Objectives: In recent years, the Faculty of Dentistry of the University of Hong Kong have extended the implementation of 3D electronic models (e-models) into problem-based learning (PBL) of the Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) curriculum, aiming at mutual enhancement of PBL teaching quality and the students’ skills in using e-models. This study focuses on the effectiveness of e-models serving as a tool to enhance the students’ skills and competences in PBL. Methods: The questionnaire surveys are conducted to measure 50 fourth-year BDS students’ attitude change between beginning and end of blended PBL tutorials. The response rate of this survey is 100%. Results: The results of this study show the students’ agreement on enhancement of their learning experience after e-model implementation and their expectation to have more blended PBL courses in the future. The potential of e-models in cultivating students’ self-learning skills reduces their dependence on others, while improving their communication skills to argue about pros and cons of different treatment options. The students’ independent thinking ability and problem solving skills are promoted by e-model implementation, resulting in better decision making in treatment planning. Conclusion: It is important for future dental education curriculum planning to cope with the students’ needs, and offer support in the form of software, hardware and facilitators’ assistance for better e-model implementation.
Dairy by-products are a fairly good environment for microorganisms due to their composition for their growth. Microbial populations have a significant impact in the production of cheese, butter, yogurt, etc. in terms of their organoleptic quality and at the same time some also cause their breakdown. In this paper, the microbiological contamination of soft cheese, butter and yogurt produced in the country (domestic) and imported is assessed, as an indicator of hygiene with impact on public health. The study was extended during September 2018-June 2019 and was divided into three periods, September-December, January-March, and April-June. During this study, a total of 120 samples were analyzed, of which 60 samples of cheese and butter locally produced, and 60 samples of imported soft cheese and butter productions. The microbial indicators analyzed are Staphylococcus aureus and E. coli. Analyzes have been conducted at the Food Safety Laboratory (FSIV) in Tirana in accordance with EU Regulation 2073/2005. Sampling was performed according to the specific international standards for these products (ISO 6887 and ISO 8261). Sampling and transport of samples were done under sterile conditions. Also, coding of samples was done to preserve the anonymity of subjects. After the analysis, the country's soft cheese products compared to imports were more contaminated with S. aureus and E. coli. Meanwhile, the imported butter samples that were analyzed, resulted within norms compared to domestic ones. Based on the results, it was concluded that the microbial quality of samples of cheese, butter and yogurt analyzed remains a real problem for hygiene in Albania. The study will also serve business operators in Albania to improve their work to ensure good hygiene on the basis of the HACCP plan and to provide a guarantee of consumer health.
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.
This paper presents an overview of the foundation and evolution of environmental related problems in local governments with specific reference on air pollution in South Africa. Local government has a direct mandate in terms of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 (hereafter, the Constitution). This mandate to protect, fulfil, respect and promote the Bill of Rights by local governments in respect of the powers and functions creates confusion around the role of where a local government fits in, in addressing the problem of climate change in South Africa. A reflection of the evolving legislations, developments, and processes regarding climate change that shaped local government dispensation in South Africa is addressed by the notion of developmental local governments. This paper seeks to examine the advances for mitigation and adaptation regulation of air pollution and application in South Africa. This study involves a qualitative approach that will involve South African national legislation as well as an interpretation of international strategies. A literature review study was conducted to undertake the various aspects of law in order to support the argument undertaken of mitigation and adaptation strategies. The paper presents a detailed discussion of the current legislation and the position as it currently stands, as well as the relevant protections as outlined in the National Environmental Management Act and the National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act. It then proceeds to outline the responsibilities of local governments in South Africa to mitigate and adapt to air pollution strategies.
The correlation between Total Organic Carbon (TOC) and flow units have been carried out to predict and compare the carbon dioxide (CO2) storage potential of the shale and carbonate rocks in Irati Formation of the Parana Basin. The equations for permeability (K), reservoir quality index (RQI) and flow zone indicator (FZI) are redefined and engaged to evaluate the flow units in both potential reservoir rocks. Shales show higher values of TOC compared to carbonates, as such, porosity (Ф) is most likely to be higher in shales compared to carbonates. The increase in Ф corresponds to the increase in K (in both rocks). Nonetheless, at lower values of Ф, K is higher in carbonates compared to shales. This shows that at lower values of TOC in carbonates, Ф is low, yet, K is likely to be high compared to shale. In the same vein, at higher values of TOC in shales, Ф is high, yet, K is expected to be low compared to carbonates. Overall, the flow unit factors (RQI and FZI) are better in the carbonates compared to the shales. Moreso, within the study location, there are some portions where the thicknesses of the carbonate units are higher compared to the shale units. Most parts of the carbonate strata in the study location are fractured in situ, hence, this could provide easy access for the storage of CO2. Therefore, based on these points and the disparities between the flow units in the evaluated rock types, the carbonate units are expected to show better potentials for the storage of CO2. The shale units may be considered as potential cap rocks or seals.
The prediction of the rheological behavior of concrete is at the center of current concerns of the concrete industry for different reasons. The shortage of good quality standard materials combined with variable properties of available materials imposes to improve existing models to take into account these variations at the design stage of concrete. The main reasons for improving the predictive models are, of course, saving time and cost at the design stage as well as to optimize concrete performances. In this study, we will highlight the different properties of the granular mixtures that affect the rheological properties of concrete. Our objective is to identify the intrinsic parameters of the aggregates which make it possible to predict the yield stress of concrete. The work was done using two typologies of grains: crushed and rolled aggregates. The experimental results have shown that the rheology of concrete is improved by increasing the packing density of the granular mixture using rolled aggregates. The experimental program realized allowed to model the yield stress of concrete by a modified model of Chateau et al. through a dimensionless parameter following Krieger-Dougherty law. The modelling confirms that the yield stress of concrete depends not only on the properties of cement paste but also on the packing density of the granular skeleton and the shape of grains.
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.
Interest in natural fiber-reinforced composites (NFRC) is progressively growing both in terms of academia research and industrial applications thanks to their abundant advantages such as low cost, biodegradability, eco-friendly nature and relatively good mechanical properties. However, their widespread use is still presumed as challenging because of the specificity of their non-homogeneous structure, limited knowledge on their machinability characteristics and parameter settings, to avoid defects associated with the machining process. The present work is aimed to investigate the effect of the cutting tool geometry and material on the drilling-induced delamination, thrust force and hole quality produced when drilling a fully biodegradable flax/poly (lactic acid) composite laminate. Three drills with different geometries and material were used at different drilling conditions to evaluate the machinability of the fabricated composites. The experimental results indicated that the choice of cutting tool, in terms of material and geometry, has a noticeable influence on the cutting thrust force and subsequently drilling-induced damages. The lower value of thrust force and better hole quality was observed using high-speed steel (HSS) drill, whereas Carbide drill (with point angle of 130o) resulted in the highest value of thrust force. Carbide drill presented higher wear resistance and stability in variation of thrust force with a number of holes drilled, while HSS drill showed the lower value of thrust force during the drilling process. Finally, within the selected cutting range, the delamination damage increased noticeably with feed rate and moderately with spindle speed.
The quality control procedures of a radiopharmaceutical include the assessment of its chemical purity. The method suggested by international pharmacopeias consists of a thin layer chromatographic run. In this paper, the method proposed by the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) is compared to a direct method to determine the final concentration of aminopolyether in Fludeoxyglucose (18F-FDG) preparations. The approach (no chromatographic run) was achieved by placing the thin-layer chromatography (TLC) plate directly on an iodine vapor chamber. Both methods were validated and they showed adequate results to determine the concentration of aminopolyether in 18F-FDG preparations. However, the direct method is more sensitive, faster and simpler when compared to the reference method (with chromatographic run), and it may be chosen for use in routine quality control of 18F-FDG.
This paper aims at bringing a scientific contribution to the cardiac arrhythmia biomedical diagnosis systems; more precisely to the study of the amelioration of cardiac arrhythmia classification performance using artificial neural network, adaptive neuro-fuzzy and fuzzy inference systems classifiers. The purpose of this amelioration is to enable cardiologists to make reliable diagnosis through automatic cardiac arrhythmia analyzes and classifications based on high confidence classifiers. In this study, six classes of the most commonly encountered arrhythmias are considered: the Right Bundle Branch Block, the Left Bundle Branch Block, the Ventricular Extrasystole, the Auricular Extrasystole, the Atrial Fibrillation and the Normal Cardiac rate beat. From the electrocardiogram (ECG) extracted parameters, we constructed a matrix (360x360) serving as an input data sample for the classifiers based on neural networks and a matrix (1x6) for the classifier based on fuzzy logic. By varying three parameters (the quality of the neural network learning, the data size and the quality of the input parameters) the automatic classification permitted us to obtain the following performances: in terms of correct classification rate, 83.6% was obtained using the fuzzy logic based classifier, 99.7% using the neural network based classifier and 99.8% for the adaptive neuro-fuzzy based classifier. These results are based on signals containing at least 360 cardiac cycles. Based on the comparative analysis of the aforementioned three arrhythmia classifiers, the classifiers based on neural networks exhibit a better performance.
A major problem that affects the quality control of polymer in the industrial polymerization is the lack of suitable on-line measurement tools to evaluate the properties of the polymer such as melt and density indices. Controlling the polymerization in ordinary method is performed manually by taking samples, measuring the quality of polymer in the lab and registry of results. This method is highly time consuming and leads to producing large number of incompatible products. An online application for estimating melt index and density proposed in this study is a neural network based on the input-output data of the polyethylene production plant. Temperature, the level of reactors' bed, the intensity of ethylene mass flow, hydrogen and butene-1, the molar concentration of ethylene, hydrogen and butene-1 are used for the process to establish the neural model. The neural network is taught based on the actual operational data and back-propagation and Levenberg-Marquart techniques. The simulated results indicate that the neural network process model established with three layers (one hidden layer) for forecasting the density and the four layers for the melt index is able to successfully predict those quality properties.
Organizations support their operations and decision making on the data they have at their disposal, so the quality of these data is remarkably important and Data Quality (DQ) is currently a relevant issue, the literature being unanimous in pointing out that poor DQ can result in large costs for organizations. The literature review identified and described 24 Critical Success Factors (CSF) for Data Quality Management (DQM) that were presented to a panel of experts, who ordered them according to their degree of importance, using the Delphi method with the Q-sort technique, based on an online questionnaire. The study shows that the five most important CSF for DQM are: definition of appropriate policies and standards, control of inputs, definition of a strategic plan for DQ, organizational culture focused on quality of the data and obtaining top management commitment and support.
With the improvement of living quality and demand for nighttime activities in China, the current situation of outdoor lighting environment at night needs to be assessed. Lighting environment at night plays an important role to guarantee night safety. Two typical residential communities in Hangzhou were selected. A comprehensive test method of outdoor lighting environment at night was established. The road, fitness area, landscape, playground and entrance were included. Field measurements and questionnaires were conducted in these two residential communities. The characteristics of residents’ habits and the subjective evaluation on different aspects of outdoor lighting environment at night were collected via questionnaire. A safety evaluation system on the outdoor lighting environment at night in the residential community was established. The results show that there is a big difference in illumination in different areas. The lighting uniformities of roads cannot meet the requirement of lighting standard in China. Residents pay more attention to the lighting environment of the fitness area and road than others. This study can provide guidance for the design and management of outdoor lighting environment at night.
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.
The accreditation process of engineering degree programmes is based on various reports evaluated by the relevant governing bodies of the institution of higher education. One of the aforementioned reports for the accreditation process is a self-assessment report which is to be completed by the applying institution. This paper seeks to emphasise the importance of analysis of internal quality management systems and self-examination processes in the engineering accreditation processes. A description of how the programme fulfils the criteria should be given. Relevant stakeholders all need to contribute in the writing and structuring of the self-assessment report. The last step is to gather evidence in the form of supporting documentation. In conclusion, the paper also identifies learning outcomes in a case study in seeking accreditation from an international relevant professional body.
This investigation proposes Friction stir welding technique to solve the fusion welding problems. Objectives of this investigation are fabrication of AA7075-10%wt. Silicon carbide (SiC) aluminum metal matrix composite and optimization of optimal process parameters of friction stir welded AA7075-10%wt. SiC Composites. Composites were prepared by the mechanical stir casting process. Experiments were performed with four process parameters such as tool rotational speed, weld speed, axial force and tool geometry considering three levels of each. The quality characteristics considered is joint efficiency (JE). The welding experiments were conducted using L27 orthogonal array. An orthogonal array and design of experiments were used to give best possible welding parameters that give optimal JE. The fabricated welded joints using rotational speed of 1500 rpm, welding speed (1.3 mm/sec), axial force (7 k/n) of and tool geometry (square) give best possible results. Experimental result reveals that the tool rotation speed, welding speed and axial force are the significant process parameters affecting the welding performance. The predicted optimal value of percentage JE is 95.621. The confirmation tests also have been done for verifying the results.
The economic scenario of any region does not show the real picture for the measurement of overall development. Therefore, economic development must be accompanied by social development to be able to make an assessment to measure the level of development. The spatial variation with respect to social development has been discussed taking into account the quality of functioning of a social system in a specific area. In this paper, an attempt has been made to study the spatial distribution of social infrastructural facilities and analyze the magnitude of regional disparities at inter- block level in Barddhman district. It starts with the detailed account of the selection process of social infrastructure indicators and describes the methodology employed in the empirical analysis. Analyzing the block level data, this paper tries to identify the disparity among the blocks in the levels of social development. The results have been subsequently explained using both statistical analysis and geo spatial technique. The paper reveals that the social development is not going on at the same rate in every part of the district. Health facilities and educational facilities are concentrated at some selected point. So overall development activities come to be concentrated in a few centres and the disparity is seen over the blocks.
Water is a vital resource that is important in ensuring the growth and development of any country. To sustain the basic human needs and the demands for agriculture, industry, conservational and ecosystem, enough quality and quantity water is needed. Contamination of water resources is now a global and public health concern. Hence, this study assessed the water quality of Ndawuse River by measuring the physicochemical parameters and heavy metals concentrations of the river using standard methods. In total, 16 surface water samples were obtained from five locations along the river, from upstream to downstream as well as samples from the dumpsite. The results obtained were compared with the standard limits set by both the World Health Organization and the Federal Environmental Protection Agency for domestic purposes. The results of the measured parameters indicated that biological oxygen demand (85.88 mg/L), turbidity (44.51 NTU), Iron (0.014 - 3.511 mg /L) and chromium (0.078 - 0.14 mg /L) were all above the standard limits. The results further showed that the quality of surface water is being significantly affected by human activities around the Ndawuse River which could pose an adverse health risk to several communities that rely on this river as their primary source of water. Therefore, there is a need for strict enforcement of environmental laws to protect the aquatic ecosystem and to avoid long term cumulative exposure risk that heavy metals may pose on human health.
South Africa, a water scarce country, experiences the phenomenon that its life supporting natural water resources is seriously threatened by the users that are totally dependent on it. South Africa is globally applauded to have of the best and most progressive water laws and policies. There are however growing concerns regarding natural water resource quality deterioration and a critical void in the management of natural resources and compliance to policies due to increasing institutional uncertainties and failures. These are in accordance with concerns of many South African researchers and practitioners that call for a change in paradigm from talk to practice and a more constructive, practical approach to governance challenges in the management of water resources. A qualitative theory-building case study through longitudinal action research was conducted from 2014 to 2017. The research assessed whether a strategic positioned institutional agent can be parlayed to facilitate and execute WRM on catchment level by engaging multiple stakeholders in a polycentric setting. Through a critical realist approach a distinction was made between ex ante self-deterministic human behaviour in the realist realm, and ex post governance-management in the constructivist realm. A congruence analysis, including Toulmin’s method of argumentation analysis, was utilised. The study evaluated the unique case of a self-steering local water management institution, the Impala Water Users Association (WUA) in the Pongola River catchment in the northern part of the KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa. Exploiting prevailing water resource threats, it expanded its ancillary functions from 20,000 to 300,000 ha. Embarking on WRM activities, it addressed natural water system quality assessments, social awareness, knowledge support, and threats, such as: soil erosion, waste and effluent into water systems, coal mining, and water security dimensions; through structured engagement with 21 different catchment stakeholders. By implementing a proposed polycentric governance-management model on a catchment scale, the WUA achieved to fill the void. It developed a foundation and capacity to protect the resilience of the natural environment that is critical for freshwater resources to ensure long-term water security of the Pongola River basin. Further work is recommended on appropriate statutory delegations, mechanisms of sustainable funding, sufficient penetration of knowledge to local levels to catalyse behaviour change, incentivised support from professionals, back-to-back expansion of WUAs to alleviate scale and cost burdens, and the creation of catchment data monitoring and compilation centres.