Open Science Research Excellence

Open Science Index

Commenced in January 2007 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Paper Count: 1110

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.

Driving Mechanism of Urban Sprawl in Chinese Context from the Perspective of Domestic and Overseas Comparison

Many cities in China have been experiencing serious urban sprawl since the 1980s, which pose great challenges to a country with scare cultivated land and huge population. Because of different social and economic context and development stage, driving forces of urban sprawl in China are quite different from developed countries. Therefore, it is of great importance to probe into urban sprawl driving mechanism in Chinese context. By a comparison study of the background and features of urban sprawl between China and developed countries, this research establishes an analytical framework for sprawl dynamic mechanism in China. By literature review and analyzing data from national statistical yearbook, it then probes into the driving mechanism and the primary cause of urban sprawl. The results suggest that population increase, economic growth, traffic and information technology development lead to rapid expansion of urban space; defects of land institution and lack of effective guidance give rise to low efficiency of urban land use. Moreover, urban sprawl is ultimately attributed to imperfections of policy and institution. On this basis, this research puts forward several sprawl control strategies in Chinese context.

Evaluation of Energy Upgrade Measures and Connection of Renewable Energy Sources Using Software Tools: Case Study of an Academic Library Building in Larissa, Greece

Increased energy consumption in the academic buildings, creates the need to implement energy saving measures and to take advantage of the renewable energy sources to cover the electrical needs of those buildings. An Academic Library will be used as a case study. With the aid of RETScreen software that takes into account the energy consumptions and characteristics of the Library Building, it is proved that measures such as the replacement of fluorescent lights with led lights, the installation of outdoor shading, the replacement of the openings and Building Management System installation, provide a high level of energy savings. Moreover, given the available space of the building and the climatic data, the installation of a photovoltaic system of 100 kW can also cover a serious amount of the building energy consumption, unlike a wind system that seems uncompromising. Lastly, HOMER software is used to compare the use of a photovoltaic system against a wind system in order to verify the results that came up from the RETScreen software concerning the renewable energy sources.

Human Resource Management Practices, Person-Environment Fit and Financial Performance in Brazilian Publicly Traded Companies

The relation between Human Resource Management (HRM) practices and organizational performance remains the subject of substantial literature. Though many studies demonstrated positive relationship, still major influencing variables are not yet clear. This study considers the Person-Environment Fit (PE Fit) and its components, Person-Supervisor (PS), Person-Group (PG), Person-Organization (PO) and Person-Job (PJ) Fit, as possible explanatory variables. We analyzed PE Fit as a moderator between HRM practices and financial performance in the “best companies to work” in Brazil. Data from HRM practices were classified through the High Performance Working Systems (HPWS) construct and data on PE-Fit were obtained through surveys among employees. Financial data, consisting of return on invested capital (ROIC) and price earnings ratio (PER) were collected for publicly traded best companies to work. Findings show that PO Fit and PJ Fit play a significant moderator role for PER but not for ROIC.

Matching Farmer Competence and Farm Resources with the Transformation of Agri-Food Marketing Systems

The agri-food market transformation has implied market growth for the fruit industry in Thailand. This article focuses on analysis of farmer competence and farm resources which affect market strategies used by fruit farmers in Chanthaburi province of Thailand. The survey data were collected through the use of face-to-face interviews with structured questionnaires. This study identified 14 drivers related to farmer competence and farm resources of which some had significant effect on the decision to use either high-value markets or traditional markets. The results suggest that farmers who used high-value markets were better educated and they had longer experience and larger sized business. Identifying the important factors that match with the market transformation provides policy with opportunities to support the fruit farmers to increase their market power. Policies that promote business expansion of agricultural cooperatives and knowledge sharing among farmers are recommended to reduce limitations due to limited knowledge, low experience, and small business sizes.

Person-Environment Fit (PE Fit): Evidence from Brazil

The purpose of this paper is to investigate if there are positive and significant correlations between the dimensions of Person-Environment Fit (Person-Job, Person-Organization, Person-Group and Person-Supervisor) at the “Best Companies to Work for” in Brazil in 2017. For that, a quantitative approach was used with a descriptive method being defined as a research sample the "150 Best Companies to Work for", according to data base collected in 2017 and provided by Fundação Instituto of Administração (FIA) of the University of São Paulo (USP). About the data analysis procedures, asymmetry and kurtosis, factorial analysis, Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin (KMO) tests, Bartlett sphericity and Cronbach's alpha were used for the 69 research variables, and as a statistical technique for the purpose of analyzing the hypothesis, Pearson's correlation analysis was performed. As a main result, we highlight that there was a positive and significant correlation between the dimensions of Person-Environment Fit, corroborating the H1 hypothesis that there is a positive and significant correlation between Person-Job Fit, Person-Organization Fit, Person-Group Fit and Person-Supervisor Fit.

Self-Care Behavior and Performance Level Associated with Algerian Chronically Ill Patients

Chronic illnesses affect many Algerians. It is possible to investigate the impact of illness representations and coping on quality of life and whether illness representations are indirectly associated with quality of life through their influence on coping. This study aims at investigating the relationship between illness perception, coping strategies and quality of life with chronic illness. Illness perceptions are indirectly associated with the quality of life through their influence on coping mediation. A sample of 316 participants with chronic illness living in the region of Batna, Algeria, has been adopted in this study. A correlation statistical analysis is used to determine the relationship between illness perception, coping strategies, and quality of life. Multiple regression analysis was employed to highlight the predictive ability of the dimensions of illness perception and coping strategies on the dependent variables of quality of life, where mediation analysis is considered in the exploration of the indirect effect significance of the mediator. This study provides insights about the relationship between illness perception, coping strategies and quality of life in the considered sample (r = 0.39, p < 0.01). Therefore, it proves that there is an effect of illness identity perception, external and medical attributions related to emotional role, physical functioning, and mental health perceived, and these were fully mediated by the asking for assistance (c’= 0.04, p < 0.05), the guarding (c’= 0.00, p < 0.05), and the task persistence strategy (c’= 0.05, p < 0.05). The findings imply partial support for the common-sense model of illness representations in a chronic illness population. Directions for future research are highlighted, as well as implications for psychotherapeutic interventions which target unhelpful beliefs and maladaptive coping strategies (e.g., cognitive behavioral therapy).

Calculation of Water Economy Balance for Water Management

Fresh water deficit is one of the most important global problems today. It must be taken into consideration that in the nearest future fresh water crisis will become even more acute owing to the global climate warming and fast desertification processes in the world. Georgia is rich in water resources, but there are disbalance between the eastern and western parts of the country. The goal of the study is to integrate the recent mechanisms compatible with European standards into Georgian water resources management system on the basis of GIS. Moreover, to draw up water economy balance for the purpose of proper determination of water consumption priorities that will be an exchange ratio of water resources and water consumption of the concrete territory. For study region was choose south-eastern part of country, Kvemo kartli Region. This is typical agrarian region, tends to the desertification. The water supply of the region was assessed on the basis of water economy balance, which was first time calculated for this region.

A Topology for High Voltage Gain Half-Bridge Z-Source Inverter with Low Voltage Stress on Capacitors

In this paper, a topology for high voltage gain half-bridge z-source inverter with low voltage stress on capacitors is proposed. The proposed inverter has only one impedance network. It can generate symmetric and asymmetric voltages with different magnitudes during both half-cycles. By selecting the duty cycle it can also produce conventional half-bridge inverter characteristics. It is used in special applications like, electrochemical and electro plating applications. Calculations of voltage ripple of capacitors, capacitors voltage stress inductors current ripple are presented. The proposed topology is simulated using PSCAD software and the simulated values are compared with the theoretical values.

Aerodynamic Design Optimization of High-Speed Hatchback Cars for Lucrative Commercial Applications

The choice of high-speed, low budget hatchback car with diversified options is increasing for meeting the new generation buyers trend. This paper is aimed to augment the current speed of the hatchback cars through the aerodynamic drag reduction technique. The inverted airfoils are facilitated at the bottom of the car for generating the downward force for negating the lift while increasing the current speed range for achieving a better road performance. The numerical simulations have been carried out using a 2D steady pressure-based    k-ɛ realizable model with enhanced wall treatment. In our numerical studies, Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes model and its code of solution are used. The code is calibrated and validated using the exact solution of the 2D boundary layer displacement thickness at the Sanal flow choking condition for adiabatic flows. We observed through the parametric analytical studies that the inverted airfoil integrated with the bottom surface at various predesigned locations of Hatchback cars can improve its overall aerodynamic efficiency through drag reduction, which obviously decreases the fuel consumption significantly and ensure an optimum road performance lucratively with maximum permissible speed within the framework of the manufactures constraints.

The Effect of Shear Wall Positions on the Seismic Response of Frame-Wall Structures

The configuration of shear walls in plan of building will affect the seismic design of structure. The position of these walls will change the stiffness of each floor in the structure, the diaphragm center of mass displacement, and the drift of floor. Structural engineers preferred to distribute the walls in buildings to make the center of mass almost close enough to the center of rigidity, but to make this condition satisfied, they have many choices: construct the walls on the perimeter, or use intermediate walls, or use walls as core. In this paper and by using ETABS, each case is studied and compared to other cases according to three parameters: lateral stiffness, diaphragm displacement, and drift. It is found that the core walls are the best choice for the position of the walls in the buildings to resist earthquake loads.

Constructing a Two-Tier Test about Source Current to Diagnose Pre-Service Elementary School Teacher’ Misconceptions

We discuss the alternative conceptions of students analysing the behaviour of electrical circuits. The present paper aims at, on one hand, studying the misconceptions of 80 elementary pre-service teachers from Quebec in Canada, in relation to the current source in DC circuits. To do this, they completed a two-choice questionnaire (true or false) with justification. Data analysis identifies many conceptual difficulties. For example, their majority considered a battery as a source of constant current: When a circuit composed of battery and resistors is modified, the current supplied by the battery remains unchanged. On the other hand, considering the alternatives conceptions identified we develop a two-tier test about source current. The aim of this two-tier test is to help teachers to diagnose rapidly their students’ misconceptions in order to consider in their teaching.   

Conventional and Hybrid Network Energy Systems Optimization for Canadian Community

Local generated and distributed system for thermal and electrical energy is sighted in the near future to reduce transmission losses instead of the centralized system. Distributed Energy Resources (DER) is designed at different sizes (small and medium) and it is incorporated in energy distribution between the hubs. The energy generated from each technology at each hub should meet the local energy demands. Economic and environmental enhancement can be achieved when there are interaction and energy exchange between the hubs. Network energy system and CO2 optimization between different six hubs presented Canadian community level are investigated in this study. Three different scenarios of technology systems are studied to meet both thermal and electrical demand loads for the six hubs. The conventional system is used as the first technology system and a reference case study. The conventional system includes boiler to provide the thermal energy, but the electrical energy is imported from the utility grid. The second technology system includes combined heat and power (CHP) system to meet the thermal demand loads and part of the electrical demand load. The third scenario has integration systems of CHP and Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) where the thermal waste energy from the CHP system is used by ORC to generate electricity. General Algebraic Modeling System (GAMS) is used to model DER system optimization based on energy economics and CO2 emission analyses. The results are compared with the conventional energy system. The results show that scenarios 2 and 3 provide an annual total cost saving of 21.3% and 32.3 %, respectively compared to the conventional system (scenario 1). Additionally, Scenario 3 (CHP & ORC systems) provides 32.5% saving in CO2 emission compared to conventional system subsequent case 2 (CHP system) with a value of 9.3%.  

Growth of Multi-Layered Graphene Using Organic Solvent-PMMA Film as the Carbon Source under Low Temperature Conditions

Multi-layered graphene has been produced under low temperature chemical vapour deposition (CVD) growth conditions by utilizing an organic solvent and polymer film source. Poly(methylmethacrylate) (PMMA) was dissolved in chlorobenzene solvent and used as a drop-cast film carbon source on a quartz slide. A source temperature (Tsource) of 180 °C provided sufficient carbon to grow graphene, as identified by Raman spectroscopy, on clean copper foil catalytic surfaces.  Systematic variation of hydrogen gas (H2) flow rate from 25 standard cubic centimeters per minute (sccm) to 100 sccm and CVD temperature (Tgrowth) from 400 to 800 °C, yielded graphene films of varying quality as characterized by Raman spectroscopy. The optimal graphene growth parameters were found to occur with a hydrogen flow rate of 75 sccm sweeping the 180 °C source carbon past the Cu foil at 600 °C for 1 min. The deposition at 600 °C with a H2 flow rate of 75 sccm yielded a 2D band peak with ~53.4 cm-1 FWHM and a relative intensity ratio of the G to 2D bands (IG/I2D) of 0.21. This recipe fabricated a few layers of good quality graphene.

Water Resources Crisis in Saudi Arabia, Challenges and Possible Management Options: An Analytic Review
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is heading towards a severe and rapidly expanding water crisis, which can have negative impacts on the country’s environment and economy. Of the total water consumption in KSA, the agricultural sector accounts for nearly 87% of the total water use and, therefore, any attempt that overlooks this sector will not help in improving the sustainability of the country’s water resources. KSA Vision 2030 gives priority of water use in the agriculture sector for the regions that have natural renewable water resources. It means that there is little concern for making reuse of municipal wastewater for irrigation purposes in any region in general and in water-scarce regions in particular. The use of treated wastewater is very limited in Saudi Arabia, but it has very considerable potential for future expansion due its numerous beneficial uses. This study reviews the current situation of water resources in Saudi Arabia, providing more highlights on agriculture and wastewater reuse. The reviewed study is proposing some corrective measures for development and better management of water resources in the Kingdom. Suggestions also include consideration of treated water as an alternative source for irrigation in some regions of the country. The study concluded that a sustainable solution for the water crisis in KSA requires implementation of multiple measures in an integrated manner. The integrated solution plan should focus on two main directions: first, improving the current management practices of the existing water resources; second, developing new water supplies from both conventional and non-conventional sources.
The Effect of Cracking on Stiffness of Shear Walls under Lateral Loads

The lateral stiffness of buildings is one of the most important properties which define resistance to displacements under lateral loads. Moreover, it has a great impact on the natural period of the structures. Different stiffness’s values can ultimately affect the behavior of the structure under the seismic load and the lateral forces that will be applied to it. In this study the effect of cracking is studied on 2D shell thin cantilever shear wall by using ETABS. Multi linear elastic analysis is conducted with the ACI stiffness modifiers for each analysis step. The results showed that the cracks affect the value of the drift especially at the top of the high rise buildings and this will change the lateral stiffness and so change the fundamental period of the structures which lead to change in the applied shear force that comes from the earthquake. Finally, this study emphasizes that the finite element method can be considered as a good tool to predict the tensile stresses in the elements.

Effect of Columns Stiffness's and Number of Floors on the Accuracy of the Tributary Area Method
The using of finite element programs in analyzing and designing buildings are becoming very popular, but there are many engineers still using the tributary area method (TAM) in designing the structural members such as columns. This study is an attempt to investigate the accuracy of the TAM results with different load condition (gravity and lateral load), different floors numbers, and different columns stiffness's. To conduct this study, linear elastic analysis in ETABS program is used. The results from finite element method are compared to those obtained from TAM. According to the analysis of the data obtained, it can be seen that there is significance difference between the real load carried by columns and the load which is calculated by using the TAM. Thus, using 3-D models are the best choice to calculate the real load effected on columns and design these columns according to this load.
Study on Two Way Reinforced Concrete Slab Using ANSYS with Different Boundary Conditions and Loading

This paper presents the Finite Element Method (FEM) for analyzing the failure pattern of rectangular slab with various edge conditions. Non-Linear static analysis is carried out using ANSYS 15 Software. Using SOLID65 solid elements, the compressive crushing of concrete is facilitated using plasticity algorithm, while the concrete cracking in tension zone is accommodated by the nonlinear material model. Smeared reinforcement is used and introduced as a percentage of steel embedded in concrete slab. The behavior of the analyzed concrete slab has been observed in terms of the crack pattern and displacement for various loading and boundary conditions. The finite element results are also compared with the experimental data. One of the other objectives of the present study is to show how similar the crack path found by ANSYS program to those observed for the yield line analysis. The smeared reinforcement method is found to be more practical especially for the layered elements like concrete slabs. The value of this method is that it does not require explicit modeling of the rebar, and thus a much coarser mesh can be defined.

Cryptocurrency-Based Mobile Payments with Near-Field Communication-Enabled Devices

Cryptocurrencies are getting increasingly popular, but very few of them can be conveniently used in daily mobile phone purchases. To solve this problem, we demonstrate how to build a functional prototype of a mobile cryptocurrency-based e-commerce application the communicates with Near-Field Communication (NFC) tags. Using the system, users are able to purchase physical items with an NFC tag that contains an e-commerce URL. The payment is done simply by touching the tag with a mobile device and accepting the payment. Our method is constructive: we describe the design and technologies used in the implementation and evaluate the security and performance of the solution. Our main finding is that the analysis and measurements show that our solution is feasible for e-commerce.

Development of Affordable and Reliable Diagnostic Tools to Record Vital Parameters for Improving Health Care in Low Resources Settings

In most developing countries, although the vast majority of the people are living in the rural areas, the qualified medical doctors are not available there. Health care workers and paramedics, called village doctors, informal healthcare providers, are largely responsible for the rural medical care. Mishaps due to wrong diagnosis and inappropriate medication have been causing serious suffering that is preventable. While innovators have created many devices, the vast majority of these technologies do not find applications to address the needs and conditions in low-resource settings. The primary motive is to address the acute lack of affordable medical technologies for the poor people in low-resource settings. A low cost smart medical device that is portable, battery operated and can be used at any point of care has been developed to detect breathing rate, electrocardiogram (ECG) and arterial pulse rate to improve diagnosis and monitoring of patients and thus improve care and safety. This simple and easy to use smart medical device can be used, managed and maintained effectively and safely by any health worker with some training. In order to empower the health workers and village doctors, our device is being further developed to integrate with ICT tools like smart phones and connect to the medical experts wherever available, to manage the serious health problems.

Investigation on Behavior of Fixed-Ended Reinforced Concrete Deep Beams

Reinforced Concrete (RC) deep beams are special structural elements because of their geometry and behavior under loads. For example, assumption of strain- stress distribution is not linear in the cross section. These types of beams may have simple supports or fixed supports. A lot of research works have been conducted on simply supported deep beams, but little study has been done in the fixed-end RC deep beams behavior. Recently, using of fixed-ended deep beams has been widely increased in structures. In this study, the behavior of fixed-ended deep beams is investigated, and the important parameters in capacity of this type of beams are mentioned.

Introduce Applicability of Multi-Layer Perceptron to Predict the Behaviour of Semi-Interlocking Masonry Panel
The Semi Interlocking Masonry (SIM) system has been developed in Masonry Research Group at the University of Newcastle, Australia. The main purpose of this system is to enhance the seismic resistance of framed structures with masonry panels. In this system, SIM panels dissipate energy through the sliding friction between rows of SIM units during earthquake excitation. This paper aimed to find the applicability of artificial neural network (ANN) to predict the displacement behaviour of the SIM panel under out-of-plane loading. The general concept of ANN needs to be trained by related force-displacement data of SIM panel. The overall data to train and test the network are 70 increments of force-displacement from three tests, which comprise of none input nodes. The input data contain height and length of panels, height, length and width of the brick and friction and geometry angle of brick along the compressive strength of the brick with the lateral load applied to the panel. The aim of designed network is prediction displacement of the SIM panel by Multi-Layer Perceptron (MLP). The mean square error (MSE) of network was 0.00042 and the coefficient of determination (R2) values showed the 0.91. The result revealed that the ANN has significant agreement to predict the SIM panel behaviour.
Numerical Investigation for External Strengthening of Dapped-End Beams
The reduction in dapped end beams depth nearby the supports tends to produce stress concentration and hence results in shear cracks, if it does not have an adequate reinforcement detailing. This study investigates numerically the efficiency of applying different external strengthening techniques to the dapped end of such beams. A two-dimensional finite element model was built to predict the structural behavior of dapped ends strengthened with different techniques. The techniques included external bonding of the steel angle at the re-entrant corner, un-bounded bolt anchoring, external steel plate jacketing, exterior carbon fiber wrapping and/or stripping and external inclined steel plates. The FE analysis results are then presented in terms of the ultimate load capacities, load-deflection and crack pattern at failure. The results showed that the FE model, at various stages, was found to be comparable to the available test data. Moreover, it enabled the capture of the failure progress, with acceptable accuracy, which is very difficult in a laboratory test.
Digital Image Forensics: Discovering the History of Digital Images

Digital multimedia contents such as image, video, and audio can be tampered easily due to the availability of powerful editing softwares. Multimedia forensics is devoted to analyze these contents by using various digital forensic techniques in order to validate their authenticity. Digital image forensics is dedicated to investigate the reliability of digital images by analyzing the integrity of data and by reconstructing the historical information of an image related to its acquisition phase. In this paper, a survey is carried out on the forgery detection by considering the most recent and promising digital image forensic techniques.

Modeling and Simulation of Two-Phase Interleaved Boost Converter Using Open-Source Software Scilab/Xcos

This paper investigated the simulation of two-phase interleaved boost converter (IBC) with free and open-source software Scilab/Xcos. By using interleaved method, it can reduce current stress on components, components size, input current ripple and output voltage ripple. The required mathematical model is obtained from the equivalent circuit of its different four modes of operation for simulation. The equivalent circuits are considered in continuous conduction mode (CCM). The average values of the system variables are derived from the state-space equation to find the equilibrium point. Scilab is now becoming more and more popular among students, engineers and scientists because it is open-source software and free of charge. It gives a great convenience because it has powerful computation and simulation function. The waveforms of output voltage, input current and inductors current are obtained by using Scilab/Xcos.

Characterization of Aluminium Alloy 6063 Hybrid Metal Matrix Composite by Using Stir Casting Method

The present research is a paper on the characterization of aluminum alloy-6063 hybrid metal matrix composites using three different reinforcement materials (SiC, red mud, and fly ash) through stir casting method. The red mud was used in solid form, and particle size range varies between 103-150 µm. During this investigation, fly ash is received from Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant (GNDTP), Bathinda. The study has been done by using Taguchi’s L9 orthogonal array by taking fraction wt.% (SiC 5%, 7.5%, and 10% and Red Mud and Fly Ash 2%, 4%, and 6%) as input parameters with their respective levels. The study of the mechanical properties (tensile strength, impact strength, and microhardness) has been done by using Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) with the help of MINITAB 17 software. It is revealed that silicon carbide is the most significant parameter followed by red mud and fly ash affecting the mechanical properties, respectively. The fractured surface morphology of the composites using Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope (FESEM) shows that there is a good mixing of reinforcement particles in the matrix. Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) was performed to know the presence of the phases of the reinforced material.

Usability in E-Commerce Websites: Results of Eye Tracking Evaluations

Usability is one of the most important quality attributes for web-based information systems. Specifically, for e-commerce applications, usability becomes more prominent. In this study, we aimed to explore the features that experienced users seek in e-commerce applications. We used eye tracking method in evaluations. Eye movement data are obtained from the eye-tracking method and analyzed based on task completion time, number of fixations, as well as heat map and gaze plot measures. The results of the analysis show that the eye movements of participants' are too static in certain areas and their areas of interest are scattered in many different places. It has been determined that this causes users to fail to complete their transactions. According to the findings, we outlined the issues to improve the usability of e-commerce websites. Then we propose solutions to identify the issues. In this way, it is expected that e-commerce sites will be developed which will make experienced users more satisfied.

Simplified Equations for Rigidity and Lateral Deflection for Reinforced Concrete Cantilever Shear Walls
Reinforced concrete shear walls are the most frequently used forms of lateral resisting structural elements. These walls may take many forms due to their functions and locations in the building. In Palestine, the most lateral resisting forces construction forms is the cantilever shear walls system. It is thus of prime importance to study the rigidity of these walls. The virtual work theorem is used to derive the total lateral deflection of cantilever shear walls due to flexural and shear deformation. The case of neglecting the shear deformation in the walls is also studied, and it is found that the wall height to length aspect ratio (H/B) plays a major role in calculating the lateral deflection and the rigidity of such walls. When the H/B is more than or equal to 3.7, the shear deformation may be neglected from the calculation of the lateral deflection. Moreover, the walls with the same material properties, same lateral load value, and same aspect ratio, shall have the same of both the lateral deflection and the rigidity. Finally, an equation to calculate the total rigidity and total deflection of such walls is derived by using the virtual work theorem for a cantilever beam.
Hand Gestures Based Emotion Identification Using Flex Sensors

In this study, we have proposed a gesture to emotion recognition method using flex sensors mounted on metacarpophalangeal joints. The flex sensors are fixed in a wearable glove. The data from the glove are sent to PC using Wi-Fi. Four gestures: finger pointing, thumbs up, fist open and fist close are performed by five subjects. Each gesture is categorized into sad, happy, and excited class based on the velocity and acceleration of the hand gesture. Seventeen inspectors observed the emotions and hand gestures of the five subjects. The emotional state based on the investigators assessment and acquired movement speed data is compared. Overall, we achieved 77% accurate results. Therefore, the proposed design can be used for emotional state detection applications.

Continuous Plug Flow and Discrete Particle Phase Coupling Using Triangular Parcels
Various processes are modelled using a discrete phase, where particles are seeded from a source. Such particles can represent liquid water droplets, which are affecting the continuous phase by exchanging thermal energy, momentum, species etc. Discrete phases are typically modelled using parcel, which represents a collection of particles, which share properties such as temperature, velocity etc. When coupling the phases, the exchange rates are integrated over the cell, in which the parcel is located. This can cause spikes and fluctuating exchange rates. This paper presents an alternative method of coupling a discrete and a continuous plug flow phase. This is done using triangular parcels, which span between nodes following the dynamics of single droplets. Thus, the triangular parcels are propagated using the corner nodes. At each time step, the exchange rates are spatially integrated over the surface of the triangular parcels, which yields a smooth continuous exchange rate to the continuous phase. The results shows that the method is more stable, converges slightly faster and yields smooth exchange rates compared with the steam tube approach. However, the computational requirements are about five times greater, so the applicability of the alternative method should be limited to processes, where the exchange rates are important. The overall balances of the exchanged properties did not change significantly using the new approach.
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Vol:1 No:12 2007Vol:1 No:11 2007Vol:1 No:10 2007Vol:1 No:09 2007Vol:1 No:08 2007Vol:1 No:07 2007Vol:1 No:06 2007Vol:1 No:05 2007Vol:1 No:04 2007Vol:1 No:03 2007Vol:1 No:02 2007Vol:1 No:01 2007