Abstract: Contamination of water, due to the discharge of untreated industrial wastewaters into the ecosystem, has become a serious problem for many countries. In this study, bioadsorbents based on chitosan-g-poly(acrylamide) and montmorillonite (MMt) clay (CTS-g-PAAm/MMt) hydrogel nanocomposites were prepared via free‐radical grafting copolymerization and crosslinking of acrylamide monomer (AAm) onto natural polysaccharide chitosan (CTS) as backbone, in presence of various contents of MMt clay as nanofiller. Then, they were hydrolyzed to obtain highly functionalized pH‐sensitive nanomaterials with uppermost swelling properties. Their structure characterization was conducted by X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) analyses. The adsorption performances of the developed nanohybrids were examined for removal of methylene blue (MB) cationic dye from aqueous solutions. The factors affecting the removal of MB, such as clay content, pH medium, adsorbent dose, initial dye concentration and temperature were explored. The adsorption process was found to be highly pH dependent. From adsorption kinetic results, the prepared adsorbents showed remarkable adsorption capacity and fast adsorption rate, mainly more than 88% of MB removal efficiency was reached after 50 min in 200 mg L-1 of dye solution. In addition, the incorporating of various content of clay has enhanced adsorption capacity of CTS-g-PAAm matrix from 1685 to a highest value of 1749 mg g-1 for the optimized nanocomposite containing 2 wt.% of MMt. The experimental kinetic data were well described by the pseudo-second-order model, while the equilibrium data were represented perfectly by Langmuir isotherm model. The maximum Langmuir equilibrium adsorption capacity (qm) was found to increase from 2173 mg g−1 until 2221 mg g−1 by adding 2 wt.% of clay nanofiller. Thermodynamic parameters revealed the spontaneous and endothermic nature of the process. In addition, the reusability study revealed that these bioadsorbents could be well regenerated with desorption efficiency overhead 87% and without any obvious decrease of removal efﬁciency as compared to starting ones even after four consecutive adsorption/desorption cycles, which exceeded 64%. These results suggest that the optimized nanocomposites are promising as low cost bioadsorbents.
Abstract: The purpose of this work was to synthesize and investigate phase formation, structure and thermophysical properties of the phosphates M0.5+xM'xZr2–x(PO4)3 (M – Cd, Sr, Pb; M' – Mg, Co, Mn). The compounds were synthesized by sol-gel method. The results showed formation of limited solid solutions of NZP/NASICON type. The crystal structures of triple phosphates of the compositions MMg0.5Zr1.5(PO4)3 were refined by the Rietveld method using XRD data. Heat capacity (8–660 K) of the phosphates Pb0.5+xMgxZr2-x(PO4)3 (x = 0, 0.5) was measured, and reversible polymorphic transitions were found at temperatures, close to the room temperature. The results of Rietveld structure refinement showed the polymorphism caused by disordering of lead cations in the cavities of NZP/NASICON structure. Thermal expansion (298−1073 K) of the phosphates MMg0.5Zr1.5(PO4)3 was studied by XRD method, and the compounds were found to belong to middle and low-expanding materials. Thermal diffusivity (298–573 K) of the ceramic samples of phosphates slightly decreased with temperature increasing. As was demonstrated, the studied phosphates are characterized by the better thermophysical characteristics than widespread fire-resistant materials, such as zirconia and etc.
Abstract: Protorhus longifolia is known as a medicinal plant that has been used traditionally to treat various ailments such as hemiplegic paralysis, blood clotting related diseases, diarrhoea, heartburn, etc. The study reports a High-Performance Thin Layer Chromatography (HPTLC) fingerprint profile of Protorhus longifolia methanolic extract and its qualitative analysis of gallic acid, rutin, and quercetin. HPTLC analysis was achieved using CAMAG HPTLC system equipped with CAMAG automatic TLC sampler 4, CAMAG Automatic Developing Chamber 2 (ADC2), CAMAG visualizer 2, CAMAG Thin Layer Chromatography (TLC) scanner and visionCATS CAMAG HPTLC software. Mobile phase comprising toluene, ethyl acetate, formic acid (21:15:3) was used for qualitative analysis of gallic acid and revealed eight peaks while the mobile phase containing ethyl acetate, water, glacial acetic acid, formic acid (100:26:11:11) for qualitative analysis of rutin and quercetin revealed six peaks. HPTLC sillica gel 60 F254 glass plates (10 × 10) were used as the stationary phase. Gallic acid was detected at the Rf = 0.35; while rutin and quercetin were not evident in the extract. Further studies will be performed to quantify gallic acid in Protorhus longifolia leaves and also identify other biomarkers.
Abstract: Comparative research has been conducted to allow us to determine the content of macro and microelements in the vegetative and reproductive organs of grass pea and the quality of grass pea seeds, as well as to identify the possibility of grass pea growth on soils contaminated by heavy metals. The experiment was conducted on an agricultural field subjected to contamination from the Non-Ferrous-Metal Works (MFMW) near Plovdiv, Bulgaria. The experimental plots were situated at different distances of 0.5 km and 8 km, respectively, from the source of pollution. On reaching commercial ripeness the grass pea plants were gathered. The composition of the macro and microelements in plant materials (roots, stems, leaves, seeds), and the dry matter content, sugars, proteins, fats and ash contained in the grass pea seeds were determined. Translocation factors (TF) and bioaccumulation factor (BCF) were also determined. The quantitative measurements were carried out through inductively-coupled plasma (ICP). The grass pea plant can successfully be grown on soils contaminated by heavy metals. Soil pollution with heavy metals does not affect the quality of the grass pea seeds. The seeds of the grass pea contain significant amounts of nutrients (K, P, Cu, Fe Mn, Zn) and protein (23.18-29.54%). The distribution of heavy metals in the organs of the grass pea has a selective character, which reduces in the following order: leaves > roots > stems > seeds. BCF and TF values were greater than one suggesting efficient accumulation in the above ground parts of grass pea plant. Grass pea is a plant that is tolerant to heavy metals and can be referred to the accumulator plants. The results provide valuable information about the chemical and nutritional composition of the seeds of the grass pea grown on contaminated soils in Bulgaria. The high content of macro and microelements and the low concentrations of toxic elements in the grass pea grown in contaminated soil make it possible to use the seeds of the grass pea as animal feed.
Abstract: The estimation of leak flow rates through narrow cracks in structures is of importance for nuclear reactor safety, since the leak flow could be detected before occurrence of loss-of-coolant accidents. The two-phase critical leak flow rates are calculated using the system analysis code, and two representative non-homogeneous critical flow models, Henry-Fauske model and Ransom-Trapp model, are compared. The pressure decrease and vapor generation in the crack, and the leak flow rates are found to be larger for the Henry-Fauske model. It is shown that the leak flow rates are not affected by the structural temperature, but affected largely by the roughness of crack surface.
Abstract: Aloe Vera is a short-stemmed succulent plant which is commonly used in Myanmar traditional medicine. A. vera gel was also used as food addictive. This study aims to improve the Myanmar folk medicine to a functional beverage. In this research, Aloe vera was fermented with Saccharomyces cerevisiae for 6 months. Three different processes were carried out. Process I contains A. vera 10%, sugar 30%, water 50%, and starter culture 10%, process II contains A. vera 10%, sugar 15%, honey 15%, and water 50%, starter culture 10%; process III contains A. vera 10%, honey 30%, water 50%, starter culture 10%. During wine fermentation, the wine parameters such as alcohol content, total soluble solid (ºBrix), pH, color and cell population were analyzed. After 30 days of fermentation, total cell population remained 2.8x106 in P-I, P-II and 3.2x106 in P-III. Total soluble solid content dropped to 15.8 in P-I, P-II and 15.7 in P-III. After 30 days, clear wine was transferred to other vassals for racking. After 6 months of racking, microbial population reached under detectable level and alcohol content was round about 11% but not significantly different among these processes. P-II was found to have the highest color intensity at 450 nm and it got the most taster satisfaction when sensory evaluation was carried out using five hedonic scales after 6 month of racking.
Abstract: The large pose discrepancy is one of the critical
challenges in face recognition during video surveillance. Due to
the entanglement of pose attributes with identity information, the
conventional approaches for pose-independent representation lack
in providing quality results in recognizing largely posed faces. In
this paper, we propose a practical approach to disentangle the pose
attribute from the identity information followed by synthesis of a face
using a classifier network in latent space. The proposed approach
employs a modified generative adversarial network framework
consisting of an encoder-decoder structure embedded with a classifier
in manifold space for carrying out factorization on the latent
encoding. It can be further generalized to other face and non-face
attributes for real-life video frames containing faces with significant
attribute variations. Experimental results and comparison with state
of the art in the field prove that the learned representation of the
proposed approach synthesizes more compelling perceptual images
through a combination of adversarial and classification losses.
Abstract: The mineral in human bone is not pure stoichiometric calcium phosphate (Ca/P) as it is partially substituted by in organic elements. In this study, the copper ions (Cu2+) substituted hydroxyapatite (CuHA) powder has been synthesized by the co-precipitation method. The CuHA powder has been used to fabricate CuHA fiber scaffolds by sol-gel process and the following sinter process. The resulted CuHA fibers have slightly different microstructure (i.e. porosity) compared to HA fiber scaffold, which is denser. The mechanical properties test was used to evaluate CuHA, and the results showed decreases in both compression strength and hardness tests. Moreover, the in vitro used endothelial cells to evaluate the angiogenesis of CuHA. The result illustrated that the viability of endothelial cell on CuHA fiber scaffold surfaces tends to antigenic behavior. The results obtained with CuHA scaffold give this material benefit in biological applications such as antimicrobial, antitumor, antigens, compacts, filling cavities of the tooth and for the deposition of metal implants anti-tumor, anti-cancer, bone filler, and scaffold.
Abstract: This paper reports on an aspect of e-learning in developing inquiry-based learning (IBL). We present data on the views of teachers and students in Qatar following a professional development programme intended to help teachers implement IBL in their science and mathematics classrooms. Key to this programme was the use of WebQuests. Views of the teachers and students suggested that WebQuests helped students to develop technical skills, work collaboratively and become independent in their learning. The use of WebQuests also enabled a combination of digital and non-digital tools that helped students connect ideas and enhance their understanding of topics.
Abstract: The Bacterial Foraging Optimization (BFO) algorithm is inspired by the behavior of bacteria such as Escherichia coli or Myxococcus xanthus when searching for food, more precisely the chemotaxis behavior. Bacteria perceive chemical gradients in the environment, such as nutrients, and also other individual bacteria, and move toward or in the opposite direction to those signals. The application example considered as a case study consists in establishing the dependency between the reaction yield of hydrogels based on polyacrylamide and the working conditions such as time, temperature, monomer, initiator, crosslinking agent and inclusion polymer concentrations, as well as type of the polymer added. This process is modeled with a neural network which is included in an optimization procedure based on BFO. An experimental study of BFO parameters is performed. The results show that the algorithm is quite robust and can obtain good results for diverse combinations of parameter values.
Abstract: Selenium (Se) is an essential micro-nutrient for human and animals but it is highly toxic. Its organic compounds play an important role in biochemistry and nutrition of the cells. Concentration levels of this element in the different regions of the world vary considerably. This study aimed to compare the availability and levels of the Se in some rural areas of the Balkan Peninsula and relationship with the concentrations of other trace elements. For this purpose soil samples and wheat grains from different regions of Bulgaria, Serbia, Nord Macedonia, Romania, and Greece situated far from large industrial centers have been analyzed. The main methods for their determination were the atomic spectral techniques – atomic absorption and plasma atomic emission. As a result of this study, data on microelements levels from the main grain-producing regions of the Balkan Peninsula were determined and systematized. The presented results confirm the low levels of Se in this region: 0.222– 0.962 mg.kg-1 in soils and 0.001 - 0.005 mg.kg-1 in wheat grains and require measures to offset the effect of this deficiency.
Abstract: Concrete Damaged Plasticity Model (CDPM) is capable of modeling the stress-strain behavior of confined concrete. Nevertheless, the accuracy of the model largely depends on its parameters. To date, most research works mainly focus on the identification and modification of the parameters for fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) confined concrete prior to damage. And, it has been established that the FRP-strengthened concrete behaves differently to FRP-repaired concrete. This paper presents a modified plastic damage model within the context of the CDPM in ABAQUS for modelling of a uniformly FRP-confined repaired concrete under monotonic loading. The proposed model includes infliction damage, elastic stiffness, yield criterion and strain hardening rule. The distinct feature of damaged concrete is elastic stiffness reduction; this is included in the model. Meanwhile, the test results were obtained from a physical testing of repaired concrete. The dilation model is expressed as a function of the lateral stiffness of the FRP-jacket. The finite element predictions are shown to be in close agreement with the obtained test results of the repaired concrete. It was observed from the study that with necessary modifications, finite element method is capable of modeling FRP-repaired concrete structures.
Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to examine the quality of voluntary intellectual capital disclosure by public Spanish universities on their websites. To this end, a content analysis was used to analyze the websites of 50 public Spanish universities i 2016. The results of this study show that human capital was the most disclosed category with relational capital being the least frequently disclosed in Spain. However, the quality of structural capital disclosures was higher than relational and human capital. Finally, most IC disclosures were narrative in nature.
Abstract: In the higher education setting, there is a current trend in society toward greater openness and transparency. The economic, social and political changes that have occurred in recent years in public sector universities (particularly the New Public Management, the Bologna Process and the emergence of the “third mission”) call for a wider disclosure of value created by universities to support fundraising activities, to ensure accountability in the use of public funds and the outcomes of research and teaching, as well as close relationships with industries and territories. The paper has two purposes: 1) to explore the intellectual capital (IC) disclosure in Spanish universities through their websites, and 2) to identify university profiles. This study applies a content analysis to analyze the institutional websites of Spanish public universities and a cluster analysis. The analysis reveals that Spanish universities’ website content usually relates to human capital, while structural and relational capitals are less widely disclosed. Our research identifies three behavioral profiles of Spanish universities with regard to the online disclosure of IC (universities more proactive, universities less proactive and universities adopt a middle position in this regard. The results can serve as encouragement to university managers to enhance online IC disclosure to meet the information needs of university stakeholders.
Abstract: Seizure is the main factor that affects the quality of life of epileptic patients. The diagnosis of epilepsy, and hence the identification of epileptogenic zone, is commonly made by using continuous Electroencephalogram (EEG) signal monitoring. Seizure identification on EEG signals is made manually by epileptologists and this process is usually very long and error prone. The aim of this paper is to describe an automated method able to detect seizures in EEG signals, using knowledge discovery in database process and data mining methods and algorithms, which can support physicians during the seizure detection process. Our detection method is based on Artificial Neural Network classifier, trained by applying the multilayer perceptron algorithm, and by using a software application, called Training Builder that has been developed for the massive extraction of features from EEG signals. This tool is able to cover all the data preparation steps ranging from signal processing to data analysis techniques, including the sliding window paradigm, the dimensionality reduction algorithms, information theory, and feature selection measures. The final model shows excellent performances, reaching an accuracy of over 99% during tests on data of a single patient retrieved from a publicly available EEG dataset.
Abstract: Introduction: This research describes the existing medical school program which supports a multicultural setting and bilingualism. The rise of Spanish speakers in the United States has led to the recruitment of bilingual medical students who can serve the evolving demographics. This paper includes anecdotal evidence, narratives and the latest research on the outcomes of supporting a multilingual academic experience in medical school and beyond. People in the United States will continue to need health care from physicians who have experience with multicultural competence. Physicians who are bilingual and possess effective communication skills will be in high demand. Methodologies: This research is descriptive. Through this descriptive research, the researcher will describe the qualities and characteristics of the existing medical school programs, curriculum, and student services. Additionally, the researcher will shed light on the existing curriculum in the medical school and also describe specific programs which help to serve as safety nets to support diverse populations. The method included observations of the existing program and the implementation of the medical school program, specifically the Accelerated Review Program, the Language Education and Professional Communication Program, student organizations and the Global Health Institute. Concluding Statement: This research identified and described characteristics of the medical school’s program. The research explained and described the current and present phenomenon of this medical program, which has focused on increasing the graduation of bilingual and minority physicians. The findings are based on observations of the curriculum, programs and student organizations which evolves and remains innovative to stay current with student enrollment.
Abstract: 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.
Abstract: The road network in the north of Lebanon is a prime example of the lack of pavement design and execution in Lebanon. These roads show major distresses and hence, should be tested and evaluated. The aim of this research is to investigate and determine the deficiencies in road surface design in Lebanon, and to propose an environmentally friendly asphalt mix design. This paper consists of several parts: (i) evaluating pavement performance and structural behavior, (ii) identifying the distresses using visual examination followed by laboratory tests, (iii) deciding the optimal solution where rehabilitation or reconstruction is required and finally, (iv) identifying a sustainable method, which uses recycled material in the proposed mix. The asphalt formula contains Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement (RAP) in the base course layer and in the asphalt layer. Visual inspection of the roads in Tripoli shows that these roads face a high level of distress severity. Consequently, the pavement should be reconstructed rather than simply rehabilitated. Coring was done to determine the pavement layer thickness. The results were compared to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) design methodology and showed that the existing asphalt thickness is lower than the required asphalt thickness. Prior to the pavement reconstruction, the road materials were tested according to the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) specification to identify whether the materials are suitable. Accordingly, the ASTM tests that were performed on the base course are Sieve analysis, Atterberg limits, modified proctor, Los Angeles, and California Bearing Ratio (CBR) tests. Results show a CBR value higher than 70%. Hence, these aggregates could be used as a base course layer. The asphalt layer was also tested and the results of the Marshall flow and stability tests meet the ASTM specifications. In the last section, an environmentally friendly mix was proposed. An optimal RAP percentage of 30%, which produced a well graded base course and asphalt mix, was determined through a series of trials.
Abstract: The world is in need of efficient energy conversion technologies which are affordable, accessible, and sustainable with eco-friendly nature. Solar energy is one of the cornerstones for the world’s economic growth because of its abundancy with zero carbon pollution. Among the various solar energy conversion technologies, solar thermal technology has attracted a substantial renewed interest due to its diversity and compatibility in various applications. Solar thermal systems employ concentrators, tracking systems and heat engines for electricity generation which lead to high cost and complexity in comparison with photovoltaics; however, it is compatible with distinct thermal energy storage capability and dispatchable electricity which creates a tremendous attraction. Apart from that, employing cost-effective solar selective receiver tube in a concentrating solar thermal (CST) system improves the energy conversion efficiency and directly reduces the cost of technology. In addition, the development of solar receiver tubes by low cost methods which can offer high optical properties and corrosion resistance in an open-air atmosphere would be beneficial for low and medium temperature applications. In this regard, our work opens up an approach which has the potential to achieve cost-effective energy conversion. We have developed a highly selective tandem absorber coating through a facile wet chemical route by a combination of chemical oxidation, sol-gel, and nanoparticle coating methods. The developed tandem absorber coating has gradient refractive index nature on stainless steel (SS 304) and exhibited high optical properties (α ≤ 0.95 & ε ≤ 0.14). The first absorber layer (Cr-Mn-Fe oxides) developed by controlled oxidation of SS 304 in a chemical bath reactor. A second composite layer of ZrO2-SiO2 has been applied on the chemically oxidized substrate by So-gel dip coating method to serve as optical enhancing and corrosion resistant layer. Finally, an antireflective layer (MgF2) has been deposited on the second layer, to achieve > 95% of absorption. The developed tandem layer exhibited good thermal stability up to 250 °C in open air atmospheric condition and superior corrosion resistance (withstands for > 200h in salt spray test (ASTM B117)). After the successful development of a coating with targeted properties at a laboratory scale, a prototype of the 1 m tube has been demonstrated with excellent uniformity and reproducibility. Moreover, it has been validated under standard laboratory test condition as well as in field condition with a comparison of the commercial receiver tube. The presented strategy can be widely adapted to develop highly selective coatings for a variety of CST applications ranging from hot water, solar desalination, and industrial process heat and power generation. The high-performance, cost-effective medium temperature receiver tube technology has attracted many industries, and recently the technology has been transferred to Indian industry.
Abstract: 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.