Open Science Research Excellence

Open Science Index

Commenced in January 2007 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Paper Count: 4270

Arduino Pressure Sensor Cushion for Tracking and Improving Sitting Posture

The average American worker sits for thirteen hours a day, often with poor posture and infrequent breaks, which can lead to health issues and back problems. The Smart Cushion was created to alert individuals of their poor postures, and may potentially alleviate back problems and correct poor posture. The Smart Cushion is a portable, rectangular, foam cushion, with five strategically placed pressure sensors, that utilizes an Arduino Uno circuit board and specifically designed software, allowing it to collect data from the five pressure sensors and store the data on an SD card. The data is then compiled into graphs and compared to controlled postures. Before volunteers sat on the cushion, their levels of back pain were recorded on a scale from 1-10. Data was recorded for an hour during sitting, and then a new, corrected posture was suggested. After using the suggested posture for an hour, the volunteers described their level of discomfort on a scale from 1-10. Different patterns of sitting postures were generated that were able to serve as early warnings of potential back problems. By using the Smart Cushion, the areas where different volunteers were applying the most pressure while sitting could be identified, and the sitting postures could be corrected. Further studies regarding the relationships between posture and specific regions of the body are necessary to better understand the origins of back pain; however, the Smart Cushion is sufficient for correcting sitting posture and preventing the development of additional back pain.

Comparison of Two-Phase Critical Flow Models for Estimation of Leak Flow Rate through Cracks

The estimation of leak flow rates through narrow cracks in structures is of importance for nuclear reactor safety, since the leak flow could be detected before occurrence of loss-of-coolant accidents. The two-phase critical leak flow rates are calculated using the system analysis code, and two representative non-homogeneous critical flow models, Henry-Fauske model and Ransom-Trapp model, are compared. The pressure decrease and vapor generation in the crack, and the leak flow rates are found to be larger for the Henry-Fauske model. It is shown that the leak flow rates are not affected by the structural temperature, but affected largely by the roughness of crack surface.

Corporate Social Responsibility Disclosure, Tax Aggressiveness and Sustainability Report Assurance: Evidence from Thailand
This study aims to examine the association between disclosure of social responsibility and tax aggressiveness in developing countries, namely Thailand. This is due to the increasing trend of disclosure of social responsibility in developing countries, even though this disclosure of information is still voluntary. On the other hand, developing countries have low taxation rate and investor protection infrastructures that allow the disclosure of social responsibility to be used opportunistically as a tool to fool the attainment of interests. This study also examines the role of assurance on the association between corporate social responsibility disclosure and tax aggressiveness. The assurance aims to provide confidence that the disclosure of social responsibility by the company is valid. This research builds an index to measure the disclosure of social responsibility based on the rules issued by the innovative Global Reporting. The results of the study are based on a sample of publicly traded companies in Thailand, which showed a positive association between disclosure of corporate social responsibility and tax aggressiveness, but it was further discovered that these results were mitigated by the existence of assurance against disclosure of corporate social responsibility. The results of this study indicate that the disclosure of corporate social responsibility can show that the company cares about the issue of social responsibility but does not automatically make the company as one that holds ethical values ​​in its business practices.
Mechanical Contribution of Silica Fume and Hydrated Lime Addition in Mortars Assessed by Ultrasonic Pulse Velocity Tests

The aim of the present study is to investigate the changes in the mechanical properties of mortars including additions of Condensed Silica Fume (CSF), Hydrated Lime (CH) or both at various amounts (5% to 15% of cement replacement) and high water ratios (w/b) (0.4 to 0.7). The physical and mechanical changes in the mixes were evaluated using non-destructive tests (Ultrasonic Pulse Velocity (UPV)) and destructive tests (crushing tests) on 28 day-long specimens consecutively, in order to assess CSF and CH replacement rate influence on the mechanical and physical properties of the mortars, as well as CSF-CH pre-mixing on the improvement of these properties. A significant improvement of the mechanical properties of the CSF, CSF-CH mortars, has been noted. CSF-CH mixes showed the best improvements exceeding 50% improvement, showing the sizable pozzolanic reaction contribution to the specimen strength development. UPV tests have shown increased velocities for CSF and CSH mixes, however no proportional evolution with compressive strengths could be noted. The results of the study show that CSF-CH addition could represent a suitable solution to significantly increase the mechanical properties of mortars.

Separation of Water/Organic Mixtures Using Micro- and Nanostructured Membranes of Special Type of Wettability

Both hydrophilic-oleophobic and hydrophobic-oleophilic membranes were obtained by coating of the substrate of membranes, presented by stainless steel meshes with various dimensions of their openings, with a composition that forms the special type of their surface wettability via spray-coating method. The surface morphology of resulting membranes was studied using SEM, the type of their wettability was identified by measuring the contact angle between the surface of membrane and a drop of studied liquid (water or organic liquid) and efficiency of continuous separation of water and organic liquid was studied on self-assembled setup.

Assessment of Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices of Street Vendors in Mangaung Metro South Africa

Microbial contamination of ready-to-eat foods and beverages sold by street vendors has become an important public health issue. In developing countries including South Africa, health risks related to such kinds of foods are thought to be common. Thus, this study assessed knowledge, attitude and practices of street food vendors. Street vendors in the city of Mangaung Metro were investigated in order to assess their knowledge, attitudes and handling practices. A semi-structured questionnaire and checklist were used in interviews to determine the status of the vending sites and associa. ted food-handling practices. Data was collected by means of a face-to-face interview. The majority of respondents were black females. Hundred percent (100%) of the participants did not have any food safety training. However, street vendors showed a positive attitude towards food safety. Despite the positive attitude, vendors showed some non-compliance when it comes to handling food. During the survey, it was also observed that the vending stalls lack basic infrastructures like toilets and potable water that is currently a major problem. This study indicates a need for improvements in the environmental conditions at these sites to prevent foodborne diseases. Moreover, based on the results observed food safety and food hygiene training or workshops for street vendors are highly recommended.

A Corpus-Based Approach to Understanding Market Access in Fisheries and Aquaculture: A Systematic Literature Review

Although fisheries and aquaculture studies might seem marginal to international business (IB) studies in general, fisheries and aquaculture IB (FAIB) management is currently facing increasing pressure to meet global demand and consumption for fish in the next coming decades. In part address to this challenge, the purpose of this systematic review of literature (SLR) study is to investigate the use of the term ‘market access’ in its context of use in the generic literature and business sector discourse, in comparison to the more specific literature and discourse in fisheries, aquaculture and seafood. This SLR aims to uncover the knowledge/interest gaps between the academic subject discourses and business sector practices. Corpus driven in methodology and using a triangulation method of three different text analysis software including AntConc, VOSviewer and Web of Science (WoS) analytics, the SLR results indicate a gap in conceptual knowledge and business practices in how ‘market access’ is conceived and used in the context of the pharmaceutical healthcare industry and FAIB research and practice. While it is acknowledged that the product orientation of different business sectors might differ, this SLR study works with the assumption that both business sectors are global in orientation. These business sectors are complex in their operations from product to market. This SLR suggests a conceptual model in understanding the challenges, the potential barriers as well as avenues for solutions to developing market access for FAIB.

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.

Case Study of Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Methods of Treatment for a Professional Driver

This study evaluates obstructive sleep apnea treatment through a case study involving a 67-year-old male driver who had a successful continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment at home but experienced difficulties with traveling and dental care. There are many cheap sleep apnea and snoring devices available, but there is little professional advice on what kind of devices can help. Professional drivers receive yearly specialized medical care follow-up.

Detergent Removal from Rinsing Water by Peroxi Electrocoagulation Process

Among the various methods of treatment, advanced oxidation processes (AOP) are the most promising ones. In this study, Peroxi Electrocoagulation Process (PEP) was investigated for the treatment of detergent wastewater. The process was compared with electrooxidation treatment. The results showed that chemical oxygen demand (COD) was high 7584 mgO2.L-1, while the biochemical oxygen demand was low (250 mgO2.L-1). This wastewater was hardly biodegradable. Electrochemical process was carried out for the removal of detergent using a glass reactor with a volume of 1 L and fitted with three electrodes. A direct current (DC) supply was used. Samples were taken at various current density (0.0227 A/cm2 to 0.0378 A/cm2) and reaction time (1-2-3-4 and 5 hour). Finally, the COD was determined. The results indicated that COD removal efficiency of PEP was observed to increase with current intensity and reached to 77% after 5 h. The highest removal efficiency was observed after 5 h of treatment.

Canada Deuterium Uranium Updated Fire Probabilistic Risk Assessment Model for Canadian Nuclear Plants

The Canadian Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs) use some portions of NUREG/CR-6850 in carrying out Fire Probabilistic Risk Assessment (PRA). An assessment for the applicability of NUREG/CR-6850 to CANDU reactors was performed and a CANDU Fire PRA was introduced. There are 19 operating CANDU reactors in Canada at five sites (Bruce A, Bruce B, Darlington, Pickering and Point Lepreau). A fire load density survey was done for all Fire Safe Shutdown Analysis (FSSA) fire zones in all CANDU sites in Canada. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard 557 proposes that a fire load survey must be conducted by either the weighing method or the inventory method or a combination of both. The combination method results in the most accurate values for fire loads. An updated CANDU Fire PRA model is demonstrated in this paper that includes the fuel survey in all Canadian CANDU stations. A qualitative screening step for the CANDU fire PRA is illustrated in this paper to include any fire events that can damage any part of the emergency power supply in addition to FSSA cables.

Piezoelectric Power Output Predictions Using Single-Phase Flow to Power Flow Meters

This research involved the utilization of fluid flow energy to predict power output using Lead Zirconate Titanate (PZT) piezoelectric stacks. The aim of this work is to extract energy from a controlled level of pressure fluctuation in single-phase flow which forms a part of the energy harvesting technology that powers flow meters. A device- Perspex box was developed and fixed to 50.8 mm rig to induce pressure fluctuation in the flow. An experimental test was carried out using the single-phase water flow in the developed rig in order to measure the power output generation from the piezoelectric stacks. 16 sets of experimental tests were conducted to ensure the maximum output result. The acquired signal of the pressure fluctuation was used to simulate the expected electrical output from the piezoelectric material. The results showed a maximum output voltage of 12 V with an instantaneous output power of 1 µW generated, when the pressure amplitude is 2.6 kPa at a frequency of 2.4 Hz.

Design of an Ensemble Learning Behavior Anomaly Detection Framework
Data assets protection is a crucial issue in the cybersecurity field. Companies use logical access control tools to vault their information assets and protect them against external threats, but they lack solutions to counter insider threats. Nowadays, insider threats are the most significant concern of security analysts. They are mainly individuals with legitimate access to companies information systems, which use their rights with malicious intents. In several fields, behavior anomaly detection is the method used by cyber specialists to counter the threats of user malicious activities effectively. In this paper, we present the step toward the construction of a user and entity behavior analysis framework by proposing a behavior anomaly detection model. This model combines machine learning classification techniques and graph-based methods, relying on linear algebra and parallel computing techniques. We show the utility of an ensemble learning approach in this context. We present some detection methods tests results on an representative access control dataset. The use of some explored classifiers gives results up to 99% of accuracy.
Evaluation of Two Earliness Cotton Genotypes in Three Ecological Regions

Two earliness cotton genotypes I and II, which had been developed by hybridization and backcross methods between sindise-80 as an early maturing gene parent and two other lines i.e. Red leaf and Bulgare-557 as a second parent, are subjected to different environmental conditions. The early maturing genotypes with coded names of I and II were compared with four native cotton cultivars in randomized complete block design (RCBD) with four replications in three ecological regions of Iran from 2016-2017. Two early maturing genotypes along with four native cultivars viz. Varamin, Oltan, Sahel and Arya were planted in Agricultural Research Station of Varamin, Moghan and Kashmar for evaluation. Earliness data were collected for six treatments during two years in the three regions except missing data for the second year of Kashmar. Therefore, missed data were estimated and imputed. For testing the homogeneity of error variances, each experiment at a given location or year is analyzed separately using Hartley and Bartlett’s Chi-square tests and both tests confirmed homogeneity of variance. Combined analysis of variance showed that genotypes I and II were superior in Varamin, Moghan and Kashmar regions. Earliness means and their interaction effects were compared with Duncan’s multiple range tests. Finally combined analysis of variance showed that genotypes I and II were superior in Varamin, Moghan and Kashmar regions. Earliness means and their interaction effects are compared with Duncan’s multiple range tests.

Numerical Study of Bubbling Fluidized Beds Operating at Sub-atmospheric Conditions

Fluidization at vacuum pressure has been a topic that is of growing research interest. Several industrial applications (such as drying, extractive metallurgy, and chemical vapor deposition (CVD)) can potentially take advantage of vacuum pressure fluidization. Particularly, the fine chemical industry requires processing under safe conditions for thermolabile substances, and reduced pressure fluidized beds offer an alternative. Fluidized beds under vacuum conditions provide optimal conditions for treatment of granular materials where the reduced gas pressure maintains an operational environment outside of flammability conditions. The fluidization at low-pressure is markedly different from the usual gas flow patterns of atmospheric fluidization. The different flow regimes can be characterized by the dimensionless Knudsen number. Nevertheless, hydrodynamics of bubbling vacuum fluidized beds has not been investigated to author’s best knowledge. In this work, the two-fluid numerical method was used to determine the impact of reduced pressure on the fundamental properties of a fluidized bed. The slip flow model implemented by Ansys Fluent User Defined Functions (UDF) was used to determine the interphase momentum exchange coefficient. A wide range of operating pressures was investigated (1.01, 0.5, 0.25, 0.1 and 0.03 Bar). The gas was supplied by a uniform inlet at 1.5Umf and 2Umf. The predicted minimum fluidization velocity (Umf) shows excellent agreement with the experimental data. The results show that the operating pressure has a notable impact on the bed properties and its hydrodynamics. Furthermore, it also shows that the existing Gorosko correlation that predicts bed expansion is not applicable under reduced pressure conditions.

Assessment of Pier Foundations for Onshore Wind Turbines in Non-cohesive Soil

In non-cohesive soil, onshore wind turbines are often found on shallow foundations with a circular or octagonal shape. For the current generation of wind turbines, shallow foundations with very large breadths are required. The foundation support costs thus represent a considerable portion of the total construction costs. Therefore, an economic optimization of the type of foundation is highly desirable. A conceivable alternative foundation type would be a pier foundation, which combines the load transfer over the foundation area at the pier base with the transfer of horizontal loads over the shaft surface of the pier. The present study aims to evaluate the load-bearing behavior of a pier foundation based on comprehensive parametric studies. Thereby, three-dimensional numerical simulations of both pier and shallow foundations are developed. The evaluation of the results focuses on the rotational stiffnesses of the proposed soil-foundation systems. In the design, the initial rotational stiffness is decisive for consideration of natural frequencies, whereas the rotational secant stiffness for a maximum load is decisive for serviceability considerations. A systematic analysis of the results at different load levels shows that the application of the typical pier foundation is presumably limited to relatively small onshore wind turbines.

Comparative Effect of Self-Myofascial Release as a Warm-Up Exercise on Functional Fitness of Young Adults

Warm-up is an essential component for optimizing performance in various sports before a physical fitness training session. This study investigated the immediate comparative effect of Self-Myofascial Release through vibration rolling (VR), non-vibration rolling (NVR), and static stretching as a part of a warm-up treatment on the functional fitness of young adults. Functional fitness is a classification of training that prepares the body for real-life movements and activities. For the present study 20male physical education students were selected as subjects. The age of the subjects was ranged from 20-25 years. The functional fitness variables undertaken in the present study were flexibility, muscle strength, agility, static and dynamic balance of the lower extremity. Each of the three warm-up protocol was administered on consecutive days, i.e. 24 hr time gap and all tests were administered in the morning. The mean and SD were used as descriptive statistics. The significance of statistical differences among the groups was measured by applying ‘F’-test, and to find out the exact location of difference, Post Hoc Test (Least Significant Difference) was applied. It was found from the study that only flexibility showed significant difference among three types of warm-up exercise. The observed result depicted that VR has more impact on myofascial release in flexibility in comparison with NVR and stretching as a part of warm-up exercise as ‘p’ value was less than 0.05. In the present study, within the three means of warm-up exercises, vibration roller showed better mean difference in terms of NVR, and static stretching exercise on functional fitness of young physical education practitioners, although the results were found insignificant in case of muscle strength, agility, static and dynamic balance of the lower extremity. These findings suggest that sports professionals and coaches may take VR into account for designing more efficient and effective pre-performance routine for long term to improve exercise performances. VR has high potential to interpret into an on-field practical application means.

Effect of Copper Ions Doped-Hydroxyapatite 3D Fiber Scaffold

The mineral in human bone is not pure stoichiometric calcium phosphate (Ca/P) as it is partially substituted by in organic elements. In this study, the copper ions (Cu2+) substituted hydroxyapatite (CuHA) powder has been synthesized by the co-precipitation method. The CuHA powder has been used to fabricate CuHA fiber scaffolds by sol-gel process and the following sinter process. The resulted CuHA fibers have slightly different microstructure (i.e. porosity) compared to HA fiber scaffold, which is denser. The mechanical properties test was used to evaluate CuHA, and the results showed decreases in both compression strength and hardness tests. Moreover, the in vitro used endothelial cells to evaluate the angiogenesis of CuHA. The result illustrated that the viability of endothelial cell on CuHA fiber scaffold surfaces tends to antigenic behavior. The results obtained with CuHA scaffold give this material benefit in biological applications such as antimicrobial, antitumor, antigens, compacts, filling cavities of the tooth and for the deposition of metal implants anti-tumor, anti-cancer, bone filler, and scaffold.

Prioritization Assessment of Housing Development Risk Factors: A Fuzzy Hierarchical Process-Based Approach

The construction industry and housing subsector are fraught with risks that have the potential of negatively impacting on the achievement of project objectives. The success or otherwise of most construction projects depends to large extent on how well these risks have been managed. The recent paradigm shift by the subsector to use of formal risk management approach in contrast to hitherto developed rules of thumb means that risks must not only be identified but also properly assessed and responded to in a systematic manner. The study focused on identifying risks associated with housing development projects and prioritisation assessment of the identified risks in order to provide basis for informed decision. The study used a three-step identification framework: review of literature for similar projects, expert consultation and questionnaire based survey to identify potential risk factors. Delphi survey method was employed in carrying out the relative prioritization assessment of the risks factors using computer-based Analytical Hierarchical Process (AHP) software. The results show that 19 out of the 50 risks significantly impact on housing development projects. The study concludes that although significant numbers of risk factors have been identified as having relevance and impacting to housing construction projects, economic risk group and, in particular, ‘changes in demand for houses’ is prioritised by most developers as posing a threat to the achievement of their housing development objectives. Unless these risks are carefully managed, their effects will continue to impede success in these projects. The study recommends the adoption and use of the combination of multi-technique identification framework and AHP prioritization assessment methodology as a suitable model for the assessment of risks in housing development projects.

Influence of the Granular Mixture Properties on the Rheological Properties of Concrete: Yield Stress Determination Using Modified Chateau et al. Model

The prediction of the rheological behavior of concrete is at the center of current concerns of the concrete industry for different reasons. The shortage of good quality standard materials combined with variable properties of available materials imposes to improve existing models to take into account these variations at the design stage of concrete. The main reasons for improving the predictive models are, of course, saving time and cost at the design stage as well as to optimize concrete performances. In this study, we will highlight the different properties of the granular mixtures that affect the rheological properties of concrete. Our objective is to identify the intrinsic parameters of the aggregates which make it possible to predict the yield stress of concrete. The work was done using two typologies of grains: crushed and rolled aggregates. The experimental results have shown that the rheology of concrete is improved by increasing the packing density of the granular mixture using rolled aggregates. The experimental program realized allowed to model the yield stress of concrete by a modified model of Chateau et al. through a dimensionless parameter following Krieger-Dougherty law. The modelling confirms that the yield stress of concrete depends not only on the properties of cement paste but also on the packing density of the granular skeleton and the shape of grains.

Aliasing Free and Additive Error in Spectra for Alpha Stable Signals

This work focuses on the symmetric alpha stable process with continuous time frequently used in modeling the signal with indefinitely growing variance, often observed with an unknown additive error. The objective of this paper is to estimate this error from discrete observations of the signal. For that, we propose a method based on the smoothing of the observations via Jackson polynomial kernel and taking into account the width of the interval where the spectral density is non-zero. This technique allows avoiding the “Aliasing phenomenon” encountered when the estimation is made from the discrete observations of a process with continuous time. We have studied the convergence rate of the estimator and have shown that the convergence rate improves in the case where the spectral density is zero at the origin. Thus, we set up an estimator of the additive error that can be subtracted for approaching the original signal without error.

Residual Modulus of Elasticity of Self-Compacting Concrete Incorporated Unprocessed Waste Fly Ash after Expose to the Elevated Temperature

The present study experimentally investigated the impact of incorporating unprocessed waste fly ash (UWFA) on the residual mechanical properties of self-compacting concrete (SCC) after exposure to elevated temperature. Three mixtures of SCC have been produced by replacing the cement mass by 0%, 15% and 30% of UWFA. Generally, the fire resistance of SCC has been enhanced by replacing the cement up to 15% of UWFA, especially in case of residual modulus of elasticity which considers more sensitive than other mechanical properties at elevated temperature. However, a strong linear relationship has been observed between the residual flexural strength and modulus of elasticity, where both of them affected significantly by the cracks appearance and propagation as a result of elevated temperature. Sustainable products could be produced by incorporating unprocessed waste powder materials in the production of concrete, where the waste materials, CO2 emissions, and the energy needed for processing are reduced.

Considering Aerosol Processes in Nuclear Transport Package Containment Safety Cases
Packages designed for transport of radioactive material must satisfy rigorous safety regulations specified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Higher Activity Waste (HAW) transport packages have to maintain containment of their contents during normal and accident conditions of transport (NCT and ACT). To ensure containment criteria is satisfied these packages are required to be leak-tight in all transport conditions to meet allowable activity release rates. Package design safety reports are the safety cases that provide the claims, evidence and arguments to demonstrate that packages meet the regulations and once approved by the competent authority (in the UK this is the Office for Nuclear Regulation) a licence to transport radioactive material is issued for the package(s). The standard approach to demonstrating containment in the RWM transport safety case is set out in BS EN ISO 12807. In this document a method for measuring a leak rate from the package is explained by way of a small interspace test volume situated between two O-ring seals on the underside of the package lid. The interspace volume is pressurised and a pressure drop measured. A small interspace test volume makes the method more sensitive enabling the measurement of smaller leak rates. By ascertaining the activity of the contents, identifying a releasable fraction of material and by treating that fraction of material as a gas, allowable leak rates for NCT and ACT are calculated. The adherence to basic safety principles in ISO12807 is very pessimistic and current practice in the demonstration of transport safety, which is accepted by the UK regulator. It is UK government policy that management of HAW will be through geological disposal. It is proposed that the intermediate level waste be transported to the geological disposal facility (GDF) in large cuboid packages. This poses a challenge for containment demonstration because such packages will have long seals and therefore large interspace test volumes. There is also uncertainty on the releasable fraction of material within the package ullage space. This is because the waste may be in many different forms which makes it difficult to define the fraction of material released by the waste package. Additionally because of the large interspace test volume, measuring the calculated leak rates may not be achievable. For this reason a justification for a lower releasable fraction of material is sought. This paper considers the use of aerosol processes to reduce the releasable fraction for both NCT and ACT. It reviews the basic coagulation and removal processes and applies the dynamic aerosol balance equation. The proposed solution includes only the most well understood physical processes namely; Brownian coagulation and gravitational settling. Other processes have been eliminated either on the basis that they would serve to reduce the release to the environment further (pessimistically in keeping with the essence of nuclear transport safety cases) or that they are not credible in the conditions of transport considered.
Perspectives and Outcomes of a Long and Shorter Community Mental Health Program
The development of the 7-week Alberta Happiness Basics program was initiated in 2010 in response to the need for community mental health programming. This provincial wide program aims to increase overall happiness and reduce negative thoughts and feelings through a positive psychology intervention. While the 7-week program has proven effective, a shortened 4-week program has additionally been developed to address client needs. In this study, participants were interviewed to determine if the 4- and 7-week programs had similar success of producing lasting behavior change at 3, 6, and 9 months post-program. A health quality of life (HQOL) measure was also used to compare the two programs and examine patient outcomes. Quantitative and qualitative analysis showed significant improvements in HQOL and sustainable behavior change for both programs. Findings indicate that the shorter, patient-centered program was effective in increasing happiness and reducing negative thoughts and feelings.
Transferring of Digital DIY Potentialities through a Co-Design Tool

Digital Do It Yourself (DIY) is a contemporary socio-technological phenomenon, enabled by technological tools. The nature and potential long-term effects of this phenomenon have been widely studied within the framework of the EU funded project ‘Digital Do It Yourself’, in which the authors have created and experimented a specific Digital Do It Yourself (DiDIY) co-design process. The phenomenon was first studied through a literature research to understand its multiple dimensions and complexity. Therefore, co-design workshops were used to investigate the phenomenon by involving people to achieve a complete understanding of the DiDIY practices and its enabling factors. These analyses allowed the definition of the DiDIY fundamental factors that were then translated into a design tool. The objective of the tool is to shape design concepts by transferring these factors into different environments to achieve innovation. The aim of this paper is to present the ‘DiDIY Factor Stimuli’ tool, describing the research path and the findings behind it.

Investigation of Mg and Zr Addition on the Mechanical Properties of Commercially Pure Al

The influence of Mg and Zr addition on mechanical properties such as hardness, tensile strength and impact energy of commercially pure Al are investigated. The microstructure and fracture behavior are also studied by using Optical and Scanning Electron Microscopy. It is observed that magnesium addition improves the mechanical properties of commercially pure Al at the expense of ductility due to formation of β″ (Al3Mg) and β′ (Al3Mg2) phase into the alloy. Zr addition also plays a positive role through grain refinement effect and the formation of metastable L12 Al3Zr precipitates. In addition, it is observed that the fractured surface of Mg added alloy is brittle and higher numbers of dimples are observed in case of Zr added alloy.

Investigation of Chip Formation Characteristics during Surface Finishing of HDPE Samples

Chip formation characteristics are investigated during surface finishing of high density polyethylene (HDPE) samples using a shaper machine. Both the cutting speed and depth of cut are varied continually to enable observations under various machining conditions. The generated chips are analyzed in terms of their shape, size, and deformation. Their physical appearances are also observed using digital camera and optical microscope. The investigation shows that continuous chips are obtained for all the cutting conditions. It is observed that cutting speed is more influential than depth of cut to cause dimensional changes of chips. Chips curl radius is also found to increase gradually with the increase of cutting speed. The length of continuous chips remains always smaller than the job length, and the corresponding discrepancies are found to be more prominent at lower cutting speed. Microstructures of the chips reveal that cracks are formed at higher cutting speeds and depth of cuts, which is not that significant at low depth of cut.

Sustainable Development of Medium Strength Concrete Using Polypropylene as Aggregate Replacement

Plastic as an environmental burden is a well-rehearsed topic in the research area. This is due to its global demand and destructive impacts on the environment, which has been a significant concern to the governments. Typically, the use of plastic in the construction industry is seen across low-density, non-structural applications due to its diverse range of benefits including high strength-to-weight ratios, manipulability and durability. It can be said that with the level of plastic consumption experienced in the construction industry, an ongoing responsibility is shown for this sector to continually innovate alternatives for application of recycled plastic waste such as using plastic made replacement from polyethylene, polystyrene, polyvinyl and polypropylene in the concrete mix design. In this study, the impact of partially replaced fine aggregate with polypropylene in the concrete mix design was investigated to evaluate the concrete’s compressive strength by conducting an experimental work which comprises of six concrete mix batches with polypropylene replacements ranging from 0.5 to 3.0%. The results demonstrated a typical decline in the compressive strength with the addition of plastic aggregate, despite this reduction generally mitigated as the level of plastic in the concrete mix increased. Furthermore, two of the six plastic-containing concrete mixes tested in the current study exceeded the ST5 standardised prescribed concrete mix compressive strength requirement at 28-days containing 1.50% and 2.50% plastic aggregates, which demonstrated the potential for use of recycled polypropylene in structural applications, as a partial by mass, fine aggregate replacement in the concrete mix.

Modified Hybrid Genetic Algorithm-Based Artificial Neural Network Application on Wall Shear Stress Prediction

Prediction of wall shear stress in a rectangular channel, with non-homogeneous roughness distribution, was studied. Estimation of shear stress is an important subject in hydraulic engineering, since it affects the flow structure directly. In this study, the Genetic Algorithm Artificial (GAA) neural network is introduced as a hybrid methodology of the Artificial Neural Network (ANN) and modified Genetic Algorithm (GA) combination. This GAA method was employed to predict the wall shear stress. Various input combinations and transfer functions were considered to find the most appropriate GAA model. The results show that the proposed GAA method could predict the wall shear stress of open channels with high accuracy, by Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) of 0.064 in the test dataset. Thus, using GAA provides an accurate and practical simple-to-use equation.

Effect of Particle Size on Alkali-Activation of Slag

In this study grinding experiments were performed in a laboratory ball mill using Polish ferronickel slag in order to study the effect of the particle size on alkali activation and the properties of the produced alkali activated materials (AAMs). In this regard, the particle size distribution and the specific surface area of the grinding products in relation to grinding time were assessed. The experimental results show that products with high compressive strength, e.g. higher than 60 MPa, can be produced when the slag median size decreased from 39.9 μm to 11.9 μm. Also, finer fractions are characterized by higher reactivity and result in the production of AAMs with lower porosity and better mechanical properties.

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