Scholarly Research Excellence

Digital Open Science Index

Commenced in January 2007 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Paper Count: 37

Effect of Footing Shape on Bearing Capacity and Settlement of Closely Spaced Footings on Sandy Soil

The bearing capacity of closely spaced shallow footings alters with their spacing and the shape of footing. In this study, the bearing capacity and settlement of two adjacent footings constructed on a sand layer are investigated. The effect of different footing shapes including square, circular, ring and strip on sandy soil is captured in the calculations. The investigations are carried out numerically using PLAXIS-3D software and analytically employing conventional settlement equations. For this purpose, foundations are modelled in the program with practical dimensions and various spacing ratios ranging from 1 to 5. The spacing ratio is defined as the centre-to-centre distance to the width of foundations (S/B). Overall, 24 models are analyzed; and the results are compared and discussed in detail. It can be concluded that the presence of adjacent foundation leads to the reduction in bearing capacity for round shape footings while it can increase the bearing capacity of rectangular footings in some specific distances.

Multilevel Arnoldi-Tikhonov Regularization Methods for Large-Scale Linear Ill-Posed Systems
This paper is devoted to the numerical solution of large-scale linear ill-posed systems. A multilevel regularization method is proposed. This method is based on a synthesis of the Arnoldi-Tikhonov regularization technique and the multilevel technique. We show that if the Arnoldi-Tikhonov method is a regularization method, then the multilevel method is also a regularization one. Numerical experiments presented in this paper illustrate the effectiveness of the proposed method.
The Main Steamline Break Transient Analysis for Advanced Boiling Water Reactor Using TRACE, PARCS, and SNAP Codes

To confirm the reactor and containment integrity of the Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR), we perform the analysis of main steamline break (MSLB) transient by using the TRACE, PARCS, and SNAP codes. The process of the research has four steps. First, the ABWR nuclear power plant (NPP) model is developed by using the above codes. Second, the steady state analysis is performed by using this model. Third, the ABWR model is used to run the analysis of MSLB transient. Fourth, the predictions of TRACE and PARCS are compared with the data of FSAR. The results of TRACE/PARCS and FSAR are similar. According to the TRACE/PARCS results, the reactor and containment integrity of ABWR can be maintained in a safe condition for MSLB.

Bioleaching of Metals Contained in Spent Catalysts by Acidithiobacillus thiooxidans DSM 26636

Spent catalysts are considered as hazardous residues of major concern, mainly due to the simultaneous presence of several metals in elevated concentrations. Although hydrometallurgical, pyrometallurgical and chelating agent methods are available to remove and recover some metals contained in spent catalysts; these procedures generate potentially hazardous wastes and the emission of harmful gases. Thus, biotechnological treatments are currently gaining importance to avoid the negative impacts of chemical technologies. To this end, diverse microorganisms have been used to assess the removal of metals from spent catalysts, comprising bacteria, archaea and fungi, whose resistance and metal uptake capabilities differ depending on the microorganism tested. Acidophilic sulfur oxidizing bacteria have been used to investigate the biotreatment and extraction of valuable metals from spent catalysts, namely Acidithiobacillus thiooxidans and Acidithiobacillus ferroxidans, as they present the ability to produce leaching agents such as sulfuric acid and sulfur oxidation intermediates. In the present work, the ability of A. thiooxidans DSM 26636 for the bioleaching of metals contained in five different spent catalysts was assessed by growing the culture in modified Starkey mineral medium (with elemental sulfur at 1%, w/v), and 1% (w/v) pulp density of each residue for up to 21 days at 30 °C and 150 rpm. Sulfur-oxidizing activity was periodically evaluated by determining sulfate concentration in the supernatants according to the NMX-k-436-1977 method. The production of sulfuric acid was assessed in the supernatants as well, by a titration procedure using NaOH 0.5 M with bromothymol blue as acid-base indicator, and by measuring pH using a digital potentiometer. On the other hand, Inductively Coupled Plasma - Optical Emission Spectrometry was used to analyze metal removal from the five different spent catalysts by A. thiooxidans DSM 26636. Results obtained show that, as could be expected, sulfuric acid production is directly related to the diminish of pH, and also to highest metal removal efficiencies. It was observed that Al and Fe are recurrently removed from refinery spent catalysts regardless of their origin and previous usage, although these removals may vary from 9.5 ± 2.2 to 439 ± 3.9 mg/kg for Al, and from 7.13 ± 0.31 to 368.4 ± 47.8 mg/kg for Fe, depending on the spent catalyst proven. Besides, bioleaching of metals like Mg, Ni, and Si was also obtained from automotive spent catalysts, which removals were of up to 66 ± 2.2, 6.2±0.07, and 100±2.4, respectively. Hence, the data presented here exhibit the potential of A. thiooxidans DSM 26636 for the simultaneous bioleaching of metals contained in spent catalysts from diverse provenance.

Feature Extraction Technique for Prediction the Antigenic Variants of the Influenza Virus
In genetics, the impact of neighboring amino acids on a target site is referred as the nearest-neighbor effect or simply neighbor effect. In this paper, a new method called wavelet particle decomposition representing the one-dimensional neighbor effect using wavelet packet decomposition is proposed. The main idea lies in known dependence of wavelet packet sub-bands on location and order of neighboring samples. The method decomposes the value of a signal sample into small values called particles that represent a part of the neighbor effect information. The results have shown that the information obtained from the particle decomposition can be used to create better model variables or features. As an example, the approach has been applied to improve the correlation of test and reference sequence distance with titer in the hemagglutination inhibition assay.
Development of Affordable and Reliable Diagnostic Tools to Record Vital Parameters for Improving Health Care in Low Resources Settings

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

Taxonomic and Faunistic Data on the Genus Triaspis Haliday, 1835 (Hymenoptera: Braconidae: Brachistinae) from Turkey

Brachistinae Föerster, 1862 is a subfamily of the family Braconidae (order Hymenoptera) with about 410 species distributed all around the world. Brachistinae includes the genera, Eubazus Nees von Esenbeck 1814, Foersteria Szépligeti 1896, Chelostes van Achterberg 1990, Triaspis Haliday 1835 and Schizoprymnus Förster 1862. Members of the subfamily live as parasitoids on the families Curculionidae and Apionidae (Coleoptera), which also include very important agricultural pests.  In generally, members of the genus Triaspis are poorly known biologically. The genus is represented by 37 species in the West Palearctic region and 118 species worldwide. Adult specimens of Triaspis were collected from as wide a range of habitats as possible at different altitudes in different parts of Turkey between 1982 and 2010. Samples collected from short plants using standard insect sweeping nets were transferred into tubes containing 70% ethanol and labelled following their preparations according to museum techniques. Seven Triaspis species have been reported from Turkey in this study. Five of these species are new to the fauna of Turkey.

The Evaluation of Gravity Anomalies Based on Global Models by Land Gravity Data

The Earth system generates different phenomena that are observable at the surface of the Earth such as mass deformations and displacements leading to plate tectonics, earthquakes, and volcanism. The dynamic processes associated with the interior, surface, and atmosphere of the Earth affect the three pillars of geodesy: shape of the Earth, its gravity field, and its rotation. Geodesy establishes a characteristic structure in order to define, monitor, and predict of the whole Earth system. The traditional and new instruments, observables, and techniques in geodesy are related to the gravity field. Therefore, the geodesy monitors the gravity field and its temporal variability in order to transform the geodetic observations made on the physical surface of the Earth into the geometrical surface in which positions are mathematically defined. In this paper, the main components of the gravity field modeling, (Free-air and Bouguer) gravity anomalies are calculated via recent global models (EGM2008, EIGEN6C4, and GECO) over a selected study area. The model-based gravity anomalies are compared with the corresponding terrestrial gravity data in terms of standard deviation (SD) and root mean square error (RMSE) for determining the best fit global model in the study area at a regional scale in Turkey. The least SD (13.63 mGal) and RMSE (15.71 mGal) were obtained by EGM2008 for the Free-air gravity anomaly residuals. For the Bouguer gravity anomaly residuals, EIGEN6C4 provides the least SD (8.05 mGal) and RMSE (8.12 mGal). The results indicated that EIGEN6C4 can be a useful tool for modeling the gravity field of the Earth over the study area.

The Optimum Operating Conditions for the Synthesis of Zeolite from Waste Incineration Fly Ash by Alkali Fusion and Hydrothermal Methods

The fly ash of waste incineration processes is usually hazardous and the disposal or reuse of waste incineration fly ash is difficult. In this study, the waste incineration fly ash was converted to useful zeolites by the alkali fusion and hydrothermal synthesis method. The influence of different operating conditions (the ratio of Si/Al, the ratio of hydrolysis liquid to solid, and hydrothermal time) was investigated to seek the optimum operating conditions for the synthesis of zeolite from waste incineration fly ash. The results showed that concentrations of heavy metals in the leachate of Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) were all lower than the regulatory limits except lead. The optimum operating conditions for the synthesis of zeolite from waste incineration fly ash by the alkali fusion and hydrothermal synthesis method were Si/Al=40, NaOH/ash=1.5, alkali fusion at 400 oC for 40 min, hydrolysis with Liquid to Solid ratio (L/S)= 200 at 105 oC for 24 h, and hydrothermal synthesis at 105 oC for 24 h. The specific surface area of fly ash could be significantly increased from 8.59 m2/g to 651.51 m2/g (synthesized zeolite). The influence of different operating conditions on the synthesis of zeolite from waste incineration fly ash followed the sequence of Si/Al ratio > hydrothermal time > hydrolysis L/S ratio. The synthesized zeolites can be reused as good adsorbents to control the air or wastewater pollutants. The purpose of fly ash detoxification, reduction and waste recycling/reuse is achieved successfully.

Pollutants Removal from Synthetic Wastewater by the Combined Electrochemical Sequencing Batch Reactor
Synthetic domestic wastewater was treated via combining treatment methods, including electrochemical oxidation, adsorption, and sequencing batch reactor (SBR). In the upper part of the reactor, an anode and a cathode (Ti/RuO2-IrO2) were organized in parallel for the electrochemical oxidation procedure. Sodium sulfate (Na2SO4) with a concentration of 2.5 g/L was applied as the electrolyte. The voltage and current were fixed on 7.50 V and 0.40 A, respectively. Then, 15% working value of the reactor was filled by activated sludge, and 85% working value of the reactor was added with synthetic wastewater. Powdered cockleshell, 1.5 g/L, was added in the reactor to do ion-exchange. Response surface methodology was employed for statistical analysis. Reaction time (h) and pH were considered as independent factors. A total of 97.0% biochemical oxygen demand, 99.9% phosphorous and 88.6% cadmium were eliminated at the optimum reaction time (80.0 min) and pH (6.4).
Temperature Evolution, Microstructure and Mechanical Properties of Heat-Treatable Aluminum Alloy Welded by Friction Stir Welding: Comparison with Tungsten Inert Gas

Friction Stir Welding (FSW) is a solid-state welding technique that can join material without melting the plates to be welded. In this work, we are interested to demonstrate the potentiality of FSW for joining the heat-treatable aluminum alloy 2024-T3 which is reputed as difficult to be welded by fusion techniques. Thereafter, the FSW joint is compared with another one obtained from a conventional fusion process Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG). FSW welds are made up using an FSW tool mounted on a milling machine. Single pass welding was applied to fabricated TIG joint. The comparison between the two processes has been made on the temperature evolution, mechanical and microstructure behavior. The microstructural examination revealed that FSW weld is composed of four zones: Base metal (BM), Heat affected zone (HAZ), Thermo-mechanical affected zone (THAZ) and the nugget zone (NZ). The NZ exhibits a recrystallized equiaxed refined grains that induce better mechanical properties and good ductility compared to TIG joint where the grains have a larger size in the welded region compared with the BM due to the elevated heat input. The microhardness results show that, in FSW weld, the THAZ contains the lowest microhardness values and increase in the NZ; however, in TIG process, the lowest values are localized on the NZ.

Prospects of Iraq’s Maritime Openness and Their Effect on Its Economy

Port institutions serve as a link connecting the land areas that receive the goods and the areas from where ships sail. These areas hold great significance for the conversion of goods into commodities of economic value, capable of meeting the needs of the society. Development of ports constitutes a fundamental component of the comprehensive economic development process. Recognizing this fact, developing countries have always resorted to this infrastructural element to resolve the numerous problems they face, taking into account its contribution to the reformation of their economic conditions. Iraqi ports have played a major role in boosting the commercial movement in Iraq, as they are the starting point of its oil exports and a key constituent in fulfilling the consumer and production needs of the various economic sectors of Iraq. With the Gulf wars and the economic blockade, Iraqi ports have continued to deteriorate and become unable to perform their functions as first-generation ports, prompting Iraq to use the ports of neighboring countries such as Jordan's Aqaba commercial port. Meanwhile, Iraqi ports face strong competition from the ports of neighboring countries, which have achieved progress and advancement as opposed to the declining performance and efficiency of Iraqi ports. The great developments in the economic conditions of Iraq lay a too great burden on the Iraqi maritime transport and ports, which require development in order to be able to meet the challenges arising from the fierce international and regional competition in the markets. Therefore, it is necessary to find appropriate solutions in support of the role that can be played by Iraqi ports in serving Iraq's foreign trade transported by sea and in keeping up with the development of foreign trade. Thus, this research aims at tackling the current situation of the Iraqi ports and their commercial activity and studying the problems and obstacles they face. The research also studies the future prospects of these ports, the potentials of maritime openness to Iraq under the fierce competition of neighboring ports, and the possibility of enhancing Iraqi ports’ competitiveness. Among the results produced by this research is the future scenario it proposes for Iraqi ports, mainly represented in the establishment of Al-Faw Port, which will contribute to a greater openness of maritime transport in Iraq, and the rehabilitation and expansion of existing ports. This research seeks to develop solutions to Iraq ports so that they can be repositioned as a vital means of promoting economic development.

Optimization of Biodiesel Production from Sunflower Oil Using Central Composite Design

The current study investigated the effect of catalyst ratio and methanol to oil ratio on biodiesel production by using central composite design. Biodiesel was produced by transesterification using sodium hydroxide as a homogeneous catalyst, a laboratory scale reactor consisting of flat bottom flask mounts with a reflux condenser, and a heating plate was used to produce biodiesel. Key parameters, including time, temperature, and mixing rate was kept constant at 60 minutes, 60 oC and 600 RPM, respectively. From the results obtained, it was observed that the biodiesel yield depends on catalyst ratio and methanol to oil ratio. The highest yield of 50.65% was obtained at catalyst ratio of 0.5 wt.% and methanol to oil mole ratio 10.5. The analysis of variances of biodiesel yield showed the R Squared value of 0.8387. A quadratic mathematical model was developed to predict the biodiesel yield in the specified parameters ranges.

Cells Detection and Recognition in Bone Marrow Examination with Deep Learning Method
In this paper, deep learning methods are applied in bio-medical field to detect and count different types of cells in an automatic way instead of manual work in medical practice, specifically in bone marrow examination. The process is mainly composed of two steps, detection and recognition. Mask-Region-Convolutional Neural Networks (Mask-RCNN) was used for detection and image segmentation to extract cells and then Convolutional Neural Networks (CNN), as well as Deep Residual Network (ResNet) was used to classify. Result of cell detection network shows high efficiency to meet application requirements. For the cell recognition network, two networks are compared and the final system is fully applicable.
Restrictedly-Regular Map Representation of n-Dimensional Abstract Polytopes
Regularity has often been present in the form of regular polyhedra or tessellations; classical examples are the nine regular polyhedra consisting of the five Platonic solids (regular convex polyhedra) and the four Kleper-Poinsot polyhedra. These polytopes can be seen as regular maps. Maps are cellular embeddings of graphs (with possibly multiple edges, loops or dangling edges) on compact connected (closed) surfaces with or without boundary. The n-dimensional abstract polytopes, particularly the regular ones, have gained popularity over recent years. The main focus of research has been their symmetries and regularity. Planification of polyhedra helps its spatial construction, yet it destroys its symmetries. To our knowledge there is no “planification” for n-dimensional polytopes. However we show that it is possible to make a “surfacification” of the n-dimensional polytope, that is, it is possible to construct a restrictedly-marked map representation of the abstract polytope on some surface that describes its combinatorial structures as well as all of its symmetries. We also show that there are infinitely many ways to do this; yet there is one that is more natural that describes reflections on the sides ((n−1)-faces) of n-simplices with reflections on the sides of n-polygons. We illustrate this construction with the 4-tetrahedron (a regular 4-polytope with automorphism group of size 120) and the 4-cube (a regular 4-polytope with automorphism group of size 384).
Theoretical, Numerical and Experimental Assessment of Elastomeric Bearing Stability

Elastomeric bearings (EB) are used in many applications, such as base isolation of bridges, seismic protection and vibration control of other structures and machinery. Their versatility is due to their particular behavior since they have different stiffness in the vertical and horizontal directions, allowing to sustain vertical loads and at the same time horizontal displacements. Therefore, vertical, horizontal and bending stiffnesses are important parameters to take into account in the design of EB. In order to acquire a proper design methodology of EB all three, theoretical, finite element analysis and experimental, approaches should be taken into account to assess stability due to different loading states, predict their behavior and consequently their effects on the dynamic response of structures, and understand complex behavior and properties of rubber-like materials respectively. In particular, the recent large-displacement theory on the stability of EB formulated by Forcellini and Kelly is validated with both numerical simulations using the finite element method, and experimental results set at the University of Antioquia in Medellin, Colombia. In this regard, this study reproduces the behavior of EB under compression loads and investigates the stability behavior with the three mentioned points of view.

Active Linear Quadratic Gaussian Secondary Suspension Control of Flexible Bodied Railway Vehicle

Passenger comfort has been paramount in the design of suspension systems of high speed cars. To analyze the effect of vibration on vehicle ride quality, a vertical model of a six degree of freedom railway passenger vehicle, with front and rear suspension, is built. It includes car body flexible effects and vertical rigid modes. A second order linear shaping filter is constructed to model Gaussian white noise into random rail excitation. The temporal correlation between the front and rear wheels is given by a second order Pade approximation. The complete track and the vehicle model are then designed. An active secondary suspension system based on a Linear Quadratic Gaussian (LQG) optimal control method is designed. The results show that the LQG control method reduces the vertical acceleration, pitching acceleration and vertical bending vibration of the car body as compared to the passive system.

Problems and Prospects of Agricultural Biotechnology in Nigeria’s Developing Economy

Science offers opportunities for revolutionizing human activities, enriched by input from scientific research and technology. Biotechnology is a major force for development in developing countries such as Nigeria. It is found to contribute to solving human problems like water and food insecurity that impede national development and threaten peace wherever it is applied. This review identified the problems of agricultural biotechnology in Nigeria. On the part of rural farmers, there is a lack of adequate knowledge or awareness of biotechnology despite the fact that they constitute the bulk of Nigerian farmers. On part of the government, the problems include: lack of adequate implementation of government policy on bio-safety and genetically modified products, inadequate funding of education as well as research and development of products related to biotechnology. Other problems include: inadequate infrastructures (including laboratory), poor funding and lack of national strategies needed for development and running of agricultural biotechnology. In spite of all the challenges associated with agricultural biotechnology, its prospects still remain great if Nigeria is to meet with the food needs of the country’s ever increasing population. The introduction of genetically engineered products will lead to the high productivity needed for commercialization and food security. Insect, virus and other related diseases resistant crops and livestock are another viable area of contribution of biotechnology to agricultural production. In conclusion, agricultural biotechnology will not only ensure food security, but, in addition, will ensure that the local farmers utilize appropriate technology needed for large production, leading to the prosperity of the farmers and national economic growth, provided government plays its role of adequate funding and good policy implementation.

Formation of Protective Aluminum-Oxide Layer on the Surface of Fe-Cr-Al Sintered-Metal-Fibers via Multi-Stage Thermal Oxidation

The objective of this paper is to investigate the formation and adhesion of a protective aluminum-oxide (Al2O3, alumina) layer on the surface of Iron-Chromium-Aluminum Alloy (Fe-Cr-Al) sintered-metal-fibers. The oxide-scale layer was developed via multi-stage thermal oxidation at 930 oC for 1 hour, followed by 1 hour at 960 oC, and finally at 990 oC for 2 hours. Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) images show that the multi-stage thermal oxidation resulted in the formation of predominantly Al2O3 platelets-like and whiskers. SEM images also reveal non-uniform oxide-scale growth on the surface of the fibers. Furthermore, peeling/spalling of the alumina protective layer occurred after minimum handling, which indicates weak adhesion forces between the protective layer and the base metal alloy.  Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS) analysis of the heat-treated Fe-Cr-Al sintered-metal-fibers confirmed the high aluminum content on the surface of the protective layer, and the low aluminum content on the exposed base metal alloy surface. In conclusion, the failure of the oxide-scale protective layer exposes the base metal alloy to further oxidation, and the fragile non-uniform oxide-scale is not suitable as a support for catalysts.

Methane Production from Biomedical Waste (Blood)

This study investigates the production of renewable energy (biogas) from biomedical hazard waste (blood) and eco-friendly disposal. Biogas is produced by the bacterial anaerobic digestion of biomaterial (blood). During digestion process bacterial feeding result in breaking down chemical bonds of the biomaterial and changing its features, by the end of the digestion (biogas production) the remains become manure as known. That has led to the economic and eco-friendly disposal of hazard biomedical waste (blood). The samples (Whole blood, Red blood cells 'RBCs', Blood platelet and Fresh Frozen Plasma ‘FFP’) are collected and measured in terms of carbon to nitrogen C/N ratio and total solid, then filled in connected flasks (three flasks) using water displacement method. The results of trails showed that the platelet and FFP failed to produce flammable gas, but via a gas analyzer, it showed the presence of the following gases: CO, HC, CO₂, and NOX. Otherwise, the blood and RBCs produced flammable gases: Methane-nitrous CH₃NO (99.45%), which has a blue color flame and carbon dioxide CO₂ (0.55%), which has red/yellow color flame. Methane-nitrous is sometimes used as fuel for rockets, some aircraft and racing cars.

Multiscale Modelization of Multilayered Bi-Dimensional Soils

Soil moisture content is a key variable in many environmental sciences. Even though it represents a small proportion of the liquid freshwater on Earth, it modulates interactions between the land surface and the atmosphere, thereby influencing climate and weather. Accurate modeling of the above processes depends on the ability to provide a proper spatial characterization of soil moisture. The measurement of soil moisture content allows assessment of soil water resources in the field of hydrology and agronomy. The second parameter in interaction with the radar signal is the geometric structure of the soil. Most traditional electromagnetic models consider natural surfaces as single scale zero mean stationary Gaussian random processes. Roughness behavior is characterized by statistical parameters like the Root Mean Square (RMS) height and the correlation length. Then, the main problem is that the agreement between experimental measurements and theoretical values is usually poor due to the large variability of the correlation function, and as a consequence, backscattering models have often failed to predict correctly backscattering. In this study, surfaces are considered as band-limited fractal random processes corresponding to a superposition of a finite number of one-dimensional Gaussian process each one having a spatial scale. Multiscale roughness is characterized by two parameters, the first one is proportional to the RMS height, and the other one is related to the fractal dimension. Soil moisture is related to the complex dielectric constant. This multiscale description has been adapted to two-dimensional profiles using the bi-dimensional wavelet transform and the Mallat algorithm to describe more correctly natural surfaces. We characterize the soil surfaces and sub-surfaces by a three layers geo-electrical model. The upper layer is described by its dielectric constant, thickness, a multiscale bi-dimensional surface roughness model by using the wavelet transform and the Mallat algorithm, and volume scattering parameters. The lower layer is divided into three fictive layers separated by an assumed plane interface. These three layers were modeled by an effective medium characterized by an apparent effective dielectric constant taking into account the presence of air pockets in the soil. We have adopted the 2D multiscale three layers small perturbations model including, firstly air pockets in the soil sub-structure, and then a vegetable canopy in the soil surface structure, that is to simulate the radar backscattering. A sensitivity analysis of backscattering coefficient dependence on multiscale roughness and new soil moisture has been performed. Later, we proposed to change the dielectric constant of the multilayer medium because it takes into account the different moisture values of each layer in the soil. A sensitivity analysis of the backscattering coefficient, including the air pockets in the volume structure with respect to the multiscale roughness parameters and the apparent dielectric constant, was carried out. Finally, we proposed to study the behavior of the backscattering coefficient of the radar on a soil having a vegetable layer in its surface structure.

Result Validation Analysis of Steel Testing Machines

Structural failures occur due to a number of reasons. These may include under design, poor workmanship, substandard materials, misleading laboratory tests and lots more. Reinforcing steel bar is an important construction material, hence its properties must be accurately known before being utilized in construction. Understanding this property involves carrying out mechanical tests prior to design and during construction to ascertain correlation using steel testing machine which is usually not readily available due to the location of project. This study was conducted to determine the reliability of reinforcing steel testing machines. Reconnaissance survey was conducted to identify laboratories where yield and ultimate tensile strengths tests can be carried out. Six laboratories were identified within Ibadan and environs. However, only four were functional at the time of the study. Three steel samples were tested for yield and tensile strengths, using a steel testing machine, at each of the four laboratories (LM, LO, LP and LS). The yield and tensile strength results obtained from the laboratories were compared with the manufacturer’s specification using a reliability analysis programme. Structured questionnaire was administered to the operators in each laboratory to consider their impact on the test results. The average value of manufacturers’ tensile strength and yield strength are 673.7 N/mm2 and 559.7 N/mm2 respectively. The tensile strength obtained from the four laboratories LM, LO, LP and LS are given as 579.4, 652.7, 646.0 and 649.9 N/mm2 respectively while their yield strengths respectively are 453.3, 597.0, 550.7 and 564.7 N/mm2. Minimum tensile to yield strength ratio is 1.08 for BS 4449: 2005 and 1.15 for ASTM A615. Tensile to yield strength ratio from the four laboratories are 1.28, 1.09, 1.17 and 1.15 for LM, LO, LP and LS respectively. The tensile to yield strength ratio shows that the result obtained from all the laboratories meet the code requirements used for the test. The result of the reliability test shows varying level of reliability between the manufacturers’ specification and the result obtained from the laboratories. Three of the laboratories; LO, LS and LP have high value of reliability with the manufacturer i.e. 0.798, 0.866 and 0.712 respectively. The fourth laboratory, LM has a reliability value of 0.100. Steel test should be carried out in a laboratory using the same code in which the structural design was carried out. More emphasis should be laid on the importance of code provisions.

Bidirectional Pendulum Vibration Absorbers with Homogeneous Variable Tangential Friction: Modelling and Design

Passive resonant vibration absorbers are among the most widely used dynamic control systems in civil engineering. They typically consist in a single-degree-of-freedom mechanical appendage of the main structure, tuned to one structural target mode through frequency and damping optimization. One classical scheme is the pendulum absorber, whose mass is constrained to move along a curved trajectory and is damped by viscous dashpots. Even though the principle is well known, the search for improved arrangements is still under way. In recent years this investigation inspired a type of bidirectional pendulum absorber (BPA), consisting of a mass constrained to move along an optimal three-dimensional (3D) concave surface. For such a BPA, the surface principal curvatures are designed to ensure a bidirectional tuning of the absorber to both principal modes of the main structure, while damping is produced either by horizontal viscous dashpots or by vertical friction dashpots, connecting the BPA to the main structure. In this paper, a variant of BPA is proposed, where damping originates from the variable tangential friction force which develops between the pendulum mass and the 3D surface as a result of a spatially-varying friction coefficient pattern. Namely, a friction coefficient is proposed that varies along the pendulum surface in proportion to the modulus of the 3D surface gradient. With such an assumption, the dissipative model of the absorber can be proven to be nonlinear homogeneous in the small displacement domain. The resulting homogeneous BPA (HBPA) has a fundamental advantage over conventional friction-type absorbers, because its equivalent damping ratio results independent on the amplitude of oscillations, and therefore its optimal performance does not depend on the excitation level. On the other hand, the HBPA is more compact than viscously damped BPAs because it does not need the installation of dampers. This paper presents the analytical model of the HBPA and an optimal methodology for its design. Numerical simulations of single- and multi-story building structures under wind and earthquake loads are presented to compare the HBPA with classical viscously damped BPAs. It is shown that the HBPA is a promising alternative to existing BPA types and that homogeneous tangential friction is an effective means to realize systems provided with amplitude-independent damping.

Theory and Reality on Working Life of People with Disability: The Case in Poland

Work for everyone, especially for person with disability is a condition in independence; it secures basic needs and develops manual and intellectual capabilities. The work is a source of income, and it builds and strengthens of self-esteem and competence. The purpose of this article is to identify work as an important factor in everyone’s life, despite Polish disabled persons rarely having the chance to undertake a job. In order to achieve this purpose, two methods were used: comparative and qualitative. The theoretical part of this article is based on studies of a wide range of Polish and foreign literature devoted to the issue of the occupational development of people with disabilities. The article was also enriched with the institutional and legal analysis types of support for people with disabilities in Poland. Currently, a Polish person with disability who wants to enter or return to the labor market is under a special protection. Those entities employing workers with disabilities may obtain a subsidy for the salary of a person with disabilities. Unfortunately, people with disability in Poland rarely participate in the workforce. The factors that contribute to this include the difficulty in obtaining work, the uncertainty of keeping it, and the low salary offered. Despite that domestic and foreign literature highlight the important role of disabled people as a workforce, very few people with disability in Poland are economically active.

Mathematical Expression for Machining Performance

In electrical discharge machining (EDM), a complete and clear theory has not yet been established. The developed theory (physical models) yields results far from reality due to the complexity of the physics. It is difficult to select proper parameter settings in order to achieve better EDM performance. However, modelling can solve this critical problem concerning the parameter settings. Therefore, the purpose of the present work is to develop mathematical model to predict performance characteristics of EDM on Ti-5Al-2.5Sn titanium alloy. Response surface method (RSM) and artificial neural network (ANN) are employed to develop the mathematical models. The developed models are verified through analysis of variance (ANOVA). The ANN models are trained, tested, and validated utilizing a set of data. It is found that the developed ANN and mathematical model can predict performance of EDM effectively. Thus, the model has found a precise tool that turns EDM process cost-effective and more efficient.

Loss Reduction and Reliability Improvement of Industrial Distribution System through Network Reconfiguration

The paper presents an approach to improve the reliability and reduce line losses of practical distribution system applying network reconfiguration. The change of the topology redirects the power flow within the distribution network to obtain better performance of the system. Practical distribution network (Pyigyitagon Industrial Zone (I)) is used as the case study network. The detailed calculations of the reliability indices are done by using analytical method and power flow calculation is performed by Newton-Rephason solver. The comparison of various network reconfiguration techniques are described with respect to power loss and reliability index levels. Finally, the optimal reconfigured network is selected among difference cases based on the two factors: the most reliable network and the least loss minimization.

A Genetic Algorithm Approach Considering Zero Injection Bus Constraint Modeling for Optimal Phasor Measurement Unit Placement

This paper presents optimal Phasor Measurement Unit (PMU) Placement in network using a genetic algorithm approach as it is infeasible and require high installation cost to place PMUs at every bus in network. This paper proposes optimal PMU allocation considering observability and redundancy utilizing Genetic Algorithm (GA) approach. The nonlinear constraints of buses are modeled to give accurate results. Constraints associated with Zero Injection (ZI) buses and radial buses are modeled to optimize number of locations for PMU placement. GA is modeled with ZI bus constraints to minimize number of locations without losing complete observability. Redundancy of every bus in network is computed to show optimum redundancy of complete system network. The performance of method is measured by Bus Observability Index (BOI) and Complete System Observability Performance Index (CSOPI). MATLAB simulations are carried out on IEEE -14, -30 and -57 bus-systems and compared with other methods in literature survey to show the effectiveness of the proposed approach.

Prediction of Rubberised Concrete Strength by Using Artificial Neural Networks
In recent years, waste tyre problem is considered as one of the most crucial environmental pollution problems facing the world. Thus, reusing waste rubber crumb from recycled tyres to develop highly damping concrete is technically feasible and a viable alternative to landfill or incineration. The utilization of waste rubber in concrete generally enhances the ductility, toughness, thermal insulation, and impact resistance. However, the mechanical properties decrease with the amount of rubber used in concrete. The aim of this paper is to develop artificial neural network (ANN) models to predict the compressive strength of rubberised concrete (RuC). A trained and tested ANN was developed using a comprehensive database collected from different sources in the literature. The ANN model developed used 5 input parameters that include: coarse aggregate (CA), fine aggregate (FA), w/c ratio, fine rubber (Fr), and coarse rubber (Cr), whereas the ANN outputs were the corresponding compressive strengths. A parametric study was also conducted to study the trend of various RuC constituents on the compressive strength of RuC.
Cognitive eTransformation Framework for Education Sector
21st century brought waves of business and industry eTransformations. The impact of change is also being seen in education. To identify the extent of this, scenario analysis methodology was utilised with the aim to assess business transformations across industry sectors ranging from craftsmanship, medicine, finance and manufacture to innovations and adoptions of new technologies and business models. Firstly, scenarios were drafted based on the current eTransformation models and its dimensions. Following this, eTransformation framework was utilised with the aim to derive the key eTransformation parameters, the essential characteristics that have enabled eTransformations across the sectors. Following this, identified key parameters were mapped to the transforming domain-education. The mapping assisted in deriving a cognitive eTransformation framework for education sector. The framework highlights the importance of context and the notion that education today needs not only to deliver content to students but it also needs to be able to meet the dynamically changing demands of specific student and industry groups. Furthermore, it pinpoints that for such processes to be supported, specific technology is required, so that instant, on demand and periodic feedback as well as flexible, dynamically expanding study content can be sought and received via multiple education mediums.
Design of a Hand-Held, Clamp-on, Leakage Current Sensor for High Voltage Direct Current Insulators

Leakage current monitoring for high voltage transmission line insulators is of interest as a performance indicator. Presently, to the best of our knowledge, there is no commercially available, clamp-on type, non-intrusive device for measuring leakage current on energised high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line insulators. The South African power utility, Eskom, is investigating the development of such a hand-held sensor for two important applications; first, for continuous real-time condition monitoring of HVDC line insulators and, second, for use by live line workers to determine if it is safe to work on energised insulators. In this paper, a DC leakage current sensor based on magnetic field sensing techniques is developed. The magnetic field sensor used in the prototype can also detect alternating current up to 5 MHz. The DC leakage current prototype detects the magnetic field associated with the current flowing on the surface of the insulator. Preliminary HVDC leakage current measurements are performed on glass insulators. The results show that the prototype can accurately measure leakage current in the specified current range of 1-200 mA. The influence of external fields from the HVDC line itself on the leakage current measurements is mitigated through a differential magnetometer sensing technique. Thus, the developed sensor can perform measurements on in-service HVDC insulators. The research contributes to the body of knowledge by providing a sensor to measure leakage current on energised HVDC insulators non-intrusively. This sensor can also be used by live line workers to inform them whether or not it is safe to perform maintenance on energized insulators.

Design of a Chaotic Trajectory Generator Algorithm for Mobile Robots
This work addresses the problem of designing an algorithm capable of generating chaotic trajectories for mobile robots. Particularly, the chaotic behavior is induced in the linear and angular velocities of a Khepera III differential mobile robot by infusing them with the states of the H´enon chaotic map. A possible application, using the properties of chaotic systems, is patrolling a work area. In this work, numerical and experimental results are reported and analyzed. In addition, two quantitative numerical tests are applied in order to measure how chaotic the generated trajectories really are.
State Estimation Solution with Optimal Allocation of Phasor Measurement Units Considering Zero Injection Bus Modeling

This paper presents state estimation with Phasor Measurement Unit (PMU) allocation to obtain complete observability of network. A matrix is designed with modeling of zero injection constraints to minimize PMU allocations. State estimation algorithm is developed with optimal allocation of PMUs to find accurate states of network. The incorporation of PMU into traditional state estimation process improves accuracy and computational performance for large power systems. The nonlinearity integrated with zero injection (ZI) constraints is remodeled to linear frame to optimize number of PMUs. The problem of optimal PMU allocation is regarded with modeling of ZI constraints, PMU loss or line outage, cost factor and redundant measurements. The proposed state estimation with optimal PMU allocation has been compared with traditional state estimation process to show its importance. MATLAB programming on IEEE 14, 30, 57, and 118 bus networks is implemented out by Binary Integer Programming (BIP) method and compared with other methods to show its effectiveness.

An Approach of the Inverter Voltage Used for the Linear Machine with Multi Air-Gap Structure

In this paper we present a contribution for the modelling and control of the inverter voltage of a permanent magnet linear generator with multi air-gap structure. The time domain control method is based on instant comparison of reference signals, in the form of current or voltage, with actual or measured signals. The reference current or voltage must be kept close to the actual signal with a reasonable tolerance. In this work, the time domain control method is used to control tracking signals. The performance evaluation concerns the continuation of reference signal. Simulations validate very well the tracking of reference variables (current, voltage) by measured or actual signals. All is simulated and presented under PSIM Software to show the performance and robustness of the proposed controller.

A Numerical Method to Evaluate the Elastoplastic Material Properties of Fiber Reinforced Composite

The representative volume element (RVE) plays a central role in the mechanics of random heterogeneous materials with a view to predicting their effective properties. In this paper, a computational homogenization methodology, developed to determine effective linear elastic properties of composite materials, is extended to predict the effective nonlinear elastoplastic response of long fiber reinforced composite. Finite element simulations of volumes of different sizes and fiber volume fractures are performed for calculation of the overall response RVE. The dependencies of the overall stress-strain curves on the number of fibers inside the RVE are studied in the 2D cases. Volume averaged stress-strain responses are generated from RVEs and compared with the finite element calculations available in the literature at moderate and high fiber volume fractions. For these materials, the existence of an RVE is demonstrated for the sizes of RVE corresponding to 10–100 times the diameter of the fibers. In addition, the response of small size RVE is found anisotropic, whereas the average of all large ones leads to recover the isotropic material properties.

Three-Dimensional Numerical Investigation for Reinforced Concrete Slabs with Opening
This article presents a 3-D modified non-linear elastic model in the strain space. The Helmholtz free energy function is introduced with the existence of a dissipation potential surface in the space of thermodynamic conjugate forces. The constitutive equation and the damage evolution were derived as well. The modified damage has been examined to model the nonlinear behavior of reinforced concrete (RC) slabs with an opening. A parametric study with RC was carried out to investigate the impact of different factors on the behavior of RC slabs. These factors are the opening area, the opening shape, the place of opening, and the thickness of the slabs. And the numerical results have been compared with the experimental data from literature. Finally, the model showed its ability to be applied to the structural analysis of RC slabs.
The Effectiveness of National Fiscal Rules in the Asia-Pacific Countries

This study utilizes the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Fiscal Rules Dataset focusing on four specific fiscal rules such as expenditure rule, revenue rule, budget balance rule, and debt rule and five main characteristics of each fiscal rule those are monitoring, enforcement, coverage, legal basis, and escape clause to construct the Fiscal Rule Index for nine countries in the Asia-Pacific region from 1996 to 2015. After constructing the fiscal rule index for each country, we utilize the Panel Generalized Method of Moments (Panel GMM) by using the constructed fiscal rule index to examine the effectiveness of fiscal rules in reducing procyclicality. Empirical results show that national fiscal rules have a significantly negative impact on procyclicality of government expenditure. Additionally, stricter fiscal rules combined with high government effectiveness are effective in reducing procyclicality of government expenditure. Results of this study indicate that for nine Asia-Pacific countries, policymakers’ use of fiscal rules and government effectiveness to reducing procyclicality of fiscal policy are effective.

Jurisprudencial Analysis of Torture in Spain and in the European Human Rights System
Article 3 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (E.C.H.R.) proclaims that no one may be subjected to torture, punishment or degrading treatment. The legislative correlate in Spain is embodied in Article 15 of the Spanish Constitution, and there must be an overlapping interpretation of both precepts on the ideal plane. While it is true that there are not many cases in which the European Court of Human Rights (E.C.t.H.R. (The Strasbourg Court)) has sanctioned Spain for its failure to investigate complaints of torture, it must be emphasized that the tendency to violate Article 3 of the Convention appears to be on the rise, being necessary to know possible factors that may be affecting it. This paper addresses the analysis of sentences that directly or indirectly reveal the violation of Article 3 of the European Convention. To carry out the analysis, sentences of the Strasbourg Court have been consulted from 2012 to 2016, being able to address any previous sentences to this period if it provided justified information necessary for the study. After the review it becomes clear that there are two key groups of subjects that request a response to the Strasbourg Court on the understanding that they have been tortured or degradingly treated. These are: immigrants and terrorists. Both phenomena, immigration and terrorism, respond to patterns that have mutated in recent years, and it is important for this study to know if national regulations begin to be dysfunctional.
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