The Low-Cost Design and 3D Printing of Structural Knee Orthotics for Athletic Knee Injury Patients

Knee orthotics play an important role in aiding in the recovery of those with knee injuries, especially athletes. However, structural knee orthotics is often very expensive, ranging between $300 and $800. The primary reason for this project was to answer the question: can 3D printed orthotics represent a viable and cost-effective alternative to present structural knee orthotics? The primary objective for this research project was to design a knee orthotic for athletes with knee injuries for a low-cost under $100 and evaluate its effectiveness. The initial design for the orthotic was done in SolidWorks, a computer-aided design (CAD) software available at Loyola Marymount University. After this design was completed, finite element analysis (FEA) was utilized to understand how normal stresses placed upon the knee affected the orthotic. The knee orthotic was then adjusted and redesigned to meet a specified factor-of-safety of 3.25 based on the data gathered during FEA and literature sources. Once the FEA was completed and the orthotic was redesigned based from the data gathered, the next step was to move on to 3D-printing the first design of the knee brace. Subsequently, physical therapy movement trials were used to evaluate physical performance. Using the data from these movement trials, the CAD design of the brace was refined to accommodate the design requirements. The final goal of this research means to explore the possibility of replacing high-cost, outsourced knee orthotics with a readily available low-cost alternative.

Applying Resilience Engineering to improve Safety Management in a Construction Site: Design and Validation of a Questionnaire

Resilience Engineering is a new paradigm of safety management that proposes to change the way of managing the safety to focus on the things that go well instead of the things that go wrong. Many complex and high-risk sectors such as air traffic control, health care, nuclear power plants, railways or emergencies, have applied this new vision of safety and have obtained very positive results. In the construction sector, safety management continues to be a problem as indicated by the statistics of occupational injuries worldwide. Therefore, it is important to improve safety management in this sector. For this reason, it is proposed to apply Resilience Engineering to the construction sector. The Construction Phase Health and Safety Plan emerges as a key element for the planning of safety management. One of the key tools of Resilience Engineering is the Resilience Assessment Grid that allows measuring the four essential abilities (respond, monitor, learn and anticipate) for resilient performance. The purpose of this paper is to develop a questionnaire based on the Resilience Assessment Grid, specifically on the ability to learn, to assess whether a Construction Phase Health and Safety Plans helps companies in a construction site to implement this ability. The research process was divided into four stages: (i) initial design of a questionnaire, (ii) validation of the content of the questionnaire, (iii) redesign of the questionnaire and (iii) application of the Delphi method. The questionnaire obtained could be used as a tool to help construction companies to evolve from Safety-I to Safety-II. In this way, companies could begin to develop the ability to learn, which will serve as a basis for the development of the other abilities necessary for resilient performance. The following steps in this research are intended to develop other questions that allow evaluating the rest of abilities for resilient performance such as monitoring, learning and anticipating.

Utilizing the Analytic Hierarchy Process in Improving Performances of Blind Judo

Identifying, structuring, and racking the most important factors related to improving athletes’ performances could pave the way for improve training system. The purpose of this study was to identify the relative importance factors to improve performance of the of judo athletes with visual impairments, including blindness by using the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP). After reviewing the literature, the relative importance of factors affecting performance of the blind judo was selected. A group of expert reviewed the first draft of the questionnaires, and then finally selected performance factors were classified into the major categories of techniques, physical fitness, and psychological categories. Later, a pre-selected experts group was asked to review the final version of questionnaire and confirm the priories of performance factors. The order of priority was determined by performing pairwise comparisons using Expert Choice 2000. Results indicated that “grappling” (.303) and “throwing” (.234) were the most important lower hierarchy factors for blind judo skills. In addition, the most important physical factors affecting performance were “muscular strength and endurance” (.238). Further, among other psychological factors “competitive anxiety” (.393) was important factor that affects performance. It is important to offer psychological skills training to reduce anxiety of judo athletes with visual impairments and blindness, so they can compete in their optimal states. These findings offer insights into what should be considered when determining factors to improve performance of judo athletes with visual impairments and blindness.

Calibrations and Effect of Different Operating Conditions on the Performance of a Fluid Power Control System with Servo Solenoid Valve

The current investigation presents a study on the hydraulic performance of an electro-hydraulic servo solenoid valve controlled linear piston used in hydraulic systems. Advanced methods have been used to measure and record laboratory experiments, to ensure accurate analysis and evaluation. Experiments have been conducted under different values of temperature (28, 40 and 50 °C), supply pressure (10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 bar), system stiffness (32 N/mm), and load (0.0 & 5560 N). It is concluded that increasing temperature of hydraulic oil increases the quantity of flow rate, so it achieves an increase of the quantity of flow by 5.75 % up to 48.8 % depending on operating conditions. The values of pressure decay at low temperature are less than the values at high temperature. The frequency increases with the increase of the temperature. When we connect the springs to the system, it decreases system frequency. These results are very useful in the process of packing and manufacturing of fluid products, where the properties are not affected by 50 °C, so energy and time are saved.

Reliability of Dissimilar Metal Soldered Joint in Fabrication of Electromagnetic Interference Shielded Door Frame

Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) shielded doors made from brass extruded channels need to be welded with shielded enclosures to attain optimum shielding performance. Control of welding induced distortion is a problem in welding dissimilar metals like steel and brass. In this research, soldering of the steel-brass joint has been proposed to avoid weld distortion. The material used for brass channel is UNS C36000. The thickness of brass is defined by the manufacturing process, i.e. extrusion. The thickness of shielded enclosure material (ASTM A36) can be varied to produce joint between the dissimilar metals. Steel sections of different gauges are soldered using (91% tin, 9% zinc) solder to the brass, and strength of joint is measured by standard test procedures. It is observed that thin steel sheets produce a stronger bond with brass. The steel sections further require to be welded with shielded enclosure steel sheets through TIG welding process. Stresses and deformation in the vicinity of soldered portion is calculated through FE simulation. Crack formation in soldered area is also studied through experimental work. It has been found that in thin sheets deformation produced due to applied force is localized and has no effect on soldered joint area whereas in thick sheets profound cracks have been observed in soldered joint. The shielding effectiveness of EMI shielded door is compromised due to these cracks. The shielding effectiveness of the specimens is tested and results are compared.

Dynamic Stability Assessment of Different Wheel Sized Bicycles Based on Current Frame Design Practice with ISO Requirement for Bicycle Safety

The difficulties in riding small wheel bicycles and their lesser stability have been perceived for a long time. Although small wheel bicycles are designed using the similar approach and guidelines that have worked well for big wheel bicycles, the performance of the big wheelers and the smaller wheelers are markedly different. Since both the big wheelers and small wheelers have same fundamental geometry, most blame the small wheel for this discrepancy in the performance. This paper reviews existing guidelines for bicycle design, especially the front steering geometry for the bicycle, and provides a systematic and quantitative analysis of different wheel sized bicycles. A validated mathematical model has been used as a tool to assess the dynamic performance of the bicycles in term of their self-stability. The results obtained were found to corroborate the subjective perception of cyclists for small wheel bicycles. The current approach for small wheel bicycle design requires higher speed to be self-stable. However, it was found that increasing the headtube angle and selecting a proper trail could improve the dynamic performance of small wheel bicycles. A range of parameters for front steering geometry has been identified for small wheel bicycles that have comparable stability as big wheel bicycles. Interestingly, most of the identified geometries are found to be beyond the ISO recommended range and seem to counter the current approach of small wheel bicycle design. Therefore, it was successfully shown that the guidelines for big wheelers do not translate directly to small wheelers, but careful selection of the front geometry could make small wheel bicycles as stable as big wheel bicycles.

Use of Cellulosic Fibres in Double Layer Porous Asphalt

Climate change, namely precipitation patterns alteration, has led to extreme conditions such as floods and droughts. In turn, excessive construction has led to the waterproofing of the soil, increasing the surface runoff and decreasing the groundwater recharge capacity. The permeable pavements used in areas with low traffic lead to a decrease in the probability of floods peaks occurrence and the sediments reduction and pollutants transport, ensuring rainwater quality improvement. This study aims to evaluate the porous asphalt performance, developed in the laboratory, with addition of cellulosic fibres. One of the main objectives of cellulosic fibres use is to stop binder drainage, preventing its loss during storage and transport. Comparing to the conventional porous asphalt the cellulosic fibres addition improved the porous asphalt performance. The cellulosic fibres allowed the bitumen content increase, enabling retention and better aggregates coating and, consequently, a greater mixture durability. With this solution, it is intended to develop better practices of resilience and adaptation to the extreme climate changes and respond to the sustainability current demands, through the eco-friendly materials use. The mix design was performed for different size aggregates (with fine aggregates – PA1 and with coarse aggregates – PA2). The percentage influence of the fibres to be used was studied. It was observed that overall, the binder drainage decreases as the cellulose fibres percentage increases. It was found that the PA2 mixture obtained most binder drainage relative to PA1 mixture, irrespective of the fibres percentage used. Subsequently, the performance was evaluated through laboratory tests of indirect tensile stiffness modulus, water sensitivity, permeability and permanent deformation. The stiffness modulus for the two mixtures groups (with and without cellulosic fibres) presented very similar values between them. For the water sensitivity test it was observed that porous asphalt containing more fine aggregates are more susceptible to the water presence than mixtures with coarse aggregates. The porous asphalt with coarse aggregates have more air voids which allow water to pass easily leading to ITSR higher values. In the permeability test was observed that asphalt porous without cellulosic fibres presented had lower permeability than asphalt porous with cellulosic fibres. The resistance to permanent deformation results indicates better behaviour of porous asphalt with cellulosic fibres, verifying a bigger rut depth in porous asphalt without cellulosic fibres. In this study, it was observed that porous asphalt with bitumen higher percentages improve the performance to permanent deformation. This fact was only possible due to the bitumen retention by the cellulosic fibres.

The Effect of Dopamine D2 Receptor TAQ A1 Allele on Sprinter and Endurance Athlete

Genetic structure is very important to understand the brain dopamine system which is related to athletic performance. Hopefully, there will be enough studies about athletics performance in the terms of addiction-related genetic markers in the future. In the present study, we intended to investigate the Receptor-2 Gene (DRD2) rs1800497, which is related to brain dopaminergic system. 10 sprinter and 10 endurance athletes were enrolled in the study. Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction method was used for genotyping. According to results, A1A1, A1A2 and A2A2 genotypes in athletes were 0 (%0), 3 (%15) and 17 (%85). A1A1 genotype was not found and A2 allele was counted as the dominating allele in our cohort. These findings show that dopaminergic mechanism effects on sport genetic may be explained by the polygenic and multifactorial view.

The Impact of Supply Chain Strategy and Integration on Supply Chain Performance: Supply Chain Vulnerability as a Moderator

The objective of a supply chain strategy is to reduce waste and increase efficiency to attain cost benefits, and to guarantee supply chain flexibility when facing the ever-changing market environment in order to meet customer requirements. Strategy implementation aims to fulfill common goals and attain benefits by integrating upstream and downstream enterprises, sharing information, conducting common planning, and taking part in decision making, so as to enhance the overall performance of the supply chain. With the rise of outsourcing and globalization, the increasing dependence on suppliers and customers and the rapid development of information technology, the complexity and uncertainty of the supply chain have intensified, and supply chain vulnerability has surged, resulting in adverse effects on supply chain performance. Thus, this study aims to use supply chain vulnerability as a moderating variable and apply structural equation modeling (SEM) to determine the relationships among supply chain strategy, supply chain integration, and supply chain performance, as well as the moderating effect of supply chain vulnerability on supply chain performance. The data investigation of this study was questionnaires which were collected from the management level of enterprises in Taiwan and China, 149 questionnaires were received. The result of confirmatory factor analysis shows that the path coefficients of supply chain strategy on supply chain integration and supply chain performance are positive (0.497, t= 4.914; 0.748, t= 5.919), having a significantly positive effect. Supply chain integration is also significantly positively correlated to supply chain performance (0.192, t = 2.273). The moderating effects of supply chain vulnerability on supply chain strategy and supply chain integration to supply chain performance are significant (7.407; 4.687). In Taiwan, 97.73% of enterprises are small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) focusing on receiving original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and original design manufacturer (ODM) orders. In order to meet the needs of customers and to respond to market changes, these enterprises especially focus on supply chain flexibility and their integration with the upstream and downstream enterprises. According to the observation of this research, the effect of supply chain vulnerability on supply chain performance is significant, and so enterprises need to attach great importance to the management of supply chain risk and conduct risk analysis on their suppliers in order to formulate response strategies when facing emergency situations. At the same time, risk management is incorporated into the supply chain so as to reduce the effect of supply chain vulnerability on the overall supply chain performance.

Mechanistic Study of Composite Pavement Behavior in Heavy Duty Area

In heavy duty areas, asphalt pavement constructed as entrance roadway may expose distresses such as cracking and rutting during service life. To mitigate these problems, composite pavement with a roller-compacted concrete base may be a good alternative; however, it should be initially investigated. Structural performances such as fatigue cracking and rut depth may be changed due to variation of some design factors. Therefore, this study focuses on the variation effect of material modulus, layer thickness and loading on composite pavement performances. Stress and strain at the critical location are determined and used as the input of transfer function for corresponding distresses to evaluate the pavement performance. Also, composite pavement satisfying the design criteria may be selected as a design section for heavy duty areas. Consequently, this investigation indicates that composite pavement has the ability to eliminate fatigue cracking in asphalt surfaces and significantly reduce rut depth. In addition, a thick or strong rigid base can significantly reduce rut depth and prolong fatigue life of this layer.

Inequalities in Higher Education and Students’ Perceptions of Factors Influencing Academic Performance

This qualitative study aims to answer the following research questions: i) What are the factors that students perceive as relevant to a) promoting and b) preventing good grades? ii) How does socio-economic status (SES) feature in those beliefs? We conducted in-depth interviews with 19 first- and second-year undergraduates of varying SES at a research-intensive university in the UK. The interviews yielded eight factors that students perceived as promoting and six perceived as preventing good grades. The findings suggested one significant difference between the beliefs of low and high SES students in that low SES students perceive themselves to be at a greater disadvantage to their peers while high SES students do not have such beliefs. This could have knock-on effects on their performance.

Influence of Gusset Plate Stiffeners on the Seismic Performance of Concentrically Braced Frame

Inelastic deformation of the brace in Special Concentrically Braced Frame (SCBF) creates inelastic damages on gusset plate connections such as buckling at edges. In this study, to improve the seismic performance of SCBFs connections, an analytical study was undertaken. Using edge’s stiffeners is one of the main solutions of this study to improve the gusset plate connections' behavior. For this purpose, in order to examine edge’s stiffeners effect on gusset plate connections, two groups of modeling with and without considering edge’s stiffener and different types of braces were modeled using ABAQUS software. The results show that considering the edge’s stiffener reduces the equivalent plastic strain values at a connection region of gusset plate with beam and column, which can improve the seismic performance of gusset plate. Furthermore, considering the edge’s stiffeners significantly decreases the strain concentration at regions where gusset plates have been connected to beam and column. Moreover, considering 2tpl distance causes reduction in the plastic strain.

Evaluating the Effectiveness of the Use of Scharmer’s Theory-U Model in Action-Learning-Based Leadership Development Program

We constructed a training program for top-talents of a Bank with Scharmer Theory-U as the model. In this training program, we implemented the action learning perspective, as it is claimed to be the most effective one currently available. In the process, participants were encouraged to be more involved, especially compared to traditional lecturing. The goal of this study is to assess the effectiveness of this particular training. The program consists of six days non-residential workshop within two months. Between each workshop, the participants were involved in the works of action learning group. They were challenged by dealing with the real problem related to their tasks at work. The participants of the program were 30 best talents who were chosen according to their yearly performance. Using paired difference statistical test in the behavioral assessment, we found that the training was not effective to increase participants’ leadership competencies. For the future development program, we suggested to modify the goals of the program toward the next stage of development.

Toward Sustainable Building Design in Hot and Arid Climate with Reference to Riyadh City, Saudi Arabia

One of the most common and traditional strategies in architecture is to design buildings passively. This is a way to ensure low building energy reliance with respect to specific micro-building locations. There are so many ways where buildings can be designed passively, some of which are applying thermal insulation, thermal mass, courtyard and glazing to wall ratio. This research investigates the impact of each of these aspects with respect to the hot and dry climate of the capital of Riyadh. Thermal Analysis Simulation (TAS) will be utilized which is powered by Environmental Design Simulation Limited company (EDSL). It is considered as one of the most powerful tools to predict energy performance in buildings. There are three primary building designs and methods which are using courtyard, thermal mass and thermal insulation. The same building size and fabrication properties have been applied to all designs. Riyadh city which is the capital of the country was taken as a case study of the research. The research has taken into account various zone directions within the building as it has a large contribution to indoor energy and thermal performance. It is revealed that it is possible to achieve nearly zero carbon building in the hot and dry region in winter with minimum reliance on energy loads for building zones facing south, west and east. Moreover, using courtyard is more beneficial than applying construction materials into building envelope. Glazing to wall ratio is recommended to be 10% and not exceeding 30% in all directions in hot and arid regions.

Exploring Students’ Self-Evaluation on Their Learning Outcomes through an Integrated Cumulative Grade Point Average Reporting Mechanism

An Integrated Cumulative Grade Point Average (iCGPA) is a mechanism and strategy to ensure the curriculum of an academic programme is constructively aligned to the expected learning outcomes and student performance based on the attainment of those learning outcomes that is reported objectively in a spider web. Much effort and time has been spent to develop a viable mechanism and trains academics to utilize the platform for reporting. The question is: How well do learners conceive the idea of their achievement via iCGPA and whether quality learner attributes have been nurtured through the iCGPA mechanism? This paper presents the architecture of an integrated CGPA mechanism purported to address a holistic evaluation from the evaluation of courses learning outcomes to aligned programme learning outcomes attainment. The paper then discusses the students’ understanding of the mechanism and evaluation of their achievement from the generated spider web. A set of questionnaires were distributed to a group of students with iCGPA reporting and frequency analysis was used to compare the perspectives of students on their performance. In addition, the questionnaire also explored how they conceive the idea of an integrated, holistic reporting and how it generates their motivation to improve. The iCGPA group was found to be receptive to what they have achieved throughout their study period. They agreed that the achievement level generated from their spider web allows them to develop intervention and enhance the programme learning outcomes before they graduate.

The Use of Plant-Based Natural Fibers in Reinforced Cement Composites

Plant-based natural fibers are used more increasingly in construction materials. It is done to reduce the pressure on the built environment, which has been increased dramatically due to the increases world population and their needs. Plant-based natural fibers are abundant in many countries. Despite the low-cost of such environmental friendly renewable material, it has the ability to enhance the mechanical properties of construction materials. This paper presents an extensive discussion on the use of plant-based natural fibers as reinforcement for cement-based composites, with a particular emphasis upon fiber types; fiber characteristics, and fiber-cement composites performance. It also covers a thorough overview on the main factors, affecting the properties of plant-based natural fiber cement composite in it fresh and hardened state. The feasibility of using plant-based natural fibers in producing various construction materials; such as, mud bricks and blocks is investigated. In addition, other applications of using such fibers as internal curing agents as well as durability enhancer are also discussed. Finally, recommendation for possible future work in this area is presented.

A Meta-Model for Tubercle Design of Wing Planforms Inspired by Humpback Whale Flippers

Inspired by topology of humpback whale flippers, a meta-model is designed for wing planform design. The net is trained based on experimental data using cascade-forward artificial neural network (ANN) to investigate effects of the amplitude and wavelength of sinusoidal leading edge configurations on the wing performance. Afterwards, the trained ANN is coupled with a genetic algorithm method towards an optimum design strategy. Finally, flow physics of the problem for an optimized rectangular planform and also a real flipper geometry planform is simulated using Lam-Bremhorst low Reynolds number turbulence model with damping wall-functions resolving to the wall. Lift and drag coefficients and also details of flow are presented along with comparisons to available experimental data. Results show that the proposed strategy can be adopted with success as a fast-estimation tool for performance prediction of wing planforms with wavy leading edge at preliminary design phase.  

A Dataset of Program Educational Objectives Mapped to ABET Outcomes: Data Cleansing, Exploratory Data Analysis and Modeling

Datasets or collections are becoming important assets by themselves and now they can be accepted as a primary intellectual output of a research. The quality and usage of the datasets depend mainly on the context under which they have been collected, processed, analyzed, validated, and interpreted. This paper aims to present a collection of program educational objectives mapped to student’s outcomes collected from self-study reports prepared by 32 engineering programs accredited by ABET. The manual mapping (classification) of this data is a notoriously tedious, time consuming process. In addition, it requires experts in the area, which are mostly not available. It has been shown the operational settings under which the collection has been produced. The collection has been cleansed, preprocessed, some features have been selected and preliminary exploratory data analysis has been performed so as to illustrate the properties and usefulness of the collection. At the end, the collection has been benchmarked using nine of the most widely used supervised multiclass classification techniques (Binary Relevance, Label Powerset, Classifier Chains, Pruned Sets, Random k-label sets, Ensemble of Classifier Chains, Ensemble of Pruned Sets, Multi-Label k-Nearest Neighbors and Back-Propagation Multi-Label Learning). The techniques have been compared to each other using five well-known measurements (Accuracy, Hamming Loss, Micro-F, Macro-F, and Macro-F). The Ensemble of Classifier Chains and Ensemble of Pruned Sets have achieved encouraging performance compared to other experimented multi-label classification methods. The Classifier Chains method has shown the worst performance. To recap, the benchmark has achieved promising results by utilizing preliminary exploratory data analysis performed on the collection, proposing new trends for research and providing a baseline for future studies.

The Influence of Transformational Leadership on Knowledge Sharing in Iraq’s Public and Private Higher Education: A Comparison Study

Transformational leadership (TL) has been found to have an important influence on knowledge and knowledge management (KM). It can contribute to organizational learning, employees’ creativity, encourage followers to participate in educational programs and develop the skills needed to achieve exceptional performance. This research sought to examine the impact of TL on knowledge donating and collecting and the differences between these impacts in public and private higher education institutes (HEIs) in Iraq. A mixed method approach was taken and 580 valid responses were collected to test the causal relationships between the factors, then 12 interviews were conducted with the leaders of HEIs to give more insight of the findings from quantitative stage. Employing structural equation modelling with AMOS v.24, the research found that TL would be ideal in an educational context, promoting knowledge sharing activities in both sectors. The interviews revealed differences between public and private HEIs in terms of the effects relationships. Guidelines are developed for academics as well as leaders and provided evidence to support the use of TL to encourage knowledge sharing activities within higher education in developing countries particularly Iraq.

Lean Impact Analysis Assessment Models: Development of a Lean Measurement Structural Model

The paper is aimed at developing a model to measure the impact of Lean manufacturing deployment on organizational performance. The model will help industry practitioners to assess the impact of implementing Lean constructs on organizational performance. It will also harmonize the measurement models of Lean performance with the house of Lean that seems to have become the industry standard. The sheer number of measurement models for impact assessment of Lean implementation makes it difficult for new adopters to select an appropriate assessment model or deployment methodology. A literature review is conducted to classify the Lean performance model. Pareto analysis is used to select the Lean constructs for the development of the model. The model is further formalized through the use of Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) in defining the underlying latent structure of a Lean system. An impact assessment measurement model developed can be used to measure Lean performance and can be adopted by different industries.