E-learning platforms, such as Blackboard have two major shortcomings: limited data capture as a result of the limitations of SCORM (Shareable Content Object Reference Model), and lack of incorporation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning algorithms which could lead to better course adaptations. With the recent development of Experience Application Programming Interface (xAPI), a large amount of additional types of data can be captured and that opens a window of possibilities from which online education can benefit. In a corporate setting, where companies invest billions on the learning and development of their employees, some learner behaviours can be troublesome for they can hinder the knowledge development of a learner. Behaviours that hinder the knowledge development also raise ambiguity about learner’s knowledge mastery, specifically those related to gaming the system. Furthermore, a company receives little benefit from their investment if employees are passing courses without possessing the required knowledge and potential compliance risks may arise. Using xAPI and rules derived from a state-of-the-art review, we identified three learner behaviours, primarily related to guessing, in a corporate compliance course. The identified behaviours are: trying each option for a question, specifically for multiple-choice questions; selecting a single option for all the questions on the test; and continuously repeating tests upon failing as opposed to going over the learning material. These behaviours were detected on learners who repeated the test at least 4 times before passing the course. These findings suggest that gauging the mastery of a learner from multiple-choice questions test scores alone is a naive approach. Thus, next steps will consider the incorporation of additional data points, knowledge estimation models to model knowledge mastery of a learner more accurately, and analysis of the data for correlations between knowledge development and identified learner behaviours. Additional work could explore how learner behaviours could be utilised to make changes to a course. For example, course content may require modifications (certain sections of learning material may be shown to not be helpful to many learners to master the learning outcomes aimed at) or course design (such as the type and duration of feedback).
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.
Many of thermosetting resins have application only in filled state, reinforced with different mineral fillers. The co-filling of polymers with mineral filler and gases creates a possibility for production of polymer composites materials with low density. This processing leads to forming of new materials – gas-filled plastics (polymer foams). The properties of these materials are determined mainly by the shape and size of internal structural elements (pores). The interactions on the phase boundaries have influence on the materials properties too. In the present work, the gas-filled urea-formaldehyde resins were reinforced by waste phosphogypsum. The waste phosphogypsum (CaSO4.2H2O) is a solid by-product in wet phosphoric acid production processes. The values of the interactions polymer-filler were increased by using two modifying agents: polyvinyl acetate for polymer matrix and sodium metasilicate for filler. Technological methods for gas-filling and recipes of urea-formaldehyde based materials with apparent density 20-120 kg/m3 were developed. The heat conductivity of the samples is between 0.024 and 0.029 W/moK. Tensile analyses were carried out at 10 and 50% deformation and show values 0.01-0.14 MPa and 0.01-0.09 MPa, respectively. The apparent density of obtained materials is between 20 and 92 kg/m3. The changes in the tensile properties and density of these materials according to sodium metasilicate content were studied too. The mechanism of phosphogypsum adsorption modification was studied using methods of FT-IR spectroscopy. The structure of the gas-filled urea-formaldehyde resins was described by results of electron scanning microscopy at three different magnification ratios – x50, x150 and x 500. The aim of present work is to study the possibility of the usage of phosphogypsum as mineral filler for urea-formaldehyde resins and development of a technology for the production of gas-filled reinforced polymer composite materials. The structure and the properties of obtained composite materials are suitable for thermal and sound insulation applications.
The West African Lung fishes are fishes rich in protein and serve as an important source of food supply for man. The kind of food ingested by this group of fishes is dependent on the alimentary canal as well as the fish’s digestive processes which provide suitable modifications for maximum utilization of food taken. A study of the alimentary canal of P. annectens will expose the best information on the anatomy and histology of the fish. Samples of P. annectens were dissected to reveal the liver, pancreas and entire gut wall. Digital pictures of the mouth, jaws and the Gastrointestinal Tract (GIT) were taken. The entire gut was identified, sectioned and micro graphed. P. annectens was observed to possess a terminal mouth that opens up to 10% of its total body length, an adaptive feature to enable the fish to swallow the whole of its pry. Its dentition is made up of incisors- scissor-like teeth which also help to firmly grip, seize and tear through the skin of prey before swallowing. A short, straight and longitudinal GIT was observed in P. annectens which is known to be common feature in lungfishes, though it is thought to be a primitive characteristic similar to the lamprey. The oesophagus is short and distensible similar to other predatory and carnivorous species. Food is temporarily stored in the stomach before it is passed down into the intestine. A pyloric aperture is seen at the end of the double folded pyloric valve which leads into an intestine that makes up 75% of the whole GIT. The intestine begins at the posterior end of the pyloric aperture and winds down in six coils through the whole length intestine and ends at the cloaca. From this study it is concluded that P. annectens possess a composite GIT with organs similar to other lung fishes; it is a detritor with carnivorous abilities.
Hyphal growth and the transcriptional regulation to the host environment are key issues during the pathogenesis of C. albicans. Tec1p is the C. albicans homolog of a TEA transcription factor family, which share a conserved DNA-binding TEA domain in their N-terminal. In order to define a structure-function relationship of the C. albicans Tec1p protein, we constructed several mutations on the N terminal, C terminal or in the TEA binding domain itself by homologous recombination technology. The modifications in the open reading frame of TEC1 were tested for reconstitution of the morphogenetic development of the tec1/tec1 mutant strain CaAS12. Mutation in the TEA consensus sequence did not confer transition to hyphae whereas the reconstitution of the full-length Tec1p has reconstituted hyphal development. A deletion in one of glutamine-rich regions either in the Tec1p N-terminal or the C-terminal in regions of 53-212 or 637–744 aa, respectively, did not restore morphological development in mutant CaAS12 strain. Whereas, the reconstitution with Tec1p mutants other than the glutamate-rich region has restored the morphogenetic switch. Additionally, the deletion of the glutamine-rich region has attenuated the invasive growth and the heat shock resistance of C. albicans. In conclusion, we show that a glutamine-rich region of Tec1p is essential for the hyphal development and mediating adaptation to the host environment of C. albicans.
Natural fibers have attained the potential market in the composite industry because of the huge environmental impact caused by synthetic fibers. Among the natural fibers, jute fibers are the most abundant plant fibers which are manufactured mainly in countries like India. Even though there is a good motive to utilize the natural supplement, the strength of the natural fiber composites is still a topic of discussion. In recent days, many researchers are showing interest in the chemical modification of the natural fibers to increase various mechanical and thermal properties. In the present study, jute fibers have been modified chemically using glutaric anhydride at different concentrations of 5%, 10%, 20%, and 30%. The glutaric anhydride solution is prepared by dissolving the different quantity of glutaric anhydride in benzene and dimethyl-sulfoxide using sodium formate catalyst. The jute fiber mats have been treated by the method of retting at various time intervals of 3, 6, 12, 24, and 36 hours. The modification structure of the treated fibers has been confirmed with infrared spectroscopy. The degree of modification increases with an increase in retention time, but higher retention time has damaged the fiber structure. The unmodified fibers and glutarylated fibers at different retention times are reinforced with epoxy matrix under room temperature. The tensile strength and flexural strength of the composites are analyzed in detail. Among these, the composite made with glutarylated fiber has shown good mechanical properties when compared to those made of unmodified fiber.
Nowadays flight simulators offer tremendous possibilities for safe and cost-effective pilot training, by utilization of powerful, computational tools. Due to technology outpacing methodology, vast majority of training related work is done by human instructors. It makes assessment not efficient, and vulnerable to instructors’ subjectivity. The research presents an Objective Assessment Tool (gOAT) developed at the Warsaw University of Technology, and tested on SW-4 helicopter flight simulator. The tool uses database of the predefined manoeuvres, defined and integrated to the virtual environment. These were implemented, basing on Aeronautical Design Standard Performance Specification Handling Qualities Requirements for Military Rotorcraft (ADS-33), with predefined Mission-Task-Elements (MTEs). The core element of the gOAT enhanced algorithm that provides instructor a new set of information. In details, a set of objective flight parameters fused with report about psychophysical state of the pilot. While the pilot performs the task, the gOAT system automatically calculates performance using the embedded algorithms, data registered by the simulator software (position, orientation, velocity, etc.), as well as measurements of physiological changes of pilot’s psychophysiological state (temperature, sweating, heart rate). Complete set of measurements is presented on-line to instructor’s station and shown in dedicated graphical interface. The presented tool is based on open source solutions, and flexible for editing. Additional manoeuvres can be easily added using guide developed by authors, and MTEs can be changed by instructor even during an exercise. Algorithm and measurements used allow not only to implement basic stress level measurements, but also to reduce instructor’s workload significantly. Tool developed can be used for training purpose, as well as periodical checks of the aircrew. Flexibility and ease of modifications allow the further development to be wide ranged, and the tool to be customized. Depending on simulation purpose, gOAT can be adjusted to support simulator of aircraft, helicopter, or unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
In recent years, interest in ecogenetic and biomedical problems related to the effects on the population of radon and its daughter decay products has increased significantly. Of particular interest is the assessment of the consequence of irradiation at hazardous radon areas, which includes the Almaty region due to the large number of tectonic faults that enhance radon emanation. In connection with the foregoing, the purpose of this work was to study the genetic effects of exposure to supernormal radon doses on the alpha-radiation model. Irradiation does not affect the growth of the cell, but rather its ability to differentiate. In addition, irradiation can lead to somatic mutations, morphoses and modifications. These damages most likely occur from changes in the composition of the substances of the cell. Such changes are epigenetic since they affect the regulatory processes of ontogenesis. Variability in the expression of regulatory genes refers to conditional mutations that modify the formation of signs of intraspecific similarity. Characteristic features of these conditional mutations are the dominant type of their manifestation, phenotypic asymmetry and their instability in the generations. Currently, the terms “morphosis” and “modification” are used to describe epigenetic variability, which are maintained in Drosophila melanogaster cultures using linkaged X- chromosomes, and the mutant X-chromosome is transmitted along the paternal line. In this paper, we investigated the epigenetic effects of alpha particles, whose source in nature is mainly radon and its daughter decay products. In the experiment, an isotope of plutonium-238 (Pu238), generating radiation with an energy of about 5500 eV, was used as a source of alpha particles. In an experiment in the first generation (F1), deformities or morphoses were found, which can be called "radiation syndromes" or mutations, the manifestation of which is similar to the pleiotropic action of genes. The proportion of morphoses in the experiment was 1.8%, and in control 0.4%. In this experiment, the morphoses in the flies of the first and second generation looked like black spots, or melanomas on different parts of the imago body; "generalized" melanomas; curled, curved wings; shortened wing; bubble on one wing; absence of one wing, deformation of thorax, interruption and violation of tergite patterns, disruption of distribution of ocular facets and bristles; absence of pigmentation of the second and third legs. Statistical analysis by the Chi-square method showed the reliability of the difference in experiment and control at P ≤ 0.01. On the basis of this, it can be considered that alpha particles, which in the environment are mainly generated by radon and its isotopes, have a mutagenic effect that manifests itself, mainly in the formation of morphoses or deformities.
In India, cooling loads in residential sector is a major contributor to its total energy consumption. Due to the increasing cooling need, the market penetration of air-conditioners is further expected to rise. Natural Ventilation (NV), however, possesses great potential to save significant energy consumption especially for residential buildings in moderate climates. As multifamily residential apartment buildings are designed by repetitive use of prototype designs, deriving individual NV based design prototype solutions for a combination of different wind incidence angles and orientations would provide significant opportunity to address the rise in cooling loads by residential sector. This paper presents the results of NV performance of a selected prototype apartment design with a cluster of four units in Pune, India, and an attempt to improve the NV performance through design modifications. The water table apparatus, a physical modelling tool, is used to study the flow patterns and simulate wind-induced NV performance. Quantification of NV performance is done by post processing images captured from video recordings in terms of percentage of area with good and poor access to ventilation. NV performance of the existing design for eight wind incidence angles showed that of the cluster of four units, the windward units showed good access to ventilation for all rooms, and the leeward units had lower access to ventilation with the bedrooms in the leeward units having the least access. The results showed improved performance in all the units for all wind incidence angles to more than 80% good access to ventilation. Some units showed an additional improvement to more than 90% good access to ventilation. This process of design and performance evaluation improved some individual units from 0% to 100% for good access to ventilation. The results demonstrate the ease of use and the power of the water table apparatus for performance-based design to simulate wind induced NV.
By developing ultra-wideband (UWB) systems, there is a high demand for UWB filters with low insertion loss, wide bandwidth, and having a planar structure which is compatible with other components of the UWB system. A microstrip interdigital filter is a great option for designing UWB filters. However, the presence of via holes in this structure creates difficulties in the fabrication procedure of the filter. Especially in the higher frequency band, any misalignment of the drilled via hole with the Microstrip stubs causes large errors in the measurement results compared to the desired results. Moreover, in this case (high-frequency designs), the line width of the stubs are very narrow, so highly precise small via holes are required to be implemented, which increases the cost of fabrication significantly. Also, in this case, there is a risk of having fabrication errors. To combat this issue, in this paper, a via-less UWB microstrip filter is proposed which is designed based on a modification of a conventional inter-digital bandpass filter. The novel approaches in this filter design are 1) replacement of each via hole with a quarter-wavelength open circuit stub to avoid the complexity of manufacturing, 2) using a bend structure to reduce the unwanted coupling effects and 3) minimising the size. Using the proposed structure, a UWB filter operating in the frequency band of 3.9-6.6 GHz (1-dB bandwidth) is designed and fabricated. The promising results of the simulation and measurement are presented in this paper. The selected substrate for these designs was Rogers RO4003 with a thickness of 20 mils. This is a common substrate in most of the industrial projects. The compact size of the proposed filter is highly beneficial for applications which require a very miniature size of hardware.
The agricultural sector is becoming more critical than ever in view of the expected overpopulation of the Earth. The introduction of robotic solutions in this field is an increasingly researched topic to make the most of the Earth's resources, thus going to avoid the problems of wear and tear of the human body due to the harsh agricultural work, and open the possibility of a constant careful processing 24 hours a day. This project is realized for a terrestrial autonomous robot aimed to navigate in an orchard collecting fallen peaches below the trees. When it receives the signal indicating the low battery, it has to return to the docking station where it will replace its battery and then return to the last work point and resume its routine. Considering a preset path in orchards with tree rows with variable length by which the robot goes iteratively using the algorithm D*. In case of low battery, the D* algorithm is still used to determine the fastest return path to the docking station as well as to come back from the docking station to the last work point. MATLAB simulations were performed to analyze the flexibility and adaptability of the developed algorithm. The simulation results show an enormous potential for adaptability, particularly in view of the irregularity of orchard field, since it is not flat and undergoes modifications over time from fallen branch as well as from other obstacles and constraints. The D* algorithm determines the best route in spite of the irregularity of the terrain. Moreover, in this work, it will be shown a possible solution to improve the initial points tracking and reduce time between movements.
Aluminium bronze alloys are well known for their superior abrasion, tensile strength and non-magnetic properties, due to the co-presence of iron (Fe) and aluminium (Al) as alloying elements and have been commonly used in many industrial applications. However, continuous exposure to the marine environment will accelerate the risk of a tendency to Al bronze alloys parts failures. Although a higher level of corrosion resistance properties can be achieved by modifying its elemental composition, it will come at a price through the complex manufacturing process and increases the risk of reducing the ductility of Al bronze alloy. In this research, the use of ironmaking slag and waste plastic as the input source for surface modification of Al bronze alloy was implemented. Microstructural analysis conducted using polarised light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) that is equipped with energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS). An electrochemical corrosion test was carried out through Tafel polarisation method and calculation of protection efficiency against the base-material was determined. Results have indicated that uniform modified surface which is as the result of selective diffusion process, has enhanced corrosion resistance properties up to 12.67%. This approach has opened a new opportunity to access various industrial utilisations in commercial scale through minimising the dependency on natural resources by transforming waste sources into the protective coating in environmentally friendly and cost-effective ways.
Science offers opportunities for revolutionizing human activities, enriched by input from scientific research and technology. Biotechnology is a major force for development in developing countries such as Nigeria. It is found to contribute to solving human problems like water and food insecurity that impede national development and threaten peace wherever it is applied. This review identified the problems of agricultural biotechnology in Nigeria. On the part of rural farmers, there is a lack of adequate knowledge or awareness of biotechnology despite the fact that they constitute the bulk of Nigerian farmers. On part of the government, the problems include: lack of adequate implementation of government policy on bio-safety and genetically modified products, inadequate funding of education as well as research and development of products related to biotechnology. Other problems include: inadequate infrastructures (including laboratory), poor funding and lack of national strategies needed for development and running of agricultural biotechnology. In spite of all the challenges associated with agricultural biotechnology, its prospects still remain great if Nigeria is to meet with the food needs of the country’s ever increasing population. The introduction of genetically engineered products will lead to the high productivity needed for commercialization and food security. Insect, virus and other related diseases resistant crops and livestock are another viable area of contribution of biotechnology to agricultural production. In conclusion, agricultural biotechnology will not only ensure food security, but, in addition, will ensure that the local farmers utilize appropriate technology needed for large production, leading to the prosperity of the farmers and national economic growth, provided government plays its role of adequate funding and good policy implementation.
From August to December of 2016, a diagnostic and strategic planning study was carried out on the supply chain of the company Agropecuaria GABO S.A. de C.V. The final product of the study was the development of the strategic plan and a project portfolio to meet the demands of the three links in the supply chain of the Roma tomato exported annually to the United States of America. In this project, the strategic objective of ensuring the proper handling of the product was selected and one of the goals associated with this was the employment of quantitative methods to support decision making. Considering the antecedents, the objective of this case study was to develop a model to analyze the behavioral dynamics in the distribution chain, from the logistics of storage and shipment of Roma tomato in 81-case pallets (11.5 kg per case), to the two pre-cooling rooms and eventual loading onto transports, seeking to reduce the bottleneck and the associated costs by means of a dynamic interface. The methodology used was that of system dynamics, considering four phases that were adapted to the purpose of the study: 1) the conceptualization phase; 2) the formulation phase; 3) the evaluation phase; and 4) the communication phase. The main practical conclusions lead to the possibility of reducing both the bottlenecks in the cooling rooms and the costs by simulating scenarios and modifying certain policies. Furthermore, the creation of the dynamic interface between the model and the stakeholders was achieved by generating interaction with buttons and simple instructions that allow making modifications and observing diverse behaviors.
Basic understanding of interfacial mechanisms is of importance for the development of polymer composites. For this purpose, we need techniques to analyze the quality of interphases, their chemical and physical interactions and their strength and fracture resistance. In order to investigate the interfacial phenomena in detail, advanced characterization techniques are favorable. Dynamic mechanical thermal analysis (DMTA) using a rheological system is a sensitive tool. T-peel tests were performed with this system, to investigate the temperature-dependent peel behavior of woven textile composites. A model system was made of polyamide (PA) woven fabric laminated with films of polypropylene (PP) or PP modified by grafting with maleic anhydride (PP-g-MAH). Firstly, control measurements were performed with solely PP matrixes. Polymer melt investigations, as well as the extensional stress, extensional viscosity and extensional relaxation modulus at -10°C, 100 °C and 170 °C, demonstrate similar viscoelastic behavior for films made of PP-g-MAH and its non-modified PP-control. Frequency sweeps have shown that PP-g-MAH has a zero phase viscosity of around 1600 Pa·s and PP-control has a similar zero phase viscosity of 1345 Pa·s. Also, the gelation points are similar at 2.42*104 Pa (118 rad/s) and 2.81*104 Pa (161 rad/s) for PP-control and PP-g-MAH, respectively. Secondly, the textile composite was analyzed. The extensional stress of PA66 fabric laminated with either PP-control or PP-g-MAH at -10 °C, 25 °C and 170 °C for strain rates of 0.001 – 1 s-1 was investigated. The laminates containing the modified PP need more stress for T-peeling. However, the strengthening effect due to the modification decreases by increasing temperature and at 170 °C, just above the melting temperature of the matrix, the difference disappears. Independent of the matrix used in the textile composite, there is a decrease of extensional stress by increasing temperature. It appears that the more viscous is the matrix, the weaker the laminar adhesion. Possibly, the measurement is influenced by the fact that the laminate becomes stiffer at lower temperatures. Adhesive lap-shear testing at room temperature supports the findings obtained with the T-peel test. Additional analysis of the textile composite at the microscopic level ensures that the fibers are well embedded in the matrix. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) imaging of a cross section of the composite shows no gaps between the fibers and matrix. Measurements of the water contact angle show that the MAH grafted PP is more polar than the virgin-PP, and that suggests a more favorable chemical interaction of PP-g-MAH with PA, compared to the non-modified PP. In fact, this study indicates that T-peel testing by DMTA is a technique to achieve more insights into polymeric textile composites.
Sign Language (SL) is used by deaf and other people who cannot speak but can hear or have a problem with spoken languages due to some disability. It is a visual gesture language that makes use of either one hand or both hands, arms, face, body to convey meanings and thoughts. SL automation system is an effective way which provides an interface to communicate with normal people using a computer. In this paper, an avatar based dictionary has been proposed for text to Indian Sign Language (ISL) generation system. This research work will also depict a literature review on SL corpus available for various SL s over the years. For ISL generation system, a written form of SL is required and there are certain techniques available for writing the SL. The system uses Hamburg sign language Notation System (HamNoSys) and Signing Gesture Mark-up Language (SiGML) for ISL generation. It is developed in PHP using Web Graphics Library (WebGL) technology for 3D avatar animation. A multilingual ISL dictionary is developed using HamNoSys for both English and Hindi Language. This dictionary will be used as a database to associate signs with words or phrases of a spoken language. It provides an interface for admin panel to manage the dictionary, i.e., modification, addition, or deletion of a word. Through this interface, HamNoSys can be developed and stored in a database and these notations can be converted into its corresponding SiGML file manually. The system takes natural language input sentence in English and Hindi language and generate 3D sign animation using an avatar. SL generation systems have potential applications in many domains such as healthcare sector, media, educational institutes, commercial sectors, transportation services etc. This research work will help the researchers to understand various techniques used for writing SL and generation of Sign Language systems.
Mesoporous materials are very commonly used as adsorbent materials for removing phenolic compounds. However, the adsorption mechanism of these compounds is still poorly controlled. However, understanding the interactions mesoporous materials/adsorbed molecules is very important in order to optimize the processes of liquid phase adsorption. The difficulty of synthesis is to keep an orderly and cubic pore structure and achieve a homogeneous surface modification. The grafting of Si(CH3)3 was chosen, to transform hydrophilic surfaces hydrophobic surfaces. The aim of this work is to study the kinetics and thermodynamics of two volatile organic compounds VOC phenol (PhOH) and P hydroxy benzoic acid (4AHB) on a mesoporous material of type MCM-48 grafted with an organosilane of the Trimethylchlorosilane (TMCS) type, the material thus grafted or functionalized (hereinafter referred to as MCM-48-G). In a first step, the kinetic and thermodynamic study of the adsorption isotherms of each of the VOCs in mono-solution was carried out. In a second step, a similar study was carried out on a mixture of these two compounds. Kinetic models (pseudo-first order, pseudo-second order) were used to determine kinetic adsorption parameters. The thermodynamic parameters of the adsorption isotherms were determined by the adsorption models (Langmuir, Freundlich). The comparative study of adsorption of PhOH and 4AHB proved that MCM-48-G had a high adsorption capacity for PhOH and 4AHB; this may be related to the hydrophobicity created by the organic function of TMCS in MCM-48-G. The adsorption results for the two compounds using the Freundlich and Langmuir models show that the adsorption of 4AHB was higher than PhOH. The values obtained by the adsorption thermodynamics show that the adsorption interactions for our sample with the phenol and 4AHB are of a physical nature. The adsorption of our VOCs on the MCM-48 (G) is a spontaneous and exothermic process.
Modification of asphalt is a fundamental method around the world mainly on the purpose of providing more durable pavements which lead to diminish repairing cost during the lifetime of highways. Various polymers such as styrene-butadiene-styrene (SBS) and ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) make up the greater parts of the all-over asphalt modifiers generally providing better physical properties of asphalt by decreasing temperature dependency which eventually diminishes permanent deformation on highways such as rutting. However, some waste and low-cost materials such as recycled plastics and ground rubber tire have been attempted to utilize in asphalt as modifier instead of manufactured polymer modifiers due to decreasing the eventual highway cost. On the other hand, the usage of recycled plastics has become a worldwide requirement and awareness in order to decrease the pollution made by waste plastics. Hence, finding an area in which recycling plastics could be utilized has been targeted by many research teams so as to reduce polymer manufacturing and plastic pollution. To this end, in this paper, thermoplastic dynamic vulcanizate (TDV) obtained from recycled post-consumer polyethylene and ground tire rubber (GTR) were used to provide an efficient modifier for asphalt which decreases the production cost as well and finally might provide an ecological solution by decreasing polymer disposal problems. TDV was synthesized by the chemists in the research group by means of the abovementioned components that are considered as compatible physical characteristic of asphalt materials. TDV modified asphalt samples having different rate of proportions of 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 wt.% TDV modifier were prepared. Conventional tests, such as penetration, softening point and roll thin film oven (RTFO) tests were performed to obtain fundamental physical and aging properties of the base and modified binders. The high temperature performance grade (PG) of binders was determined by Superpave tests conducted on original and aged binders. The multiple stress creep and recovery (MSCR) test which is relatively up-to-date method for classifying asphalts taking account of their elasticity abilities was carried out to evaluate PG plus grades of binders. The results obtained from performance grading, and MSCR tests were also evaluated together so as to make a comparison between the methods both aiming to determine rheological parameters of asphalt. The test results revealed that TDV modification leads to a decrease in penetration, an increase in softening point, which proves an increasing stiffness of asphalt. DSR results indicate an improvement in PG for modified binders compared to base asphalt. On the other hand, MSCR results that are compatible with DSR results also indicate an enhancement on rheological properties of asphalt. However, according to the results, the improvement is not as distinct as observed in DSR results since elastic properties are fundamental in MSCR. At the end of the testing program, it can be concluded that TDV can be used as modifier which provides better rheological properties for asphalt and might diminish plastic waste pollution since the material is 100% recycled.
This study investigates and develops the structural optimization method. The effect of size constraints on practical solution of reinforced concrete (RC) building structure with shear wall is proposed. Cross-sections of beam and column, and thickness of shear wall are considered as design variables. The objective function to be minimized is total cost of the structure by using a simple and efficient automated MATLAB platform structural optimization methodology. With modification of mathematical formulations, the result is compared with optimal solution without size constraints. The most suitable combination of section sizes is selected as for the final design application based on linear static analysis. The findings of this study show that defining higher value of upper bound of sectional sizes significantly affects optimal solution, and defining of size constraints play a vital role in finding of global and practical solution during optimization procedures. The result and effectiveness of proposed method confirm the ability and efficiency of optimal solutions for 3D RC shear wall-frame structure.
Stress causes deleterious effects to the physical, psychological and organizational levels, which highlight the need to use effective coping strategies to deal with it. Several coping models exist, but they don’t integrate the different strategies in a coherent way nor do they take into account the new research on the emotional coping and acceptance of the stressful situation. To fill these gaps, an integrative model incorporating the main coping strategies was developed. This model arises from the review of the scientific literature on coping and from a qualitative study carried out among workers with low or high levels of stress, as well as from an analysis of clinical cases. The model allows one to understand under what circumstances the strategies are effective or ineffective and to learn how one might use them more wisely. It includes Specific Strategies in controllable situations (the Modification of the Situation and the Resignation-Disempowerment), Specific Strategies in non-controllable situations (Acceptance and Stubborn Relentlessness) as well as so-called General Strategies (Wellbeing and Avoidance). This study is intended to undertake and present the process of development and validation of an instrument to measure coping strategies based on this model. An initial pool of items has been generated from the conceptual definitions and three expert judges have validated the content. Of these, 18 items have been selected for a short form questionnaire. A sample of 300 students and employees from a Quebec university was used for the validation of the questionnaire. Concerning the reliability of the instrument, the indices observed following the inter-rater agreement (Krippendorff’s alpha) and the calculation of the coefficients for internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha) are satisfactory. To evaluate the construct validity, a confirmatory factor analysis using MPlus supports the existence of a model with six factors. The results of this analysis suggest also that this configuration is superior to other alternative models. The correlations show that the factors are only loosely related to each other. Overall, the analyses carried out suggest that the instrument has good psychometric qualities and demonstrates the relevance of further work to establish predictive validity and reconfirm its structure. This instrument will help researchers and clinicians better understand and assess coping strategies to cope with stress and thus prevent mental health issues.
Computing with Words (CWW) and Possibilistic Relational Universal Fuzzy (PRUF) are the two concepts which widely represent and measure the vaguely defined natural phenomenon. In this paper, we study the positional alteration of the phrases by which the impact of a natural language proposition gets affected and/or modified. We observe the gradations due to sensitivity/feeling of a statement towards the positional alterations. We derive the classification and modification of the meaning of words due to the positional alteration. We present the results with reference to set theoretic interpretations.
Agri-food value chain involves various stakeholders with different roles. All of them abide by national and international rules and leverage marketing strategies to advance their products. Food products and related processing phases carry with it a big mole of data that are often not used to inform final customer. Some data, if fittingly identified and used, can enhance the single company, and/or the all supply chain creates a math between marketing techniques and voluntary traceability strategies. Moreover, as of late, the world has seen buying-models’ modification: customer is careful on wellbeing and food quality. Food citizenship and food democracy was born, leveraging on transparency, sustainability and food information needs. Internet of Things (IoT) and Analytics, some of the innovative technologies of Industry 4.0, have a significant impact on market and will act as a main thrust towards a genuine ‘4.0 change’ for agriculture. But, realizing a traceability system is not simple because of the complexity of agri-food supply chain, a lot of actors involved, different business models, environmental variations impacting products and/or processes, and extraordinary climate changes. In order to give support to the company involved in a traceability path, starting from business model analysis and related business process a Framework to Manage Product Data in Agri-Food Supply Chain for Voluntary Traceability was conceived. Studying each process task and leveraging on modeling techniques lead to individuate information held by different actors during agri-food supply chain. IoT technologies for data collection and Analytics techniques for data processing supply information useful to increase the efficiency intra-company and competitiveness in the market. The whole information recovered can be shown through IT solutions and mobile application to made accessible to the company, the entire supply chain and the consumer with the view to guaranteeing transparency and quality.
The effect of laser surface treatment parameters on the residual strength of titanium alloy has been investigated. The influence of the laser surface treatment on the bonding strength between the titanium and poly-ether-ketone-ketone (PEKK) surfaces was also evaluated and compared to those offered by titanium foils without surface treatment to optimize the laser parameters. Material characterization using an optical microscope was carried out to study the microstructure and to measure the mean roughness value of the titanium surface. The results showed that the surface roughness shows a significant dependency on the laser power parameters in which surface roughness increases with the laser power increment. Moreover, the results of the tensile tests have shown that there is no significant dropping in tensile strength for the treated samples comparing to the virgin ones. In order to optimize the laser parameter as well as the corresponding surface roughness, single-lap shear tests were conducted on pairs of the laser treated titanium stripes. The results showed that the bonding shear strength between titanium alloy and PEKK film increased with the surface roughness increment to a specific limit. After this point, it is interesting to note that there was no significant effect for the laser parameter on the bonding strength. This evidence suggests that it is not necessary to use very high power of laser to treat titanium surface to achieve a good bonding strength between titanium alloy and the PEKK film.