Scholarly Research Excellence

Digital Open Science Index

Commenced in January 2007 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Paper Count: 663

Interaction of between Cd and Zn in Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) Plant for Phytoextraction Method

The aim of this research is to remediation of the cadmium (Cd) pollution in agricultural soils by using barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) plant. For this purpose, a pot experiment was done in greenhouse conditions. Cadmium (100 mg/kg) as CdSO4.8H2O forms was applied to each pot and incubated during 30 days. Then Ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA) chelate was applied to each pot at five doses (0, 3, 6, 8 and 10 mmol/kg) 20 days before harvesting time of the barley plants. The plants were harvested after two months planting. According to the pot experiment results, Cd and Zn amounts of barley plant increased with increasing EDTA application and Zn and Cd contents of barley 20,13 and 1,35 mg/kg for 0 mmol /kg EDTA; 58,61 and 113,24 mg/kg for 10 mmol/kg EDTA doses, respectively. On the other hand, Cd and Zn concentrations of experiment soil increased with EDTA application to the soil samples. Zinc and Cd concentrations of soil 0,31 and 0,021 mg/kg for 0 mmol /kg EDTA; 2,39 and 67,40 mg/kg for 10 mmol/kg EDTA doses, respectively. These increases were found to be statistically significant at the level of 1 %. According to the results of the pot experiment, some heavy metal especially Cd pollution of barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) plant province can be remediated by the phytoextraction method.

Liquid Fuel Production via Catalytic Pyrolysis of Waste Oil

Pyrolysis of waste oil is an effective process to produce high quality liquid fuels. In this work, pyrolysis experiments of waste oil over Y zeolite were carried out in a semi-batch reactor under a flow of nitrogen at atmospheric pressure and at different reaction temperatures (350-450 oC). The products were gas, liquid fuel, and residue. Only liquid fuel was further characterized for its composition and properties by using gas chromatography, thermogravimetric analyzer, and bomb calorimeter. Experimental results indicated that the pyrolysis reaction temperature significantly affected both yield and composition distribution of pyrolysis oil. An increase in reaction temperature resulted in increased fuel yield, especially gasoline fraction. To obtain high amount of fuel, the optimal reaction temperature should be higher than 350 oC. A presence of Y zeolite in the system enhanced the cracking activity. In addition, the pyrolysis oil yield is proportional to the catalyst quantity.

Comparative Study of Equivalent Linear and Non-Linear Ground Response Analysis for Rapar District of Kutch, India

Earthquakes are considered to be the most destructive rapid-onset disasters human beings are exposed to. The amount of loss it brings in is sufficient to take careful considerations for designing of structures and facilities. Seismic Hazard Analysis is one such tool which can be used for earthquake resistant design. Ground Response Analysis is one of the most crucial and decisive steps for seismic hazard analysis. Rapar district of Kutch, Gujarat falls in Zone 5 of earthquake zone map of India and thus has high seismicity because of which it is selected for analysis. In total 8 bore-log data were studied at different locations in and around Rapar district. Different soil engineering properties were analyzed and relevant empirical correlations were used to calculate maximum shear modulus (Gmax) and shear wave velocity (Vs) for the soil layers. The soil was modeled using Pressure-Dependent Modified Kodner Zelasko (MKZ) model and the reference curve used for fitting was Seed and Idriss (1970) for sand and Darendeli (2001) for clay. Both Equivalent linear (EL), as well as Non-linear (NL) ground response analysis, has been carried out with Masing Hysteretic Re/Unloading formulation for comparison. Commercially available DEEPSOIL v. 7.0 software is used for this analysis. In this study an attempt is made to quantify ground response regarding generated acceleration time-history at top of the soil column, Response spectra calculation at 5 % damping and Fourier amplitude spectrum calculation. Moreover, the variation of Peak Ground Acceleration (PGA), Maximum Displacement, Maximum Strain (in %), Maximum Stress Ratio, Mobilized Shear Stress with depth is also calculated. From the study, PGA values estimated in rocky strata are nearly same as bedrock motion and marginal amplification is observed in sandy silt and silty clays by both analyses. The NL analysis gives conservative results of maximum displacement as compared to EL analysis. Maximum strain predicted by both studies is very close to each other. And overall NL analysis is more efficient and realistic because it follows the actual hyperbolic stress-strain relationship, considers stiffness degradation and mobilizes stresses generated due to pore water pressure.

Optimization of Technical and Technological Solutions for the Development of Offshore Hydrocarbon Fields in the Kaliningrad Region

Currently, LLC «Lukoil-Kaliningradmorneft» is implementing a comprehensive program for the development of offshore fields of the Kaliningrad region. This is largely associated with the depletion of the resource base of land in the region, as well as the positive results of geological investigation surrounding the Baltic Sea area and the data on the volume of hydrocarbon recovery from a single offshore field are working on the Kaliningrad region – D-6 «Kravtsovskoye».The article analyzes the main stages of the LLC «Lukoil-Kaliningradmorneft»’s development program for the development of the hydrocarbon resources of the region's shelf and suggests an optimization algorithm that allows managing a multi-criteria process of development of shelf deposits. The algorithm is formed on the basis of the problem of sequential decision making, which is a section of dynamic programming. Application of the algorithm during the consolidation of the initial data, the elaboration of project documentation, the further exploration and development of offshore fields will allow to optimize the complex of technical and technological solutions and increase the economic efficiency of the field development project implemented by LLC «Lukoil-Kaliningradmorneft».

Biodiesel Production from Palm Oil Using an Oscillatory Baffled Reactor

Biofuel production especially that of biodiesel has gained tremendous attention during the last decade due to environmental concerns and shortage in petroleum oil reservoir. This research aims to investigate the influences of operating parameters, such as the alcohol-to-oil molar ratio (4:1, 6:1, and 9:1) and the amount of catalyst (1, 1.5, and 2 wt.%) on the trans esterification of refined palm oil (RPO) in a medium-scale oscillatory baffle reactor.  It has been shown that an increase in the methanol-to-oil ratio resulted in an increase in fatty acid methyl esters (FAMEs) content. The amount of catalyst has an insignificant effect on the FAMEs content. Engine testing was performed on B0 (100 v/v% diesel) and blended fuel or B50 (50 v/v% diesel). Combustion of B50 was found to give lower torque compared to pure diesel. Exhaust gas from B50 was found to contain lower concentration of CO and CO2.

Aerodynamic Performance of a Pitching Bio-Inspired Corrugated Airfoil

In the present study, the aerodynamic performance of a rigid two-dimensional pitching bio-inspired corrugate airfoil was numerically investigated at Reynolds number of 14000. The Open Field Operations And Manipulations (OpenFOAM) computational fluid dynamic tool is used to solve flow governing equations numerically. The k-ω SST turbulence model with low Reynolds correction (k-ω SST LRC) and the pimpleDyMFOAM solver are utilized to simulate the flow field around pitching bio-airfoil. The lift and drag coefficients of the airfoil are calculated at reduced frequencies k=1.24-4.96 and the angular amplitude of A=5°-20°. Results show that in a fixed reduced frequency, the absolute value of the sectional lift and drag coefficients increase with increasing pitching amplitude. In a fixed angular amplitude, the absolute value of the lift and drag coefficients increase as the pitching reduced frequency increases.

Comparing Field Displacement History with Numerical Results to Estimate Geotechnical Parameters: Case Study of Arash-Esfandiar-Niayesh under Passing Tunnel, 2.5 Traffic Lane Tunnel, Tehran, Iran

Underground structures are of those structures that have uncertainty in design procedures. That is due to the complexity of soil condition around. Under passing tunnels are also such affected structures. Despite geotechnical site investigations, lots of uncertainties exist in soil properties due to unknown events. As results, it possibly causes conflicting settlements in numerical analysis with recorded values in the project. This paper aims to report a case study on a specific under passing tunnel constructed by New Austrian Tunnelling Method in Iran. The intended tunnel has an overburden of about 11.3m, the height of 12.2m and, the width of 14.4m with 2.5 traffic lane. The numerical modeling was developed by a 2D finite element program (PLAXIS Version 8). Comparing displacement histories at the ground surface during the entire installation of initial lining, the estimated surface settlement was about four times the field recorded one, which indicates that some local unknown events affect that value. Also, the displacement ratios were in a big difference between the numerical and field data. Consequently, running several numerical back analyses using laboratory and field tests data, the geotechnical parameters were accurately revised to match with the obtained monitoring data. Finally, it was found that usually the values of soil parameters are conservatively low-estimated up to 40 percent by typical engineering judgment. Additionally, it could be attributed to inappropriate constitutive models applied for the specific soil condition.

Experimental on Free and Forced Heat Transfer and Pressure Drop of Copper Oxide-Heat Transfer Oil Nanofluid in Horizontal and Inclined Microfin Tube

In this paper, the combined free and forced convection heat transfer of the Copper Oxide-Heat Transfer Oil (CuO-HTO) nanofluid flow in horizontal and inclined microfin tubes is studied experimentally. The flow regime is laminar, and pipe surface temperature is constant. The effect of nanoparticle and microfin tube on the heat transfer rate is investigated with the Richardson number which is between 0.1 and 0.7. The results show an increasing nanoparticle concentration between 0% and 1.5% leads to enhance the combined free and forced convection heat transfer rate. According to the results, five correlations are proposed to provide estimating the free and forced heat transfer rate as the increasing Richardson number from 0.1 to 0.7. The maximum deviation of both correlations is less than 16%. Moreover, four correlations are suggested to assess the Nusselt number based on the Rayleigh number in inclined tubes from 1800000 to 7000000. The maximum deviation of the correlation is almost 16%. The Darcy friction factor of the nanofluid flow has been investigated. Furthermore, CuO-HTO nanofluid flows in inclined microfin tubes.

Quality Evaluation of Grape Seed Oils of the Ionian Islands Based on GC-MS and Other Spectroscopic Techniques

Grape seeds are waste products of wineries and often referred to as an important agricultural and industrial waste product with the potential to be used in pharmaceutical, food, and cosmetic applications. In this study, grape seed oil from traditional Ionian varieties was examined for the determination of the quality and the characteristics of each variety. Initially, the fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) profiles were analyzed using Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry, after transesterification. Furthermore, other quality parameters of the grape seed oils were determined by Spectroscopy techniques, UV-Vis and Raman included. Moreover, the antioxidant capacity of the oil was measured by 2,2'-azino-bis-3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid (ABTS) and 2,2-Diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) assays and their antioxidant capacity expressed in Trolox equivalents. K and ΔΚ indices were measured in 232, 268, 270 nm, as an oil quality index. The results indicate that the air-dried grape seed total oil content ranged from 5.26 to 8.77% w/w, which is in accordance with the other grape seed varieties tested in similar studies. The composition of grape seed oil is predominated with linoleic and oleic fatty acids, with the linoleic fatty acid ranging from 53.68 to 69.95% and both the linoleic and oleic fatty acids totaling 78-82% of FAMEs, which is analogous to the fatty acid composition of safflower oil. The antioxidant assays ABTS and DPPH scored high, exhibiting that the oils have potential in the cosmetic and culinary businesses. Above that, our results demonstrate that Ionian grape seed oils have prospects that can go further than cosmetic or culinary use, into the pharmaceuticals industry. Finally, the reclamation of grape seeds from wineries waste stream is in accordance with the bio-economy strategic framework and contributes to environmental protection.

Effects of Selected Plant-Derived Nutraceuticals on the Quality and Shelf-Life Stability of Frankfurter Type Sausages during Storage

The application of natural plant extracts which are rich in promising antioxidants and antimicrobial ingredients in the production of frankfurter-type sausages addresses consumer demands for healthier, more functional meat products. The effects of olive leaves, green tea and Urtica dioica L. extracts on physicochemical, microbiological and sensory characteristic of frankfurter-type sausage were investigated during 45 days of storage at 4 °C. The results revealed that pH and phenolic compounds decreased significantly (P < 0.05) in all samples during storage. Sausages containing 500 ppm green tea extract (1.78 mg/kg) showed the lowest TBARS values compared to olive leaves (2.01 mg/kg), Urtica dioica L. (2.26 mg/kg) extracts and control (2.74 mg/kg). Plant extracts significantly (P < 0.05) reduced the count of total mesophilic bacteria, yeast and mold by at least 2 log cycles (CFU/g) than those of control samples. Sensory characteristics of texture showed no difference (P > 0.05) between sausage samples, but sausage containing Urtica dioica L. extract had the highest score regarding flavor, freshness odor, and overall acceptability. Based on the results, sausage containing plant extracts could have a significant impact on antimicrobial activity, antioxidant capacity, sensory score, and shelf life stability of frankfurter-type sausage.

Optimization of Soybean Oil by Modified Supercritical Carbon Dioxide

The content of omega-3 in soybean oil is important in the development of infants and is an alternative for the omega-3 in fish oils. The investigation of extraction of soybean oil is needed to obtain the bioactive compound in the extract. Supercritical carbon dioxide extraction is modern and green technology to extract herbs and plants to obtain high quality extract due to high diffusivity and solubility of the solvent. The aim of this study was to obtain the optimum condition of soybean oil extraction by modified supercritical carbon dioxide. The soybean oil was extracted by using modified supercritical carbon dioxide (SC-CO2) under the temperatures of 40, 60, 80 °C, pressures of 150, 250, 350 Bar, and constant flow-rate of 10 g/min as the parameters of extraction processes. An experimental design was performed in order to optimize three important parameters of SC-CO2 extraction which are pressure (X1), temperature (X2) to achieve optimum yields of soybean oil. Box Behnken Design was applied for experimental design. From the optimization process, the optimum condition of extraction of soybean oil was obtained at pressure 338 Bar and temperature 80 °C with oil yield of 2.713 g. Effect of pressure is significant on the extraction of soybean oil by modified supercritical carbon dioxide. Increasing of pressure will increase the oil yield of soybean oil.

Evaluation of Shear Strength Parameters of Rudsar Sandy Soil Stabilized with Waste Rubber Chips

The use of waste rubber chips not only can be of great importance in terms of the environment, but also can be used to increase the shear strength of soils. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the variation of the internal friction angle of liquefiable sandy soil using waste rubber chips. For this purpose, the geotechnical properties of unmodified and modified soil samples by waste lining rubber chips have been evaluated and analyzed by performing the triaxial consolidated drained test. In order to prepare the laboratory specimens, the sandy soil in part of Rudsar shores in Gilan province, north of Iran with high liquefaction potential has been replaced by two percent of waste rubber chips. Samples have been compressed until reaching the two levels of density of 15.5 and 16.7 kN/m3. Also, in order to find the optimal length of chips in sandy soil, the rectangular rubber chips with the widths of 0.5 and 1 cm and the lengths of 0.5, 1, and 2 cm were used. The results showed that the addition of rubber chips to liquefiable sandy soil greatly increases the shear resistance of these soils. Also, it can be seen that decreasing the width and increasing the length-to-width ratio of rubber chips has a direct impact on the shear strength of the modified soil samples with rubber chips.

The Influence of the Geogrid Layers on the Bearing Capacity of Layered Soils

Many classical bearing capacity theories assume that the natural soil's layers are homogenous for determining the bearing capacity of the soil. But, in many practical projects, we encounter multi-layer soils. Geosynthetic as reinforcement materials have been extensively used in the construction of various structures. In this paper, numerical analysis of the Plate Load Test (PLT) using of ABAQUS software in double-layered soils with different thicknesses of sandy and gravelly layers reinforced with geogrid was considered. The PLT is one of the common filed methods to calculate parameters such as soil bearing capacity, the evaluation of the compressibility and the determination of the Subgrade Reaction module. In fact, the influence of the geogrid layers on the bearing capacity of the layered soils is investigated. Finally, the most appropriate mode for the distance and number of reinforcement layers is determined. Results show that using three layers of geogrid with a distance of 0.3 times the width of the loading plate has the highest efficiency in bearing capacity of double-layer (sand and gravel) soils. Also, the significant increase in bearing capacity between unreinforced and reinforced soil with three layers of geogrid is caused by the condition that the upper layer (gravel) thickness is equal to the loading plate width.

Functionality and Application of Rice Bran Protein Hydrolysates in Oil in Water Emulsions: Their Stabilities to Environmental Stresses

Rice bran protein hydrolysates (RBPH) were prepared from defatted rice bran of two different Thai rice cultivars (Plai-Ngahm-Prachinburi; PNP and Khao Dok Mali 105; KDM105) using an enzymatic method. This research aimed to optimize enzyme-assisted protein extraction. In addition, the functional properties of RBPH and their stabilities to environmental stresses including pH (3 to 8), ionic strength (0 mM to 500 mM) and the thermal treatment (30 °C to 90 °C) were investigated. Results showed that enzymatic process for protein extraction of defatted rice bran was as follows: enzyme concentration 0.075 g/ 5 g of protein, extraction temperature 50 °C and extraction time 4 h. The obtained protein hydrolysate powders had a degree of hydrolysis (%) of 21.05% in PNP and 19.92% in KDM105. The solubility of protein hydrolysates at pH 4-6 was ranged from 27.28-38.57% and 27.60-43.00% in PNP and KDM105, respectively. In general, antioxidant activities indicated by total phenolic content, FRAP, ferrous ion-chelating (FIC), and 2,2’-azino-bis-3-ethylbenzthiazoline-6-sulphonic acid (ABTS) of KDM105 had higher than PNP. In terms of functional properties, the emulsifying activity index (EAI) was was 8.78 m²/g protein in KDM105, whereas PNP was 5.05 m²/g protein. The foaming capacity at 5 minutes (%) was 47.33 and 52.98 in PNP and KDM105, respectively. Glutamine, Alanine, Valine, and Leucine are the major amino acid in protein hydrolysates where the total amino acid of KDM105 gave higher than PNP. Furthermore, we investigated environmental stresses on the stability of 5% oil in water emulsion (5% oil, 10 mM citrate buffer) stabilized by RBPH (3.5%). The droplet diameter of emulsion stabilized by KDM105 was smaller (d < 250 nm) than produced by PNP. For environmental stresses, RBPH stabilized emulsions were stable at pH around 3 and 5-6, at high salt (< 400 mM, pH 7) and at temperatures range between 30-50°C.

Sunflower Irrigation with Two Different Types of Soil Moisture Sensors

Irrigation is one of the most important cultivation practices for each crop, especially in areas where rainfall is enough to cover the crop water needs. In such areas, the farmers must irrigate in order to achieve high economical results. The precise irrigation scheduling contributes to irrigation water saving and thus a valuable natural resource is protected. Under this point of view, in the experimental field of the Laboratory of Agricultural Hydraulics of the University of Thessaly, a research was conducted during the growing season of 2012 in order to evaluate the growth, seed and oil production of sunflower as well as the water saving, by applying different methods of irrigation scheduling. Three treatments in four replications were organized. These were: a) surface drip irrigation where the irrigation scheduling based on the Penman-Monteith (PM) method (control); b) surface drip irrigation where the irrigation scheduling based on a soil moisture sensor (SMS); and c) surface drip irrigation, where the irrigation scheduling based on a soil potential sensor (WM).

Crude Distillation Process Simulation Using Unisim Design Simulator

The paper deals with the simulation of the crude distillation process using the Unisim Design simulator. The necessity of simulating this process is argued both by considerations related to the design of the crude distillation column, but also by considerations related to the design of advanced control systems. In order to use the Unisim Design simulator to simulate the crude distillation process, the identification of the simulators used in Romania and an analysis of the PRO/II, HYSYS, and Aspen HYSYS simulators were carried out. Analysis of the simulators for the crude distillation process has allowed the authors to elaborate the conclusions of the success of the crude modelling. A first aspect developed by the authors is the implementation of specific problems of petroleum liquid-vapors equilibrium using Unisim Design simulator. The second major element of the article is the development of the methodology and the elaboration of the simulation program for the crude distillation process, using Unisim Design resources. The obtained results validate the proposed methodology and will allow dynamic simulation of the process.  

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.

Jigger Flea (Tunga penetrans) Infestations and Use of Soil-Cow Dung-Ash Mixture as a Flea Control Method in Eastern Uganda

Despite several interventions, jigger flea infestations continue to be reported in the Busoga sub-region in Eastern Uganda. The purpose of this study was to identify factors that expose the indigenous people to jigger flea infestations and evaluate the effectiveness of any indigenous materials used in flea control by the affected communities. Flea compositions in residences were described, factors associated with flea infestation and indigenous materials used in flea control were evaluated. Field surveys were conducted in the affected communities after obtaining preliminary information on jigger infestation from the offices of the District Health Inspectors to identify the affected villages and households. Informed consent was then sought from the local authorities and household heads to conduct the study. Focus group discussions were conducted with key district informants, namely, the District Health Inspectors, District Entomologists and representatives from the District Health Office. A GPS coordinate was taken at central point at every household enrolled. Fleas were trapped inside residences using Kilonzo traps. A Kilonzo Trap comprised a shallow pan, about three centimetres deep, filled to the brim with water. The edges of the pan were smeared with Vaseline to prevent fleas from crawling out. Traps were placed in the evening and checked every morning the following day. The trapped fleas were collected in labelled vials filled with 70% aqueous ethanol and taken to the laboratory for identification. Socio-economic and environmental data were collected. The results indicate that the commonest flea trapped in the residences was the cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis) (50%), followed by Jigger flea (Tunga penetrans) (46%) and rat flea (Xenopsylla Cheopis) (4%), respectively. The average size of residences was seven squire metres with a mean of six occupants. The residences were generally untidy; with loose dusty floors and the brick walls were not plastered. The majority of the jigger affected households were headed by peasants (86.7%) and artisans (13.3%). The household heads mainly stopped at primary school level (80%) and few at secondary school level (20%). The jigger affected households were mainly headed by peasants of low socioeconomic status. The affected community members use soil-cow dung-ash mixture to smear floors of residences as the only measure to control fleas. This method was found to be ineffective in controlling the insects. The study recommends that home improvement campaigns be continued in the affected communities to improve sanitation and hygiene in residences as one of the interventions to combat flea infestations. Other cheap, available and effective means should be identified to curb jigger flea infestations.

Multi-Modal Film Boiling Simulations on Adaptive Octree Grids

Multi-modal film boiling simulations are carried out on adaptive octree grids. The liquid-vapor interface is captured using the volume-of-fluid framework adjusted to account for exchanges of mass, momentum, and energy across the interface. Surface tension effects are included using a volumetric source term in the momentum equations. The phase change calculations are conducted based on the exact location and orientation of the interface; however, the source terms are calculated using the mixture variables to be consistent with the one field formulation used to represent the entire fluid domain. The numerical model on octree representation of the computational grid is first verified using test cases including advection tests in severely deforming velocity fields, gravity-based instabilities and bubble growth in uniformly superheated liquid under zero gravity. The model is then used to simulate both single and multi-modal film boiling simulations. The octree grid is dynamically adapted in order to maintain the highest grid resolution on the instability fronts using markers of interface location, volume fraction, and thermal gradients. The method thus provides an efficient platform to simulate fluid instabilities with or without phase change in the presence of body forces like gravity or shear layer instabilities.

Geostatistical Analysis of Contamination of Soils in an Urban Area in Ghana

Urbanization remains one of the unique predominant factors which is linked to the destruction of urban environment and its associated cases of soil contamination by heavy metals through the natural and anthropogenic activities. These activities are important sources of toxic heavy metals such as arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), and lead (Pb), nickel (Ni) and zinc (Zn). Often, these heavy metals lead to increased levels in some areas due to the impact of atmospheric deposition caused by their proximity to industrial plants or the indiscriminately burning of substances. Information gathered on potentially hazardous levels of these heavy metals in soils leads to establish serious health and urban agriculture implications. However, characterization of spatial variations of soil contamination by heavy metals in Ghana is limited. Kumasi is a Metropolitan city in Ghana, West Africa and is challenged with the recent spate of deteriorating soil quality due to rapid economic development and other human activities such as “Galamsey”, illegal mining operations within the metropolis. The paper seeks to use both univariate and multivariate geostatistical techniques to assess the spatial distribution of heavy metals in soils and the potential risk associated with ingestion of sources of soil contamination in the Metropolis. Geostatistical tools have the ability to detect changes in correlation structure and how a good knowledge of the study area can help to explain the different scales of variation detected. To achieve this task, point referenced data on heavy metals measured from topsoil samples in a previous study, were collected at various locations. Linear models of regionalisation and coregionalisation were fitted to all experimental semivariograms to describe the spatial dependence between the topsoil heavy metals at different spatial scales, which led to ordinary kriging and cokriging at unsampled locations and production of risk maps of soil contamination by these heavy metals. Results obtained from both the univariate and multivariate semivariogram models showed strong spatial dependence with range of autocorrelations ranging from 100 to 300 meters. The risk maps produced show strong spatial heterogeneity for almost all the soil heavy metals with extremely risk of contamination found close to areas with commercial and industrial activities. Hence, ongoing pollution interventions should be geared towards these highly risk areas for efficient management of soil contamination to avert further pollution in the metropolis.

Design and Experiment of Orchard Gas Explosion Subsoiling and Fertilizer Injection Machine

At present, the orchard ditching and fertilizing technology has a series of problems, such as easy tree roots damage, high energy consumption and uneven fertilizing. In this paper, a gas explosion subsoiling and fertilizer injection machine was designed, which used high pressure gas to shock soil body and then injected fertilizer. The drill pipe mechanism with pneumatic chipping hammer excitation and hydraulic assistance was designed to drill the soil. The operation of gas and liquid fertilizer supply was controlled by PLC system. The 3D model of the whole machine was established by using SolidWorks software. The machine prototype was produced, and field experiments were carried out. The results showed that soil fractures were created and diffused by gas explosion, and the subsoiling effect radius reached 40 cm under the condition of 0.8 MPa gas pressure and 30 cm drilling depth. What’s more, the work efficiency is 0.048 hm2/h at least. This machine could meet the agronomic requirements of orchard, garden and city greening fertilization, and the tree roots were not easily damaged and the fertilizer evenly distributed, which was conducive to nutrient absorption of root growth.

The Influence of Variable Geometrical Modifications of the Trailing Edge of Supercritical Airfoil on the Characteristics of Aerodynamics

The fuel consumption of modern, high wing loading, commercial aircraft in the first stage of flight is high because the usable flight level is lower and the weather conditions (jet stream) have great impact on aircraft performance. To reduce the fuel consumption, it is necessary to raise during first stage of flight the L/D ratio value within Cl 0.55-0.65. Different variable geometrical wing trailing edge modifications of SC(2)-410 airfoil were compared at M 0.78 using the CFD software STAR-CCM+ simulation based Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) equations. The numerical results obtained show that by increasing the width of the airfoil by 4% and by modifying the trailing edge airfoil, it is possible to decrease airfoil drag at Cl 0.70 for up to 26.6% and at the same time to increase commercial aircraft L/D ratio for up to 5.0%. Fuel consumption can be reduced in proportion to the increase in L/D ratio.

Lead in The Soil-Plant System Following Aged Contamination from Ceramic Wastes

Lead contamination of agricultural land mainly vegetated with perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) has been investigated. The metal derived from the discharge of sludge from a ceramic industry in the past had used lead paints. The results showed very high values of lead concentration in many soil samples. In order to assess the lead soil contamination, a sequential extraction with H2O, KNO3, EDTA was performed, and the chemical forms of lead in the soil were evaluated. More than 70% of lead was in a potentially bioavailable form. Analysis of Lolium perenne showed elevated lead concentration. A Freundlich-like model was used to describe the transferability of the metal from the soil to the plant.

A Resource Survey of Lateritic Soils and Impact Evaluation toward Community Members Living Nearby the Excavation Pits

The objectives of the research are to find the basic engineering properties of lateritic soil and to predict the impact on community members who live nearby the excavation pits in the area of Amphur Pak Thor, Ratchaburi Province in the western area of Thailand. The research was conducted by collecting soil samples from four excavation pits for basic engineering properties, testing and collecting questionnaire data from 120 community members who live nearby the excavation pits, and applying statistical analysis. The results found that the basic engineering properties of lateritic soil can be classified into silt soil type which is cohesionless as the loess or collapsible soil which is not suitable to be used for a pavement structure for commuting highway because it could lead to structural and functional failure in the long run. In terms of opinion from community members toward the impact, the highest impact was on the dust from excavation activities. The prediction from the logistic regression in terms of impact on community members was at 84.32 which can be adapted and applied onto other areas with the same context as a guideline for risk prevention and risk communication since it could impact the infrastructures and also impact the health of community members.

Legal Basis for Water Resources Management in Brazil: Case Study of the Rio Grande Basin

The water crisis, a major problem of the 21st century, occurs mainly due to poor management. The central issue that should govern the management is the integration of the various aspects that interfere with the use of water resources and their protection, supported by legal basis. A watershed is a unit of water interacting with the physical, biotic, social, economic and cultural variables. The Brazilian law recognized river basin as the territorial management unit. Based on the diagnosis of the current situation of the water resources of the Rio Grande Basin, a discussion informed in the Brazilian legal basis was made to propose measures to fight or mitigate damages and environmental degradation in the Basin. To manage water resources more efficiently, conserve water and optimize their multiple uses, the integration of acquired scientific knowledge and management is essential. Moreover, it is necessary to monitor compliance with environmental legislation.

Crude Oil Price Prediction Using LSTM Networks

Crude oil market is an immensely complex and dynamic environment and thus the task of predicting changes in such an environment becomes challenging with regards to its accuracy. A number of approaches have been adopted to take on that challenge and machine learning has been at the core in many of them. There are plenty of examples of algorithms based on machine learning yielding satisfactory results for such type of prediction. In this paper, we have tried to predict crude oil prices using Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM) based recurrent neural networks. We have tried to experiment with different types of models using different epochs, lookbacks and other tuning methods. The results obtained are promising and presented a reasonably accurate prediction for the price of crude oil in near future.

Probabilistic Life Cycle Assessment of the Nano Membrane Toilet
Developing countries are nowadays confronted with great challenges related to domestic sanitation services in view of the imminent water scarcity. Contemporary sanitation technologies established in these countries are likely to pose health risks unless waste management standards are followed properly. This paper provides a solution to sustainable sanitation with the development of an innovative toilet system, called Nano Membrane Toilet (NMT), which has been developed by Cranfield University and sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The particular technology converts human faeces into energy through gasification and provides treated wastewater from urine through membrane filtration. In order to evaluate the environmental profile of the NMT system, a deterministic life cycle assessment (LCA) has been conducted in SimaPro software employing the Ecoinvent v3.3 database. The particular study has determined the most contributory factors to the environmental footprint of the NMT system. However, as sensitivity analysis has identified certain critical operating parameters for the robustness of the LCA results, adopting a stochastic approach to the Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) will comprehensively capture the input data uncertainty and enhance the credibility of the LCA outcome. For that purpose, Monte Carlo simulations, in combination with an artificial neural network (ANN) model, have been conducted for the input parameters of raw material, produced electricity, NOX emissions, amount of ash and transportation of fertilizer. The given analysis has provided the distribution and the confidence intervals of the selected impact categories and, in turn, more credible conclusions are drawn on the respective LCIA (Life Cycle Impact Assessment) profile of NMT system. Last but not least, the specific study will also yield essential insights into the methodological framework that can be adopted in the environmental impact assessment of other complex engineering systems subject to a high level of input data uncertainty.
Application of Artificial Neural Network in Assessing Fill Slope Stability

This paper details the utilization of artificial intelligence (AI) in the field of slope stability whereby quick and convenient solutions can be obtained using the developed tool. The AI tool used in this study is the artificial neural network (ANN), while the slope stability analysis methods are the finite element limit analysis methods. The developed tool allows for the prompt prediction of the safety factors of fill slopes and their corresponding probability of failure (depending on the degree of variation of the soil parameters), which can give the practicing engineer a reasonable basis in their decision making. In fact, the successful use of the Extreme Learning Machine (ELM) algorithm shows that slope stability analysis is no longer confined to the conventional methods of modeling, which at times may be tedious and repetitive during the preliminary design stage where the focus is more on cost saving options rather than detailed design. Therefore, similar ANN-based tools can be further developed to assist engineers in this aspect.

Application of Metarhizium anisopliae against Meloidogyne javanica in Soil Amended with Oak Debris

Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) is one of the most popular, widely grown and the second most important vegetable crop, after potatoes. Nematodes have been identified as one of the major pests affecting tomato production throughout the world. The most destructive nematodes are the genus Meloidogyne. Most widespread and devastating species of this genus are M. incognita, M. javanica, and M. arenaria. These species can cause complete crop loss under adverse growing conditions. There are several potential methods for management of the root knot nematodes. Although the chemicals are widely used against the phytonematodes, because of hazardous effects of these compounds on non-target organisms and on the environment, there is a need to develop other control strategies. Nowadays, non-chemical measures are widely used to control the plant parasitic nematodes. Biocontrol of phytonematodes is an important method among environment-friendly measures of nematode management. There are some soil-inhabiting fungi that have biocontrol potential on phytonematodes, which can be used in nematode management program. The fungus Metarhizium anisopliae, originally is an entomopathogenic bioagent. Biocontrol potential of this fungus on some phytonematodes has been reported earlier. Recently, use of organic soil amendments as well as the use of bioagents is under special attention in sustainable agriculture. This research aimed to reduce the pesticide use in control of root-knot nematode, Meloidogyne javanica in tomato. The effects of M. anisopliae IMI 330189 and different levels of oak tree debris on M. javanica were determined. The combination effect of the fungus as well as the different rates of soil amendments was determined. Pots were filled with steam pasteurized soil mixture and the six leaf tomato seedlings were inoculated with 3000 second stage larvae of M. javanica/kg of soil. After eight weeks, plant growth parameters and nematode reproduction factors were compared. Based on the results of our experiment, combination of M. anisopliae IMI 330189 and oak debris caused more than 90% reduction in reproduction factor of nematode, at the rates of 100 and 150 g/kg soil (P ≤ 0.05). As compared to control, the reduction in number of galls was 76%. It was 86% for nematode reproduction factor, showing the significance of combined effect of both tested agents. Our results showed that plant debris can increase the biological activity of the tested bioagent. It was also proved that there was no adverse effect of oak debris, which potentially has antimicrobial activity, on antagonistic power of applied bioagent.

Impact of Interface Soil Layer on Groundwater Aquifer Behaviour

The geological environment where the groundwater is collected represents the most important element that affects the behaviour of groundwater aquifer. As groundwater is a worldwide vital resource, it requires knowing the parameters that affect this source accurately so that the conceptualized mathematical models would be acceptable to the broadest ranges. Therefore, groundwater models have recently become an effective and efficient tool to investigate groundwater aquifer behaviours. Groundwater aquifer may contain aquitards, aquicludes, or interfaces within its geological formations. Aquitards and aquicludes have geological formations that forced the modellers to include those formations within the conceptualized groundwater models, while interfaces are commonly neglected from the conceptualization process because the modellers believe that the interface has no effect on aquifer behaviour. The current research highlights the impact of an interface existing in a real unconfined groundwater aquifer called Dibdibba, located in Al-Najaf City, Iraq where it has a river called the Euphrates River that passes through the eastern part of this city. Dibdibba groundwater aquifer consists of two types of soil layers separated by an interface soil layer. A groundwater model is built for Al-Najaf City to explore the impact of this interface. Calibration process is done using PEST 'Parameter ESTimation' approach and the best Dibdibba groundwater model is obtained. When the soil interface is conceptualized, results show that the groundwater tables are significantly affected by that interface through appearing dry areas of 56.24 km² and 6.16 km² in the upper and lower layers of the aquifer, respectively. The Euphrates River will also leak water into the groundwater aquifer of 7359 m³/day. While these results are changed when the soil interface is neglected where the dry area became 0.16 km², the Euphrates River leakage became 6334 m³/day. In addition, the conceptualized models (with and without interface) reveal different responses for the change in the recharge rates applied on the aquifer through the uncertainty analysis test. The aquifer of Dibdibba in Al-Najaf City shows a slight deficit in the amount of water supplied by the current pumping scheme and also notices that the Euphrates River suffers from stresses applied to the aquifer. Ultimately, this study shows a crucial need to represent the interface soil layer in model conceptualization to be the intended and future predicted behaviours more reliable for consideration purposes.

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