Optimization of Process Parameters for Friction Stir Welding of Cast Alloy AA7075 by Taguchi Method

This investigation proposes Friction stir welding technique to solve the fusion welding problems. Objectives of this investigation are fabrication of AA7075-10%wt. Silicon carbide (SiC) aluminum metal matrix composite and optimization of optimal process parameters of friction stir welded AA7075-10%wt. SiC Composites. Composites were prepared by the mechanical stir casting process. Experiments were performed with four process parameters such as tool rotational speed, weld speed, axial force and tool geometry considering three levels of each. The quality characteristics considered is joint efficiency (JE). The welding experiments were conducted using L27 orthogonal array. An orthogonal array and design of experiments were used to give best possible welding parameters that give optimal JE. The fabricated welded joints using rotational speed of 1500 rpm, welding speed (1.3 mm/sec), axial force (7 k/n) of and tool geometry (square) give best possible results. Experimental result reveals that the tool rotation speed, welding speed and axial force are the significant process parameters affecting the welding performance. The predicted optimal value of percentage JE is 95.621. The confirmation tests also have been done for verifying the results.

The Role of Organizational Culture in Facilitating Employee Job Satisfaction in Emerald Group

The importance of having a good organizational culture that supports employee job satisfaction has fascinated both the business and academic world because of a tantalizing promise: culture can be fundamental to the enhancement of financial performance. This promise has led to growing interest for both researchers and practitioners in attempting to understand the influence of organizational culture on employees’ satisfaction and organizational performance. Even though the relationship between organizational culture and employee job satisfaction have gained attention in the literature, the majority of studies have been conducted within manufacturing organizations and tend to oversee the impact of culture on employee job satisfaction in a service-based environment. Thus, the main driving force of this study was to explore the role of organizational culture types in facilitating employee job satisfaction at Emerald Publishing Group. Interviews qualitative data analysis indicated that Emerald’s culture dominated by adhocracy and clan culture values. In addition, the findings provided evidence, which demonstrated that group and adhocracy organizational culture types play key roles in facilitating employee job satisfaction in a service-based environment.

Architecture Performance-Related Design Based on Graphic Parameterization

Architecture plane form is an important consideration in the design of green buildings due to its significant impact on energy performance. The most effective method to consider energy performance in the early design stages is parametric modelling. This paper presents a methodology to program plane forms using MATLAB language, generating 16 kinds of plane forms by changing four designed parameters. DesignBuilder (an energy consumption simulation software) was proposed to simulate the energy consumption of the generated planes. A regression mathematical model was established to study the relationship between the plane forms and their energy consumption. The main finding of the study suggested that there was a cubic function relationship between the depth-ratio of U-shaped buildings and energy consumption, and there is also a cubic function relationship between the width-ratio and energy consumption. In the design, the depth-ratio of U-shaped buildings should not be less than 2.5, and the width-ratio should not be less than 2.

Identification of Risks Associated with Process Automation Systems

A need exists to identify the sources of risks associated with the process automation systems within petrochemical companies or similar energy related industries. These companies use many different process automation technologies in its value chain. A crucial part of the process automation system is the information technology component featuring in the supervisory control layer. The ever-changing technology within the process automation layers and the rate at which it advances pose a risk to safe and predictable automation system performance. The age of the automation equipment also provides challenges to the operations and maintenance managers of the plant due to obsolescence and unavailability of spare parts. The main objective of this research was to determine the risk sources associated with the equipment that is part of the process automation systems. A secondary objective was to establish whether technology managers and technicians were aware of the risks and share the same viewpoint on the importance of the risks associated with automation systems. A conceptual model for risk sources of automation systems was formulated from models and frameworks in literature. This model comprised six categories of risk which forms the basis for identifying specific risks. This model was used to develop a questionnaire that was sent to 172 instrument technicians and technology managers in the company to obtain primary data. 75 completed and useful responses were received. These responses were analyzed statistically to determine the highest risk sources and to determine whether there was difference in opinion between technology managers and technicians. The most important risks that were revealed in this study are: 1) the lack of skilled technicians, 2) integration capability of third-party system software, 3) reliability of the process automation hardware, 4) excessive costs pertaining to performing maintenance and migrations on process automation systems, and 5) requirements of having third-party communication interfacing compatibility as well as real-time communication networks.

Investigation of the Effect of Impulse Voltage to Flashover by Using Water Jet

The main function of the insulators used in high voltage (HV) transmission lines is to insulate the energized conductor from the pole and hence from the ground. However, when the insulators fail to perform this insulation function due to various effects, failures occur. The deterioration of the insulation results either from breakdown or surface flashover. The surface flashover is caused by the layer of pollution that forms conductivity on the surface of the insulator, such as salt, carbonaceous compounds, rain, moisture, fog, dew, industrial pollution and desert dust. The source of the majority of failures and interruptions in HV lines is surface flashover. This threatens the continuity of supply and causes significant economic losses. Pollution flashover in HV insulators is still a serious problem that has not been fully resolved. In this study, a water jet test system has been established in order to investigate the behavior of insulators under dirty conditions and to determine their flashover performance. Flashover behavior of the insulators is examined by applying impulse voltages in the test system. This study aims to investigate the insulator behaviour under high impulse voltages. For this purpose, a water jet test system was installed and experimental results were obtained over a real system and analyzed. By using the water jet test system instead of the actual insulator, the damage to the insulator as a result of the flashover that would occur under impulse voltage was prevented. The results of the test system performed an important role in determining the insulator behavior and provided predictability.

Optimizing the Probabilistic Neural Network Training Algorithm for Multi-Class Identification

In this work, a training algorithm for probabilistic neural networks (PNN) is presented. The algorithm addresses one of the major drawbacks of PNN, which is the size of the hidden layer in the network. By using a cross-validation training algorithm, the number of hidden neurons is shrunk to a smaller number consisting of the most representative samples of the training set. This is done without affecting the overall architecture of the network. Performance of the network is compared against performance of standard PNN for different databases from the UCI database repository. Results show an important gain in network size and performance.

A Hygrothermal Analysis and Structural Performance of Wood-Frame Wall Systems with Low-Permeance Exterior Insulation

Increasing the level of exterior insulation in residential buildings is a popular way for improving the thermal characteristic of building enclosure and reducing heat loss. However, the layout and properties of materials composing the wall have a great effect on moisture accumulation within the wall cavity, long-term durability of a wall as well as the structural performance. A one-dimensional hygrothermal modeling has been performed to investigate moisture condensation risks and the drying capacity of standard 2×4 and 2×6 light wood-frame wall assemblies including exterior low-permeance extruded polystyrene (XPS) insulation. The analysis considered two different wall configurations whereby the rigid insulation board was placed either between Oriented Strand Board (OSB) sheathing and the stud or outboard to the structural sheathing. The thickness of the insulation varied between 0 mm and 50 mm and the analysis has been conducted for eight different locations in Canada, covering climate zone 4 through zone 8. Results show that the wall configuration with low-permeance insulation inserted between the stud and OSB sheathing accumulates more moisture within the stud cavity, compared to the assembly with the same insulation placed exterior to the sheathing. On the other hand, OSB moisture contents of the latter configuration were markedly higher. Consequently, the analysis of hygrothermal performance investigated and compared moisture accumulation in both the OSB and stud cavity. To investigate the structural performance of the wall and the effect of soft insulation layer inserted between the sheathing and framing, forty nail connection specimens were tested. Results have shown that both the connection strength and stiffness experience a significant reduction as the insulation thickness increases. These results will be compared with results from a full-scale shear wall tests in order to investigate if the capacity of shear walls with insulated sheathing would experience a similar reduction in structural capacities.

River Stage-Discharge Forecasting Based on Multiple-Gauge Strategy Using EEMD-DWT-LSSVM Approach

This study presented hybrid pre-processing approach along with a conceptual model to enhance the accuracy of river discharge prediction. In order to achieve this goal, Ensemble Empirical Mode Decomposition algorithm (EEMD), Discrete Wavelet Transform (DWT) and Mutual Information (MI) were employed as a hybrid pre-processing approach conjugated to Least Square Support Vector Machine (LSSVM). A conceptual strategy namely multi-station model was developed to forecast the Souris River discharge more accurately. The strategy used herein was capable of covering uncertainties and complexities of river discharge modeling. DWT and EEMD was coupled, and the feature selection was performed for decomposed sub-series using MI to be employed in multi-station model. In the proposed feature selection method, some useless sub-series were omitted to achieve better performance. Results approved efficiency of the proposed DWT-EEMD-MI approach to improve accuracy of multi-station modeling strategies.

The Impact of Protein Content on Athletes’ Body Composition

Several factors contribute to success in sport and diet is one of them. Evidence-based sport nutrition guidelines underline the importance of macro- and micro-nutrients’ balance and timing in order to improve athlete’s physical status and performance. Nevertheless, a high content of proteins is commonly found in resistance training athletes’ diet with carbohydrate intake that is not enough or not well planned. The aim of the study was to evaluate the impact of different protein and carbohydrate diet contents on body composition and sport performance on a group of resistance training athletes. Subjects were divided as study group (n=16) and control group (n=14). For a period of 4 months, both groups were subjected to the same resistance training fitness program with study group following a specific diet and control group following an ab libitum diet. Body compositions were evaluated trough anthropometric measurement (weight, height, body circumferences and skinfolds) and Bioimpedence Analysis. Physical strength and training status of individuals were evaluated through the One Repetition Maximum test (RM1). Protein intake in studied group was found to be lower than in control group. There was a statistically significant increase of body weight, free fat mass and body mass cell of studied group respect to the control group. Fat mass remains almost constant. Statistically significant changes were observed in quadriceps and biceps circumferences, with an increase in studied group. The MR1 test showed improvement in study group’s strength but no changes in control group. Usually people consume hyper-proteic diet to achieve muscle mass development. Through this study, it was possible to show that protein intake fixed at 1,7 g/kg/d can meet the individual's needs. In parallel, the increased intake of carbohydrates, focusing on quality and timing of assumption, has enabled the obtainment of desired results with a training protocol supporting a hypertrophic strategy. Therefore, the key point seems related to the planning of a structured program both from a nutritional and training point of view.

The Design of Multiple Detection Parallel Combined Spread Spectrum Communication System

Many jobs in society go underground, such as mine mining, tunnel construction and subways, which are vital to the development of society. Once accidents occur in these places, the interruption of traditional wired communication is not conducive to the development of rescue work. In order to realize the positioning, early warning and command functions of underground personnel and improve rescue efficiency, it is necessary to develop and design an emergency ground communication system. It is easy to be subjected to narrowband interference when performing conventional underground communication. Spreading communication can be used for this problem. However, general spread spectrum methods such as direct spread communication are inefficient, so it is proposed to use parallel combined spread spectrum (PCSS) communication to improve efficiency. The PCSS communication not only has the anti-interference ability and the good concealment of the traditional spread spectrum system, but also has a relatively high frequency band utilization rate and a strong information transmission capability. So, this technology has been widely used in practice. This paper presents a PCSS communication model-multiple detection parallel combined spread spectrum (MDPCSS) communication system. In this paper, the principle of MDPCSS communication system is described, that is, the sequence at the transmitting end is processed in blocks and cyclically shifted to facilitate multiple detection at the receiving end. The block diagrams of the transmitter and receiver of the MDPCSS communication system are introduced. At the same time, the calculation formula of the system bit error rate (BER) is introduced, and the simulation and analysis of the BER of the system are completed. By comparing with the common parallel PCSS communication, we can draw a conclusion that it is indeed possible to reduce the BER and improve the system performance. Furthermore, the influence of different pseudo-code lengths selected on the system BER is simulated and analyzed, and the conclusion is that the larger the pseudo-code length is, the smaller the system error rate is.

An Improved Adaptive Dot-Shape Beamforming Algorithm Research on Frequency Diverse Array

Frequency diverse array (FDA) beamforming is a technology developed in recent years, and its antenna pattern has a unique angle-distance-dependent characteristic. However, the beam is always required to have strong concentration, high resolution and low sidelobe level to form the point-to-point interference in the concentrated set. In order to eliminate the angle-distance coupling of the traditional FDA and to make the beam energy more concentrated, this paper adopts a multi-carrier FDA structure based on proposed power exponential frequency offset to improve the array structure and frequency offset of the traditional FDA. The simulation results show that the beam pattern of the array can form a dot-shape beam with more concentrated energy, and its resolution and sidelobe level performance are improved. However, the covariance matrix of the signal in the traditional adaptive beamforming algorithm is estimated by the finite-time snapshot data. When the number of snapshots is limited, the algorithm has an underestimation problem, which leads to the estimation error of the covariance matrix to cause beam distortion, so that the output pattern cannot form a dot-shape beam. And it also has main lobe deviation and high sidelobe level problems in the case of limited snapshot. Aiming at these problems, an adaptive beamforming technique based on exponential correction for multi-carrier FDA is proposed to improve beamforming robustness. The steps are as follows: first, the beamforming of the multi-carrier FDA is formed under linear constrained minimum variance (LCMV) criteria. Then the eigenvalue decomposition of the covariance matrix is ​​performed to obtain the diagonal matrix composed of the interference subspace, the noise subspace and the corresponding eigenvalues. Finally, the correction index is introduced to exponentially correct the small eigenvalues ​​of the noise subspace, improve the divergence of small eigenvalues ​​in the noise subspace, and improve the performance of beamforming. The theoretical analysis and simulation results show that the proposed algorithm can make the multi-carrier FDA form a dot-shape beam at limited snapshots, reduce the sidelobe level, improve the robustness of beamforming, and have better performance.

An Improved Total Variation Regularization Method for Denoising Magnetocardiography

The application of magnetocardiography signals to detect cardiac electrical function is a new technology developed in recent years. The magnetocardiography signal is detected with Superconducting Quantum Interference Devices (SQUID) and has considerable advantages over electrocardiography (ECG). It is difficult to extract Magnetocardiography (MCG) signal which is buried in the noise, which is a critical issue to be resolved in cardiac monitoring system and MCG applications. In order to remove the severe background noise, the Total Variation (TV) regularization method is proposed to denoise MCG signal. The approach transforms the denoising problem into a minimization optimization problem and the Majorization-minimization algorithm is applied to iteratively solve the minimization problem. However, traditional TV regularization method tends to cause step effect and lacks constraint adaptability. In this paper, an improved TV regularization method for denoising MCG signal is proposed to improve the denoising precision. The improvement of this method is mainly divided into three parts. First, high-order TV is applied to reduce the step effect, and the corresponding second derivative matrix is used to substitute the first order. Then, the positions of the non-zero elements in the second order derivative matrix are determined based on the peak positions that are detected by the detection window. Finally, adaptive constraint parameters are defined to eliminate noises and preserve signal peak characteristics. Theoretical analysis and experimental results show that this algorithm can effectively improve the output signal-to-noise ratio and has superior performance.

Valorization of the Algerian Plaster and Dune Sand in the Building Sector

The need for thermal comfort of buildings, with the aim of saving energy, has always generated a big interest during the development of methods, to improve the mode of construction. In the present paper, which is concerned by the valorization of locally abundant materials, mixtures of plaster and dune sand have been studied. To point out the thermal performances of these mixtures, a comparative study has been established between this product and the two materials most commonly used in construction, the concrete and hollow brick. The results showed that optimal mixture is made with 1/3 plaster and 2/3 dune sand. This mortar achieved significant increases in the mechanical strengths, which allow it to be used as a carrier element for buildings, of up to two levels. The element obtained offers an acceptable thermal insulation, with a decrease the outer-wall construction thickness.

Analyzing Façade Scenarios and Daylight Levels in the Reid Building: A Reflective Case Study on the Designed Daylight under Overcast Sky

This study presents the use of daylight in the case study of the Reid building at the Glasgow School of Art in the city of Glasgow, UK. In Nordic countries, daylight is one of the main considerations within building design, especially in the face of long, lightless winters. A shortage of daylight, contributing to dark and gloomy conditions, necessitates that designs incorporate strong daylight performance. As such, the building in question is designed to capture natural light for varying needs, where studios are located on the North and South façades. The study’s approach presents an analysis of different façade scenarios, where daylight from the North is observed, analyzed and compared with the daylight from the South façade for various design studios in the building. The findings then are correlated with the results of daylight levels from the daylight simulation program (Autodesk Ecotect Analysis) for the investigated studios. The study finds there to be a dramatic difference in daylight nature and levels between the North and South façades, where orientation, obstructions and designed façade fenestrations have major effects on the findings. The study concludes that some of the studios positioned on the North façade do not have a desirable quality of diffused northern light, due to the outside building’s obstructions, area and volume of the studio and the shadow effect of the designed mezzanine floor in the studios.

Conceptual Design of a Customer Friendly Variable Volume and Variable Spinning Speed Washing Machine

In this paper using smart materials we have proposed a specially manufactured variable volume spin tub for loading clothes for negating the vibration to a certain extent for getting better operating performance. Additionally, we have recommended a variable spinning speed rotor for handling varieties of garments for an efficient washing, aiming for increasing the life span of both the garments and the machine. As a part of the conflicting dynamic constraints and demands of the customer friendly design optimization of a lucrative and cosmetic washing machine we have proposed a drier and a desalination system capable to supply desirable heat and a pleasing fragrance to the garments. We thus concluded that while incorporating variable volume and variable spinning speed tub integrated with a drier and desalination system, the washing machine could meet the varieties of domestic requirements of the customers cost-effectively.

Technology, Organizational and Environmental Determinants of Business Intelligence Systems Adoption in Croatian SME: A Case Study of Medium-Sized Enterprise

In the last few years, examples from scientific literature and business practices show that the adoption of technological innovations increases enterprises' performance. Recently, when it comes to the field of information technology innovation, business intelligence systems (BISs) have drawn a significant amount of attention of the scientific circles. BISs can be understood as a form of technological innovation which can bring certain benefits to the organizations that are adopting it. Therefore, the aim of this paper is twofold: (1) to define determinants of successful BISs adoption in small and medium enterprises and thus contribute to this neglected research area and (2) to present the current state of BISs adoption in small and medium-sized companies. In order to do so, determinants are defined and classified into three dimensions, according to the Technology – Organization – Environment (TOE) theoretical framework that describes the impact of each dimension on technological innovations adoption. Moreover, paper brings a case study presenting the adoption of BISs in practice within an organization from tertiary (service) industry sector. Based on the results of the study, guidelines for more efficient, faster and easier BISs adoption are presented.

CFD Modeling of Mixing Enhancement in a Pitted Micromixer by High Frequency Ultrasound Waves

Use of ultrasound waves is one of the techniques for increasing the mixing and mass transfer in the microdevices. Ultrasound propagation into liquid medium leads to stimulation of the fluid, creates turbulence and so increases the mixing performance. In this study, CFD modeling of two-phase flow in a pitted micromixer equipped with a piezoelectric with frequency of 1.7 MHz has been studied. CFD modeling of micromixer at different velocity of fluid flow in the absence of ultrasound waves and with ultrasound application has been performed. The hydrodynamic of fluid flow and mixing efficiency for using ultrasound has been compared with the layout of no ultrasound application. The result of CFD modeling shows well agreements with the experimental results. The results showed that the flow pattern inside the micromixer in the absence of ultrasound waves is parallel, while when ultrasound has been applied, it is not parallel. In fact, propagation of ultrasound energy into the fluid flow in the studied micromixer changed the hydrodynamic and the forms of the flow pattern and caused to mixing enhancement. In general, from the CFD modeling results, it can be concluded that the applying ultrasound energy into the liquid medium causes an increase in the turbulences and mixing and consequently, improves the mass transfer rate within the micromixer.

Aerodynamic Interaction between Two Speed Skaters Measured in a Closed Wind Tunnel

Team pursuit is a relatively new event in international long track speed skating. For a single speed skater the aerodynamic drag will account for up to 80% of the braking force, thus reducing the drag can greatly improve the performance. In a team pursuit the interactions between athletes in near proximity will also be essential, but is not well studied. In this study, systematic measurements of the aerodynamic drag, body posture and relative positioning of speed skaters have been performed in the low speed wind tunnel at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, in order to investigate the aerodynamic interaction between two speed skaters. Drag measurements of static speed skaters drafting, leading, side-by-side, and dynamic drag measurements in a synchronized and unsynchronized movement at different distances, were performed. The projected frontal area was measured for all postures and movements and a blockage correction was performed, as the blockage ratio ranged from 5-15% in the different setups. The static drag measurements where performed on two test subjects in two different postures, a low posture and a high posture, and two different distances between the test subjects 1.5T and 3T where T being the length of the torso (T=0.63m). A drag reduction was observed for all distances and configurations, from 39% to 11.4%, for the drafting test subject. The drag of the leading test subject was only influenced at -1.5T, with the biggest drag reduction of 5.6%. An increase in drag was seen for all side-by-side measurements, the biggest increase was observed to be 25.7%, at the closest distance between the test subjects, and the lowest at 2.7% with ∼ 0.7 m between the test subjects. A clear aerodynamic interaction between the test subjects and their postures was observed for most measurements during static measurements, with results corresponding well to recent studies. For the dynamic measurements, the leading test subject had a drag reduction of 3% even at -3T. The drafting showed a drag reduction of 15% when being in a synchronized (sync) motion with the leading test subject at 4.5T. The maximal drag reduction for both the leading and the drafting test subject were observed when being as close as possible in sync, with a drag reduction of 8.5% and 25.7% respectively. This study emphasize the importance of keeping a synchronized movement by showing that the maximal gain for the leading and drafting dropped to 3.2% and 3.3% respectively when the skaters are in opposite phase. Individual differences in technique also appear to influence the drag of the other test subject.

Iterative Image Reconstruction for Sparse-View Computed Tomography via Total Variation Regularization and Dictionary Learning

Recently, low-dose computed tomography (CT) has become highly desirable due to increasing attention to the potential risks of excessive radiation. For low-dose CT imaging, ensuring image quality while reducing radiation dose is a major challenge. To facilitate low-dose CT imaging, we propose an improved statistical iterative reconstruction scheme based on the Penalized Weighted Least Squares (PWLS) standard combined with total variation (TV) minimization and sparse dictionary learning (DL) to improve reconstruction performance. We call this method "PWLS-TV-DL". In order to evaluate the PWLS-TV-DL method, we performed experiments on digital phantoms and physical phantoms, respectively. The experimental results show that our method is in image quality and calculation. The efficiency is superior to other methods, which confirms the potential of its low-dose CT imaging.

Factors that Contribute to the Improvement of the Sense of Self-Efficacy of Special Educators in Inclusive Settings in Greece

Teacher’s sense of self-efficacy can affect significantly both teacher’s and student’s performance. More specific, self-efficacy is associated with the learning outcomes as well as student’s motivation and self-efficacy. For example, teachers with high sense of self-efficacy are more open to innovations and invest more effort in teaching. In addition to this, effective inclusive education is associated with higher levels of teacher’s self-efficacy. Pre-service teachers with high levels of self-efficacy could handle student’s behavior better and more effectively assist students with special educational needs. Teacher preparation programs are also important, because teacher’s efficacy beliefs are shaped early in learning, as a result the quality of teacher’s education programs can affect the sense of self-efficacy of pre-service teachers. Usually, a number of pre-service teachers do not consider themselves well prepared to work with students with special educational needs and do not have the appropriate sense of self-efficacy. This study aims to investigate the factors that contribute to the improvement of the sense of self-efficacy of pre-service special educators by using an academic practicum training program. The sample of this study is 159 pre-service special educators, who also participated in the academic practicum training program. For the purpose of this study were used quantitative methods for data collection and analysis. Teacher’s self-efficacy was assessed by the teachers themselves with the completion of a questionnaire which was based on the scale of Teacher’s Sense of Efficacy Scale. Pre and post measurements of teacher’s self-efficacy were taken. The results of the survey are consistent with those of the international literature. The results indicate that a significant number of pre-service special educators do not hold the appropriate sense of self-efficacy regarding teaching students with special educational needs. Moreover, a quality academic training program constitutes a crucial factor for the improvement of the sense of self-efficacy of pre-service special educators, as additional for the provision of high quality inclusive education.