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Sustainability, Volume 6, Issue 8 (August 2014), Pages 4694-5511

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Open AccessArticle The Cultivation of Electric Vehicles Market in China: Dilemma and Solution
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5493-5511; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6085493
Received: 9 April 2014 / Revised: 2 July 2014 / Accepted: 14 July 2014 / Published: 22 August 2014
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (1062 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Global warming has been increasingly concerning, and international society has been taking various measures to mitigate this issue. Since the electric vehicle has important and generally beneficial impacts on environment protection, grid construction, and operation economical efficiency improvement, many countries have stressed the
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Global warming has been increasingly concerning, and international society has been taking various measures to mitigate this issue. Since the electric vehicle has important and generally beneficial impacts on environment protection, grid construction, and operation economical efficiency improvement, many countries have stressed the status of electric vehicle promotion in future planning. As China is the world’s largest carbon dioxide emitter, the Chinese government has taken various acts to reduce emissions, of which promoting electric vehicle is an effective one. This paper attempts to present a critical review of the current EV situations including the market sales, charging infrastructure, battery performances and policies in China. The survey of customer preferences and acceptance to electric vehicle indicate that purchasing behaviors are affected by four factors: charge inconvenience, short battery range, cost and psychological factors. According to the China’s situation, recommendations including diversified energy supplement approaches, time-of-use charging price mechanism, vehicle-to-grid technology and enlarge price subsidy scope are proposed to accelerate the development of the electric vehicle industry. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Energy Efficiency and Energy Saving Potential in China: A Directional Meta-Frontier DEA Approach
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5476-5492; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6085476
Received: 3 May 2014 / Revised: 1 August 2014 / Accepted: 13 August 2014 / Published: 22 August 2014
Cited by 22 | PDF Full-text (1045 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Increasing energy efficiency and exploiting energy saving potential are two important practices that can help to ensure future energy security in China. This paper proposes a new total factor energy efficiency indicator, based on the directional meta-frontier data envelopment analysis (DEA) approach, to
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Increasing energy efficiency and exploiting energy saving potential are two important practices that can help to ensure future energy security in China. This paper proposes a new total factor energy efficiency indicator, based on the directional meta-frontier data envelopment analysis (DEA) approach, to account for the heterogeneity of production technology among provinces in China. This indicator considers both energy savings and economic development, and can also decompose the energy saving potential. An empirical research study conducted on 29 Chinese provinces indicates that the differences in energy efficiency and production technology among the Chinese regions are quite significant. Most eastern coastal provinces maintain high-energy efficiency and advanced production technology, while energy efficiency in the west is typically lower. As a rule, improvements in technical and management factors are needed to exploit energy saving potentials. However, the emphasis on these two factors in each province should differ. China’s general energy efficiency is relatively low; the absolute amount of nationwide energy saving potential is on the rise. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Goal and Scope in Life Cycle Sustainability Analysis: The Case of Hydrogen Production from Biomass
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5463-5475; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6085463
Received: 4 July 2014 / Accepted: 12 August 2014 / Published: 20 August 2014
Cited by 14 | PDF Full-text (1241 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The framework for life cycle sustainability analysis (LCSA) developed within the project CALCAS (Co-ordination Action for innovation in Life-Cycle Analysis for Sustainability) is introducing a truly integrated approach for sustainability studies. However, it needs to be further conceptually refined and to be made
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The framework for life cycle sustainability analysis (LCSA) developed within the project CALCAS (Co-ordination Action for innovation in Life-Cycle Analysis for Sustainability) is introducing a truly integrated approach for sustainability studies. However, it needs to be further conceptually refined and to be made operational. In particular, one of the gaps still hindering the adoption of integrated analytic tools for sustainability studies is the lack of a clear link between the goal and scope definition and the modeling phase. This paper presents an approach to structure the goal and scope phase of LCSA so as to identify the relevant mechanisms to be further detailed and analyzed in the modeling phase. The approach is illustrated with an on-going study on a new technology for the production of high purity hydrogen from biomass, to be used in automotive fuel cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environment and Energy: the Industrial Ecology perspective)
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Open AccessArticle Integrated Thermal-Energy Analysis of Innovative Translucent White Marble for Building Envelope Application
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5439-5462; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6085439
Received: 30 June 2014 / Revised: 7 August 2014 / Accepted: 12 August 2014 / Published: 20 August 2014
Cited by 21 | PDF Full-text (2651 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Marble is a natural material, used in the construction field since antiquity. It has always been used to communicate monumentality and solidity. Nowadays new technologies permit marble to express new languages: particularly, translucent marble technology overturns the concept of solidity. The main issue
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Marble is a natural material, used in the construction field since antiquity. It has always been used to communicate monumentality and solidity. Nowadays new technologies permit marble to express new languages: particularly, translucent marble technology overturns the concept of solidity. The main issue to address is the lack of thermal-energy performance of such a thin stone layer as the only facade component. Conversely, Bianco Carrara and Statuario marbles, for instance, have intrinsic benefits as natural cool materials, due to their high solar reflectance and thermal emissivity. Thus, this paper analyzes the thermal-energy and environmental behavior of marble facade for a new designed building in New York City. An integrated analysis of the energy performance of the marble skin is performed through a preliminary experimental characterization, carried out for two different types of naturally white marble, for comparative purposes. Then, a dynamic simulation model of the building is developed to evaluate year-round benefits and drawbacks of the translucent marble envelope in terms of indoor thermal comfort and air-conditioning requirement. The analysis showed how the proposed marble facade is able to decrease the energy requirement for cooling up to 6%, demonstrating possible relevant perspectives for marble-based facades, even in energy-efficient buildings. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Sustainable Urban Biophilia: The Case of Greenskins for Urban Density
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5423-5438; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6085423
Received: 24 May 2014 / Revised: 28 July 2014 / Accepted: 6 August 2014 / Published: 19 August 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (3513 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Green infrastructure ameliorates the urban heat island effect, contributes positively to liveability and enables sustainability in higher density urban environments. Greenskins (living architectures) are a more specific form of green infrastructure, including green walls and green roofs, for dense urban areas. These offer
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Green infrastructure ameliorates the urban heat island effect, contributes positively to liveability and enables sustainability in higher density urban environments. Greenskins (living architectures) are a more specific form of green infrastructure, including green walls and green roofs, for dense urban areas. These offer a new approach for sustainable urban biophilia and some forms can be built using the ecological design principles of constructed wetlands. The paper compares findings from two urban centres in warm Mediterranean climates. In general from Adelaide, South Australia and more specifically from university collaborative projects on particular technical and social parameters necessary to sustain Greenskins in dense urban conditions in Fremantle, Western Australia. Results from trials of a prototype greywater Greenskin using vertical constructed wetland cells are reported. Through an experimental investigation of designing living green walls in urban Fremantle, this paper challenges the conventional “triple-bottom-line” approach to sustainable dense urban systems by addressing the greater aesthetic needs of sustainability and its thinking. Here landscape aesthetics looks to the collaborative fields of urban design, environmental engineering and landscape architecture to design new urban biophilic experiences and restorative landscapes for regenerative cultural pleasure, ecological responsibility, environmental stewardship and intellectual gain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Density and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Industrial Pollution Control and Efficient Licensing Processes: The Case of Swedish Regulatory Design
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5401-5422; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6085401
Received: 27 March 2014 / Revised: 30 July 2014 / Accepted: 1 August 2014 / Published: 19 August 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (523 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Industrial pollution accounts for a large proportion of global pollution, and in the European Union, an integrated pollution and prevention approach based on individual performance standards has been implemented to regulate emissions from industrial plants. Crucial for the assessment of the licensing conditions
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Industrial pollution accounts for a large proportion of global pollution, and in the European Union, an integrated pollution and prevention approach based on individual performance standards has been implemented to regulate emissions from industrial plants. Crucial for the assessment of the licensing conditions are the Best Available Technique (BAT) requirements, which should be set in accordance with the recently introduced Industrial Emissions Directive (IED). In this paper, we review and assess the licensing of industrial plants in one of the Member States, namely Sweden. Specifically, we discuss how the existing regulations (including the IED) manage to address potential trade-offs between important regulatory design issues, such as flexibility, predictability and the need to provide continuous incentives for environmental improvements. The analysis indicates that while the EU regulations provide flexibility in terms of the choice of compliance measures, in Sweden, it enters an existing regulatory framework that adds a lot of uncertainty with respect to the outcome of the licensing processes. An important challenge for the implementation of the IED is to implement performance standards that lead to continuous incentives to improve environmental performance in industrial sectors without, at the same time, adding new uncertainties. While standards ideally should be both flexible and predictable, achieving one of these criteria may often come at the expense of the other. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Law for Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle The Question of Sustainability of Green Electricity Policy Intervention
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5378-5400; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6085378
Received: 1 July 2014 / Revised: 11 August 2014 / Accepted: 12 August 2014 / Published: 19 August 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (793 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this paper, we analyse the financial viability and economic sustainability implications of government programs for the development of renewable energy sources, explicitly considering that consumers take environmental issues into account. We envisage a broad policy strategy for the future, which we label
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In this paper, we analyse the financial viability and economic sustainability implications of government programs for the development of renewable energy sources, explicitly considering that consumers take environmental issues into account. We envisage a broad policy strategy for the future, which we label the “World Sustainable Scenario”, and we quantify the inter-temporal resource requirement in terms of investment necessary to achieve it. We perform an empirical meta-analysis to quantify the willingness to pay for green electricity worldwide. Subsequently, we compare the amount of resources required according to policy programs and the populations’ willingness to sacrifice current resources for future benefits (i.e., willingness to finance future investments) to assess the plausibility of current policies. The main empirical findings show that the population’s attitude toward green electricity will support, on average, 50% of the total investment required. We conclude that this is a positive result, which will make possible the success of the renewable energy sources development policy. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Energy Upgrading of Existing Buildings: Window and Shading Device Typologies for Energy Efficiency Refurbishment
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5354-5377; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6085354
Received: 11 June 2014 / Revised: 10 July 2014 / Accepted: 31 July 2014 / Published: 18 August 2014
Cited by 17 | PDF Full-text (1851 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Residential buildings built after the Second World War have high energy consumption and inadequate thermal comfort, especially in summer conditions, largely attributable to the high transmittance of windows and lack of effective shading devices. Performance improvement of these components is essential for energy
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Residential buildings built after the Second World War have high energy consumption and inadequate thermal comfort, especially in summer conditions, largely attributable to the high transmittance of windows and lack of effective shading devices. Performance improvement of these components is essential for energy upgrading of existing buildings. This paper shows the results of the research, which aims to evaluate effects on energy consumption and environmental comfort of combined solutions of windows and shading devices applied to a case study representing a typical post World War II Italian building. In this paper, the main typologies of solar control systems are described and evaluated on the basis of a case study in different climatic locations (Berlin, Milan, Florence and Athens). Thermal behavior has been assessed through the EnergyPlus dynamic calculation code, by using appropriate performance indicators for energy and thermal sensation. Starting from performance evaluation of the existing building, different strategies have been assessed: replacement of existing windows with high-energy performance ones and introduction of shading devices and solar control glasses. Finally, a global comparative analysis has been carried out based on energy, acoustic and lighting performances, technical feasibility and management problems. Results of the different solar shading devices assessment are reported in the form of a data sheet. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Building Behavior Simulation by Means of Artificial Neural Network in Summer Conditions
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5339-5353; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6085339
Received: 4 June 2014 / Revised: 7 August 2014 / Accepted: 12 August 2014 / Published: 18 August 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (4411 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Many studies in Italy showed that buildings are responsible for about 40% of total energy consumption, due to worsening performance of building envelope; in fact, a great number of Italian buildings were built before the 1970s and 80s. In particular, the energy consumptions
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Many studies in Italy showed that buildings are responsible for about 40% of total energy consumption, due to worsening performance of building envelope; in fact, a great number of Italian buildings were built before the 1970s and 80s. In particular, the energy consumptions for cooling are considerably increased with respect to the ones for heating. In order to reduce the cooling energy demand, ensuring indoor thermal comfort, a careful study on building envelope performance is necessary. Different dynamic software could be used in order to evaluate and to improve the building envelope during the cooling period, but much time and an accurate validation of the model are required. However, when a wide experimental data is available, the Artificial Neural Network (ANN) can be an alternative, simple and fast tool to use. In the present study, the indoor thermal conditions in many dwellings built in Umbria Region were investigated in order to evaluate the envelope performance. They were recently built and have very low energy consumptions. Based on the experimental data, a feed forward network was trained, in order to evaluate the different envelopes performance. As input parameters the outdoor climatic conditions and the thermal characteristics of building envelopes were set, while, as a target parameter, the indoor air temperature was provided. A good training of network was obtained with a high regression value (0.9625) and a very small error (0.007 °C) on air temperature. The network was also used to simulate the envelope behavior with new innovative glazing systems, in order to evaluate and to improve the energy performance. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Tackling Air Pollution in China—What do We Learn from the Great Smog of 1950s in LONDON
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5322-5338; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6085322
Received: 10 June 2014 / Revised: 21 July 2014 / Accepted: 29 July 2014 / Published: 18 August 2014
Cited by 20 | PDF Full-text (826 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Since the prolonged, severe smog that blanketed many Chinese cities in first months of 2013, living in smog has become “normal” to most people living in mainland China. This has not only caused serious harm to public health, but also resulted in massive
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Since the prolonged, severe smog that blanketed many Chinese cities in first months of 2013, living in smog has become “normal” to most people living in mainland China. This has not only caused serious harm to public health, but also resulted in massive economic losses in many other ways. Tackling the current air pollution has become crucial to China’s long-term economic and social sustainable development. This paper aims to find the causes of the current severe air quality and explore the possible solutions by reviewing the current literature, and by comparing China’s air pollution regulations to that of the post London Killer Smog of 1952, in the United Kingdom (UK). It is hoped that China will learn the lesson from the UK, and decouple its economic growth from the detrimental impact of environment. Policy suggestions are made. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environment in Sustainable Development)
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Open AccessArticle Analysis of Two Models for Evaluating the Energy Performance of Different Buildings
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5311-5321; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6085311
Received: 5 June 2014 / Revised: 4 August 2014 / Accepted: 5 August 2014 / Published: 14 August 2014
Cited by 21 | PDF Full-text (931 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Nowadays it is possible to employ several software packages to evaluate building’s energy performance, each of them based on a different calculation code, with different boundary conditions in terms of environmental temperature, solar radiation, wind velocity and relative humidity. In this contribution, a
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Nowadays it is possible to employ several software packages to evaluate building’s energy performance, each of them based on a different calculation code, with different boundary conditions in terms of environmental temperature, solar radiation, wind velocity and relative humidity. In this contribution, a comparison between two calculation codes, taking into account different types of buildings, has been carried out. In particular, a semi-stationary calculation code and a dynamic one have been employed to determine energy demands of three different building’s types: an old building, a house and a flat. Analyzing semi-stationary conditions (consequently simplified environmental conditions), a software which applies the UNI TS 11300 standard has been considered. This standard defines the procedures for the national implementation of the UNI EN ISO 13790. Furthermore, in order to consider the environmental conditions variation, a well-known dynamic software has been used. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Information Extraction of High-Resolution Remotely Sensed Image Based on Multiresolution Segmentation
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5300-5310; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6085300
Received: 29 May 2014 / Revised: 25 July 2014 / Accepted: 28 July 2014 / Published: 14 August 2014
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (1443 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The principle of multiresolution segmentation was represented in detail in this study, and the canny algorithm was applied for edge-detection of a remotely sensed image based on this principle. The target image was divided into regions based on object-oriented multiresolution segmentation and edge-detection.
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The principle of multiresolution segmentation was represented in detail in this study, and the canny algorithm was applied for edge-detection of a remotely sensed image based on this principle. The target image was divided into regions based on object-oriented multiresolution segmentation and edge-detection. Furthermore, object hierarchy was created, and a series of features (water bodies, vegetation, roads, residential areas, bare land and other information) were extracted by the spectral and geometrical features. The results indicate that the edge-detection has a positive effect on multiresolution segmentation, and overall accuracy of information extraction reaches to 94.6% by the confusion matrix. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Borderland Studies and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Border Policies in Dehong Prefecture of Yunnan, China
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5284-5299; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6085284
Received: 26 May 2014 / Revised: 30 July 2014 / Accepted: 1 August 2014 / Published: 13 August 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2377 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
With the process of globalization, many political geographers and research institutions have begun to focus on borders and border areas. Faced with the current debate on the border policies, this paper reviews the former research relating to border studies and provides an evaluation
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With the process of globalization, many political geographers and research institutions have begun to focus on borders and border areas. Faced with the current debate on the border policies, this paper reviews the former research relating to border studies and provides an evaluation of China’s border policies. The literatures on border effects reveal that national boundaries have a significant impact on the economic, social and cultural relations of both border regions. Because of these effects, each country has to adjust its border policies in different periods. In this paper, a perspective is provided for evaluating the effectiveness of China’s border policy based on the Kaldor-Hicks analysis method. We investigated the border policies in Dehong Autonomous Prefecture in Yunnan province of China from 1949 to 2012, and evaluated the effectiveness of the border policy using the Kaldor-Hicks method. The conclusions include: first, the Kaldor-Hicks method can be seen as effective method to evaluate the effectiveness of China’s border policies. Second, based on the Kaldor-Hicks method, we observe the overall effects of the adjustments made to the border policies in Dehong Prefecture were positive. However, sometimes the border trade policy is good for the country as a whole, but not necessarily for Dehong Prefecture. For the sake of the whole country, adjustments in border trade policy need to be compensated by financial transfer payments. In addition, the combined effects of the cross-border marriages policy are not immediately obvious. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Borderland Studies and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Alternative Testing Methods for Predicting Health Risk from Environmental Exposures
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5265-5283; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6085265
Received: 11 June 2014 / Revised: 1 August 2014 / Accepted: 4 August 2014 / Published: 13 August 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1019 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Alternative methods to animal testing are considered as promising tools to support the prediction of toxicological risks from environmental exposure. Among the alternative testing methods, the cell transformation assay (CTA) appears to be one of the most appropriate approaches to predict the carcinogenic
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Alternative methods to animal testing are considered as promising tools to support the prediction of toxicological risks from environmental exposure. Among the alternative testing methods, the cell transformation assay (CTA) appears to be one of the most appropriate approaches to predict the carcinogenic properties of single chemicals, complex mixtures and environmental pollutants. The BALB/c 3T3 CTA shows a good degree of concordance with the in vivo rodent carcinogenesis tests. Whole-genome transcriptomic profiling is performed to identify genes that are transcriptionally regulated by different kinds of exposures. Its use in cell models representative of target organs may help in understanding the mode of action and predicting the risk for human health. Aiming at associating the environmental exposure to health-adverse outcomes, we used an integrated approach including the 3T3 CTA and transcriptomics on target cells, in order to evaluate the effects of airborne particulate matter (PM) on toxicological complex endpoints. Organic extracts obtained from PM2.5 and PM1 samples were evaluated in the 3T3 CTA in order to identify effects possibly associated with different aerodynamic diameters or airborne chemical components. The effects of the PM2.5 extracts on human health were assessed by using whole-genome 44 K oligo-microarray slides. Statistical analysis by GeneSpring GX identified genes whose expression was modulated in response to the cell treatment. Then, modulated genes were associated with pathways, biological processes and diseases through an extensive biological analysis. Data derived from in vitro methods and omics techniques could be valuable for monitoring the exposure to toxicants, understanding the modes of action via exposure-associated gene expression patterns and to highlight the role of genes in key events related to adversity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Cellulose Nanocrystals Obtained from Cynara Cardunculus and Their Application in the Paper Industry
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5252-5264; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6085252
Received: 28 May 2014 / Revised: 29 July 2014 / Accepted: 6 August 2014 / Published: 13 August 2014
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (1009 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Biorefinery aims at designing new virtuous and high-efficiency energy chains, achieving the combined production of biofuels (e.g., bioethanol) and biobased products. This emerging philosophy can represent an important opportunity for the industrial world, exploiting a new kind of nano-smart biomaterials in their production
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Biorefinery aims at designing new virtuous and high-efficiency energy chains, achieving the combined production of biofuels (e.g., bioethanol) and biobased products. This emerging philosophy can represent an important opportunity for the industrial world, exploiting a new kind of nano-smart biomaterials in their production chains. This paper will present the lab experience carried out by the Biomass Research Centre (CRB) in extracting cellulose nanocrystals (NCC) from a pretreated (via Steam Explosion) fraction of Cynara cardunculus. This is a very common and invasive arboreal variety in central Italy. The NCC extraction methodology allows the separation of the crystalline content of cellulose. Such a procedure has been considered in the literature with the exception of one step in which the conditions have been optimized by CRB Lab. This procedure has been applied for the production of NCC from both Cynara cardunculus and microcrystalline cellulose (MCC). The paper will discuss some of the results achieved using the obtained nanocrystals as reinforcing filler in a paper sheet; it was found that the tensile strength increased from 3.69 kg/15 mm to 3.98 kg/15 mm, the durability behavior (measured by bending number) changed from the value 95 to the value 141, and the barrier properties (measured by Gurley porosity) were improved, increasing from 38 s to 45 s. Full article
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