Open Science Research Excellence

Open Science Index

Commenced in January 2007 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Paper Count: 1159

Chemical and Molecular Engineering

Quantification of Biomethane Potential from Anaerobic Digestion of Food Waste at Vaal University of Technology

The global urbanisation and worldwide economic growth have caused a high rate of food waste generation, resulting in environmental pollution. Food waste disposed on landfills decomposes to produce methane (CH4), a greenhouse gas. Inadequate waste management practices contribute to food waste polluting the environment. Thus effective organic fraction of municipal solid waste (OFMSW) management and treatment are attracting widespread attention in many countries. This problem can be minimised by the employment of anaerobic digestion process, since food waste is rich in organic matter and highly biodegradable, resulting in energy generation and waste volume reduction. The current study investigated the Biomethane Potential (BMP) of the Vaal University of Technology canteen food waste using anaerobic digestion. Tests were performed on canteen food waste, as a substrate, with total solids (TS) of 22%, volatile solids (VS) of 21% and moisture content of 78%. The tests were performed in batch reactors, at a mesophilic temperature of 37 °C, with two different types of inoculum, primary and digested sludge. The resulting CH4 yields for both food waste with digested sludge and primary sludge were equal, being 357 Nml/g VS. This indicated that food waste form this canteen is rich in organic and highly biodegradable. Hence it can be used as a substrate for the anaerobic digestion process. The food waste with digested sludge and primary sludge both fitted the first order kinetic model with k for primary sludge inoculated food waste being 0.278 day-1 with R2 of 0.98, whereas k for digested sludge inoculated food waste being 0.034 day-1, with R2 of 0.847.

Forecast of Polyethylene Properties in the Gas Phase Polymerization Aided by Neural Network

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.

The Role of Fluid Catalytic Cracking in Process Optimisation for Petroleum Refineries

Petroleum refining is a chemical process in which the raw material (crude oil) is converted to finished commercial products for end users. The fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) unit is a key asset in refineries, requiring optimised processes in the context of engineering design. Following the first stage of separation of crude oil in a distillation tower, an additional 40 per cent quantity is attainable in the gasoline pool with further conversion of the downgraded product of crude oil (residue from the distillation tower) using a catalyst in the FCC process. Effective removal of sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxides, carbon and heavy metals from FCC gasoline requires greater separation efficiency and involves an enormous environmental significance. The FCC unit is primarily a reactor and regeneration system which employs cyclone systems for separation.  Catalyst losses in FCC cyclones lead to high particulate matter emission on the regenerator side and fines carryover into the product on the reactor side. This paper aims at demonstrating the importance of FCC unit design criteria in terms of technical performance and compliance with environmental legislation. A systematic review of state-of-the-art FCC technology was carried out, identifying its key technical challenges and sources of emissions.  Case studies of petroleum refineries in Nigeria were assessed against selected global case studies. The review highlights the need for further modelling investigations to help improve FCC design to more effectively meet product specification requirements while complying with stricter environmental legislation.

Recovery of Post-Consumer PET Bottles in a Composite Material Preparation

Manufacturing a composite material from post-consumer bottles is an interesting outlet since Madagascar is still facing the challenges of managing plastic waste on the one hand and appropriate waste treatment facilities are not yet developed on the other hand. New waste management options are needed to divert End-Of-Life (EOL) soft plastic wastes from landfills and incineration. Waste polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles might be considered as a valuable resource and recovered into polymer concrete. The methodology is easy to implement and appropriate to the local context in Madagascar. This approach will contribute to the production of ecological building materials that might be profitable for the environment and the construction sector. This work aims to study the feasibility of using the post-consumer PET bottles as an alternative binding agent instead of the conventional Portland cement and water. Then, the mechanical and physical properties of the materials were evaluated.

Physicochemical Characterization of Medium Alkyd Resins Prepared with a Mixture of Linum usitatissimum L. and Plukenetia volubilis L. Oils

Alkyds have become essential raw materials in the coating and paint industry, due to their low cost, good application properties and lower environmental impact in comparison with petroleum-based polymers. The properties of these oil-modified materials depend on the type of polyunsaturated vegetable oil used for its manufacturing, since a higher degree of unsaturation provides a better crosslinking of the cured paint. Linum usitatissimum L. (flax) oil is widely used to develop alkyd resins due to its high degree of unsaturation. Although it is intended to find non-traditional sources and increase their commercial value, to authors’ best knowledge a natural source that can replace flaxseed oil has not yet been found. However, Plukenetia volubilis L. oil, of Peruvian origin, contains a similar fatty acid polyunsaturated content to the one reported for Linum usitatissimum L. oil. In this perspective, medium alkyd resins were prepared with a mixture of 50% of Linum usitatissimum L. oil and 50% of Plukenetia volubilis L. oil. Pure Linum usitatissimum L. oil was also used for comparison purposes. Three different resins were obtained by varying the amount of glycerol and pentaerythritol. The synthesized alkyd resins were characterized by FT-IR, and physicochemical properties like acid value, colour, viscosity, density and drying time were evaluated by standard methods. The pencil hardness and chemical resistance behaviour of the cured resins were also studied. Overall, it can be concluded that medium alkyd resins containing Plukenetia volubilis L. oil have an equivalent behaviour compared to those prepared purely with Linum usitatissimum L. oil. Both Plukenetia volubilis L. oil and pentaerythritol have a remarkable influence on certain physicochemical properties of medium alkyd resins.

Synthesis and in vitro Characterization of a Gel-Derived SiO2-CaO-P2O5-SrO-Li2O Bioactive Glass

Bioactive glasses (BGs) are a group of surface-reactive biomaterials used in clinical applications as implants or filler materials in the human body to repair and replace diseased or damaged bone. Sol-gel technique was employed to prepare a SiO2-CaO-P2O5 glass with nominal composition of 58S BG with the addition of Sr and Li modifiers which imparts special properties to the BG. The effect of simultaneous addition of Sr and Li on bioactivity and biocompatibility, proliferation, alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity of osteoblast cell line MC3T3-E1 and antibacterial property against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria were examined. BGs were characterized by X-ray diffraction, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy before and after soaking the samples in the simulated body fluid (SBF) for different time intervals to characterize the formation of hydroxyapatite (HA) formed on the surface of BGs. Structural characterization indicated that the simultaneous presence of 5% Sr and 5% Li in 58S-BG composition not only did not retard HA formation because of opposite effect of Sr and Li of the dissolution of BG in the SBF but also, stimulated the differentiation and proliferation of MC3T3-E1s. Moreover, the presence of Sr and Li on dissolution of the ions resulted in an increase in the mean number of DAPI-labeled nuclei which was in good agreement with live/dead assay. The result of antibacterial tests revealed that Sr and Li-substituted 58S BG exhibited a potential antibacterial effect against MRSA bacteria. Because of optimal proliferation and ALP activity of MC3T3-E1cells, proper bioactivity and high antibacterial potential against MRSA, BG-5/5 is suggested as a multifunctional candidate for bone tissue engineering.

Comparative Study of Calcium Content on in vitro Biological and Antibacterial Properties of Silicon-Based Bioglass

The major aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of CaO content on in vitro hydroxyapatite formation, MC3T3 cells cytotoxicity and proliferation as well as antibacterial efficiency of sol-gel derived SiO2–CaO–P2O5 ternary system. For this purpose, first two grades of bioactive glass (BG); BG-58s (mol%: 60%SiO2–36%CaO–4%P2O5) and BG-68s (mol%: 70%SiO2–26%CaO–4%P2O5)) were synthesized by sol-gel method. Second, the effect of CaO content in their composition on in vitro bioactivity was investigated by soaking the BG-58s and BG-68s powders in simulated body fluid (SBF) for time periods up to 14 days and followed by characterization inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry (ICP-AES), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) techniques. Additionally, live/dead staining, 3-(4,5dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT), and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity assays were conducted respectively, as qualitatively and quantitatively assess for cell viability, proliferation and differentiations of MC3T3 cells in presence of 58s and 68s BGs. Results showed that BG-58s with higher CaO content showed higher in vitro bioactivity with respect to BG-68s. Moreover, the dissolution rate was inversely proportional to oxygen density of the BG. Live/dead assay revealed that both 58s and 68s increased the mean number live cells which were in good accordance with MTT assay. Furthermore, BG-58s showed more potential antibacterial activity against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria. Taken together, BG-58s with enhanced MC3T3 cells proliferation and ALP activity, acceptable bioactivity and significant high antibacterial effect against MRSA bacteria is suggested as a suitable candidate in order to further functionalizing for delivery of therapeutic ions and growth factors in bone tissue engineering.

Application of Thermoplastic Microbioreactor to the Single Cell Study of Budding Yeast to Decipher the Effect of 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural on Growth

Yeast cells are generally used as a model system of eukaryotes due to their complex genetic structure, rapid growth ability in optimum conditions, easy replication and well-defined genetic system properties. Thus, yeast cells increased the knowledge of the principal pathways in humans. During fermentation, carbohydrates (hexoses and pentoses) degrade into some toxic by-products such as 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (5-HMF or HMF) and furfural. HMF influences the ethanol yield, and ethanol productivity; it interferes with microbial growth and is considered as a potent inhibitor of bioethanol production. In this study, yeast single cell behavior under HMF application was monitored by using a continuous flow single phase microfluidic platform. Microfluidic device in operation is fabricated by hot embossing and thermo-compression techniques from cyclo-olefin polymer (COP). COP is biocompatible, transparent and rigid material and it is suitable for observing fluorescence of cells considering its low auto-fluorescence characteristic. The response of yeast cells was recorded through Red Fluorescent Protein (RFP) tagged Nop56 gene product, which is an essential evolutionary-conserved nucleolar protein, and also a member of the box C/D snoRNP complexes. With the application of HMF, yeast cell proliferation continued but HMF slowed down the cell growth, and after HMF treatment the cell proliferation stopped. By the addition of fresh nutrient medium, the yeast cells recovered after 6 hours of HMF exposure. Thus, HMF application suppresses normal functioning of cell cycle but it does not cause cells to die. The monitoring of Nop56 expression phases of the individual cells shed light on the protein and ribosome synthesis cycles along with their link to growth. Further computational study revealed that the mechanisms underlying the inhibitory or inductive effects of HMF on growth are enriched in functional categories of protein degradation, protein processing, DNA repair and multidrug resistance. The present microfluidic device can successfully be used for studying the effects of inhibitory agents on growth by single cell tracking, thus capturing cell to cell variations. By metabolic engineering techniques, engineered strains can be developed, and the metabolic network of the microorganism can thus be manipulated such that chemical overproduction of target metabolite is achieved along with the maximum growth/biomass yield.  

A 1H NMR-Linked PCR Modelling Strategy for Tracking the Fatty Acid Sources of Aldehydic Lipid Oxidation Products in Culinary Oils Exposed to Simulated Shallow-Frying Episodes

Objectives/Hypotheses: The adverse health effect potential of dietary lipid oxidation products (LOPs) has evoked much clinical interest. Therefore, we employed a 1H NMR-linked Principal Component Regression (PCR) chemometrics modelling strategy to explore relationships between data matrices comprising (1) aldehydic LOP concentrations generated in culinary oils/fats when exposed to laboratory-simulated shallow frying practices, and (2) the prior saturated (SFA), monounsaturated (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) contents of such frying media (FM), together with their heating time-points at a standard frying temperature (180 oC). Methods: Corn, sunflower, extra virgin olive, rapeseed, linseed, canola, coconut and MUFA-rich algae frying oils, together with butter and lard, were heated according to laboratory-simulated shallow-frying episodes at 180 oC, and FM samples were collected at time-points of 0, 5, 10, 20, 30, 60, and 90 min. (n = 6 replicates per sample). Aldehydes were determined by 1H NMR analysis (Bruker AV 400 MHz spectrometer). The first (dependent output variable) PCR data matrix comprised aldehyde concentration scores vectors (PC1* and PC2*), whilst the second (predictor) one incorporated those from the fatty acid content/heating time variables (PC1-PC4) and their first-order interactions. Results: Structurally complex trans,trans- and cis,trans-alka-2,4-dienals, 4,5-epxy-trans-2-alkenals and 4-hydroxy-/4-hydroperoxy-trans-2-alkenals (group I aldehydes predominantly arising from PUFA peroxidation) strongly and positively loaded on PC1*, whereas n-alkanals and trans-2-alkenals (group II aldehydes derived from both MUFA and PUFA hydroperoxides) strongly and positively loaded on PC2*. PCR analysis of these scores vectors (SVs) demonstrated that PCs 1 (positively-loaded linoleoylglycerols and [linoleoylglycerol]:[SFA] content ratio), 2 (positively-loaded oleoylglycerols and negatively-loaded SFAs), 3 (positively-loaded linolenoylglycerols and [PUFA]:[SFA] content ratios), and 4 (exclusively orthogonal sampling time-points) all powerfully contributed to aldehydic PC1* SVs (p 10-3 to < 10-9), as did all PC1-3 x PC4 interaction ones (p 10-5 to < 10-9). PC2* was also markedly dependent on all the above PC SVs (PC2 > PC1 and PC3), and the interactions of PC1 and PC2 with PC4 (p < 10-9 in each case), but not the PC3 x PC4 contribution. Conclusions: NMR-linked PCR analysis is a valuable strategy for (1) modelling the generation of aldehydic LOPs in heated cooking oils and other FM, and (2) tracking their unsaturated fatty acid (UFA) triacylglycerol sources therein.

Comparative Forensic Analysis of Lipsticks Using Thin Layer Chromatography and Gas Chromatography
Lipsticks constitute a significant source of transfer evidence, and can, therefore, provide corroborative or inclusionary evidence in criminal investigation. This study aimed to determine the uniqueness and persistence of different lipstick smears using Thin Layer Chromatography (TLC), and Gas Chromatography with a Flame Ionisation Detector (GC-FID). In this study, we analysed lipstick smears retrieved from tea cups exposed to the environment for up to four weeks. The n-alkane content of each sample was determined using GC-FID, while TLC was used to determine the number of bands, and retention factor of each band per smear. This study shows that TLC gives more consistent results over a 4-week period than GC-FID. It also proposes a maximum exposure time of two weeks for the analysis of lipsticks left in the open using GC-FID. Finally, we conclude that neither TLC nor GC-FID can distinguish lipstick evidence recovered from hypothetical crime scenes.
Flexible Technologies of Granulated Complex Fertilizers

The article focuses on the latest research and developments (R&D) aimed at the development of plants for production of complex phosphorus-containing fertilizers which are in line with the principles of the best available techniques (BAT). The advantages of the implemented technical solutions are given. The paper describes developed options of flexible technologies for schemes with DGD (drum granulator dryer) and for schemes with AG-DD (ammoniator-granulator and dryer drum).

Microwave Plasma Dry Reforming of Methane at High CO2/CH4 Feed Ratio

Dry reforming of methane that converts two greenhouses gases (CH4 and CO2) to synthesis gas (a mixture of H2 and CO) was studied in a commercial bench scale microwave (MW) plasma reactor system at atmospheric pressure. The CO2, CH4 and N2 conversions; H2, CO selectivities and yields, and syngas ratio (H2/CO) were investigated in a wide range of total feed flow rate (0.45 – 2.1 L/min), MW power (700 – 1200 watt) and CO2/CH4 molar ratio (2 – 5). At the feed flow rates of CH4, CO2 and N2 of 0.2, 0.4 and 1.5 L/min respectively, and the MWs input power of 700 W, the highest conversions of CH4 and CO2, selectivity and yield of H2, CO and H2/CO ratio of 79.35%, 44.82%, 50.12, 58.42, 39.77%, 32.89%, and 0.86, respectively, were achieved. The results of this work show that the product ratio increases slightly with the increasing total feed flow rate, but it decreases significantly with the increasing MW power and feeds CO2/CH4 ratio.

Performances Analysis of the Pressure and Production of an Oil Zone by Simulation of the Flow of a Fluid through the Porous Media

This work is the modeling and simulation of fluid flow (liquid) through porous media. This type of flow occurs in many situations of interest in applied sciences and engineering, fluid (oil) consists of several individual substances in pure, single-phase flow is incompressible and isothermal. The porous medium is isotropic, homogeneous optionally, with the rectangular format and the flow is two-dimensional. Modeling of hydrodynamic phenomena incorporates Darcy's law and the equation of mass conservation. Correlations are used to model the density and viscosity of the fluid. A finite volume code is used in the discretization of differential equations. The nonlinearity is treated by Newton's method with relaxation coefficient. The results of the simulation of the pressure and the mobility of liquid flowing through porous media are presented, analyzed, and illustrated.

Greywater Treatment Using Activated Biochar Produced from Agricultural Waste

The increase in urbanisation in South Africa has led to an increase in water demand and a decline in freshwater supply. Despite this, poor water usage is still a major challenge in South Africa, for instance, freshwater is still used for non-drinking applications. The freshwater shortage can be alleviated by using other sources of water for non-portable purposes such as greywater treated with activated biochar produced from agricultural waste. The success of activated biochar produced from agricultural waste to treat greywater can be both economically and environmentally beneficial. Greywater treated with activated biochar produced from agricultural waste is considered a cost-effective wastewater treatment.  This work was aimed at determining the ability of activated biochar to remove Total Suspended Solids (TSS), Ammonium (NH4-N), Nitrate (NO3-N), and Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) from greywater. The experiments were carried out in 800 ml laboratory plastic cylinders used as filter columns. 2.5 cm layer of gravel was used at the bottom and top of the column to sandwich the activated biochar material. Activated biochar (200 g and 400 g) was loaded in a column and used as a filter medium for greywater. Samples were collected after a week and sent for analysis. Four types of greywater were treated: Kitchen, floor cleaning water, shower and laundry water. The findings showed: 95% removal of TSS, 76% of NO3-N and 63% of COD on kitchen greywater and 85% removal of NH4-N on bathroom greywater, as highest removal of efficiency of the studied pollutants. The results showed that activated biochar produced from agricultural waste reduces a certain amount of pollutants from greywater. The results also indicated the ability of activated biochar to treat greywater for onsite non-potable reuse purposes.

Exergy Analysis of Reverse Osmosis for Potable Water and Land Irrigation

A thermodynamic study is performed on the Reverse Osmosis (RO) desalination process for brackish water. The detailed RO model of thermodynamics properties with and without an energy recovery device was built in Simulink/MATLAB and validated against reported measurement data. The efficiency of desalination plants can be estimated by both the first and second laws of thermodynamics. While the first law focuses on the quantity of energy, the second law analysis (i.e. exergy analysis) introduces quality. This paper used the Main Outfall Drain in Iraq as a case study to conduct energy and exergy analysis of RO process. The result shows that it is feasible to use energy recovery method for reverse osmosis with salinity less than 15000 ppm as the exergy efficiency increases twice. Moreover, this analysis shows that the highest exergy destruction occurs in the rejected water and lowest occurs in the permeate flow rate accounting 37% for 4.3% respectively.

Phenolic-Based Chemical Production from Catalytic Depolymerization of Alkaline Lignin over Fumed Silica Catalyst

Lignin depolymerization into phenolic-based chemicals is an interesting process for utilizing and upgrading a benefit and value of lignin. In this study, the depolymerization reaction was performed to convert alkaline lignin into smaller molecule compounds. Fumed SiO₂ was used as a catalyst to improve catalytic activity in lignin decomposition. The important parameters in depolymerization process (i.e., reaction temperature, reaction time, etc.) were also investigated. In addition, gas chromatography with mass spectrometry (GC-MS), flame-ironized detector (GC-FID), and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) were used to analyze and characterize the lignin products. It was found that fumed SiO₂ catalyst led the good catalytic activity in lignin depolymerization. The main products from catalytic depolymerization were guaiacol, syringol, vanillin, and phenols. Additionally, metal supported on fumed SiO₂ such as Cu/SiO₂ and Ni/SiO₂ increased the catalyst activity in terms of phenolic products yield.

Reaction Rate of Olive Stone during Combustion in a Bubbling Fluidized Bed

Combustion of biomass is a promising alternative to reduce the high pollutant emission levels associated to the combustion of fossil flues due to the net null emission of CO2 attributed to biomass. However, the biomass selected should also have low contents of nitrogen and sulfur to limit the NOx and SOx emissions derived from its combustion. In this sense, olive stone is an excellent fuel to power combustion reactors with reduced levels of pollutant emissions. In this work, the combustion of olive stone particles is analyzed experimentally in a thermogravimetric analyzer (TGA) and in a bubbling fluidized bed reactor (BFB). The bubbling fluidized bed reactor was installed over a scale, conforming a macro-TGA. In both equipment, the evolution of the mass of the samples was registered as the combustion process progressed. The results show a much faster combustion process in the bubbling fluidized bed reactor compared to the thermogravimetric analyzer measurements, due to the higher heat transfer coefficient and the abrasion of the fuel particles by the bed material in the BFB reactor.

Phytochemical Analysis and Antioxidant Activity of Colocasia esculenta (L.) Leaves

Colocasia esculenta leaves and roots are widely used in Asian countries, such as, India, Srilanka and Pakistan, as food and feed material. The root is high in carbohydrates and rich in zinc. The leaves and stalks are often traditionally preserved to be eaten in dry season. Leaf juice is stimulant, expectorant, astringent, appetizer, and otalgia. Looking at the medicinal uses of the plant leaves; phytochemicals were extracted from the plant leaves and were characterized using Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) to find the functional groups. Phytochemical analysis of Colocasia esculenta (L.) leaf was studied using three solvents (methanol, chloroform, and ethanol) with soxhlet apparatus. Powder of the leaves was employed to obtain the extracts, which was qualitatively and quantitatively analyzed for phytochemical content using standard methods. Phytochemical constituents were abundant in the leave extract. Leaf was found to have various phytochemicals such as alkaloids, glycosides, flavonoids, terpenoids, saponins, oxalates and phenols etc., which could have lot of medicinal benefits such as reducing headache, treatment of congestive heart failure, prevent oxidative cell damage etc. These phytochemicals were identified using UV spectrophotometer and results were presented. In order to find the antioxidant activity of the extract, DPPH (2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl) method was employed using ascorbic acid as standard. DPPH scavenging activity of ascorbic acid was found to be 84%, whereas for ethanol it was observed to be 78.92%, for methanol: 76.46% and for chloroform: 72.46%. Looking at the high antioxidant activity, Colocasia esculenta may be recommended for medicinal applications. The characterizations of functional groups were analyzed using FTIR spectroscopy.

Synthesis, Characterization and Antibacterial Screening of 3-Hydroxy-2-[3-(2/3/4-Methoxybenzoyl)Thioureido]Butyric Acid

This study presents the synthesis of a series of methoxybenzoylthiourea amino acid derivatives. The compounds were obtained from the reactions between 2/3/4-methoxybenzoyl isothiocyanate with threonine. All of the compounds were characterized via mass spectrometry, 1H and 13C NMR spectrometry, UV-Vis spectrophotometer and FT-IR spectroscopy. Mass spectra for all of the compounds showed the presence of molecular ion [M]+ peaks at m/z 312, which are in agreement to the calculated molecular weight. For 1H NMR spectra, the presence of OCH3, C=S-NH and C=O-NH protons were observed within range of δH 3.8-4.0 ppm, 11.1-11.5 ppm and 10.0-11.5 ppm, respectively. 13C NMR spectra in all compounds displayed the presence of OCH3, C=O-NH, C=O-OH and C=S carbon resonances within range of δC 55.0-57.0 ppm, 165.0-168.0 ppm, 170.0-171.0 ppm and 180.0-182.0 ppm, respectively. In UV spectra, two absorption bands have been observed and both were assigned to the n-π* and π-π* transitions. Six vibrational modes of v(N-H), v(O-H), v(C=O-OH), v(C=O-NH), v(C=C) aromatic and v(C=S) appeared in the FT-IR spectra within the range of 3241-3467 cm-1, 2976-3302 cm-1, 1720-1768 cm-1, 1655-1672 cm-1, 1519-1525 cm-1 and 754-763 cm-1, respectively. The antibacterial activity for all of the compounds was screened against Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Salmonella typhimurium and Escherichia coli. However, no activity was observed.

One Dimensional Reactor Modeling for Methanol Steam Reforming to Hydrogen

One dimensional pseudo-homogenous modeling has been performed for methanol steam reforming reactor. The results show that the models can well predict the industrial data. The reactor had minimum temperature along axial because of endothermic reaction. Hydrogen productions and temperature profiles along axial were investigated regarding operation conditions such as inlet mass flow rate and mass fraction of methanol, inlet temperature of external thermal oil. Low inlet mass flow rate of methanol, low inlet temperature, and high mass fraction of methanol decreased minimum temperature along axial. Low inlet mass flow rate of methanol, high mass fraction of methanol, and high inlet temperature of thermal oil made cold point forward. Low mass fraction, high mass flow rate, and high inlet temperature of thermal oil increased hydrogen production. One dimensional models can be a guide for industrial operation.

Effect of the Support Shape on Fischer-Tropsch Cobalt Catalyst Performance

Cobalt catalysts were supported on extruded silica carrier and different-type (SiO2, γ-Al2O3) commercial supports with different shapes and sizes to produce heavy hydrocarbons for Fischer-Tropsch synthesis. The catalysts were characterized by N2 physisorption and H2-TPR. The catalytic performance of the catalysts was tested in a fixed bed reactor. The results of Fischer-Tropsch synthesis performance showed that the cobalt catalyst supported on spherical silica supports displayed a higher activity and a higher selectivity to C5+ products, due to the fact that the active components were only distributed in the surface layer of spherical carrier, and the influence of gas diffusion restriction on catalytic performance was weakened. Therefore, it can be concluded that the eggshell cobalt catalyst was superior to precious metals modified catalysts in the synthesis of heavy hydrocarbons.

Optimization of Biodiesel Production from Sunflower Oil Using Central Composite Design

The current study investigated the effect of catalyst ratio and methanol to oil ratio on biodiesel production by using central composite design. Biodiesel was produced by transesterification using sodium hydroxide as a homogeneous catalyst, a laboratory scale reactor consisting of flat bottom flask mounts with a reflux condenser, and a heating plate was used to produce biodiesel. Key parameters, including time, temperature, and mixing rate was kept constant at 60 minutes, 60 oC and 600 RPM, respectively. From the results obtained, it was observed that the biodiesel yield depends on catalyst ratio and methanol to oil ratio. The highest yield of 50.65% was obtained at catalyst ratio of 0.5 wt.% and methanol to oil mole ratio 10.5. The analysis of variances of biodiesel yield showed the R Squared value of 0.8387. A quadratic mathematical model was developed to predict the biodiesel yield in the specified parameters ranges.

Impact of Zn/Cr Ratio on ZnCrOx-SAPO-34 Bifunctional Catalyst for Direct Conversion of Syngas to Light Olefins

Light olefins are important building blocks for chemical industry. Direct conversion of syngas to light olefins has been investigated for decades. Meanwhile, the limit for light olefins selectivity described by Anderson-Schulz-Flory (ASF) distribution model is still a great challenge to conventional Fischer-Tropsch synthesis. The emerging strategy called oxide-zeolite concept (OX-ZEO) is a promising way to get rid of this limit. ZnCrOx was prepared by co-precipitation method and (NH4)2CO3 was used as precipitant. SAPO-34 was prepared by hydrothermal synthesis, and Tetraethylammonium hydroxide (TEAOH) was used as template, while silica sol, pseudo-boehmite, and phosphoric acid were Al, Si and P source, respectively. The bifunctional catalyst was prepared by mechanical mixing of ZnCrOx and SAPO-34. Catalytic reactions were carried out under H2/CO=2, 380 ℃, 1 MPa and 6000 mL·gcat-1·h-1 in a fixed-bed reactor with a quartz lining. Catalysts were characterized by XRD, N2 adsorption-desorption, NH3-TPD, H2-TPR, and CO-TPD. The addition of Al as structure promoter enhances CO conversion and selectivity to light olefins. Zn/Cr ratio, which decides the active component content and chemisorption property of the catalyst, influences CO conversion and selectivity to light olefins at the same time. C2-4= distribution of 86% among hydrocarbons at CO conversion of 14% was reached when Zn/Cr=1.5.

Evaluation of the Performance of ACTIFLO® Clarifier in the Treatment of Mining Wastewaters: Case Study of Costerfield Mining Operations, Victoria, Australia

A pre-treatment stage prior to reverse osmosis (RO) is very important to ensure the long-term performance of the RO membranes in any wastewater treatment using RO. This study aims to evaluate the application of the Actiflo® clarifier as part of a pre-treatment unit in mining operations. It involves performing analytical testing on RO feed water before and after installation of Actiflo® unit. Water samples prior to RO plant stage were obtained on different dates from Costerfield mining operations in Victoria, Australia. Tests were conducted in an independent laboratory to determine the concentration of various compounds in RO feed water before and after installation of Actiflo® unit during the entire evaluated period from December 2015 to June 2018. Water quality analysis shows that the quality of RO feed water has remarkably improved since installation of Actiflo® clarifier. Suspended solids (SS) and turbidity removal efficiencies has been improved by 91 and 85 percent respectively in pre-treatment system since the installation of Actiflo®. The Actiflo® clarifier proved to be a valuable part of pre-treatment system prior to RO. It has the potential to conveniently condition the mining wastewater prior to RO unit, and reduce the risk of RO physical failure and irreversible fouling. Consequently, reliable and durable operation of RO unit with minimum requirement for RO membrane replacement is expected with Actiflo® in use.

Production Process for Diesel Fuel Components Polyoxymethylene Dimethyl Ethers from Methanol and Formaldehyde Solution

Polyoxymethylene dimethyl ethers (PODEn) as clean diesel additive can improve the combustion efficiency and quality of diesel fuel and alleviate the problem of atmospheric pollution. Considering synthetic routes, PODE production from methanol and formaldehyde is regarded as the most economical and promising synthetic route. However, methanol used for synthesizing PODE can produce water, which causes the loss of active center of catalyst and hydrolysis of PODEn in the production process. Macroporous strong acidic cation exchange resin catalyst was prepared, which has comparative advantages over other common solid acid catalysts in terms of stability and catalytic efficiency for synthesizing PODE. Catalytic reactions were carried out under 353 K, 1 MPa and 3mL·gcat-1·h-1 in a fixed bed reactor. Methanol conversion and PODE3-6 selectivity reached 49.91% and 23.43%, respectively. Catalyst lifetime evaluation showed that resin catalyst retained its catalytic activity for 20 days without significant changes and catalytic activity of completely deactivated resin catalyst can basically return to previous level by simple acid regeneration. The acid exchange capacities of original and deactivated catalyst were 2.5191 and 0.0979 mmol·g-1, respectively, while regenerated catalyst reached 2.0430 mmol·g-1, indicating that the main reason for resin catalyst deactivation is that Brønsted acid sites of original resin catalyst were temporarily replaced by non-hydrogen ion cations. A separation process consisting of extraction and distillation for PODE3-6 product was designed for separation of water and unreacted formaldehyde from reactive mixture and purification of PODE3-6, respectively. The concentration of PODE3-6 in final product can reach up to 97%. These results indicate that the scale-up production of PODE3-6 from methanol and formaldehyde solution is feasible.

Effect of Si/Al Ratio on SSZ-13 Crystallization and Its Methanol-To-Olefins Catalytic Properties

SSZ-13 materials with different Si/Al ratio were prepared by varying the composition of aluminosilicate precursor solutions upon hydrothermal treatment at 150 °C. The Si/Al ratio of the initial system was systematically changed from 12.5 to infinity in order to study the limits of Al composition in precursor solutions for constructing CHA structure. The intermediates and final products were investigated by complementary techniques such as XRD, HRTEM, FESEM, and chemical analysis. NH3-TPD was used to study the Brønsted acidity of SSZ-13 samples with different Si/Al ratios. The effect of the Si/Al ratio on the precursor species, ultimate crystal size, morphology and yield was investigated. The results revealed that Al species determine the nucleation rate and the number of nuclei, which is tied to the morphology and yield of SSZ-13. The size of SSZ-13 increased and the yield decreased as the Si/Al ratio was improved. Varying Si/Al ratio of the initial system is a facile, commercially viable method of tailoring SSZ-13 crystal size and morphology. Furthermore, SSZ-13 materials with different Si/Al ratio were tested as catalysts for the methanol to olefins (MTO) reaction at 350 °C. SSZ-13 with the Si/Al ratio of 35 shows the best MTO catalytic performance.

Investigation of the Effect of Nano-Alumina Particles on Adsorption Property of Acrylic Fiber
The flue gas from fossil fuels combustion contains harmful pollutants dangerous for human health and environment. One of the air pollution control methods to restrict the emission of these pollutants is based on using the nanoparticle in adsorption process. In the present research, gamma nano-alumina particle is added to polyacrylonitrile (PAN) polymer through simple loading method, and the adsorption capacity of the wet spun fiber is investigated. The results of exposure the fiber to the acid gases including SO2, CO, NO2, NO, and CO2 show the noticeable increase of gas adsorption capacity on fiber contains nanoparticle. The research has been conducted in Acrylic II Plant of Polyacryl Iran Corporation.
Optimization of Soybean Oil by Modified Supercritical Carbon Dioxide

The content of omega-3 in soybean oil is important in the development of infants and is an alternative for the omega-3 in fish oils. The investigation of extraction of soybean oil is needed to obtain the bioactive compound in the extract. Supercritical carbon dioxide extraction is modern and green technology to extract herbs and plants to obtain high quality extract due to high diffusivity and solubility of the solvent. The aim of this study was to obtain the optimum condition of soybean oil extraction by modified supercritical carbon dioxide. The soybean oil was extracted by using modified supercritical carbon dioxide (SC-CO2) under the temperatures of 40, 60, 80 °C, pressures of 150, 250, 350 Bar, and constant flow-rate of 10 g/min as the parameters of extraction processes. An experimental design was performed in order to optimize three important parameters of SC-CO2 extraction which are pressure (X1), temperature (X2) to achieve optimum yields of soybean oil. Box Behnken Design was applied for experimental design. From the optimization process, the optimum condition of extraction of soybean oil was obtained at pressure 338 Bar and temperature 80 °C with oil yield of 2.713 g. Effect of pressure is significant on the extraction of soybean oil by modified supercritical carbon dioxide. Increasing of pressure will increase the oil yield of soybean oil.

Synthesis and Application of an Organic Dye in Nanostructure Solar Cells Device
Two organic dyes comprising carbazole as the electron donors and cyanoacetic acid moieties as the electron acceptors were synthesized. The organic dye was prepared by standard reaction from carbazole as the starting material. To this end, carbazole was reacted with bromobenzene and further oxidation and reacted with cyanoacetic acid. The obtained organic dye was purified and characterized using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1HNMR), carbon nuclear magnetic resonance (13CNMR) and elemental analysis. The influence of heteroatom on carbazole donors and cyno substitution on the acid acceptor is evidenced by spectral and electrochemical photovoltaic experiments. Finally, light fastness properties for organic dye were investigated.
Hydrogel Based on Cellulose Acetate Used as Scaffold for Cell Growth

A hydrogel from cellulose acetate cross linked with ethylenediaminetetraacetic dianhydride (HAC-EDTA) was synthesized by our research group, and submitted to characterization and biological tests. Cytocompatibility analysis was performed by confocal microscopy using human adipocyte derived stem cells (ASCs). The FTIR analysis showed characteristic bands of cellulose acetate and hydroxyl groups and the tensile tests evidence that HAC-EDTA present a Young’s modulus of 643.7 MPa. The confocal analysis revealed that there was cell growth at the surface of HAC-EDTA. After one day of culture the cells presented spherical morphology, which may be caused by stress of the sequestration of Ca2+ and Mg2+ ions at the cell medium by HAC-EDTA, as demonstrated by ICP-MS. However, after seven days and 14 days of culture, the cells present fibroblastoid morphology, phenotype expected by this cellular type. The results give efforts to indicate this new material as a potential biomaterial for tissue engineering, in the future in vivo approach.

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