Open Science Research Excellence

Open Science Index

Commenced in January 2007 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Paper Count: 905

Dental Students’ Attitude towards Problem-Based Learning before and after Implementing 3D Electronic Dental Models

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.

The Use of Webquests in Developing Inquiry Based Learning: Views of Teachers and Students in Qatar

This paper reports on an aspect of e-learning in developing inquiry-based learning (IBL). We present data on the views of teachers and students in Qatar following a professional development programme intended to help teachers implement IBL in their science and mathematics classrooms. Key to this programme was the use of WebQuests. Views of the teachers and students suggested that WebQuests helped students to develop technical skills, work collaboratively and become independent in their learning. The use of WebQuests also enabled a combination of digital and non-digital tools that helped students connect ideas and enhance their understanding of topics.

Content-Based Image Retrieval Using HSV Color Space Features

In this paper, a method is provided for content-based image retrieval. Content-based image retrieval system searches query an image based on its visual content in an image database to retrieve similar images. In this paper, with the aim of simulating the human visual system sensitivity to image's edges and color features, the concept of color difference histogram (CDH) is used. CDH includes the perceptually color difference between two neighboring pixels with regard to colors and edge orientations. Since the HSV color space is close to the human visual system, the CDH is calculated in this color space. In addition, to improve the color features, the color histogram in HSV color space is also used as a feature. Among the extracted features, efficient features are selected using entropy and correlation criteria. The final features extract the content of images most efficiently. The proposed method has been evaluated on three standard databases Corel 5k, Corel 10k and UKBench. Experimental results show that the accuracy of the proposed image retrieval method is significantly improved compared to the recently developed methods.

Creative Skills Supported by Multidisciplinary Learning: Case Innovation Course at the Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences

This paper presents findings from a multidisciplinary course (bachelor level) implemented at Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences, Finland. The course aims to develop innovative thinking of students, by having projects given by companies, using design thinking methods as a tool for creativity and by integrating students into multidisciplinary teams working on the given projects. The course is obligatory for all first year bachelor students across four faculties (business and culture, food and agriculture, health care and social work, and technology). The course involves around 800 students and 30 pedagogical coaches, and it is implemented as an intensive one-week course each year. The paper discusses the pedagogy, structure and coordination of the course. Also, reflections on methods for the development of creative skills are given. Experts in contemporary, global context often work in teams, which consist of people who have different areas of expertise and represent various professional backgrounds. That is why there is a strong need for new training methods where multidisciplinary approach is at the heart of learning. Creative learning takes place when different parties bring information to the discussion and learn from each other. When students in different fields are looking for professional growth for themselves and take responsibility for the professional growth of other learners, they form a mutual learning relationship with each other. Multidisciplinary team members make decisions both individually and collectively, which helps them to understand and appreciate other disciplines. Our results show that creative and multidisciplinary project learning can develop diversity of knowledge and competences, for instance, students’ cultural knowledge, teamwork and innovation competences, time management and presentation skills as well as support a student’s personal development as an expert. It is highly recommended that higher education curricula should include various studies for students from different study fields to work in multidisciplinary teams.

Effect of Sodium Aluminate on Compressive Strength of Geopolymer at Elevated Temperatures

Geopolymer is an inorganic material synthesized by alkali activation of source materials rich in soluble SiO2 and Al2O3. Many researches have studied the effect of aluminum species on the synthesis of geopolymer. However, it is still unclear about the influence of Al additives on the properties of geopolymer. The current study identified the role of the Al additive on the thermal performance of fly ash based geopolymer and observing the microstructure development of the composite. NaOH pellets were dissolved in water for 14 M (14 moles/L) sodium hydroxide solution which was used as an alkali activator. The weight ratio of alkali activator to fly ash was 0.40. Sodium aluminate powder was employed as an Al additive and added in amounts of 0.5 wt.% to 2 wt.% by the weight of fly ash. The mixture of alkali activator and fly ash was cured in a 75°C dry oven for 24 hours. Then, the hardened geopolymer samples were exposed to 300°C, 600°C and 900°C for 2 hours, respectively. The initial compressive strength after oven curing increased with increasing sodium aluminate content. It was also observed in SEM results that more amounts of geopolymer composite were synthesized as sodium aluminate was added. The compressive strength increased with increasing heating temperature from 300°C to 600°C regardless of sodium aluminate addition. It was consistent with the ATR-FTIR results that the peak position related to asymmetric stretching vibrations of Si-O-T (T: Si or Al) shifted to higher wavenumber as the heating temperature increased, indicating the further geopolymer reaction. In addition, geopolymer sample with higher content of sodium aluminate showed better compressive strength. It was also reflected on the IR results by more shift of the peak position assigned to Si-O-T toward the higher wavenumber. However, the compressive strength decreased after being exposed to 900°C in all samples. The degree of reduction in compressive strength was decreased with increasing sodium aluminate content. The deterioration in compressive strength was most severe in the geopolymer sample without sodium aluminate additive, while the samples with sodium aluminate addition showed better thermal durability at 900°C. This is related to the phase transformation with the occurrence of nepheline phase at 900°C, which was most predominant in the sample without sodium aluminate. In this work, it was concluded that sodium aluminate could be a good additive in the geopolymer synthesis by showing the improved compressive strength at elevated temperatures.

Resilient Modulus and Deformation Responses of Waste Glass in Flexible Pavement System

Experimental investigations are conducted to assess a layered structure of glass (G) - rock (R) blends under the impact of repeated loading. Laboratory tests included sieve analyses, modified compaction test and repeated load triaxial test (RLTT) is conducted on different structures of stratified GR samples to reach the objectives of this study. Waste materials are such essential components in the climate system, and also commonly used in minimising the need for natural materials in many countries. Glass is one of the most widely used groups of waste materials which have been extensively using in road applications. Full range particle size and colours of glass are collected and mixed at different ratios with natural rock material trying to use the blends in pavement layers. Whole subsurface specimen sequentially consists of a single layer of R and a layer of G-R blend. 12G/88R and 45G/55R mix ratios are employed in this research, the thickness of G-R layer was changed, and the results were compared between the pure rock and the layered specimens. The relations between resilient module (Mr) and permanent deformation with sequence number are presented. During the earlier stages of RLTT, the results indicated that the 45G/55R specimen shows higher moduli than R specimen.

Development of Requirements Analysis Tool for Medical Autonomy in Long-Duration Space Exploration Missions
Improving resources for medical autonomy of astronauts in prolonged space missions, such as a Mars mission, requires not only technology development, but also decision-making support systems. The Advanced Crew Medical System - Medical Condition Requirements study, funded by the Canadian Space Agency, aimed to create knowledge content and a scenario-based query capability to support medical autonomy of astronauts. The key objective of this study was to create a prototype tool for identifying medical infrastructure requirements in terms of medical knowledge, skills and materials. A multicriteria decision-making method was used to prioritize the highest risk medical events anticipated in a long-term space mission. Starting with those medical conditions, event sequence diagrams (ESDs) were created in the form of decision trees where the entry point is the diagnosis and the end points are the predicted outcomes (full recovery, partial recovery, or death/severe incapacitation). The ESD formalism was adapted to characterize and compare possible outcomes of medical conditions as a function of available medical knowledge, skills, and supplies in a given mission scenario. An extensive literature review was performed and summarized in a medical condition database. A PostgreSQL relational database was created to allow query-based evaluation of health outcome metrics with different medical infrastructure scenarios. Critical decision points, skill and medical supply requirements, and probable health outcomes were compared across chosen scenarios. The three medical conditions with the highest risk rank were acute coronary syndrome, sepsis, and stroke. Our efforts demonstrate the utility of this approach and provide insight into the effort required to develop appropriate content for the range of medical conditions that may arise.
Evaluation of Model-Based Code Generation for Embedded Systems–Mature Approach for Development in Evolution
Model-based development approach is gaining more support and acceptance. Its higher abstraction level brings simplification of systems’ description that allows domain experts to do their best without particular knowledge in programming. The different levels of simulation support the rapid prototyping, verifying and validating the product even before it exists physically. Nowadays model-based approach is beneficial for modelling of complex embedded systems as well as a generation of code for many different hardware platforms. Moreover, it is possible to be applied in safety-relevant industries like automotive, which brings extra automation of the expensive device certification process and especially in the software qualification. Using it, some companies report about cost savings and quality improvements, but there are others claiming no major changes or even about cost increases. This publication demonstrates the level of maturity and autonomy of model-based approach for code generation. It is based on a real live automotive seat heater (ASH) module, developed using The Mathworks, Inc. tools. The model, created with Simulink, Stateflow and Matlab is used for automatic generation of C code with Embedded Coder. To prove the maturity of the process, Code generation advisor is used for automatic configuration. All additional configuration parameters are set to auto, when applicable, leaving the generation process to function autonomously. As a result of the investigation, the publication compares the quality of generated embedded code and a manually developed one. The measurements show that generally, the code generated by automatic approach is not worse than the manual one. A deeper analysis of the technical parameters enumerates the disadvantages, part of them identified as topics for our future work.
Developing a Web-Based Tender Evaluation System Based on Fuzzy Multi-Attributes Group Decision Making for Nigerian Public Sector Tendering

Public sector tendering has traditionally been conducted using manual paper-based processes which are known to be inefficient, less transparent and more prone to manipulations and errors. The advent of the Internet and the World Wide Web has led to the development of numerous e-Tendering systems that addressed some of the problems associated with the manual paper-based tendering system. However, most of these systems rarely support the evaluation of tenders and where they do it is mostly based on the single decision maker which is not suitable in public sector tendering, where for the sake of objectivity, transparency, and fairness, it is required that the evaluation is conducted through a tender evaluation committee. Currently, in Nigeria, the public tendering process in general and the evaluation of tenders, in particular, are largely conducted using manual paper-based processes. Automating these manual-based processes to digital-based processes can help in enhancing the proficiency of public sector tendering in Nigeria. This paper is part of a larger study to develop an electronic tendering system that supports the whole tendering lifecycle based on Nigerian procurement law. Specifically, this paper presents the design and implementation of part of the system that supports group evaluation of tenders based on a technique called fuzzy multi-attributes group decision making. The system was developed using Object-Oriented methodologies and Unified Modelling Language and hypothetically applied in the evaluation of technical and financial proposals submitted by bidders. The system was validated by professionals with extensive experiences in public sector procurement. The results of the validation showed that the system called NPS-eTender has an average rating of 74% with respect to correct and accurate modelling of the existing manual tendering domain and an average rating of 67.6% with respect to its potential to enhance the proficiency of public sector tendering in Nigeria. Thus, based on the results of the validation, the automation of the evaluation process to support tender evaluation committee is achievable and can lead to a more proficient public sector tendering system.

Optimal Production and Maintenance Policy for a Partially Observable Production System with Stochastic Demand
In this paper, the joint optimization of the economic manufacturing quantity (EMQ), safety stock level, and condition-based maintenance (CBM) is presented for a partially observable, deteriorating system subject to random failure. The demand is stochastic and it is described by a Poisson process. The stochastic model is developed and the optimization problem is formulated in the semi-Markov decision process framework. A modification of the policy iteration algorithm is developed to find the optimal policy. A numerical example is presented to compare the optimal policy with the policy considering zero safety stock.
Recent Trends on Security Constrained Economic Dispatch: A Bibliographic Review
This paper presents a survey of articles, books and reports, which articulate the recent trends and aspects of Security Constrained Economic Dispatch (SCED). The period under consideration is 2008 through 2018. This is done to provide an up-to-date review of the recent major advancements in SCED, the state-of-the-art since 2008, identify further challenging developments needed in smarter grids, and indicate ways to address these challenges. This study consists of three areas of interest, which are very important and relevant for articulating the recent trends of SCED. These areas are: (i) SCED of power system with integrated renewable energy sources (IRES), (ii) SCED with post contingency corrective actions and (iii) Artificial intelligence based SCED.
Simulation-Based Optimization of a Non-Uniform Piezoelectric Energy Harvester with Stack Boundary
This research presents an analytical model for the development of an energy harvester with piezoelectric rings stacked at the boundary of the structure based on the Adomian decomposition method. The model is applied to geometrically non-uniform beams to derive the steady-state dynamic response of the structure subjected to base motion excitation and efficiently harvest the subsequent vibrational energy. The in-plane polarization of the piezoelectric rings is employed to enhance the electrical power output. A parametric study for the proposed energy harvester with various design parameters is done to prepare the dataset required for optimization. Finally, simulation-based optimization technique helps to find the optimum structural design with maximum efficiency. To solve the optimization problem, an artificial neural network is first trained to replace the simulation model, and then, a genetic algorithm is employed to find the optimized design variables. Higher geometrical non-uniformity and length of the beam lowers the structure natural frequency and generates a larger power output.
The Role of Organizational Culture in Facilitating Employee Job Satisfaction in Emerald Group

The importance of having a good organizational culture that supports employee job satisfaction has fascinated both the business and academic world because of a tantalizing promise: culture can be fundamental to the enhancement of financial performance. This promise has led to growing interest for both researchers and practitioners in attempting to understand the influence of organizational culture on employees’ satisfaction and organizational performance. Even though the relationship between organizational culture and employee job satisfaction have gained attention in the literature, the majority of studies have been conducted within manufacturing organizations and tend to oversee the impact of culture on employee job satisfaction in a service-based environment. Thus, the main driving force of this study was to explore the role of organizational culture types in facilitating employee job satisfaction at Emerald Publishing Group. Interviews qualitative data analysis indicated that Emerald’s culture dominated by adhocracy and clan culture values. In addition, the findings provided evidence, which demonstrated that group and adhocracy organizational culture types play key roles in facilitating employee job satisfaction in a service-based environment.

Maximization of Lifetime for Wireless Sensor Networks Based on Energy Efficient Clustering Algorithm

Since last decade, wireless sensor networks (WSNs) have been used in many areas like health care, agriculture, defense, military, disaster hit areas and so on. Wireless Sensor Networks consist of a Base Station (BS) and more number of wireless sensors in order to monitor temperature, pressure, motion in different environment conditions. The key parameter that plays a major role in designing a protocol for Wireless Sensor Networks is energy efficiency which is a scarcest resource of sensor nodes and it determines the lifetime of sensor nodes. Maximizing sensor node’s lifetime is an important issue in the design of applications and protocols for Wireless Sensor Networks. Clustering sensor nodes mechanism is an effective topology control approach for helping to achieve the goal of this research. In this paper, the researcher presents an energy efficiency protocol to prolong the network lifetime based on Energy efficient clustering algorithm. The Low Energy Adaptive Clustering Hierarchy (LEACH) is a routing protocol for clusters which is used to lower the energy consumption and also to improve the lifetime of the Wireless Sensor Networks. Maximizing energy dissipation and network lifetime are important matters in the design of applications and protocols for wireless sensor networks. Proposed system is to maximize the lifetime of the Wireless Sensor Networks by choosing the farthest cluster head (CH) instead of the closest CH and forming the cluster by considering the following parameter metrics such as Node’s density, residual-energy and distance between clusters (inter-cluster distance). In this paper, comparisons between the proposed protocol and comparative protocols in different scenarios have been done and the simulation results showed that the proposed protocol performs well over other comparative protocols in various scenarios.

Improvement of Central Composite Design in Modeling and Optimization of Simulation Experiments
Simulation modeling can be used to solve real world problems. It provides an understanding of a complex system. To develop a simplified model of process simulation, a suitable experimental design is required to be able to capture surface characteristics. This paper presents the experimental design and algorithm used to model the process simulation for optimization problem. The CO2 liquefaction based on external refrigeration with two refrigeration circuits was used as a simulation case study. Latin Hypercube Sampling (LHS) was purposed to combine with existing Central Composite Design (CCD) samples to improve the performance of CCD in generating the second order model of the system. The second order model was then used as the objective function of the optimization problem. The results showed that adding LHS samples to CCD samples can help capture surface curvature characteristics. Suitable number of LHS sample points should be considered in order to get an accurate nonlinear model with minimum number of simulation experiments.
A National Survey of Clinical Psychology Graduate Student Attitudes toward Psychotherapy Treatment Manuals: A Replication Study

Attitudes toward treatment manuals serve as a meaningful predictor of general attitudes toward evidence-based practice. Despite demonstrating high effectiveness in treating many mental disorders, manualized treatments have been underutilized by practitioners. Thus, one can assess the state of the field regarding the adoption of evidence-based practices by surveying practitioner attitudes towards manualized treatments. This study is an adapted replication that assesses psychology graduate student attitudes towards manualized treatments, as a general marker for attitudes towards evidence-based practice. Training programs provide future clinicians with the foundation for critical skills in clinical practice. Research demonstrates that post-graduate continuing education has little to no effect on clinical practice; thus, graduate programs serve as the primary, and often final platform for all future practice. However, there are little empirical data identifying the attitudes and training of graduate students in utilizing manualized treatments. The empirical analysis of this study indicates an increase in positive attitudes among graduate student attitudes towards manualized treatments (within the United States), when compared to past surveys of professional psychologists. Findings from this study may inform graduate programs of barriers for students in developing positive attitudes toward manualized treatments and evidence-based practice. This study also serves as a preliminary predictor of the state-of-the field, in regards to professional psychologists attitudes towards evidence-based practice, if attitudes remain stable. This study indicates that the attitudes toward utilizing evidence-based practices, such as treatment manuals, has become more positive since year 2000.

Identifying Game Variables from Students’ Surveys for Prototyping Games for Learning

Games-based learning (GBL) has become increasingly important in teaching and learning. This paper explains the first two phases (analysis and design) of a GBL development project, ending up with a prototype design based on students’ and teachers’ perceptions. The two phases are part of a full cycle GBL project aiming to help secondary school students in Thailand in their study of Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE). In the course of the study, we invited 1,152 students to complete questionnaires and interviewed 12 secondary school teachers in focus groups. This paper found that GBL can serve students in their learning about CSE, enabling them to gain understanding of their sexuality, develop skills, including critical thinking skills and interact with others (peers, teachers, etc.) in a safe environment. The objectives of this paper are to outline the development of GBL variables from the research question(s) into the developers’ flow chart, to be responsive to the GBL beneficiaries’ preferences and expectations, and to help in answering the research questions. This paper details the steps applied to generate GBL variables that can feed into a game flow chart to develop a GBL prototype. In our approach, we detailed two models: (1) Game Elements Model (GEM) and (2) Game Object Model (GOM). There are three outcomes of this research – first, to achieve the objectives and benefits of GBL in learning, game design has to start with the research question(s) and the challenges to be resolved as research outcomes. Second, aligning the educational aims with engaging GBL end users (students) within the data collection phase to inform the game prototype with the game variables is essential to address the answer/solution to the research question(s). Third, for efficient GBL to bridge the gap between pedagogy and technology and in order to answer the research questions via technology (i.e. GBL) and to minimise the isolation between the pedagogists “P” and technologist “T”, several meetings and discussions need to take place within the team.

Developing a Customizable Serious Game and Its Applicability in the Classroom
Recent developments in the field of education have led to a renewed interest in teaching methodologies and practices. Gamification is fast becoming a key instrument in the education of new generations and besides other methods, serious games have become the center of attention. Ready-built serious games are available for most higher education institutions to buy and implement. However, monetary restraints and the unalterable nature of the games might deter most higher education institutions from the application of these serious games. Therefore, there is a continuously growing need for a customizable serious game that has been developed based on a concrete need analysis and experts’ opinion. There has been little evidence so far of serious games that have been created based on relevant and current need analysis from higher education institution teachers, professional practitioners and students themselves. Therefore, the aim of this current paper is to analyze the needs of higher education institution educators with special emphasis on their needs, the applicability of serious games in their classrooms, and exploring options for the development of a customizable serious game framework. The paper undertakes to analyze workshop discussions on implementing serious games in education and propose a customizable serious game framework applicable in the education of the new generation. Research results show that the most important feature of a serious game is its customizability. The fact that practitioners are able to manage different scenarios and upload their own content to a game seems to be a key to the increasingly widespread application of serious games in the classroom.
The Importance of Changing the Traditional Mode of Higher Education in Bangladesh: Creating Huge Job Opportunities for Home and Abroad

Bangladesh has set its goal to reach upper middle-income country status by 2024. To attain this status, the country must satisfy the World Bank requirement of achieving minimum Gross National Income (GNI). Number of youth job seekers in the country is increasing. University graduates are looking for decent jobs. So, the vital issue of this country is to understand how the GNI and jobs can be increased. The objective of this paper is to address these issues and find ways to create more job opportunities for youths at home and abroad which will increase the country’s GNI. The paper studies proportion of different goods Bangladesh exported, and also the percentage of employment in different sectors. The data used here for the purpose of analysis have been collected from the available literature. These data are then plotted and analyzed. Through these studies, it is concluded that growth in sectors like agricultural, ready-made garments (RMG), jute industries and fisheries are declining and the business community is not interested in setting up capital-intensive industries. Under this situation, the country needs to explore other business opportunities for a higher economic growth rate. Knowledge can substitute the physical resource. Since the country consists of the large youth population, higher education will play a key role in economic development. It now needs graduates with higher-order skills with innovative quality. Such dispositions demand changes in a university’s curriculum, teaching and assessment method which will function young generations as active learners and creators. By bringing these changes in higher education, a knowledge-based society can be created. The application of such knowledge and creativity will then become the commodity of Bangladesh which will help to reach its goal as an upper middle-income country.

The Democratization of 3D Capturing: An Application Investigating Google Tango Potentials

The appearance of 3D scanners and then, more recently, of image-based systems that generate point clouds directly from common digital images have deeply affected the survey process in terms of both capturing and 2D/3D modelling. In this context, low cost and mobile systems are increasingly playing a key role and actually paving the way to the democratization of what in the past was the realm of few specialized technicians and expensive equipment. The application of Google Tango on the ancient church of Santa Maria delle Vigne in Pratica di Mare – Rome presented in this paper is one of these examples.

Products in Early Development Phases: Ecological Classification and Evaluation Using an Interval Arithmetic Based Calculation Approach

As a pillar of sustainable development, ecology has become an important milestone in research community, especially due to global challenges like climate change. The ecological performance of products can be scientifically conducted with life cycle assessments. In the construction sector, significant amounts of CO2 emissions are assigned to the energy used for building heating purposes. Therefore, sustainable construction materials for insulating purposes are substantial, whereby aerogels have been explored intensively in the last years due to their low thermal conductivity. Therefore, the WALL-ACE project aims to develop an aerogel-based thermal insulating plaster that would achieve minor thermal conductivities. But as in the early stage of development phases, a lot of information is still missing or not yet accessible, the ecological performance of innovative products bases increasingly on uncertain data that can lead to significant deviations in the results. To be able to predict realistically how meaningful the results are and how viable the developed products may be with regard to their corresponding respective market, these deviations however have to be considered. Therefore, a classification method is presented in this study, which may allow comparing the ecological performance of modern products with already established and competitive materials. In order to achieve this, an alternative calculation method was used that allows computing with lower and upper bounds to consider all possible values without precise data. The life cycle analysis of the considered products was conducted with an interval arithmetic based calculation method. The results lead to the conclusion that the interval solutions describing the possible environmental impacts are so wide that the result usability is limited. Nevertheless, a further optimization in reducing environmental impacts of aerogels seems to be needed to become more competitive in the future.

Individual Differences and Paired Learning in Virtual Environments

In this research study, postsecondary students completed an information learning task in an avatar-based 3D virtual learning environment. Three factors were of interest in relation to learning; 1) the influence of collaborative vs. independent conditions, 2) the influence of the spatial arrangement of the virtual environment (linear, random and clustered), and 3) the relationship of individual differences such as spatial skill, general computer experience and video game experience to learning. Students completed pretest measures of prior computer experience and prior spatial skill. Following the premeasure administration, students were given instruction to move through the virtual environment and study all the material within 10 information stations. In the collaborative condition, students proceeded in randomly assigned pairs, while in the independent condition they proceeded alone. After this learning phase, all students individually completed a multiple choice test to determine information retention. The overall results indicated that students in pairs did not perform any better or worse than independent students. As far as individual differences, only spatial ability predicted the performance of students. General computer experience and video game experience did not. Taking a closer look at the pairs and spatial ability, comparisons were made on pairs high/matched spatial ability, pairs low/matched spatial ability and pairs that were mismatched on spatial ability. The results showed that both high/matched pairs and mismatched pairs outperformed low/matched pairs. That is, if a pair had even one individual with strong spatial ability they would perform better than pairs with only low spatial ability individuals. This suggests that, in virtual environments, the specific individuals that are paired together are important for performance outcomes. The paper also includes a discussion of trends within the data that have implications for virtual environment education.

Stochastic Modeling for Parameters of Modified Car-Following Model in Area-Based Traffic Flow

The driving behavior in area-based (i.e., non-lane based) traffic is induced by the presence of other individuals in the choice space from the driver’s visual perception area. The driving behavior of a subject vehicle is constrained by the potential leaders and leaders are frequently changed over time. This paper is to determine a stochastic model for a parameter of modified intelligent driver model (MIDM) in area-based traffic (as in developing countries). The parametric and non-parametric distributions are presented to fit the parameters of MIDM. The goodness of fit for each parameter is measured in two different ways such as graphically and statistically. The quantile-quantile (Q-Q) plot is used for a graphical representation of a theoretical distribution to model a parameter and the Kolmogorov-Smirnov (K-S) test is used for a statistical measure of fitness for a parameter with a theoretical distribution. The distributions are performed on a set of estimated parameters of MIDM. The parameters are estimated on the real vehicle trajectory data from India. The fitness of each parameter with a stochastic model is well represented. The results support the applicability of the proposed modeling for parameters of MIDM in area-based traffic flow simulation.

Analysis of Risk-Based Disaster Planning in Local Communities

Planning for future disasters sets the stage for a variety of activities that may trigger multiple recurring operations and expose the community to opportunities to minimize risks. Local communities are increasingly embracing the necessity for planning based on local risks, but are also significantly challenged to effectively plan and response to disasters. This research examines basic risk-based disaster planning model and compares it with advanced risk-based planning that introduces the identification and alignment of varieties of local capabilities within and out of the local community that can be pivotal to facilitate the management of local risks and cascading effects prior to a disaster. A critical review shows that the identification and alignment of capabilities can potentially enhance risk-based disaster planning. A tailored holistic approach to risk based disaster planning is pivotal to enhance collective action and a reduction in disaster collective cost.

Effect of Filler Metal Diameter on Weld Joint of Carbon Steel SA516 Gr 70 and Filler Metal SFA 5.17 in Submerged Arc Welding SAW

This work describes an investigation on the effect of filler metals diameter to weld joint, and low alloy carbon steel A516 Grade 70 is the base metal. Commercially SA516 Grade70 is frequently used for the manufacturing of pressure vessels, boilers and storage tank, etc. In fabrication industry, the hardness of the weld joint is between the important parameters to check, after heat treatment of the weld. Submerged arc welding (SAW) is used with two filler metal diameters, and this solid wire electrode is used for SAW non-alloy and for fine grain steels (SFA 5.17). The different diameters were selected (Ø = 2.4 mm and Ø = 4 mm) to weld two specimens. Both specimens were subjected to the same preparation conditions, heat treatment, macrograph, metallurgy micrograph, and micro-hardness test. Samples show almost similar structure with highest hardness. It is important to indicate that the thickness used in the base metal is 22 mm, and all specifications, preparation and controls were according to the ASME section IX. It was observed that two different filler metal diameters performed on two similar specimens demonstrated that the mechanical property (hardness) increases with decreasing diameter. It means that even the heat treatment has the same effect with the same conditions, the filler metal diameter insures a depth weld penetration and better homogenization. Hence, the SAW welding technique mentioned in the present study is favorable to implicate for the industry using the small filler metal diameter.

Reduced Rule Based Fuzzy Logic Controlled Isolated Bidirectional Converter Operating in Extended Phase Shift Control for Bidirectional Energy Transfer

Bidirectional energy transfer capability with high efficiency and reduced cost is fast gaining prominence in the central part of a lot of power conversion systems in Direct Current (DC) microgrid. Preferably, under the economics constraints, these systems utilise a single high efficiency power electronics conversion system and a dual active bridge converter. In this paper, modeling and performance of Dual Active Bridge (DAB) converter with Extended Phase Shift (EPS) is evaluated with two batteries on both sides of DC bus and bidirectional energy transfer is facilitated and this is further compared with the Single Phase Shift (SPS) mode of operation. Optimum operating zone is identified through exhaustive simulations using MATLAB/Simulink and SimPowerSystem software. Reduced rules based fuzzy logic controller is implemented for closed loop control of DAB converter. The control logic enables the bidirectional energy transfer within the batteries even at lower duty ratios. Charging and discharging of batteries is supervised by the fuzzy logic controller. State of charge, current and voltage for both the batteries are plotted in the battery characteristics. Power characteristics of batteries are also obtained using MATLAB simulations.

Standalone Docking Station with Combined Charging Methods for Agricultural Mobile Robots

One of the biggest concerns in the field of agriculture is around the energy efficiency of robots that will perform agriculture’s activity and their charging methods. In this paper, two different charging methods for agricultural standalone docking stations are shown that will take into account various variants as field size and its irregularities, work’s nature to which the robot will perform, deadlines that have to be respected, among others. Its features also are dependent on the orchard, season, battery type and its technical specifications and cost. First charging base method focuses on wireless charging, presenting more benefits for small field. The second charging base method relies on battery replacement being more suitable for large fields, thus avoiding the robot stop for recharge. Existing many methods to charge a battery, the CC CV was considered the most appropriate for either simplicity or effectiveness. The choice of the battery for agricultural purposes is if most importance. While the most common battery used is Li-ion battery, this study also discusses the use of graphene-based new type of batteries with 45% over capacity to the Li-ion one. A Battery Management Systems (BMS) is applied for battery balancing. All these approaches combined showed to be a promising method to improve a lot of technical agricultural work, not just in terms of plantation and harvesting but also about every technique to prevent harmful events like plagues and weeds or even to reduce crop time and cost.

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.

Waste-Based Surface Modification to Enhance Corrosion Resistance of Aluminium Bronze Alloy

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.

The Design of Broadband 8x2 Phased Array 5G Antenna MIMO 28 GHz for Base Station

This paper proposed a design of 16 elements, 8x2 linear fed patch antenna array with 16 ports, for 28 GHz, mm-wave band 5G for base station. The phased array covers along the azimuth plane to provide the coverage to the users in omnidirectional. The proposed antenna is designed RT Duroid 5880 substrate with the overall size of 85x35.6x0.787 mm3. The array is operating from 27.43 GHz to 28.34 GHz with a 910 MHz impedance bandwidth. The gain of the array is 18.3 dB, while the suppression of the side lobes is -1.0 dB. The main lobe direction of the array is 15 deg. The array shows a high array gain throughout the impedance bandwidth with overall of VSWR is below 1.12. The design will be proposed in single element and 16 elements antenna.

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