Open Science Research Excellence

Open Science Index

Commenced in January 2007 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Paper Count: 62

Public Financial Management in Ghana: A Move beyond Reforms to Consolidation and Sustainability

Ghana’s Public Financial Management reforms have been going on for some two decades now (1997/98 to 2017/18). Given this long period of reforms, Ghana in 2019 is putting together both a Public Financial Management (PFM) strategy and a Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) strategy for the next 5-years (2020-2024). The primary aim of these dual strategies is assisting the country in moving beyond reforms to consolidation and sustainability. In this paper we, first, examined the evolution of Ghana’s PFM reforms. We, secondly, reviewed the legal and institutional reforms undertaken to strengthen the country’s key PFM institutions. Thirdly, we summarized the strengths and weaknesses identified by the 2018 Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) assessment of Ghana’s PFM system relating to its macro-fiscal framework, budget preparation and approval, budget execution, accounting and fiscal reporting as well as external scrutiny and audit. We, finally, considered what the country should be doing to achieve its intended goal of PFM consolidation and sustainability. Using a qualitative method of review and analysis of existing documents, we, through this paper, brought to the fore the lessons that could be learnt by other developing countries from Ghana’s PFM reforms experiences. These lessons included the need to: (a) undergird any PFM reform with a comprehensive PFM reform strategy; (b) undertake a legal and institutional reforms of the key PFM institutions; (c) assess the strengths and weaknesses of those reforms using PFM performance evaluation tools such as PEFA framework; and (d) move beyond reforms to consolidation and sustainability.

Effect of Prefabricated Vertical Drain System Properties on Embankment Behavior

This study presents the effect of prefabricated vertical drain system properties on embankment behavior by calculating the settlement, lateral displacement and induced excess pore pressure by numerical method. In order to investigate this behavior, three different prefabricated vertical drains have been simulated under an embankment. The finite element software PLAXIS has been carried out for analyzing the displacements and excess pore pressures. The results showed that the consolidation time and induced excess pore pressure are highly depended to the discharge capacity of the prefabricated vertical drain. The increase in the discharge capacity leads to decrease the consolidation process and the induced excess pore pressure. Moreover, it was seen that the vertical drains spacing does not have any significant effect on the consolidation time. However, the increase in the drains spacing would decrease the system stiffness.

Study of Hydrophobicity Effect on 220kV Double Tension Insulator String Surface Using Finite Element Method

Insulators are one of the most significant equipment in power system. The insulators’ operation may affect the power flow, line loss and reliability. The electrical parameters that influence the performance of insulator are surface leakage current, corona and dry band arcing. Electric field stresses on the insulator surface will degrade the insulating properties and lead to puncture. Electric filed stresses can be analyzed by numerical methods and experimental evaluation. As per economic aspects, evaluation by numerical methods are best. In outdoor insulation, a hydrophobic surface can facilitate to prevent water film formation on the insulation surface, which is decisive for diminishing leakage currents and partial discharge (PD) under heavy polluted environments and harsh weather conditions. Polymer materials like silicone rubber have an outstanding hydrophobic property among general insulation materials. In this paper, electrical field intensity of 220 kV porcelain and polymer double tension insulator strings at critical regions are analyzed and compared by using Finite Element Method. Hydrophobic conditions of polymer insulator with equal and unequal water molecule conditions are verified by using finite element method.

Effect of Plastic Fines on Liquefaction Resistance of Sandy Soil Using Resonant Column Test

The aim of this study is to assess the influence of plastic fines content on sand-clay mixtures on maximum shear modulus and liquefaction resistance using a series of resonant column tests. A high plasticity clay called bentonite was added to 161 Firoozkooh sand at the percentages of 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 and 35 by dry weight. The resonant column tests were performed on the remolded specimens at constant confining pressure of 100 KPa and then the values of Gmax and liquefaction resistance were investigated. The maximum shear modulus and cyclic resistance ratio (CRR) are examined in terms of fines content. Based on the results, the maximum shear modulus and liquefaction resistance tend to decrease within the increment of fine contents.

Simplified Empirical Method for Predicting Liquefaction Potential and Its Application to Kaohsiung Areas in Taiwan

Since Taiwan is located between the Eurasian and Filipino plates and earthquakes often thus occur. The coastal plains in western Taiwan are alluvial plains, and the soils of the alluvium are mostly from the Lao-Shan belt in the central mountainous area of ​​southern Taiwan. It could come mostly from sand/shale and slate. The previous investigation found that the soils in the Kaohsiung area of ​​southern Taiwan are mainly composed of slate, shale, quartz, low-plastic clay, silt, silty sand and so on. It can also be found from the past earthquakes that the soil in Kaohsiung is highly susceptible to soil subsidence due to liquefaction. Insufficient bearing capacity of building will cause soil liquefaction disasters. In this study, the boring drilling data from nine districts among the Love River Basin in the city center, and some factors affecting liquefaction include the content of fines (FC), standard penetration test N value (SPT N), the thickness of clay layer near ground-surface, and the thickness of possible liquefied soil were further discussed for liquefaction potential as well as groundwater level. The results show that the liquefaction potential is higher in the areas near the riverside, the backfill area, and the west area of ​​the study area. This paper also uses the old paleo-geological map, soil particle distribution curve, compared with LPI map calculated from the analysis results. After all the parameters finally were studied for five sub zones in the Love River Basin by maximum-minimum method, it is found that both of standard penetration test N value and the thickness of the clay layer will be most influential.

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.
Italian Central Guarantee Fund: An Analysis of the Guaranteed SMEs’ Default Risk

Italian Central Guarantee Fund (CGF) has the purpose to facilitate Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs)’ access to credit. The aim of the paper is to study the evaluation method adopted by the CGF with regard to SMEs requiring its intervention. This is even more important in the light of the recent CGF reform. We analyse an initial sample of more than 500.000 guarantees from 2012 to 2018. We distinguish between a counter-guarantee delivered to a mutual guarantee institution and a guarantee directly delivered to a bank. We investigate the impact of variables related to the operations and the SMEs on Altman Z’’-score and the score consistent with CGF methodology. We verify that the type of intervention affects the scores and the initial condition changes with the new assessment criterions. 

UEFA Super Cup: Economic Effects on Georgian Economy

Tourism is the most viable and sustainable economic development option for Georgia and one of the main sources of foreign exchange earnings. Events are considered as one of the most effective ways to attract foreign visitors to the country, and, recently, the government of Georgia has begun investing in this sector very actively. This article stresses the necessity of research based economic policy in the tourism sector. In this regard, it is of paramount importance to measure the economic effects of the events which are subsidized by taxpayers’ money. The economic effect of events can be analyzed from two perspectives; financial perspective of the government and perspective of economic effects of the tourism administration. The article emphasizes more realistic and all-inclusive focus of the economic effect analysis of the tourism administration as it concentrates on the income of residents and local businesses, part of which generate tax revenues for the government. The public would like to know what the economic returns to investment are. In this article, the methodology used to describe the economic effects of UEFA Super Cup held in Tbilisi, will help to answer this question. Methodology is based on three main principles and covers three stages. Using the suggested methodology article estimates the direct economic effect of UEFA Super cup on Georgian economy. Although the attempt to make an economic effect analysis of the event was successful in Georgia, some obstacles and insufficiencies were identified during the survey. The article offers several recommendations that will help to refine methodology and improve the accuracy of the data. Furthermore, it is very important to receive the correct standard of measurement of events in Georgia. In this caseü non-ethical acts of measurement which are widely utilized by different research companies will not trigger others to show overestimated effects. It is worth mentioning that to author’s best knowledge, this is the first attempt to measure the economic effect of an event held in Georgia.

Seismic Behavior of Suction Caisson Foundations

Increasing population growth requires more sustainable development of energy. This non-contaminated energy has an inexhaustible energy source. One of the vital parameters in such structures is the choice of foundation type. Suction caissons are now used extensively worldwide for offshore wind turbine. Considering the presence of a number of offshore wind farms in earthquake areas, the study of the seismic behavior of suction caisson is necessary for better design. In this paper, the results obtained from three suction caisson models with different diameter (D) and skirt length (L) in saturated sand were compared with centrifuge test results. All models are analyzed using 3D finite element (FE) method taking account of elasto-plastic Mohr–Coulomb constitutive model for soil which is available in the ABAQUS library. The earthquake load applied to the base of models with a maximum acceleration of 0.65g. The results showed that numerical method is in relative good agreement with centrifuge results. The settlement and rotation of foundation decrease by increasing the skirt length and foundation diameter. The sand soil outside the caisson is prone to liquefaction due to its low confinement.

Metamodel for Artefacts in Service Engineering Analysis and Design

As a process of developing a service system, the term ‘service engineering’ evolves in scope and definition. To achieve an integrated understanding of the process, a general framework and an ontology are required. This paper extends a previously built service engineering framework by exploring metamodels for the framework artefacts based on a foundational ontology and a metamodel landscape. The first part of this paper presents a correlation map between the proposed framework with the ontology as a form of evaluation for the conceptual coverage of the framework. The mapping also serves to characterize the artefacts to be produced for each activity in the framework. The second part describes potential metamodels to be used, from the metamodel landscape, as alternative formats of the framework artefacts. The results suggest that the framework sufficiently covers the ontological concepts, both from general service context and software service context. The metamodel exploration enriches the suggested artefact format from the original eighteen formats to thirty metamodel alternatives.

Effect of Plastic Fines on Undrained Behavior of Clayey Sands

In recent years, the occurrence of several liquefactions in sandy soils containing various values of clay content has shown that in addition to silty sands, clayey sands are also susceptible to liquefaction. Therefore, it is necessary to investigate the properties of these soil compositions and their behavioral characteristics. This paper presents the effect of clay fines on the undrained shear strength of sands at various confining pressures. For this purpose, a series of unconsolidated undrained triaxial shear tests were carried out on clean sand and sand mixed with 5, 10, 15, 20, and 30 percent of clay fines. It was found that the presence of clay particle in sandy specimens change the dilative behavior to contraction. The result also showed that increasing the clay fines up to 10 percent causes to increase the potential for liquefaction, and decreases it at higher values fine content. These results reveal the important role of clay particles in changing the undrained strength of the sandy soil.

Shear Modulus Degradation of a Liquefiable Sand Deposit by Shaking Table Tests

Strength and deformability characteristics of a liquefiable sand deposit including the development of earthquake-induced shear stress and shear strain as well as soil softening via the progressive degradation of shear modulus were studied via shaking table experiments. To do so, a model of a liquefiable sand deposit was constructed and densely instrumented where accelerations, pressures, and displacements at different locations were continuously monitored. Furthermore, the confinement effects on the strength and deformation characteristics of the liquefiable sand deposit due to an external surcharge by placing a heavy concrete slab (i.e. the model of an actual structural rigid pavement) on the ground surface were examined. The results indicate that as the number of seismic-loading cycles increases, the sand deposit softens progressively as large shear strains take place in different sand elements. Liquefaction state is reached after the combined effects of the progressive degradation of the initial shear modulus associated with the continuous decrease in the mean principal stress, and the buildup of the excess of pore pressure takes place in the sand deposit. Finally, the confinement effects given by a concrete slab placed on the surface of the sand deposit resulted in a favorable increasing in the initial shear modulus, an increase in the mean principal stress and a decrease in the softening rate (i.e. the decreasing rate in shear modulus) of the sand, thus making the onset of liquefaction to take place at a later stage. This is, only after the sand deposit having a concrete slab experienced a higher number of seismic loading cycles liquefaction took place, in contrast to an ordinary sand deposit having no concrete slab.

Collapse Load Analysis of Reinforced Concrete Pile Group in Liquefying Soils under Lateral Loading
The ultimate load analysis of RC pile groups has assumed a lot of significance under liquefying soil conditions, especially due to post-earthquake studies of 1964 Niigata, 1995 Kobe and 2001 Bhuj earthquakes. The present study reports the results of numerical simulations on pile groups subjected to monotonically increasing lateral loads under design amounts of pile axial loading. The soil liquefaction has been considered through the non-linear p-y relationship of the soil springs, which can vary along the depth/length of the pile. This variation again is related to the liquefaction potential of the site and the magnitude of the seismic shaking. As the piles in the group can reach their extreme deflections and rotations during increased amounts of lateral loading, a precise modeling of the inelastic behavior of the pile cross-section is done, considering the complete stress-strain behavior of concrete, with and without confinement, and reinforcing steel, including the strain-hardening portion. The possibility of the inelastic buckling of the individual piles is considered in the overall collapse modes. The model is analysed using Riks analysis in finite element software to check the post buckling behavior and plastic collapse of piles. The results confirm the kinds of failure modes predicted by centrifuge test results reported by researchers on pile group, although the pile material used is significantly different from that of the simulation model. The extension of the present work promises an important contribution to the design codes for pile groups in liquefying soils.
3-D Numerical Model for Wave-Induced Seabed Response around an Offshore Pipeline
Seabed instability around an offshore pipeline is one of key factors that need to be considered in the design of offshore infrastructures. Unlike previous investigations, a three-dimensional numerical model for the wave-induced soil response around an offshore pipeline is proposed in this paper. The numerical model was first validated with 2-D experimental data available in the literature. Then, a parametric study will be carried out to examine the effects of wave, seabed characteristics and confirmation of pipeline. Numerical examples demonstrate significant influence of wave obliquity on the wave-induced pore pressures and the resultant seabed liquefaction around the pipeline, which cannot be observed in 2-D numerical simulation.
Effect of Fines on Liquefaction Susceptibility of Sandy Soil

Investigation of liquefaction susceptibility of materials that have been used in embankments, slopes, dams, and foundations is very essential. Many catastrophic geo-hazards such as flow slides, declination of foundations, and damage to earth structure are associated with static liquefaction that may occur during abrupt shearing of these materials. Many artificial backfill materials are mixtures of sand with fines and other composition. In order to provide some clarifications and evaluations on the role of fines in static liquefaction behaviour of sand sandy soils, the effect of fines on the liquefaction susceptibility of sand was experimentally examined in the present work over a range of fines content, relative density, and initial confining pressure. The results of an experimental study on various sand-fines mixtures are presented. Undrained static triaxial compression tests were conducted on saturated Perth sand containing 5% bentonite at three different relative densities (10, 50, and 90%), and saturated Perth sand containing both 5% bentonite and slag (2%, 4%, and 6%) at single relative density 10%. Undrained static triaxial tests were performed at three different initial confining pressures (100, 150, and 200 kPa). The brittleness index was used to quantify the liquefaction potential of sand-bentonite-slag mixtures. The results demonstrated that the liquefaction susceptibility of sand-5% bentonite mixture was more than liquefaction susceptibility of clean sandy soil. However, liquefaction potential decreased when both of two fines (bentonite and slag) were used. Liquefaction susceptibility of all mixtures decreased with increasing relative density and initial confining pressure.  

Genetic Algorithm Optimization of a Small Scale Natural Gas Liquefaction Process

An optimization scheme based on COM server is suggested for communication between Genetic Algorithm (GA) toolbox of MATLAB and Aspen HYSYS. The structure and details of the proposed framework are discussed. The power of the developed scheme is illustrated by its application to the optimization of a recently developed natural gas liquefaction process in which Aspen HYSYS was used for minimization of the power consumption by optimizing the values of five operating variables. In this work, optimization by coupling between the GA in MATLAB and Aspen HYSYS model of the same process using the same five decision variables enabled improvements in power consumption by 3.3%, when 77% of the natural gas feed is liquefied. Also on inclusion of the flow rates of both nitrogen and carbon dioxide refrigerants as two additional decision variables, the power consumption decreased by 6.5% for a 78% liquefaction of the natural gas feed.

Optimization of Quercus cerris Bark Liquefaction
The liquefaction process of cork based tree barks has led to an increase of interest due to its potential innovation in the lumber and wood industries. In this particular study the bark of Quercus cerris (Turkish oak) is used due to its appreciable amount of cork tissue, although of inferior quality when compared to the cork provided by other Quercus trees. This study aims to optimize alkaline catalysis liquefaction conditions, regarding several parameters. To better comprehend the possible chemical characteristics of the bark of Quercus cerris, a complete chemical analysis was performed. The liquefaction process was performed in a double-jacket reactor heated with oil, using glycerol and a mixture of glycerol/ethylene glycol as solvents, potassium hydroxide as a catalyst, and varying the temperature, liquefaction time and granulometry. Due to low liquefaction efficiency resulting from the first experimental procedures a study was made regarding different washing techniques after the filtration process using methanol and methanol/water. The chemical analysis stated that the bark of Quercus cerris is mostly composed by suberin (ca. 30%) and lignin (ca. 24%) as well as insolvent hemicelluloses in hot water (ca. 23%). On the liquefaction stage, the results that led to higher yields were: using a mixture of methanol/ethylene glycol as reagents and a time and temperature of 120 minutes and 200 ºC, respectively. It is concluded that using a granulometry of <80 mesh leads to better results, even if this parameter barely influences the liquefaction efficiency. Regarding the filtration stage, washing the residue with methanol and then distilled water leads to a considerable increase on final liquefaction percentages, which proves that this procedure is effective at liquefying suberin content and lignocellulose fraction.
Using Vulnerability to Reduce False Positive Rate in Intrusion Detection Systems
Intrusion Detection Systems are an essential tool for network security infrastructure. However, IDSs have a serious problem which is the generating of massive number of alerts, most of them are false positive ones which can hide true alerts and make the analyst confused to analyze the right alerts for report the true attacks. The purpose behind this paper is to present a formalism model to perform correlation engine by the reduction of false positive alerts basing on vulnerability contextual information. For that, we propose a formalism model based on non-monotonic JClassicδє description logic augmented with a default (δ) and an exception (є) operator that allows a dynamic inference according to contextual information.
Torrefaction of Biomass Pellets: Modeling of the Process in a Fixed Bed Reactor

Torrefaction of biomass pellets is considered as a useful pretreatment technology in order to convert them into a high quality solid biofuel that is more suitable for pyrolysis, gasification, combustion, and co-firing applications. In the course of torrefaction, the temperature varies across the pellet, and therefore chemical reactions proceed unevenly within the pellet. However, the uniformity of the thermal distribution along the pellet is generally assumed. The torrefaction process of a single cylindrical pellet is modeled here, accounting for heat transfer coupled with chemical kinetics. The drying sub-model was also introduced. The nonstationary process of wood pellet decomposition is described by the system of non-linear partial differential equations over the temperature and mass. The model captures well the main features of the experimental data.

Effect of Low Plastic Clay Quantity on Behavioral Characteristics of Loose Sand
After the Nigatta earthquake in Japan, in 1960, the liquefaction and its related hazards, moved to the thick of matter. Most of the research have been carried out on clean sands and silty sands so far, in order to study the effect of fine particles, confinement pressures, density and so on. However, because of this delusion that adhesiveness of clay prevents the liquefaction in sand, studies on clayey sands have not been taken seriously. However, several liquefactions happened in clayey sands in recent years, and lead to the necessity of more studies in this field. The studies which were carried out so far focused on high plastic clays. In this paper, the effect of low plasticity clays on the behavioral characteristics of sands is discussed. Thus, some triaxial tests were carried out on clean sands and clayey sands with different percentages of added clay. Specimens were compacted in various densities to study the effect of quantity of clay on various densities, too. Based on the findings, the amount of clay affects the behavior of sand greatly and leads to substantial changes in peak bearing capacity and steady state values.
A Numerical Solution Based On Operational Matrix of Differentiation of Shifted Second Kind Chebyshev Wavelets for a Stefan Problem
In this study, one dimensional phase change problem (a Stefan problem) is considered and a numerical solution of this problem is discussed. First, we use similarity transformation to convert the governing equations into ordinary differential equations with its boundary conditions. The solutions of ordinary differential equation with the associated boundary conditions and interface condition (Stefan condition) are obtained by using a numerical approach based on operational matrix of differentiation of shifted second kind Chebyshev wavelets. The obtained results are compared with existing exact solution which is sufficiently accurate.
Second-Order Slip Flow and Heat Transfer in a Long Isothermal Microchannel
This paper presents a study on the effect of second-order slip and jump on forced convection through a long isothermally heated or cooled planar microchannel. The fully developed solutions of thermal flow fields are analytically obtained on the basis of the second-order Maxwell-Burnett slip and Smoluchowski jump boundary conditions. Results reveal that the second-order term in the Karniadakis slip boundary condition is found to contribute a negative velocity slip and then to lead to a higher pressure drop as well as a higher fluid temperature for the heated-wall case or to a lower fluid temperature for the cooled-wall case. These findings are contrary to predictions made by the Deissler model. In addition, the role of second-order slip becomes more significant when the Knudsen number increases.
A Two-Step, Temperature-Staged Direct Coal Liquefaction Process

The world crude oil demand is projected to rise to 108.5 million bbl/d by the year 2035. With reserves estimated at 869 billion tonnes worldwide, coal remains an abundant resource. The aim of this work was to produce a high value hydrocarbon liquid product using a Direct Coal Liquefaction (DCL) process at, relatively mild operating conditions. Via hydrogenation, the temperature-staged approach was investigated in a dual reactor lab-scale pilot plant facility. The objectives included maximising thermal dissolution of the coal in the presence of tetralin as the hydrogen donor solvent in the first stage with 2:1 and 3:1 solvent: coal ratios. Subsequently, in the second stage, hydrogen saturation, in particular, hydrodesulphurization (HDS) performance was assessed. Two commercial hydrotreating catalysts were investigated viz. NickelMolybdenum (Ni-Mo) and Cobalt-Molybdenum (Co-Mo). GC-MS results identified 77 compounds and various functional groups present in the first and second stage liquid product. In the first stage 3:1 ratios and liquid product yields catalysed by magnetite were favoured. The second stage product distribution showed an increase in the BTX (Benzene, Toluene, Xylene) quality of the liquid product, branched chain alkanes and a reduction in the sulphur concentration. As an HDS performer and selectivity to the production of long and branched chain alkanes, Ni-Mo had an improved performance over Co-Mo. Co-Mo is selective to a higher concentration of cyclohexane. For 16 days on stream each, Ni-Mo had a higher activity than Co-Mo. The potential to cover the demand for low–sulphur, crude diesel and solvents from the production of high value hydrocarbon liquid in the said process, is thus demonstrated. 

Hydrothermal Treatment for Production of Aqueous Co-Product and Efficient Oil Extraction from Microalgae

Hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) is a technique for obtaining clean biofuel from biomass in the presence of heat and pressure in an aqueous medium which leads to a decomposition of this biomass to the formation of various products. A role of operating conditions is essential for the bio-oil and other products’ yield and also quality of the products. The effects of these parameters were investigated in regards to the composition and yield of the products. Chlorellaceae microalgae were tested under different HTL conditions to clarify suitable conditions for extracting bio-oil together with value-added co-products. Firstly, different microalgae loading rates (5-30%) were tested and found that this parameter has not much significant to product yield. Therefore, 10% microalgae loading rate was selected as a proper economical solution for conditioned schedule at 250oC and 30 min-reaction time. Next, a range of temperature (210-290oC) was applied to verify the effects of each parameter by keeping the reaction time constant at 30 min. The results showed no linkage with the increase of the reaction temperature and some reactions occurred that lead to different product yields. Moreover, some nutrients found in the aqueous product are possible to be utilized for nutrient recovery.

Passive Seismic Energy Dissipation Mechanisms for Smart Green Structural System (SGSS)

The design philosophy of building structure has been changing time to time. The reason for this is because of an increase of human inertest, an improved building materials and technology that will impact how we live, to speed up construction period and natural effect which includes earthquake disasters and environmental effect. One technique which takes in to account the above case is using a prefabricable structural system. In which each and every structural element is designed and prefabricated and assembled on a site so that the construction speed is increased and the environmental impact is also enhanced. This system has an immense advantage such as: reduce construction cost, reusable, recyclable, speed up construction period and less environmental effect. In this study, it is tried to present some of the developed and evaluated structural elements of building structures.

Properties of Bio-Phenol Formaldehyde Composites Filled with Empty Fruit Bunch Fiber

Bio-composites derived from plant fiber and/or bioderived polymer, are likely more ecofriendly and demonstrate competitive performance with petroleum based composites. In this research, the bio phenol-formaldehyde (bio-PF) was used as a matrix and oil palm empty fruit bunch fiber (EFB) as reinforcement. The matrix was synthesized via liquefaction and condensation to enhance the combination of phenol and formaldehyde, during the process. Then, the bio-PF was mixed with different percentage of EFB (5%, 10%, 15% and 20%) and molded at 180oC. The samples that viewed under scanning electron microscopy (SEM) showed an excellent wettability and interaction between EFB and matrix. Samples of 10% EFB gave the optimum properties of impact and hardness meanwhile sample 15% of EFB gave the highest reading of flexural modulus (MOE) and flexural strength (MOR). For thermal stability analysis, it was found that the weight loss and the activation energy (Ea) of the bio-composites samples were decreased as the filler content increased.

Modeling Default Probabilities of the Chosen Czech Banks in the Time of the Financial Crisis

One of the most important tasks in the risk management is the correct determination of probability of default (PD) of particular financial subjects. In this paper a possibility of determination of financial institution’s PD according to the creditscoring models is discussed. The paper is divided into the two parts. The first part is devoted to the estimation of the three different models (based on the linear discriminant analysis, logit regression and probit regression) from the sample of almost three hundred US commercial banks. Afterwards these models are compared and verified on the control sample with the view to choose the best one. The second part of the paper is aimed at the application of the chosen model on the portfolio of three key Czech banks to estimate their present financial stability. However, it is not less important to be able to estimate the evolution of PD in the future. For this reason, the second task in this paper is to estimate the probability distribution of the future PD for the Czech banks. So, there are sampled randomly the values of particular indicators and estimated the PDs’ distribution, while it’s assumed that the indicators are distributed according to the multidimensional subordinated Lévy model (Variance Gamma model and Normal Inverse Gaussian model, particularly). Although the obtained results show that all banks are relatively healthy, there is still high chance that “a financial crisis” will occur, at least in terms of probability. This is indicated by estimation of the various quantiles in the estimated distributions. Finally, it should be noted that the applicability of the estimated model (with respect to the used data) is limited to the recessionary phase of the financial market.

Cash Flow Optimization on Synthetic CDOs

Collateralized Debt Obligations are not as widely used nowadays as they were before 2007 Subprime crisis. Nonetheless there remains an enthralling challenge to optimize cash flows associated with synthetic CDOs. A Gaussian-based model is used here in which default correlation and unconditional probabilities of default are highlighted. Then numerous simulations are performed based on this model for different scenarios in order to evaluate the associated cash flows given a specific number of defaults at different periods of time. Cash flows are not solely calculated on a single bought or sold tranche but rather on a combination of bought and sold tranches. With some assumptions, the simplex algorithm gives a way to find the maximum cash flow according to correlation of defaults and maturities. The used Gaussian model is not realistic in crisis situations. Besides present system does not handle buying or selling a portion of a tranche but only the whole tranche. However the work provides the investor with relevant elements on how to know what and when to buy and sell.

Detailed Microzonation Studies around Denizli, Turkey

This study has been presented which is a detailed work of seismic microzonation of the city center. For seismic microzonation area of 225 km2 has been selected as the study area. MASW (Multichannel analysis of surface wave) and seismic refraction methods have been used to generate one-dimensional shear wave velocity profile at 250 locations and two-dimensional profile at 60 locations. These shear wave velocities are used to estimate equivalent shear wave velocity in the study area at every 2 and 5 m intervals up to a depth of 60 m. Levels of equivalent shear wave velocity of soil are used the classified of the study area. After the results of the study, it must be considered as components of urban planning and building design of Denizli and the application and use of these results should be required and enforced by municipal authorities.

A New Suburb Renovation Concept

Finnish national research project, User- and Business-oriented Suburb Renovation Concept (KLIKK), was started in January 2012 and will end in June 2014. The perspective of energy efficiency is emphasised in the project, but also it addresses what improving the energy efficiency of suburban apartment buildings means from the standpoint of architecturally valuable buildings representing different periods. The project will also test the impacts of stricter energy efficiency requirements on renovation projects.

The primary goal of the project is to develop a user-oriented, industrial, economic renovation concept for suburban apartment building renovation, extension and construction of additional storeys. The concept will make it possible to change from performance- and cost-based operation to novel service- and user-oriented, site-specifically tailored renovation methods utilizing integrated order and delivery chains.

The present project is collaborating with Ministry of the Environment and participating cities in developing a new type of lighter town planning model for suburban renovations and in-fill construction. To support this, the project will simultaneously develop practices for environmental impact assessment tools in renovation and suburban supplementary and in-fill construction.


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