Producing and Mechanical Testing of Urea-Formaldehyde Resin Foams Reinforced by Waste Phosphogypsum

Many of thermosetting resins have application only in filled state, reinforced with different mineral fillers. The co-filling of polymers with mineral filler and gases creates a possibility for production of polymer composites materials with low density. This processing leads to forming of new materials – gas-filled plastics (polymer foams). The properties of these materials are determined mainly by the shape and size of internal structural elements (pores). The interactions on the phase boundaries have influence on the materials properties too. In the present work, the gas-filled urea-formaldehyde resins were reinforced by waste phosphogypsum. The waste phosphogypsum (CaSO4.2H2O) is a solid by-product in wet phosphoric acid production processes. The values of the interactions polymer-filler were increased by using two modifying agents: polyvinyl acetate for polymer matrix and sodium metasilicate for filler. Technological methods for gas-filling and recipes of urea-formaldehyde based materials with apparent density 20-120 kg/m3 were developed. The heat conductivity of the samples is between 0.024 and 0.029 W/moK. Tensile analyses were carried out at 10 and 50% deformation and show values 0.01-0.14 MPa and 0.01-0.09 MPa, respectively. The apparent density of obtained materials is between 20 and 92 kg/m3. The changes in the tensile properties and density of these materials according to sodium metasilicate content were studied too. The mechanism of phosphogypsum adsorption modification was studied using methods of FT-IR spectroscopy. The structure of the gas-filled urea-formaldehyde resins was described by results of electron scanning microscopy at three different magnification ratios – x50, x150 and x 500. The aim of present work is to study the possibility of the usage of phosphogypsum as mineral filler for urea-formaldehyde resins and development of a technology for the production of gas-filled reinforced polymer composite materials. The structure and the properties of obtained composite materials are suitable for thermal and sound insulation applications.

Forecast of Polyethylene Properties in the Gas Phase Polymerization Aided by Neural Network

A major problem that affects the quality control of polymer in the industrial polymerization is the lack of suitable on-line measurement tools to evaluate the properties of the polymer such as melt and density indices. Controlling the polymerization in ordinary method is performed manually by taking samples, measuring the quality of polymer in the lab and registry of results. This method is highly time consuming and leads to producing large number of incompatible products. An online application for estimating melt index and density proposed in this study is a neural network based on the input-output data of the polyethylene production plant. Temperature, the level of reactors' bed, the intensity of ethylene mass flow, hydrogen and butene-1, the molar concentration of ethylene, hydrogen and butene-1 are used for the process to establish the neural model. The neural network is taught based on the actual operational data and back-propagation and Levenberg-Marquart techniques. The simulated results indicate that the neural network process model established with three layers (one hidden layer) for forecasting the density and the four layers for the melt index is able to successfully predict those quality properties.

Determination of the Thermophysical Characteristics of the Composite Material Clay Cement Paper

In Morocco, the building sector is largely responsible for the evolution of energy consumption. The control of energy in this sector remains a major issue despite the rise of renewable energies. The design of an environmentally friendly building requires mastery and knowledge of energy and bioclimatic aspects. This implies taking into consideration of all the elements making up the building and the way in which energy exchanges take place between these elements. In this context, thermal insulation seems to be an ideal starting point for reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. In this context, thermal insulation seems to be an ideal starting point for reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The aim of this work is to provide some solutions to reduce energy consumption while maintaining thermal comfort in the building. The objective of our work is to present an experimental study on the characterization of local materials used in the thermal insulation of buildings. These are paper recycling stabilized with cement and clay. The thermal conductivity of these materials, which were constituted based on sand, clay, cement; water, as well as treated paper, was determined by the guarded-hot-plate method. It involves the design of two materials that will subsequently be subjected to thermal and mechanical tests to determine their thermophysical properties. The results show that the thermal conductivity decreases as well in the case of the paper-cement mixture as that of the paper-clay and seems to stabilize around 40%. Measurements of mechanical properties such as flexural strength have shown that the enrichment of the studied material with paper makes it possible to reduce the flexural strength by 20% while optimizing the conductivity.

Study of Structural and Electronic Properties of Ternary PdMnGe Half-Heusler Alloy

This study deals with the structural and electronic properties of ternary PdMnGe Half-Heusler alloy using the full potential linearized augmented plane wave (FP-LAPW) method based on the density functional theory (DFT) as implemented in the WIEN2k package, within the framework of generalized gradient approximation (GGA). Structural parameters, total and partial densities of states were also analyzed. The obtained result shows that the studied material is metallic in GGA treatment. The elastic constants (Cij) show that our compound is ductile, stiff and anisotropic.

Thermo-Mechanical Approach to Evaluate Softening Behavior of Polystyrene: Validation and Modeling

A Thermo-mechanical technique was developed to determine softening point temperature/glass transition temperature (Tg) of polystyrene exposed to high pressures. The design utilizes the ability of carbon dioxide to lower the glass transition temperature of polymers and acts as plasticizer. In this apparatus, the sorption of carbon dioxide to induce softening of polymers as a function of temperature/pressure is performed and the extent of softening is measured in three-point-flexural-bending mode. The polymer strip was placed in the cell in contact with the linear variable differential transformer (LVDT). CO2 was pumped into the cell from a supply cylinder to reach high pressure. The results clearly showed that full softening point of the samples, accompanied by a large deformation on the polymer strip. The deflection curves are initially relatively flat and then undergo a dramatic increase as the temperature is elevated. It was found that increasing the pressure of CO2 causes the temperature curves to shift from higher to lower by increment of about 45 K, over the pressure range of 0-120 bars. The obtained experimental Tg values were validated with the values reported in the literature. Finally, it is concluded that the defection model fits consistently to the generated experimental results, which attempts to describe in more detail how the central deflection of a thin polymer strip affected by the CO2 diffusions in the polymeric samples.

Effect of Coffee Grounds on Physical and Heating Value Properties of Sugarcane Bagasse Pellets

Objective of this research is to study effect of coffee grounds on physical and heating value properties of sugarcane bagasse pellets. The coffee grounds were tested as an additive for pelletizing process of bagasse pellets. Pelletizing was performed using a Flat–die pellet mill machine. Moisture content of raw materials was controlled at 10-13%. Die temperature range during the process was 75-80 oC. Physical characteristics (bulk density and durability) of the bagasse pellet and pellets with 1-5% coffee ground were determined following the standard assigned by the Pellet Fuel Institute (PFI). The results revealed increasing values of 648±3.4, 659 ± 3.1, 679 ± 3.3 and 685 ± 3.1 kg/m3 (for pellet bulk density); and 98.7 ± 0.11, 99.2 ± 0.26, 99.3 ± 0.19 and 99.4 ± 0.07% (for pellet durability), respectively. In addition, the heating values of the coffee ground supplemented pellets (15.9 ± 1.16, 17.0 ± 1.23 and 18.8 ± 1.34 MJ/kg) were improved comparing to the non-supplemented control (14.9 ± 1.14 MJ/kg), respectively. The results indicated that both the bulk density and durability values of the bagasse pellets were increased with the increasing proportion of the coffee ground additive.

The Role of Fluid Catalytic Cracking in Process Optimisation for Petroleum Refineries

Petroleum refining is a chemical process in which the raw material (crude oil) is converted to finished commercial products for end users. The fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) unit is a key asset in refineries, requiring optimised processes in the context of engineering design. Following the first stage of separation of crude oil in a distillation tower, an additional 40 per cent quantity is attainable in the gasoline pool with further conversion of the downgraded product of crude oil (residue from the distillation tower) using a catalyst in the FCC process. Effective removal of sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxides, carbon and heavy metals from FCC gasoline requires greater separation efficiency and involves an enormous environmental significance. The FCC unit is primarily a reactor and regeneration system which employs cyclone systems for separation.  Catalyst losses in FCC cyclones lead to high particulate matter emission on the regenerator side and fines carryover into the product on the reactor side. This paper aims at demonstrating the importance of FCC unit design criteria in terms of technical performance and compliance with environmental legislation. A systematic review of state-of-the-art FCC technology was carried out, identifying its key technical challenges and sources of emissions.  Case studies of petroleum refineries in Nigeria were assessed against selected global case studies. The review highlights the need for further modelling investigations to help improve FCC design to more effectively meet product specification requirements while complying with stricter environmental legislation.

Reinforcing Effects of Natural Micro-Particles on the Dynamic Impact Behaviour of Hybrid Bio-Composites Made of Short Kevlar Fibers Reinforced Thermoplastic Composite Armor

Hybrid bio-composites are developed for use in protective armor through positive hybridization offered by reinforcement of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) with Kevlar short fibers and palm wood micro-fillers. The manufacturing process involved a combination of extrusion and compression molding techniques. The mechanical behavior of Kevlar fiber reinforced HDPE with and without palm wood filler additions are compared. The effect of the weight fraction of the added palm wood micro-fillers is also determined. The Young modulus was found to increase as the weight fraction of organic micro-particles increased. However, the flexural strength decreased with increasing weight fraction of added micro-fillers. The interfacial interactions between the components were investigated using scanning electron microscopy. The influence of the size, random alignment and distribution of the natural micro-particles was evaluated. Ballistic impact and dynamic shock loading tests were performed to determine the optimum proportion of Kevlar short fibers and organic micro-fillers needed to improve impact strength of the HDPE. These results indicate a positive hybridization by deposition of organic micro-fillers on the surface of short Kevlar fibers used in reinforcing the thermoplastic matrix leading to enhancement of the mechanical strength and dynamic impact behavior of these materials. Therefore, these hybrid bio-composites can be promising materials for different applications against high velocity impacts.

Exergy Analysis of Vapour Compression Refrigeration System Using R507A, R134a, R114, R22 and R717

This paper compares the energy and exergy efficiency of a vapour compression refrigeration system using refrigerants of different groups. In this study, five different refrigerants including R507A, R134a, R114, R22 and R717 have been studied. EES Program is used to solve the thermodynamic equations. The results of this analysis are shown graphically. Based on the results, energy and exergy efficiencies for R717 are higher than the other refrigerants. Also, the energy and exergy efficiencies will be decreased with increasing the condensing temperature and decreasing the evaporating temperature.

Study of Temperature Distribution in Coolant Channel of Nuclear Power with Fuel Cylinder Element Using Fluent Software

In this research, we have focused on numeral simulation of a fuel rod in order to examine distribution of heat temperature in components of fuel rod by Fluent software by providing steady state, single phase fluid flow, frequency heat flux in a fuel rod in nuclear reactor to numeral simulation. Results of examining different layers of a fuel rod consist of fuel layer, gap, pod, and fluid cooling flow, also examining thermal properties and fluids such as heat transition rate and pressure drop. The obtained results through analytical method and results of other sources have been compared and have appropriate correspondence. Results show that using heavy water as cooling fluid along with few layers of gas and pod have the ability of reducing the temperature from above 300 ◦C to 70 ◦C. This investigation is developable for any geometry and material used in the nuclear reactor.

Investigating the Formation of Nano-Hydroxyapatite on a Biocompatible and Antibacterial Cu/Mg-Substituted Bioglass

Multifunctional bioactive glasses (BGs) are designed with a focus on the provision of bactericidal and biological properties desired for angiogenesis, osteogenesis, and ultimately potential applications in bone tissue engineering. To achieve these, six sol-gel copper/magnesium substituted derivatives of 58S-BG, i.e. a mol% series of 60SiO2-4P2O5-5CuO-(31-x) CaO/xMgO (where x=0, 1, 3, 5, 8, and 10), were synthesized. Afterwards, the effect of MgO/CaO substitution on the in vitro formation of nano-hydroxyapatite (HA), osteoblast-like cell responses and BGs antibacterial performance were studied. During the BGs synthesis, the elimination of nitrates was achieved at 700 °C that prevented the BGs crystallization and stabilized the obtained dried gels. The structural and morphological evaluations were performed with X-ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). These characterizations revealed that Cu-substituted 58S-BG consisting of 5 mol% MgO (BG-5/5) slightly had retarded the formation of HA. In addition, Cu-substituted 58S-BGs consisting 8 mol% and 10 mol% MgO (BG-5/8 and BG-5/10) displayed lower bioactivity probably due to the lower ion release rate of Ca–Si into the simulated body fluid (SBF). The determination of 3-(4, 5 dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2, 5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) and alkaline phosphate (ALP) activities proved that the highest values of both differentiation and proliferation of MC3T3-E1 cells can be obtained from a 5 mol% MgO substituted BG, while the over addition of MgO (8 mol% and 10 mol%) decreased the bioactivity. Furthermore, these novel Cu/Mg-substituted 58S-BGs displayed antibacterial effect against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. Taken together, the results suggest the equally-substituted BG-5/5 (i.e. the one consists of 5 mol% of both CuO and MgO) as a promising candidate for bone tissue engineering, among all newly designed BGs in this work, owing to its desirable cell proliferation, ALP activity and antibacterial properties.

Investigating what Effects Aviation Fluids Have on the Flatwise Compressive Strength of Nomex® Honeycomb Core Material

One of the disadvantages of honeycomb sandwich structure is that they are prone to fluid intrusion. The purpose of this study is to determine if the structural properties of honeycomb core are affected by contact with a fluid. The test specimens were manufactured of fiberglass prepreg for the facesheets and Nomex® honeycomb core for the core material in accordance with ASTM C-365/365M. Test specimens were soaked in several different kinds of fluids, such as aircraft fuel, turbine engine oil, hydraulic fluid, and water for a period of 60 days. A flatwise compressive test was performed, and the test results were analyzed to determine how the contact with aircraft fluids affected the compressive strength of the Nomex® honeycomb core and how the strength was recovered when the specimens were dry. In addition, the investigation of de-bonding between facesheet and core material after soaking were performed to support the study.

Mechanical and Microstructural Properties of Rotary-Swaged Wire of Commercial-Purity Titanium

Bars made of titanium grade 2 and grade 4 were subjected to rotary forging with up to 2.2 true strain reduction in the cross-section from 10 to 3.81 mm. During progressive deformation, grain refinement in the transverse direction took place. In the longitudinal direction, ultrafine microstructure has not developed. It has been demonstrated that titanium grade 2 strengthens more than grade 4. The ultimate tensile strength increased from 650 MPa to 1040 MPa in titanium grade 4. Hardness profiles on the cross section in both materials show an increase in the centre of the wire.

Recovery of Post-Consumer PET Bottles in a Composite Material Preparation

Manufacturing a composite material from post-consumer bottles is an interesting outlet since Madagascar is still facing the challenges of managing plastic waste on the one hand and appropriate waste treatment facilities are not yet developed on the other hand. New waste management options are needed to divert End-Of-Life (EOL) soft plastic wastes from landfills and incineration. Waste polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles might be considered as a valuable resource and recovered into polymer concrete. The methodology is easy to implement and appropriate to the local context in Madagascar. This approach will contribute to the production of ecological building materials that might be profitable for the environment and the construction sector. This work aims to study the feasibility of using the post-consumer PET bottles as an alternative binding agent instead of the conventional Portland cement and water. Then, the mechanical and physical properties of the materials were evaluated.

Physicochemical Characterization of Medium Alkyd Resins Prepared with a Mixture of Linum usitatissimum L. and Plukenetia volubilis L. Oils

Alkyds have become essential raw materials in the coating and paint industry, due to their low cost, good application properties and lower environmental impact in comparison with petroleum-based polymers. The properties of these oil-modified materials depend on the type of polyunsaturated vegetable oil used for its manufacturing, since a higher degree of unsaturation provides a better crosslinking of the cured paint. Linum usitatissimum L. (flax) oil is widely used to develop alkyd resins due to its high degree of unsaturation. Although it is intended to find non-traditional sources and increase their commercial value, to authors’ best knowledge a natural source that can replace flaxseed oil has not yet been found. However, Plukenetia volubilis L. oil, of Peruvian origin, contains a similar fatty acid polyunsaturated content to the one reported for Linum usitatissimum L. oil. In this perspective, medium alkyd resins were prepared with a mixture of 50% of Linum usitatissimum L. oil and 50% of Plukenetia volubilis L. oil. Pure Linum usitatissimum L. oil was also used for comparison purposes. Three different resins were obtained by varying the amount of glycerol and pentaerythritol. The synthesized alkyd resins were characterized by FT-IR, and physicochemical properties like acid value, colour, viscosity, density and drying time were evaluated by standard methods. The pencil hardness and chemical resistance behaviour of the cured resins were also studied. Overall, it can be concluded that medium alkyd resins containing Plukenetia volubilis L. oil have an equivalent behaviour compared to those prepared purely with Linum usitatissimum L. oil. Both Plukenetia volubilis L. oil and pentaerythritol have a remarkable influence on certain physicochemical properties of medium alkyd resins.

Research Trends on Magnetic Graphene for Water Treatment: A Bibliometric Analysis

Magnetic graphene has received widespread attention for their capability of water and wastewater treatment, which has been attracted many researchers in this field. A bibliometric analysis based on the Web of Science database was employed to analyze the global scientific outputs of magnetic graphene for water treatment until the present time (2012 to 2017), to improve the understanding of the research trends. The publication year, place of publication, institutes, funding agencies, journals, most cited articles, distribution outputs in thematic categories and applications were analyzed. Three major aspects analyzed including type of pollutant, treatment process and composite composition have further contributed to revealing the research trends. The most relevant research aspects of the main technologies using magnetic graphene for water treatment were summarized in this paper. The results showed that research on magnetic graphene for water treatment goes through a period of decline that might be related to a saturated field and a lack of bibliometric studies. Thus, the result of the present work will lead researchers to establish future directions in further studies using magnetic graphene for water treatment.

Bibliometric Analysis of the Research Progress on Graphene Inks from 2008 to 2018

A bibliometric analysis in the Web of Science database was used to identify overall scientific results of graphene inks to date (2008 to 2018). The objective of this study was to evaluate the evolutionary tendency of graphene inks research and to identify its aspects, aiming to provide data that can guide future work. The contributions of different researches, languages, thematic categories, periodicals, place of publication, institutes, funding agencies, articles cited and applications were analyzed. The results revealed a growing number of annual publications, of 258 papers found, 107 were included because they met the inclusion criteria. Three main applications were identified: synthesis and characterization, electronics and surfaces. The most relevant research on graphene inks has been summarized in this article, and graphene inks for electronic devices presented the most incident theme according to the research trends during the studied period. It is estimated that this theme will remain in evidence and will contribute to the direction of future research in this area.

Synthesis and in vitro Characterization of a Gel-Derived SiO2-CaO-P2O5-SrO-Li2O Bioactive Glass

Bioactive glasses (BGs) are a group of surface-reactive biomaterials used in clinical applications as implants or filler materials in the human body to repair and replace diseased or damaged bone. Sol-gel technique was employed to prepare a SiO2-CaO-P2O5 glass with nominal composition of 58S BG with the addition of Sr and Li modifiers which imparts special properties to the BG. The effect of simultaneous addition of Sr and Li on bioactivity and biocompatibility, proliferation, alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity of osteoblast cell line MC3T3-E1 and antibacterial property against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria were examined. BGs were characterized by X-ray diffraction, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy before and after soaking the samples in the simulated body fluid (SBF) for different time intervals to characterize the formation of hydroxyapatite (HA) formed on the surface of BGs. Structural characterization indicated that the simultaneous presence of 5% Sr and 5% Li in 58S-BG composition not only did not retard HA formation because of opposite effect of Sr and Li of the dissolution of BG in the SBF but also, stimulated the differentiation and proliferation of MC3T3-E1s. Moreover, the presence of Sr and Li on dissolution of the ions resulted in an increase in the mean number of DAPI-labeled nuclei which was in good agreement with live/dead assay. The result of antibacterial tests revealed that Sr and Li-substituted 58S BG exhibited a potential antibacterial effect against MRSA bacteria. Because of optimal proliferation and ALP activity of MC3T3-E1cells, proper bioactivity and high antibacterial potential against MRSA, BG-5/5 is suggested as a multifunctional candidate for bone tissue engineering.

Comparative Study of Calcium Content on in vitro Biological and Antibacterial Properties of Silicon-Based Bioglass

The major aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of CaO content on in vitro hydroxyapatite formation, MC3T3 cells cytotoxicity and proliferation as well as antibacterial efficiency of sol-gel derived SiO2–CaO–P2O5 ternary system. For this purpose, first two grades of bioactive glass (BG); BG-58s (mol%: 60%SiO2–36%CaO–4%P2O5) and BG-68s (mol%: 70%SiO2–26%CaO–4%P2O5)) were synthesized by sol-gel method. Second, the effect of CaO content in their composition on in vitro bioactivity was investigated by soaking the BG-58s and BG-68s powders in simulated body fluid (SBF) for time periods up to 14 days and followed by characterization inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry (ICP-AES), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) techniques. Additionally, live/dead staining, 3-(4,5dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT), and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity assays were conducted respectively, as qualitatively and quantitatively assess for cell viability, proliferation and differentiations of MC3T3 cells in presence of 58s and 68s BGs. Results showed that BG-58s with higher CaO content showed higher in vitro bioactivity with respect to BG-68s. Moreover, the dissolution rate was inversely proportional to oxygen density of the BG. Live/dead assay revealed that both 58s and 68s increased the mean number live cells which were in good accordance with MTT assay. Furthermore, BG-58s showed more potential antibacterial activity against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria. Taken together, BG-58s with enhanced MC3T3 cells proliferation and ALP activity, acceptable bioactivity and significant high antibacterial effect against MRSA bacteria is suggested as a suitable candidate in order to further functionalizing for delivery of therapeutic ions and growth factors in bone tissue engineering.

Application of Thermoplastic Microbioreactor to the Single Cell Study of Budding Yeast to Decipher the Effect of 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural on Growth

Yeast cells are generally used as a model system of eukaryotes due to their complex genetic structure, rapid growth ability in optimum conditions, easy replication and well-defined genetic system properties. Thus, yeast cells increased the knowledge of the principal pathways in humans. During fermentation, carbohydrates (hexoses and pentoses) degrade into some toxic by-products such as 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (5-HMF or HMF) and furfural. HMF influences the ethanol yield, and ethanol productivity; it interferes with microbial growth and is considered as a potent inhibitor of bioethanol production. In this study, yeast single cell behavior under HMF application was monitored by using a continuous flow single phase microfluidic platform. Microfluidic device in operation is fabricated by hot embossing and thermo-compression techniques from cyclo-olefin polymer (COP). COP is biocompatible, transparent and rigid material and it is suitable for observing fluorescence of cells considering its low auto-fluorescence characteristic. The response of yeast cells was recorded through Red Fluorescent Protein (RFP) tagged Nop56 gene product, which is an essential evolutionary-conserved nucleolar protein, and also a member of the box C/D snoRNP complexes. With the application of HMF, yeast cell proliferation continued but HMF slowed down the cell growth, and after HMF treatment the cell proliferation stopped. By the addition of fresh nutrient medium, the yeast cells recovered after 6 hours of HMF exposure. Thus, HMF application suppresses normal functioning of cell cycle but it does not cause cells to die. The monitoring of Nop56 expression phases of the individual cells shed light on the protein and ribosome synthesis cycles along with their link to growth. Further computational study revealed that the mechanisms underlying the inhibitory or inductive effects of HMF on growth are enriched in functional categories of protein degradation, protein processing, DNA repair and multidrug resistance. The present microfluidic device can successfully be used for studying the effects of inhibitory agents on growth by single cell tracking, thus capturing cell to cell variations. By metabolic engineering techniques, engineered strains can be developed, and the metabolic network of the microorganism can thus be manipulated such that chemical overproduction of target metabolite is achieved along with the maximum growth/biomass yield.