Open Science Research Excellence

Open Science Index

Commenced in January 2007 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Abstract Count: 62548

Measuring the Cavitation Cloud by Electrical Impedance Tomography
This paper is a case study dealing with the viability of using Electrical Impedance Tomography for measuring cavitation clouds in a pipe setup. The authors used a simple passive cavitation generator to cause a cavitation cloud, which was then recorded for multiple flow rates using electrodes in two measuring planes. The paper presents the results of the experiment, showing the used industrial grade tomography system ITS p2+ is able to measure the cavitation cloud and may be particularly useful for identifying the inception of cavitation in setups where other measuring tools may not be viable.
Measuring of the Volume Ratio of Two Immiscible Liquids Using Electrical Impedance Tomography
Authors of this paper discuss the measuring of volume ratio of two immiscible liquids in the homogenous mixture using the industrial Electrical Impedance Tomography (EIT) system ITS p2+. In the first part of the paper, the principle of EIT and the basic theory of conductivity of mixture of two components are stated. In the next part, the experiment with water and olive oil mixed with Rushton turbine is described, and the measured results are used to verify the theory. In the conclusion, the results are discussed in detail, and the accuracy of the measuring method and its advantages are also mentioned.
Optimization of Real Time Measured Data Transmission, Given the Amount of Data Transmitted
The operation of nuclear power plants involves continuous monitoring of the environment in their area. This monitoring is performed using a complex data acquisition system, which collects status information about the system itself and values of many important physical variables e.g. temperature, humidity, dose rate etc. This paper describes a proposal and optimization of communication that takes place in teledosimetric system between the central control server responsible for the data processing and storing and the decentralized measuring stations, which are measuring the physical variables. Analyzes of ongoing communication were performed and consequently the optimization of the system architecture and communication was done.
The Effectiveness of an Injury Prevention Workshop in Increasing Knowledge and Understanding in Grass-Root Youth Coaches
There are well-known challenges to implementing injury prevention training for youth players but no data are available on the knowledge and understanding of deliverers of such programmes at grass root level. To increase adoption and adherence to such programmes coach knowledge and understanding of injury risk and prevention is essential. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine grass-root coaches knowledge and understanding of injury risk and prevention in youth players. 68 grass root coaches (18 females and 50 males) who were attending a one-day injury prevention workshop completed a modified validated questionnaire exploring knowledge and understanding of injury risk and prevention in youth players. Only 59% of coaches agreed that youth players are at a high risk of suffering an injury. There were high levels of agreement that injuries can have negative impacts on team performance (75%) and can cause physical problems in later life (85%), however only around half of coaches felt that injuries affect youth players current quality of life (59%). There was strong agreement that it is possible to prevent injuries in youth players (84%), but coaches were generally unaware of programs to help prevent injuries (84%), and only 9% used some form of injury prevention program. Despite this, nearly all coaches felt that their coaching could benefit from a greater understanding of growth and maturation (91%), injury prevention programmes (91%) and specific exercises (93%) for youth athletes. 17% of coaches rated their knowledge of injury prevention as good/very good at the start of the workshop and this increased to 94% at the end of the workshop. 62% of coaches identified their attitude towards injury prevention as indifferent at the start of the workshop compared with only 1% at the end. Only 14% of coaches at the start of the workshop were confident to deliver an injury prevention session but 83% stated they were confident by the end of the workshop. Finally, 98% of coaches felt that the workshop provided them with the confidence and the knowledge to deliver an injury prevention session and 98% suggested that they would implement injury prevention into their coaching. These data suggest that there is a lack of understanding of grass root coaches that children are a high-risk group for injuries, and that such injuries impact on current quality of life. Despite understanding that injuries can be prevented most grass root coaches do not have the knowledge to implement injury prevention into their coaching and very few do. There is a common consensus amongst these coaches that a greater understanding of such programmes will enhance their coaching. The injury prevention workshop appears to have increased the knowledge and changed the attitude of coaches towards injury prevention. All coaches felt that the workshop provided them with the tools to adopt, implement and deliver injury prevention in their coaching. These data highlight that there is a clear need for education regarding injury risk and prevention to be embedded within the coach education pathway, especially at grass root level.
Urban Laboratory for Community Involvement in Urban Design Process
This article explores urban laboratory, which presents a combination of different physical and digital methods and tools for public participation in urban design. The city consists of built and unbuilt environments, which can be defined as a community of people, who live there. Communities should have the option to express opinions and decide about the future of their city, from the early stages of the design process onwards. In this paper, we presented the possibility of involving community into renewal of Banska Štiavnica in Slovakia (more exactly the old mining shaft and lake Michal Štolna) and the methods to promote the community building. As a case study we presented the eTHNo project, Education about Technical, Historical and Natural opportunities of Michal Štolna. Moreover, we discussed the possibility of using virtual digital tools for public participation in urban design, where we especially focused on Virtual Urban Laboratory, VuLab.
Factory Virtual Environment Development for Augmented and Virtual Reality
Machine visualization is an area of interest with fast and progressive development. We present a method of machine visualization which will be applicable in real industrial conditions according to current needs and demands. Real factory data were obtained in a newly built research plant. Methods described in this paper were validated on a case study. Input data were processed and the virtual environment was created. The environment contains information about dimensions, structure, disposition, and function. Hardware was enhanced by modular machines, prototypes, and accessories. We added new functionalities and machines into the virtual environment. The user is able to interact with objects such as testing and cutting machines, he/she can operate and move them. Proposed design consists of an environment with two degrees of freedom of movement. Users are in touch with items in the virtual world which are embedded into the real surroundings. This paper describes the development of the virtual environment. We compared and tested various options of factory layout virtualization and visualization. We analyzed possibilities of using a 3D scanner in the layout obtaining process and we also analyzed various virtual reality hardware visualization methods such as Stereoscopic (CAVE) projection, Head Mounted Display (HMD), and augmented reality (AR) projection provided by see-through glasses.
Factors Leading to Recividism
We have detected factors leading to recidivism (the Czech Republic data). The employment during imprisonment turned out to be the most significant predictor with a positive effect on reduction of a rate of recidivism. Accordingly, we mainly focus on this predictor and its economic consequences. Smart public policy can cut government costs dramatically as more than a half of prisoners in the Czech Republic are recidivists. The operating cost cut of the Czech prison service could be CZK 127,680,000 (USD 5,889,623) in 2013 if a public policy had been set smarter.
The Discriminate Analysis and Relevant Model for Mapping Export Potential
There are pending discussions over the mapping of country export potential in order to refocus export strategy of firms and its evidence-based promotion by the Export Credit Agencies (ECAs) and other permitted vehicles of governments. In this paper we develop our version of an applied model that offers “stepwise” elimination of unattractive markets. We modify and calibrate the model for the particular features of the Czech Republic and specific pilot cases where we apply an individual approach to each sector.
Cogeneration Unit for Small Stove
This paper shows an experimental testing of a small unit for combustion of solid fuels, such as charcoal and wood logs, that can provide electricity. One of the concepts is that the unit does not require a qualified personnel for its operation. The unit itself is composed of two main parts. The design requires a heat producing stove and an electricity producing thermoelectric generator. After the construction the unit was tested and the results shows that the emission release is within the legislative requirements for emission production and environmental protection. That qualifies such unit for indoor application.
Mechanical and Microstructural Properties of Rotary-Swaged Wire of Commercial-Purity Titanium
Bars made of titanium grade 2 and grade 4 were subjected to rotary forging with up to 2.2 true strain reduction in the cross-section from 10 to 3.81 mm. During progressive deformation, grain refinement in the transverse direction took place. In the longitudinal direction, ultrafine microstructure has not developed. It has been demonstrated that titanium grade 2 strengthens more than grade 4. The ultimate tensile strength increased from 650 MPa to 1040 MPa in titanium grade 4. Hardness profiles on the cross section in both materials show an increase in the centre of the wire.
Progressive View on Quality Management and Research on Improving Services in Railway Transport
This article describes the results of research focused on progressive view on quality management. It characterizes a research of improving services in railway transport. Improvement of these services has a strong importance in customer considering on the future use of railway transport. The research provides quality characteristics of transportation, defines critical points of technological processes and specifies the quality model supported by software solution. Main principles and results of the research have a significant importance and belong to numerous initiatives aimed to develop and support railway transport.
Numerical Calculation of Heat Transfer in Water Heater
This article is trying to determine the status of flue gas that is entering the KWH heat exchanger from combustion chamber in order to calculate the heat transfer ratio of the heat exchanger. Combination of measurement, calculation, and computer simulation was used to create a useful way to approximate the heat transfer rate. The measurements were taken by a number of sensors that are mounted on the experimental device and by a thermal imaging camera. The results of the numerical calculation are in a good correspondence with the real power output of the experimental device. Results show that the research has a good direction and can be used to propose changes in the construction of the heat exchanger, but still needs enhancements.
Knowledge Discovery from Production Databases for Hierarchical Process Control
The paper gives the results of the project that was oriented on the usage of knowledge discoveries from production systems for needs of the hierarchical process control. One of the main project goals was the proposal of knowledge discovery model for process control. Specifics data mining methods and techniques was used for defined problems of the process control. The gained knowledge was used on the real production system, thus, the proposed solution has been verified. The paper documents how it is possible to apply new discovery knowledge to be used in the real hierarchical process control. There are specified the opportunities for application of the proposed knowledge discovery model for hierarchical process control.
Using High Performance Computing for Online Flood Monitoring and Prediction
The main goal of this article is to describe the online flood monitoring and prediction system Floreon+ primarily developed for the Moravian-Silesian region in the Czech Republic and the basic process it uses for running automatic rainfall-runoff and hydrodynamic simulations along with their calibration and uncertainty modeling. It takes a long time to execute such process sequentially, which is not acceptable in the online scenario, so the use of high-performance computing environment is proposed for all parts of the process to shorten their duration. Finally, a case study on the Ostravice river catchment is presented that shows actual durations and their gain from the parallel implementation.
The Impact of Feuerstein Enhancement of Learning Potential to the Integration of Children from Socially Disadvantaged Backgrounds into Society
Aim: Aim of this study is to introduce the method of instrumental enrichment to people who works in the helping professions, and show further possibilities of its realization with children from socially disadvantaged backgrounds into society. Methods: We focused on Feuerstein’s Instrumental Enrichment method, its theoretical grounds and practical implementation. We carried out questionnaires and directly observed children from the disadvantaged background in Partizánske district. Results: We outlined the issues of children from disadvantaged social environment and their opportunity of social integration using the method. The findings showed the utility of Feuerstein method. Conclusions: We conclude that Feuerstein methods are very suitable for children from socially disadvantaged background and importance of social workers and special educator co-operation.
Design of a Pneumonia Ontology for Diagnosis Decision Support System
Diagnosis error problem is frequent and one of the most important safety problems today. One of the main objectives of our work is to propose an ontological representation that takes into account the diagnostic criteria in order to improve the diagnostic. We choose pneumonia disease since it is one of the frequent diseases affected by diagnosis errors and have harmful effects on patients. To achieve our aim, we use a semi-automated method to integrate diverse knowledge sources that include publically available pneumonia disease guidelines from international repositories, biomedical ontologies and electronic health records. We follow the principles of the Open Biomedical Ontologies (OBO) Foundry. The resulting ontology covers symptoms and signs, all the types of pneumonia, antecedents, pathogens, and diagnostic testing. The first evaluation results show that most of the terms are covered by the ontology. This work is still in progress and represents a first and major step toward a development of a diagnosis decision support system for pneumonia.
Advantages of Fuzzy Control Application in Fast and Sensitive Technological Processes
This paper presents the advantages of fuzzy control use in technological processes control. The paper presents a real application of the Linguistic Fuzzy-Logic Control, developed at the University of Ostrava for the control of physical models in the Intelligent Systems Laboratory. The paper presents an example of a sensitive non-linear model, such as a magnetic levitation model and obtained results which show how modern information technologies can help to solve actual technical problems. A special method based on the LFLC controller with partial components is presented in this paper followed by the method of automatic context change, which is very helpful to achieve more accurate control results. The main advantage of the used system is its robustness in changing conditions demonstrated by comparing with conventional PID controller. This technology and real models are also used as a background for problem-oriented teaching, realized at the department for master students and their collaborative as well as individual final projects.
Enterprise Information Portal Features: Results of Content Analysis Literature Review
Since their introduction in 1990’s, Enterprise Information Portals (EIPs) were investigated from different perspectives (e.g. project management, technology acceptance, IS success). However, no systematic literature review was produced to systematize both the research efforts and the technology itself. This paper reports first results of an extent systematic literature review study focused on research of EIPs and its categorization, specifically it reports a conceptual model of EIP features. The previous attempt to categorize EIP features was published in 2002. For the purpose of the literature review, content of 89 articles was analyzed in order to identify and categorize features of EIPs. The methodology of the literature review was as follows. Firstly, search queries in major indexing databases (Web of Science and SCOPUS) were used. The results of queries were analyzed according to their usability for the goal of the study. Then, full-texts were coded in Atlas.ti according to previously established coding scheme. The codes were categorized and the conceptual model of EIP features was created.
Interaction of Histone H1 with Chromatin-associated Protein HMGB1 Studied by Microscale Thermophoresis
HMGB1 is an architectural protein in chromatin, acting also as a signaling molecule outside the cell. Recent reports from several laboratories provided evidence that a number of both the intracellular and extracellular functions of HMGB1 may depend on redox-sensitive cysteine residues of the protein. MALDI-TOF analysis revealed that mild oxidization of HMGB1 resulted in a conformational change of the protein due to formation of an intramolecular disulphide bond by opposing Cys23 and Cys45 residues. We have demonstrated that redox state of HMGB1 could significantly modulate the ability of the protein to bind and bend DNA. We have also shown that reduced HMGB1 could easily displace histone H1 from DNA, while oxidized HMGB1 had limited capacity for H1 displacement. Using microscale thermophoresis (MST) we have further studied mechanism of HMGB1 interaction with histone H1 in free solution or when histone H1 was bound to DNA. Our MST analysis indicated that reduced HMGB1 exhibited in free solution > 1000 higher affinity of for H1 (KD ~ 4.5 nM) than oxidized HMGB1 (KD
Structural, Magnetic, Dielectric, and Electrical Properties of ZnFe2O4 Nanoparticles
ZnFe2O4 spinel ferrite nanoparticles were synthesized by sol-gel auto-combustion method. The synthesized spinel ferrite nanoparticles were annealed at different higher temperature to achieve different size nanoparticles. The as synthesized and annealed samples were characterized by powder X-ray Diffraction Spectroscopy, Raman Spectroscopy, Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy, UV-Vis absorption Spectroscopy and Scanning Electron Microscopy. The magnetic properties were studied by vibrating sample magnetometer. The variation in magnetic parameters was noticed with variation in grain size. The dielectric constant and dielectric loss with variation of frequency shows normal behaviour of spinel ferrite. The variation in conductivity with variation in grain size is noticed. Modulus and Impedance Spectroscopy shows the role of grain and grain boundary on the electrical resistance and capacitance of different grain sized spinel ferrite nanoparticles. Acknowledgment: This work was supported by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic – Program NPU I (LO1504).
Atmospheric Fluid Bed Gasification of Different Biomass Fuels
This paper shortly describes biomass types and growing amount in the Czech Republic. The considerable part of this paper deals with energy parameters of the most frequent utilizing biomass types and results of their gasification testing. There was chosen sixteen the most exploited "Czech" woody plants and grasses. There were determinated raw, element and biochemical analysis, basic calorimetric values, ash composition and ash characteristic temperatures. After that, each biofuel was tested by fluid bed gasification. The essential part of this paper yields results of chosen biomass types gasification experiments. Partly, there are described an operating conditions in detail with accentuation of individual fuels particularities partly, there is summarized gas composition and impurities content. The essential difference was determined mainly between woody plants and grasses both from point of view of the operating conditions and gas quality. The woody plants was evaluated as more suitable fuels for fluid bed gasifiers. This results will be able to significantly help with decision which energy plants are suitable for growing or with optimal biomass-treatment technology selection.
Impact of Gd³⁺ Substitution on Structural, Optical and Magnetic Properties of ZnFe₂O₄ Nanoparticles
In this report, the impact of Gd³⁺ substitution in ZnFe₂O₄ spinel ferrite nanoparticles on structural, optical and magnetic properties was investigated. ZnFe₂₋ₓGdₓO₄ (x=0.00, 0.05, 0.10, 0.15, 0.20) nanoparticles were synthesized by honey-mediated sol-gel combustion method. X-ray diffraction, Raman Spectroscopy and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy confirmed the formation of cubic spinel ferrite crystal structure. The morphology and elemental analysis were studied using field emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM) and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, respectively. UV-Visible reflectance spectroscopy revealed band gap variation with concentration of Gd³⁺ substitution in ZnFe₂O₄ nanoparticles. Magnetic property was studied using vibrating sample magnetometer at room temperature. The synthesized spinel ferrite nanoparticles showed ferromagnetic behaviour. The evaluated magnetic parameters such as saturation magnetization, coercivity and remanence showed variation with Gd³⁺ substitution in spinel ferrite nanoparticles. This work was supported by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic – Program NPU I (LO1504).
Maras and Public Security in Central America in XXI Century
The aim of this paper is a critical analysis of the security policy in the field of the fight against transnational criminal groups in Central America in XXI century. We are analyzing all taken issues from several perspectives: political, anthropological, sociological and legal which allows me to confront behavior and the attitudes of the political elites against official legislative changes and declared actions, strategies and policies against practice. In the first part of paper we would like to present the genesis and characteristic of transnational gangs, called maras and next we would like to present their activities and roles within chosen sectors of organized crimes. In the second part we will analyze the government’s policy towards transnational criminal groups. The analysis will be concentrated on public safety policy implemented in specific Central American countries as well as regional international cooperation. The main intention of the author is to present the state of the security in Central America in XXI century by emphasizing failures and successes in the fight against transnational criminal organizations. Additionally we want to present and define the challenges currently facing the region now and to show the prediction of the situation’s development within next future and to define the recommendations on the design of public security policies in Central American countries.
EZOB Technology, Biomass Gasification, and Microcogeneration Unit
This paper deals with the issue of biomass and sorted municipal waste gasification and cogeneration using hot air turbo set. It brings description of designed pilot plant with electrical output 80 kWe. The generated gas is burned in secondary combustion chamber located beyond the gas generator. Flue gas flows through the heat exchanger where the compressed air is heated and consequently brought to a micro turbine. Except description, this paper brings our basic experiences from operating of pilot plant (operating parameters, contributions, problems during operating, etc.). The principal advantage of the given cycle is the fact that there is no contact between the generated gas and the turbine. So there is no need for costly and complicated gas cleaning which is the main source of operating problems in direct use in combustion engines because the content of impurities in the gas causes operation problems to the units due to clogging and tarring of working surfaces of engines and turbines, which may lead as far as serious damage to the equipment under operation. Another merit is the compact container package making installation of the facility easier or making it relatively more mobile. We imagine, this solution of cogeneration from biomass or waste can be suitable for small industrial or communal applications, for low output cogeneration.
Biomass Gasification and Microcogeneration Unit–EZOB Technology
This paper deals with the issue of biomass and sorted municipal waste gasification and cogeneration using hot-air turbo-set. It brings description of designed pilot plant with electrical output 80 kWe. The generated gas is burned in secondary combustion chamber located beyond the gas generator. Flue gas flows through the heat exchanger where the compressed air is heated and consequently brought to a micro turbine. Except description, this paper brings our basic experiences from operating of pilot plant (operating parameters, contributions, problems during operating, etc.). The principal advantage of the given cycle is the fact that there is no contact between the generated gas and the turbine. So there is no need for costly and complicated gas cleaning which is the main source of operating problems in direct use in combustion engines because the content of impurities in the gas causes operation problems to the units due to clogging and tarring of working surfaces of engines and turbines, which may lead as far as serious damage to the equipment under operation. Another merit is the compact container package making installation of the facility easier or making it relatively more mobile. We imagine, this solution of cogeneration from biomass or waste can be suitable for small industrial or communal applications, for low output cogeneration.
Advanced Energy Absorbers Used in Blast Resistant Systems
The main aim of the presented experiments is to improve behaviour of sandwich structures under dynamic loading, such as crash or explosion. This paper describes experimental investigation on the response of new advanced materials to low and high velocity load. Blast wave energy absorbers were designed using two types of porous lightweight raw particle materials based on expanded glass and ceramics with dimensions of 0.5-1 mm, combined with polymeric binder. The effect of binder amount on the static and dynamic properties of designed materials was observed. Prism shaped specimens were prepared and loaded to obtain physico-mechanical parameters – bulk density, compressive and flexural strength under quasistatic load, the dynamic response was determined using Split Hopkinson Pressure bar apparatus. Numerical investigation of the material behaviour in sandwich structure was performed using implicit/explicit solver LS-Dyna. As the last step, the developed material was used as the interlayer of blast resistant litter bin, and it´s functionality was verified by real field blast tests.
Numerical and Experimental Investigation of a Mechanical System with a Pendulum
This paper presents a numerical and experimental research of a nonlinear two degrees of freedom system. The tested system consists of a mechanical oscillator (the primary subsystem) with the attached pendulum (the secondary subsystem). The oscillator is suspended on a linear (or nonlinear) coil spring and a nonlinear magnetorheorogical damper and it is excited kinematically. Added pendulum can be used to reduce vibration of a primary subsystem or to energy harvesting. The numerical and experimental investigations showed that the pendulum can perform several types of motion, for example: chaotic motion, constant position in lower or upper (stable inverted pendulum), rotation, symmetrical or asymmetrical swinging vibrations. The main objective of this study is to determine an influence of system parameters for increasing the zone when the pendulum rotates. As a final effect a semi-active control method to change the pendulum solution on the rotation is proposed. To the implementation of this method the magnetorheorogical damper is applied. Continuous rotation of the pendulum is desirable for recovery of energy. The work is financed by Grant no. 0234/IP2/2011/71 from the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education in years 2012-2014.
Plasma Treatment of a Lignite Using Water-Stabilized Plasma Torch at Atmospheric Pressure
Recycling of organic waste is an increasingly hot topic in recent years. This issue becomes even more interesting if the raw material for the fuel production can be obtained as the result of that recycling. A process of high-temperature decomposition of a lignite (a non-hydrolysable complex organic compound) was studied on the plasma gasification reactor PLASGAS, where water-stabilized plasma torch was used as a source of high enthalpy plasma. The plasma torch power was 120 kW and allowed heating of the reactor to more than 1000 °C. The material feeding rate in the gasification reactor was selected 30 and 60 kg per hour that could be compared with small industrial production. An efficiency estimation of the thermal decomposition process was done. A balance of the torch energy distribution was studied as well as an influence of the lignite particle size and an addition of methane (CH4) in a reaction volume on the syngas composition (H2+CO). It was found that the ratio H2:CO had values in the range of 1,5 to 2,5 depending on the experimental conditions. The recycling process occurred at atmospheric pressure that was one of the important benefits because of the lack of expensive vacuum pump systems. The work was supported by the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic under the project GA15-19444S.
Predictors of the Self-Reported Likelihood of Seeking Social Worker Help among People with Physical Disabilities
Social workers hold a variety of roles and practices, and one of these involves the care, treatment, and rehabilitation of disabled people. The current study assesses the association between demographic factors, attitudes towards social workers, the stigma attached to seeking social worker help, perceived social support, and psychological distress - and the self-reported likelihood of seeking social worker help, among people with physical disabilities (PWPD) in Israel. Data collection utilized structured questionnaires, administered to a sample of 435 PWPD. Statistical analyses were done using SPSS software. The findings suggest that women, older respondents, people with more positive attitudes towards social workers, with higher levels of psychological distress and of social support, and with a lower level of stigma, reported a greater likelihood of seeking social worker help. The study's conclusion is that there are certain avoidance factors among PWPD that might discourage them from seeking professional social worker help. Therefore, it is important that social workers identify these factors and develop interventions aimed at encouraging PWPD to seek professional social worker help in case of need, and also develop practices adjusted to PWPD's unique needs.
Fatigue Tests of New Assembly Bolt Connections for Perspective Temporary Steel Railway Bridges
The paper deals with the problems of the actual behavior, failure mechanism and load-carrying capacity of the special bolt connection developed and intended for the assembly connections of truss main girders of perspective railway temporary steel bridges. Within the framework of this problem solution, several types of structural details of assembly joints have been considered as the conceptual structural design. Based on the preliminary evaluation of advantages or disadvantages of these ones, in principle two basic structural configurations so-called “tooth” and “splice-plate” connections have been selected for the subsequent detailed investigation. This investigation is mainly based on the experimental verification of the actual behavior, strain and failure mechanism and corresponding strength of the connection, and on its numerical modeling using FEM. This paper is focused only on the cyclic loading (fatigue) tests results of “splice-plate” connections and their evaluation, which have already been finished. Simultaneously with the fatigue tests, the static loading tests have been realized too, but these ones, as well as FEM numerical modeling, are not the subject of this paper.
Time/Temperature-Dependent Finite Element Model of Laminated Glass Beams
The polymer foil used for manufacturing of laminated glass members behaves in a viscoelastic manner with temperature dependence. This contribution aims at incorporating the time/temperature-dependent behavior of interlayer to our earlier elastic finite element model for laminated glass beams. The model is based on a refined beam theory: each layer behaves according to the finite-strain shear deformable formulation by Reissner and the adjacent layers are connected via the Lagrange multipliers ensuring the inter-layer compatibility of a laminated unit. The time/temperature-dependent behavior of the interlayer is accounted for by the generalized Maxwell model and by the time-temperature superposition principle due to the Williams, Landel, and Ferry. The resulting system is solved by the Newton method with consistent linearization and the viscoelastic response is determined incrementally by the exponential algorithm. By comparing the model predictions against available experimental data, we demonstrate that the proposed formulation is reliable and accurately reproduces the behavior of the laminated glass units.
Rechargable N-Halamine Nanoparticles for Antibacterial and Antifouling Applications
Biofilm formation is a serious problem in medical and industrial settings due to the increased resistance of these communities to killing compared to free-living bacteria. This has prompted the search for agents that can inhibit both bacterial growth and biofilm formation. In this study, N-halamine rechargeable nanoparticles (NPs) were synthesized by co-polymerization of the monomer methacryl amide and the cross-linker monomer N,N-methylene bisacryl amide, and were subsequently loaded with Cl+, using bleach. The chlorinated NPs exhibited remarkable stability to organic reagents. The antibacterial mechanism of the P(MAA-MBAA)-Cl NPs involved generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) only upon exposure to organic media, but not upon incubation in water, suggesting a specific activation. Moreover, a unique interaction of the P(MAA-MBAA)-Cl NPs with Staphylococcus aureus bacteria but not with human cells was discovered, whereby these microorganisms were all specifically targeted and marked for destruction. Finally, in collaboration with Netafim Ltd. irrigation drippers containing the P(MAA-MBAA)-Cl were incubated in the field and were shown to prevent fouling on them for 5 months as opposed to the control drippers that exhibited substantial fouling. Further, the NPs offer recharging to the surface, thus providing long-lasting protection that does not exist in the products available today. Taken together, the results demonstrate the great potential of implementing the charged NPs in devices and surfaces to prevent bacterial growth.
Influence of La³⁺ on Structural, Magnetic, Optical and Dielectric Properties in CoFe₂O₄ Nanoparticles Synthesized by Starch-Assisted Sol-Gel Combustion Method
Herein, we reported the influence of La³⁺ substitution on structural, magnetic and dielectric properties of CoFe₂O₄ nanoparticles synthesized by starch-assisted sol-gel combustion method. X-ray diffraction pattern confirmed the formation of cubic spinel structure of La³⁺ ions doped CoFe₂O₄ nanoparticles. Raman and Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy study also confirmed cubic spinel structure of La³⁺ substituted CoFe₂O₄ nanoparticles. The field emission scanning electron microscopy study revealed that La³⁺ substituted CoFe2O4 nanoparticles were in the range of 10-40 nm. The magnetic properties of La³⁺ substituted CoFe₂O₄ nanoparticles were investigated by using vibrating sample magnetometer. The variation in saturation magnetization, coercivity and remanent magnetization with La³⁺ concentration in CoFe2O4 nanoparticles was observed. The variation of real and imaginary part of dielectric constant, tan δ, and AC conductivity were studied with change of concentration of La³⁺ ions in CoFe₂O₄ nanoparticles. The variation in optical properties was studied via UV-Vis absorption spectroscopy. Acknowledgment: This work was supported by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic – Program NPU I (LO1504).
Synthesis Modified Electrodes with Au/Pt Nanoparticles and Two New Coordination Polymers of Ag(I) and Cu(II) Constructed by Pyrazine and 3-Nitrophthalic Acid as a Novel Electrochemical Sensing Platform
Two new one and two dimensional metal organic coordination polymers of Cu(II), [Cu(3-nph)2(H2O)2pz]n (1) and Ag(I), {[Ag(3-nph)pz].H2O}n (2) with pyrazine (pz) and 3- nitrophthalic acid (3-nph) have been synthesized and characterized by elemental analysis, spectral (IR, UV-Vis), thermal (TG/DTG) analysis and single crystal X-ray diffraction. We used these compounds to preparation modified electrode with Au/Pt nanosparticles in order to investigation electrochemistry and electrocatalysis activities. The surface structure and composition of the sensor were characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The Ag(I) coordination polymer shows a 2D layer structure constructed from dinuclear silver (I) building blocks in which two crystallographically Ag+ ions are connected to each other by a covalent bond. The pyrazine ligands adopt μ2 bridging modes, linking the metal centers into a one and two -dimensional coordination framework in 1 and 2. The two AgI cations are surrounded by pyrazine and 3-nitrophthalate mono anions and indicate distorted tetrahedral geometry. In the crystal structures of Ag(I) complex there are non-classical hydrogen bonding arrangements, C–O•••π and π–π stacking interactions. In Cu(II) coordination polymer, the coordination geometry around Cu(II) atom is a distorted octahedron. Interestingly, the structural analysis illustrates that the strong and weak hydrogen bond accompanied with C–H•••π and C–O•••π stacking interactions assemble the crystal structure of 1 and 2 into fascinating 3D supramolecular architecture.
Sport and Religion, the Specificity of Polish Stadiums
It would seem at first glance that sport and religion are totally separate spheres. Yet, as a matter of fact, sport exists in religion (for example, In the teachings of John Paul II) and religion exists in sport (not only in religious rituals of players and fans). In this paper, the author examining the specific behaviours of Polish football fans and players analyses the question of religion in sport, mostly football. Like in the case of other countries, football holds a special place in Polish sporting history which constitutes an interesting subject of scientific research. It is a great identity builder and it influences culture which manifests itself in many ways (films, music, literature, etc.). Football is definitely a fascinating and colourful discipline pervaded with miscellaneous phenomena worth analysing. The aim of the paper is to show the "religious" uniqueness of Polish football fandom –namely, religious choreographies, participation in masses and pilgrimages to the Jasna Gora Shrine in Częstochowa. The peculiar combination of sport and religion visible at the stadiums and during the pilgrimages is analysed by the author. This mixture definitely adds colour to Polish sport and makes it intriguing to people from other countries. Religious rituals of the players are also examined here. The methods of the research included: Observations of numerous matches, looking through sports books, newspapers and magazines, interviews with the fans. The conclusions corroborate the thesis that sport may be and often is an important element of sporting contests. The main reasons and justifications are given in this analysis.
Structural, Magnetic, Dielectric and Electrical Properties of Gd3+ Doped Cobalt Ferrite Nanoparticles
In this work, CoFe₂₋ₓGdₓO₄ (x=0.00, 0.05, 0.10, 0.15, 0.20) spinel ferrite nanoparticles are synthesized by sonochemical method. The structural properties and cation distribution are investigated using X-ray Diffraction (XRD), Raman Spectroscopy, Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. The morphology and elemental analysis are screened using field emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM) and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, respectively. The particle size measured by FE-SEM and XRD analysis confirm the formation of nanoparticles in the range of 7-10 nm. The electrical properties show that the Gd³⁺ doped cobalt ferrite (CoFe₂₋ₓGdₓO₄; x= 0.20) exhibit enhanced dielectric constant (277 at 100 Hz) and ac conductivity (20.17 x 10⁻⁹ S/cm at 100 Hz). The complex impedance measurement study reveals that as Gd³⁺ doping concentration increases, the impedance Z’ and Z’ ’ decreases. The influence of Gd³⁺ doping in cobalt ferrite nanoparticles on the magnetic property is examined by using vibrating sample magnetometer. Magnetic property measurement reveal that the coercivity decreases with Gd³⁺ substitution from 234.32 Oe (x=0.00) to 12.60 Oe (x=0.05) and further increases from 12.60 Oe (x=0.05) to 68.62 Oe (x=0.20). The saturation magnetization decreases with Gd³⁺ substitution from 40.19 emu/g (x=0.00) to 21.58 emu/g (x=0.20). This decrease follows the three-sublattice model suggested by Yafet-Kittel (Y-K). The Y-K angle increases with the increase of Gd³⁺ doping in cobalt ferrite nanoparticles.
Composite Electrodes Containing Ni-Fe-Cr as an Activatable Oxygen Evolution Catalyst
Metal oxides are known electrocatalyst in water oxidation reaction. Due to the fact that it is desirable for efficient oxygen evolution catalyst to contain numerous redox-active metal ions to guard four electron water oxidation reaction, mixed metal oxides exhibit enhanced catalytic activity towards oxygen evolution reaction compared to single metal oxide systems. On the surface of fluorine doped tin oxide coated glass slide (FTO) deposited (doctor blade technique) mixed metal oxide layer composed of nickel, iron, and chromium. Oxide coating was acquired by heat treatment of the aqueous precursors' solutions of the corresponding salts. As-prepared electrodes were photosensitive and acted as an efficient oxygen evolution catalyst. Our results showed that obtained by this method electrodes can be activated which leads to achieving of higher current densities. The recorded current and photocurrent associated with oxygen evolution process were at least two orders of magnitude higher in the presence of oxide layer compared to bare FTO electrode. The overpotential of the process is low (ca. 0,2 V). We have also checked the activity of the catalyst at different known photoanodes used in sun-driven water splitting. Herein, we demonstrate that we were able to achieve efficient oxygen evolution catalysts using relatively cheap precursor consisting of earth abundant metals and simple method of preparation.
Origanum vulgare as a Possible Modulator of Testicular Endocrine Function in Mice
This study was designed to assess the in vitro effects of Origanum vulgare L. (oregano) extract on the testicular steroidogenesis. We focused on identifying major biomolecules present in the oregano extract, as well as to investigate its in vitro impact on the secretion of cholesterol, testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone and androstenedione by murine testicular fragments. The extract was subjected to high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) which identified cyranosid, daidzein, thymol, rosmarinic and trans-caffeic acid among the predominant biochemical components of oregano. For the in vitro experiments, testicular fragments from 20 sexually mature Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) mice were incubated in the absence (control group) or presence of the oregano extract at selected concentrations (10, 100 and 1000 μg/mL) for 24 h. Cholesterol levels were quantified using photometry and the hormones were assessed by ELISA (Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay). Our data revealed that the release of cholesterol and androstenedione (but not dehydroepiandrosterone and testosterone) by the testicular fragments was significantly impacted by the oregano extract in a dose-dependent fashion. Supplementation of the extract resulted in a significant decline of cholesterol (P < 0.05 in case of 100 μg/mL; P < 0.01 with respect 100 μg/mL extract), as well as androstenedione (P < 0.01 with respect to 100 and 1000 μg/mL extract). Our results suggest that the biomolecules present in Origanum vulgare L. could exhibit a dose-dependent impact on the secretion of male steroids, playing a role in the regulation of testicular steroidogenesis.
Analysis of Pathogen Populations Occurring in Oilseed Rape Using DNA Sequencing Techniques
For a few years, the populations of pathogenic fungi occurring in winter oilseed rape in Malyszyn were analyzed. Brassica napus L. in Poland and in the world is a source of energy for both the men (oil), and animals, as post-extraction middling, as well as a motor fuel (oil, biofuel) therefore studies of this type are very important. The species composition of pathogenic fungi can be an indicator of seed yield. The occurrence of oilseed rape pathogens during several years were analyzed using the sequencing method DNA ITS. The results were compared in the gene bank using the program NCBI / BLAST. In field conditions before harvest of oilseed rape presence of pathogens infesting B. napus has been assessed. For example, in 2015, 150 samples have been isolated and applied to PDA medium for the identification of belonging species. From all population has been selected mycelium of 83 isolates which were sequenced. Others (67 isolates) were pathogenic fungi of the genus Alternaria which are easily to recognize. The population of pathogenic species on oilseed rape have been identified after analyzing the DNA ITS and include: Leptosphaeria sp. 38 (L. maculans 25, L. biglobosa 13), Alternaria sp. 29, Fusarium sp. 3, Sclerotinia sclerotiorum 7, heterogeneous 6, total of 83 isolates. The genus Alternaria sp. fungi wear the largest share of B. napus pathogens in particular years. Another dangerous species for oilseed rape was Leptosphaeria sp. Populations of pathogens in each year were different. The number of pathogens occurring in the field and their composition is very important for breeders and farmers because of the possible selection of the most resistant genotypes for sowing in the next growing season.
Social Media Marketing and Blog Usage in Business Schools: An Exploratory Study
The following study of a preliminary character, presents a first step of multifaceted study on the usage of social media in HEIs. It examines a significance, potential, and managerial implications of social media marketing and blogs usage in HEIs – namely in the sphere of business schools. Social media – particularly: blogging and virtual platforms such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram have been covered at length in publications of both theoretical and practical nature as of late. Still, the amount of information related to the framework of application of social media in HEIs is rather limited. A pre-designed observation matrix has been used to collect primary data found at websites of different HEIs and to include blog observations. Additionally, a pilot study based on on-line questionnaires with marketing officers of HEI schools has been conducted. The main aim of the study was to identify and elaborate on matters like the scope of social media usage (and blogs in particular) in practice, recognition of the functions fulfilled by social media and blogs, or the anticipated potential of social media for HEIs. The study reveals that the majority of business schools highly ranked in Financial Times rankings use social media and interactive functionalities of their web sites, however, mostly for promotional reasons, and they are targeted at new students. The usage of blogs, though, is not so common and in most cases, blogs are independent platforms, not managed but supported by organizations. Managers and specialists point to lack of resources, insufficient users’ engagement and lack of strategic approach to social media as the main reasons of not advancing in the usage of blogs and social media platforms.
Dielectric, Electrical and Magnetic Properties of Elastomer Filled with in situ Thermally Reduced Graphene Oxide and Spinel Ferrite NiFe₂O₄ Nanoparticles
The elastomer nanocomposites were synthesized by solution mixing method with an elastomer as a matrix and in situ thermally reduced graphene oxide (RGO) and spinel ferrite NiFe₂O₄ nanoparticles as filler. Spinel ferrite NiFe₂O₄ nanoparticles were prepared by the starch-assisted sol-gel auto-combustion method. The influence of filler on the microstructure, morphology, dielectric, electrical and magnetic properties of Reduced Graphene Oxide-Nickel Ferrite-Elastomer nanocomposite was characterized by X-ray diffraction, Raman spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, field emission scanning electron microscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, the Dielectric Impedance analyzer, and vibrating sample magnetometer. Scanning electron microscopy study revealed that the fillers were incorporated in elastomer matrix homogeneously. The dielectric constant and dielectric tangent loss of nanocomposites was decreased with the increase of frequency, whereas, the dielectric constant increases with the addition of filler. Further, AC conductivity was increased with the increase of frequency and addition of fillers. Furthermore, the prepared nanocomposites exhibited ferromagnetic behavior. This work was supported by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic – Program NPU I (LO1504).
Portfolio Optimization with Reward-Risk Ratio Measure Based on the Mean Absolute Deviation
In problems of portfolio selection, the reward-risk ratio criterion is optimized to search for a risky portfolio with the maximum increase of the mean return in proportion to the risk measure increase when compared to the risk-free investments. In the classical model, following Markowitz, the risk is measured by the variance thus representing the Sharpe ratio optimization and leading to the quadratic optimization problems. Several Linear Programming (LP) computable risk measures have been introduced and applied in portfolio optimization. In particular, the Mean Absolute Deviation (MAD) measure has been widely recognized. The reward-risk ratio optimization with the MAD measure can be transformed into the LP formulation with the number of constraints proportional to the number of scenarios and the number of variables proportional to the total of the number of scenarios and the number of instruments. This may lead to the LP models with huge number of variables and constraints in the case of real-life financial decisions based on several thousands scenarios, thus decreasing their computational efficiency and making them hardly solvable by general LP tools. We show that the computational efficiency can be then dramatically improved by an alternative model based on the inverse risk-reward ratio minimization and by taking advantages of the LP duality. In the introduced LP model the number of structural constraints is proportional to the number of instruments thus not affecting seriously the simplex method efficiency by the number of scenarios and therefore guaranteeing easy solvability. Moreover, we show that under natural restriction on the target value the MAD risk-reward ratio optimization is consistent with the second order stochastic dominance rules.
Assets and Health: Examining the Asset-Building Theoretical Framework and Psychological Distress
Background: The asset-building theoretical framework (ABTF) is acknowledged as the most complete framework thus far for depicting the relationships between asset accumulation (the stock of a household’s saved resources available for future investment) and health outcomes. Although the ABTF takes into consideration the reciprocal relationship between asset accumulation and health, no ABTF based study has yet examined this relationship. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to test the ABTF and psychological distress, focusing on the reciprocal relationship between assets accumulation and psychological distress. Methods: The study employed longitudinal data from 6,295 families from the 2001 and 2007 Panel Study of Income Dynamics data sets. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to test the reciprocal relationship between asset accumulation and psychological distress. Results: In general, the data displayed a good fit to the model. The longitudinal SEM found that asset accumulation significantly increased with a decreased in psychological distress over time, while psychological distress significantly increased with an increase in asset accumulation over time, confirming the existence of the hypothesized reciprocal relationship. Conclusions: Individuals who are less psychological distressed might have more energy to engage in activities, such as furthering their education or obtaining better jobs that are in turn associated with greater asset accumulation, while those who have greater assets may invest those assets in riskier investments, resulting in increased psychological distress. The confirmation of this reciprocal relationship highlights the importance of conducting longitudinal studies and testing the reciprocal relationship between asset accumulation and other health outcomes.
Computational Fluid Dynamics Model of Various Types of Rocket Engine Nozzles
The nozzle is an element of the rocket engine in which the conversion of the potential energy of gases generated during combustion into the kinetic energy of the gas stream takes place. The design parameters of the nozzle have a decisive influence on the ballistic characteristics of the engine. Designing a nozzle assembly is, therefore, one of the most responsible stages in developing a rocket engine design. The paper presents the results of the simulation of three types of rocket propulsion nozzles. Calculations were made using CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) in ANSYS Fluent software. The next types of nozzles differ in shape. The analysis was made of a conical nozzle, a bell type nozzle with a conical supersonic part and a bell type nozzle. Calculation results are presented in the form of pressure, velocity and kinetic energy distributions of turbulence in the longitudinal section. The courses of these values along the nozzles are also presented. The results show that the cone nozzle generates strong turbulence in the critical section. Which negatively affect the flow of the working medium. In the case of a bell nozzle, the transformation of the wall caused the elimination of flow disturbances in the critical section. This reduces the probability of waves forming before or after the trailing edge. The most sophisticated construction is the bell type nozzle. It allows you to maximize performance without adding extra weight. The bell type nozzle can be used as a starter and auxiliary engine nozzle due to its advantages. The project/research was financed in the framework of the project Lublin University of Technology-Regional Excellence Initiative, funded by the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education (contract no. 030/RID/2018/19).
The Effect of Carbon Nanotubes in Copolyamide Nonwovens on the Properties of CFRP Laminates
In recent years there has been increasing interest in many industries, such as the aviation, automotive, and military industries, in Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polymers (CFRP). This is because of the excellent properties of CFRP, which are characterized by very high strength and stiffness in relation to their mass, low density (almost twice as low as aluminum and more than five times as low as steel), and corrosion resistance. However, they do not have sufficient electrical conductivity, which is required in some applications. Therefore, work is underway to improve their electrical conductivity, for example, by incorporating carbon nanotubes (CNTs) into the CFRP structure. CNTs possess excellent properties, such as high electrical conductivity, high aspect ratio, high Young’s modulus, and high tensile strength. An idea developed by our team is a modification of CFRP by the use of thermoplastic nonwovens containing CNTs. Nanocomposite fibers were made from three different masterbatches differing in the content of multi-wall carbon nanotubes, and then nonwovens that differed in areal weight were produced using a thermo-press. The out of autoclave method was used to fabricate the laminates from commercial carbon-epoxy prepreg dedicated to aviation applications - one without the nonwovens (reference) and five containing nonwovens placed between each prepreg layer. The volume of electrical conductivity of the manufactured laminates was measured in three directions. In order to investigate the adhesion between carbon fibers and nonwovens, the microstructure of the produced laminates was observed. The mechanical properties of the CFRP composites were measured in a short-beam shear test. In addition, the influence of thermoplastic nonwovens on the thermos-mechanical properties of laminates was analyzed by Dynamic Mechanical Analysis. The studies were carried out within grant no. DOB-1-3/1/PS/2014 financed by the National Centre for Research and Development in Poland.
Aerodynamic Interference of Propellers Group with Adjustable Mutual Position
The research results of the influence of the adjustable mutual position of the propellers for getting optimal lift force on a specially designed bench. The bench consists of frame with electric motors and with attached propellers. Engines were arranged in a matrix of two columns and three rows. The distance between the columns averages from 0 to 20”, while the engine was placed at a height of 8”, 15.5” and 23.6”. By adjusting the tilt of an electric motor, an angle of the propeller in the range of 0° to 60°, by 15° was controlled. Propellers with a diameter of 8" and pitch of 4.5” were driven by brushless model engines Roxxy BL-Outrunner 2827/26 with a power of 110W (each). Rotational speed control of electric motors were realized parallel for all propellers. The speed adjustment was realized using an aggregate of radio-controlled regulators. Electric power supplied to the engines from zero to maximum power, by the setting for every 14W, was controlled by radio system. Measurement system was placed on a laboratory scale. The lift was measured and recorded by an electronic scale. The lift force for different configurations of propellers arrangement was recorded during the test. All propellers were driven in one rotational direction and in different directions when they were in the same pairs. Propellers were driven concurrently and contra-concurrently along one of the columns and along the selected rows. During the tests, except the lift, parameters such as: rotational speed of propellers, voltage and current to the electric engines were recorded. The main aim of the research was to show the influence of aerodynamic interference between the propellers to receive lift force depending on the drive configuration of individual propellers. The research has shown that, this interference exists. The increase of the lift force for a distance between columns above 26.6” was noticed during the driving propellers in different directions. The optimum tilt angle of the propeller was 45°. Furthermore there has been also approx. 12% increase of the lift for propellers driven alternately in column and contra-concurrently in relation to the contra-rotating drive in the row.
Validation Study of Radial Aircraft Engine Model
This paper presents the radial aircraft engine model which has been created in AVL Boost software. This model is a one-dimensional physical model of the engine, which enables us to investigate the impact of an ignition system design on engine performance (power, torque, fuel consumption). In addition, this model allows research under variable environmental conditions to reflect varied flight conditions (altitude, humidity, cruising speed). Before the simulation research the identifying parameters and validating of model were studied. In order to verify the feasibility to take off power of gasoline radial aircraft engine model, some validation study was carried out. The first stage of the identification was completed with reference to the technical documentation provided by manufacturer of engine and the experiments on the test stand of the real engine. The second stage involved a comparison of simulation results with the results of the engine stand tests performed on a WSK ’PZL-Kalisz’. The engine was loaded by a propeller in a special test bench. Identifying the model parameters referred to a comparison of the test results to the simulation in terms of: pressure behind the throttles, pressure in the inlet pipe, and time course for pressure in the first inlet pipe, power, and specific fuel consumption. Accordingly, the required coefficients and error of simulation calculation relative to the real-object experiments were determined. Obtained the time course for pressure and its value is compatible with the experimental results. Additionally the engine power and specific fuel consumption tends to be significantly compatible with the bench tests. The mapping error does not exceed 1.5%, which verifies positively the model of combustion and allows us to predict engine performance if the process of combustion will be modified. The next conducted tests verified completely model. The maximum mapping error for the pressure behind the throttles and the inlet pipe pressure is 4 %, which proves the model of the inlet duct in the engine with the charging compressor to be correct.
Cadmium Telluride Quantum Dots (CdTe QDs)-Thymine Conjugate Based Fluorescence Biosensor for Sensitive Determination of Nucleobases/Nucleosides
The analysis of nucleobases is of great importance for bioscience since their abnormal concentration in body fluids suggests the deficiency and mutation of the immune system, and it is considered to be an important parameter for diagnosis of various diseases. The presented conjugate meets the need for development of the effective, selective and highly sensitive sensor for nucleobase/nucleoside detection. The novel, highly fluorescent cadmium telluride quantum dots (CdTe QDs) functionalized with thymine and stabilized with thioglycolic acid (TGA) conjugates has been developed and thoroughly characterized. Successful formation of the material was confirmed by elemental analysis, and UV–Vis fluorescence and FTIR spectroscopies. The crystalline structure of the obtained product was characterized with X-ray diffraction (XRD) method. The composition of CdTe QDs and their thymine conjugate was also examined using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). The size of the CdTe-thymine was 3-6 nm as demonstrated using atomic force microscopy (AFM) and high resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) imaging. The plasmon resonance fluorescence band at 540 nm on excitation at 351 nm was observed for these nanoparticles. The intensity of this band increased with the increase in the amount of conjugated thymine with no shift in its position. Based on the fluorescence measurements, it was found that the CdTe-thymine conjugate interacted efficiently and selectively not only with adenine, a nucleobase complementary to thymine, but also with nucleosides and adenine-containing modified nucleosides, i.e., 5′-deoxy-5′-(methylthio)adenosine (MTA) and 2’-O-methyladenosine, the urinary tumor markers which allow monitoring of the disease progression. The applicability of the CdTe-thymine sensor for the real sample analysis was also investigated in simulated urine conditions. High sensitivity and selectivity of CdTe-thymine fluorescence towards adenine, adenosine and modified adenosine suggest that obtained conjugate can be potentially useful for development of the biosensor for complementary nucleobase/nucleoside detection.
Numerical Analysis of Heat Transfer in Water Channels of the Opposed-Piston Diesel Engine
This paper discusses the CFD results of heat transfer in water channels in the engine body. The research engine was a newly designed Diesel combustion engine. The engine has three cylinders with three pairs of opposed pistons inside. The engine will be able to generate 100 kW mechanical power at a crankshaft speed of 3,800-4,000 rpm. The water channels are in the engine body along the axis of the three cylinders. These channels are around the three combustion chambers. The water channels transfer combustion heat that occurs the cylinders to the external radiator. This CFD research was based on the ANSYS Fluent software and aimed to optimize the geometry of the water channels. These channels should have a maximum flow of heat from the combustion chamber or the external radiator. Based on the parallel simulation research, the boundary and initial conditions enabled us to specify average values of key parameters for our numerical analysis. Our simulation used the average momentum equations and turbulence model k-epsilon double equation. There was also used a real k-epsilon model with a function of a standard wall. The turbulence intensity factor was 10%. The working fluid mass flow rate was calculated for a single typical value, specified in line with the research into the flow rate of automotive engine cooling pumps used in engines of similar power. The research uses a series of geometric models which differ, for instance, in the shape of the cross-section of the channel along the axis of the cylinder. The results are presented as colourful distribution maps of temperature, speed fields and heat flow through the cylinder walls. Due to limitations of space, our paper presents the results on the most representative geometric model only. Acknowledgement: This work has been realized in the cooperation with The Construction Office of WSK ‘PZL-KALISZ’ S.A. and is part of Grant Agreement No. POIR.01.02.00-00-0002/15 financed by the Polish National Centre for Research and Development.
Detection of Phoneme [S] Mispronounciation for Sigmatism Diagnosis in Adults
The diagnosis of sigmatism is mostly based on the observation of articulatory organs. It is, however, not always possible to precisely observe the vocal apparatus, in particular in the oral cavity of the patient. Speech processing can allow to objectify the therapy and simplify the verification of its progress. In the described study the methodology for classification of incorrectly pronounced phoneme [s] is proposed. The recordings come from adults. They were registered with the speech recorder at the sampling rate of 44.1 kHz and the resolution of 16 bit. The database of pathological and normative speech has been collected for the study including reference assessments provided by the speech therapy experts. Ten adult subjects were asked to simulate a certain type of stigmatism under the speech therapy expert supervision. In the recordings, the analyzed phone [s] was surrounded by vowels, viz: ASA, ESE, ISI, SPA, USU, YSY. Thirteen MFCC (mel-frequency cepstral coefficients) and RMS (root mean square) values are calculated within each frame being a part of the analyzed phoneme. Additionally, 3 fricative formants along with corresponding amplitudes are determined for the entire segment. In order to aggregate the information within the segment, the average value of each MFCC coefficient is calculated. All features of other types are aggregated by means of their 75th percentile. The proposed method of features aggregation reduces the size of the feature vector used in the classification. Binary SVM (support vector machine) classifier is employed at the phoneme recognition stage. The first group consists of pathological phones, while the other of the normative ones. The proposed feature vector yields classification sensitivity and specificity measures above 90% level in case of individual logo phones. The employment of a fricative formants-based information improves the sole-MFCC classification results average of 5 percentage points. The study shows that the employment of specific parameters for the selected phones improves the efficiency of pathology detection referred to the traditional methods of speech signal parameterization.
Trends in Socioeconomic Disparities in the Prevalence of Obesity among 5-6-Year-Old Children in Israel
Background: As childhood obesity has escalated worldwide, and is associated with increased risks of many adverse health conditions, this study assesses the prevalence of obesity among children in Israel, and its association with socioeconomic position (SEP). Methods: Data originate from the National Program for Quality Indicators in Community Healthcare (QICH), which operates in full collaboration with Israel's four health maintenance organizations (HMO). The study population included all Israeli residents aged 5-6 years during 2014-2015, with documented measured body mass index (BMI) components (N= 121,023). For children whose BMI components were measured more than once during this period, the most recent documentation of height and weight was included. Prevalence of obesity was defined using World Health Organization (WHO) cut-off values (BMI percentile ≥ 97.7) for age and sex. Data were collected from patient electronic medical records (EMR) in accordance with each HMO, and aggregated by two variables: gender and SEP. SEP was based on statistical areas ranking by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, enhanced with more updated information on education, income, living conditions and demographics, and divided into 10 categories, ranging from 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest). Results: In this cross-sectional study, BMI component documentation in the study population was high overall, and similar in both sexes (Boys 79.9%, Girls 79.3%). Documentation was highest in the lowest SEP group and decreased as SEP level increased (SEP level 1: 93.3%, level 10: 74.1%). The overall prevalence rate of obesity was 7.65% and was slightly higher in boys compared to girls (8.1% vs. 7.2%). The rate of obesity was highest amongst those in SEP levels 3 through 5 (9.0%), and lower at both extremes of SEP levels (5.6% in SEP level 1, 6.1% in SEP level 10). Conclusions: SEP inequalities in obesity exist and are most compelling among the mid-lower class. These findings highlight the importance of monitoring childhood obesity across SEP, and the need for greater consideration of different population groups when implementing obesity prevention policy and interventions.
Trends in Socioeconomic Disparities in the Prevalence of Obesity among 5-6-Year-Old Children in Israel
Background: As childhood obesity has escalated worldwide, and is associated with increased risks of many adverse health conditions, this study assesses the prevalence of obesity among children in Israel, and its association with socioeconomic position (SEP). Methods: Data originate from the National Program for Quality Indicators in Community Healthcare (QICH), which operates in full collaboration with Israel's four health maintenance organizations (HMO). The study population included all Israeli residents aged 5-6 years during 2014-2015, with documented measured body mass index (BMI) components (N= 121,023). For children whose BMI components were measured more than once during this period, the most recent documentation of height and weight was included. Prevalence of obesity was defined using World Health Organization (WHO) cut-off values (BMI percentile ≥ 97.7) for age and sex. Data were collected from patient electronic medical records (EMR) in accordance with each HMO, and aggregated by two variables: gender and SEP. SEP was based on statistical areas ranking by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, enhanced with more updated information on education, income, living conditions and demographics, and divided into 10 categories, ranging from 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest). Results: In this cross-sectional study, BMI component documentation in the study population was high overall, and similar in both sexes (Boys 79.9%, Girls 79.3%). Documentation was highest in the lowest SEP group and decreased as SEP level increased (SEP level 1: 93.3%, level 10: 74.1%). The overall prevalence rate of obesity was 7.65% and was slightly higher in boys compared to girls (8.1% vs. 7.2%). The rate of obesity was highest amongst those in SEP levels 3 through 5 (9.0%), and lower at both extremes of SEP levels (5.6% in SEP level 1, 6.1% in SEP level 10). Conclusions: SEP inequalities in obesity exist and are most compelling among the mid-lower class. These findings highlight the importance of monitoring childhood obesity across SEP, and the need for greater consideration of different population groups when implementing obesity prevention policy and interventions.
The Verification Study of Computational Fluid Dynamics Model of the Aircraft Piston Engine
This paper presents the results of the research to verify the combustion in aircraft piston engine Asz62-IR. This engine was modernized and a type of ignition system was developed. Due to the high costs of experiments of a nine-cylinder 1,000 hp aircraft engine, a simulation technique should be applied. Therefore, computational fluid dynamics to simulate the combustion process is a reasonable solution. Accordingly, the tests for varied ignition advance angles were carried out and the optimal value to be tested on a real engine was specified. The CFD model was created with the AVL Fire software. The engine in the research had two spark plugs for each cylinder and ignition advance angles had to be set up separately for each spark. The results of the simulation were verified by comparing the pressure in the cylinder. The courses of the indicated pressure of the engine mounted on a test stand were compared. The real course of pressure was measured with an optical sensor, mounted in a specially drilled hole between the valves. It was the OPTRAND pressure sensor, which was designed especially to engine combustion process research. The indicated pressure was measured in cylinder no 3. The engine was running at take-off power. The engine was loaded by a propeller at a special test bench. The verification of the CFD simulation results was based on the results of the test bench studies. The course of the simulated pressure obtained is within the measurement error of the optical sensor. This error is 1% and reflects the hysteresis and nonlinearity of the sensor. The real indicated pressure measured in the cylinder and the pressure taken from the simulation were compared. It can be claimed that the verification of CFD simulations based on the pressure is a success. The next step was to research on the impact of changing the ignition advance timing of spark plugs 1 and 2 on a combustion process. Moving ignition timing between 1 and 2 spark plug results in a longer and uneven firing of a mixture. The most optimal point in terms of indicated power occurs when ignition is simultaneous for both spark plugs, but so severely separated ignitions are assured that ignition will occur at all speeds and loads of engine. It should be confirmed by a bench experiment of the engine. However, this simulation research enabled us to determine the optimal ignition advance angle to be implemented into the ignition control system. This knowledge allows us to set up the ignition point with two spark plugs to achieve as large power as possible.
Features of Normative and Pathological Realizations of Sibilant Sounds for Computer-Aided Pronunciation Evaluation in Children
Sigmatism (lisping) is a speech disorder in which sibilant consonants are mispronounced. The diagnosis of this phenomenon is usually based on the auditory assessment. However, the progress in speech analysis techniques creates a possibility of developing computer-aided sigmatism diagnosis tools. The aim of the study is to statistically verify whether specific acoustic features of sibilant sounds may be related to pronunciation correctness. Such knowledge can be of great importance while implementing classifiers and designing novel tools for automatic sibilants pronunciation evaluation. The study covers analysis of various speech signal measures, including features proposed in the literature for the description of normative sibilants realization. Amplitudes and frequencies of three fricative formants (FF) are extracted based on local spectral maxima of the friction noise. Skewness, kurtosis, four normalized spectral moments (SM) and 13 mel-frequency cepstral coefficients (MFCC) with their 1st and 2nd derivatives (13 Delta and 13 Delta-Delta MFCC) are included in the analysis as well. The resulting feature vector contains 51 measures. The experiments are performed on the speech corpus containing words with selected sibilant sounds (/ʃ, ʒ/) pronounced by 60 preschool children with proper pronunciation or with natural pathologies. In total, 224 /ʃ/ segments and 191 /ʒ/ segments are employed in the study. The Mann-Whitney U test is employed for the analysis of stigmatism and normative pronunciation. Statistically, significant differences are obtained in most of the proposed features in children divided into these two groups at p < 0.05. All spectral moments and fricative formants appear to be distinctive between pathology and proper pronunciation. These metrics describe the friction noise characteristic for sibilants, which makes them particularly promising for the use in sibilants evaluation tools. Correspondences found between phoneme feature values and an expert evaluation of the pronunciation correctness encourage to involve speech analysis tools in diagnosis and therapy of sigmatism. Proposed feature extraction methods could be used in a computer-assisted stigmatism diagnosis or therapy systems.
Effects of Caprine Arthritis-Encephalitis Virus (CAEV) Infection on the Expression of Cathelicidin Genes in Goat Blood Leukocytes
Since people, animals and plants are constantly exposed to pathogens they have developed very complex systems of defense. Among ca. 1000 antimicrobial peptides from different families so far identified, approximately 30 belonging to cathelicidin family can be found in mammals. Cathelicidins probably constitute the first line of defense because they can act at a physiological salt concentration which is present in healthy tissues. Moreover, the low salt concentration which is present in infected tissues inhibits their activity. In goat bactenecin 7.5 (BAC7.5), bactenecin 5 (BAC5), myeloid antimicrobial peptide 28 (MAP28), myeloid antimicrobial peptide 34 (MAP34 A and B), goat bactenecin3.4 (ChBac3.4) were identified. Caprine arthritis-encephalitis (CAE) caused by small ruminant lentivirus (SRLV) is economic problem. The main CAE symptoms are weight loss, arthritis, pneumonia and mastitis (significant elevation of the somatic cell count and deterioration of some technological parameters). The study was conducted on 24 dairy goats. The animals were divided into two groups: experimental (SRLV-infected) and control (non-infected). The blood samples were collected five times: on the 1st, 7th, 30th, 90th and 150thday of lactation. The levels of transcripts of BAC7.5, BAC5, MAP28 and MAP34 genes in blood leucocytes were measured using qPCR method. There were no differences in mRNA levels of studied genes between stages of lactation. The differences were observed in expressions of BAC5, MAP28 and MAP34 genes with lower levels in the experimental group. There was no difference in BAC7.5 expression between groups. The decreased levels of transcripts of cathelicidin genes in blood leucocytes of SRLV-infected goats may indicate the disturbances of homeostasis in organisms. It can be concluded that SRLV infection seems to inhibit expression of cathelicidin genes. The study was financed by a grant from the National Scientific Center No. UMO-2013/09/B/NZ/03514.
The Influence of Applying Mechanical Chest Compression Systems on the Effectiveness of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation in Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest
The aim of the study was to evaluate the effectiveness of cardiopulmonary resuscitation taken by Medical Emergency Teams (MET) at the place of an accident including the usage of mechanical chest compression systems. In the period of January-May 2017, there were 137 cases of a sudden cardiac arrest in a chosen region of Eastern Poland with 360.000 inhabitants. Medical records and questionnaires filled by METs were analysed to prove the effectiveness of cardiopulmonary resuscitations that were considered to be effective when an early indication of spontaneous circulation was provided and the patient was taken to hospital. A chest compression system used by METs was applied in 60 cases (Lucas3 - 34 patients; Auto Pulse - 24 patients). The effectiveness of cardiopulmonary resuscitation among patients who were employed a chest compression system was much higher (43,3%) than the manual cardiac massage (36,4%). Thus, the usage of Lucas3 chest compression system resulted in 47% while Auto Pulse was 33,3%. The average ambulance arrival time could have had a significant impact on the subsequent effectiveness of cardiopulmonary resuscitation in these cases. Ambulances equipped with Lucas3 reached the destination within 8 minutes, and those with Auto Pulse needed 12,1 minutes. Moreover, taking effective basic life support (BLS) by bystanders before the ambulance arrival was much more frequent for ambulances with Lucas3 than Auto Pulse. Therefore, the percentage of BLS among the group of patients who were employed Lucas3 by METs was 26,5%, and 20,8% for Auto Pulse. The total percentage of taking BLS by bystanders before the ambulance arrival resulted in 25% of patients who were later applied a chest compression system by METs. Not only was shockable cardiac rhythm obtained in 47% of these cases, but an early indication of spontaneous circulation was also provided in all these patients. Both Lucas3 and Auto Pulse were evaluated to be significantly useful in improving the effectiveness of cardiopulmonary resuscitation by 97% of Medical Emergency Teams. Therefore, implementation of chest compression systems essentially makes the cardiopulmonary resuscitation even more effective. The ambulance arrival time, taking successful BLS by bystanders before the ambulance arrival and the presence of shockable cardiac rhythm determine an early indication of spontaneous circulation among patients after a sudden cardiac arrest.
Kinematics and Dynamics Analysis of Crank-Piston System of a High-Power, Nine-Cylinder Aircraft Engine
The kinematics and dynamics analysis of crank-piston system of aircraft engine. The object of the study was the high power aircraft engine ASz 62-IR. This engine is produced by a Polish company WSK "PZL-KALISZ" S.A.". All analyzes were performed numerically using CAD and CAE environment. Three-dimensional model of the crank-piston system was developed based on real engine located in the Laboratory of Centre of Innovation and Advanced Technologies of Lublin University of Technology. During the development of the model, the technique of reverse engineering - 3D scanning was used. ASz 62-IR engine is characterized by a radial type of crank-piston system. In this system the cylinders are arranged radially around the circle. This crank-piston system consists of a main connecting rod and eight additional connecting rods. In addition, three-dimensional model consists of a piston pins, pistons and piston rings. As a result of the specific engine design, characteristics of the piston individual movement are slightly different from each other. But the model assumes that they are the same during the analysis. Three-dimensional model of the engine was implemented into the MSC Adams software. The environment of MSC Adams allows for multibody simulation of the dynamic phenomena. This determines the state parameters of the moving elements, among which the load or force distribution on each kinematic node can be distinguished. Materials and characteristic materials parameters were adopted on the basis of commonly used materials for engine parts. The mass values of individual elements were adopted on the basis of real engine parts. The piston gas forces were replaced by calculation of pressure variations recorded during engine tests on the engine test bench. The research the changes of forces acting in the individual kinematic pairs of crank-piston system. The model allows to determine the load on the crankshaft main bearings. This gives the possibility for the main supports forces analysis The model allows for testing and simulation of kinematics and dynamics of a radial aircraft engine. This is the first stage of the work, which aims to numerical simulation of vibration of multi-cylinder aircraft engine. This work has been financed by the Polish National Centre for Research and Development, INNOLOT, under Grant Agreement No. INNOLOT/I/1/NCBR/2013.
Alkali Activated Materials Based on Natural Clay from Raciszyn
Limited resources of raw materials determine the necessity of obtaining materials from other sources. In this area, the most known and widespread are recycling processes, which are mainly focused on the reuse of material. Another possible solution used in various companies to achieve improvement in sustainable development is waste-free production. It involves the production exclusively from such materials, whose waste is included in the group of renewable raw materials. This means that they can: (i) be recycled directly during the manufacturing process of further products or (ii) be raw material obtained by other companies for the production of alternative products. The article presents the possibility of using post-production clay from the Jurassic limestone deposit "Raciszyn II" as a raw material for the production of alkali activated materials (AAM). Such products are currently increasingly used, mostly in various building applications. However, their final properties depend significantly on many factors; the most important of them are: chemical composition of the raw material, particle size, specific surface area, type and concentration of the activator and the temperature range of the heat treatment. Conducted mineralogical and chemical analyzes of clay from the “Raciszyn II” deposit confirmed that this material, due to its high content of aluminosilicates, can be used as raw material for the production of AAM. In order to obtain the product with the best properties, the optimization of the clay calcining process was also carried out. Based on the obtained results, it was found that this process should occur in the range between 750 oC and 800 oC. The use of a lower temperature causes getting a raw material with low metakaolin content which is the main component of materials suitable for alkaline activation processes. On the other hand, higher heat treatment temperatures cause thermal dissociation of large amounts of calcite, which is associated with the release of large amounts of CO2 and the formation of calcium oxide. This compound significantly accelerates the binding process, which consequently often prevents the correct formation of geopolymer mass. The effect of the use of various activators: (i) NaOH, (ii) KOH and (iii) a mixture of KOH to NaOH in a ratio of 10%, 25% and 50% by volume on the compressive strength of the AAM was also analyzed. Obtained results depending on the activator used were in the range from 25 MPa to 40 MPa. These values are comparable with the results obtained for materials produced on the basis of Portland cement, which is one of the most popular building materials.
Studying Together Affects Perceived Social Distance but Not Stereotypes: Nursing Students' Perception of Their Intergroup Relationship
Social Psychology theories, such as the intergroup contact theory, content that bringing members of different social groups into contact is a promising approach for improving intergroup relations. The heterogeneous nature of the nursing profession generates encounters between members of different social groups .The social relations that nursing students develop with their peers during their years of study, and the meanings they ascribe to these contacts, may affect the success of their nursing careers. Jewish-Arab relations in Israel are the product of an ongoing conflict and are characterized by stereotyped negative perceptions and mutual suspicions. Nursing education is often the first situation in which Jewish and Arab nursing students have direct and long-term contact with people from the other group. These encounters present a significant challenge. The current study explores whether this contact between Jewish and Arab nursing students during their academic studies improves their perception of their intergroup relationship. The study explores the students' perceptions of the social relations between the two groups. We examine attribution of stereotypes (positive and negative) and willingness to engage in social interactions with individuals from the other group. The study hypothesis is that academic seniority (beginning students, advanced students) will be related to perceptions of the relations between the two groups, as manifested in attributions of positive and negative stereotypes and willingness to reduce the social distance between the two groups. Method: One hundred and eighty Jewish and Arab nursing students (111 Jewish and 69 Arab) completed questionnaires examining their perceptions of the social relations between the two groups. The questionnaires were administered at two different points in their studies (beginning students and those at more advanced stages Results: No differences were found between beginning students and advanced students with respect to stereotypes. However, advanced students expressed greater willingness to reduce social distance than did beginning students. Conclusions: The findings indicate that bringing members of different social groups into contact may improve some aspects of intergroup relations. The findings suggest that different aspects of perceptions of social relations are influenced by different contexts: the students' specific context (joint studies and joint work in the future) and the broader general context of relations between the groups. Accordingly, it is recommended that programs aimed at improving relations in a between social groups will focus on willingness to cooperate and reduce social distance rather than on attempts to eliminate stereotypes.
Fatty Acid Translocase (Cd36), Energy Substrate Utilization, and Insulin Signaling in Brown Adipose Tissue in Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats
Brown adipose tissue (BAT) plays an important role in lipid and glucose metabolism in rodents and possibly also in humans. Recently, using systems genetics approach in the BAT from BXH/HXB recombinant inbred strains, derived from the SHR (spontaneously hypertensive rat) and BN (Brown Norway) progenitors, we identified Cd36 (fatty acid translocase) as the hub gene of co-expression module associated with BAT relative weight and function. An important aspect of BAT biology is to better understand the mechanisms regulating the uptake and utilization of fatty acids and glucose. Accordingly, BAT function in the SHR that harbors mutant nonfunctional Cd36 variant (hereafter referred to as SHR-Cd36⁻/⁻) was compared with SHR transgenic line expressing wild type Cd36 under control of a universal promoter (hereafter referred to as SHR-Cd36⁺/⁺). BAT was incubated in media containing insulin and 14C-U-glucose alone or 14C-U-glucose together with palmitate. Incorporation of glucose into BAT lipids was significantly higher in SHR-Cd36⁺/⁺ versus SHR-Cd36⁻/⁻ rats when incubation media contained glucose alone (SHR-Cd36⁻/⁻ 591 ± 75 vs. SHR-Cd36⁺/⁺ 1036 ± 135 nmol/gl./2h; P < 0.005). Adding palmitate into incubation media had no effect in SHR-Cd36⁻/⁻ rats but significantly reduced glucose incorporation into BAT lipids in SHR-Cd36⁺/⁺ (SHR-Cd36⁻/⁻ 543 ± 55 vs. SHR-Cd36⁺/⁺ 766 ± 75 nmol/gl./2h; P < 0.05 denotes significant Cd36 x palmitate interaction determined by two-way ANOVA). This Cd36-dependent reduced glucose uptake in SHR-Cd36⁺/⁺ BAT was likely secondary to increased palmitate incorporation and utilization due to the presence of wild type Cd36 fatty acid translocase in transgenic rats. This possibility is supported by increased incorporation of 14C-U-palmitate into BAT lipids in the presence of both palmitate and glucose in incubation media (palmitate alone: SHR-Cd36⁻/⁻ 870 ± 21 vs. SHR-Cd36⁺/⁺ 899 ± 42; glucose+palmitate: SHR-Cd36⁻/⁻ 899 ± 47 vs. SHR-Cd36⁺/⁺ 1460 ± 111 nmol/palm./2h; P < 0.05 denotes significant Cd36 x glucose interaction determined by two-way ANOVA). It is possible that addition of glucose into the incubation media increased palmitate incorporation into BAT lipids in SHR-Cd36⁺/⁺ rats because of glucose availability for glycerol phosphate production and increased triglyceride synthesis. These changes in glucose and palmitate incorporation into BAT lipids were associated with significant differential expression of Irs1, Irs2, Slc2a4 and Foxo1 genes involved in insulin signaling and glucose metabolism only in SHR-Cd36⁺/⁺ rats which suggests Cd36-dependent effects on insulin action. In conclusion, these results provide compelling evidence that Cd36 plays an important role in BAT insulin signaling and energy substrate utilization.
Implementing a Structured, yet Flexible Tool for Critical Information Handover
An effective process for transmitting patient critical information is essential for patient safety and for improving communication among healthcare staff. Previous studies have discussed handover tools such as SBAR (Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation) or SOFI (Short Observational Framework for Inspection). Yet, these formats lack flexibility, and require special training. In addition, nurses and physicians have different procedures for handing over information. The objectives of this study were to establish a universal, structured tool for handover, for both physicians and nurses, based on parameters that were defined as ‘important’ and ‘appropriate’ by the medical team, and to implement this tool in various hospital departments, with flexibility for each ward. A questionnaire, based on established procedures and on the literature, was developed to assess attitudes towards the most important information for effective handover between shifts (Cronbach's alpha 0.78). It was distributed to 150 senior physicians and nurses in 62 departments. Among senior medical staff, 12 physicians and 66 nurses responded to the questionnaire (52% response rate). Based on the responses, a handover form suitable for all hospital departments was designed and implemented. Important information for all staff included: Patient demographics (full name and age); Health information (diagnosis or patient complaint, changes in hemodynamic status, new medical treatment or equipment required); and Social Information (suspicion of violence, mental or behavioral changes, and guardianship). Additional information relevant to each unit included treatment provided, laboratory or imaging required, and change in scheduled surgery in surgical departments. ICU required information on background illnesses, Pediatrics required information on diet and food provided and Obstetrics required the number of days after cesarean section. Based on the model described, a flexible tool was developed that enables handover of both common and unique information. In addition, it includes general logistic information that must be transmitted to the next shift, such as planned disruptions in service or operations, staff training, etc. Development of a simple, clear, comprehensive, universal, yet flexible tool designed for all medical staff for transmitting critical information between shifts was challenging. Physicians and nurses found it useful and it was widely implemented. Ongoing research is needed to examine the efficiency of this tool, and whether the enthusiasm that accompanied its initial use is maintained.
Association of Nuclear – Mitochondrial Epistasis with BMI in Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus Patients
Obesity results from an imbalance between energy intake and its expenditure. Genome-Wide Association Study (GWAS) analyses have led to discovery of only about 100 variants influencing body mass index (BMI), which explain only a small portion of genetic variability. Analysis of gene epistasis gives a chance to discover another part. Since it was shown that interaction and communication between nuclear and mitochondrial genome are indispensable for normal cell function, we have looked for epistatic interactions between the two genomes to find their correlation with BMI. Methods: The analysis was performed on 366 T1DM patients using Illumina Infinium OmniExpressExome-8 chip and followed by imputation on Michigan Imputation Server. Only genes which influence mitochondrial functioning (listed in Human MitoCarta 2.0) were included in the analysis – variants of nuclear origin (MAF > 5%) in 1140 genes and 42 mitochondrial variants (MAF > 1%). Gene expression analysis was performed on GTex data. Association analysis between genetic variants and BMI was performed with the use of Linear Mixed Models as implemented in the package 'GENESIS' in R. Analysis of association between mRNA expression and BMI was performed with the use of linear models and standard significance tests in R. Results: Among variants involved in epistasis between mitochondria and nucleus we have identified one in mitochondrial transcription factor, TFB2M (rs6701836). It interacted with mitochondrial variants localized to MT-RNR1 (p=0.0004, MAF=15%), MT-ND2 (p=0.07, MAF=5%) and MT-ND4 (p=0.01, MAF=1.1%). Analysis of the interaction between nuclear variant rs6701836 (nuc) and rs3021088 localized to MT-ND2 mitochondrial gene (mito) has shown that the combination of the two led to BMI decrease (p=0.024). Each of the variants on its own does not correlate with higher BMI [p(nuc)=0.856, p(mito)=0.116)]. Although rs6701836 is intronic, it influences gene expression in the thyroid (p=0.000037). rs3021088 is a missense variant that leads to alanine to threonine substitution in the MT-ND2 gene which belongs to complex I of the electron transport chain. The analysis of the influence of genetic variants on gene expression has confirmed the trend explained above – the interaction of the two genes leads to BMI decrease (p=0.0308). Each of the mRNAs on its own is associated with higher BMI (p(mito)=0.0244 and p(nuc)=0.0269). Conclusıons: Our results show that nuclear-mitochondrial epistasis can influence BMI in T1DM patients. The correlation between transcription factor expression and mitochondrial genetic variants will be subject to further analysis.
Women Writing Group as a Mean for Personal and Social Change
This presentation will explore the main processes identified in women writing group, as an interdisciplinary field with personal and social effects. It is based on the initial findings of a Ph.D. research focus on the intersection of group processes with the element of writing, in the context of gender. Writing as a therapeutic mean has been recognized and found to be highly effective. Additionally, a substantial amount of research reveals the psychological impact of group processes. However, the combination of writing and groups as a therapeutic tool was hardly investigated; this is the contribution of this research. In the following qualitative-phenomenological study, the experiences of eight women participating in a 10-sessions structured writing group were investigated. We used the meetings transcripts, semi-structured interviews, and the texts to analyze and understand the experience of participating in the group. The two significant findings revealed were spiral intersubjectivity and archaic level of semiotic language. We realized that the content and the process are interwoven; participants are writing, reading and discussing their texts in a group setting that enhanced self-dialogue between the participants and their own narratives and texts, as well as dialogue with others. This process includes working through otherness within and between while discovering and creating a multiplicity of narratives. A movement of increasing shared circles from the personal to the group and to the social-cultural environment was identified, forming what we termed as spiral intersubjectivity. An additional layer of findings was revealed while we listened to the resonance of the group-texts, and discourse; during this process, we could trace the semiotic level in addition to the symbolic one. We were witness to the dominant presence of the body, and primal sensuality, expressed by rhythm, sound and movements, signs of pre-verbal language. Those findings led us to a new understanding of the semiotic function as a way to express the fullness of women experience and the enabling role of writing in reviving what was repressed. The poetic language serves as a bridge between the symbolic and the semiotic. Re-reading the group materials, exposed another layer of expression, an old-new language. This approach suggests a feminine expression of subjective experience with personal and social importance. It is a subversive move, encouraging women to write themselves, as a craft that every woman can use, giving voice to the silent and hidden, and experiencing the power of performing 'my story'. We suggest that women writing group is an efficient, powerful yet welcoming way to raise the awareness of researchers and clinicians, and more importantly of the participants, to the uniqueness of the feminine experience, and to gender-sensitive curative approaches.
Socioeconomic Disparities in the Prevalence of Obesity in Adults with Diabetes in Israel
Background: Obesity is both a risk factor and common comorbidity of diabetes. Obesity impedes the achievement of glycemic control, and enhances damage caused by hyperglycemia to blood vessels; thus it increases diabetes-related complications. This study assessed the prevalence of obesity and morbid obesity among Israeli adults with diabetes, and estimated disparities associated with sex and socioeconomic position (SEP). Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in the setting of the Israeli National Program for Quality Indicators in Community Healthcare. Data on all the Israeli population is retrieved from electronic medical records of the four health maintenance organizations (HMOs). The study population included all Israeli patients with diabetes aged 20-64 with documented body mass index (BMI) in 2016 (N=180,451). Diabetes was defined as the existence of one or more of the following criteria: (a) Plasma glucose level >200 mg% in at least two tests conducted at least one month apart in the previous year; (b) HbA1c>6.5% at least once in the previous year (c) at least three prescriptions of diabetes medications were dispensed during the previous year. Two measures were included: the prevalence of obesity (defined as last BMI≥ 30 kg/m2 and
Socioeconomic Disparities in the Prevalence of Obesity in Adults with Diabetes in Israel
Background: Obesity is both a risk factor and common comorbidity of diabetes. Obesity impedes the achievement of glycemic control, and enhances damage caused by hyperglycemia to blood vessels; thus it increases diabetes-related complications. This study assessed the prevalence of obesity and morbid obesity among Israeli adults with diabetes, and estimated disparities associated with sex and socioeconomic position (SEP). Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in the setting of the Israeli National Program for Quality Indicators in Community Healthcare. Data on all the Israeli population is retrieved from electronic medical records of the four health maintenance organizations (HMOs). The study population included all Israeli patients with diabetes aged 20-64 with documented body mass index (BMI) in 2016 (N=180,451). Diabetes was defined as the existence of one or more of the following criteria: (a) Plasma glucose level >200 mg% in at least two tests conducted at least one month apart in the previous year; (b) HbA1c>6.5% at least once in the previous year (c) at least three prescriptions of diabetes medications were dispensed during the previous year. Two measures were included: the prevalence of obesity (defined as last BMI≥ 30 kg/m2 and
Socioeconomic Disparities in the Prevalence of Obesity in Adults with Diabetes in Israel
Background: Obesity is both a risk factor and common comorbidity of diabetes. Obesity impedes the achievement of glycemic control, and enhances damage caused by hyperglycemia to blood vessels; thus it increases diabetes-related complications. This study assessed the prevalence of obesity and morbid obesity among Israeli adults with diabetes, and estimated disparities associated with sex and socioeconomic position (SEP). Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in the setting of the Israeli National Program for Quality Indicators in Community Healthcare. Data on all the Israeli population is retrieved from electronic medical records of the four health maintenance organizations (HMOs). The study population included all Israeli patients with diabetes aged 20-64 with documented body mass index (BMI) in 2016 (N=180,451). Diabetes was defined as the existence of one or more of the following criteria: (a) Plasma glucose level >200 mg% in at least two tests conducted at least one month apart in the previous year; (b) HbA1c>6.5% at least once in the previous year (c) at least three prescriptions of diabetes medications were dispensed during the previous year. Two measures were included: the prevalence of obesity (defined as last BMI≥ 30 kg/m2 and
Big Data for Local Decision-Making: Indicators Identified at International Conference on Urban Health 2017
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Urban Health Equity Assessment and Response Tool (Urban HEART) identify dozens of key indicators to help local decision-makers prioritize and track inequalities in health outcomes. However, presentations and discussions at the International Conference on Urban Health (ICUH) 2017 suggested that additional indicators are needed to make decisions and policies. A local decision-maker may realize that malaria or road accidents are a top priority. However, s/he needs additional health determinant indicators, for example about standing water or traffic, to address the priority and reduce inequalities. Health determinants reflect the physical and social environments that influence health outcomes often at community- and societal-levels and include such indicators as access to quality health facilities, access to safe parks, traffic density, location of slum areas, air pollution, social exclusion, and social networks. Indicator identification and disaggregation are necessarily constrained by available datasets – typically collected about households and individuals in surveys, censuses, and administrative records. Continued advancements in earth observation, data storage, computing and mobile technologies mean that new sources of health determinants indicators derived from 'big data' are becoming available at fine geographic scale. Big data includes high-resolution satellite imagery and aggregated, anonymized mobile phone data. While big data are themselves not representative of the population (e.g., satellite images depict the physical environment), they can provide information about population density, wealth, mobility, and social environments with tremendous detail and accuracy when combined with population-representative survey, census, administrative and health system data. The aim of this paper is to (1) flag to data scientists important indicators needed by health decision-makers at the city and sub-city scale - ideally free and publicly available, and (2) summarize for local decision-makers new datasets that can be generated from big data, with layperson descriptions of difficulties in generating them. We include SDGs and Urban HEART indicators, as well as indicators mentioned by decision-makers attending ICUH 2017.
The Gut Microbiome in Cirrhosis and Hepatocellular Carcinoma: Characterization of Disease-Related Microbial Signature and the Possible Impact of Life Style and Nutrition
Introduction: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the leading causes of cancer related mortality worldwide. Liver Cirrhosis is the main predisposing risk factor for the development of HCC. The factor(s) influencing disease progression from Cirrhosis to HCC remain unknown. Gut microbiota has recently emerged as a major player in different liver diseases, however its association with HCC is still a mystery. Moreover, there might be an important association between the gut microbiota, nutrition, life style and the progression of Cirrhosis and HCC. The aim of our study was to characterize the gut microbial signature in association with life style and nutrition of patients with Cirrhosis, HCC-Cirrhosis and healthy controls. Design: Stool samples were collected from 95 individuals (30 patients with HCC, 38 patients with Cirrhosis and 27 age, gender and BMI-matched healthy volunteers). All participants answered lifestyle and Food Frequency Questionnaires. 16S rRNA sequencing of fecal DNA was performed (MiSeq Illumina). Results: There was a significant decrease in alpha diversity in patients with Cirrhosis (qvalue=0.033) and in patients with HCC-Cirrhosis (qvalue=0.032) compared to healthy controls. The microbiota of patients with HCC-cirrhosis compared to patients with Cirrhosis, was characterized by a significant overrepresentation of Clostridium (pvalue=0.024) and CF231 (pvalue=0.010) and lower expression of Alphaproteobacteria (pvalue=0.039) and Verrucomicrobia (pvalue=0.036) in several taxonomic levels: Verrucomicrobiae, Verrucomicrobiales, Verrucomicrobiaceae and the genus Akkermansia (pvalue=0.039). Furthermore, we performed an analysis of predicted metabolic pathways (Kegg level 2) that resulted in a significant decrease in the diversity of metabolic pathways in patients with HCC-Cirrhosis (qvalue=0.015) compared to controls, one of which was amino acid metabolism. Furthermore, investigating the life style and nutrition habits of patients with HCC-Cirrhosis, we found significant correlations between intake of artificial sweeteners and Verrucomicrobia (qvalue=0.12), High sugar intake and Synergistetes (qvalue=0.021) and High BMI and the pathogen Campylobacter (qvalue=0.066). Furthermore, overweight in patients with HCC-Cirrhosis modified bacterial diversity (qvalue=0.023) and composition (qvalue=0.033). Conclusions: To the best of the our knowledge, we present the first report of the gut microbial composition in patients with HCC-Cirrhosis, compared with Cirrhotic patients and healthy controls. We have demonstrated in our study that there are significant differences in the gut microbiome of patients with HCC-cirrhosis compared to Cirrhotic patients and healthy controls. Our findings are even more pronounced because the significantly increased bacteria Clostridium and CF231 in HCC-Cirrhosis weren't influenced by diet and lifestyle, implying this change is due to the development of HCC. Further studies are needed to confirm these findings and assess causality.
Nudging the Criminal Justice System into Listening to Crime Victims in Plea Agreements
Most criminal cases end with a plea agreement, an issue whose many aspects have been discussed extensively in legal literature. One important feature, however, has gained little notice, and that is crime victims’ place in plea agreements following the federal Crime Victims Rights Act of 2004. This law has provided victims some meaningful and potentially revolutionary rights, including the right to be heard in the proceeding and a right to appeal against a decision made while ignoring the victim’s rights. While victims’ rights literature has always emphasized the importance of such right, references to this provision in the general literature about plea agreements are sparse, if existing at all. Furthermore, there are a few cases only mentioning this right. This article purports to bridge between these two bodies of legal thinking – the vast literature concerning plea agreements and victims’ rights research– by using behavioral economics. The article will, firstly, trace the possible structural reasons for the failure of this right to be materialized. Relevant incentives of all actors involved will be identified as well as their inherent consequential processes that lead to the victims’ rights malfunction. Secondly, the article will use nudge theory in order to suggest solutions that will enhance incentives for the repeat players in the system (prosecution, judges, defense attorneys) and lead to the strengthening of weaker group’s interests – the crime victims. Behavioral psychology literature recognizes that the framework in which an individual confronts a decision can significantly influence his decision. Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein developed the idea of ‘choice architecture’ - ‘the context in which people make decisions’ - which can be manipulated to make particular decisions more likely. Choice architectures can be changed by adjusting ‘nudges,’ influential factors that help shape human behavior, without negating their free choice. The nudges require decision makers to make choices instead of providing a familiar default option. In accordance with this theory, we suggest a rule, whereby a judge should inquire the victim’s view prior to accepting the plea. This suggestion leaves the judge’s discretion intact; while at the same time nudges her not to go directly to the default decision, i.e. automatically accepting the plea. Creating nudges that force actors to make choices is particularly significant when an actor intends to deviate from routine behaviors but experiences significant time constraints, as in the case of judges and plea bargains. The article finally recognizes some far reaching possible results of the suggestion. These include meaningful changes to the earlier stages of criminal process even before reaching court, in line with the current criticism of the plea agreements machinery.
Carbonyl Iron Particles Modified with Pyrrole-Based Polymer and Electric and Magnetic Performance of Their Composites
Magnetorheological elastomers (MREs) are a unique type of materials consisting of two components, magnetic filler, and elastomeric matrix. Their properties can be tailored upon application of an external magnetic field strength. In this case, the change of the viscoelastic properties (viscoelastic moduli, complex viscosity) are influenced by two crucial factors. The first one is magnetic performance of the particles and the second one is off-state stiffness of the elastomeric matrix. The former factor strongly depends on the intended applications; however general rule is that higher magnetic performance of the particles provides higher MR performance of the MRE. Since magnetic particles possess low stability properties against temperature and acidic environment, several methods how to improve these drawbacks have been developed. In the most cases, the preparation of the core-shell structures was employed as a suitable method for preservation of the magnetic particles against thermal and chemical oxidations. However, if the shell material is not single-layer substance, but polymer material, the magnetic performance is significantly suppressed, due to the in situ polymerization technique, when it is very difficult to control the polymerization rate and the polymer shell is too thick. The second factor is the off-state stiffness of the elastomeric matrix. Since the MR effectivity is calculated as the relative value of the elastic modulus upon magnetic field application divided by elastic modulus in the absence of the external field, also the tuneability of the cross-linking reaction is highly desired. Therefore, this study is focused on the controllable modification of magnetic particles using a novel monomeric system based on 2-(1H-pyrrol-1-yl)ethyl methacrylate. In this case, the short polymer chains of different chain lengths and low polydispersity index will be prepared, and thus tailorable stability properties can be achieved. Since the relatively thin polymer chains will be grafted on the surface of magnetic particles, their magnetic performance will be affected only slightly. Furthermore, also the cross-linking density will be affected, due to the presence of the short polymer chains. From the application point of view, such MREs can be utilized for, magneto-resistors, piezoresistors or pressure sensors especially, when the conducting shell on the magnetic particles will be created. Therefore, the selection of the pyrrole-based monomer is very crucial and controllably thin layer of conducting polymer can be prepared. Finally, such composite particle consisting of magnetic core and conducting shell dispersed in elastomeric matrix can find also the utilization in shielding application of electromagnetic waves.
In Search of Innovation: Exploring the Dynamics of Innovation
HMS Industrial Networks AB has been recognized as one of the most innovative companies in the industrial communication industry worldwide. The creation of their Anybus innovation during the 1990s contributed considerably to the company&rsquo;s success. From inception, HMS&rsquo; employees were innovating for the purpose of creating new business (the creation phase). After the Anybus innovation, they began the process of internationalization (the commercialization phase), which in turn led them to concentrate on cost reduction, product quality, delivery precision, operational efficiency, and increasing growth (the growth phase). As a result of this transformation, performing new radical innovations have become more complicated. The purpose of our research was to explore the dynamics of innovation at HMS from the aspect of key actors, activities, and events, over the three phases, in order to understand what led to the creation of their Anybus innovation, and why it has become increasingly challenging for HMS to create new radical innovations for the future. Our research methodology was based on a longitudinal, retrospective study from the inception of HMS in 1988 to 2014, a single case study inspired by the grounded theory approach. We conducted 47 interviews and collected 1 024 historical documents for our research. Our analysis has revealed that HMS&rsquo; success in creating the Anybus, and developing a successful business around the innovation, was based on three main capabilities &ndash; cultivating customer relations on different managerial and organizational levels, inspiring business relations, and balancing complementary human assets for the purpose of business creation. The success of HMS has turned the management&rsquo;s attention away from past activities of key actors, of their behavior, and how they influenced and stimulated the creation of radical innovations. Nowadays, they are rhetorically focusing on creativity and innovation. All the while, their real actions put emphasis on growth, cost reduction, product quality, delivery precision, operational efficiency, and moneymaking. In the process of becoming an international company, HMS gradually refocused. In so doing they became profitable and successful, but they also forgot what made them innovative in the first place. Fortunately, HMS&rsquo; management has come to realize that this is the case and they are now in search of recapturing innovation once again. Our analysis indicates that HMS&rsquo; management is facing several barriers to innovation related path dependency and other lock-in phenomena. HMS&rsquo; management has been captured, trapped in their mindset and actions, by the success of the past. But now their future has to be secured, and they have come to realize that moneymaking is not everything. In recent years, HMS&rsquo; management have begun to search for innovation once more, in order to recapture their past capabilities for creating radical innovations. In order to unlock their managerial perceptions of customer needs and their counter-innovation driven activities and events, to utilize the full potential of their employees and capture the innovation opportunity for the future.
Bedouin Dispersion in Israel: Between Sustainable Development and Social Non-Recognition
The subject of Bedouin dispersion has accompanied the State of Israel from the day of its establishment. From a legal point of view, this subject has offered a launchpad for creative judicial decisions. Thus, for example, the first court decision in Israel to recognize affirmative action (Avitan), dealt with a petition submitted by a Jew appealing the refusal of the State to recognize the Petitioner’s entitlement to the long-term lease of a plot designated for Bedouins. The Supreme Court dismissed the petition, holding that there existed a public interest in assisting Bedouin to establish permanent urban settlements, an interest which justifies giving them preference by selling them plots at subsidized prices. In another case (The Forum for Coexistence in the Negev) the Supreme Court extended equitable relief for the purpose of constructing a bridge, even though the construction infringed the Law, in order to allow the children of dispersed Bedouin to reach school. Against this background, the recent verdict, delivered during the Protective Edge military campaign, which dismissed a petition aimed at forcing the State to spread out Protective Structures in Bedouin villages in the Negev against the risk of being hit from missiles launched from Gaza (Abu Afash) is disappointing. Even if, in arguendo, no selective discrimination was involved in the State’s decision not to provide such protection, the decision, and its affirmation by the Court, is problematic when examined through the prism of the Theory of Recognition. The article analyses the issue by tools of theory of Recognition, according to which people develop their identities through mutual relations of recognition in different fields. In the social context, the path to recognition is cognitive respect, which is provided by means of legal rights. By seeing other participants in Society as bearers of rights and obligations, the individual develops an understanding of his legal condition as reflected in the attitude to others. Consequently, even if the Court’s decision may be justified on strict legal grounds, the fact that Jewish settlements were protected during the military operation, whereas Bedouin villages were not, is a setback in the struggle to make the Bedouin citizens with equal rights in Israeli society. As the Court held, ‘Beyond their protective function, the Migunit [Protective Structures] may make a moral and psychological contribution that should not be undervalued’. This contribution is one that the Bedouin did not receive in the Abu Afash verdict. The basic thesis is that the Court’s verdict analyzed above clearly demonstrates that the reliance on classical liberal instruments (e.g., equality) cannot secure full appreciation of all aspects of Bedouin life, and hence it can in fact prejudice them. Therefore, elements of the recognition theory should be added, in order to find the channel for cognitive dignity, thereby advancing the Bedouins’ ability to perceive themselves as equal human beings in the Israeli society.
The Location of Park and Ride Facilities Using the Fuzzy Inference Model
Contemporary cities are facing serious congestion and parking problems. In urban transport policy the introduction of the park and ride system (P&R) is an increasingly popular way of limiting vehicular traffic. The determining of P&R facilities location is a key aspect of the system. Criteria for assessing the quality of the selected location are formulated generally and descriptively. The research outsourced to specialists are expensive and time consuming. The most focus is on the examination of a few selected places. The practice has shown that the choice of the location of these sites in a intuitive way without a detailed analysis of all the circumstances, often gives negative results. Then the existing facilities are not used as expected. Methods of location as a research topic are also widely taken in the scientific literature. Built mathematical models often do not bring the problem comprehensively, e.g. assuming that the city is linear, developed along one important communications corridor. The paper presents a new method where the expert knowledge is applied to fuzzy inference model. With such a built system even a less experienced person could benefit from it, e.g. urban planners, officials. The analysis result is obtained in a very short time, so a large number of the proposed location can also be verified in a short time. The proposed method is intended for testing of car parks location in a city. The paper will show selected examples of locations of the P&R facilities in cities planning to introduce the P&R. The analysis of existing objects will also be shown in the paper and they will be confronted with the opinions of the system users, with particular emphasis on unpopular locations. The research are executed using the fuzzy inference model which was built and described in more detail in the earlier paper of the authors. The results of analyzes are compared to documents of P&R facilities location outsourced by the city and opinions of existing facilities users expressed on social networking sites. The research of existing facilities were conducted by means of the fuzzy model. The results are consistent with actual users feedback. The proposed method proves to be good, but does not require the involvement of a large experts team and large financial contributions for complicated research. The method also provides an opportunity to show the alternative location of P&R facilities. The performed studies show that the method has been confirmed. The method can be applied in urban planning of the P&R facilities location in relation to the accompanying functions. Although the results of the method are approximate, they are not worse than results of analysis of employed experts. The advantage of this method is ease of use, which simplifies the professional expert analysis. The ability of analyzing a large number of alternative locations gives a broader view on the problem. It is valuable that the arduous analysis of the team of people can be replaced by the model's calculation. According to the authors, the proposed method is also suitable for implementation on a GIS platform.
Tracing Graduates of Vocational Schools with Transnational Mobility Experience: Conclusions and Recommendations from Poland
This study investigates the effects of mobility in the context of a different environment and work culture through analysing the learners perception of their international work experience. Since this kind of professional training abroad is becoming more popular in Europe, mainly due to the EU funding opportunities, it is of paramount importance to assess its long-term impact on educational and career paths of former students. Moreover, the tracer study aimed at defining what professional, social and intercultural competencies were gained or developed by the interns and to which extent those competences proved to be useful meeting the labor market requirements. Being a populous EU member state which actively modernizes its vocational education system (also with European funds), Poland can serve as an illustrative case study to investigate the above described research problems. However, the examined processes are most certainly universal, wherever mobility is included in the learning process. The target group of this research was the former mobility participants and the study was conducted using quantitative and qualitative methods, such as the online survey with over 2 600 questionnaires completed by the former mobility participants; -individual in-depth interviews (IDIs) with 20 Polish graduates already present in the labour market; - 5 focus group interviews (FGIs) with 60 current students of the Polish vocational schools, who have recently returned from the training abroad. As the adopted methodology included a data triangulation, the collected findings have also been supplemented with data obtained by the desk research (mainly contextual information and statistical summary of mobility implementation). The results of this research – to be presented in full scope within the conference presentation – include the participants’ perception of their work mobility. The vast majority of graduates agrees that such an experience has had a significant impact on their professional careers and claims that they would recommend training abroad to persons who are about to enter the labor market. Moreover, in their view, such form of practical training going beyond formal education provided them with an opportunity to try their hand in the world of work. This allowed them – as they accounted for them – to get acquainted with a work system and context different from the ones experienced in Poland. Although the work mobility becomes an important element of the learning process in the growing number of Polish schools, this study reveals that many sending institutions suffer from a lack of the coherent strategy for planning domestic and foreign training programmes. Nevertheless, the significant number of graduates claims that such a synergy improves the quality of provided training. Despite that, the research proved that the transnational mobilities exert an impact on their future careers and personal development. However, such impact is, in their opinion, dependant on other factors, such as length of the training period, the nature and extent of work, recruitment criteria and the quality of organizational arrangement and mentoring provided to learners. This may indicate the salience of the sending and receiving institutions organizational capacity to deal with mobility.
Benefits of High Power Impulse Magnetron Sputtering (HiPIMS) Method for Preparation of Transparent Indium Gallium Zinc Oxide (IGZO) Thin Films
Transparent semiconducting amorphous IGZO films have attracted great attention due to their excellent electrical properties and possible utilization in thin film transistors or in photovoltaic applications as they show 20-50 times higher mobility than that of amorphous silicon. It is also known that the properties of IGZO films are highly sensitive to process parameters, especially to oxygen partial pressure. In this study we have focused on the comparison of properties of transparent semiconducting amorphous indium gallium zinc oxide (IGZO) thin films prepared by conventional sputtering methods and those prepared by high power impulse magnetron sputtering (HiPIMS) method. Furthermore we tried to optimize electrical and optical properties of the IGZO thin films and to investigate possibility to apply these coatings on thermally sensitive flexible substrates. We employed dc, pulsed dc, mid frequency sine wave and HiPIMS power supplies for magnetron deposition. Magnetrons were equipped with sintered ceramic InGaZnO targets. As oxygen vacancies are considered to be the main source of the carriers in IGZO films, it is expected that with the increase of oxygen partial pressure number of oxygen vacancies decreases which results in the increase of film resistivity. Therefore in all experiments we focused on the effect of oxygen partial pressure, discharge power and pulsed power mode on the electrical, optical and mechanical properties of IGZO thin films and also on the thermal load deposited to the substrate. As expected, we have observed a very fast transition between low- and high-resistivity films depending on oxygen partial pressure when deposition using conventional sputtering methods/power supplies have been utilized. Therefore we established and utilized HiPIMS sputtering system for enlargement of operation window for better control of IGZO thin film properties. It is shown that with this system we are able to effectively eliminate steep transition between low and high resistivity films exhibited by DC mode of sputtering and the electrical resistivity can be effectively controlled in the wide resistivity range of 10-² to 10⁵ Ω.cm. The highest mobility of charge carriers (up to 50 cm2/V.s) was obtained at very low oxygen partial pressures. Utilization of HiPIMS also led to significant decrease in thermal load deposited to the substrate which is beneficial for deposition on the thermally sensitive and flexible polymer substrates. Deposition rate as a function of discharge power and oxygen partial pressure was also systematically investigated and the results from optical, electrical and structure analysis will be discussed in detail. Most important result which we have obtained demonstrates almost linear control of IGZO thin films resistivity with increasing of oxygen partial pressure utilizing HiPIMS mode of sputtering and highly transparent films with low resistivity were prepared already at low pO2. It was also found that utilization of HiPIMS technique resulted in significant improvement of surface smoothness in reactive mode of sputtering (with increasing of oxygen partial pressure).
Combustion Variability and Uniqueness in Cylinders of a Radial Aircraft Piston Engine
The work is a part of the project which aims at developing innovative power and control systems for the high power aircraft piston engine ASz62IR. Developed electronically controlled ignition system will reduce emissions of toxic compounds as a result of lowered fuel consumption, optimized combustion and engine capability of efficient combustion of ecological fuels. The tested unit is an air-cooled four-stroke gasoline engine of 9 cylinders in a radial setup, mechanically charged by a radial compressor powered by the engine crankshaft. The total engine cubic capac-ity is 29.87 dm3, and the compression ratio is 6.4:1. The maximum take-off power is 1000 HP at 2200 rpm. The maximum fuel consumption is 280 kg/h. Engine powers aircrafts: An-2, M-18 „Dromader”, DHC-3 „OTTER”, DC-3 „Dakota”, GAF-125 „HAWK” i Y5. The main problems of the engine includes the imbalanced work of cylinders. The non-uniformity value in each cylinder results in non-uniformity of their work. In radial engine cylinders arrangement causes that the mixture movement that takes place in accordance (lower cylinder) or the opposite (upper cylinders) to the direction of gravity. Preliminary tests confirmed the presence of uneven workflow of individual cylinders. The phenomenon is most intense at low speed. The non-uniformity is visible on the waveform of cylinder pressure. Therefore two studies were conducted to determine the impact of this phenomenon on the engine performance: simulation and real tests. Simplified simulation was conducted on the element of the intake system coated with fuel film. The study shows that there is an effect of gravity on the movement of the fuel film inside the radial engine intake channels. Both in the lower and the upper inlet channels the film flows downwards. It follows from the fact that gravity assists the movement of the film in the lower cylinder channels and prevents the movement in the upper cylinder channels. Real tests on aircraft engine ASz62IR was conducted in transients condition (rapid change of the excess air in each cylinder were performed. Calculations were conducted for mass of fuel reaching the cylinders theoretically and really and on this basis, the factors of fuel evaporation “x” were determined. Therefore a simplified model of the fuel supply to cylinder was adopted. Model includes time constant of the fuel film τ, the number of engine transport cycles of non-evaporating fuel along the intake pipe γ and time between next cycles Δt. The calculation results of identification of the model parameters are presented in the form of radar graphs. The figures shows the averages declines and increases of the injection time and the average values for both types of stroke. These studies shown, that the change of the position of the cylinder will cause changes in the formation of fuel-air mixture and thus changes in the combustion process. Based on the results of the work of simulation and experiments was possible to develop individual algorithms for ignition control. This work has been financed by the Polish National Centre for Research and Development, INNOLOT, under Grant Agreement No. INNOLOT/I/1/NCBR/2013.
Delicate Balance between Cardiac Stress and Protection: Role of Mitochondrial Proteins
Introduction: Normal functioning of mitochondria is crucial for cardiac performance. Mitochondria undergo mitophagy and biogenesis, and mitochondrial proteins are subject to extensive post-translational modifications. The state of mitochondrial homeostasis reflects overall cellular fitness and longevity. Perturbed mitochondria produce less ATP, release greater amounts of reactive molecules, and are more prone to apoptosis. Therefore mitochondrial turnover is an integral aspect of quality control in which dysfunctional mitochondria are selectively eliminated through mitophagy. Currently, the progressive deterioration of physiological functions is seen as accumulation of modified/damaged proteins with limiting regenerative ability and disturbance of such affected protein-protein communication throughout aging in myocardial cells. Methodologies: For our study was used immunohistochemistry, biochemical methods: spectrophotometry, western blotting, immunodetection as well as more sophisticated 2D electrophoresis and mass spectrometry for evaluation protein-protein interactions and specific post-translational modification. Results and Discussion: Mitochondrial stress response to reactive species was evaluated as electron transport chain (ETC) complexes, redox-active molecules, and their possible communication. Protein-protein interactions revealed a strong linkage between age and ETC protein subunits. Redox state was strongly affected in senescent mitochondria with shift in favor of more pro-oxidizing condition within cardiomyocytes. Acute myocardial ischemia and ischemia-reperfusion (IR) injury affected ETC complexes I, II and IV with no change in complex III. Ischemia induced decrease in total antioxidant capacity, MnSOD, GSH and catalase activity with recovery in some extent during reperfusion. While MnSOD protein content was higher in IR group, activity returned to 95% of control. Nitric oxide is one of the biological molecules that can out compete MnSOD for superoxide and produce peroxynitrite. This process is faster than dismutation and led to the 10-fold higher production of nitrotyrosine after IR injury in adult with higher protection in senescent ones. 2D protein profiling revealed 140 mitochondrial proteins, 12 of them with significant changes after IR injury and 36 individual nitrotyrosine-modified proteins further identified by mass spectrometry. Linking these two groups, 5 proteins were altered after IR as well as nitrated, but only one showed massive nitration per lowering content of protein after IR injury in adult. Conclusions: Senescent cells have greater proportion of protein content, which might be modulated by several post-translational modifications. If these protein modifications are connected to functional consequences and protein-protein interactions are revealed, link may lead to the solution. Assume all together, dysfunctional proteostasis can play a causative role and restoration of protein homeostasis machinery is protective against aging and possibly age-related disorders. This work was supported by the project VEGA 1/0018/18 and by project 'Competence Center for Research and Development in the field of Diagnostics and Therapy of Oncological diseases', ITMS: 26220220153, co-financed from EU sources.
The Role of Cholesterol Oxidase of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in the Down-Regulation of TLR2-Signaling Pathway in Human Macrophages during Infection Process
The goal of many research groups in the world is to find new components that are important for survival of mycobacteria in the host cells. Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) possesses a number of enzymes degrading cholesterol that are considered to be an important factor for its survival and persistence in host macrophages. One of them - cholesterol oxidase (ChoD), although not being essential for cholesterol degradation, is discussed as a virulence compound, however its involvement in macrophages’ response to Mtb is still not sufficiently determined. The recognition of tubercle bacilli antigens by pathogen recognition receptors is crucial for the initiation of the host innate immune response. An important receptor that has been implicated in the recognition and/or uptake of Mtb is Toll-like receptor type 2 (TLR2). Engagement of TLR2 results in the activation and phosphorylation of intracellular signaling proteins including IRAK-1 and -4, TRAF-6, which in turn leads to the activation of target kinases and transcription factors responsible for bactericidal and pro-inflammatory response of macrophages. The aim of these studies was a detailed clarification of the role of Mtb cholesterol oxidase as a virulence factor affecting the TLR2 signaling pathway in human macrophages. As human macrophages the THP-1 differentiated cells were applied. The virulent wild-type Mtb strain (H37Rv), its mutant lacking a functional copy of gene encoding cholesterol oxidase (∆choD), as well as complimented strain (∆choD–choD) were used. We tested the impact of Mtb strains on the expression of TLR2-depended signaling proteins (mRNA level, cytosolic level and phosphorylation status). The cytokine and bactericidal response of THP-1 derived macrophages infected with Mtb strains in relation to TLR2 signaling pathway dependence was also determined. We found that during the 24-hours of infection process the wild-type and complemented Mtb significantly reduced the cytosolic level and phosphorylation status of IRAK-4 and TRAF-6 proteins in macrophages, that was not observed in the case of ΔchoD mutant. Decreasement of TLR2-dependent signaling proteins, induced by wild-type Mtb, was not dependent on the activity of proteasome. Blocking of TLR2 expression, before infection, effectively prevented the induced by wild-type strain reduction of cytosolic level and phosphorylation of IRAK-4. None of the strains affected the surface expression of TLR2. The mRNA level of IRAK-4 and TRAF-6 genes were significantly increased in macrophages 24 hours post-infection with either of tested strains. However, the impact of wild-type Mtb strain on both examined genes was significantly stronger than its ΔchoD mutant. We also found that wild-type strain stimulated macrophages to release high amount of immunosuppressive IL-10, accompanied by low amount of pro-inflammatory IL-8 and bactericidal nitric oxide in comparison to mutant lacking cholesterol oxidase. The influence of wild-type Mtb on this type of macrophages' response strongly dependent on fully active IRAK-1 and IRAK-4 signaling proteins. In conclusion, Mtb using cholesterol oxidase causes the over-activation of TLR2 signaling proteins leading to the reduction of their cytosolic level and activity resulting in the modulation of macrophages response to allow its intracellular survival. Supported by grant: 2014/15/B/NZ6/01565, National Science Center, Poland
Synthesis of Carbonyl Iron Particles Modified with Poly (Trimethylsilyloxyethyl Methacrylate) Nano-Grafts
Magnetorheological elastomers (MREs) are multi-phase composite materials containing micron-sized ferromagnetic particles dispersed in an elastomeric matrix. Their properties such as modulus, damping, magneto-striction, and electrical conductivity can be controlled by an external magnetic field and/or pressure. These features of the MREs are used in the development of damping devices, shock attenuators, artificial muscles, sensors or active elements of electric circuits. However, imperfections on the particle/matrix interfaces result in the lower performance of the MREs when compared with theoretical values. Moreover, magnetic particles are susceptible to corrosion agents such as acid rains or sea humidity. Therefore, the modification of particles is an effective tool for the improvement of MRE performance due to enhanced compatibility between particles and matrix as well as improvements of their thermo-oxidation and chemical stability. In this study, the carbonyl iron (CI) particles were controllably modified with poly(trimethylsilyloxyethyl methacrylate) (PHEMATMS) nano-grafts to develop magnetic core–shell structures exhibiting proper wetting with various elastomeric matrices resulting in improved performance within a frame of rheological, magneto-piezoresistance, pressure-piezoresistance, or radio-absorbing properties. The desired molecular weight of PHEMATMS nano-grafts was precisely tailored using surface-initiated atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP). The CI particles were firstly functionalized using a 3-aminopropyltriethoxysilane agent, followed by esterification reaction with α-bromoisobutyryl bromide. The ATRP was performed in the anisole medium using ethyl α-bromoisobutyrate as a macroinitiator, N, N´, N´´, N´´-pentamethyldiethylenetriamine as a ligand, and copper bromide as an initiator. To explore the effect PHEMATMS molecular weights on final properties, two variants of core-shell structures with different nano-graft lengths were synthesized, while the reaction kinetics were designed through proper reactant feed ratios and polymerization times. The PHEMATMS nano-grafts were characterized by nuclear magnetic resonance and gel permeation chromatography proving information to their monomer conversions, molecular chain lengths, and low polydispersity indexes (1.28 and 1.35) as the results of the executed ATRP. The successful modifications were confirmed via Fourier transform infrared- and energy-dispersive spectroscopies while expected wavenumber outputs and element presences, respectively, of constituted PHEMATMS nano-grafts, were occurring in the spectra. The surface morphology of bare CI and their PHEMATMS-grafted analogues was further studied by scanning electron microscopy, and the thicknesses of grafted polymeric layers were directly observed by transmission electron microscopy. The contact angles as a measure of particle/matrix compatibility were investigated employing the static sessile drop method. The PHEMATMS nano-grafts enhanced compatibility of hydrophilic CI with low-surface-energy hydrophobic polymer matrix in terms of their wettability and dispersibility in an elastomeric matrix. Thus, the presence of possible defects at the particle/matrix interface is reduced, and higher performance of modified MREs is expected.