is severely perturbed. A mathematical model replicating the brain’s spatial connections will be useful for understanding brain’s representative geometry and complements the empirical model where it falls short. Empirical computations tend to involve large matrices and become infeasible with fine parcellation. However, the proposed analytical model has no such computational problems. To improve replicability, 92 subject data are obtained from two open sources. The proposed methodology, inspired by financial theory, uses multivariate regression to find relationships of every cortical region of interest (ROI) with some pre-identified hubs. These hubs acted as representatives for the entire cortical surface. A variance-covariance framework of all ROIs is then built based on these relationships to link up all the ROIs. The result is a high level of match between model and empirical correlations in the range of 0.59 to 0.66 after adjusting for sample size; an increase of almost forty percent. More significantly, the model framework provides an intuitive way to delineate between systemic drivers and idiosyncratic noise while reducing dimensions by more than 30 folds, hence, providing a way to conduct attribution analysis. Due to its analytical nature and simple structure, the model is useful as a standalone toolkit for network dependency analysis or as a module for other mathematical models.
Integrated Mass Rapid Transit System for Smart City Project in Western India

This paper is an attempt to develop an Integrated Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) for a smart city project in Western India. Integrated transportation is one of the enablers of smart transportation for providing a seamless intercity as well as regional level transportation experience. The success of a smart city project at the city level for transportation is providing proper integration to different mass rapid transit modes by way of integrating information, physical, network of routes fares, etc. The methodology adopted for this study was primary data research through questionnaire survey. The respondents of the questionnaire survey have responded on the issues about their perceptions on the ways and means to improve public transport services in urban cities. The respondents were also required to identify the factors and attributes which might motivate more people to shift towards the public mode. Also, the respondents were questioned about the factors which they feel might restrain the integration of various modes of MRTS. Furthermore, this study also focuses on developing a utility equation for respondents with the help of multiple linear regression analysis and its probability to shift to public transport for certain factors listed in the questionnaire. It has been observed that for shifting to public transport, the most important factors that need to be considered were travel time saving and comfort rating. Also, an Integrated MRTS can be obtained by combining metro rail with BRTS, metro rail with monorail, monorail with BRTS and metro rail with Indian railways. Providing a common smart card to transport users for accessing all the different available modes would be a pragmatic solution towards integration of the available modes of MRTS.

Mechanical, Thermal and Biodegradable Properties of Bioplast-Spruce Green Wood Polymer Composites

Environmental and sustainability concerns push the industries to manufacture alternative materials having less environmental impact. The Wood Plastic Composites (WPCs) produced by blending the biopolymers and natural fillers permit not only to tailor the desired properties of materials but also are the solution to meet the environmental and sustainability requirements. This work presents the elaboration and characterization of the fully green WPCs prepared by blending a biopolymer, BIOPLAST® GS 2189 and spruce sawdust used as filler with different amounts. Since both components are bio-based, the resulting material is entirely environmentally friendly. The mechanical, thermal, structural properties of these WPCs were characterized by different analytical methods like tensile, flexural and impact tests, Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA), Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) and X-ray Diffraction (XRD). Their water absorption properties and resistance to the termite and fungal attacks were determined in relation with different wood filler content. The tensile and flexural moduli of WPCs increased with increasing amount of wood fillers into the biopolymer, but WPCs became more brittle compared to the neat polymer. Incorporation of spruce sawdust modified the thermal properties of polymer: The degradation, cold crystallization, and melting temperatures shifted to higher temperatures when spruce sawdust was added into polymer. The termite, fungal and water absorption resistance of WPCs decreased with increasing wood amount in WPCs, but remained in durability class 1 (durable) concerning fungal resistance and quoted 1 (attempted attack) in visual rating regarding to the termites resistance except that the WPC with the highest wood content (30 wt%) rated 2 (slight attack) indicating a long term durability. All the results showed the possibility to elaborate the easy injectable composite materials with adjustable properties by incorporation of BIOPLAST® GS 2189 and spruce sawdust. Therefore, lightweight WPCs allow both to recycle wood industry byproducts and to produce a full ecologic material.

2D Structured Non-Cyclic Fuzzy Graphs
Fuzzy graphs incorporate concepts from graph theory with fuzzy principles. In this paper, we make a study on the properties of fuzzy graphs which are non-cyclic and are of two-dimensional in structure. In particular, this paper presents 2D structure or the structure of double layer for a non-cyclic fuzzy graph whose underlying crisp graph is non-cyclic. In any graph structure, introducing 2D structure may lead to an inherent cycle. We propose relevant conditions for 2D structured non-cyclic fuzzy graphs. These conditions are extended even to fuzzy graphs of the 3D structure. General theoretical properties that are studied for any fuzzy graph are verified to 2D structured or double layered fuzzy graphs. Concepts like Order, Degree, Strong and Size for a fuzzy graph are studied for 2D structured or double layered non-cyclic fuzzy graphs. Using different types of fuzzy graphs, the proposed concepts relating to 2D structured fuzzy graphs are verified.
Study on the Integration Schemes and Performance Comparisons of Different Integrated Solar Combined Cycle-Direct Steam Generation Systems

The integrated solar combined cycle (ISCC) system has a series of advantages such as increasing the system power generation, reducing the cost of solar power generation, less pollutant and CO2 emission. In this paper, the parabolic trough collectors with direct steam generation (DSG) technology are considered to replace the heat load of heating surfaces in heat regenerator steam generation (HRSG) of a conventional natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) system containing a PG9351FA gas turbine and a triple pressure HRSG with reheat. The detailed model of the NGCC system is built in ASPEN PLUS software and the parabolic trough collectors with DSG technology is modeled in EBSILON software. ISCC-DSG systems with the replacement of single, two, three and four heating surfaces are studied in this paper. Results show that: (1) the ISCC-DSG systems with the replacement heat load of HPB, HPB+LPE, HPE2+HPB+HPS, HPE1+HPE2+ HPB+HPS are the best integration schemes when single, two, three and four stages of heating surfaces are partly replaced by the parabolic trough solar energy collectors with DSG technology. (2) Both the changes of feed water flow and the heat load of the heating surfaces in ISCC-DSG systems with the replacement of multi-stage heating surfaces are smaller than those in ISCC-DSG systems with the replacement of single heating surface. (3) ISCC-DSG systems with the replacement of HPB+LPE heating surfaces can increase the solar power output significantly. (4) The ISCC-DSG systems with the replacement of HPB heating surfaces has the highest solar-thermal-to-electricity efficiency (47.45%) and the solar radiation energy-to-electricity efficiency (30.37%), as well as the highest exergy efficiency of solar field (33.61%).

Optimization of Slider Crank Mechanism Using Design of Experiments and Multi-Linear Regression

Crank shaft length, connecting rod length, crank angle, engine rpm, cylinder bore, mass of piston and compression ratio are the inputs that can control the performance of the slider crank mechanism and then its efficiency. Several combinations of these seven inputs are used and compared. The throughput engine torque predicted by the simulation is analyzed through two different regression models, with and without interaction terms, developed according to multi-linear regression using LU decomposition to solve system of algebraic equations. These models are validated. A regression model in seven inputs including their interaction terms lowered the polynomial degree from 3rd degree to 1st degree and suggested valid predictions and stable explanations.

Influence of Shading on a BIPV System’s Performance in an Urban Context: Case Study of BIPV Systems of the Science Center of Complexity Building of the National and Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City

The purpose of this paper is to establish the influence of shading on a Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) system´s performance in an urban context. The PV systems of the Science Center of Complexity (Centro de Ciencias de la Complejidad) Building based in the Main Campus of the National and Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in Mexico City was taken as case study.  The PV systems are placed on the rooftop and on the south façade of the building.  The south-façade PV system, operating as sunshades, consists of two strings:  one at the ground floor and the other one at the first floor.  According to the building’s facility manager, the south-façade PV system generates 42% less electricity per kilowatt peak (kWp) installed than the one on the roof.  The methods applied in this study were Solar Radiation Analysis (SRA) simulations performed with the Insight 360 Plug-in from Revit 2018® and an on-site measurement using specialized tools.  The results of the SRA simulations showed that the shading casted by the PV system placed on the first floor on top of the PV system of the ground floor decreases its solar incident radiation over 50%.  The simulation outcome was compared and validated to the measured data obtained from the on-site measurement.  In conclusion, the loss factor achieved from the shading of the PVs is due to the surroundings and the PV system´s own design.  The south-façade BIPV system’s deficient design generates critical losses on its performance and decreases its profitability.

Theoretical Study on the Forced Vibration of One Degree of Freedom System, Equipped with Inerter, under Load-Type or Displacement-Type Excitation

In this paper, a theoretical study on the forced vibration of one degree of freedom system equipped with inerter, working under load-type or displacement-type excitation, is presented. Differential equations of movement are solved under cosinusoidal excitation, and explicit relations for the magnitude, resonant magnitude, phase angle, resonant frequency, and critical frequency are obtained. Influence of the inertance and damping on these dynamic characteristics is clarified. From the obtained results, one concludes that the inerter increases the magnitude of vibration and the phase angle of the damped mechanical system. Moreover, the magnitude ratio and difference of phase angles are not depending on the actual type of excitation. Consequently, such kind of similitude allows for the comparison of various theoretical and experimental results, which can be broadly found in the literature.

Similarity Based Membership of Elements to Uncertain Concept in Information System

The process of determining the degree of membership for an element to an uncertain concept has been found in many ways, using equivalence and symmetry relations in information systems. In the case of similarity, these methods did not take into account the degree of symmetry between elements. In this paper, we use a new definition for finding the membership based on the degree of symmetry. We provide an example to clarify the suggested methods and compare it with previous methods. This method opens the door to more accurate decisions in information systems.

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