Open Science Research Excellence

Open Science Index

Commenced in January 2007 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Paper Count: 695

A Study of Growth Performance, Carcass Characteristic, Meat Quality and Association of Polymorphism in the ApoVLDL-II Gene with Fat Accumulation in the Female Broiler, Thai Native and Betong Chickens (KU Line)

Both Betong chicken (KU Line) and Thai Native chickens were the high quality of the meat and low carcass fat compared to broiler chickens. The objective of this study was to determine the growth performance, carcass characteristic, meat quality and association of polymorphism in the ApoVLDL-II gene with fat accumulation in the female broiler, Thai Native and Betong (KU line) chickens at 4-14 weeks. The chickens were used and reared under the same environment and management (100 chicks per breed). The results showed that body weight (BW) of broiler chickens was significantly higher than Thai Native and Betong (KU line) chickens (P < 0.01) through all the experiment. At 4-8 weeks of age, feed conversion ratio (FCR) of broiler chickens was significantly better than Thai Native and Betong (KU line) chickens (P < 0.01), then increased at week 8-14. The percentage of breast, abdominal fat and subcutaneous fat of broiler chickens was significantly greater than Thai Native and Betong (KU line) chickens (P < 0.01). However, Thai Native chickens showed the highest percentage of liver (P < 0.01) when compared to other breeds. In addition, the percentage of wing of Thai Native and Betong (KU line) chickens were significantly (P < 0.01) higher than broiler chickens. Meat quality was also determined and found that, pH of breast meat left from slaughter 45 minutes (pH45) and 24 hours (pH24) of broiler was significantly higher than Thai Native and Betong (KU line) (P < 0.01) whereas the percentage of drip loss, thawing loss, cooking loss and shear force was not significantly different between breeds. The polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) technique was used to genotype the polymorphism in the ApoVLDL-II gene in the broiler, Thai Native and Betong (KU line) chickens. The results found that, the polymorphism in the ApoVLDL-II gene at VLDL6 loci was not associated with fat accumulation in those studied population.

Effect of Fatty Acids in Feed on Levels of Antibody Titers and CD4 and CD8 T-Lymphocyte against Newcastle Disease Virus of Vaccinated Broiler Chicken

400 one-day-old male broiler chicks (Ross-308) randomly divided to 2 main groups, 1st main group (GA) was feeding basal diet with medium chain fatty acid (MCFA) at rate of 0.15% and divided to four subgroups, 3 subgroups vaccinated with different routes with Newcastle Disease Virus (NDV) and non-vaccinated group. The 2nd main group (GB) feeding basal diet without MCFA and divided the same as 1st main group. The parameters used in this study included: ND antibody titers at 1, 10, 21, 28, 35 and 42 days of age and values of CD4 and CD8 at 1, 20, 30 and 42 days of age. This experiment detected increase in ND antibodies titers in (G1, G2, G3) groups were fed on basal diet MCFA comparing to groups were fed without adding MCFA (G5, G6, G7) and control groups (G4, G8). The results of cellular immune response (CD4 and CD8) T-cells in broiler chicks indicated that there was obviously significant relationship between dietary Fatty Acid (FA) versus the diet without FA on the level of CD4 parameter, for the entire experimental period. The effect of different ages was statistically significant in creating different values of CD4 level, whereas the CD4 level decreases markedly with age. However, analyzing the data of different vaccination methods, oculonasal method of vaccination led to the highest value of CD4 compared with the oral, S/C and control groups. There were statistical differences in CD8 values due to supplementation of FA versus the basal diet and due to the effect of different age periods. As for the age effect, the CD8 value at 20 days of age was significantly higher than at 42 and 30 days.

Numerical Investigations on Group Piles’ Lateral Bearing Capacity Considering Interaction of Soil and Structure

In this research, the behavior of monopiles, under lateral loads, was investigated with vertical and oblique piles by Finite Element Method. In engineering practice when soil-pile interaction comes to the picture some simplifications are applied to reduce the design time. As a simplified replacement of soil and pile interaction analysis, pile could be replaced by a column. The height of the column would be equal to the free length of the pile plus a portion of the embedded length of it. One of the important factors studied in this study was that columns with an equivalent length (free length plus a part of buried depth) could be used instead of soil and pile modeling. The results of the analysis show that the more internal friction angle of the soil increases, the more the bearing capacity of the soil is achieved. This additional length is 6 to 11 times of the pile diameter in dense soil although in loose sandy soil this range might increase.

A 1H NMR-Linked PCR Modelling Strategy for Tracking the Fatty Acid Sources of Aldehydic Lipid Oxidation Products in Culinary Oils Exposed to Simulated Shallow-Frying Episodes

Objectives/Hypotheses: The adverse health effect potential of dietary lipid oxidation products (LOPs) has evoked much clinical interest. Therefore, we employed a 1H NMR-linked Principal Component Regression (PCR) chemometrics modelling strategy to explore relationships between data matrices comprising (1) aldehydic LOP concentrations generated in culinary oils/fats when exposed to laboratory-simulated shallow frying practices, and (2) the prior saturated (SFA), monounsaturated (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) contents of such frying media (FM), together with their heating time-points at a standard frying temperature (180 oC). Methods: Corn, sunflower, extra virgin olive, rapeseed, linseed, canola, coconut and MUFA-rich algae frying oils, together with butter and lard, were heated according to laboratory-simulated shallow-frying episodes at 180 oC, and FM samples were collected at time-points of 0, 5, 10, 20, 30, 60, and 90 min. (n = 6 replicates per sample). Aldehydes were determined by 1H NMR analysis (Bruker AV 400 MHz spectrometer). The first (dependent output variable) PCR data matrix comprised aldehyde concentration scores vectors (PC1* and PC2*), whilst the second (predictor) one incorporated those from the fatty acid content/heating time variables (PC1-PC4) and their first-order interactions. Results: Structurally complex trans,trans- and cis,trans-alka-2,4-dienals, 4,5-epxy-trans-2-alkenals and 4-hydroxy-/4-hydroperoxy-trans-2-alkenals (group I aldehydes predominantly arising from PUFA peroxidation) strongly and positively loaded on PC1*, whereas n-alkanals and trans-2-alkenals (group II aldehydes derived from both MUFA and PUFA hydroperoxides) strongly and positively loaded on PC2*. PCR analysis of these scores vectors (SVs) demonstrated that PCs 1 (positively-loaded linoleoylglycerols and [linoleoylglycerol]:[SFA] content ratio), 2 (positively-loaded oleoylglycerols and negatively-loaded SFAs), 3 (positively-loaded linolenoylglycerols and [PUFA]:[SFA] content ratios), and 4 (exclusively orthogonal sampling time-points) all powerfully contributed to aldehydic PC1* SVs (p 10-3 to < 10-9), as did all PC1-3 x PC4 interaction ones (p 10-5 to < 10-9). PC2* was also markedly dependent on all the above PC SVs (PC2 > PC1 and PC3), and the interactions of PC1 and PC2 with PC4 (p < 10-9 in each case), but not the PC3 x PC4 contribution. Conclusions: NMR-linked PCR analysis is a valuable strategy for (1) modelling the generation of aldehydic LOPs in heated cooking oils and other FM, and (2) tracking their unsaturated fatty acid (UFA) triacylglycerol sources therein.

An Implementation of Fuzzy Logic Technique for Prediction of the Power Transformer Faults

Power transformers are the most crucial part of power electrical system, distribution and transmission grid. This part is maintained using predictive or condition-based maintenance approach. The diagnosis of power transformer condition is performed based on Dissolved Gas Analysis (DGA). There are five main methods utilized for analyzing these gases. These methods are International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) gas ratio, Key Gas, Roger gas ratio, Doernenburg, and Duval Triangle. Moreover, due to the importance of the transformers, there is a need for an accurate technique to diagnose and hence predict the transformer condition. The main objective of this technique is to avoid the transformer faults and hence to maintain the power electrical system, distribution and transmission grid. In this paper, the DGA was utilized based on the data collected from the transformer records available in the General Electricity Company of Libya (GECOL) which is located in Benghazi-Libya. The Fuzzy Logic (FL) technique was implemented as a diagnostic approach based on IEC gas ratio method. The FL technique gave better results and approved to be used as an accurate prediction technique for power transformer faults. Also, this technique is approved to be a quite interesting for the readers and the concern researchers in the area of FL mathematics and power transformer.

Prediction of the Lateral Bearing Capacity of Short Piles in Clayey Soils Using Imperialist Competitive Algorithm-Based Artificial Neural Networks

Prediction of the ultimate bearing capacity of piles (Qu) is one of the basic issues in geotechnical engineering. So far, several methods have been used to estimate Qu, including the recently developed artificial intelligence methods. In recent years, optimization algorithms have been used to minimize artificial network errors, such as colony algorithms, genetic algorithms, imperialist competitive algorithms, and so on. In the present research, artificial neural networks based on colonial competition algorithm (ANN-ICA) were used, and their results were compared with other methods. The results of laboratory tests of short piles in clayey soils with parameters such as pile diameter, pile buried length, eccentricity of load and undrained shear resistance of soil were used for modeling and evaluation. The results showed that ICA-based artificial neural networks predicted lateral bearing capacity of short piles with a correlation coefficient of 0.9865 for training data and 0.975 for test data. Furthermore, the results of the model indicated the superiority of ICA-based artificial neural networks compared to back-propagation artificial neural networks as well as the Broms and Hansen methods.

Critical Heights of Sloped Unsupported Trenches in Unsaturated Sand

Workers are often required to enter unsupported trenches during the construction process, which may present serious risks. Trench failures can result in death or damage to adjacent properties, therefore trenches should be excavated with extreme precaution. Excavation work is often done in unsaturated soils, where the critical height (i.e. maximum depth that can be excavated without failure) of unsupported trenches can be more reliably estimated by considering the influence of matric suction. In this study, coupled stress/pore-water pressure analyses are conducted to investigate the critical height of sloped unsupported trenches considering the influence of pore-water pressure redistribution caused by excavating. Four different wall slopes (1.5V:1H, 2V:1H, 3V:1H, and 90°) and a vertical trench with the top 0.3 m sloped 1:1 were considered in the analyses with multiple depths of the ground water table in a sand. For comparison, the critical heights were also estimated using the limit equilibrium method for the same excavation scenarios used in the coupled analyses.

Experimental Evaluation of 10 Ecotypes of Toxic and Non-Toxic Jatropha curcas as Raw Material to Produce Biodiesel in Morelos State, Mexico

Jatropha curcas is a perennial oleaginous plant that is currently considered an energy crop with high potential as an environmentally sustainable biofuel. During the last decades, research in biofuels has grown in tropical and subtropical regions in Latin America. However, as far we know, there are no reports on the growth and yield patterns of Jatropha curcas under the specific agro climatic scenarios of the State of Morelos, Mexico. This study presents the results of 52 months monitoring of 10 toxic and non-toxic ecotypes of Jatropha curcas (E1M, E2M, E3M, E4M, E5M, E6O, E7O, E8O, E9C, E10C) in an experimental plantation with minimum watering and fertilization resources. The main objective is to identify the ecotypes with the highest potential as biodiesel raw material in the select region, by developing experimental information. Specifically, we monitored biophysical and growth parameters, including plant survival and seed production (at the end of month 52), to study the performance of each ecotype and to establish differences among the variables of morphological growth, net seed oil content, and toxicity. To analyze the morphological growth, a statistical approach to the biophysical parameters was used; the net seed oil content -80 to 192 kg/ha- was estimated with the first harvest; and the toxicity was evaluated by examining the phorbol ester concentration (µg/L) in the oil extracted from the seeds. The comparison and selection of ecotypes was performed through a methodology developed based on the normalization of results. We identified four outstanding ecotypes (E1M, E2M, E3M, and E4M) that can be used to establish Jatropha curcas as energy crops in the state of Morelos for feasible agro-industrial production of biodiesel and other products related to the use of biomass.

A Preliminary Study on Factors Determining the Success of High Conservation Value Area in Oil Palm Plantations

High Conservation Value (HCV) is an area with conservation function within oil palm plantation. Despite the important role of HCV area in biodiversity conservation and various studies on HCV, there was a lack of research studying the factors determining its success. A preliminary study was conducted to identify the determinant factor of HCV that affected the diversity. Line transect method was used to calculate the species diversity of butterfly, birds, mammals, and herpetofauna species as well as their richness. Specifically for mammals, camera traps were also used. The research sites comprised of 12 HCV areas in 3 provinces of Indonesia (Central Kalimantan, Riau, and Palembang). The relationship between the HCV biophysical factor with the species number and species diversity for each wildlife class was identified using Chi-Square analysis with Cross tab (contingency table). Results of the study revealed that species diversity varied by research locations. Four factors determining the success of HCV area in relations to the number and diversity of wildlife species are land cover types for mammals, the width of area and distance to rivers for birds, and distance to settlements for butterflies.

The Effect of Curing Temperature and Rice Husk Ash Addition on the Behaviour of Sulfate-Rich Clay after Lime Stabilization

In the western region of Paraguay, the poor condition of the roads has negatively affected the development of this zone, where the absence of petrous material has led engineers to opt for the stabilization of soils with lime or cement as the main structure for bases and subbases of these roads. In several areas of this region, high sulfate contents have been found both in groundwater and in soils, which, when reacted with lime or cement, generate a new problem instead of solving it. On the other hand, the use of industrial waste as granulated slag and fly ash proved to be a sustainable practice widely used in the manufacture of cement, and now also, in the stabilization of soils worldwide. Works related to soils containing sulfates stabilized either with granulated slag or fly ash and lime shown a good performance in their mechanical behaviour. This research seeks to evaluate the mechanical behaviour of soils with high contents of sulfates stabilized with lime by curing them both, at the normalized temperature (23 ± 2 °C) and at 40 ± 2 °C. Moreover, it attempts to asses if the addition of rice husk ash has a positive influence on the new geomaterial. The 40 ± 2 °C curing temperature was selected trying to simulate the average local temperature in summer and part of spring session whereas rice husk ash is an affordable waste produced in the region. An extensive experimental work, which includes unconfined compression, durability and free swell tests were carried out considering different dry unit weights, lime content and the addition of 20% of rice husk ash. The results showed that the addition of rice husk ash increases the resistance and durability of the material and decreases the expansion of this, moreover, the specimens cured at a temperature of 40 ± 2 °C showed higher resistance, better durability and lower expansion compared to those cured at the normalized temperature of 23 ± 2 °C.

Multiphase Flow Regime Detection Algorithm for Gas-Liquid Interface Using Ultrasonic Pulse-Echo Technique
Efficiency of the cooling process for cryogenic propellant boiling in engine cooling channels on space applications is relentlessly affected by the phase change occurs during the boiling. The effectiveness of the cooling process strongly pertains to the type of the boiling regime such as nucleate and film. Geometric constraints like a non-transparent cooling channel unable to use any of visualization methods. The ultrasonic (US) technique as a non-destructive method (NDT) has therefore been applied almost in every engineering field for different purposes. Basically, the discontinuities emerge between mediums like boundaries among different phases. The sound wave emitted by the US transducer is both transmitted and reflected through a gas-liquid interface which makes able to detect different phases. Due to the thermal and structural concerns, it is impractical to sustain a direct contact between the US transducer and working fluid. Hence the transducer should be located outside of the cooling channel which results in additional interfaces and creates ambiguities on the applicability of the present method. In this work, an exploratory research is prompted so as to determine detection ability and applicability of the US technique on the cryogenic boiling process for a cooling cycle where the US transducer is taken place outside of the channel. Boiling of the cryogenics is a complex phenomenon which mainly brings several hindrances for experimental protocol because of thermal properties. Thus substitute materials are purposefully selected based on such parameters to simplify experiments. Aside from that, nucleate and film boiling regimes emerging during the boiling process are simply simulated using non-deformable stainless steel balls, air-bubble injection apparatuses and air clearances instead of conducting a real-time boiling process. A versatile detection algorithm is perennially developed concerning exploratory studies afterward. According to the algorithm developed, the phases can be distinguished 99% as no-phase, air-bubble, and air-film presences. The results show the detection ability and applicability of the US technique for an exploratory purpose.
Heavy Metal Reduction in Plant Using Soil Amendment
This study investigated the influence of limestone and sepiolite on heavy metals accumulation in the soil and soybean. The soil was synthesized to contaminate with zinc 150 mg/kg, copper 100 mg/kg, and cadmium 1 mg/kg. The contaminated soil was mixed with limestone and sepiolite at the ratio of 1:0, 0:1, 1:1, and 2:1. The amount of soil modifier added to soil was 0.2%, 0.4%, and 0.8%. The metals determination was performed on soil both before and after soybean planting and in the root, shoot, and seed of soybean after harvesting. The study was also on metal translocate from root to seed and on bioaccumulation factor. Using of limestone and sepiolite resulted in a reduction of metals accumulated in soybean. For soil containing a high concentration of copper, cadmium, and zinc, a mixture of limestone and sepiolite (1:1) was recommended to mix with soil with the amount of 0.2%. Zinc could translocate from root to seed more than copper, and cadmium. From studying the movement of metals from soil to accumulate in soybean, the result was that soybean could absorb the highest amount of cadmium, followed by zinc, and copper, respectively.
Surface Pressure Distribution of a Flapped-Airfoil for Different Momentum Injection at the Leading Edge

The aim of the research work is to modify the NACA 4215 airfoil with flap and rotary cylinder at the leading edge of the airfoil and experimentally study the static pressure distribution over the airfoil completed with flap and leading-edge vortex generator. In this research, NACA 4215 wing model has been constructed by generating the profile geometry using the standard equations and design software such as AutoCAD and SolidWorks. To perform the experiment, three wooden models are prepared and tested in subsonic wind tunnel. The experiments were carried out in various angles of attack. Flap angle and momentum injection rate are changed to observe the characteristics of pressure distribution. In this research, a new concept of flow separation control mechanism has been introduced to improve the aerodynamic characteristics of airfoil. Control of flow separation over airfoil which experiences a vortex generator (rotating cylinder) at the leading edge of airfoil is experimentally simulated under the effects of momentum injection. The experimental results show that the flow separation control is possible by the proposed mechanism, and benefits can be achieved by momentum injection technique. The wing performance is significantly improved due to control of flow separation by momentum injection method.

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

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

Indigenous Dayak People’s Perceptions of Wildlife Loss and Gain Related to Oil Palm Development

Controversies surrounding the impacts of oil palm plantations have resulted in some heated debates, especially concerning biodiversity loss and indigenous people well-being. The indigenous people of Dayak generally used wildlife to fulfill their daily needs thus were assumed to have experienced negative impacts due to oil palm developments within and surrounding their settlement areas. This study was conducted to identify the characteristics of the Dayak community settled around an oil palm plantation, to determine their perceptions of wildlife loss or gain as the results of the development of oil palm plantations, and to identify the determinant characteristic of the perceptions. The research was conducted on March 2018 in Nanga Tayap and Tajok Kayong Villages, which were located around the oil palm plantation of NTYE of Ketapang, West Kalimantan-Indonesia. Data were collected through in depth-structured interview, using closed and semi-open questionnaires and three-scale Likert statements. Interviews were conducted with 74 respondents using accidental sampling, and categorized into respondents who were dependent on oil palm for their livelihoods and those who were not. Data were analyzed using quantitative statistics method, Likert Scale, Chi-Square Test, Spearman Test, and Mann-Whitney Test. The research found that the indigenous Dayak people were aware of wildlife species loss and gain since the establishment of the plantation. Nevertheless, wildlife loss did not affect their social, economic, and cultural needs since they could find substitutions. It was found that prior to the plantation’s development, the local Dayak communities were already slowly experiencing some livelihood transitions through local village development. The only determinant characteristic of the community that influenced their perceptions of wildlife loss/gain was level of education.

Determination of Soil Loss by Erosion in Different Land Covers Categories and Slope Classes in Bovilla Watershed, Tirana, Albania

As a sediment production mechanism, soil erosion is the main environmental threat to the Bovilla watershed, including the decline of water quality of the Bovilla reservoir that provides drinking water to Tirana city (the capital of Albania). Therefore, an experiment with 25 erosion plots for soil erosion monitoring has been set up since June 2017. The aim was to determine the soil loss on plot and watershed scale in Bovilla watershed (Tirana region) for implementation of soil and water protection measures or payments for ecosystem services (PES) programs. The results of erosion monitoring for the period June 2017 - May 2018 showed that the highest values of surface runoff were noted in bare land of 38829.91 liters on slope of 74% and the lowest values in forest land of 12840.6 liters on slope of 64% while the highest values of soil loss were found in bare land of 595.15 t/ha on slope of 62% and lowest values in forest land of 18.99 t/ha on slope of 64%. These values are much higher than the average rate of soil loss in the European Union (2.46 ton/ha/year). In the same sloping class, the soil loss was reduced from orchard or bare land to the forest land, and in the same category of land use, the soil loss increased with increasing land slope. It is necessary to conduct chemical analyses of sediments to determine the amount of chemical elements leached out of the soil and end up in the reservoir of Bovilla. It is concluded that PES programs should be implemented for rehabilitation of sub-watersheds Ranxe, Vilez and Zall-Bastar of the Bovilla watershed with valuable conservation practices.

The Use of Microorganisms in the Bioleaching of Soils Polluted with Heavy Metals

This paper shows researches in order to extract Cr, Cu and Ni from the polluted soils. Research is based on preliminary studies regarding the usage of Thiobacillus ferrooxidans bacterium (9K medium) for bioleaching of soil polluted with heavy metal (Cu, Cr and Ni). The microorganisms (Thiobacillus ferooxidans) selected directly from polluted soil samples were used in this experimental work. Soil samples used in the experimental research were taken from an area polluted with heavy metals from Romania. The soil samples are subjected to the cleaning process using the 9K medium solution (20 mL and 40 mL, respectively), stirred 200 rpm for 20 hours at a controlled temperature (30 ˚C). During the experiment (0, 2, 4, 8 and 20 h), liquid samples have been extracted and analyzed using the Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer AA-6800 (AAS) in order to determine the Cr, Cu and Ni concentration. Experiments led to the conclusion that these soils can be depolluted by bioleaching, being a biological treatment method involving the use of microorganisms to favor the extraction of Cr, Cu and Ni from polluted soils.

A Risk Assessment for the Small Hive Beetle Based on Meteorological Standard Measurements

The Small Hive Beetle, Aethina tumida (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae) is a parasite for honey bee colonies, Apis mellifera, and was recently introduced to the European continent, accidentally. Based on the literature, a model was developed by using regional meteorological variables (daily values of minimum, maximum and mean air temperature as well as mean soil temperature at 50 mm depth) to calculate the time-point of hive invasion by A. tumida in springtime, the development duration of pupae as well as the number of generations of A. tumida per year. Luxembourg was used as a test region for our model for 2005 to 2013. The model output indicates a successful surviving of the Small Hive Beetle in Luxembourg with two up to three generations per year. Additionally, based on our meteorological data sets a first migration of SHB to apiaries can be expected from mid of March up to April. Our approach can be transferred easily to other countries to estimate the risk potential for a successful introduction and spreading of A. tumida in Western Europe.

A Small-Scale Flexible Test Bench for the Investigation of Fertigation Strategies in Soilless Culture
In soilless culture, the management of the nutrient solution is the most important aspect for crop growing. Fertigation dose, frequency and nutrient concentration must be planned with the objective of reaching an optimal crop growth by limiting the utilized resources and the associated costs. The definition of efficient fertigation strategies is a complex problem since fertigation requirements vary on the basis of different factors, and crops are sensitive to small variations on fertigation parameters. To the best of author knowledge, a small-scale test bench that is flexible for both nutrient solution preparation and precise irrigation is currently missing, limiting the investigations in standard practices for soilless culture. Starting from the analysis of the state of the art, this paper proposes a small-scale system that is potentially able to concurrently test different fertigation strategies. The system will be designed and implemented throughout a three year project started on August 2018. However, due to the importance of the topic within current challenges as food security and climate change, this work is spread considering that may inspire other universities and organizations.
Mixed Convection Heat Transfer of Copper Oxide-Heat Transfer Oil Nanofluid in Vertical Tube

In this paper, experiments were conducted to investigate the heat transfer of Copper Oxide-Heat Transfer Oil (CuO-HTO) nanofluid laminar flow in vertical smooth and microfin tubes as the surface temperature is constant. The effect of adding the nanoparticle to base fluid and Richardson number on the heat transfer enhancement is investigated as Richardson number increases from 0.1 to 0.7. The experimental results demonstrate that the combined forced-natural convection heat transfer rate may be improved significantly with an increment of mass nanoparticle concentration from 0% to 1.5%. In this experiment, a correlation is also proposed to predict the mixed convection heat transfer rate of CuO-HTO nanofluid flow. The maximum deviation of both correlations is less than 14%. Moreover, a correlation is presented to estimate the Nusselt number inside vertical smooth and microfin tubes as Rayleigh number is between 2´105 and 6.8´106 with the maximum deviation of 12%.

Using GIS and Map Data for the Analysis of the Relationship between Soil and Groundwater Quality at Saline Soil Area of Kham Sakaesaeng District, Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand
The study area is Kham Sakaesaeng District in Nakhon Ratchasima Province, the south section of Northeastern Thailand, located in the Lower Khorat-Ubol Basin. This region is the one of saline soil area, located in a dry plateau and regularly experience standing with periods of floods and alternating with periods of drought. Especially, the drought in the summer season causes the major saline soil and saline water problems of this region. The general cause of dry land salting resulted from salting on irrigated land, and an excess of water leading to the rising water table in the aquifer. The purpose of this study is to determine the relationship of physical and chemical properties between the soil and groundwater. The soil and groundwater samples were collected in both rainy and summer seasons. The content of pH, electrical conductivity (EC), total dissolved solids (TDS), chloride and salinity were investigated. The experimental result of soil and groundwater samples show the slightly pH less than 7, EC (186 to 8,156 us/cm and 960 to 10,712 us/cm), TDS (93 to 3,940 ppm and 480 to 5,356 ppm), chloride content (45.58 to 4,177,015 mg/l and 227.90 to 9,216,736 mg/l), and salinity (0.07 to 4.82 ppt and 0.24 to 14.46 ppt) in the rainy and summer seasons, respectively. The distribution of chloride content and salinity content were interpolated and displayed as a map by using ArcMap 10.3 program, according to the season. The result of saline soil and brined groundwater in the study area were related to the low-lying topography, drought area, and salt-source exposure. Especially, the Rock Salt Member of Maha Sarakham Formation was exposed or lies near the ground surface in this study area. During the rainy season, salt was eroded or weathered from the salt-source rock formation and transported by surface flow or leached into the groundwater. In the dry season, the ground surface is dry enough resulting salt precipitates from the brined surface water or rises from the brined groundwater influencing the increasing content of chloride and salinity in the ground surface and groundwater.
Poultry Manure and Its Derived Biochar as a Soil Amendment for Newly Reclaimed Sandy Soils under Arid and Semi-Arid Conditions

Sandy soils under arid and semi-arid conditions are characterized by poor physical and biochemical properties such as low water retention, rapid organic matter decomposition, low nutrients use efficiency, and limited crop productivity. Addition of organic amendments is crucial to develop soil properties and consequently enhance nutrients use efficiency and lessen organic carbon decomposition. Two years field experiments were developed to investigate the feasibility of using poultry manure and its derived biochar integrated with different levels of N fertilizer as a soil amendment for newly reclaimed sandy soils in Western Desert of El-Minia Governorate, Egypt. Results of this research revealed that poultry manure and its derived biochar addition induced pronounced effects on soil moisture content at saturation point, field capacity (FC) and consequently available water. Data showed that application of poultry manure (PM) or PM-derived biochar (PMB) in combination with inorganic N levels had caused significant changes on a range of the investigated sandy soil biochemical properties including pH, EC, mineral N, dissolved organic carbon (DOC), dissolved organic N (DON) and quotient DOC/DON. Overall, the impact of PMB on soil physical properties was detected to be superior than the impact of PM, regardless the inorganic N levels. In addition, the obtained results showed that PM and PM application had the capacity to stimulate vigorous growth, nutritional status, production levels of wheat and sorghum, and to increase soil organic matter content and N uptake and recovery compared to control. By contrast, comparing between PM and PMB at different levels of inorganic N, the obtained results showed higher relative increases in both grain and straw yields of wheat in plots treated with PM than in those treated with PMB. The interesting feature of this research is that the biochar derived from PM increased treated sandy soil organic carbon (SOC) 1.75 times more than soil treated with PM itself at the end of cropping seasons albeit double-applied amount of PM. This was attributed to the higher carbon stability of biochar treated sandy soils increasing soil persistence for carbon decomposition in comparison with PM labile carbon. It could be concluded that organic manures applied to sandy soils under arid and semi-arid conditions are subjected to high decomposition and mineralization rates through crop seasons. Biochar derived from organic wastes considers as a source of stable carbon and could be very hopeful choice for substituting easily decomposable organic manures under arid conditions. Therefore, sustainable agriculture and productivity in newly reclaimed sandy soils desire one high rate addition of biochar derived from organic manures instead of frequent addition of such organic amendments.

Investigation of Effective Parameters on Pullout Capacity in Soil Nailing with Special Attention to International Design Codes

An important and influential factor in design and determining the safety factor in Soil Nailing is the ultimate pullout capacity, or, in other words, bond strength. This important parameter depends on several factors such as material and soil texture, method of implementation, excavation diameter, friction angle between the nail and the soil, grouting pressure, the nail depth (overburden pressure), the angle of drilling and the degree of saturation in soil. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), a customary regulation in the design of nailing, is considered only the effect of the soil type (or rock) and the method of implementation in determining the bond strength, which results in non-economic design. The other regulations are each of a kind, some of the parameters affecting bond resistance are not taken into account. Therefore, in the present paper, at first the relationships and tables presented by several valid regulations are presented for estimating the ultimate pullout capacity, and then the effect of several important factors affecting on ultimate Pullout capacity are studied. Finally, it was determined, the effect of overburden pressure (in method of injection with pressure), soil dilatation and roughness of the drilling surface on pullout strength is incremental, and effect of degree of soil saturation on pullout strength to a certain degree of saturation is increasing and then decreasing. therefore it is better to get help from nail pullout-strength test results and numerical modeling to evaluate the effect of parameters such as overburden pressure, dilatation, and degree of soil saturation, and so on to reach an optimal and economical design.

Numerical Investigation of Soft Clayey Soil Improved by Soil-Cement Columns under Harmonic Load

Deep soil mixing is one of the improvement methods in geotechnical engineering which is widely used in soft soils. This article investigates the consolidation behavior of a soft clay soil which is improved by soil-cement column (SCC) by numerical modeling using Plaxis2D program. This behavior is simulated under vertical static and cyclic load which is applied on the soil surface. The static load problem is the simulation of a physical model test in an axisymmetric condition which uses a single SCC in the model center. The results of numerical modeling consist of settlement of soft soil composite, stress on soft soil and column, and excessive pore water pressure in the soil show a good correspondence with the test results. The response of soft soil composite to the cyclic load in vertical direction also compared with the static results. Also the effects of two variables namely the cement content used in a SCC and the area ratio (the ratio of the diameter of SCC to the diameter of composite soil model, a) is investigated. The results show that the stress on the column with the higher value of a, is lesser compared with the stress on other columns. Different rate of consolidation and excessive pore pressure distribution is observed in cyclic load problem. Also comparing the results of settlement of soil shows higher compressibility in the cyclic load problem.

Numerical Evaluation of Lateral Bearing Capacity of Piles in Cement-Treated Soils

Soft soil is used in many of civil engineering projects like coastal, marine and road projects. Because of low shear strength and stiffness of soft soils, large settlement and low bearing capacity will occur under superstructure loads. This will make the civil engineering activities more difficult and costlier. In the case of soft soils, improvement is a suitable method to increase the shear strength and stiffness for engineering purposes. In recent years, the artificial cementation of soil by cement and lime has been extensively used for soft soil improvement. Cement stabilization is a well-established technique for improving soft soils. Artificial cementation increases the shear strength and hardness of the natural soils. On the other hand, in soft soils, the use of piles to transfer loads to the depths of ground is usual. By using cement treated soil around the piles, high bearing capacity and low settlement in piles can be achieved. In the present study, lateral bearing capacity of short piles in cemented soils is investigated by numerical approach. For this purpose, three dimensional (3D) finite difference software, FLAC 3D is used. Cement treated soil has a strain hardening-softening behavior, because of breaking of bonds between cement agent and soil particle. To simulate such behavior, strain hardening-softening soil constitutive model is used for cement treated soft soil. Additionally, conventional elastic-plastic Mohr Coulomb constitutive model and linear elastic model are used for stress-strain behavior of natural soils and pile. To determine the parameters of constitutive models and also for verification of numerical model, the results of available triaxial laboratory tests on and insitu loading of piles in cement treated soft soil are used. Different parameters are considered in parametric study to determine the effective parameters on the bearing of the piles on cemented treated soils. In the present paper, the effect of various length and height of the artificial cemented area, different diameter and length of the pile and the properties of the materials are studied. Also, the effect of choosing a constitutive model for cemented treated soils in the bearing capacity of the pile is investigated.

Numerical Investigation of Embankment Settlement Improved by Method of Preloading by Vertical Drains

Time dependent settlement due to loading on soft saturated soils produces many problems such as high consolidation settlements and low consolidation rates. Also, long term consolidation settlement of soft soil underlying the embankment leads to unpredicted settlements and cracks on soil surface. Preloading method is an effective improvement method to solve this problem. Using vertical drains in preloading method is an effective method for improving soft soils. Applying deep soil mixing method on soft soils is another effective method for improving soft soils. There are little studies on using two methods of preloading and deep soil mixing simultaneously. In this paper, the concurrent effect of preloading with deep soil mixing by vertical drains is investigated through a finite element code, Plaxis2D. The influence of parameters such as deep soil mixing columns spacing, existence of vertical drains and distance between them, on settlement and stability factor of safety of embankment embedded on soft soil is investigated in this research.

Effect of Core Puncture Diameter on Bio-Char Kiln Efficiency

Biochar has been used as a soil amendment since it has high porous structure and has proper nutrients and chemical properties for plants. Product yields produced from biochar kiln are dependent on process parameters and kiln types used. The objective of this research is to investigate the effect of core puncture diameter on biochar kiln efficiency, i.e., yields of biochar and produced gas. Corncobs were used as raw material to produce biochar. Briquettes from agricultural wastes were used as fuel. Each treatment was performed by changing the core puncture diameter. From the experiment, it is revealed that the yield of biochar at the core puncture diameter of 3.18 mm, 4.76 mm, and 6.35 mm was 10.62 wt. %, 24.12 wt. %, and 12.24 wt. %, of total solid yields, respectively. The yield of produced gas increased with increasing the core puncture diameter. The maximum percentage by weight of the yield of produced gas was 81.53 wt. % which was found at the core puncture diameter of 6.35 mm. The core puncture diameter was furthermore found to affect the temperature distribution inside the kiln and its thermal efficiency. In conclusion, the high efficient biochar kiln can be designed and constructed by using the proper core puncture diameter.

Impact of Herbicides on Soil Biology in Rapeseed
Winter oilseed rape, Brassica napus L., is characterized by a high number of herbicide applications. Therefore, its cultivation can lead to massive contamination of ground water and soil by herbicide and their metabolites. A multi-side long-term field experiment (EFFO, Efficient crop rotation) was set-up in Luxembourg to quantify these effects. Based on soil sampling and laboratory analysis, preliminary results showed reduced dehydrogenase activities of several soil organisms due to herbicide treatments. This effect is highly depending on the soil type. Relation between the dehydrogenase activity and the amount of microbial carbon showed higher variability on the test side with loamy Brown Earth, based on Bunter than on those with sandy-loamy Brown Earth, based on calciferous Sandstone.
Effect of Confinement on the Bearing Capacity and Settlement of Spread Foundations

Allowable-bearing capacity is the competency of soil to safely carries the pressure from the superstructure without experiencing a shear failure with accompanying excessive settlements. Ensuring a safe bearing pressure with respect to failure does not tolerate settlement of the foundation will be within acceptable limits. Therefore, settlement analysis should always be performed since most structures are settlement sensitive. When visualising the movement of a soil wedge in the bearing capacity criterion, both vertically and horizontally, it becomes clear that by confining the soil surrounding the foundation, both the bearing capacity and settlement values improve. In this study, two sizes of spread foundation were considered; (2×4) m and (3×5) m. These represent two real problem case studies of an existing building. The foundations were analysed in terms of dimension as well as position with respect to a confining wall (i.e., sheet piles on both sides). Assuming B is the least foundation dimension, the study comprised the analyses of three distances; (0.1 B), (0.5 B), and (0.75 B) between the sheet piles and foundations alongside three depths of confinement (0.5 B), (1 B), and (1.5 B). Nonlinear three-dimensional finite element analysis (ANSYS) was adopted to perform an analytical investigation on the behaviour of the two foundations contained by the case study. Results showed that confinement of foundations reduced the overall stresses near the foundation by 65% and reduced the vertical displacement by 90%. Moreover, the most effective distance between the confinement wall and the foundation was found to be 0.5 B.

Displacement Fields in Footing-Sand Interactions under Cyclic Loading

Soils are subjected to cyclic loading in situ in situations such as during earthquakes and in the compaction of pavements. Investigations on the local scale measurement of the displacements of the grain and failure patterns within the soil bed under the cyclic loading conditions are rather limited. In this paper, using the digital particle image velocimetry (DPIV), local scale displacement fields of a dense sand medium interacting with a rigid footing are measured under the plane-strain condition for two commonly used types of cyclic loading, and the quasi-static loading condition for the purposes of comparison. From the displacement measurements of the grains, the failure envelopes of the sand media are also presented. The results show that, the ultimate cyclic bearing capacity (qultcyc) occurred corresponding to a relatively higher settlement value when compared with that of under the quasi-static loading. For the sand media under the cyclic loading conditions considered here, the displacement fields in the soil media occurred more widely in the horizontal direction and less deeper along the vertical direction when compared with that of under the quasi-static loading. The 'dead zone' in the sand grains beneath the footing is identified for all types of the loading conditions studied here. These grain-scale characteristics have implications on the resulting bulk bearing capacity of the sand media in footing-sand interaction problems.

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