The Continuously Supported Infinity Rail Subjected to a Moving Complex Bogie System
The vibration of a complex bogie system that moves on along the high order shear deformable beam on a viscoelastic foundation is studied. The complex bogie system has been modeled by elastically connected rigid bars on an identical supports. Elastic coupling between bars is introduced to simulate rigidly or flexibly (transversal or/and rotational) connection. Identical supports are modeled as a system of attached spring and dashpot to the bar on one side and interact with the beam through the concentrated mass on the other side. It is assumed that the masses and the beam are always in contact. New analytically determined critical velocity of the system is presented. It is analyzed the case when the complex bogie system exceeds the minimum phase velocity of waves in the beam when the vibration of the system may become unstable. Effect of an elastic coupling between bars on the stability of the system has been analyzed. The instability regions are found for the complex bogie system by applying the principle of the argument and D-decomposition method.
An Acoustical Diagnosis of a Shaft-Wood Phyto-Pathogenic Damage of Sequoiadendron giganteum (Lindl.) Buccholz
Using a supersonic shaft–wood tomography, the evaluation of a shaft-wood phyto-pathogenic damage level of Sequoiadendron giganteum (Lindl.) Buccholz was prosecuted. The digital bivariate reflections of the shaft tissue damage were obtained, the characteristics of comparative parameters of the wood-decay degree were given. The investigation results allowed to show up the role of some edaphic factors in their affection on a vital condition and the level of destructive processes while shaft tissue damaging of S.giganteum. It was pinned up that soil consolidation, and hydro-morphication equally make for a phyto-pathogenic damage of plants. While soil consolidation negative acting the shaft-wood damage is located in an underneath of a shaft. In the conditions of an enlarged hydro-morphication a tissue degradation runs less intensively, the destructive processes more active spread in a vertical section of a shaft. The use of a supersonic tomography method gives wide possibilities to diagnose a shaft-wood phyto-pathogenic damage.
The System of Uniform Criteria for the Characterization and Evaluation of Elements of Economic Structure: The Territory, Infrastructure, Processes, Technological Chains, the End Products
This paper refers to the analysis of the characteristics of industrial and lifestyle facilities heat- energy objects as a part of the thermal envelope of Earth's surface for inclusion in any database of economic forecasting. The idealized model of the Earth's surface is discussed. This model gives the opportunity to obtain the energy equivalent for each element of terrain and world ocean. Energy efficiency criterion of comfortable human existence is introduced. Dynamics of changes of this criterion offers the possibility to simulate the possible technogenic catastrophes with the spontaneous industrial development of the certain Earth areas. Calculated model with the confirmed forecast of the Gulf Stream freezing in the polar regions in 2011 due to the heat-energy balance disturbance for the oceanic subsurface oil polluted layer is given. Two opposing trends of human development under limited and unlimited amount of heat-energy resources are analyzed.
Intensification of Ethyl Esters Synthesis Using a Packed-Bed Tubular Reactor at Supercritical Conditions
In the present study, the non-catalytic transesterification of soybean oil in continuous mode using supercritical ethanol were investigated. Experiments were performed in a packed-bed tubular reactor (PBTR) and variable studied were reaction temperature (523 K to 598 K), pressure (10 MPa to 20 MPa), oil to ethanol molar ratio (1:10 to 1:40) and water concentration (0 wt% to 10 wt% in ethanol). Results showed that ethyl esters yields obtained in the PBTR were higher (> 20 wt%) than those verified in a tubular reactor (TR), due to improved mass transfer conditions attained in the PBTR. Results demonstrated that temperature, pressure, oil to ethanol molar ratio and water concentration had a positive effect on fatty acid ethyl esters (FAEE) production in the experimental range investigated, with appreciable reaction yields (90 wt%) achieved at 598 K, 20 MPa, oil to ethanol molar ratio of 1:40 and 10 wt% of water concentration.
The Analysis of Loss-of-Excitation Algorithm for Synchronous Generators
This paper presents the results of the study in which the excitation system fault of synchronous generator is simulated. In a case of excitation system fault (loss of field), distance relay is used to prevent further damage. Loss-of-field relay calculates complex impedance using measured voltage and current at the generator terminals. In order to obtain phasors from sampled measured values, discrete Fourier transform is used. All simulations are conducted using Matlab and Simulink software package. The analysis is conducted on the two machine system which supplies equivalent load. While simulating loss of excitation on one generator in different conditions (at idle operation, weakly loaded, and fully loaded), diagrams of active power, reactive power, and measured impedance are analyzed and monitored. Moreover, in the simulations, the effect of generator load on relay tripping time is investigated. In conclusion, the performed tests confirm that the fault in the excitation system can be detected by measuring the impedance.
The Actoprotective Efficiency of Pyrimidine Derivatives
There have been studied effects of xymedon and six new pyrimidine derivatives, that are close and distant analogs of xymedon, on rats' working capacity in the test 'swimming to failure'. It has been shown that a single administration of the studied compounds did not have a statistically significant effect in the test. In the conditions of multiple intraperitoneal administration of the studied pyrimidine derivatives, the compound L-ascorbate, 1-(2-hydroxyethyl)-4.6-dimethyl-1.2-dihydropyrimidine-2-one had the lowest toxicity and the most pronounced actoprotective effect. Introduction in the dose of 20 mg/kg caused a statistically significant increase 440 % in the duration of swimming of rats on the 14th day of the experiment compared with the control group. Multiple administration of the compound in the conditions of physical load did not affect leucopoiesis but stimulates erythropoiesis resulting in an increase in the number of erythrocytes and a hemoglobin level. The substance introduction under mixed exhausting loads prevented such changes of blood biochemical parameters as reduction of glucose, increased of urea and lactic acid levels, what indicates improvement in the animals' tolerability of loads and an anti-catabolic effect of the compound. Absence of hepato and cardiotoxic effects of the substance has been shown.
This work was performed with the financial support of Russian Science Foundation (grant № 14-50-00014).
Hepatoprotective Assessment of L-Ascorbate 1-(2-Hydroxyethyl)-4,6-Dimethyl-1, 2-Dihydropyrimidine-2-On Exposure to Carbon Tetrachloride
Among hepatic pyrimidine used as a means of stimulating protein synthesis and recovery of liver cells in her damaged toxic and infectious etiology. When an experimental toxic hepatitis hepatoprotective activity detected some pyrimidine derivatives. There are literature data on oksimetiluratcila hepatoprotective effect. For analogs of pyrimidine nucleobases - drugs Methyluracilum pentoxy and hepatoprotective effect of weakly expressed. According to the American scientists broad spectrum of biological activity, including hepatoprotective properties, have a 2,4-dioxo-5-arilidenimino uracils. Influenced Xymedon medicinal preparation (1- (beta-hydroxyethyl) -4,6-dimethyl-1,2-dihydro-2-oksopirimidin) developed as a means of stimulating the regeneration of tissue revealed increased activity of microsomal oxidases human liver. In studies on the model of toxic liver damage in rats have shown hepatoprotective effect xymedon and stimulating its impact on the recovery of the liver tissue. Hepatoprotective properties of the new compound in the series of pyrimidine derivatives L-ascorbate 1-(2-hydroxyethyl)-4,6-dimethyl-1,2-dihydropirimidine-2-one synthesized on the basis Xymedon preparation were firstly investigated on rats under the carbon tetrachloride action. It was shown the differences of biochemical parameters from the reference value and severity of structural-morphological liver violations decreased in comparison with control group under the influence of the compound injected before exposure carbon tetrachloride. Hepatoprotective properties of the investigated compound were more pronounced in comparison with Xymedon.
Flat-Top Apodization of Laser Beams by Means of Acousto-Optics
We demonstrate a method for adaptive spatial shaping of laser beams by means of acousto-optic Bragg diffraction. Transformation of the angular spectrum during Bragg diffraction is used to convert Gaussian intensity distribution into a flat-top one. Theoretical model is supported by the experiment.
Engineering Thermal-Hydraulic Simulator Based on Complex Simulation Suite “Virtual Unit of Nuclear Power Plant”
Over the last decade, a specific set of connected software tools and calculation codes has been gradually developed. It allows simulating I&C systems, thermal-hydraulic, neutron-physical and electrical processes in elements and systems at the Unit of NPP (initially with WWER (pressurized water reactor)). In 2012 it was called a complex simulation suite “Virtual Unit of NPP” (or CSS “VEB” for short). Proper application of this complex tool should result in a complex coupled mathematical computational model. And for a specific design of NPP, it is called the Virtual Power Unit (or VPU for short). VPU can be used for comprehensive modelling of a power unit operation, checking operator's functions on a virtual main control room, and modelling complicated scenarios for normal modes and accidents. In addition, CSS “VEB” contains a combination of thermal hydraulic codes: the best-estimate (two-liquid) calculation codes KORSAR and CORTES and a homogenous calculation code TPP. So to analyze a specific technological system one can build thermal-hydraulic simulation models with different detalization levels up to a nodalization scheme with real geometry. And the result at some points is similar to the notion “engineering/testing simulator” described by the European utility requirements (EUR) for LWR nuclear power plants. The paper is dedicated to description of the tools mentioned above and an example of the application of the engineering thermal-hydraulic simulator in analysis of the boron acid concentration in the primary coolant (changed by the make-up and boron control system).
Hepatoprotective Assessment of L-Ascorbate 1-(2-Hydroxyethyl)-4,6-Dimethyl-1, 2-Dihydropyrimidine-2-on in Toxic Liver Damage Test
The aim of this study was to investigate hepatoprotective properties of the Xymedon derivative L-ascorbate 1- (2-hydroxyethyl)-4,6-dimethyl-1,2-dihydropyrimidine-2-one (XD), which exhibits high efficiency as actoprotector. The study was carried out on 68 male albino rats weighing 250-400 g using preventive exposure to the test preparation. Effectiveness of XD win comparison with effectiveness of Xymedon (original substance) after administration of the compounds in identical doses. Maximum dose was 20 mg/kg. The animals orally received Xymedon or its derivative in doses of 10 and 20 mg/kg over 4 days. In 1-1.5 h after drug administration, CCl4 in vegetable oil (1:1) in a dose of 2 ml/kg. Controls received CCl4 but without hepatoprotectors. Intact control group consisted of rats, not receiving CCl4 or other compounds. The next day after the last administration of CCl4 and compounds under study animals were dehematized under ether anesthesia, blood and liver samples were taken for biochemical and histological analysis. Xymedon and XD administered according to the preventice scheme, exerted hepatoprotective effects: Xymedon — in the dose of 20 mg/kg, XD — in doses of 10 and 20 mg/kg. The drugs under study had different effects on liver condition, affected by induction with CCl4. Xymedon had a more pronounced effect both on the ALT level, which can be elevated not only due to destructive changes in hepatocytes, but also as a cholestasis manifestation, and on the serum total protein level, which reflects protein synthesis in liver. XD had a more pronounced effect on AST level, which is one of the markers of hepatocyte damage. Lower effective dose of XD — 10 mg/kg, compared to Xymedon effective according to, and its pronounced effect on AST, the hepatocyte cytolysis marker, is indicative of its higher preventive effectiveness, compared to Xymedon. This work was performed with the financial support of Russian Science Foundation (grant No: 14-50-00014).
The Effects of a Thin Liquid Layer on the Hydrodynamic Machine Rotor
A mathematical model of the additional effects of the liquid in the hydrodynamic gap is presented in the paper. An in-compressible viscous fluid is considered. Based on computational modeling are determined the matrices of mass, stiffness and damping. The mathematical model is experimentally verified.
The New Approach to Airport Emergency Plans
This article deals with a new approach to the airport emergency plans, which are the basic documents and manuals for dealing with events with impact on safety or security. The article describes the identified parts in which the current airport emergency plans do not fulfill their role and which should therefore be considered in the creation of corrective measures. All these issues have been identified at airports in the Czech Republic and confirmed at airports in neighboring countries.
Use of Information Technology in the Government of a State
There are visible changes in the world organization, environment and health of national conscience that create a background for discussion on possible redefinition of global, state and regional management goals. Authors apply the sustainable development criteria to a hierarchical management scheme that is to lead the world community to non-contradictory growth. Concrete definitions are discussed in respect of decision-making process representing the state mostly. With the help of system analysis it is highlighted how to understand who would carry the distinctive sign of world leadership in the nearest future.
Pathology of Explanted Transvaginal Meshes
The use of polypropylene mesh devices for Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) spread rapidly during the last decade, yet our knowledge of the mesh-tissue interaction is far from complete. We aimed to perform a thorough pathological examination of explanted POP meshes and describe findings that may explain mechanisms of complications resulting in product excision. We report a spectrum of important findings, including nerve ingrowth, mesh deformation, involvement of detrusor muscle with neural ganglia, and polypropylene degradation. Analysis of these findings may improve and guide future treatment strategies.
Characteristic Function in Estimation of Probability Distribution Moments
In this article the problem of distributional moments estimation is considered. The new approach of moments estimation based on usage of the characteristic function is proposed. By statistical simulation technique, author shows that new approach has some robust properties. For calculation of the derivatives of characteristic function there is used numerical differentiation. Obtained results confirmed that author’s idea has a certain working efficiency and it can be recommended for any statistical applications.
Powerful Laser Diode Matrixes for Active Vision Systems
This article is deal with the experimental investigations of the laser diode matrixes (LDM) based on the AlGaAs/GaAs heterostructures (lasing wavelength 790-880 nm) to find optimal LDM parameters for active vision systems. In particular, the dependence of LDM radiation pulse power on the pulse duration and LDA active layer heating as well as the LDM radiation divergence are discussed.
Power Management in Wireless Combustible Gas Sensors
In this paper we propose the approach to power management in wireless combustible gas sensors. This approach makes possible drastically prolong sensor nodes autonomous lifetime. That is necessary to tie battery replacement to every year technical service procedures which are claimed by safety standards. Using this approach the current consumption of the wireless combustible gas sensor node was decreased from 80 mA to less than 2 mA and the power consumption from more than 220 mW to 4.6 mW. These values provide autonomous lifetime of the node more than one year.
“Friction Surfaces” of Airport Emergency Plan
This article focuses on the issue of airport emergency plans, which are documents describing reactions to events with impact on aviation safety or aviation security. The article specifically focuses on the use and creation of emergency plans, where could be found a number of disagreements between different stakeholders, for which the airport emergency plan applies. Those are the friction surfaces of interfaces, which is necessary to identify and ensure them smooth process to avoid dangerous situations or delay.
Web Application for Evaluating Tests in Distance Learning Systems
Distance learning systems offer useful methods of learning and usually contain final course test or another form of test. The paper proposes web application for evaluating tests using expert system in distance learning systems. Proposed web application is appropriate for didactic tests or tests with results for subsequent studying follow-up courses. Web application works with test questions and uses expert system and LFLC tool for test evaluation. After test evaluation the results are visualized and shown to student.
Analytical Solutions for Geodesic Acoustic Eigenmodes in Tokamak Plasmas
The analytical solutions for geodesic acoustic eigenmodes in tokamak plasmas with circular concentric magnetic surfaces are found. In the frame of ideal magnetohydrodynamics the dispersion relation taking into account the toroidal coupling between electrostatic perturbations and electromagnetic perturbations with poloidal mode number |m| = 2 is derived. In the absence of such a coupling the dispersion relation gives the standard continuous spectrum of geodesic acoustic modes. The analysis of the existence of global eigenmodes for plasma equilibria with both off-axis and on-axis maximum of the local geodesic acoustic frequency is performed.
Signs-Only Compressed Row Storage Format for Exact Diagonalization Study of Quantum Fermionic Models
The present paper describes a high-performance parallel realization of an exact diagonalization solver for quantum-electron models in a shared memory computing system. The proposed algorithm contains a storage format for efficient computing eigenvalues and eigenvectors of a quantum electron Hamiltonian matrix. The results of the test calculations carried out for 15 sites Hubbard model demonstrate reduction in the required memory and good multiprocessor scalability, while maintaining performance of the same order as compressed row storage.
An Approach for Thermal Resistance Prediction of Plain Socks in Wet State
Socks comfort has great significance in our daily life. This significance even increased when we have undergone a work of low or high activity. It causes the sweating of our body with different rates. In this study, plain socks with differential fibre composition were wetted to saturated level. Then after successive intervals of conditioning, these socks are characterized by thermal resistance in dry and wet states. Theoretical thermal resistance is predicted by using combined filling coefficients and thermal conductivity of wet polymers instead of dry polymer (fibre) in different models. By this modification, different mathematical models could predict thermal resistance at different moisture levels. Furthermore, predicted thermal resistance by different models has reasonable correlation range between (0.84 -0.98) with experimental results in both dry (lab conditions moisture) and wet states.
Cd2+ Ions Removal from Aqueous Solutions Using Alginite
Alginate has been evaluated as an efficient pollution control material. In this paper, alginate from maar Pinciná (SR) for removal of Cd2+ ions from aqueous solution was studied. The potential sorbent was characterized by X-Ray Fluorescence Analysis (RFA) analysis, Fourier Transform Infrared Spectral Analysis (FT-IR) and Specific Surface Area (SSA) was also determined. The sorption process was optimized from the point of initial cadmium concentration effect and effect of pH value. The Freundlich and Langmuir models were used to interpret the sorption behaviour of Cd2+ ions, and the results showed that experimental data were well fitted by the Langmuir equation. Alginate maximal sorption capacity (QMAX) for Cd2+ ions calculated from Langmuir isotherm was 34 mg/g. Sorption process was significantly affected by initial pH value in the range from 4.0-7.0. Alginate is a comparable sorbent with other materials for toxic metals removal.
Laser Ultrasonic Diagnostics and Acoustic Emission Technique for Examination of Rock Specimens under Uniaxial Compression
Laboratory studies of the stress-strain behavior of rocks specimens were conducted by using acoustic emission and laser-ultrasonic diagnostics. The sensitivity of the techniques allowed changes in the internal structure of the specimens under uniaxial compressive load to be examined at micro- and macro scales. It was shown that microcracks appear in geologic materials when the stress level reaches about 50% of breaking strength. Also, the characteristic stress of the main crack formation was registered in the process of single-stage compression of rocks. On the base of laser-ultrasonic echoscopy, 2D visualization of the internal structure of rocky soil specimens was realized, and the microcracks arising during uniaxial compression were registered.
Enhanced Performance of an All-Vanadium Redox Flow Battery Employing Graphene Modified Carbon Paper Electrodes
Fuel cell grade gas-diffusion layer carbon paper (CP) electrodes are subjected to electrophoresis in N,N’-dimethylformamide (DMF) consisting of reduced graphene oxide (rGO). The rGO modified electrodes are compared with CP in a single asymmetric all-vanadium redox battery system (employing a double serpentine flow channel for each half-cell). Peak power densities improved by 4% when the rGO deposits were facing the ion-exchange membrane (cell performance was poorer when the rGO was facing the flow field). Cycling of the cells showed least degradation of the CP electrodes that were coated with rGO in comparison to pristine samples.
Distorted Document Images Dataset for Text
Detection and Recognition
With the increasing popularity of document analysis and recognition systems, text detection (TD) and optical character recognition (OCR) in document images become challenging tasks. However, according to our best knowledge, no publicly available datasets for these particular problems exist. In this paper, we introduce a Distorted Document Images dataset (DDI-100) and provide a detailed analysis of the DDI-100 in its current state. To create the dataset we collected 7000 unique document pages, and extend it by applying different types of distortions and geometric transformations. In total, DDI-100 contains more than 100,000 document images together with binary text masks, text and character locations in terms of bounding boxes. We also present an analysis of several state-of-the-art TD and OCR approaches on the presented dataset. Lastly, we demonstrate the usefulness of DDI-100 to improve accuracy and stability of the considered TD and OCR models.
A CFD Analysis of Hydraulic Characteristics of the Rod Bundles in the BREST-OD-300 Wire-Spaced Fuel Assemblies
This paper presents the findings from a numerical simulation of the flow in 37-rod fuel assembly models spaced by a double-wire trapezoidal wrapping as applied to the BREST-OD-300 experimental nuclear reactor. Data on a high static pressure distribution within the models, and equations for determining the fuel bundle flow friction factors have been obtained. Recommendations are provided on using the closing turbulence models available in the ANSYS Fluent. A comparative analysis has been performed against the existing empirical equations for determining the flow friction factors. The calculated and experimental data fit has been shown. An analysis into the experimental data and results of the numerical simulation of the BREST-OD-300 fuel rod assembly hydrodynamic performance are presented.
Amino Acid Based Biodegradable Amphiphilic Polymers and Micelles Made from Them as Drug Delivery Systems: Synthesis and Study
Nanotherapy is an actual newest mode of treatment numerous diseases using nano-size particles (NPs) loading with different pharmaceuticals. NPs of biodegradable polymeric micelles (PMs) are gaining increased attention for their numerous and attractive abilities to be used in a variety of applications in the various fields of medicine. The present paper deals with the synthesis of a new class of biodegradable micelle-forming polymers, namely ABA triblock-copolymer in which A-blocks represent amino-poly(ethylene glycol) (H₂N-PEG) and B-block is biodegradable amino acid-based poly(ester amide) constituted of α-amino acid: L-phenylalanine. The obtained copolymer formed micelles of 70 ± 4 nm size at 10mg/mL concentration.
Carbon Supported Cu and TiO2 Catalysts Applied for Ozone Decomposition
In the recent article, a comparison was made between Cu and TiO2 supported catalysts on activated carbon for ozone decomposition reaction. The activated carbon support in the case of TiO2/AC sample was prepared by physicochemical pyrolysis and for Cu/AC samples the supports are chemically modified carbons. The prepared catalysts were synthesized by impregnation method. The samples were annealed in two different regimes-in air and under vacuum. To examine adsorption efficiency of the samples BET method was used. All investigated catalysts supported on chemically modified carbons have higher specific surface area compared to the specific surface area of TiO2 supported catalysts, varying in the range 590÷620 m2/g. The method of synthesis of the precursors had influenced catalytic activity.
Standard Languages for Creating a Database to Display Financial Statements on a Web Application
XHTML and XBRL are the standard languages for creating a database for the purpose of displaying financial statements on web applications. Today, XBRL is one of the most popular languages for business reporting. A large number of countries in the world recognize the role of XBRL language for financial reporting and the benefits that the reporting format provides in the collection, analysis, preparation, publication and the exchange of data (information) which is the positive side of this language. Here we present all advantages and opportunities that a company may have by using the XBRL format for business reporting. Also, this paper presents XBRL and other languages that are used for creating the database, such XML, XHTML, etc. The role of the AJAX complex model and technology will be explained in detail, and during the exchange of financial data between the web client and web server. Here will be mentioned basic layers of the network for data exchange via the web.
Industrial and Environmental Safety in the Integrated Security Policy of the Industry: A Corporation and an Enterprise
Today, in the context of rapidly developing technosphere and hourly emerging new technologies, the industrial and environmental safety issue is ever more pressing. The article is devoted to the relationship of social, environmental, and industrial policies with industrial safety, occupational health and safety, environmental safety, and environmental protection. The author assesses the up-to-day situation through system analysis and on the basis of the existing practices. A complex system of the policies implementation without "gaps" and missing links ensures preservation of human lives, health and a favorable living environment. The author demonstrates that absence of an "environmental safety" high-priority link can lead to a significant loss of human lives and health and the global changes in the environment. The role of implementing the environmental policy of enterprises and organizations, and of economic sectors in the implementation of national environmental policy is shown. It was established that the system for implementing environmental policy should be based on a system analysis.
The Gradient Complex Protective Coatings for Single Crystal Nickel Alloys
High yield complex coatings have been designed for thermally stressed cooled HP turbine blades from single crystal alloys ZHS32-VI-VI and ZHS36 with crystallographic orientation . These coatings provide long-term protection of single crystal blades during operation. The three-layer coatings were prepared as follows: the diffusion barrier layer formation on the alloy surface, the subsequent deposition of the condensed bilayer coatings consisting of an inner layer based on Ni-Cr-Al-Y systems and an outer layer based on the alloyed β-phase.
The structure, phase composition of complex coatings and reaction zone interaction with the single-crystal alloys ZHS32-VI and ZHS36-VI were investigated using scanning electron microscope (SEM). The effect of complex protective coatings on the properties of heat-resistant nickel alloys was studied.
Recovery of Rare Earths and Scandium from in situ Leaching Solutions
In uranium production, in-situ leaching (ISL) with its relatively low cost has become an important technology. As the orebody containing uranium most often contains a considerable value of other metals, particularly rare earth metals it has rendered feasible to recover the REM from the barren ISL solutions, from which the major uranium content has been removed. Ural Federal University (UrFU, Ekaterinburg, Russia) have performed joint research on the development of industrial technologies for the extraction of REM and Scandium compounds from Uranium ISL solutions. Leaching experiments at UrFU have been supported with multicomponent solution model. The experimental work combines solvent extraction with advanced ion exchange methodology in a pilot facility capable of treating 500 kg/hr of solids. The pilot allows for the recovery of a 99% concentrate of scandium oxide and collective concentrate with over 50 % REM content, with further recovery of heavy and light REM concentrates (99%).
Modern Spectrum Sensing Techniques for Cognitive Radio Networks: Practical Implementation and Performance Evaluation
Spectrum underutilization has made cognitive radio a promising technology both for current and future telecommunications. This is due to the ability to exploit the unused spectrum in the bands dedicated to other wireless networks, and thus, increase their occupancy. The essential function, which allows the cognitive radio device to perceive the occupancy of the spectrum, is spectrum sensing. In this paper, the performance of the modern adaptations of the four most widely used spectrum sensing techniques such as energy detection (ED), cyclostationary feature detection (CSFD), matched filter (MF) and eigenvalues-based detection (EBD) is compared. The implementation has been accomplished through the PlutoSDR hardware platform and the GNU Radio software package in very low signal-to-noise ratio conditions. The optimal detection performance of the examined methods in a realistic implementation-oriented model is found for the common relevant parameters (number of observed samples, sensing time and required probability of false alarm).
Modern Spectrum Sensing Techniques for Cognitive Radio Networks: Practical Implementation and Performance Evaluation
Spectrum underutilization has made cognitive
radio a promising technology both for current and future
telecommunications. This is due to the ability to exploit the unused
spectrum in the bands dedicated to other wireless communication
systems, and thus, increase their occupancy. The essential function,
which allows the cognitive radio device to perceive the occupancy
of the spectrum, is spectrum sensing. In this paper, the performance
of modern adaptations of the four most widely used spectrum
sensing techniques namely, energy detection (ED), cyclostationary
feature detection (CSFD), matched filter (MF) and eigenvalues-based
detection (EBD) is compared. The implementation has been
accomplished through the PlutoSDR hardware platform and the
GNU Radio software package in very low Signal-to-Noise Ratio
(SNR) conditions. The optimal detection performance of the
examined methods in a realistic implementation-oriented model is
found for the common relevant parameters (number of observed
samples, sensing time and required probability of false alarm).
In Situ Laser-Induced Synthesis of Copper Microstructures with High Catalytic Properties and Sensory Characteristics
The continuous in situ laser-induced catalysis proceeding via generation and growth of nano-sized copper particles was discussed. Also, the simple and lost-cost method for manufacturing of microstructural copper electrodes was proposed. The electrochemical properties of these electrodes were studied by cyclic voltammetry and impedance spectroscopy. The surface of the deposited copper structures (electrodes) was investigated by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and atomic force microscopy. These microstructures are highly conductive and porous with a dispersion of pore size ranging from 50 nm to 50 μm. An analytical response of the fabricated copper electrode is 30 times higher than those observed for a pure bulk copper with similar geometric parameters. A study of sensory characteristics for hydrogen peroxide determination showed that the value of Faraday current at the fabricated copper electrode is 2-2.5 orders of magnitude higher than for etalon one.
Developing Heat-Power Efficiency Criteria for Characterization of Technosphere Structural Elements
This paper refers to the analysis of the characteristics of industrial and lifestyle facilities heat- energy objects as a part of the thermal envelope of Earth's surface for inclusion in any database of economic forecasting. The idealized model of the Earth's surface is discussed. This model gives the opportunity to obtain the energy equivalent for each element of terrain and world ocean. Energy efficiency criterion of comfortable human existence is introduced. Dynamics of changes of this criterion offers the possibility to simulate the possible technogenic catastrophes with a spontaneous industrial development of the certain Earth areas. Calculated model with the confirmed forecast of the Gulf Stream freezing in the Polar Regions in 2011 due to the heat-energy balance disturbance for the oceanic subsurface oil polluted layer is given. Two opposing trends of human development under the limited and unlimited amount of heat-energy resources are analyzed.
Effect of Packaging Methods and Storage Time on Oxidative Stability of Traditional Fermented Sausage
In this paper influence of packaging method (vacuum and modified atmosphere packaging) on lipid oxidative stability and sensory properties of odor and taste of the traditional sausage Petrovská klobása were examined. These parameters were examined during storage period (7 months). In the end of storage period, vacuum packed sausage showed better oxidative stability. Propanal content was significantly lower (P< 0.05) in vacuum packed sausage compared to these values in unpacked and modified atmosphere packaging sausage. Hexanal content in vacuum packed sausage was 1.85 µg/g, in MAP sausage 2.98 µg/g and in unpacked sausage 4.94 µg/g. After 2 and 7 months of storage, sausages packed in vacuum had the highest grades for sensory properties of odor and taste.
DIAL Measurements of Vertical Distribution of Ozone at the Siberian Lidar Station in Tomsk
The paper presents the results of DIAL measurements of the vertical ozone distribution. The ozone lidar operate as part of the measurement complex at Siberian Lidar Station (SLS) of V.E. Zuev Institute of Atmospheric Optics SB RAS, Tomsk (56.5ºN; 85.0ºE) and designed for study of the vertical ozone distribution in the upper troposphere–lower stratosphere. Most suitable wavelengths for measurements of ozone profiles are selected. We present an algorithm for retrieval of vertical distribution of ozone with temperature and aerosol correction during DIAL lidar sounding of the atmosphere. The temperature correction of ozone absorption coefficients is introduced in the software to reduce the retrieval errors. Results of lidar measurement at wavelengths of 299 and 341 nm agree with model estimates, which point to acceptable accuracy of ozone sounding in the 6–18 km altitude range.
Ways for Improving Citation of the Cyrillic Publications
Assessment of novelty of studies submitted in Russian publications is given by the method citation analysis to identify scientific research with a high degree of innovation. This may be the basis of recommendations for subjects new joint projects setting of the RF and the EU. Apart from not the best rating of Russian publications (may even its lack) current IT ensure open access to the WEB-sites of these journals that make possible own expertise selective rapid assessment of the advanced developments in Russia by interested foreign investors. Cited foreign literature in Russian journals can become the subject of study to determine the innovative attractiveness of scientific research on the background a specific future-proof abroad. Authors introduced: (1) linguistic impact factor Li-f of journals for describing the share of publications in the majority language; (2) linguistic citation index Lact characterizing the significance of scientific research and linguistic top ones Ltop for evaluation of the spectral width of citing of foreign journals.
Database Playlists: Croatia's Popular Music in the Mirror of Collective Memory
Scientific research analytically explores database playlists by studying the memory culture through Croatian popular radio music. The research is based on the scientific analysis of databases developed on the basis of the playlist of ten Croatian radio stations. The most recent Croatian song on Statehood Day 2008-2013 is analyzed in order to gain insight into their (memory) potential in terms of storing, interpreting and presenting a national identity. The research starts with the general assumption that popular music is an efficient identifier, transmitter, and promoter of national identity. The aim of the scientific research of the database was to analytically reveal specific titles of Croatian popular songs that participate in marking memories and analyzing their symbolic capital to gain insight into the popular music experience of the past and to develop a new method of scientifically based analysis of specific databases.
Laser-Ultrasonic Method for Measuring the Local Elastic Moduli of Porosity Isotropic Composite Materials
The laser-ultrasonic method is realized for quantifying the influence of porosity on the local Young’s modulus of isotropic composite materials. The method is based on a laser generation of ultrasound pulses combined with measurement of the phase velocity of longitudinal and shear acoustic waves in samples. The main advantage of this method compared with traditional ultrasonic research methods is the efficient generation of short and powerful probing acoustic pulses required for reliable testing of ultrasound absorbing and scattering heterogeneous materials. Using as an example samples of a metal matrix composite with reinforcing microparticles of silicon carbide in various concentrations, it is shown that to provide an effective increase in Young’s modulus with increasing concentration of microparticles, the porosity of the final sample should not exceed 2%.
Determination of the Local Elastic Moduli of Shungite by Laser Ultrasonic Spectroscopy
In our study, the object of laser ultrasonic testing was plane-parallel plate of shungit (length 41 mm, width 31 mm, height 15 mm, medium exchange density 2247 kg/m3). We used laser-ultrasonic defectoscope with wideband opto-acoustic transducer in our investigation of the velocities of longitudinal and shear elastic ultrasound waves. The duration of arising elastic pulses was less than 100 ns. Under known material thickness, the values of the velocities were determined by the time delay of the pulses reflected from the bottom surface of the sample with respect to reference pulses. The accuracy of measurement was 0.3% in the case of longitudinal wave velocity and 0.5% in the case of shear wave velocity (scanning pitch along the surface was 2 mm). On the base of found velocities of elastic waves, local elastic moduli of shungit (Young modulus, shear modulus and Poisson's ratio) were uniquely determined.
[Keynote Talk]: Animation of Objects on the Website by Application of CSS3 Language
Scientific work analytically explores and demonstrates techniques that can animate objects and geometric characters using CSS3 language by applying proper formatting and positioning of elements. This paper presents examples of optimum application of the CSS3 descriptive language when generating general web animations (e.g., billiards and movement of geometric characters, etc.). The paper presents analytically, the optimal development and animation design with the frames within which the animated objects are. The originally developed content is based on the upgrading of existing CSS3 descriptive language animations with more complex syntax and project-oriented work. The purpose of the developed animations is to provide an overview of the interactive features of CSS3 descriptive language design for computer games and the animation of important analytical data based on the web view. It has been analytically demonstrated that CSS3 as a descriptive language allows inserting of various multimedia elements into websites for public and internal sites.
Development and Comparative Analysis of a New C-H Split and Recombine Micromixer
In the present study, a new passive micromixer based on SAR principle, combining the operation concepts of known Chain and H mixers, called C-H micromixer, is developed and studied. The efficiency and the pressure drop of the C-H mixer along with two known SAR passive mixers named Chain and Tear-drop were investigated numerically at Reynolds numbers up to 100, taking into account species transport. At the same time experimental tests of the Chain and Tear-drop mixers were carried out at low Reynolds number, in the 0.1≤Re≤4.2 range. Numerical and experimental results coincide considerably, which validate the numerical simulation approach. Results show that mixing efficiency of the Tear-drop mixer is good except at the middle range of Reynolds number but pressure drop is too high; conversely the Chain mixer has moderate pressure drop but relatively low mixing efficiency at low and middle Re numbers. Whereas, the C-H mixer gives excellent mixing efficiency at all range of Re numbers. In addition, the C-H mixer shows respectively about 3 and 2 times lower pressure drop than the Tear-drop mixer and the Chain mixer.
Pallet Tracking and Cost Optimization of the Flow of Goods in Logistics Operations by Serial Shipping Container Code
The case study method in this paper shows the implementation of Information Technology (IT) and the Serial Shipping Container Code (SSCC) in a Croatian company that deals with logistics operations and provides logistics services in the cold chain segment. This company is aware of the sensitivity of the goods entrusted to them by the user of the service, as well as of the importance of speed and accuracy in providing logistics services. To that end, it has implemented and used the latest IT to ensure the highest standard of high-quality logistics services to its customers. Looking for efficiency and optimization of supply chain management, while maintaining a high level of quality of the products that are sold, today's users of outsourced logistics services are open to the implementation of new IT products that ultimately deliver savings. By analysing the positive results and the difficulties that arise when using this technology, we aim to provide an insight into the potential of this approach of the logistics service provider.
Environment Saving and Efficiency of Diesel Heat-Insulated Combustion Chamber Using Semitransparent Ceramic Coatings
Long-term scientific forecasts confirm that diesel engines still will be the basis of the transport and stationary power in the near future. This is explained by their high efficiency and profitability compared to other types of heat engines. In the automotive industry carried basic researches are aimed at creating a new generation of diesel engines with reduced exhaust emissions (with stable performance) determining the minimum impact on the environment. The application of thermal barrier coatings (TBCs) and especially their modifications based on semitransparent ceramic materials allows solving this problem. For such researches, the preliminary stage of testing of physical characteristics materials and coatings especially with semitransparent properties the authors proposed experimental operating innovative radiative-and-convective cycling simulator. This setup contains original radiation sources (imitator) with tunable spectrum for modeling integral flux up to several MW/m2.
Thermal Resistance of Special Garments Exposed to a Radiant Heat
Protective clothing is designed to keep a wearer save in hazardous conditions or enable perform short time working operation without being injured or feeling discomfort. Firefighters or other related workers are exposed to abnormal heat which can be conductive, convective or radiant type. Their garment is proposed to resist this conditions and prevent burn injuries or dead of human. However thermal comfort of firefighter exposed to high heat source have not been studied yet. Thermal resistance is the best representative parameter of thermal comfort. In this study a new method of testing of thermal resistance of special clothing exposed to high radiation heat source was designed. This method simulates human body wearing single or multi-layered garment which is exposed to radiative heat. Setup of this method enables measuring of radiative heat flow in time without effect of convection. The new testing method is verified on chosen group of textiles for firefighters.
Analysis and Design of Dual-Polarization Antennas for Wireless Communication Systems
The paper describes the design and simulation of dual-polarization antennas that use the resonance and radiating properties of the H00 mode of metal open waveguides. The proposed antennas are formed by two orthogonal slots in a finite conducting ground plane. The slots are backed by metal screens connected to the ground plane forming open waveguides. It has been shown that the antenna designs can be efficiently used in mm-wave bands. The antenna single mode operational bandwidth is higher than 10%. The antenna designs are very simple and low-cost. They allow flush installation and can be efficiently used in various communication and remote sensing devices on fast moving carriers. Mutual coupling between antennas of the proposed design is very low. Thus, multiple antenna structures with proposed antennas can be efficiently employed in multi-band and in multiple-input-multiple-output (MIMO) systems.
Structure of Turbulence Flow in the Wire-Wrappes Fuel Assemblies of BREST-OD-300
In this paper, experimental and numerical study of hydrodynamic characteristics of the air coolant flow in the test wire-wrapped assembly is presented. The test assembly has 37 rods, which are similar to the real fuel pins of the BREST-OD-300 fuel assemblies geometrically. Air open loop test facility installed at the “Nuclear Power Plants and Installations” department of BMSTU was used to obtain the experimental data. The obtaining altitudinal distribution of static pressure in the near-wall test assembly as well as velocity and temperature distribution of coolant flow in the test sections can give us some new knowledge about the mechanism of formation of the turbulence flow structure in the wire wrapped fuel assemblies. Numerical simulations of the turbulence flow has been accomplished using ANSYS Fluent 14.5. Different non-local turbulence models have been considered, such as standard and RNG k-e models and k-w SST model. Results of numerical simulations of the flow based on the considered turbulence models give the best agreement with the experimental data and help us to carry out strong analysis of flow characteristics.
Assessment of Exploitation Vulnerability of Quantum Communication Systems with Phase Encryption
Quantum communication technology takes advantage of the intrinsic properties of laser carriers, such as very high data rates and low power requirements, to offer unprecedented data security. Quantum processes at the physical layer of encryption are used for signal encryption with very competitive performance characteristics. The ultimate range of applications for QC systems spans from fiber-based to free-space links and from secure banking operations to mobile airborne and space-borne networking where they are subjected to channel distortions. Under practical conditions, the channel can alter the optical wave front characteristics, including its phase. In addition, phase noise of the communication source and photo-detection noises alter the signal to bring additional ambiguity into the measurement process. If quantized values of photons are used to encrypt the signal, exploitation of quantum communication links becomes extremely difficult. In this paper, we present the results of analysis and simulation studies of the effects of noise on phase estimation for quantum systems with different number of encryption bases and operating at different power levels.
Designing Information Systems in Education as Prerequisite for Successful Management Results
This research paper shows matrix technology models and examples of information systems in education (in the Republic of Croatia and in the Germany) in support of business, education (when learning and teaching) and e-learning. Here we researched and described the aims and objectives of the main process in education and technology, with main matrix classes of data. In this paper, we have example of matrix technology with detailed description of processes related to specific data classes in the processes of education and an example module that is support for the process: ‘Filling in the directory and the diary of work’ and ‘evaluation’. Also, on the lower level of the processes, we researched and described all activities which take place within the lower process in education. We researched and described the characteristics and functioning of modules: ‘Fill the directory and the diary of work’ and ‘evaluation’. For the analysis of the affinity between the aforementioned processes and/or sub-process we used our application model created in Visual Basic, which was based on the algorithm for analyzing the affinity between the observed processes and/or sub-processes.
Plasma Treatment of a Lignite Using Water-Stabilized Plasma Torch at Atmospheric Pressure
Recycling of organic waste is an increasingly hot topic in recent years. This issue becomes even more interesting if the raw material for the fuel production can be obtained as the result of that recycling. A process of high-temperature decomposition of a lignite (a non-hydrolysable complex organic compound) was studied on the plasma gasification reactor PLASGAS, where water-stabilized plasma torch was used as a source of high enthalpy plasma. The plasma torch power was 120 kW and allowed heating of the reactor to more than 1000 °C. The material feeding rate in the gasification reactor was selected 30 and 60 kg per hour that could be compared with small industrial production. An efficiency estimation of the thermal decomposition process was done. A balance of the torch energy distribution was studied as well as an influence of the lignite particle size and an addition of methane (CH4) in a reaction volume on the syngas composition (H2+CO). It was found that the ratio H2:CO had values in the range of 1,5 to 2,5 depending on the experimental conditions. The recycling process occurred at atmospheric pressure that was one of the important benefits because of the lack of expensive vacuum pump systems. The work was supported by the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic under the project GA15-19444S.
Optical Characterization of Anisotropic Thiophene-Phenylene Co-Oligomer Micro Crystals by Spectroscopic Imaging Ellipsometry
Here we demonstrate a non-destructive optical technique to localize and characterize single crystals of semiconductive organic materials – Spectroscopic Imaging Ellipsometry. With a combination of microscopy and ellipsometry, it is possible to characterize even micro-sized thin film crystals on plane surface regarding anisotropy, optical properties, crystalline domains and thickness. The semiconducting thiophene-phenylene co-oligomer 1,4-bis(5'-hexyl-[2,2'-bithiophen]-5-yl)benzene (dHex-TTPTT) crystals were grown by solvent based self-assembly technique on silicon substrate with 300 nm thermally silicon dioxide. The ellipsometric measurements were performed with an Ep4-SE (Accurion). In an ellipsometric high-contrast image of the complete sample, we have localized high-quality single crystals. After demonstrating the uniaxial anisotropy of the crystal by using Müller-Matrix imaging ellipsometry, we determined the optical axes by rotating the sample and performed spectroscopic measurements (λ = 400-700 nm) in 5 nm intervals. The optical properties were described by using a Lorentz term in the Ep4-Model. After determining the dispersion of the crystals, we converted a recorded Delta and Psi-map into a 2D thickness image. Based on a quantitative analysis of the resulting thickness map, we have calculated the height of a molecular layer (3.49 nm).
Mass Polarization in Three-Body System with Two Identical Particles
The mass-polarization term of the three-body kinetic energy operator is evaluated for different systems which include two identical particles: A+A+B. The term has to be taken into account for the analysis of AB- and AA-interactions based on experimental data for two- and three-body ground state energies. In this study, we present three-body calculations within the framework of a potential model for the kaonic clusters K−K−p and ppK−, nucleus 3H and hypernucleus 6 ΛΛHe. The systems are well clustering as A+ (A+B) with a ground state energy E2 for the pair A+B. The calculations are performed using the method of the Faddeev equations in configuration space. The phenomenological pair potentials were used. We show a correlation between the mass ratio mA/mB and the value δB of the mass-polarization term. For bosonic-like systems, this value is defined as δB = 2E2 − E3, where E3 is three-body energy when VAA = 0. For the systems including three particles with spin(isospin), the models with average AB-potentials are used. In this case, the Faddeev equations become a scalar one like for the bosonic-like system αΛΛ. We show that the additional energy conected with the mass-polarization term can be decomposite to a sum of the two parts: exchenge related and reduced mass related. The state of the system can be described as the following: the particle A1 is bound within the A + B pair with the energy E2, and the second particle A2 is bound with the pair with the energy E3 − E2. Due to the identity of A particles, the particles A1 and A2 are interchangeable in the pair A + B. We shown that the mass polarization δB correlates with a type of AB potential using the system αΛΛ as an example.
Spatial Analysis for Wind Risk Index Assessment
This paper presents methodology for spatial analysis of GIS data that is used for assessing the microlocation risk index from potential damages of high winds. The analysis is performed on freely available GIS data comprising information about wind load, terrain cover and topography of the area. The methodology utilizes the legislation of Eurocode norms for determination of wind load of buildings and constructions. The core of the methodology is adoption of the wind load parameters related to location on geographical spatial grid. Presented work is a part of the Wind Risk Project, supported by the European Commission under the Civil Protection Financial Instrument of the European Union (ECHO). The partners involved in Wind Risk project performed Wind Risk assessment and proposed action plan for three European countries – Slovenia, Croatia and Germany. The proposed method is implemented in GRASS GIS open source GIS software and demonstrated for Case study area of wider area of Split, Croatia. Obtained Wind Risk Index is visualized and correlated with critical infrastructures like buildings, roads and power lines. The results show good correlation between high Wind Risk Index with recent incidents related to wind.
Baby Bed Sheets with a Nanofiber Membrane
Nowadays there are countless kinds of bedsheets or mattress covers for little children which should stop any liquid getting into the mattress. It is quite easy to wash the cover of the mattress, but it is almost impossible to clean the body of a mattress which is made of latex foam, wool or synthetic materials. Children bedsheets or mattress covers are often made with plastic coating which is not steam or air permeable and therefore is not very hygienic. This is our goal: by laminating a nanofiber membrane to a suitable bedsheet textile material, we can create a bedsheet which is waterproof but at the same time steam permeable and also partially breathable, thanks to the membrane. For the same reason, nanofiber membranes are widely used in outdoor clothing. The comfort properties and durability of the new nano-membrane bedsheet were studied. The following comfort properties were investigated: steam permeability - measured in accordance with Standard ISO 11902 hydrostatic resistances - measured in accordance with Standard ISO 811 and air permeability - measured in accordance with Standard ISO 9237. The durability or more precisely the wash resistance of the nano-membrane bedsheet was also measured by submitting the sheet to 30 washing cycles. The result of our work is a children's bedsheet with a nano-membrane. The nano-membrane is made of polyurethane to keep maximum flexibility and elasticity which are essential for this product. The comfort properties of this new bedsheet are very good especially its steam permeability and hydrostatic resistance.
Influence of Kinematic, Physical and Mechanical Structure Parameters on Aeroelastic GTU Shaft Vibrations in Magnetic Bearings
At present, vibrations of rotors of gas transmittal unit evade sustainable forecasting. This paper describes elastic oscillation modes in resilient supports and rotor impellers modeled during computational experiments with regard to interference in the system of gas-dynamic flow and compressor rotor. Verification of aeroelastic approach was done on model problem of interaction between supersonic jet in shock tube with deformed plate. ANSYS 15.0 engineering analysis system was used as a modeling tool of numerical simulation in this paper. Finite volume method for gas dynamics and finite elements method for assessment of the strain stress state (SSS) components were used as research methods. Rotation speed and material’s elasticity modulus varied during calculations, and SSS components and gas-dynamic parameters in the dynamic system of gas-dynamic flow and compressor rotor were evaluated. The analysis of time dependence demonstrated that gas-dynamic parameters near the rotor blades oscillate at 200 Hz, and SSS parameters at the upper blade edge oscillate four times higher, i.e. with blade frequency. It has been detected that vibration amplitudes correction in the test points at magnetic bearings by aeroelasticity may correspond up to 50%, and about -π/4 for phases.
Evolution of Approaches to Cost Calculation in the Conditions of the Modern Russian Economy
The modern period of development of Russian economy is fraught with a number of problems related to limitations in the use of traditional planning and financial management tools. Restrictions in the use of foreign software when performing an order of the Russian Government, on the one hand, and sanctions limiting the support of the major ERP and MRP II systems in the Russian Federation, on the other hand, entail the necessity to appeal to the basics of developing budgeting and analysis systems for industrial enterprises. Thus, cost calculation theory becomes the theoretical foundation for the development of industrial cost management systems. Based on the foregoing, it would be fair to make an assumption that the development of a working managerial accounting model on an industrial enterprise using an automated enterprise resource management system should rest upon the concept of the inevitability of alterations of business processes. On the other hand, optimized business processes make the architecture of financial analytics more transparent and permit the use of all the benefits of data cubes. The metrics and indicator slices provide online assessment of the state of key business processes at a given moment of time, which improves the quality of managerial decisions considerably. Therefore, the bilateral sanctions situation boosted the development of corporate business analytics and took industrial companies to the next level of understanding of business processes.
Effective Nutrition Label Use on Smartphones
Research on nutrition label use identifies four factors that impede comprehension and retention of nutrition information by consumers: label’s location on the package, presentation of information within the label, label’s surface size, and surrounding visual clutter. In this paper, a system is presented that makes nutrition label use more effective for nutrition information comprehension and retention. The system’s front end is a smartphone application. The system’s back end is a four node Linux cluster for image recognition and data storage. Image frames captured on the smartphone are sent to the back end for skewed or aligned barcode recognition. When barcodes are recognized, corresponding nutrition labels are retrieved from a cloud database and presented to the user on the smartphone’s touchscreen. Each displayed nutrition label is positioned centrally on the touchscreen with no surrounding visual clutter. Wikipedia links to important nutrition terms are embedded to improve comprehension and retention of nutrition information. Standard touch gestures (e.g., zoom in/out) available on mainstream smartphones are used to manipulate the label’s surface size. The nutrition label database currently includes 200,000 nutrition labels compiled from public web sites by a custom crawler. Stress test experiments with the node cluster are presented. Implications for proactive nutrition management and food policy are discussed.
Tunneling Current Switching in the Coupled Quantum Dots by Means of External Field
We investigated the tunneling current peculiarities in the system of two coupled by means of the external field quantum dots (QDs) weakly connected to the electrodes in the presence of Coulomb correlations between localized electrons by means of Heisenberg equations for pseudo operators with constraint. Special role of multi-electronic states was demonstrated. Various single-electron levels location relative to the sample Fermi level and to the applied bias value in symmetric tunneling contact were investigated. Rabi frequency tuning results in the single-electron energy levels spacing. We revealed the appearance of negative tunneling conductivity and demonstrated multiple switching "on" and "off" of the tunneling current depending on the Coulomb correlations value, Rabi frequency amplitude and energy levels spacing. We proved that Coulomb correlations strongly influence the system behavior. We demonstrated the presence of multi-stability in the coupled QDs with Coulomb correlations when single value of the tunneling current amplitude corresponds to the two values of Rabi frequency in the case when both single-electron energy levels are located slightly above eV and are close to each other. This effect disappears when the single-electron energy levels spacing increases.
Humans Trust Building in Robots with the Help of Explanations
The field of robotics is advancing rapidly to the point where robots have become an integral part of the modern society. These robots collaborate and contribute productively with humans and compensate some shortcomings from human abilities and complement them with their skills. Effective teamwork of humans and robots demands to investigate the critical issue of trust. The field of human-computer interaction (HCI) has already examined trust humans place in technical systems mostly on issues like reliability and accuracy of performance. Early work in the area of expert systems suggested that automatic generation of explanations improved trust and acceptability of these systems. In this work, we augmented a robot with the user-invoked explanation generation proficiency. To measure explanations effect on human’s level of trust, we collected subjective survey measures and behavioral data in a human-robot team task into an interactive, adversarial and partial information environment. The results showed that with the explanation capability humans not only understand and recognize robot as an expert team partner. But, it was also observed that human's learning and human-robot team performance also significantly improved because of the meaningful interaction with the robot in the human-robot team. Moreover, by observing distinctive outcomes, we expect our research outcomes will also provide insights into further improvement of human-robot trustworthy relationships.
Spatio-Temporal Pest Risk Analysis with ‘BioClass’
Spatio-temporal models provide new possibilities for real-time action in pest risk analysis. It should be noted that estimation of the possibility and probability of introduction of a pest and of its economic consequences involves many uncertainties. We present a new mapping technique that assesses pest invasion risk using online BioClass software. BioClass is a GIS tool designed to solve multiple-criteria classification and optimization problems based on fuzzy logic and level set methods. This research describes a method for predicting the potential establishment and spread of a plant pest into new areas using a case study: corn rootworm (Diabrotica spp.), tomato leaf miner (Tuta absoluta) and plum fruit moth (Grapholita funebrana). Our study demonstrated that in BioClass we can combine fuzzy logic and geographic information systems with knowledge of pest biology and environmental data to derive new information for decision making. Pests are sensitive to a warming climate, as temperature greatly affects their survival and reproductive rate and capacity. Changes have been observed in the distribution, frequency and severity of outbreaks of Helicoverpa armigera on tomato. BioClass has demonstrated to be a powerful tool for applying dynamic models and map the potential future distribution of a species, enable resource to make decisions about dangerous and invasive species management and control.
The Development of a Residual Stress Measurement Method for Roll Formed Products
The residual stresses in roll formed products are generally very high and un-predictable. This is due to the occurrence of redundant plastic deformation in roll forming process and it can cause various product defects. Although the residual stresses of a roll formed product consist of longitudinal and transverse residual stresses components, but the longitudinal residual stresses plays a key role to the product defects of a roll formed product and therefore, only the longitudinal residual stresses concerned by the roll forming scholars and engineers. However, how to inspect the residual stresses of a product quickly and economically as a routine operation is still a challenge. This paper introduces a residual stresses measurement method called slope cutting method to study the longitudinal residual stresses through layers geometrically to a roll formed products or a product with similar process such as a rolled sheet. The detailed measuring procedure is given and discussed. The residual stresses variation through the layer can be derived based on the variation of curvature in different layers and steps. The slope cutting method has been explored and validated by experimental study on a roll-formed square tube. The neutron diffraction method is applied to validate the accuracy of the newly proposed layering removal materials results. The two set results agree with each other very well and therefore, the method is expected to be a routine testing method to monitor the quality of a product been formed and that is a great impact to roll forming industry.
Self-Action of Pyroelectric Spatial Soliton in Undoped Lithium Niobate Samples with Pyroelectric Mechanism of Nonlinear Response
Compensation for the nonlinear diffraction of narrow laser beams with wavelength of 532 and the formation of photonic waveguides and waveguide circuits due to the contribution of pyroelectric effect to the nonlinear response of lithium niobate crystal have been experimentally demonstrated. Complete compensation for the linear and nonlinear diffraction broadening of light beams is obtained upon uniform heating of an undoped sample from room temperature to 55 degrees Celsius. An analysis of the light-ﬁeld distribution patterns and the corresponding intensity distribution proﬁles allowed us to estimate the spacing for the channel waveguides. The observed behavior of bright soliton beams may be caused by their coherent interaction, which manifests itself in repulsion for anti-phase light ﬁelds and in attraction for in-phase light ﬁelds. The experimental results of this study showed a fundamental possibility of forming optically complex waveguide structures in lithium niobate crystals with pyroelectric mechanism of nonlinear response. The topology of these structures is determined by the light ﬁeld distribution on the input face of crystalline sample. The optical induction of channel waveguide elements by interacting spatial solitons makes it possible to design optical systems with a more complex topology and a possibility of their dynamic reconﬁguration.
Comparative and Combined Toxicity of NiO and Mn₃O₄ Nanoparticles as Assessed in vitro and in vivo
Background: The overwhelming majority of the experimental studies in the field of metal nanotoxicology have been performed on cultures of established cell lines, with very few researchers focusing on animal experiments, while a juxtaposition of conclusions inferred from these two types of research is blatantly lacking. The least studied aspect of this problem relates to characterizing and predicting the combined toxicity of metallic nanoparticles. Methods: Comparative and combined toxic effects of purposefully prepared spherical NiO and Mn₃O₄ nanoparticles (mean diameters 16.7 ± 8.2 nm and 18.4 ± 5.4 nm respectively) were estimated on cultures of human cell lines: MRC-5 fibroblasts, THP-1 monocytes, SY-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells, as well as on the latter two lines differentiated to macrophages and neurons, respectively. The combined cytotoxicity was mathematically modeled using the response surface methodology. Results: The comparative assessment of the studied NPs unspecific toxicity previously obtained in vivo was satisfactorily reproduced by the present in vitro tests. However, with respect to manganese-specific brain damage which had been demonstrated by us in animal experiment with the same NPs, the testing on neuronall cell culture showed only a certain enhancing effect of Mn₃O₄-NPs on the toxic action of NiO-NPs, while the role of the latter prevailed. Conclusion: From the point of view of the preventive toxicology, the experimental modeling of metallic NPs combined toxicity on cell cultures can give non-reliable predictions of the in vivo action’s effects.
Numerical Analysis of Fluid Mixing in Three Split and Recombine Micromixers at Different Inlets Volume Ratio
Numerical simulation were carried out to study the mixing of miscible liquid at different inlets volume ratio (1 to 3) within two existing mixers namely Chain, Tear-drop and one new “C-H” mixer. The new passive C-H micromixer is developed based on split and recombine principles, combining the operation concepts of known Chain mixer and H mixer. The mixing performances of the three micromixers were predicted by a preliminary numerical analysis of the flow patterns inside the channel in terms of the segregation or distribution of path lines. Afterward, the efficiency and the pressure drop were investigated numerically, taking into account species transport. All numerical calculations were computed at a wide range of Reynolds number from 1 to 100. Among the presented three micromixers, tear-drop provides fairly good efficiency except in the middle range of Re numbers but has high-pressure drop. In addition, inlets flow ratio has a significant influence on efficiency, especially at the Re number range of 10 to 50, Moreover maximum increase of efficiency is almost 10% when inlets flow ratio is increased by 1. Chain mixer presents relatively low mixing efficiency at low and middle range of Re numbers (5≤Re≤50) but has reasonable pressure drop. Furthermore, Chain mixer shows almost no dependence on inlets flow ratio. Whereas, C-H mixer poses excellent mixing efficiency (more than 93%) for all range of Re numbers and causes the lowest pressure drop, On top of that efficiency has slight dependency on inlets flow ratio. In addition, C-H mixer shows respectively about three and two times lower pressure drop than Tear-drop and Chain mixers.
Importance of Risk Assessment in Managers´ Decision-Making Process
Making decisions is the core of management and a result of conscious activities which is under way in a particular environment and concrete conditions. The managers decide about the goals, procedures and about the methods how to respond to the changes and to the problems which developed. Their decisions affect the effectiveness, quality, economy and the overall successfulness in every organisation. In spite of this fact, they do not pay sufficient attention to the individual steps of the decision-making process. They emphasise more how to cope with the individual methods and techniques of making decisions and forget about the way how to cope with analysing the problem or assessing the individual solution variants. In many cases, the underestimating of the analytical phase can lead to an incorrect assessment of the problem and this can then negatively influence its further solution. Based on our analysis of the theoretical solutions by individual authors who are dealing with this area and the realised research in Slovakia and also abroad we can recognise an insufficient interest of the managers to assess the risks in the decision-making process. The goal of this paper is to assess the risks in the managers´ decision-making process relating to the conditions of the environment, to the subject’s activity (the manager’s personality), to the insufficient assessment of individual variants for solving the problems but also to situations when the arisen problem is not solved. The benefit of this paper is the effort to increase the need of the managers to deal with the risks during the decision-making process. It is important for every manager to assess the risks in his/her decision-making process and to make efforts to take such decisions which reflect the basic conditions, states and development of the environment in the best way and especially for the managers´ decisions to contribute to achieving the determined goals of the organisation as effectively as possible.
Modeling of Thermo Acoustic Emission Memory Effect in Rocks of Varying Textures
The paper proposes a model of an inhomogeneous rock mass with initially random distribution of microcracks on mineral grain boundaries. It describes the behavior of cracks in a medium under the effect of thermal field, the medium heated instantaneously to a predetermined temperature. Crack growth occurs according to the concept of fracture mechanics provided that the stress intensity factor K exceeds the critical value of Kc. The modeling of thermally induced acoustic emission memory effects is based on the assumption that every event of crack nucleation or crack growth caused by heating is accompanied with a single acoustic emission event. Parameters of the thermally induced acoustic emission memory effect produced by cyclic heating and cooling (with the temperature amplitude increasing from cycle to cycle) were calculated for several rock texture types (massive, banded, and disseminated). The study substantiates the adaptation of the proposed model to humidity interference with the thermally induced acoustic emission memory effect. The influence of humidity on the thermally induced acoustic emission memory effect in quasi-homogeneous and banded rocks is estimated. It is shown that such modeling allows the structure and texture of rocks to be taken into account and the influence of interference factors on the distinctness of the thermally induced acoustic emission memory effect to be estimated. The numerical modeling can be used to obtain information about the thermal impacts on rocks in the past and determine the degree of rock disturbance by means of non-destructive testing.
Large Core Silica Few-Mode Optical Fibers with Reduced Differential Mode Delay and Enhanced Mode Effective Area over 'C'-Band
This work presents a fast and simple method for the design of large core silica optical fibers with differential mode delay (DMD) management. Some results are reported concerned with refractive index profile optimization for 42 µm core 16-LP-mode optical fiber for next-generation optical networks. Here special refractive index profile form provides total DMD reducing over all mode staff under desired enhanced mode effective area. Method for the simulation of 'real manufactured' few-mode optical fiber (FMF) core geometry differing from the desired optimized structure by core non-symmetrical ellipticity and refractive index profile deviation including local fluctuations is proposed. Results of the following analysis of optimized FMF with inserted geometry distortions performed by earlier on developed modification of rigorous mixed finite-element method showed strong DMD degradation that requires additional higher-order mode management. In addition, this work also presents a method for design mode division multiplexer channel precision spatial positioning scheme at FMF core end that provides one of the potentiality solutions of described DMD degradation problem concerned with 'distorted' core geometry due to features of optical fiber manufacturing techniques.
Lipid-Chitosan Hybrid Nanoparticles for Controlled Delivery of Cisplatin
Lipid-polymer hybrid nanoparticles (LPHNP) are delivery systems for controlled drug delivery at tumor sites. The superior biocompatible properties of lipid and structural advantages of polymer can be obtained via this system for controlled drug delivery. In the present study, cisplatin-loaded lipid-chitosan hybrid nanoparticles were formulated by the single step ionic gelation method based on ionic interaction of positively charged chitosan and negatively charged lipid. Formulations with various chitosan to lipid ratio were investigated to obtain the optimal particle size, encapsulation efficiency, and controlled release pattern. Transmission electron microscope and dynamic light scattering analysis demonstrated a size range of 181-245 nm and a zeta potential range of 20-30 mV. Compatibility among the components and the stability of formulation were demonstrated with FTIR analysis and thermal studies, respectively. The therapeutic efficacy and cellular interaction of cisplatin-loaded LPHNP were investigated using in vitro cell-based assays in A2780/ADR ovarian carcinoma cell line. Additionally, the cisplatin loaded LPHNP exhibited a low toxicity profile in rats. The in-vivo pharmacokinetics study also proved a controlled delivery of cisplatin with enhanced mean residual time and half-life. Our studies suggested that the cisplatin-loaded LPHNP being a promising platform for controlled delivery of cisplatin in cancer therapy.
Modeling of Thermally Induced Acoustic Emission Memory Effects in Heterogeneous Rocks with Consideration for Fracture Develo
The paper proposes a model of an inhomogeneous rock mass with initially random distribution of microcracks on mineral grain boundaries. It describes the behavior of cracks in a medium under the effect of thermal field, the medium heated instantaneously to a predetermined temperature. Crack growth occurs according to the concept of fracture mechanics provided that the stress intensity factor K exceeds the critical value of Kc. The modeling of thermally induced acoustic emission memory effects is based on the assumption that every event of crack nucleation or crack growth caused by heating is accompanied by a single acoustic emission event. Parameters of the thermally induced acoustic emission memory effect produced by cyclic heating and cooling (with the temperature amplitude increasing from cycle to cycle) were calculated for several rock texture types (massive, banded, and disseminated). The study substantiates the adaptation of the proposed model to humidity interference with the thermally induced acoustic emission memory effect. The influence of humidity on the thermally induced acoustic emission memory effect in quasi-homogeneous and banded rocks is estimated. It is shown that such modeling allows the structure and texture of rocks to be taken into account and the influence of interference factors on the distinctness of the thermally induced acoustic emission memory effect to be estimated. The numerical modeling can be used to obtain information about the thermal impacts on rocks in the past and determine the degree of rock disturbance by means of non-destructive testing.
Ultrasound-Assisted Sol – Gel Synthesis of Nano-Boehmite for Biomedical Purposes
Among many different sol – gel matrices only alumina can be successfully parenteral injected in the human body. And this is not surprising, because boehmite (aluminium oxyhydroxide) is the metal oxide approved by FDA and EMA for intravenous and intramuscular administrations, and also has been using for a longtime as adjuvant for producing of many modern vaccines. In our earlier study, it has been shown, that denaturation temperature of enzymes entrapped in sol-gel boehmite matrix increases for 30 – 60 °С with preserving of initial activity. It makes such matrices more attractive for long-term storage of non-stable drugs.
In current work we present ultrasound-assisted sol-gel synthesis of nano-boehmite. This method provides bio-friendly, very stable, highly homogeneous alumina sol with using only water and aluminium isopropoxide as a precursor. Many parameters of the synthesis were studied in details: time of ultrasound treatment, US frequency, surface area, pore and nanoparticle size, zeta potential and others.
Here we investigated the dependence of stability of colloidal sols and textural properties of the final composites as a function of the time of ultrasonic treatment. Chosen ultrasonic treatment time was between 30 and 180 minutes. Surface area, average pore diameter and total pore volume of the final composites were measured by surface and pore size analyzer Nova 1200 Quntachrome. It was shown that the matrices with ultrasonic treatment time equal to 90 minutes have the biggest surface area 431 ± 24 m2/g. On the other had such matrices have a smaller stability in comparison with the samples with ultrasonic treatment time equal to 120 minutes that have the surface area 390 ± 21 m2/g. It was shown that the stable sols could be formed only after 120 minutes of ultrasonic treatment, otherwise the white precipitate of boehmite is formed. We conclude that the optimal ultrasonic treatment time is 120 minutes.
Parameters Identification and Sensitivity Study for Abrasive WaterJet Milling Model
This work is part of STEEP Marie-Curie ITN project, and it focuses on the identification of unknown parameters of the proposed generic Abrasive WaterJet Milling (AWJM) PDE model, that appears as an ill-posed inverse problem. The necessity of studying this problem comes from the industrial milling applications where the possibility to predict and model the final surface with high accuracy is one of the primary tasks in the absence of any knowledge of the model parameters that should be used. In this framework, we propose the identification of model parameters by minimizing a cost function, measuring the difference between experimental and numerical solutions. The adjoint approach based on corresponding Lagrangian gives the opportunity to find out the unknowns of the AWJM model and their optimal values that could be used to reproduce the required trench profile. Due to the complexity of the nonlinear problem and a large number of model parameters, we use an automatic differentiation software tool (TAPENADE) for the adjoint computations. By adding noise to the artificial data, we show that in fact the parameter identification problem is highly unstable and strictly depends on input measurements. Regularization terms could be effectively used to deal with the presence of data noise and to improve the identification correctness. Based on this approach we present results in 2D and 3D of the identification of the model parameters and of the surface prediction both with self-generated data and measurements obtained from the real production. Considering different types of model and measurement errors allows us to obtain acceptable results for manufacturing and to expect the proper identification of unknowns. This approach also gives us the ability to distribute the research on more complex cases and consider different types of model and measurement errors as well as 3D time-dependent model with variations of the jet feed speed.
A Trail of Decoding a Classical Riddle: An Analysis of Russian Military Strategy
In the past few years, the Russian Federation has become a central point on the security agenda of the most important international actors, due to its reloaded aggressiveness of foreign policy. Vladimir Putin, the actual president of the Russian Federation, has proven that Russia can and has the willingness to become the powerful actor that used to be during the Cold War. Russia’s new behavior on the international scene showed that Russia has not only expansionist (where expansionist is not only in terms of territory but also of ideology) intentions, but also the necessary resources, to build an empire that may have the power to counterbalance the influence of the United States and stop the expansion of the North-Atlantic Treaty Organization in an equation understood of multipolar Russian view. But in order to do this, there is necessary to follow a well-established plan or policy. Thus, the aim of the paper is to discuss how has the foreign policy of the Russian Federation evolved under the influence of the military and security strategies of the Russian nation, to briefly examine some of the factors that sculpture Russian foreign policy and behavior, in order to reshape a Russian (Soviet) profile so far considered antiquated. Our approach is an argument in favor of the analyses of the recent evolutions embedded in the course of history. In this context, the paper will include analytical thoughts about the Russian foreign policy and the latest strategic documents (security strategy and military doctrine) adopted by the Putin administration, with the purpose to highlight the main direction of action followed by all these documents together. The paper concludes that the military component is to be found in all these strategic documents, as well as at the core of Russian national interest, aspect that proves that Russia is still the adept of the traditional realist paradigm, reshaped in a Russian theory of the multipolar world.
New Ethanol Method for Soft Tissue Imaging in Micro-CT
Introduction: Micro-CT is well used for examination of bone structures and teeth. On the other hand visualization of the soft tissues is still limited. The goal of our study was to create a new fixation method for soft tissue imaging in micro-CT. Methodology: We used organs of 18 mice - heart, lungs, kidneys, liver and brain, which we fixated in ethanol after meticulous preparation. We fixated organs in different concentrations of ethanol and for different period of time. We used three types of ethanol concentration - 97%, 50% and ascending ethanol concentration (25%, 50%, 75%, 97% each for 12 hours). Fixated organs were scanned after 72 hours, 168 hours and 336 hours period of fixation. We scanned all specimens in micro-CT MARS (Medipix All Resolution System). Results: Ethanol method provided contrast enhancement in all studied organs in all used types of fixation. Fixation in 97% ethanol provided very fast fixation and the contrast among the tissues was visible already after 72 hours of fixation. Fixation for the period of 168 and 336 hours gave better details, especially in lung tissue, where alveoli were visualized. On the other hand, this type of fixation caused organs to petrify. Fixation in 50% ethanol provided best results in 336 hours fixation, details were visualized better than in 97% ethanol and samples were not as hard as in fixation in 97% ethanol. Best results were obtained in fixation in ascending ethanol concentration. All organs were visualized in great details, best-visualized organ was heart, where trabeculae and valves were visible. In this type of fixation, organs stayed soft for whole time. Conclusion: New ethanol method is a great option for soft tissue fixation as well as the method for enhancing contrast among tissues in organs. The best results were obtained with fixation of the organs in ascending ethanol concentration, the best visualized organ was the heart.
Metagenomics-Based Molecular Epidemiology of Viral Diseases
Molecular epidemiology and environmental surveillance are parts of a rational strategy to control infectious diseases. They have been widely used in the worldwide campaign to eradicate poliomyelitis, which otherwise would be complicated by the inability to rapidly respond to outbreaks and determine sources of the infection. The conventional scheme involves isolation of viruses from patients and the environment, followed by their identification by nucleotide sequences analysis to determine phylogenetic relationships. This is a tedious and time-consuming process that yields definitive results when it may be too late to implement countermeasures. Because of the difficulty of high-throughput full-genome sequencing, most such studies are conducted by sequencing only capsid genes or their parts. Therefore the important information about the contribution of other parts of the genome and inter- and intra-species recombination to viral evolution is not captured. Here we propose a new approach based on the rapid concentration of sewage samples with tangential flow filtration followed by deep sequencing and reconstruction of nucleotide sequences of viruses present in the samples. The entire nucleic acids content of each sample is sequenced, thus preserving in digital format the complete spectrum of viruses. A set of rapid algorithms was developed to separate deep sequence reads into discrete populations corresponding to each virus and assemble them into full-length consensus contigs, as well as to generate a complete profile of sequence heterogeneities in each of them. This provides an effective approach to study molecular epidemiology and evolution of natural viral populations.
Numerical Simulation of Aeroelastic Influence Exerted by Kinematic and Geometrical Parameters on Oscillations' Frequencies and Phase Shift Angles in a Simulated Compressor of Gas Transmittal Unit
Prediction of vibration processes in gas transmittal units (GTU) is an urgent problem. Despite numerous scientific publications on the problem of vibrations in general, there are not enough works concerning FSI-modeling interaction processes between several deformable blades in gas-dynamic flow. Since it is very difficult to solve the problem in full scope, with all factors considered, a unidirectional dynamic coupled 1FSI model is suggested for use at the first stage, which would include, from symmetry considerations, two blades, which might be considered as the first stage of solving more general bidirectional problem. ANSYS CFX programmed multi-processor was chosen as a numerical computation tool. The problem was solved on PNRPU high-capacity computer complex. At the first stage of the study, blades were believed oscillating with the same frequency, although oscillation phases could be equal and could be different. At that non-stationary gas-dynamic forces distribution over the blades surfaces is calculated in run of simulation experiment. Oscillations in the “gas — structure” dynamic system are assumed to increase if the resultant of these gas-dynamic forces is in-phase with blade oscillation, and phase shift (φ=0). Provided these oscillation occur with phase shift, then oscillations might increase or decrease, depending on the phase shift value. The most important results are as follows: the angle of phase shift in inter-blade oscillation and the gas-dynamic force depends on the flow velocity, the specific inter-blade gap, and the shaft rotation speed; a phase shift in oscillation of adjacent blades does not always correspond to phase shift of gas-dynamic forces affecting the blades. Thus, it was discovered, that asynchronous oscillation of blades might cause either attenuation or intensification of oscillation. It was revealed that clocking effect might depend not only on the mutual circumferential displacement of blade rows and the gap between the blades, but also on the blade dynamic deformation nature.
Cytolethal Distending Toxins in Intestinal and Extraintestinal E. coli
Introduction: Cytolethal distending toxins (CDTs) represent intracellular acting proteins which interfere with cell cycle of eukaryotic cells. They are produced by Gram-negative bacteria with afinity to mucocutaneous surfaces and could play a role in the pathogenesis of various diseases. CDTs induce DNA damage probably through DNAse activity, which causes cell cycle arrest and leads to further changes (cell distension and death, apoptosis) depending on the cell type. Five subtypes of CDT (I to V) were reported in E. coli.
Methods: We examined 252 E. coli strains belonging to four different groups. Of these strains, 57 were isolated from patients with diarrhea, 65 from patients with urinary tract infections (UTI), 65 from patients with sepsis and 65 from patients with other extraintestinal infections (mostly surgical wounds, decubitus ulcers and respiratory tract infections). Identification of these strains was performed by MALDI-TOF analysis and detection of genes encoding CDTs and determination of the phylogenetic group was performed by PCR.
Results: In this study, we detected presence of cdt genes in 11 of 252 E. coli strains tested (4,4 %). Four cdt positive E. coli strains were confirmed in group of UTI (6,15 %), three cdt positive E. coli strains in groups of diarrhea (5,3 %) and other extraintestinal infections (4,6 %). The lowest incidence, one cdt positive E. coli strain, was observed in group of sepsis (1,5 %). All cdt positive E. coli strains belonged to phylogenetic group B2.
Conclusion: CDT-producing E. coli are isolated in a low percentage from patients with intestinal and extraintestinal infections, including sepsis and our results correspond with these studies. A weak prevalence of cdt genes suggests that CDTs are not major virulence factors but in combination with other virulence factors may increase virulence potential of E. coli. We suppose that all 11 cdt positive E. coli strains represent real pathogens because they belong to the phylogenetic group B2 which is pathogenic lineage for bacteria E. coli.
Tissue-Specific Distribution of Cytochrome P450 1A1 and 3A in Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)
Cytochromes P450 (CYP) are important family of enzymes in Phase I metabolism. Environmental pollutants often act as inducers of the gene expression and activities CYP1A1 and CYP3A-like isoforms in fish. The activities are generally measured in the fish liver or gills, and less is known about tissue distribution of expression. In present study, the CYP1A1 and CYP3A-like activities were measured in rainbow trout liver, gill, intestine, heart, brain and gonads. The activities of CYP1A1 and CYP3A-like proteins were estimated as the rates of 7-ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylation (EROD) and benzyloxy-4-trifluoromethylcoumarin-O-debenzyloxylation (BFCOD), respectively. The CYP1A1 and CYP3A-like activities were detectable in all investigated fish tissues, with the highest activity in hepatic tissue followed by heart > brain > gill > intestine > gonads. To confirm the presence of CYP1A1 in different tissues, EROD activity was measured in presence of the selective inhibitors ellipticine (CYP1A1), ketoconazole (CYP3A), 8-methoxypsoralen (human CYP2A) and diallyl sulphide (CYP2E1). It was found that ellipticine, ketoconazole and 8-methoxypsoralen inhibited hepatic EROD activity by 88-98%. Ellipticine inhibited gill, intestine, and gonad EROD activity by 50%. In conclusion, EROD and BFCOD activities were detected in rainbow trout liver, gill, intestine, heart, brain and gonads. Further studies are needed to fully identify all CYP450 isoforms responsible for these activities.
Acknowledgement: The study was financially supported by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic - projects „CENAKVA “(No. CZ.1.05/2.1.00/01.0024), “CENAKVA Center Development “(No. CZ.1.05/2.1.00/19.0380), “CENAKVA II “(No. LO1205 under the NPU I program), and "Development of USB - International mobility (No. CZ.02.2.69/0.0/0.0/16_027/0008364).
Oil Logistics for Refining to Northern Europe
To develop the programs to supply crude oil to North European refineries, it is necessary to take into account the refineries’ location, crude refining capacity, and the transport infrastructure capacity. Among the countries of the region, we include those having a marine boundary along the Northern Sea and the Baltic Sea (from France in the west to Finland in the east). The paper envisages the geographic allocation of the refineries and contains the evaluation of the refineries’ capacities for the region under review. The sustainable operations of refineries in the region are determined by the transportation system capacity to supply crude oil to them. The assessment of capacity of crude oil transportation to the refineries is conducted. The research is performed for the period of 2005/2015, using the quantitative analysis method. The countries are classified by the refineries’ aggregate capacities and the crude oil output on their territory. The crude oil output capacities in the region in the period under review are determined. The capacities of the region’s transportation system to supply crude oil produced in the region to the refineries are revealed. The analysis suggested that imported raw materials are the main source of oil for the refineries in the region. The main sources of crude oil supplies to North European refineries are reviewed. The change in the refineries’ capacities in the group of countries and each particular country, as well as the utilization of the refineries' capacities in the region in the period under review, was studied. The input suggests that the bulk of crude oil is supplied by marine and pipeline transport. The paper contains the assessment of the crude oil transportation by pipeline transport in the overall crude oil cargo flow. The refineries’ production rate for the groups of countries under the review and for each particular country was the subject of study. Our study yielded the trend towards the increase in the crude oil refining at the refineries of the region and reduction in the crude oil output. If this trend persists in the near future, the cargo flow of imported crude oil and the utilization of the North European logistics infrastructure may increase. According to the study, the existing transport infrastructure in the region is able to handle the increasing imported crude oil flow.
Induction of Different Types of Callus and Somatic Embryogenesis in Various Explants of Taraxacum Kok-Saghyz Rodin
To explore the potential for in vitro rapid regeneration of Russian dandelion (Taraxacum kok-saghyz Rodin), different concentrations of 6-Benzylaminopurine (BAP), 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2.4-D) and BAP combined with Indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) were evaluated for their effects on the induction of somatic embryos from leaf, seed stem and root explants. Different explants were cultured on MS medium supplemented with various concentrations (0, 0.5, 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5 and 3 mg/l) of each kind of hormone. Callus induction percentage, fresh weight, color and texture of the callus were assessed after 14 and 28 days of culture. The optimum medium for the proliferation of embryogenic calli from leaf and root explants was MS supplemented with 2.5 mg/L BAP and 0.5 mg/L 2.4-D. Concentrations of 2.5 mg/L BAP and 1.5 mg/L IAA also had a remarkable effect on root and stem explants. The best concentration to produce callus from stem explants was 0.5 mg/L BAP and 1 mg/L IAA. Results of mean comparison showed that BAP and 2.4-D were more effective on different explants than BAP and IAA. Results of the double staining method proved that somatic embryogenesis occurred in the most concentrations of BAP and 2.4-D. Under microscopic observations, the different developmental stages of the embryos (globular, heart, torpedo and cotyledonary) were revealed together in callus cells, indicating that the most tested hormone combinations were effective for somatic embryogenesis formation in this species. Seed explants formed torpedo and cotyledonary stages faster than leaf and root explants in the most combinations. Most calli from seed explants were cream colored and friable, while calli were compact and light green from leaf and root explants. Some combinations gave direct regeneration and (3 mg/L BAP and 2 mg/L IAA) in seed explants and (0.5 mg/L BAP and 2.5 mg/L IAA) in leaf explants had the highest number of shoots with average of 21 and 27 shoots per callus. The developed protocol established the production of different callus types from seed, leaf, and root explants and plant regeneration through somatic embryogenesis.
Imported Oil Logistics to Central and Southern Europe Refineries
Countries of Central and Southern Europe have a typical feature: oil consumption in the region exceeds own commodity production capacity by far. So crude oil import prevails in the region’s crude oil consumption structure. Transportation using marine and pipeline transport is a common method of the imported oil delivery in the region. For certain refineries, in addition to possible transportation by oil pipelines from seaports, oil is delivered from Russian oil fields. With the view to these specific features and geographic location of the region’s refineries, three ways of imported oil delivery can be singled out: oil delivery by tankers to the port and subsequent transportation by pipeline transport of the port and the refinery; oil delivery by tanker fleet to the port and subsequent transportation by oil trunk pipeline transport; oil delivery from the fields by oil trunk pipelines to refineries. Oil is also delivered by road, internal water, and rail transport. However, the volumes transported this way are negligible in comparison to the three above transportation means. Multimodal oil transportation to refineries using the pipeline and marine transport is one of the biggest cargo flows worldwide. However, in scientific publications this problem is considered mainly for certain modes of transport. Therefore, this study is topical. To elaborate an efficient transportation policy of crude oil supply to Central and Southern Europe, in this paper the geographic concentration of oil refineries was determined and the capacities of the region’s refineries were assessed. The quantitative analysis method is used as a tool. The port infrastructure and the oil trunk pipeline system capacity were assessed in terms of delivery of raw materials to the refineries. The main groups of oil consuming countries were determined. The trends of crude oil production in the region were reviewed. The changes in production capacities and volumes at refineries in the last decade were shown. Based on the revealed refining trends, the scope of possible crude oil supplies to the refineries of the region under review was forecast. The existing transport infrastructure is able to handle the increased oil flow.
Structural Design Optimization of Reinforced Thin-Walled Vessels under External Pressure Using Simulation and Machine Learning Classification Algorithm
An optimization problem for reinforced thin-walled vessels under uniform external pressure is considered. The conventional approaches to optimization generally start with pre-defined geometric parameters of the vessels, and then employ analytic or numeric calculations and/or experimental testing to verify functionality, such as stability under the projected conditions. The proposed approach consists of two steps. First, the feasibility domain will be identified in the multidimensional parameter space. Every point in the feasibility domain defines a design satisfying both geometric and functional constraints. Second, an objective function defined in this domain is formulated and optimized. The broader applicability of the suggested methodology is maximized by implementing the Support Vector Machines (SVM) classification algorithm of machine learning for identification of the feasible design region. Training data for SVM classifier is obtained using the Simulation package of SOLIDWORKS®. Based on the data, the SVM algorithm produces a curvilinear boundary separating admissible and not admissible sets of design parameters with maximal margins. Then optimization of the vessel parameters in the feasibility domain is performed using the standard algorithms for the constrained optimization. As an example, optimization of a ring-stiffened closed cylindrical thin-walled vessel with semi-spherical caps under high external pressure is implemented. As a functional constraint, von Mises stress criterion is used but any other stability constraint admitting mathematical formulation can be incorporated into the proposed approach. Suggested methodology has a good potential for reducing design time for finding optimal parameters of thin-walled vessels under uniform external pressure.
An Inquiry on Imaging of Soft Tissues in Micro-Computed Tomography
Introduction: Micro-CT is well used for examination of bone structures and teeth. On the other hand visualization of the soft tissues is still limited. The goal of our study was to elaborate methodology for soft tissue samples imaging in micro-CT. Methodology: We used organs of rats and mice. We either did a preparation of the organs and fixation in contrast solution or we did cannulation of blood vessels and their injection for imaging of the vascular system. First, we scanned native specimens, then we created corrosive specimens by resins. In the next step, we injected vascular system either by Aurovist contrast agent or by Exitron. In the next step, we focused on soft tissues contrast increase. We scanned samples fixated in Lugol solution, samples fixated in pure ethanol and in formaldehyde solution. All used methods were afterwards compared. Results: Native specimens did not provide sufficient contrast of the tissues in any of organs. Corrosive samples of the blood stream provided great contrast and details; on the other hand, it was necessary to destroy the organ. Further examined possibility was injection of the AuroVist contrast that leads to the great bloodstream contrast. Injection of Exitron contrast agent comparing to Aurovist did not provide such a great contrast. The soft tissues (kidney, heart, lungs, brain, and liver) were best visualized after fixation in ethanol. This type of fixation showed best results in all studied tissues. Lugol solution had great results in muscle tissue. Fixation by formaldehyde solution showed similar quality of contrast in the tissues like ethanol. Conclusion: Before imaging, we need to, first, determinate which structures of the soft tissues we want to visualize. In the case of the bloodstream, the best was AuroVist and corrosive specimens. Muscle tissue is best visualized by Lugol solution. In the case of the organs containing cavities, like kidneys or brain, the best way was ethanol fixation.
Numerical Simulation of Precast Concrete Panels for Airfield Pavement
Numerical analysis software belong to the main tools for simulating the real behavior of various concrete structures and elements. In comparison with experimental tests, they offer an affordable way to study the mechanical behavior of structures under various conditions. The contribution deals with a precast element of an innovative airfield pavement system which is being developed within an ongoing scientific project. The proposed system consists a two-layer surface course of precast concrete panels positioned on a two-layer base of fiber-reinforced concrete with recycled aggregate. As the panels are supposed to be installed directly on the hardened base course, imperfections at the interface between the base course and surface course are expected. Considering such circumstances, three various behavior patterns could be established and considered when designing the precast element. Enormous costs of full-scale experiments force to simulate the behavior of the element in a numerical analysis software using finite element method. The simulation was conducted on a nonlinear model in order to obtain such results which could fully compensate results from the experiments. First, several loading schemes were considered with the aim to observe the critical one which was used for the simulation later on. The main objective of the simulation was to optimize reinforcement of the element subject to quasi-static loading from airplanes. When running the simulation several parameters were considered. Namely, it concerns geometrical imperfections, manufacturing imperfections, stress state in reinforcement, stress state in concrete and crack width. The numerical simulation revealed that the precast element should be heavily reinforced to fulfill all the demands assumed. The main cause of using high amount of reinforcement is the size of the imperfections which could occur at real structure. Improving manufacturing quality, the installation of the precast panels on a fresh base course or using a bedding layer underneath the surface course belong to the main steps how to reduce the size of imperfections and consequently lower the consumption of reinforcement.
Possibilities of Postmortem CT to Detection of Gas Accumulations in the Vessels of Dead Newborns with Congenital Sepsis
It is well known that the gas formed as a result of postmortem decomposition of tissues can be detected already 24-48 hours after death. In addition, the conditions of keeping and storage of the corpse (temperature and humidity of the environment) significantly determine the rate of occurrence and development of posthumous changes. The presence of sepsis is accompanied by faster postmortem decomposition and decay of the organs and tissues of the body. The presence of gas in the vessels and cavities can be revealed fully at postmortem CT. Radiologists must certainly report on the detection of intraorganic or intravascular gas, wich was detected at postmortem CT, to forensic experts or pathologists before the autopsy. This gas can not be detected during autopsy, but it can be very important for establishing a diagnosis. To explore the possibility of postmortem CT for the evaluation of gas accumulations in the newborns' vessels, who died from congenital sepsis. Researched of 44 newborns bodies (25 male and 19 female sex, at the age from 6 hours to 27 days) after 6 - 12 hours of death. The bodies were stored in the refrigerator at a temperature of +4°C in the supine position. Grouped 12 bodies of newborns that died from congenital sepsis. The control group consisted of 32 bodies of newborns that died without signs of sepsis. Postmortem CT examination was performed at the GEMINI TF TOF16 device, before the autopsy. The localizations of gas accumulations in the vessels were determined on the CT tomograms. The sepsis diagnosis was on the basis of clinical and laboratory data and autopsy results. Gases in the vessels were detected in 33.3% of cases in the group with sepsis, and in the control group - in 34.4%. A group with sepsis most often the gas localized in the heart and liver vessels - 50% each, of observations number with the detected gas in the vessels. In the heart cavities, aorta and mesenteric vessels - 25% each. In control most often gas was detected in the liver (63.6%) and abdominal cavity (54.5%) vessels. In 45.5% the gas localized in the cavities, and in 36.4% in the vessels of the heart. In the cerebral vessels and in the aorta gas was detected in 27.3% and 9.1%, respectively. Postmortem CT has high diagnostic capabilities to detect free gas in vessels. Postmortem changes in newborns that died from sepsis do not affect intravascular gas production within 6-12 hours. Radiation methods should be used as a supplement to the autopsy, including as a kind of ‘guide’, with the indication to the forensic medical expert of certain changes identified during CT studies, for better definition of pathological processes during the autopsy. Postmortem CT can be recommend as a first stage of autopsy.
Changes in Kidney Tissue at Postmortem Magnetic Resonance Imaging Depending on the Time of Fetal Death
All cases of stillbirth undoubtedly subject to postmortem examination, since it is necessary to find out the cause of the stillbirths, as well as a forecast of future pregnancies and their outcomes. Determination of the time of death is an important issue which is addressed during the examination of the body of a stillborn. It is mean the period from the time of death until the birth of the fetus. The time for fetal deaths determination is based on the assessment of the severity of the processes of maceration. To study the possibilities of postmortem magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for determining the time of intrauterine fetal death based on the evaluation of maceration in the kidney. We have conducted MRI morphological comparisons of 7 dead fetuses (18-21 gestational weeks) and 26 stillbirths (22-39 gestational weeks), and 15 bodies of died newborns at the age of 2 hours – 36 days. Postmortem MRI 3T was performed before the autopsy. The signal intensity of the kidney tissue (SIK), pleural fluid (SIF), external air (SIA) was determined on T1-WI and T2-WI. Macroscopic and histological signs of maceration severity and time of death were evaluated in the autopsy. Based on the results of the morphological study, the degree of maceration varied from 0 to 4. In 13 cases, the time of intrauterine death was up to 6 hours, in 2 cases - 6-12 hours, in 4 -12-24 hours, in 9 -2-3 days, in 3 -1 week, in 2 -1,5-2 weeks. At 15 dead newborns, signs of maceration were absent, naturally. Based on the data from SIK, SIF, SIA on MR-tomograms, we calculated the coefficient of MR-maceration (M). The calculation of the time of intrauterine death (MP-t) (hours) was performed by our formula: МR-t = 16,87+95,38×М²-75,32×М. A direct positive correlation of MR-t and autopsy data from the dead at the gestational ages 22-40 weeks, with a dead time, not more than 1 week, was received. The maceration at the antenatal fetal death is characterized by changes in T1-WI and T2-WI signals at postmortem MRI. The calculation of MP-t allows defining accurately the time of intrauterine death within one week at the stillbirths who died on 22-40 gestational weeks. Thus, our study convincingly demonstrates that radiological methods can be used for postmortem study of the bodies, in particular, the bodies of stillborn to determine the time of intrauterine death. Postmortem MRI allows for an objective and sufficiently accurate analysis of pathological processes with the possibility of their documentation, storage, and analysis after the burial of the body.
Micelles Made of Pseudo-Proteins for Solubilization of Hydrophobic Biologicals
Hydrophobic / hydrophilically modified functional polymers are of high interest in modern biomedicine due to their ability to solubilize water-insoluble / poorly soluble (hydrophobic) drugs. Among the many approaches that are being developed in this direction, one of the most effective methods is the use of polymeric micelles (PMs) (micelles formed by amphiphilic block-copolymers) for solubilization of hydrophobic biologicals. For therapeutic purposes, PMs are required to be stable and biodegradable, although quite a few amphiphilic block-copolymers are described capable of forming stable micelles with good solubilization properties. For obtaining micelle-forming block-copolymers, polyethylene glycol (PEG) derivatives are desirable to use as hydrophilic shell because it represents the most popular biocompatible hydrophilic block and various hydrophobic blocks (polymers) can be attached to it. Although the construction of the hydrophobic core, due to the complex requirements and micelles structure development, is the very actual and the main problem for nanobioengineers. Considering the above, our research goal was obtaining biodegradable micelles for the solubilization of hydrophobic drugs and biologicals. For this purpose, we used biodegradable polymers– pseudo-proteins (PPs)(synthesized with naturally occurring amino acids and other non-toxic building blocks, such as fatty diols and dicarboxylic acids) as hydrophobic core since these polymers showed reasonable biodegradation rates and excellent biocompatibility. In the present study, we used the hydrophobic amino acid – L-phenylalanine (MW 4000-8000Da) instead of L-leucine. Amino-PEG (MW 2000Da) was used as hydrophilic fragments for constructing the suitable micelles. The molecular weight of PP (the hydrophobic core of micelle) was regulated by variation of used monomers ratios. Micelles were obtained by dissolving of synthesized amphiphilic polymer in water. The micelle-forming property was tested using dynamic light scattering (Malvern zetasizer NanoZSZEN3600). The study showed that obtaining amphiphilic block-copolymer form stable neutral micelles 100 ± 7 nm in size at 10mg/mL concentration, which is considered as an optimal range for pharmaceutical micelles. The obtained preliminary data allow us to conclude that the obtained micelles are suitable for the delivery of poorly water-soluble drugs and biologicals.
Development of Vertically Integrated 2D Lake Victoria Flow Models in COMSOL Multiphysics
Lake Victoria is the second largest fresh water body in the world, located in East Africa with a catchment area of 250,000 km², of which 68,800 km² is the actual lake surface. The hydrodynamic processes of the shallow (40–80 m deep) water system are unique due to its location at the equator, which makes Coriolis effects weak.
The paper describes a St.Venant shallow water model of Lake Victoria developed in COMSOL Multiphysics software, a general purpose finite element tool for solving partial differential equations. Depth soundings taken in smaller parts of the lake were combined with recent more extensive data to resolve the discrepancies of the lake shore coordinates. The topography model must have continuous gradients, and Delaunay triangulation with Gaussian smoothing was used to produce the lake depth model. The model shows large-scale flow patterns, passive tracer concentration and water level variations in response to river and tracer inflow, rain and evaporation, and wind stress. Actual data of precipitation, evaporation, in- and outflows were applied in a fifty-year simulation model. It should be noted that the water balance is dominated by rain and evaporation and model simulations are validated by Matlab and COMSOL. The model conserves water volume, the celerity gradients are very small, and the volume flow is very slow and irrotational except at river mouths. Numerical experiments show that the single outflow can be modelled by a simple linear control law responding only to mean water level, except for a few instances. Experiments with tracer input in rivers show very slow dispersion of the tracer, a result of the slow mean velocities, in turn, caused by the near-balance of rain with evaporation. The numerical and hydrodynamical model can evaluate the effects of wind stress which is exerted by the wind on the lake surface that will impact on lake water level. Also, model can evaluate the effects of the expected climate change, as manifest in changes to rainfall over the catchment area of Lake Victoria in the future.
Application of Zeolite Nanoparticles in Biomedical Optics
Recently nanoparticles (NPs) have been introduced in biomedicine as effective agents for cancer-targeted drug delivery and noninvasive tissue imaging. The most important requirements to these agents are their non-toxicity, biocompatibility and stability. In view of these criteria, the zeolite (ZL) nanoparticles (NPs) may be considered as perfect candidates for biomedical applications. ZLs are crystalline aluminosilicates consisting of oxygen-sharing SiO4 and AlO4 tetrahedral groups united by common vertices in three-dimensional framework and containing pores with diameters from 0.3 to 1.2 nm. Generally, the behavior and physical properties of ZLs are studied by SEM, X-ray spectroscopy, and AFM, whereas optical spectroscopic and microscopic approaches are not effective enough, because of strong scattering in common ZL bulk materials and powders. The light scattering can be reduced by using of ZL NPs. ZL NPs have large external surface area, high dispersibility in both aqueous and organic solutions, high photo- and thermal stability, and exceptional ability to adsorb various molecules and atoms in their nanopores. In this report, using multiphoton microscopy and nonlinear spectroscopy, we investigate nonlinear optical properties of clinoptilolite type of ZL micro- and nanoparticles with average diameters of 2200 nm and 240 nm, correspondingly. Multiphoton imaging is achieved using a laser scanning microscope system (LSM 510 META, Zeiss, Germany) coupled to a femtosecond titanium:sapphire laser (repetition rate- 80 MHz, pulse duration-120 fs, radiation wavelength- 720-820 nm) (Tsunami, Spectra-Physics, CA). Two Zeiss, Plan-Neofluar objectives (air immersion 20×∕NA 0.5 and water immersion 40×∕NA 1.2) are used for imaging. For the detection of the nonlinear response, we use two detection channels with 380-400 nm and 435-700 nm spectral bandwidths. We demonstrate that ZL micro- and nanoparticles can produce nonlinear optical response under the near-infrared femtosecond laser excitation. The interaction of hypericine, chlorin e6 and other dyes with ZL NPs and their photodynamic activity is investigated. Particularly, multiphoton imaging shows that individual ZL NPs particles adsorb Zn-tetraporphyrin molecules, but do not adsorb fluorescein molecules. In addition, nonlinear spectral properties of ZL NPs in native biotissues are studied. Nonlinear microscopy and spectroscopy may open new perspectives in the research and application of ZL NP in biomedicine, and the results may help to introduce novel approaches into the clinical environment.
Modeling the Acquisition of Expertise in a Sequential Decision-Making Task
Our daily interaction with computational interfaces is plagued of situations in which we go from inexperienced users to experts through self-motivated exploration of the same task. In many of these interactions, we must learn to find our way through a sequence of decisions and actions before obtaining the desired result. For instance, when drawing cash from an ATM machine, choices are presented in a step-by-step fashion so that a specific sequence of actions must be performed in order to produce the expected outcome. But, as they become experts in the use of such interfaces, do users adopt specific search and learning strategies? Moreover, if so, can we use this information to follow the process of expertise development and, eventually, predict future actions? This would be a critical step towards building truly adaptive interfaces that can facilitate interaction at different moments of the learning curve. Furthermore, it could provide a window into potential mechanisms underlying decision-making behavior in real world scenarios. Here we tackle this question using a simple game interface that instantiates a 4-level binary decision tree (BDT) sequential decision-making task. Participants have to explore the interface and discover an underlying concept-icon mapping in order to complete the game. We develop a Hidden Markov Model (HMM)-based approach whereby a set of stereotyped, hierarchically related search behaviors act as hidden states. Using this model, we are able to track the decision-making process as participants explore, learn and develop expertise in the use of the interface. Our results show that partitioning the problem space into such stereotyped strategies is sufficient to capture a host of exploratory and learning behaviors. Moreover, using the modular architecture of stereotyped strategies as a Mixture of Experts, we are able to simultaneously ask the experts about the user's most probable future actions. We show that for those participants that learn the task, it becomes possible to predict their next decision, above chance, approximately halfway through the game. Our long-term goal is, on the basis of a better understanding of real-world decision-making processes, to inform the construction of interfaces that can establish dynamic conversations with their users in order to facilitate the development of expertise.
Muhammad`s Vision of Interaction with Supernatural Beings According to the Hadith in Comparison to Parallels of Other Cultures
Comparative studies of religion and ritual could contribute better understanding of human culture universalities. Belief in supernatural beings seems to be a common feature of the religion. A significant part of the Islamic concepts that concern supernatural beings is based on a tradition based on the Hadiths. They reflect, among other things, his ideas about a proper way to interact with supernatural beings. These ideas to a large extent follow from the pre-Islamic religious experience of the Arabs and had been reflected in a number of ritual actions.
Some of those beliefs concern a particular function of clothing. For example, it is known that Muhammad was wrapped in clothes during the revelation of the Quran. The same thing was performed by pre-Islamic soothsayers (kāhin) and by rival opponents of Muhammad during their trances. Muhammad also turned the clothes inside out during religious rituals (prayer for rain). Besides these specific ways of clothing which prove the external similarity of Muhammad with the soothsayers and other people who claimed the connection with supernatural forces, the pre-Islamic soothsayers had another characteristic feature which is physical flaws. In this regard, it is worth to note Muhammad's so-called "Seal the Prophecy" (h̠ ātam an- nubūwwa) -protrusion or outgrowth on his back. Another interesting feature of Muhammad's behavior was his attitude to eating onion and garlic. In particular, the Prophet didn`t eat them and forbade people who had tasted these vegetables to enter mosques, until the smell ceases to be felt. The reason for this ban on eating onion and garlic is caused by a belief that the smell of these products prevents communication with otherworldly forces. The materials of the Hadith also suggest that Muhammad shared faith in the apotropical properties of water. Both of these ideas have parallels in other cultures of the world. Muhammad's actions supposed to provide an interaction with the supernatural beings are not accidental. They have parallels in the culture of pre-Islamic Arabia as well as in many past and present world cultures. The latter fact can be explained by the similarity of the universal human beliefs in supernatural beings and how they should be interacted with. Later a number of similar ideas shared by the Prophet Muhammad was legitimized by the Islamic tradition and formed the basis of popular Islamic rituals. Thus, these parallels emphasize the commonality of human notions of supernatural beings and also demonstrate the significance of the pre-Islamic cultural context in analyzing the genesis of Islamic religious beliefs.
Sustainable Treatment of Vegetable Oil Industry Wastewaters by Xanthomonas campestris
Increasing industrialization as a response to the demands of the consumer society greatly exploits resources and generates large amounts of waste effluents in addition to the desired product. This means it is a priority to implement technologies with the maximum utilization of raw materials and energy, minimum generation of waste effluents and/or their recycling (secondary use). Considering the process conditions and the nature of the raw materials used by the vegetable oil industry, its wastewaters can be used as substrates for the biotechnological production which requires large amounts of water. This way the waste effluents of one branch of industry become raw materials for another branch which produces a new product while reducing wastewater pollution and thereby reducing negative environmental impacts. Vegetable oil production generates wastewaters during the process of rinsing oils and fats which contain mainly fatty acid pollutants. The vegetable oil industry generates large amounts of waste effluents, especially in the processes of degumming, deacidification, deodorization and neutralization. Wastewaters from the vegetable oil industry are generated during the whole year in significant amounts, based on the capacity of the vegetable oil production. There are no known alternative applications for these wastewaters as raw materials for the production of marketable products. Since the literature has no data on the potential negative impact of fatty acids on the metabolism of the bacterium Xanthomonas campestris, these wastewaters were considered as potential raw materials for the biotechnological production of xanthan. In this research, vegetable oil industry wastewaters were used as the basis for the cultivation media for xanthan production with Xanthomonas campestris ATCC 13951. Examining the process of biosynthesis of xanthan on vegetable oil industry wastewaters as the basis for the cultivation media was performed to obtain insight into the possibility of its use in the aforementioned biotechnological process. Additionally, it was important to experimentally determine the absence of substances that have an inhibitory effect on the metabolism of the production microorganism. Xanthan content, rheological parameters of the cultivation media, carbon conversion into xanthan and conversions of the most significant nutrients for biosynthesis (carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus sources) were determined as indicators of the success of biosynthesis. The obtained results show that biotechnological production of the biopolymer xanthan by bacterium Xanthomonas campestris on vegetable oil industry wastewaters based cultivation media simultaneously provides preservation of the environment and economic benefits which is a sustainable solution to the problem of wastewater treatment.
Numerical Investigation of Plasma-Fuel System (PFS) for Coal Ignition and Combustion
To enhance the efficiency of solid fuels’ use, to decrease the fuel oil rate in the thermal power plants fuel balance and to minimize harmful emissions, a plasma technology of coal ignition, gasification and incineration is successfully applied. This technology is plasma thermochemical preparation of fuel for burning (PTCPF). In the framework of this concept, some portion of pulverized solid fuel (PF) is separated from the main PF flow and undergone the activation by arc plasma in a specific chamber with plasma torch – PFS. The air plasma flame is a source of heat and additional oxidation, it provides a high-temperature medium enriched with radicals, where the fuel mixture is heated, volatile components of coal are extracted, and carbon is partially gasified. This active blended fuel can ignite the main PF flow supplied into the furnace. This technology provides the boiler start-up and stabilization of PF flame and eliminates the necessity for addition of highly reactive fuel. In the report, a model of PTCPF, implemented as a program PlasmaKinTherm for the PFS calculation is described. The model combines thermodynamic and kinetic methods for describing the process of PTCPF in PFS. The numerical investigation of operational parameters of PFS depending on the electric power of the plasma generator and steam coal ash content revealed the temperature and velocity of gas and coal particles, and concentrations of PTCPF products dependences on the PFS length. Main mechanisms of PTCPF were disclosed. It was found that in the range of electric power of plasma generator from 40 to 100 kW high ash bituminous coal, having consumption 1667 kg/h is ignited stably. High level of temperature (1740 K) and concentration of combustible components (44%) at the PFS exit is a confirmation of it. Augmentation in power of plasma generator results displacement maxima temperatures and speeds of PTCPF products upstream (in the direction of the plasma source). The maximum temperature and velocity vary in a narrow range of values and practically do not depend on the power of the plasma torch. The numerical study of indicators of the process of PTCPF depending on the ash content in the range of its values 20-70% demonstrated that at the exit of PFS concentration of combustible components decreases with an increase in coal ash, the temperature of the gaseous products is increasing, and coal carbon conversion rate is increased to a maximum value when the ash content of 60%, dramatically decreasing with further increase in the ash content.
Gas-Phase Nondestructive and Environmentally Friendly Covalent Functionalization of Graphene Oxide Paper with Amines
Direct covalent functionalization of prefabricated free-standing graphene oxide paper (GOP) is considered as the only approach suitable for systematic tuning of thermal, mechanical and electronic characteristics of this important class of carbon nanomaterials. At the same time, the traditional liquid-phase functionalization protocols can compromise physical integrity of the paper-like material up to its total disintegration. To avoid such undesirable effects, we explored the possibility of employing an alternative, solvent-free strategy for facile and nondestructive functionalization of GOP with two representative aliphatic amines, 1-octadecylamine (ODA) and 1,12-diaminododecane (DAD), as well as with two aromatic amines, 1-aminopyrene (AP) and 1,5-diaminonaphthalene (DAN). The functionalization was performed under moderate heating at 150-180 °C in vacuum. Under such conditions, it proceeds through both amidation and epoxy ring opening reactions. Comparative characterization of pristine and amine-functionalized GOP mats was carried out by using Fourier-transform infrared, Raman, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), thermogravimetric (TGA) and differential thermal analysis, scanning electron and atomic force microscopy (SEM and AFM, respectively). Besides that, we compared the stability in water, wettability, electrical conductivity and elastic (Young's) modulus of GOP mats before and after amine functionalization. The highest content of organic species was obtained in the case of GOP-ODA, followed by GOP-DAD, GOP-AP and GOP-DAN samples. The covalent functionalization increased mechanical and thermal stability of GOP, as well as its electrical conductivity. The magnitude of each effect depends on the particular chemical structure of amine employed, which allows for tuning a given GOP property. Morphological characterization by using SEM showed that, compared to pristine graphene oxide paper, amine-modified GOP mats become relatively ordered layered assemblies, in which individual GO sheets are organized in a near-parallel pattern. Financial support from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (grants DGAPA-IN101118 and IN200516) and from the National Council of Science and Technology of Mexico (CONACYT, grant 250655) is greatly appreciated. The authors also thank David A. Domínguez (CNyN of UNAM) for XPS measurements and Dr. Edgar Alvarez-Zauco (Faculty of Science of UNAM) for the opportunity to use TGA equipment.
Geoinformation Technology of Agricultural Monitoring Using Multi-Temporal Satellite Imagery
Geoinformation technologies of space agromonitoring are a means of operative decision making support in the tasks of managing the agricultural sector of the economy. Existing technologies use satellite images in the optical range of electromagnetic spectrum. Time series of optical images often contain gaps due to the presence of clouds and haze. A geoinformation technology is created. It allows to fill gaps in time series of optical images (Sentinel-2, Landsat-8, PROBA-V, MODIS) with radar survey data (Sentinel-1) and use information about agrometeorological conditions of the growing season for individual monitoring years.
The technology allows to perform crop classification and mapping for spring-summer (winter and spring crops) and autumn-winter (winter crops) periods of vegetation, monitoring the dynamics of crop state seasonal changes, crop yield forecasting.
Crop classification is based on supervised classification algorithms, takes into account the peculiarities of crop growth at different vegetation stages (dates of sowing, emergence, active vegetation, and harvesting) and agriculture land state characteristics (row spacing, seedling density, etc.).
A catalog of samples of the main agricultural crops (Ukraine) is created and crop spectral signatures are calculated with the preliminary removal of row spacing, cloud cover, and cloud shadows in order to construct time series of crop growth characteristics. The obtained data is used in grain crop growth tracking and in timely detection of growth trends deviations from reference samples of a given crop for a selected date.
Statistical models of crop yield forecast are created in the forms of linear and nonlinear interconnections between crop yield indicators and crop state characteristics (temperature, precipitation, vegetation indices, etc.). Predicted values of grain crop yield are evaluated with an accuracy up to 95%.
The developed technology was used for agricultural areas monitoring in a number of Great Britain and Ukraine regions using EOS Crop Monitoring Platform (https://crop-monitoring.eos.com).
The obtained results allow to conclude that joint use of Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 images improve separation of winter crops (rapeseed, wheat, barley) in the early stages of vegetation (October-December). It allows to separate successfully the soybean, corn, and sunflower sowing areas that are quite similar in their spectral characteristics.
Determinants of Quality of Life in Patients with Atypical Prarkinsonian Syndromes: 1-Year Follow-Up Study
Background: A group of atypical parkinsonian syndromes (APS) includes a variety of rare neurodegenerative disorders characterized by reduced life expectancy, increasing disability, and considerable impact on health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Aim: In this study we wanted to answer two questions: a) which demographic and clinical factors are main contributors of HRQoL in our cohort of patients with APS, and b) how does quality of life of these patients change over 1-year follow-up period. Patients and Methods: We conducted a prospective cohort study in hospital settings. The initial study comprised all consecutive patients who were referred to the Department of Movement Disorders, Clinic of Neurology, Clinical Centre of Serbia, Faculty of Medicine, University of Belgrade (Serbia), from January 31, 2000 to July 31, 2013, with the initial diagnoses of ‘Parkinson’s disease’, ‘parkinsonism’, ‘atypical parkinsonism’ and ‘parkinsonism plus’ during the first 8 months from the appearance of first symptom(s). The patients were afterwards regularly followed in 4-6 month intervals and eventually the diagnoses were established for 46 patients fulfilling the criteria for clinically probable progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and 36 patients for probable multiple system atrophy (MSA). The health-related quality of life was assessed by using the SF-36 questionnaire (Serbian translation). Hierarchical multiple regression analysis was conducted to identify predictors of composite scores of SF-36. The importance of changes in quality of life scores of patients with APS between baseline and follow-up time-point were quantified using Wilcoxon Signed Ranks Test. The magnitude of any differences for the quality of life changes was calculated as an effect size (ES). Results: The final models of hierarchical regression analysis showed that apathy measured by the Apathy evaluation scale (AES) score accounted for 59% of the variance in the Physical Health Composite Score of SF-36 and 14% of the variance in the Mental Health Composite Score of SF-36 (p< 0.01). The changes in HRQoL were assessed in 52 patients with APS who completed 1-year follow-up period. The analysis of magnitude for changes in HRQoL during one-year follow-up period have shown sustained medium ES (0.50-0.79) for both Physical and Mental health composite scores, total quality of life as well as for the Physical Health, Vitality, Role Emotional and Social Functioning. Conclusion: This study provides insight into new potential predictors of HRQoL and its changes over time in patients with APS. Additionally, identification of both prognostic markers of a poor HRQoL and magnitude of its changes should be considered when developing comprehensive treatment-related strategies and health care programs aimed at improving HRQoL and well-being in patients with APS.
Carbonyl Iron Particles Modified with Pyrrole-Based Polymer and Electric and Magnetic Performance of Their Composites
Magnetorheological elastomers (MREs) are a unique type of materials consisting of two components, magnetic filler, and elastomeric matrix. Their properties can be tailored upon application of an external magnetic field strength. In this case, the change of the viscoelastic properties (viscoelastic moduli, complex viscosity) are influenced by two crucial factors. The first one is magnetic performance of the particles and the second one is off-state stiffness of the elastomeric matrix. The former factor strongly depends on the intended applications; however general rule is that higher magnetic performance of the particles provides higher MR performance of the MRE. Since magnetic particles possess low stability properties against temperature and acidic environment, several methods how to improve these drawbacks have been developed. In the most cases, the preparation of the core-shell structures was employed as a suitable method for preservation of the magnetic particles against thermal and chemical oxidations. However, if the shell material is not single-layer substance, but polymer material, the magnetic performance is significantly suppressed, due to the in situ polymerization technique, when it is very difficult to control the polymerization rate and the polymer shell is too thick. The second factor is the off-state stiffness of the elastomeric matrix. Since the MR effectivity is calculated as the relative value of the elastic modulus upon magnetic field application divided by elastic modulus in the absence of the external field, also the tuneability of the cross-linking reaction is highly desired. Therefore, this study is focused on the controllable modification of magnetic particles using a novel monomeric system based on 2-(1H-pyrrol-1-yl)ethyl methacrylate. In this case, the short polymer chains of different chain lengths and low polydispersity index will be prepared, and thus tailorable stability properties can be achieved. Since the relatively thin polymer chains will be grafted on the surface of magnetic particles, their magnetic performance will be affected only slightly. Furthermore, also the cross-linking density will be affected, due to the presence of the short polymer chains. From the application point of view, such MREs can be utilized for, magneto-resistors, piezoresistors or pressure sensors especially, when the conducting shell on the magnetic particles will be created. Therefore, the selection of the pyrrole-based monomer is very crucial and controllably thin layer of conducting polymer can be prepared. Finally, such composite particle consisting of magnetic core and conducting shell dispersed in elastomeric matrix can find also the utilization in shielding application of electromagnetic waves.
Magnetron Sputtered Thin-Film Catalysts with Low Noble Metal Content for Proton Exchange Membrane Water Electrolysis
Hydrogen economy is a concept of low-emission society which harvests most of its energy from renewable sources (e.g., wind and solar) and in case of overproduction, electrochemically turns the excess amount into hydrogen, which serves as an energy carrier. Proton exchange membrane water electrolyzers (PEMWE) are the backbone of this concept. By fast-response electricity to hydrogen conversion, the PEMWEs will not only stabilize the electrical grid but also provide high-purity hydrogen for variety of fuel cell powered devices, ranging from consumer electronics to vehicles. Wider commercialization of PEMWE technology is however hindered by high prices of noble metals which are necessary for catalyzing the redox reactions within the cell. Namely, platinum for hydrogen evolution reaction (HER), running on cathode, and iridium for oxygen evolution reaction (OER) on anode. Possible way of how to lower the loading of Pt and Ir is by using conductive high-surface nanostructures as catalyst supports in conjunction with thin-film catalyst deposition. The presented study discusses unconventional technique of membrane electron assembly (MEA) preparation. Noble metal catalysts (Pt and Ir) were magnetron sputtered in very low loadings onto the surface of porous sublayers (located on gas diffusion layer or directly on membrane), forming so to say localized three-phase boundary. Ultrasonically sprayed corrosion resistant TiC-based sublayer was used as a support material on anode, whereas magnetron sputtered nanostructured etched nitrogenated carbon (CNx) served the same role on cathode. By using this configuration, we were able to significantly decrease the amount of noble metals (to thickness of just tens of nanometers), while keeping the performance comparable to that of average state-of-the-art catalysts. Complex characterization of prepared supported catalysts includes in-cell performance and durability tests, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) as well as scanning electron microscopy (SEM) imaging and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) analysis. Our research proves that magnetron sputtering is a suitable method for thin-film deposition of electrocatalysts. Tested set-up of thin-film supported anode and cathode catalysts with combined loading of just 120 ug.cm⁻² yields remarkable values of specific current. Described approach of thin-film low-loading catalyst deposition might be relevant when noble metal reduction is the topmost priority.
Arc Plasma Application for Solid Waste Processing
Hygiene and sanitary study of typical medical-biological waste made in Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus and other countries show that their risk to the environment is much higher than that of most chemical wastes. For example, toxicity of solid waste (SW) containing cytotoxic drugs and antibiotics is comparable to toxicity of radioactive waste of high and medium level activity. This report presents the results of the thermodynamic analysis of thermal processing of SW and experiments at the developed plasma unit for SW processing. Thermodynamic calculations showed that the maximum yield of the synthesis gas at plasma gasification of SW in air and steam mediums is achieved at a temperature of 1600K. At the air plasma gasification of SW high-calorific synthesis gas with a concentration of 82.4% (СO – 31.7%, H2 – 50.7%) can be obtained, and at the steam plasma gasification – with a concentration of 94.5% (СO – 33.6%, H2 – 60.9%). Specific heat of combustion of the synthesis gas produced by air gasification amounts to 14267 kJ/kg, while by steam gasification - 19414 kJ/kg. At the optimal temperature (1600 K), the specific power consumption for air gasification of SW constitutes 1.92 kWh/kg, while for steam gasification - 2.44 kWh/kg. Experimental study was carried out in a plasma reactor. This is device of periodic action. The arc plasma torch of 70 kW electric power is used for SW processing. Consumption of SW was 30 kg/h. Flow of plasma-forming air was 12 kg/h. Under the influence of air plasma flame weight average temperature in the chamber reaches 1800 K. Gaseous products are taken out of the reactor into the flue gas cooling unit, and the condensed products accumulate in the slag formation zone. The cooled gaseous products enter the gas purification unit, after which via gas sampling system is supplied to the analyzer. Ventilation system provides a negative pressure in the reactor up to 10 mm of water column. Condensed products of SW processing are removed from the reactor after its stopping. By the results of experiments on SW plasma gasification the reactor operating conditions were determined, the exhaust gas analysis was performed and the residual carbon content in the slag was determined. Gas analysis showed the following composition of the gas at the exit of gas purification unit, (vol.%): СO – 26.5, H2 – 44.6, N2–28.9. The total concentration of the syngas was 71.1%, which agreed well with the thermodynamic calculations. The discrepancy between experiment and calculation by the yield of the target syngas did not exceed 16%. Specific power consumption for SW gasification in the plasma reactor according to the results of experiments amounted to 2.25 kWh/kg of working substance. No harmful impurities were found in both gas and condensed products of SW plasma gasification. Comparison of experimental results and calculations showed good agreement. Acknowledgement—This work was supported by Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan and Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation (Agreement on grant No. 14.607.21.0118, project RFMEF160715X0118).
Rotary Machine Sealing Oscillation Frequencies and Phase Shift Analysis
To ensure the gas transmittal GCU's efficient operation, leakages through the labyrinth packings (LP) should be minimized. Leakages can be minimized by decreasing the LP gap, which in turn depends on thermal processes and possible rotor vibrations and is designed to ensure absence of mechanical contact. Vibration mitigation allows to minimize the LP gap. It is advantageous to research influence of processes in the dynamic gas-structure system on LP vibrations. This paper considers influence of rotor vibrations on LP gas dynamics and influence of the latter on the rotor structure within the FSI unidirectional dynamical coupled problem. Dependences of nonstationary parameters of gas-dynamic process in LP on rotor vibrations under various gas speeds and pressures, shaft rotation speeds and vibration amplitudes, and working medium features were studied. The programmed multi-processor ANSYS CFX was chosen as a numerical computation tool. The problem was solved using PNRPU high-capacity computer complex. Deformed shaft vibrations are replaced with an unyielding profile that moves in the fixed annulus "up-and-down" according to set harmonic rule. This solves a nonstationary gas-dynamic problem and determines time dependence of total gas-dynamic force value influencing the shaft. Pressure increase from 0.1 to 10 MPa causes growth of gas-dynamic force oscillation amplitude and frequency. The phase shift angle between gas-dynamic force oscillations and those of shaft displacement decreases from 3π/4 to π/2. Damping constant has maximum value under 1 MPa pressure in the gap. Increase of shaft oscillation frequency from 50 to 150 Hz under P=10 MPa causes growth of gas-dynamic force oscillation amplitude. Damping constant has maximum value at 50 Hz equaling 1.012. Increase of shaft vibration amplitude from 20 to 80 µm under P=10 MPa causes the rise of gas-dynamic force amplitude up to 20 times. Damping constant increases from 0.092 to 0.251. Calculations for various working substances (methane, perfect gas, air at 25 ˚С) prove the minimum gas-dynamic force persistent oscillating amplitude under P=0.1 MPa being observed in methane, and maximum in the air. Frequency remains almost unchanged and the phase shift in the air changes from 3π/4 to π/2. Calculations for various working substances (methane, perfect gas, air at 25 ˚С) prove the maximum gas-dynamic force oscillating amplitude under P=10 MPa being observed in methane, and minimum in the air. Air demonstrates surging. Increase of leakage speed from 0 to 20 m/s through LP under P=0.1 MPa causes the gas-dynamic force oscillating amplitude to decrease by 3 orders and oscillation frequency and the phase shift to increase 2 times and stabilize. Increase of leakage speed from 0 to 20 m/s in LP under P=1 MPa causes gas-dynamic force oscillating amplitude to decrease by almost 4 orders. The phase shift angle increases from π/72 to π/2. Oscillations become persistent. Flow rate proved to influence greatly on pressure oscillations amplitude and a phase shift angle. Work medium influence depends on operation conditions. At pressure growth, vibrations are mostly affected in methane (of working substances list considered), and at pressure decrease, in the air at 25 ˚С.
Precursor Synthesis of Carbon Materials with Different Aggregates Morphologies
Carbon materials with advanced surfaces are widely used both in modern industry and in environmental protection. The physical-chemical nature of these materials is determined by the morphology of primary atomic and molecular carbon structures, which are the basis for synthesizing the following materials: zero-dimensional (fullerenes), one-dimensional (fiber, tubes), two-dimensional (graphene) carbon nanostructures, three-dimensional (multi-layer graphene, graphite, foams) with unique physical-chemical and functional properties. Experience shows that the microscopic morphological level is the basis for the creation of the next mesoscopic morphological level. The dependence of the morphology on the chemical way and process prehistory (crystallization, colloids formation, liquid crystal state and other) is the peculiarity of the last called level. These factors determine the consumer properties of carbon materials, such as specific surface area, porosity, chemical resistance in corrosive environments, catalytic and adsorption activities. Based on the developed ideology of thin precursor synthesis, the authors discuss one of the approaches of the porosity control of carbon-containing materials with a given aggregates morphology. The low-temperature thermolysis of precursors in a gas environment of a given composition is the basis of the above-mentioned idea. The processes of carbothermic precursor synthesis of two different compounds: tungsten carbide WC:nC and zinc oxide ZnO:nC containing an impurity phase in the form of free carbon were selected as subjects of the research. In the first case, the transition metal (tungsten) forming carbides was the object of the synthesis. In the second case, there was selected zinc that does not form carbides. The synthesis of both kinds of transition metals compounds was conducted by the method of precursor carbothermic synthesis from the organic solution. ZnO:nC composites were obtained by thermolysis of succinate Zn(OO(CH2)2OO), formate glycolate Zn(HCOO)(OCH2CH2O)1/2, glycerolate Zn(OCH2CHOCH2OH), and tartrate Zn(OOCCH(OH)CH(OH)COO). WC:nC composite was synthesized from ammonium paratungstate and glycerol. In all cases, carbon structures that are specific for diamond- like carbon forms appeared on the surface of WC and ZnO particles after the heat treatment. Tungsten carbide and zinc oxide were removed from the composites by selective chemical dissolution preserving the amorphous carbon phase. This work presents the results of investigating WC:nC and ZnO:nC composites and carbon nanopowders with tubular, tape, plate and onion morphologies of aggregates that are separated by chemical dissolution of WC and ZnO from the composites by the following methods: SEM, TEM, XPA, Raman spectroscopy, and BET. The connection between the carbon morphology under the conditions of synthesis and chemical nature of the precursor and the possibility of regulation of the morphology with the specific surface area up to 1700-2000 m2/g of carbon-structured materials are discussed.
The Effect of the Precursor Powder Size on the Electrical and Sensor Characteristics of Fully Stabilized Zirconia-Based Solid Electrolytes
Nowadays, due to their exceptional anion conductivity at high temperatures cubic zirconia solid solutions, stabilized by rare-earth and alkaline-earth metal oxides, are widely used as a solid electrolyte (SE) materials in different electrochemical devices such as gas sensors, oxygen pumps, solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC), etc. Nowadays the intensive studies are carried out in a field of novel fully stabilized zirconia based SE development. The use of precursor powders for SE manufacturing allows predetermining the microstructure, electrical and sensor characteristics of zirconia based ceramics used as SE. Thus the goal of the present work was the investigation of the effect of precursor powder size on the electrical and sensor characteristics of fully stabilized zirconia-based solid electrolytes with compositions of 0,08Y2O3∙0,92ZrO2 (YSZ), 0,06Ce2O3∙ 0,06Y2O3∙0,88ZrO2 and 0,09Ce2O3∙0,06Y2O3-0,85ZrO2. The synthesis of precursors powders with different mean particle size was performed by sol-gel synthesis in the form of reversed co-precipitation from aqueous solutions. The cakes were washed until the neutral pH and pan-dried at 110 °С. Also, YSZ ceramics was obtained by conventional solid state synthesis including milling into a planetary mill. Then the powder was cold pressed into the pellets with a diameter of 7.2 and ~4 mm thickness at P ~16 kg/cm2 and then hydrostatically pressed. The pellets were annealed at 1600 °С for 2 hours. The phase composition of as-synthesized SE was investigated by X-Ray photoelectron spectroscopy ESCA (spectrometer ESCA-5400, PHI) X-ray diffraction analysis - XRD (Shimadzu XRD-6000). Following galvanic cell О2 (РО2(1)), Pt | SE | Pt, (РО2(2) = 0.21 atm) was used for SE sensor properties investigation. The value of РО2(1) was set by mixing of O2 and N2 in the defined proportions with the accuracy of 5%. The temperature was measured by Pt/Pt-10% Rh thermocouple, The cell electromotive force (EMF) measurement was carried out with ± 0.1 mV accuracy. During the operation at the constant temperature, reproducibility was better than 5 mV. Asymmetric potential measured for all SE appeared to be negligible. It was shown that the resistivity of YSZ ceramics decreases in about two times upon the mean agglomerates decrease from 200-250 to 40 nm. It is likely due to the both surface and bulk resistivity decrease in grains. So the overall decrease of grain size in ceramic SE results in the significant decrease of the total ceramics resistivity allowing sensor operation at lower temperatures. For the SE manufactured the estimation of oxygen ion transfer number tion was carried out in the range 600-800 °С. YSZ ceramics manufactured from powders with the mean particle size 40-140 nm, shows the highest values i.e. 0.97-0.98. SE manufactured from precursors with the mean particle size 40-140 nm shows higher sensor characteristic i.e. temperature and oxygen concentration EMF dependencies, EMF (ENernst - Ereal), tion, response time, then ceramics, manufactured by conventional solid state synthesis.
Arc Plasma Thermochemical Preparation of Coal to Effective Combustion in Thermal Power Plants
This work presents plasma technology for solid fuel ignition and combustion. Plasma activation promotes more effective and environmentally friendly low-rank coal ignition and combustion. To realise this technology at coal fired power plants plasma-fuel systems (PFS) were developed. PFS improve efficiency of power coals combustion and decrease harmful emission. PFS is pulverized coal burner equipped with arc plasma torch. Plasma torch is the main element of the PFS. Plasma forming gas is air. It is blown through the electrodes forming plasma flame. Temperature of this flame is varied from 5000 to 6000 K. Plasma torch power is varied from 100 to 350 kW and geometrical sizes are the following: the height is 0.4-0.5 m and diameter is 0.2-0.25 m. The base of the PFS technology is plasma thermochemical preparation of coal for burning. It consists of heating of the pulverized coal and air mixture by arc plasma up to temperature of coal volatiles release and char carbon partial gasification. In the PFS coal-air mixture is deficient in oxygen and carbon is oxidised mainly to carbon monoxide. As a result, at the PFS exit a highly reactive mixture is formed of combustible gases and partially burned char particles, together with products of combustion, while the temperature of the gaseous mixture is around 1300 K. Further mixing with the air promotes intensive ignition and complete combustion of the prepared fuel. PFS have been tested for boilers start up and pulverized coal flame stabilization in different countries at power boilers of 75 to 950 t/h steam productivity. They were equipped with different types of pulverized coal burners (direct flow, muffle and swirl burners). At PFS testing power coals of all ranks (lignite, bituminous, anthracite and their mixtures) were incinerated. Volatile content of them was from 4 to 50%, ash varied from 15 to 48% and heat of combustion was from 1600 to 6000 kcal/kg. To show the advantages of the plasma technology before conventional technologies of coal combustion numerical investigation of plasma ignition, gasification and thermochemical preparation of a pulverized coal for incineration in an experimental furnace with heat capacity of 3 MW was fulfilled. Two computer-codes were used for the research. The computer simulation experiments were conducted for low-rank bituminous coal of 44% ash content. The boiler operation has been studied at the conventional mode of combustion and with arc plasma activation of coal combustion. The experiments and computer simulation showed ecological efficiency of the plasma technology. When a plasma torch operates in the regime of plasma stabilization of pulverized coal flame, NOX emission is reduced twice and amount of unburned carbon is reduced four times. Acknowledgement: This work was supported by Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan and Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation (Agreement on grant No. 14.613.21.0005, project RFMEFI61314X0005).
Antimicrobial and Anti-Biofilm Activity of Non-Thermal Plasma
Microbial colonization of medical instruments, catheters, implants, etc. is a serious problem in the spread of nosocomial infections. Biofilms exhibit enormous resistance to environment. The resistance of biofilm populations to antibiotic or biocides often increases by two to three orders of magnitude in comparison with suspension populations. Subjects of interests are substances or physical processes that primarily cause the destruction of biofilm, while the released cells can be killed by existing antibiotics. In addition, agents that do not have a strong lethal effect do not cause such a significant selection pressure to further enhance resistance. Non-thermal plasma (NTP) is defined as neutral, ionized gas composed of particles (photons, electrons, positive and negative ions, free radicals and excited or non-excited molecules) which are in permanent interaction. In this work, the effect of NTP generated by the cometary corona with a metallic grid on the formation and stability of biofilm and metabolic activity of cells in biofilm was studied. NTP was applied on biofilm populations of Staphylococcus epidermidis DBM 3179, Pseudomonas aeruginosa DBM 3081, DBM 3777, ATCC 15442 and ATCC 10145, Escherichia coli DBM 3125 and Candida albicans DBM 2164 grown on solid media on Petri dishes and on the titanium alloy (Ti6Al4V) surface used for the production joint replacements. Erythromycin (for S. epidermidis), polymyxin B (for E. coli and P. aeruginosa), amphotericin B (for C. albicans) and ceftazidime (for P. aeruginosa) were used to study the combined effect of NTP and antibiotics. Biofilms were quantified by crystal violet assay. Metabolic activity of the cells in biofilm was measured using MTT (3-[4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-2,5 diphenyl tetrazolium bromide) colorimetric test based on the reduction of MTT into formazan by the dehydrogenase system of living cells. Fluorescence microscopy was applied to visualize the biofilm on the surface of the titanium alloy; SYTO 13 was used as a fluorescence probe to stain cells in the biofilm. It has been shown that biofilm populations of all studied microorganisms are very sensitive to the type of used NTP. The inhibition zone of biofilm recorded after 60 minutes exposure to NTP exceeded 20 cm², except P. aeruginosa DBM 3777 and ATCC 10145, where it was about 9 cm². Also metabolic activity of cells in biofilm differed for individual microbial strains. High sensitivity to NTP was observed in S. epidermidis, in which the metabolic activity of biofilm decreased after 30 minutes of NTP exposure to 15% and after 60 minutes to 1%. Conversely, the metabolic activity of cells of C. albicans decreased to 53% after 30 minutes of NTP exposure. Nevertheless, this result can be considered very good. Suitable combinations of exposure time of NTP and the concentration of antibiotic achieved in most cases a remarkable synergic effect on the reduction of the metabolic activity of the cells of the biofilm. For example, in the case of P. aeruginosa DBM 3777, a combination of 30 minutes of NTP with 1 mg/l of ceftazidime resulted in a decrease metabolic activity below 4%.
Working Memory and Audio-Motor Synchronization in Children with Different Degrees of Central Nervous System's Lesions
Background: The most simple form of entrainment to a sensory (typically auditory) rhythmic stimulus involves perceiving and synchronizing movements with an isochronous beat with one level of periodicity, such as that produced by a metronome. Children with pediatric cancer usually treated with chemo- and radiotherapy. Because of such treatment, psychologists and health professionals declare cognitive and motor abilities decline in cancer patients. The purpose of our study was to measure working memory characteristics with association with audio-motor synchronization tasks, also involved some memory resources, in children with different degrees of central nervous system lesions: posterior fossa tumors, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and healthy controls. Methods: Our sample consisted of three groups of children: children treated for posterior fossa tumors (PFT-group, n=42, mean age 12.23), children treated for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL-group, n=11, mean age 11.57) and neurologically healthy children (control group, n=36, mean age 11.67). Participants were tested for working memory characteristics with Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB). Pattern recognition memory (PRM) and spatial working memory (SWM) tests were applied. Outcome measures of PRM test include the number and percentage of correct trials and latency (speed of participant’s response), and measures of SWM include errors, strategy, and latency. In the synchronization tests, the instruction was to tap out a regular beat (40, 60, 90 and 120 beats per minute) in synchrony with the rhythmic sequences that were played. This meant that for the sequences with an isochronous beat, participants were required to tap into every auditory event. Variations of inter-tap-intervals and deviations of children’s taps from the metronome were assessed. Results: Analysis of variance revealed the significant effect of group (ALL, PFT and control) on such parameters as short-term PRM, SWM strategy and errors. Healthy controls demonstrated more correctly retained elements, better working memory strategy, compared to cancer patients. Interestingly that ALL patients chose the bad strategy, but committed significantly less errors in SWM test then PFT and controls did. As to rhythmic ability, significant associations of working memory were found out only with 40 bpm rhythm: the less variable were inter-tap-intervals of the child, the more elements in memory he/she could retain. The ability to audio-motor synchronization may be related to working memory processes mediated by the prefrontal cortex whereby each sensory event is actively retrieved and monitored during rhythmic sequencing. Conclusion: Our results suggest that working memory, tested with appropriate cognitive methods, is associated with the ability to synchronize movements with rhythmic sounds, especially in sub-second intervals (40 per minute).
Analytical, Numerical, and Experimental Research Approaches to Influence of Vibrations on Hydroelastic Processes in Centrifugal Pumps
The problem under research is that of unpredictable modes occurring in two-stage centrifugal hydraulic pump as a result of hydraulic processes caused by vibrations of structural components. Numerical, analytical and experimental approaches are considered. A hypothesis was developed that the problem of unpredictable pressure decrease at the second stage of centrifugal pumps is caused by cavitation effects occurring upon vibration. The problem has been studied experimentally and theoretically as of today. The theoretical study was conducted numerically and analytically. Hydroelastic processes in dynamic “liquid – deformed structure” system were numerically modelled and analysed. Using ANSYS CFX program engineering analysis complex and computing capacity of a supercomputer the cavitation parameters were established to depend on vibration parameters. An influence domain of amplitudes and vibration frequencies on concentration of cavitation bubbles was formulated. The obtained numerical solution was verified using CFM program package developed in PNRPU. The package is based on a differential equation system in hyperbolic and elliptic partial derivatives. The system is solved by using one of finite-difference method options – the particle-in-cell method. The method defines the problem solution algorithm. The obtained numerical solution was verified analytically by model problem calculations with the use of known analytical solutions of in-pipe piston movement and cantilever rod end face impact. An infrastructure consisting of an experimental fast hydro-dynamic processes research installation and a supercomputer connected by a high-speed network, was created to verify the obtained numerical solutions. Physical experiments included measurement, record, processing and analysis of data for fast processes research by using National Instrument signals measurement system and Lab View software. The model chamber end face oscillated during physical experiments and, thus, loaded the hydraulic volume. The loading frequency varied from 0 to 5 kHz. The length of the operating chamber varied from 0.4 to 1.0 m. Additional loads weighed from 2 to 10 kg. The liquid column varied from 0.4 to 1 m high. Liquid pressure history was registered. The experiment showed dependence of forced system oscillation amplitude on loading frequency at various values: operating chamber geometrical dimensions, liquid column height and structure weight. Maximum pressure oscillation (in the basic variant) amplitudes were discovered at loading frequencies of approximately 1,5 kHz. These results match the analytical and numerical solutions in ANSYS and CFM.
Identification of ω-3 Fatty Acids Using GC-MS Analysis in Extruded Spelt Product
Spelt wheat is suitable raw material for extruded products such as pasta, special types of bread and other products of altered nutritional characteristics compared to conventional wheat products. During the process of extrusion, spelt is exposed to high temperature and high pressure, during which raw material is also mechanically treated by shear forces. Spelt wheat is growing without the use of pesticides in harsh ecological conditions and in marginal areas of cultivation. So it can be used for organic and health safe food. Pasta is the most popular foodstuff; its consumption has been observed to rise. Pasta quality depends mainly on the properties of flour raw materials, especially protein content and its quality but starch properties are of a lesser importance. Pasta is characterized by significant amounts of complex carbohydrates, low sodium, total fat fiber, minerals, and essential fatty acids and its nutritional value can be improved with additional functional component. Over the past few decades, wheat pasta has been successfully formulated using different ingredients in pasta to cater health-conscious consumers who prefer having a product rich in protein, healthy lipids and other health benefits. Flaxseed flour is used in the production of bakery and pasta products that have properties of functional foods. However, it should be taken into account that food products retain the technological and sensory quality despite the added flax seed. Flaxseed contains important substances in its composition such as vitamins and minerals elements, and it is also an excellent source of fiber and one of the best sources of ω-3 fatty acids and lignin. In this paper, the quality and identification of spelt extruded product with the addition of flax seed, which is positively contributing to the nutritive and technology changes of the product, is investigated. ω-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated essential fatty acids, and they must be taken with food to satisfy the recommended daily intake. Flaxseed flour is added in the quantity of 10/100 g of sample and 20/100 g of sample on farina. It is shown that the presence of ω-3 fatty acids in pasta can be clearly distinguished from other fatty acids by gas chromatography with mass spectrometry. Addition of flax seed flour influence chemical content of pasta. The addition of flax seed flour in spelt pasta in the quantities of 20g/100 g significantly increases the share of ω-3 fatty acids, which results in improved ratio of ω-6/ω-3 1:2.4 and completely satisfies minimum daily needs of ω-3 essential fatty acids (3.8 g/100 g) recommended by FDA. Flex flour influenced the pasta quality by increasing of hardness (2377.8 ± 13.3; 2874.5 ± 7.4; 3076.3 ± 5.9) and work of shear (102.6 ± 11.4; 150.8 ± 11.3; 165.0 ± 18.9) and increasing of adhesiveness (11.8 ± 20.6; 9.,98 ± 0.12; 7.1 ± 12.5) of the final product. Presented data point at good indicators of technological quality of spelt pasta with flax seed and that GC-MS analysis can be used in the quality control for flax seed identification.
Acknowledgment: The research was financed by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Serbia (Project No. III 46005).
The Stable Isotopic Composition of Pedogenic Carbonate in the Minusinsk Basin, South Siberia
Carbonate minerals’ isotopic composition is widely used as a proxy for environmental parameters of the past. Pedogenic carbonate coatings on lower surfaces of coarse rock fragments are studied in order to indicate the climatic conditions and predominant vegetation under which they were formed. The purpose of the research is to characterize the isotopic composition of carbonate pedofeatures in soils of Minusink Hollow and estimate its correlation with isotopic composition of soil pore water, precipitation, vegetation and parent material. The samples of pedogenic carbonates, vegetation, carbonate parent material, soil water and precipitation water were analyzed using the Delta-V mass spectrometer with options of a gas bench and element analyser. The soils we studied are mainly Kastanozems that are poorly moisturized, therefore soil pore water was extracted by ethanol. Oxygen and carbon isotopic composition of pedogenic carbonates was analyzed in 3 key sites. Kazanovka Khakass state national reserve, Hankul salt lake, region of Sayanogorsk aluminum smelter. Vegetation photosynthetic pathway in the region is mainly C3. δ18O values of carbonate coatings in soils of Kazanovka vary in a range from −7.49 to −10.5‰ (vs V-PDB), and the smallest value −13.9‰ corresponds the coatings found between two buried soil horizons which 14C dates are 4.6 and 5.2 kyr BP. That may indicate cooler conditions of late Holocene than nowadays. In Sayanogorsk carbonates’ δ18O range is from −8.3 to −11.1‰ and near the Hankul Lake is from −9.0 to −10.2‰ all ranges are quite similar and may indicate coatings’ uniform formation conditions. δ13C values of carbonate coatings in Kazanovka vary from −2.5 to −6.7‰, the highest values correspond to the soils of Askiz and Syglygkug rivers former floodplains. For Sayanogorsk the range is from −4.9 to −6.8‰ and for Hankul from −2.3 to −5.7‰, where the highest value is for the modern salt crust. δ13C values of coatings strongly decrease from inner (older) to outer (younger) layers of coatings, that can indicate differences connected with the diffusion of organic material. Carbonate parent material δ18O value in the region vary from −11.1 to −12.0‰ and δ13C values vary from −4.9 to −5.7‰. Soil pore water δ18O values that determine the oxygen isotope composition of carbonates vary due to the processes of transpiration and mixing in the studied sites in a wide range of −2.0 to −13.5‰ (vs V-SMOW). Precipitation waters show δ18O values from -6.6‰ in May and -19.0‰ in January (snow) due to the temperature difference. The main conclusions are as follows: pedogenic carbonates δ13C values (−7…−2,5‰) show no correlation with modern C3 vegetation δ13C values (−30…−26‰), expected values under such vegetation are (−19…−15‰) but are closer to C4 vegetation. Late Holocene climate for the Minusinsk Hollow according to obtained data on isotope composition of carbonates and soil pore water chemical composition was dryer and cooler than present, that does not contradict with paleocarpology data obtained for the region. The research was supported by Russian Science Foundation (grant №14-27-00083).
Gas-Phase Noncovalent Functionalization of Pristine Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes with 3D Metal(II) Phthalocyanines
Noncovalent nanohybrid materials combining carbon nanotubes (CNTs) with phthalocyanines (Pcs) is a subject of increasing research effort, with a particular emphasis on the design of new heterogeneous catalysts, efficient organic photovoltaic cells, lithium batteries, gas sensors, field effect transistors, among other possible applications. The possibility of using unsubstituted Pcs for CNT functionalization is very attractive due to their very moderate cost and easy commercial availability. However, unfortunately, the deposition of unsubstituted Pcs onto nanotube sidewalls through the traditional liquid-phase protocols turns to be very problematic due to extremely poor solubility of Pcs. On the other hand, unsubstituted free-base H₂Pc phthalocyanine ligand, as well as many of its transition metal complexes, exhibit very high thermal stability and considerable volatility under reduced pressure, which opens the possibility for their physical vapor deposition onto solid surfaces, including nanotube sidewalls. In the present work, we show the possibility of simple, fast and efficient noncovalent functionalization of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) with a series of 3d metal(II) phthalocyanines Me(II)Pc, where Me= Co, Ni, Cu, and Zn. The functionalization can be performed in a temperature range of 400-500 °C under moderate vacuum and requires about 2-3 h only. The functionalized materials obtained were characterized by means of Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR), Raman, UV-visible and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS), scanning and transmission electron microscopy (SEM and TEM, respectively) and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). TGA suggested that Me(II)Pc weight content is 30%, 17% and 35% for NiPc, CuPc, and ZnPc, respectively (CoPc exhibited anomalous thermal decomposition behavior). The above values are consistent with those estimated from EDS spectra, namely, of 24-39%, 27-36% and 27-44% for CoPc, CuPc, and ZnPc, respectively. A strong increase in intensity of D band in the Raman spectra of SWNT‒Me(II)Pc hybrids, as compared to that of pristine nanotubes, implies very strong interactions between Pc molecules and SWNT sidewalls. Very high absolute values of binding energies of 32.46-37.12 kcal/mol and the highest occupied and lowest unoccupied molecular orbital (HOMO and LUMO, respectively) distribution patterns, calculated with density functional theory by using Perdew-Burke-Ernzerhof general gradient approximation correlation functional in combination with the Grimme’s empirical dispersion correction (PBE-D) and the double numerical basis set (DNP), also suggested that the interactions between Me(II) phthalocyanines and nanotube sidewalls are very strong. The authors thank the National Autonomous University of Mexico (grant DGAPA-IN200516) and the National Council of Science and Technology of Mexico (CONACYT, grant 250655) for financial support. The authors are also grateful to Dr. Natalia Alzate-Carvajal (CCADET of UNAM), Eréndira Martínez (IF of UNAM) and Iván Puente-Lee (Faculty of Chemistry of UNAM) for technical assistance with FTIR, TGA measurements, and TEM imaging, respectively.
Probability Modeling and Genetic Algorithms in Small Wind Turbine Design Optimization: Mentored Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Research at LaGuardia Community College
This presentation is a progress report on a faculty-student research collaboration at CUNY LaGuardia Community College (LaGCC) aimed at designing a small horizontal axis wind turbine optimized for the wind patterns on the roof of our campus. Our project combines statistical and engineering research. Our wind modeling protocol is based upon a recent wind study by a faculty-student research group at MIT, and some of our blade design methods are adopted from a senior engineering project at CUNY City College. Our use of genetic algorithms has been inspired by the work on small wind turbines’ design by David Wood. We combine these diverse approaches in our interdisciplinary project in a way that has not been done before and improve upon certain techniques used by our predecessors. We employ several estimation methods to determine the best fitting parametric probability distribution model for the local wind speed data obtained through correlating short-term on-site measurements with a long-term time series at the nearby airport. The model serves as a foundation for engineering research that focuses on adapting and implementing genetic algorithms (GAs) to engineering optimization of the wind turbine design using Blade Element Momentum Theory. GAs are used to create new airfoils with desirable aerodynamic specifications. Small scale models of best performing designs are 3D printed and tested in the wind tunnel to verify the accuracy of relevant calculations. Genetic algorithms are applied to selected airfoils to determine the blade design (radial cord and pitch distribution) that would optimize the coefficient of power profile of the turbine. Our approach improves upon the traditional blade design methods in that it lets us dispense with assumptions necessary to simplify the system of Blade Element Momentum Theory equations, thus resulting in more accurate aerodynamic performance calculations. Furthermore, it enables us to design blades optimized for a whole range of wind speeds rather than a single value. Lastly, we improve upon known GA-based methods in that our algorithms are constructed to work with XFoil generated airfoils data which enables us to optimize blades using our own high glide ratio airfoil designs, without having to rely upon available empirical data from existing airfoils, such as NACA series. Beyond its immediate goal, this ongoing project serves as a training and selection platform for CUNY Research Scholars Program (CRSP) through its annual Aerodynamics and Wind Energy Research Seminar (AWERS), an undergraduate summer research boot camp, designed to introduce prospective researchers to the relevant theoretical background and methodology, get them up to speed with the current state of our research, and test their abilities and commitment to the program. Furthermore, several aspects of the research (e.g., writing code for 3D printing of airfoils) are adapted in the form of classroom research activities to enhance Calculus sequence instruction at LaGCC.