Open Science Research Excellence

Open Science Index

Commenced in January 2007 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Paper Count: 640

640
10010976
Resource Leveling Optimization in Construction Projects of High Voltage Substations Using Nature-Inspired Intelligent Evolutionary Algorithms
Abstract:

High Voltage Substations (HVS) are the intermediate step between production of power and successfully transmitting it to clients, making them one of the most important checkpoints in power grids. Nowadays - renewable resources and consequently distributed generation are growing fast, the construction of HVS is of high importance both in terms of quality and time completion so that new energy producers can quickly and safely intergrade in power grids. The resources needed, such as machines and workers, should be carefully allocated so that the construction of a HVS is completed on time, with the lowest possible cost (e.g. not spending additional cost that were not taken into consideration, because of project delays), but in the highest quality. In addition, there are milestones and several checkpoints to be precisely achieved during construction to ensure the cost and timeline control and to ensure that the percentage of governmental funding will be granted. The management of such a demanding project is a NP-hard problem that consists of prerequisite constraints and resource limits for each task of the project. In this work, a hybrid meta-heuristic method is implemented to solve this problem. Meta-heuristics have been proven to be quite useful when dealing with high-dimensional constraint optimization problems. Hybridization of them results in boost of their performance.

639
10010870
Suitability of Alternative Insulating Fluid for Power Transformer: A Laboratory Investigation
Abstract:

Power transformer is a vital element in a power system as it continuously regulates power flow, maintaining good voltage regulation. The working of transformer much depends on the oil insulation, the oil insulation also decides the aging of transformer and hence its reliability. The mineral oil based liquid insulation is globally accepted for power transformer insulation; however it is potentially hazardous due to its non-biodegradability. In this work efficient alternative biodegradable insulating fluid is presented as a replacement to conventional mineral oil. Dielectric tests are performed as distinct alternating fluid to evaluate the suitability for transformer insulation. The selection of the distinct natural esters for an insulation system is carried out by the laboratory investigation of Breakdown voltage, Oxidation stability, Dissipation factor, Permittivity, Viscosity, Flash and Fire point. It is proposed to study and characterize the properties of natural esters to be used in power transformer. Therefore for the investigation of the dielectric behavior rice bran oil, sesame oil, and sunflower oil are considered for the study. The investigated results have been compared with the mineral oil to validate the dielectric behavior of natural esters.

638
10010891
Postbuckling Analysis of End Supported Rods under Self-Weight Using Intrinsic Coordinate Finite Elements
Abstract:

A formulation of postbuckling analysis of end supported rods under self-weight has been presented by the variational method. The variational formulation involving the strain energy due to bending and the potential energy of the self-weight, are expressed in terms of the intrinsic coordinates. The variational formulation is accomplished by introducing the Lagrange multiplier technique to impose the boundary conditions. The finite element method is used to derive a system of nonlinear equations resulting from the stationary of the total potential energy and then Newton-Raphson iterative procedure is applied to solve this system of equations. The numerical results demonstrate the postbluckled configurations of end supported rods under self-weight. This finite element method based on variational formulation expressed in term of intrinsic coordinate is highly recommended for postbuckling analysis of end-supported rods under self-weight.

637
10010921
Investigation of the Properties of Epoxy Modified Binders Based on Epoxy Oligomer with Improved Deformation and Strength Properties
Abstract:
The process of modification of ed-20 epoxy resin synthesized by vinyl-containing compounds is considered. It is shown that the introduction of vinyl-containing compounds into the composition based on epoxy resin ED-20 allows adjusting the technological and operational characteristics of the binder. For improvement of the properties of epoxy resin, following modifiers were selected: polyvinylformalethyl, polyvinyl butyral and composition of linear and aromatic amines (Аramine) as a hardener. Now the big range of hardeners of epoxy resins exists that allows varying technological properties of compositions, and also thermophysical and strength indicators. The nature of the aramin type hardener has a significant impact on the spatial parameters of the mesh, glass transition temperature, and strength characteristics. Epoxy composite materials based on ED-20 modified with polyvinyl butyral were obtained and investigated. It is shown that the composition of resins based on derivatives of polyvinyl butyral and ED-20 allows obtaining composite materials with a higher complex of deformation-strength, adhesion and thermal properties, better water resistance, frost resistance, chemical resistance, and impact strength. The magnitude of the effect depends on the chemical structure, temperature and curing time. In the area of concentrations, where the effect of composite synergy is appearing, the values of strength and stiffness significantly exceed the similar parameters of the individual components of the mixture. The polymer-polymer compositions form their class of materials with diverse specific properties that ensure their competitive application. Coatings with high performance under cyclic loading have been obtained based on epoxy oligomers modified with vinyl-containing compounds.
636
10010815
Design of an Ensemble Learning Behavior Anomaly Detection Framework
Abstract:
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.
635
10010824
Development of a Small-Group Teaching Method for Enhancing the Learning of Basic Acupuncture Manipulation Optimized with the Theory of Motor Learning
Abstract:
This study developed a method for teaching acupuncture manipulation in small groups optimized with the theory of motor learning. Sixty acupuncture students and their teacher participated in our research. Motion videos were recorded of their manipulations using the lifting-thrusting method. These videos were analyzed using Simi Motion software to acquire the movement parameters of the thumb tip. The parameter velocity curves along Y axis was used to generate small teaching groups clustered by a self-organized map (SOM) and K-means. Ten groups were generated. All the targeted instruction based on the comparative results groups as well as the videos of teacher and student was provided to the members of each group respectively. According to the theory and research of motor learning, the factors or technologies such as video instruction, observational learning, external focus and summary feedback were integrated into this teaching method. Such efforts were desired to improve and enhance the effectiveness of current acupuncture teaching methods in limited classroom teaching time and extracurricular training.
634
10010829
Influence of the Granular Mixture Properties on the Rheological Properties of Concrete: Yield Stress Determination Using Modified Chateau et al. Model
Abstract:

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.

633
10010712
An Application of Path Planning Algorithms for Autonomous Inspection of Buried Pipes with Swarm Robots
Abstract:

This paper aims to demonstrate how various algorithms can be implemented within swarms of autonomous robots to provide continuous inspection within underground pipeline networks. Current methods of fault detection within pipes are costly, time consuming and inefficient. As such, solutions tend toward a more reactive approach, repairing faults, as opposed to proactively seeking leaks and blockages. The paper presents an efficient inspection method, showing that autonomous swarm robotics is a viable way of monitoring underground infrastructure. Tailored adaptations of various Vehicle Routing Problems (VRP) and path-planning algorithms provide a customised inspection procedure for complicated networks of underground pipes. The performance of multiple algorithms is compared to determine their effectiveness and feasibility. Notable inspirations come from ant colonies and stigmergy, graph theory, the k-Chinese Postman Problem ( -CPP) and traffic theory. Unlike most swarm behaviours which rely on fast communication between agents, underground pipe networks are a highly challenging communication environment with extremely limited communication ranges. This is due to the extreme variability in the pipe conditions and relatively high attenuation of acoustic and radio waves with which robots would usually communicate. This paper illustrates how to optimise the inspection process and how to increase the frequency with which the robots pass each other, without compromising the routes they are able to take to cover the whole network.

632
10010784
Selenium Content in Agricultural Soils and Wheat from the Balkan Peninsula
Abstract:

Selenium (Se) is an essential micro-nutrient for human and animals but it is highly toxic. Its organic compounds play an important role in biochemistry and nutrition of the cells. Concentration levels of this element in the different regions of the world vary considerably. This study aimed to compare the availability and levels of the Se in some rural areas of the Balkan Peninsula and relationship with the concentrations of other trace elements. For this purpose soil samples and wheat grains from different regions of Bulgaria, Serbia, Nord Macedonia, Romania, and Greece situated far from large industrial centers have been analyzed. The main methods for their determination were the atomic spectral techniques – atomic absorption and plasma atomic emission. As a result of this study, data on microelements levels from the main grain-producing regions of the Balkan Peninsula were determined and systematized. The presented results confirm the low levels of Se in this region: 0.222– 0.962 mg.kg-1 in soils and 0.001 - 0.005 mg.kg-1 in wheat grains and require measures to offset the effect of this deficiency.

631
10010652
Producing and Mechanical Testing of Urea-Formaldehyde Resin Foams Reinforced by Waste Phosphogypsum
Abstract:

Many of thermosetting resins have application only in filled state, reinforced with different mineral fillers. The co-filling of polymers with mineral filler and gases creates a possibility for production of polymer composites materials with low density. This processing leads to forming of new materials – gas-filled plastics (polymer foams). The properties of these materials are determined mainly by the shape and size of internal structural elements (pores). The interactions on the phase boundaries have influence on the materials properties too. In the present work, the gas-filled urea-formaldehyde resins were reinforced by waste phosphogypsum. The waste phosphogypsum (CaSO4.2H2O) is a solid by-product in wet phosphoric acid production processes. The values of the interactions polymer-filler were increased by using two modifying agents: polyvinyl acetate for polymer matrix and sodium metasilicate for filler. Technological methods for gas-filling and recipes of urea-formaldehyde based materials with apparent density 20-120 kg/m3 were developed. The heat conductivity of the samples is between 0.024 and 0.029 W/moK. Tensile analyses were carried out at 10 and 50% deformation and show values 0.01-0.14 MPa and 0.01-0.09 MPa, respectively. The apparent density of obtained materials is between 20 and 92 kg/m3. The changes in the tensile properties and density of these materials according to sodium metasilicate content were studied too. The mechanism of phosphogypsum adsorption modification was studied using methods of FT-IR spectroscopy. The structure of the gas-filled urea-formaldehyde resins was described by results of electron scanning microscopy at three different magnification ratios – x50, x150 and x 500. The aim of present work is to study the possibility of the usage of phosphogypsum as mineral filler for urea-formaldehyde resins and development of a technology for the production of gas-filled reinforced polymer composite materials. The structure and the properties of obtained composite materials are suitable for thermal and sound insulation applications.

630
10010697
Sustainability of Healthcare Insurance in India: A Review of Health Insurance Scheme Launched by States in India
Abstract:

This paper presents an overview of the accessibility, design, and functioning of health insurance plans launched by state governments in India. In recent years, the governments of several states in India have come forward to provide health insurance coverage for the low-income group and rural population to reduce the out of pocket expenditure (OPE) on healthcare. Different health insurance schemes have different structures and offerings which differ in the different demographic factors. This study will portray a comparative analysis of the various health insurance schemes by analyzing different offerings and finance generation of the schemes. The comparative analysis will explain the lesson to be learned from these schemes and extend the existing knowledge of the health insurance in India. This would help in recognizing tension between various drivers and identifying issues pertaining to the sustainability of health insurance schemes in India.

629
10010601
The South African Polycentric Water Resource Governance-Management Nexus: Parlaying an Institutional Agent and Structured Social Engagement
Abstract:

South Africa, a water scarce country, experiences the phenomenon that its life supporting natural water resources is seriously threatened by the users that are totally dependent on it. South Africa is globally applauded to have of the best and most progressive water laws and policies. There are however growing concerns regarding natural water resource quality deterioration and a critical void in the management of natural resources and compliance to policies due to increasing institutional uncertainties and failures. These are in accordance with concerns of many South African researchers and practitioners that call for a change in paradigm from talk to practice and a more constructive, practical approach to governance challenges in the management of water resources. A qualitative theory-building case study through longitudinal action research was conducted from 2014 to 2017. The research assessed whether a strategic positioned institutional agent can be parlayed to facilitate and execute WRM on catchment level by engaging multiple stakeholders in a polycentric setting. Through a critical realist approach a distinction was made between ex ante self-deterministic human behaviour in the realist realm, and ex post governance-management in the constructivist realm. A congruence analysis, including Toulmin’s method of argumentation analysis, was utilised. The study evaluated the unique case of a self-steering local water management institution, the Impala Water Users Association (WUA) in the Pongola River catchment in the northern part of the KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa. Exploiting prevailing water resource threats, it expanded its ancillary functions from 20,000 to 300,000 ha. Embarking on WRM activities, it addressed natural water system quality assessments, social awareness, knowledge support, and threats, such as: soil erosion, waste and effluent into water systems, coal mining, and water security dimensions; through structured engagement with 21 different catchment stakeholders. By implementing a proposed polycentric governance-management model on a catchment scale, the WUA achieved to fill the void. It developed a foundation and capacity to protect the resilience of the natural environment that is critical for freshwater resources to ensure long-term water security of the Pongola River basin. Further work is recommended on appropriate statutory delegations, mechanisms of sustainable funding, sufficient penetration of knowledge to local levels to catalyse behaviour change, incentivised support from professionals, back-to-back expansion of WUAs to alleviate scale and cost burdens, and the creation of catchment data monitoring and compilation centres.

628
10010612
A Hygrothermal Analysis and Structural Performance of Wood-Frame Wall Systems with Low-Permeance Exterior Insulation
Abstract:

Increasing the level of exterior insulation in residential buildings is a popular way for improving the thermal characteristic of building enclosure and reducing heat loss. However, the layout and properties of materials composing the wall have a great effect on moisture accumulation within the wall cavity, long-term durability of a wall as well as the structural performance. A one-dimensional hygrothermal modeling has been performed to investigate moisture condensation risks and the drying capacity of standard 2×4 and 2×6 light wood-frame wall assemblies including exterior low-permeance extruded polystyrene (XPS) insulation. The analysis considered two different wall configurations whereby the rigid insulation board was placed either between Oriented Strand Board (OSB) sheathing and the stud or outboard to the structural sheathing. The thickness of the insulation varied between 0 mm and 50 mm and the analysis has been conducted for eight different locations in Canada, covering climate zone 4 through zone 8. Results show that the wall configuration with low-permeance insulation inserted between the stud and OSB sheathing accumulates more moisture within the stud cavity, compared to the assembly with the same insulation placed exterior to the sheathing. On the other hand, OSB moisture contents of the latter configuration were markedly higher. Consequently, the analysis of hygrothermal performance investigated and compared moisture accumulation in both the OSB and stud cavity. To investigate the structural performance of the wall and the effect of soft insulation layer inserted between the sheathing and framing, forty nail connection specimens were tested. Results have shown that both the connection strength and stiffness experience a significant reduction as the insulation thickness increases. These results will be compared with results from a full-scale shear wall tests in order to investigate if the capacity of shear walls with insulated sheathing would experience a similar reduction in structural capacities.

627
10010618
Influence of Insulation System Methods on Dissipation Factor and Voltage Endurance
Abstract:

This paper reviews the comparison of Resin Rich (RR) and Vacuum Pressure Impregnation (VPI) insulation system qualities for stator bar of rotating electrical machines. Voltage endurance and tangent delta are two diagnostic tests to determine the quality of insulation systems. The paper describes the trend of dissipation factor while performing voltage endurance test for different stator bar samples made with RR and VPI insulation system methods. Some samples were made with the same strands and insulation thickness but with different main wall material to prove the influence of insulation system methods on stator bar quality. Also, some of the samples were subjected to voltage at the temperature of their insulation class, and their dissipation factor changes were measured and studied.

626
10010624
Investigation of the Effect of Impulse Voltage to Flashover by Using Water Jet
Abstract:

The main function of the insulators used in high voltage (HV) transmission lines is to insulate the energized conductor from the pole and hence from the ground. However, when the insulators fail to perform this insulation function due to various effects, failures occur. The deterioration of the insulation results either from breakdown or surface flashover. The surface flashover is caused by the layer of pollution that forms conductivity on the surface of the insulator, such as salt, carbonaceous compounds, rain, moisture, fog, dew, industrial pollution and desert dust. The source of the majority of failures and interruptions in HV lines is surface flashover. This threatens the continuity of supply and causes significant economic losses. Pollution flashover in HV insulators is still a serious problem that has not been fully resolved. In this study, a water jet test system has been established in order to investigate the behavior of insulators under dirty conditions and to determine their flashover performance. Flashover behavior of the insulators is examined by applying impulse voltages in the test system. This study aims to investigate the insulator behaviour under high impulse voltages. For this purpose, a water jet test system was installed and experimental results were obtained over a real system and analyzed. By using the water jet test system instead of the actual insulator, the damage to the insulator as a result of the flashover that would occur under impulse voltage was prevented. The results of the test system performed an important role in determining the insulator behavior and provided predictability.

625
10010638
Determination of the Thermophysical Characteristics of the Composite Material Clay Cement Paper
Abstract:

In Morocco, the building sector is largely responsible for the evolution of energy consumption. The control of energy in this sector remains a major issue despite the rise of renewable energies. The design of an environmentally friendly building requires mastery and knowledge of energy and bioclimatic aspects. This implies taking into consideration of all the elements making up the building and the way in which energy exchanges take place between these elements. In this context, thermal insulation seems to be an ideal starting point for reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. In this context, thermal insulation seems to be an ideal starting point for reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The aim of this work is to provide some solutions to reduce energy consumption while maintaining thermal comfort in the building. The objective of our work is to present an experimental study on the characterization of local materials used in the thermal insulation of buildings. These are paper recycling stabilized with cement and clay. The thermal conductivity of these materials, which were constituted based on sand, clay, cement; water, as well as treated paper, was determined by the guarded-hot-plate method. It involves the design of two materials that will subsequently be subjected to thermal and mechanical tests to determine their thermophysical properties. The results show that the thermal conductivity decreases as well in the case of the paper-cement mixture as that of the paper-clay and seems to stabilize around 40%. Measurements of mechanical properties such as flexural strength have shown that the enrichment of the studied material with paper makes it possible to reduce the flexural strength by 20% while optimizing the conductivity.

624
10010453
A Development of Creative Instruction Model through Digital Media
Abstract:

This purposes of the development of creative instruction model through digital media are to: 1) enable learners to learn from instruction media application; 2) help learners implementing instruction media correctly and appropriately; and 3) facilitate learners to apply technology for searching information and practicing skills to implement technology creatively. The sample group consists of 130 cases of secondary students studying in Bo Kluea School, Bo Kluea Nuea Sub-district, Bo Kluea District, Nan Province. The probability sampling was selected through the simple random sampling and the statistics used in this research are percentage, mean, standard deviation and one group pretest – posttest design. The findings are summarized as follows: The congruence index of instruction media for occupation and technology subjects is appropriate. By comparing between learning achievements before implementing the instruction media and learning achievements after implementing the instruction media, it is found that the posttest achievements are higher than the pretest achievements with statistical significance at the level of .05. For the learning achievements from instruction media implementation, pretest mean is 16.24 while posttest mean is 26.28. Besides, pretest and posttest results are compared and differences of mean are tested, the test results show that the posttest achievements are higher than the pretest achievements with statistical significance at the level of .05. This can be interpreted that the learners achieve better learning progress.

623
10010515
Weak Instability in Direct Integration Methods for Structural Dynamics
Abstract:
Three structure-dependent integration methods have been developed for solving equations of motion, which are second-order ordinary differential equations, for structural dynamics and earthquake engineering applications. Although they generally have the same numerical properties, such as explicit formulation, unconditional stability and second-order accuracy, a different performance is found in solving the free vibration response to either linear elastic or nonlinear systems with high frequency modes. The root cause of this different performance in the free vibration responses is analytically explored herein. As a result, it is verified that a weak instability is responsible for the different performance of the integration methods. In general, a weak instability will result in an inaccurate solution or even numerical instability in the free vibration responses of high frequency modes. As a result, a weak instability must be prohibited for time integration methods.
622
10010526
Physicochemical Characterization of Medium Alkyd Resins Prepared with a Mixture of Linum usitatissimum L. and Plukenetia volubilis L. Oils
Abstract:

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

621
10010325
Seismic Performance of Slopes Subjected to Earthquake Mainshock Aftershock Sequences
Abstract:

It is commonly observed that aftershocks follow the mainshock. Aftershocks continue over a period of time with a decreasing frequency and typically there is not sufficient time for repair and retrofit between a mainshock–aftershock sequence. Usually, aftershocks are smaller in magnitude; however, aftershock ground motion characteristics such as the intensity and duration can be greater than the mainshock due to the changes in the earthquake mechanism and location with respect to the site. The seismic performance of slopes is typically evaluated based on the sliding displacement predicted to occur along a critical sliding surface. Various empirical models are available that predict sliding displacement as a function of seismic loading parameters, ground motion parameters, and site parameters but these models do not include the aftershocks. The seismic risks associated with the post-mainshock slopes ('damaged slopes') subjected to aftershocks is significant. This paper extends the empirical sliding displacement models for flexible slopes subjected to earthquake mainshock-aftershock sequences (a multi hazard approach). A dataset was developed using 144 pairs of as-recorded mainshock-aftershock sequences using the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center (PEER) database. The results reveal that the combination of mainshock and aftershock increases the seismic demand on slopes relative to the mainshock alone; thus, seismic risks are underestimated if aftershocks are neglected.

620
10010336
Links between Inflammation and Insulin Resistance in Children with Morbid Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome
Abstract:

Obesity is a clinical state associated with low-grade inflammation. It is also a major risk factor for insulin resistance (IR). In its advanced stages, metabolic syndrome (MetS), a much more complicated disease which may lead to life-threatening problems, may develop. Obesity-mediated IR seems to correlate with the inflammation. Human studies performed particularly on pediatric population are scarce. The aim of this study is to detect possible associations between inflammation and IR in terms of some related ratios. 549 children were grouped according to their age- and sex-based body mass index (BMI) percentile tables of WHO. MetS components were determined. Informed consent and approval from the Ethics Committee for Clinical Investigations were obtained. The principles of the Declaration of Helsinki were followed. The exclusion criteria were infection, inflammation, chronic diseases and those under drug treatment. Anthropometric measurements were obtained. Complete blood cell, fasting blood glucose, insulin, and C-reactive protein (CRP) analyses were performed. Homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), systemic immune inflammation (SII) index, tense index, alanine aminotransferase to aspartate aminotransferase ratio (ALT/AST), neutrophils to lymphocyte (NLR), platelet to lymphocyte, and lymphocyte to monocyte ratios were calculated. Data were evaluated by statistical analyses. The degree for statistical significance was 0.05. Statistically significant differences were found among the BMI values of the groups (p < 0.001). Strong correlations were detected between the BMI and waist circumference (WC) values in all groups. Tense index values were also correlated with both BMI and WC values in all groups except overweight (OW) children. SII index values of children with normal BMI were significantly different from the values obtained in OW, obese, morbid obese and MetS groups. Among all the other lymphocyte ratios, NLR exhibited a similar profile. Both HOMA-IR and ALT/AST values displayed an increasing profile from N towards MetS3 group. BMI and WC values were correlated with HOMA-IR and ALT/AST. Both in morbid obese and MetS groups, significant correlations between CRP versus SII index as well as HOMA-IR versus ALT/AST were found. ALT/AST and HOMA-IR values were correlated with NLR in morbid obese group and with SII index in MetS group, (p < 0.05), respectively. In conclusion, these findings showed that some parameters may exhibit informative differences between the early and late stages of obesity. Important associations among HOMA-IR, ALT/AST, NLR and SII index have come to light in the morbid obese and MetS groups. This study introduced the SII index and NLR as important inflammatory markers for the discrimination of normal and obese children. Interesting links were observed between inflammation and IR in morbid obese children and those with MetS, both being late stages of obesity.

619
10010343
Design and Analysis of Extra High Voltage Non-Ceramic Insulator by Finite Element Method
Abstract:

High voltage insulator has to withstand sever electrical stresses. Higher electrical stresses lead to erosion of the insulator surface. Degradation of insulating properties leads to flashover and in some extreme cases it may cause to puncture. For analyzing these electrical stresses and implement necessary actions to diminish the electrical stresses, numerical methods are best. By minimizing the electrical stresses, reliability of the power system will improve. In this paper electric field intensity at critical regions of 400 kV silicone composite insulator is analyzed using finite element method. Insulator is designed using FEMM-2D software package. Electric Field Analysis (EFA) results are analyzed for five cases i.e., only insulator, insulator with two sides arcing horn, High Voltage (HV) end grading ring, grading ring-arcing horn arrangement and two sides grading ring. These EFA results recommended that two sides grading ring is better for minimization of electrical stresses and improving life span of insulator.

618
10010370
Institutional Determinants of Economic Growth in Georgia and in Other Post-Communist Economies
Abstract:

The institutional development is one of the actual topics in economics science. New trends and directions of institutional development mostly depend on its structure and framework. Transformation of institutions is an important problem for every economy, especially for developing countries. The first research goal is to determine the importance and interactions between different institutions in Georgia. Using World Governance Indicators and Economic Freedom indexes it can be calculated the size for each institutional group. The second aim of this research is to evaluate Georgian institutional backwardness in comparison to other post-communist economies. We use statistical and econometric methods to evaluate the difference between the levels of institutional development in Georgia and in leading post-communist economies. Within the scope of this research, major findings are coefficients which are an assessment of their deviation (i.e. lag) of institutional indicators between Georgia and leading post-communist country which should be compared. The last part of the article includes analysis around the selected coefficients.

617
10010386
Products in Early Development Phases: Ecological Classification and Evaluation Using an Interval Arithmetic Based Calculation Approach
Abstract:

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.

616
10010401
Settlement Analysis of Axially Loaded Bored Piles: A Case History
Abstract:

Pile load tests should be applied to check the bearing capacity calculations and to determine the settlement of the pile corresponding to test load. Strain gauges can be installed into pile in order to determine the shaft resistance of the piles for every soil layer respectively. Detailed results can be obtained by means of strain gauges placed at certain levels into test piles. In the scope of this study, pile load test data obtained from two different projects are examined.  Instrumented static pile load tests were applied on totally 7 test bored piles of different diameters (80 cm, 150 cm, and 200 cm) and different lengths (between 30-76 m) in two different project site. Settlement analysis of test piles is done by using some of load transfer methods and finite element method. Plaxis 3D which is a three-dimensional finite element program is also used for settlement analysis of the test piles. In this study, firstly bearing capacity of test piles are determined and compared with strain gauge data which is required for settlement analysis. Then, settlement values of the test piles are estimated by using load transfer methods developed in recent years and finite element method. The aim of this study is to show similarities and differences between the results obtained from settlement analysis methods and instrumented pile load tests.

615
10010431
Satisfaction of Distance Education University Students with the Use of Audio Media as a Medium of Instruction: The Case of Mountains of the Moon University in Uganda
Abstract:

This study investigates the satisfaction of distance education university students (DEUS) with the use of audio media as a medium of instruction. Studying students’ satisfaction is vital because it shows whether learners are comfortable with a certain instructional strategy or not. Although previous studies have investigated the use of audio media, the satisfaction of students with an instructional strategy that combines radio teaching and podcasts as an independent teaching strategy has not been fully investigated. In this study, all lectures were delivered through the radio and students had no direct contact with their instructors. No modules or any other material in form of text were given to the students. They instead, revised the taught content by listening to podcasts saved on their mobile electronic gadgets. Prior to data collection, DEUS received orientation through workshops on how to use audio media in distance education. To achieve objectives of the study, a survey, naturalistic observations and face-to-face interviews were used to collect data from a sample of 211 undergraduate and graduate students. Findings indicate that there was no statistically significant difference in the levels of satisfaction between male and female students. The results from post hoc analysis show that there is a statistically significant difference in the levels of satisfaction regarding the use of audio media between diploma and graduate students. Diploma students are more satisfied compared to their graduate counterparts. T-test results reveal that there was no statistically significant difference in the general satisfaction with audio media between rural and urban-based students. And ANOVA results indicate that there is no statistically significant difference in the levels of satisfaction with the use of audio media across age groups. Furthermore, results from observations and interviews reveal that DEUS found learning using audio media a pleasurable medium of instruction. This is an indication that audio media can be considered as an instructional strategy on its own merit.

614
10010259
Analysis and Design of Dual-Polarization Antennas for Wireless Communication Systems
Abstract:

The paper describes the design and simulation of dual-polarization antennas that use the resonance and radiating properties of the H00 mode of metal open waveguides. The proposed antennas are formed by two orthogonal slots in a finite conducting ground plane. The slots are backed by metal screens connected to the ground plane forming open waveguides. It has been shown that the antenna designs can be efficiently used in mm-wave bands. The antenna single mode operational bandwidth is higher than 10%. The antenna designs are very simple and low-cost. They allow flush installation and can be efficiently used in various communication and remote sensing devices on fast moving carriers. Mutual coupling between antennas of the proposed design is very low. Thus, multiple antenna structures with proposed antennas can be efficiently employed in multi-band and in multiple-input-multiple-output (MIMO) systems.

613
10010279
Fabrication and Characterization of Al2O3 Based Electrical Insulation Coatings Around SiC Fibers
Abstract:

In structural-health monitoring of fiber reinforced plastics (FRPs), every single inorganic fiber sensor that are integrated into the bulk material requires an electrical insulation around itself, when the surrounding reinforcing fibers are electrically conductive. This results in a more accurate data acquisition only from the sensor fiber without any electrical interventions. For this purpose, thin nano-films of aluminium oxide (Al2O3)-based electrical-insulation coatings have been fabricated around the Silicon Carbide (SiC) single fiber sensors through reactive DC magnetron sputtering technique. The sputtered coatings were amorphous in nature and the thickness of the coatings increased with an increase in the sputter time. Microstructural characterization of the coated fibers performed using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) confirmed a homogeneous circumferential coating with no detectable defects or cracks on the surface. X-ray diffraction (XRD) analyses of the as-sputtered and 2 hours annealed coatings (825 & 1125 ˚C) revealed the amorphous and crystalline phases of Al2O3 respectively. Raman spectroscopic analyses produced no characteristic bands of Al2O3, as the thickness of the films was in the nanometer (nm) range, which is too small to overcome the actual penetration depth of the laser used. In addition, the influence of the insulation coatings on the mechanical properties of the SiC sensor fibers has been analyzed.

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10010299
Italian Central Guarantee Fund: An Analysis of the Guaranteed SMEs’ Default Risk
Abstract:

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. 

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10010300
The Quality of Fishery Product on the Moldovan Market, Regulations, National Institutions, Controls and Non-Compliant Products
Abstract:

This paper presents the aspects of the official control of fishery in the Republic of Moldova. Currently, the regulations and the activity of national institutions with responsibilities in the field of food quality are in a process of harmonization with the European rules, aiming at European integration, quality improvement and providing a higher level of food safety. The National Agency for Food Safety is the main national body with responsibilities in the field of food safety. In the field of fishery products, the Agency carries out an intensive activity of informing the citizen and controlling the products marketed. The paper presents the dangers related to the consumption of fish and fishery products traded on the national market, the sanitary-veterinary inspections conducted by the profile institution and the improper situations identified. The national market of fishery products depends largely on imports, mainly focused on ocean fish. The research carried out has shown that during the period 2011-2018, following the inspections carried out on fishery products traded on the national market, a number of inconsistencies have been identified. Thus, indigenous products were frequently detected with sensory characteristics unfit for consumption, and being commercialized in inappropriate locations or contaminated with chemical pollutants. On import products controlled, the most frequent inconsistent situations have been represented by inconsistent sensory aspects and by parasite contamination. Taking into account the specific aspects of aquatic products, including the high level of alterability, special conditions of growth, marketing, culinary preparation and consumption are necessary in order to decrease the risk of disease over the population. Certificates, attestations and other documents certifying the quality of batches, completed by additional laboratory examinations, are necessary in order to increase the level of confidence on the quality of products marketed in the Republic. The implementation of various control procedures and mechanisms at national level, correlated with the focused activity of the specialized institutions, can decrease the risk of contamination and avoid cases of disease on the population due to the consumption of fishery products.

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