Open Science Research Excellence

Open Science Index

Commenced in January 2007 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Paper Count: 314

Mechanical Properties of Powder Metallurgy Processed Biodegradable Zn-Based Alloy for Biomedical Application

Zinc is a non-ferrous metal with potential application in orthopaedic implant materials. However, its poor mechanical properties were major challenge to its application. Therefore, this paper studies the mechanical properties of biodegradable Zn-based alloy for biomedical application. Pure zinc powder with varying (0, 1, 2, 3 & 6) wt% of magnesium powders were ball milled using ball-to-powder ratio (B:P) of 10:1 at 350 rpm for 4 hours. The resulting milled powders were compacted and sintered at 300 MPa and 350 °C respectively. Microstructural, phase and mechanical properties analyses were performed following American standard of testing and measurement. The results show that magnesium has influence on the mechanical properties of zinc. The compressive strength, hardness and elastic modulus of 210 ± 8.878 MPa, 76 ± 5.707 HV and 45 ± 11.616 GPa respectively as obtained in Zn-2Mg alloy were optimum and meet the minimum requirement of biodegradable metal for orthopaedics application. These results indicate an increase of 111, 93 and 93% in compressive strength, hardness and elastic modulus respectively as compared to pure zinc. The increase in mechanical properties was adduced to effectiveness of compaction pressure and intermetallic phase formation within the matrix resulting in high dislocation density for improving strength. The study concluded that, Zn-2Mg alloy with optimum mechanical properties can therefore be considered a potential candidate for orthopaedic application.

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

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.

Characterization of a Pure Diamond-Like Carbon Film Deposited by Nanosecond Pulsed Laser Deposition

This work aims to investigate the properties and microstructure of diamond-like carbon film deposited by pulsed laser deposition by ablation of a graphite target in a vacuum chamber on a steel substrate. The equipment was mounted to provide one laser beam. The target of high purity graphite and the steel substrate were polished. The mechanical and tribological properties of the film were characterized using Raman spectroscopy, nanoindentation test, scratch test, roughness profile, tribometer, optical microscopy and SEM images. It was concluded that the pulsed laser deposition (PLD) technique associated with the low-pressure chamber and a graphite target provides a good fraction of sp3 bonding, that the process variable as surface polishing and laser parameter have great influence in tribological properties and in adherence tests performance. The optical microscopy images are efficient to identify the metallurgical bond.

Investigation of the Properties of Epoxy Modified Binders Based on Epoxy Oligomer with Improved Deformation and Strength Properties
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.
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.

Development of AA2024 Matrix Composites Reinforced with Micro Yttrium through Cold Compaction with Superior Mechanical Properties

In this present work, five different composite samples with AA2024 as matrix and varying amounts of yttrium (0.1-0.5 wt.%) as reinforcement are developed through cold compaction. The microstructures of the developed composite samples revealed that the yttrium reinforcement caused grain refinement up to 0.3 wt.% and beyond which the refinement is not effective. The microstructure revealed Al2Cu precipitation which strengthened the composite up to 0.3 wt.% yttrium reinforcement. Upon further increase in yttrium reinforcement, the intermetallics and the precipitation coarsen and their corresponding strengthening effect decreases. The mechanical characterization revealed that the composite sample reinforced with 0.3 wt.% yttrium showed highest mechanical properties like 82 HV of hardness, 276 MPa Ultimate Tensile Strength (UTS), 229 MPa Yield Strength (YS) and an elongation (EL) of 18.9% respectively. However, the relative density of the developed composites decreased with the increase in yttrium reinforcement.

Producing and Mechanical Testing of Urea-Formaldehyde Resin Foams Reinforced by Waste Phosphogypsum

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.

Study of Structural and Electronic Properties of Ternary PdMnGe Half-Heusler Alloy

This study deals with the structural and electronic properties of ternary PdMnGe Half-Heusler alloy using the full potential linearized augmented plane wave (FP-LAPW) method based on the density functional theory (DFT) as implemented in the WIEN2k package, within the framework of generalized gradient approximation (GGA). Structural parameters, total and partial densities of states were also analyzed. The obtained result shows that the studied material is metallic in GGA treatment. The elastic constants (Cij) show that our compound is ductile, stiff and anisotropic.

Evaluating Mechanical Properties of CoNiCrAlY Coating from Miniature Specimen Testing at Elevated Temperature

CoNiCrAlY alloys have been widely used as bond coats for thermal barrier coating (TBC) systems because of low cost, improved control of composition, and the feasibility to tailor the coatings microstructures. Coatings are in general very thin structures, and therefore it is impossible to characterize the mechanical responses of the materials via conventional mechanical testing methods. Due to this reason, miniature specimen testing methods, such as the small punch test technique, have been developed. This paper presents some of the recent research in evaluating the mechanical properties of the CoNiCrAlY coatings at room and high temperatures, through the use of small punch testing and the developed miniature specimen tensile testing, applicable to a range of temperature, to investigate the elastic-plastic and creep behavior as well as ductile-brittle transition temperature (DBTT) behavior. An inverse procedure was developed to derive the mechanical properties from such tests for the coating materials. A two-layer specimen test method is also described. The key findings include: 1) the temperature-dependent coating properties can be accurately determined by the miniature tensile testing within a wide range of temperature; 2) consistent DBTTs can be identified by both the SPT and miniature tensile tests (~ 650 °C); and 3) the FE SPT modelling has shown good capability of simulating the early local cracking. In general, the temperature-dependent material behaviors of the CoNiCrAlY coating has been effectively characterized using miniature specimen testing and inverse method.

Effect of Heat Treatment on Mechanical Properties and Wear Behavior of Al7075 Alloy Reinforced with Beryl and Graphene Hybrid Metal Matrix Composites

In the recent years, aluminum metal matrix composites were most widely used, which are finding wide applications in various field such as automobile, aerospace defense etc., due to their outstanding mechanical properties like low density, light weight, exceptional high levels of strength, stiffness, wear resistance, high temperature resistance, low coefficient of thermal expansion and good formability. In the present work, an effort is made to study the effect of heat treatment on mechanical properties of aluminum 7075 alloy reinforced with constant weight percentage of naturally occurring mineral beryl and varying weight percentage of graphene. The hybrid composites are developed with 0.5 wt. %, 1wt.%, 1.5 wt.% and 2 wt.% of graphene and 6 wt.% of beryl  by stir casting liquid metallurgy route. The cast specimens of unreinforced aluminum alloy and hybrid composite samples were prepared for heat treatment process and subjected to solutionizing treatment (T6) at a temperature of 490±5 oC for 8 hours in a muffle furnace followed by quenching in boiling water. The microstructure analysis of as cast and heat treated hybrid composite specimens are examined by scanning electron microscope (SEM). The tensile test and hardness test of unreinforced aluminum alloy and hybrid composites are examined. The wear behavior is examined by pin-on disc apparatus. The results of as cast specimens and heat treated specimens were compared. The heat treated Al7075-Beryl-Graphene hybrid composite had better properties and significantly improved the ultimate tensile strength, hardness and reduced wear loss when compared to aluminum alloy and  as cast hybrid composites.

Study of Mechanical Properties of Glutarylated Jute Fiber Reinforced Epoxy Composites

Natural fibers have attained the potential market in the composite industry because of the huge environmental impact caused by synthetic fibers. Among the natural fibers, jute fibers are the most abundant plant fibers which are manufactured mainly in countries like India. Even though there is a good motive to utilize the natural supplement, the strength of the natural fiber composites is still a topic of discussion. In recent days, many researchers are showing interest in the chemical modification of the natural fibers to increase various mechanical and thermal properties. In the present study, jute fibers have been modified chemically using glutaric anhydride at different concentrations of 5%, 10%, 20%, and 30%. The glutaric anhydride solution is prepared by dissolving the different quantity of glutaric anhydride in benzene and dimethyl-sulfoxide using sodium formate catalyst. The jute fiber mats have been treated by the method of retting at various time intervals of 3, 6, 12, 24, and 36 hours. The modification structure of the treated fibers has been confirmed with infrared spectroscopy. The degree of modification increases with an increase in retention time, but higher retention time has damaged the fiber structure. The unmodified fibers and glutarylated fibers at different retention times are reinforced with epoxy matrix under room temperature. The tensile strength and flexural strength of the composites are analyzed in detail. Among these, the composite made with glutarylated fiber has shown good mechanical properties when compared to those made of unmodified fiber.

Modelling of Hydric Behaviour of Textiles

The goal of this study is to analyze the hydric behaviour of textiles which can impact significantly the comfort of the wearer. Indeed, fabrics can be adapted for different climate if hydric and thermal behaviors are known. In this study, fabrics are only submitted to hydric variations. Sorption and desorption isotherms obtained from the dynamic vapour sorption apparatus (DVS) are fitted with the parallel exponential kinetics (PEK), the Hailwood-Horrobin (HH) and the Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET) models. One of the major finding is the relationship existing between PEK and HH models. During slow and fast processes, the sorption of water molecules on the polymer can be in monolayer and multilayer form. According to the BET model, moisture regain, a physical property of textiles, show a linear correlation with the total amount of water taken in monolayer. This study provides potential information of the end uses of these fabrics according to the selected activity level.

A Numerical Method to Evaluate the Elastoplastic Material Properties of Fiber Reinforced Composite

The representative volume element (RVE) plays a central role in the mechanics of random heterogeneous materials with a view to predicting their effective properties. In this paper, a computational homogenization methodology, developed to determine effective linear elastic properties of composite materials, is extended to predict the effective nonlinear elastoplastic response of long fiber reinforced composite. Finite element simulations of volumes of different sizes and fiber volume fractures are performed for calculation of the overall response RVE. The dependencies of the overall stress-strain curves on the number of fibers inside the RVE are studied in the 2D cases. Volume averaged stress-strain responses are generated from RVEs and compared with the finite element calculations available in the literature at moderate and high fiber volume fractions. For these materials, the existence of an RVE is demonstrated for the sizes of RVE corresponding to 10–100 times the diameter of the fibers. In addition, the response of small size RVE is found anisotropic, whereas the average of all large ones leads to recover the isotropic material properties.

Effects of Gamma Irradiation on Chemical and Antioxidant Properties of Iranian Native Fresh Barberry Fruit
Gamma irradiation greatly reduces the potential microbiological risk of fresh fruits, resulting in improved microbial safety as well as extending their shelf life. The effects of 0.5-2 kGy gamma doses on some physicochemical, microbial and sensory properties of fresh barberry fruits (Berberis vulgaris) during refrigerated storage for 40 days were evaluated. The total anthocyanin and total phenolic contents of barberry fruits decreased in a dose-dependent manner immediately after irradiation and after subsequent storage. In general, it is recommended that, according to the effect of gamma radiation on physicochemical, microbial and sensorial characteristics, doses of 1.25-2 kGy could be used.
Functionality and Application of Rice Bran Protein Hydrolysates in Oil in Water Emulsions: Their Stabilities to Environmental Stresses

Rice bran protein hydrolysates (RBPH) were prepared from defatted rice bran of two different Thai rice cultivars (Plai-Ngahm-Prachinburi; PNP and Khao Dok Mali 105; KDM105) using an enzymatic method. This research aimed to optimize enzyme-assisted protein extraction. In addition, the functional properties of RBPH and their stabilities to environmental stresses including pH (3 to 8), ionic strength (0 mM to 500 mM) and the thermal treatment (30 °C to 90 °C) were investigated. Results showed that enzymatic process for protein extraction of defatted rice bran was as follows: enzyme concentration 0.075 g/ 5 g of protein, extraction temperature 50 °C and extraction time 4 h. The obtained protein hydrolysate powders had a degree of hydrolysis (%) of 21.05% in PNP and 19.92% in KDM105. The solubility of protein hydrolysates at pH 4-6 was ranged from 27.28-38.57% and 27.60-43.00% in PNP and KDM105, respectively. In general, antioxidant activities indicated by total phenolic content, FRAP, ferrous ion-chelating (FIC), and 2,2’-azino-bis-3-ethylbenzthiazoline-6-sulphonic acid (ABTS) of KDM105 had higher than PNP. In terms of functional properties, the emulsifying activity index (EAI) was was 8.78 m²/g protein in KDM105, whereas PNP was 5.05 m²/g protein. The foaming capacity at 5 minutes (%) was 47.33 and 52.98 in PNP and KDM105, respectively. Glutamine, Alanine, Valine, and Leucine are the major amino acid in protein hydrolysates where the total amino acid of KDM105 gave higher than PNP. Furthermore, we investigated environmental stresses on the stability of 5% oil in water emulsion (5% oil, 10 mM citrate buffer) stabilized by RBPH (3.5%). The droplet diameter of emulsion stabilized by KDM105 was smaller (d < 250 nm) than produced by PNP. For environmental stresses, RBPH stabilized emulsions were stable at pH around 3 and 5-6, at high salt (< 400 mM, pH 7) and at temperatures range between 30-50°C.

Graft Copolymerization of Cellulose Acetate with Nitro-N-Amino Phenyl Maleimides

The construction of Nitro -N-amino phenyl maleimide branches onto Cellulose acetate (CA) substrate by free radical graft copolymerization using benzoyl peroxide as initiator led to formation of highly thermal stable copolymers as shown from the results of gravimetric analysis (TGA). CA-g-2,4-dinitro amino phenyl maleimide exhibited higher thermal stability than the CA-g-4-nitro amino phenyl maleimide as shown from the initial decomposition temperature (To). This is due to the ability of nitro group to form hydrogen bonding with hydroxyl group of the glucopyranose ring which increases the crystallinity of polymeric matrix. The crystalline shapes representing the graft part are clearly distinct in the Emission scanning electron microscope (ESEM) morphology of the copolymer. A suggested reaction mechanism for the grafting process was also discussed.

Surface and Bulk Magnetization Behavior of Isolated Ferromagnetic NiFe Nanowires

The surface and bulk magnetization behavior of template released isolated ferromagnetic Ni60Fe40 nanowires of relatively thick diameters (~200 nm), deposited from a dilute suspension onto pre-patterned insulating chips have been investigated experimentally, using a highly sensitive Magneto-Optical Ker Effect (MOKE) magnetometry and Magneto-Resistance (MR) measurements, respectively. The MR data were consistent with the theoretical predictions of the anisotropic magneto-resistance (AMR) effect. The MR measurements, in all the angles of investigations, showed large features and a series of nonmonotonic "continuous small features" in the resistance profiles. The extracted switching fields from these features and from MOKE loops were compared with each other and with the switching fields reported in the literature that adopted the same analytical techniques on the similar compositions and dimensions of nanowires. A large difference between MOKE and MR measurments was noticed. The disparate between MOKE and MR results is attributed to the variance in the micro-magnetic structure of the surface and the bulk of such ferromagnetic nanowires. This result was ascertained using micro-magnetic simulations on an individual: cylindrical and rectangular cross sections NiFe nanowires, with the same diameter/thickness of the experimental wires, using the Object Oriented Micro-magnetic Framework (OOMMF) package where the simulated loops showed different switching events, indicating that such wires have different magnetic states in the reversal process and the micro-magnetic spin structures during switching behavior was complicated. These results further supported the difference between surface and bulk magnetization behavior in these nanowires. This work suggests that a combination of MOKE and MR measurements is required to fully understand the magnetization behavior of such relatively thick isolated cylindrical ferromagnetic nanowires.

Electrospinning and Characterization of Silk Fibroin/Gelatin Nanofibre Mats
In this study, Bombyx mori silk fibroin/gelatin (SF/GT) nanocomposite with different GT ratio (SF/GT 100/0, 90/10 and 70/30) were prepared by electrospinning process and crosslinked with glutaraldehyde (GA) vapor. Properties of crosslinked SF/GT nanocomposites were investigated by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), mechanical test, water uptake capacity (WUC) and porosity. From SEM images, it was found that fiber diameter increased as GT content increased. The results of mechanical test indicated that the SF/GT 70/30 nanocomposites had both the highest Young’s modulus of 342 MPa and the highest tensile strength of about 14 MPa. However, porosity and WUC decreased from 62% and 405% for pristine SF to 47% and 232% for SF/GT 70/30, respectively. This behavior can be related to higher degree of crosslinking as GT ratio increased which altered the structure and physical properties of scaffolds. This study showed that incorporation of GT into SF nanofibers can enhance mechanical properties of resultant nanocomposite, but the GA treatment should be optimized to control and fine-tune other properties to warrant their biomedical application.
Simultaneous Improvement of Wear Performance and Toughness of Ledeburitic Tool Steels by Sub-Zero Treatment

The strength, hardness, and toughness (ductility) are in strong conflict for the metallic materials. The only possibility how to make their simultaneous improvement is to provide the microstructural refinement, by cold deformation, and subsequent recrystallization. However, application of this kind of treatment is impossible for high-carbon high-alloyed ledeburitic tool steels. Alternatively, it has been demonstrated over the last few years that sub-zero treatment induces some microstructural changes in these materials, which might favourably influence their complex of mechanical properties. Commercially available PM ledeburitic steel Vanadis 6 has been used for the current investigations. The paper demonstrates that sub-zero treatment induces clear refinement of the martensite, reduces the amount of retained austenite, enhances the population density of fine carbides, and makes alterations in microstructural development that take place during tempering. As a consequence, the steel manifests improved wear resistance at higher toughness and fracture toughness. Based on the obtained results, the key question “can the wear performance be improved by sub-zero treatment simultaneously with toughness” can be answered by “definitely yes”.

Potential of High Performance Ring Spinning Based on Superconducting Magnetic Bearing

Due to the best quality of yarn and the flexibility of the machine, the ring spinning process is the most widely used spinning method for short staple yarn production. However, the productivity of these machines is still much lower in comparison to other spinning systems such as rotor or air-jet spinning process. The main reason for this limitation lies on the twisting mechanism of the ring spinning process. In the ring/traveler twisting system, each rotation of the traveler along with the ring inserts twist in the yarn. The rotation of the traveler at higher speed includes strong frictional forces, which in turn generates heat. Different ring/traveler systems concerning with its geometries, material combinations and coatings have already been implemented to solve the frictional problem. However, such developments can neither completely solve the frictional problem nor increase the productivity. The friction free superconducting magnetic bearing (SMB) system can be a right alternative replacing the existing ring/traveler system. The unique concept of SMB bearings is that they possess a self-stabilizing behavior, i.e. they remain fully passive without any necessity for expensive position sensing and control. Within the framework of a research project funded by German research foundation (DFG), suitable concepts of the SMB-system have been designed, developed, and integrated as a twisting device of ring spinning replacing the existing ring/traveler system. With the help of the developed mathematical model and experimental investigation, the physical limitations of this innovative twisting device in the spinning process have been determined. The interaction among the parameters of the spinning process and the superconducting twisting element has been further evaluated, which derives the concrete information regarding the new spinning process. Moreover, the influence of the implemented SMB twisting system on the yarn quality has been analyzed with respect to different process parameters. The presented work reveals the enormous potential of the innovative twisting mechanism, so that the productivity of the ring spinning process especially in case of thermoplastic materials can be at least doubled for the first time in a hundred years. The SMB ring spinning tester has also been presented in the international fair “International Textile Machinery Association (ITMA) 2015”.

Mechanical, Thermal and Biodegradable Properties of Bioplast-Spruce Green Wood Polymer Composites

Environmental and sustainability concerns push the industries to manufacture alternative materials having less environmental impact. The Wood Plastic Composites (WPCs) produced by blending the biopolymers and natural fillers permit not only to tailor the desired properties of materials but also are the solution to meet the environmental and sustainability requirements. This work presents the elaboration and characterization of the fully green WPCs prepared by blending a biopolymer, BIOPLAST® GS 2189 and spruce sawdust used as filler with different amounts. Since both components are bio-based, the resulting material is entirely environmentally friendly. The mechanical, thermal, structural properties of these WPCs were characterized by different analytical methods like tensile, flexural and impact tests, Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA), Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) and X-ray Diffraction (XRD). Their water absorption properties and resistance to the termite and fungal attacks were determined in relation with different wood filler content. The tensile and flexural moduli of WPCs increased with increasing amount of wood fillers into the biopolymer, but WPCs became more brittle compared to the neat polymer. Incorporation of spruce sawdust modified the thermal properties of polymer: The degradation, cold crystallization, and melting temperatures shifted to higher temperatures when spruce sawdust was added into polymer. The termite, fungal and water absorption resistance of WPCs decreased with increasing wood amount in WPCs, but remained in durability class 1 (durable) concerning fungal resistance and quoted 1 (attempted attack) in visual rating regarding to the termites resistance except that the WPC with the highest wood content (30 wt%) rated 2 (slight attack) indicating a long term durability. All the results showed the possibility to elaborate the easy injectable composite materials with adjustable properties by incorporation of BIOPLAST® GS 2189 and spruce sawdust. Therefore, lightweight WPCs allow both to recycle wood industry byproducts and to produce a full ecologic material.

The Use of Plant-Based Natural Fibers in Reinforced Cement Composites

Plant-based natural fibers are used more increasingly in construction materials. It is done to reduce the pressure on the built environment, which has been increased dramatically due to the increases world population and their needs. Plant-based natural fibers are abundant in many countries. Despite the low-cost of such environmental friendly renewable material, it has the ability to enhance the mechanical properties of construction materials. This paper presents an extensive discussion on the use of plant-based natural fibers as reinforcement for cement-based composites, with a particular emphasis upon fiber types; fiber characteristics, and fiber-cement composites performance. It also covers a thorough overview on the main factors, affecting the properties of plant-based natural fiber cement composite in it fresh and hardened state. The feasibility of using plant-based natural fibers in producing various construction materials; such as, mud bricks and blocks is investigated. In addition, other applications of using such fibers as internal curing agents as well as durability enhancer are also discussed. Finally, recommendation for possible future work in this area is presented.

Effects of Preparation Conditions on the Properties of Crumb Rubber Modified Binder

Various types of additives are used frequently in order to improve the rheological and mechanical properties of bituminous mixtures. Small devices instead of full scale machines are used for bitumen modification in the laboratory. These laboratory scale devices vary in terms of their properties such as mixing rate, mixing blade and the amount of binder. In this study, the effect of mixing rate and time during the bitumen modification processes on conventional and rheological properties of pure and crumb rubber modified binder were investigated. Penetration, softening point, rotational viscosity (RV) and dynamic shear rheometer (DSR) tests were applied to pure and CR modified bitumen. It was concluded that the penetration and softening point test did not show the efficiency of CR obtained by different mixing conditions. Besides, oxidation that occurred during the preparation processes plays a great part in the improvement effects of the modified binder.

A Resource Survey of Lateritic Soils and Impact Evaluation toward Community Members Living Nearby the Excavation Pits

The objectives of the research are to find the basic engineering properties of lateritic soil and to predict the impact on community members who live nearby the excavation pits in the area of Amphur Pak Thor, Ratchaburi Province in the western area of Thailand. The research was conducted by collecting soil samples from four excavation pits for basic engineering properties, testing and collecting questionnaire data from 120 community members who live nearby the excavation pits, and applying statistical analysis. The results found that the basic engineering properties of lateritic soil can be classified into silt soil type which is cohesionless as the loess or collapsible soil which is not suitable to be used for a pavement structure for commuting highway because it could lead to structural and functional failure in the long run. In terms of opinion from community members toward the impact, the highest impact was on the dust from excavation activities. The prediction from the logistic regression in terms of impact on community members was at 84.32 which can be adapted and applied onto other areas with the same context as a guideline for risk prevention and risk communication since it could impact the infrastructures and also impact the health of community members.

Application of Artificial Neural Network in Assessing Fill Slope Stability

This paper details the utilization of artificial intelligence (AI) in the field of slope stability whereby quick and convenient solutions can be obtained using the developed tool. The AI tool used in this study is the artificial neural network (ANN), while the slope stability analysis methods are the finite element limit analysis methods. The developed tool allows for the prompt prediction of the safety factors of fill slopes and their corresponding probability of failure (depending on the degree of variation of the soil parameters), which can give the practicing engineer a reasonable basis in their decision making. In fact, the successful use of the Extreme Learning Machine (ELM) algorithm shows that slope stability analysis is no longer confined to the conventional methods of modeling, which at times may be tedious and repetitive during the preliminary design stage where the focus is more on cost saving options rather than detailed design. Therefore, similar ANN-based tools can be further developed to assist engineers in this aspect.

Experimental Determination of Shear Strength Properties of Lightweight Expanded Clay Aggregates Using Direct Shear and Triaxial Tests

Artificial lightweight aggregates have a wide range of applications in industry and engineering. Nowadays, the usage of this material in geotechnical activities, especially as backfill in retaining walls has been growing due to the specific characteristics which make it a competent alternative to the conventional geotechnical materials. In practice, a material with lower weight but higher shear strength parameters would be ideal as backfill behind retaining walls because of the important roles that these parameters play in decreasing the overall active lateral earth pressure. In this study, two types of Light Expanded Clay Aggregates (LECA) produced in the Leca factory are investigated. LECA is made in a rotary kiln by heating natural clay at different temperatures up to 1200 °C making quasi-spherical aggregates with different sizes ranged from 0 to 25 mm. The loose bulk density of these aggregates is between 300 and 700 kN/m3. The purpose of this research is to determine the stress-strain behavior, shear strength parameters, and the energy absorption of LECA materials. Direct shear tests were conducted at five normal stresses of 25, 50, 75, 100, and 200 kPa. In addition, conventional triaxial compression tests were operated at confining pressures of 50, 100, and 200 kPa to examine stress-strain behavior. The experimental results show a high internal angle of friction and even a considerable amount of nominal cohesion despite the granular structure of LECA. These desirable properties along with the intrinsic low density of these aggregates make LECA as a very proper material in geotechnical applications. Furthermore, the results demonstrate that lightweight aggregates may have high energy absorption that is excellent alternative material in seismic isolations.

Study on the Application of Lime to Improve the Rheological Properties of Polymer Modified Bitumen

Bitumen is one of the most applicable materials in pavement engineering. It is a binding material with unique viscoelastic properties, especially when it mixes with polymer. In this study, to figure out the viscoelastic behaviour of the polymer modified with bitumen (PMB), a series of dynamic shearing rheological (DSR) tests were conducted. Four percentages of lime (i.e. 1%, 2%, 4% and 5%) were mixed with PMB and tested under four different temperatures including 64ºC, 70ºC, 76ºC and 82ºC. The results indicated that complex shearing modulus (G*) increased by increasing the frequency due to raised resistance against deformation. The phase angle (δ) showed a decreasing trend by incrementing the frequency. The addition of lime percentages increased the complex modulus value and declined phase angle parameter. Increasing the temperature decreased the complex modulus and increased the phase angle until 70ºC. The decreasing trend of rutting factor with increasing temperature revealed that rutting factor improved by the addition of the lime to the PMB.

Basicity of Jordanian Natural Clays Studied by Pyrrole-tpd and Catalytic Conversion of Methylbutynol

The main objective of this study is to investigate basic properties of different natural clays, by two methods. The first method is a gas phase conversion of methylbutynol (MBOH). The second method is the application of Pyrrole-tpd. Based on the product distribution from the first method, the acidic, basic and coordinately unsaturated sites were differentiated. It was shown that both the conversion and the selectivity for basic products did not change with reaction time. Nevertheless, a deviation from the stoichiometric ratio R of formed acetylene to acetone was observed (R=0.8…0.97). The conversion normalized to the surface area was used for establishing the activity sequence: White kaolinite > red kaolinite > bentonite > zeolite > di­ato­mite. In addition, the results were compared with synthetic amorphous alumosilicates and typical basic materials like MgO and ZnO. The basic properties were characterized using the Pyrrole-tpd.  The Pyrrole-tpd results showed the same basicity sequence as the MBOH gas phase reaction.

Modeling Nanomechanical Behavior of ZnO Nanowires as a Function of Nano-Diameter
Elastic performances, as an essential property of nanowires (NWs), play a significant role in the design and fabrication of modern nanodevices. In this paper, our interest is focused on ZnO NWs to investigate wire diameter (Dwire ≤ 400 nm) effects on elastic properties. The plotted data reveal that a strong size dependence of the elastic constants exists when the wire diameter is smaller than ~ 100 nm. For larger diameters (Dwire > 100 nm), these ones approach their corresponding bulk values. To enrich this study, we make use of the scanning acoustic microscopy simulation technique. The calculation methodology consists of several steps: determination of longitudinal and transverse wave velocities, calculation of refection coefficients, calculation of acoustic signatures and Rayleigh velocity determination. Quantitatively, it was found that changes in ZnO diameters over the ranges 1 nm ≤ Dwire ≤ 100 nm lead to similar exponential variations, for all elastic parameters, of the from: A = a + b exp(-Dwire/c) where a, b, and c are characteristic constants of a given parameter. The developed relation can be used to predict elastic properties of such NW by just knowing its diameter and vice versa.
Evaluation of the Elastic Mechanical Properties of a Hybrid Adhesive Material

Adhesive materials and adhesion have been the focal point of multiple research works related to numerous applications, particularly, aerospace, and aviation industries. To enhance the properties of conventional adhesive materials, additives have been introduced to the mix in order to enhance their mechanical and physical properties by creating a hybrid adhesive material. The evaluation of the mechanical properties of such hybrid adhesive materials is thus of an essential requirement for the purpose of properly modeling their behavior accurately. This paper presents an approach/tool to simulate the behavior such hybrid adhesives in a way that will allow researchers to better understand their behavior while in service.

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