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Appl. Sci., Volume 8, Issue 7 (July 2018)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) In recent years, development of pet robots for various needs such as entertainment, edutainment, [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle Deep Region of Interest and Feature Extraction Models for Palmprint Verification Using Convolutional Neural Networks Transfer Learning
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(7), 1210; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8071210
Received: 15 April 2018 / Revised: 24 June 2018 / Accepted: 2 July 2018 / Published: 23 July 2018
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Abstract
Palmprint verification is one of the most significant and popular approaches for personal authentication due to its high accuracy and efficiency. Using deep region of interest (ROI) and feature extraction models for palmprint verification, a novel approach is proposed where convolutional neural networks
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Palmprint verification is one of the most significant and popular approaches for personal authentication due to its high accuracy and efficiency. Using deep region of interest (ROI) and feature extraction models for palmprint verification, a novel approach is proposed where convolutional neural networks (CNNs) along with transfer learning are exploited. The extracted palmprint ROIs are fed to the final verification system, which is composed of two modules. These modules are (i) a pre-trained CNN architecture as a feature extractor and (ii) a machine learning classifier. In order to evaluate our proposed model, we computed the intersection over union (IoU) metric for ROI extraction along with accuracy, receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves, and equal error rate (EER) for the verification task.The experiments demonstrated that the ROI extraction module could significantly find the appropriate palmprint ROIs, and the verification results were crucially precise. This was verified by different databases and classification methods employed in our proposed model. In comparison with other existing approaches, our model was competitive with the state-of-the-art approaches that rely on the representation of hand-crafted descriptors. We achieved a IoU score of 93% and EER of 0.0125 using a support vector machine (SVM) classifier for the contact-based Hong Kong Polytechnic University Palmprint (HKPU) database. It is notable that all codes are open-source and can be accessed online. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Computer Science and Electrical Engineering)
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Open AccessArticle A Novel Bitrate Adaptation Method for Heterogeneous Wireless Body Area Networks
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(7), 1209; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8071209
Received: 6 July 2018 / Revised: 16 July 2018 / Accepted: 18 July 2018 / Published: 23 July 2018
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Abstract
In the article, a novel bitrate adaptation method for data streams allocation in heterogeneous Wireless Body Area Networks (WBANs) is presented. The efficiency of the proposed algorithm was compared with other known algorithms of data stream allocation using computer simulation. A dedicated simulator
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In the article, a novel bitrate adaptation method for data streams allocation in heterogeneous Wireless Body Area Networks (WBANs) is presented. The efficiency of the proposed algorithm was compared with other known algorithms of data stream allocation using computer simulation. A dedicated simulator has been developed using results of measurements in the real environment. The usage of the proposed adaptive data streams allocation method by transmission rate adaptation based on radio channel parameters can increase the efficiency of resources’ usage in a heterogeneous WBANs, in relation to fixed bitrates transmissions and the use of well-known algorithms. This increase of efficiency has been shown regardless of the mobile node placement on the human body. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Body Area Networks)
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Open AccessArticle Estimation of the Buildings Seismic Vulnerability: A Methodological Proposal for Planning Ante-Earthquake Scenarios in Urban Areas
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(7), 1208; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8071208
Received: 19 June 2018 / Revised: 13 July 2018 / Accepted: 19 July 2018 / Published: 23 July 2018
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Abstract
In spite of the enhancements related to building construction, many regions still present a major level of seismic risk as a consequence of the high vulnerability of the urban configuration of their cities. An improved method to assess the seismic vulnerability of buildings
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In spite of the enhancements related to building construction, many regions still present a major level of seismic risk as a consequence of the high vulnerability of the urban configuration of their cities. An improved method to assess the seismic vulnerability of buildings in urban areas is proposed in this contribution in order to advance the management of seismic emergency scenarios. The methodology, mainly based on the cadastral database, allows for a more standardized implementation as a function on the typological, structural, and urban parameters of the buildings, reducing the level of uncertainties linked to these methodologies and giving continuity to the different RISK-UE published works. The generalization of the method to any urban area has also been improved by means of removing the parameters whose calibration is associated with a specific area. The methodology has been put into practice in the urban area of the city of Lorca (SE Spain), in the aftermath of the earthquake of 11 May 2011, due to the availability of well-documented data reported from this seismic event. The proposal, when it is combined with Geographic Information System (GIS) techniques, provides valuable information for the planning and management of post-earthquake emergency situations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Differential Pricing Decision and Coordination of Green Electronic Products from the Perspective of Service Heterogeneity
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(7), 1207; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8071207
Received: 13 June 2018 / Revised: 15 July 2018 / Accepted: 17 July 2018 / Published: 23 July 2018
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Abstract
Consumers focus on level of service while purchasing electronic products. This study focuses on consumer buying behavior. We determine the Stackelberg outcome for a market when a durable electronic product has three different forms: new product, remanufactured product and refurbished product. Under the
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Consumers focus on level of service while purchasing electronic products. This study focuses on consumer buying behavior. We determine the Stackelberg outcome for a market when a durable electronic product has three different forms: new product, remanufactured product and refurbished product. Under the dynamic game model, the optimal differential pricing strategy is implemented, and the double marginal effect is coordinated through a revenue-sharing contract and two toll contracts to increase the system’s revenue capacity. Our research shows that as the degree of consumer preference increases, the service differentiation of the three products is reduced. A lower level of consumer preference affects the pricing decision of new products and significantly affects the pricing of remanufactured products and refurbished products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Energy and Applications)
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Open AccessArticle Learning Eligibility in Cancer Clinical Trials Using Deep Neural Networks
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(7), 1206; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8071206
Received: 2 July 2018 / Revised: 19 July 2018 / Accepted: 19 July 2018 / Published: 23 July 2018
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Abstract
Interventional cancer clinical trials are generally too restrictive, and some patients are often excluded on the basis of comorbidity, past or concomitant treatments, or the fact that they are over a certain age. The efficacy and safety of new treatments for patients with
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Interventional cancer clinical trials are generally too restrictive, and some patients are often excluded on the basis of comorbidity, past or concomitant treatments, or the fact that they are over a certain age. The efficacy and safety of new treatments for patients with these characteristics are, therefore, not defined. In this work, we built a model to automatically predict whether short clinical statements were considered inclusion or exclusion criteria. We used protocols from cancer clinical trials that were available in public registries from the last 18 years to train word-embeddings, and we constructed a dataset of 6M short free-texts labeled as eligible or not eligible. A text classifier was trained using deep neural networks, with pre-trained word-embeddings as inputs, to predict whether or not short free-text statements describing clinical information were considered eligible. We additionally analyzed the semantic reasoning of the word-embedding representations obtained and were able to identify equivalent treatments for a type of tumor analogous with the drugs used to treat other tumors. We show that representation learning using deep neural networks can be successfully leveraged to extract the medical knowledge from clinical trial protocols for potentially assisting practitioners when prescribing treatments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Deep Learning and Big Data in Healthcare)
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Open AccessArticle The Assessment of Possibility of Using Sanitary Ceramic Waste as Concrete Aggregate—Determination of the Basic Material Characteristics
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(7), 1205; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8071205
Received: 12 May 2018 / Revised: 4 June 2018 / Accepted: 16 June 2018 / Published: 23 July 2018
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Abstract
This article presents the possibilities of using soft clay pottery waste as concrete aggregate. There is shown a new approach of complete exchange natural aggregate in concrete with recycled aggregate, i.e., crushed ceramic of two fractions 0–4 and 4–8 mm. Basic characteristics of
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This article presents the possibilities of using soft clay pottery waste as concrete aggregate. There is shown a new approach of complete exchange natural aggregate in concrete with recycled aggregate, i.e., crushed ceramic of two fractions 0–4 and 4–8 mm. Basic characteristics of aggregate were evaluated, i.e., phase composition and crush strength. Drawing on past experiences, two concrete mixes were designed that were based on Portland cement 32.5 R used for ordinary concrete and aluminous Górkal 70, which is characterized by high initial strength and the fact that Al2O3 is the binding factor. The prepared concrete samples were subjected to maintenance for the next 28 days, and then tests started. A series of tests were performed on the properties of concrete obtained, including a compressive strength and bending strength, an abrasion resistance, frost resistance, water absorption, depth of penetration of water under pressure, and bulk density of concrete. The research confirmed assumptions that it is possible to completely replace the natural aggregate with aggregate made of soft clay pottery waste. Both designed concretes showed high compressive and bending strength, as well as low absorbability and abrasiveness. It was also found that soaking in water, as well as its duration, adversely affects the strength properties of the designed concretes. Regarding concrete based on Portland cement, it was also demonstrated that the concrete has a high frost resistance and resistance to penetration of water under pressure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Materials)
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Open AccessArticle Accurate Sparse Recovery of Rayleigh Wave Characteristics Using Fast Analysis of Wave Speed (FAWS) Algorithm for Soft Soil Layers
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(7), 1204; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8071204
Received: 27 June 2018 / Revised: 12 July 2018 / Accepted: 21 July 2018 / Published: 23 July 2018
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Abstract
This paper presents a novel fast analysis of wave speed (FAWS) algorithm from the waveforms recorded by a random-spaced geophone array based on a compressive sensing (CS) platform. Rayleigh-type seismic surface wave testing is excited by a hammer source and conducted to develop
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This paper presents a novel fast analysis of wave speed (FAWS) algorithm from the waveforms recorded by a random-spaced geophone array based on a compressive sensing (CS) platform. Rayleigh-type seismic surface wave testing is excited by a hammer source and conducted to develop the phase velocity characteristics of the subsoil layers in Shenyang Metro line 9. Data are filtered by a bandpass filter bank to pursue the dispersive profiles of phase velocity at various frequencies. The Rayleigh-type surface-wave dispersion curve for the soil layers at each frequency is conducted by the 1-norm minimization algorithm of CS theory. The traditional frequency-wavenumber transform technique and in-site downhole observation are employed as the comparison of the proposed technique. The experimental results indicate the proposed FAWS algorithm has a good agreement with both the results of conventional even-spaced geophone array and the in-site measurements, which provides an effective and efficient way for accurate non-destructive evaluation of the surface wave dispersion curve of the soil. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Effect of Droplet Impingement on the Weld Profile and Grain Morphology in the Welding of Aluminum Alloys
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(7), 1203; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8071203
Received: 3 July 2018 / Revised: 17 July 2018 / Accepted: 19 July 2018 / Published: 23 July 2018
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Abstract
To achieve a better understanding of the effect of droplet impingement on the weld profile and grain morphology, welding with vertical and inclined torches in the double pulsed-gas metal arc welding of aluminum alloy were compared. When using vertical welding, the grains along
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To achieve a better understanding of the effect of droplet impingement on the weld profile and grain morphology, welding with vertical and inclined torches in the double pulsed-gas metal arc welding of aluminum alloy were compared. When using vertical welding, the grains along the wall of the finger-like penetration (FLP) were refined by a more violent flow driven by droplet impingement running in the confined space created by FLP. When using inclined welding, the sharp inflection point disappeared and the curved columnar grains emerged on the non-impact action side, which was attributed to the gradually weakened impingement at that location. Moreover, when the penetration became shallower due to a low mean current, the droplets impinged alternately along split trajectories, causing significant changes in the grain morphology, such as creating grains which were sharply shortened by the direct impact of droplet impingement at impact point. The change of trajectory was ascribed to the variation of the width/depth ratio of FLP, which changed the magnitude of the contradiction between the room required by the fluid flow driven by droplet impingement and the space supplied for that by FLP. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanical Behaviour of Aluminium Alloys)
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Open AccessArticle Wind Turbine Optimization for Minimum Cost of Energy in Low Wind Speed Areas Considering Blade Length and Hub Height
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(7), 1202; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8071202
Received: 8 July 2018 / Revised: 17 July 2018 / Accepted: 20 July 2018 / Published: 23 July 2018
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Abstract
In recent years, sites with low annual average wind speeds have begun to be considered for the development of new wind farms. The majority of design methods for a wind turbine operating at low wind speed is to increase the blade length or
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In recent years, sites with low annual average wind speeds have begun to be considered for the development of new wind farms. The majority of design methods for a wind turbine operating at low wind speed is to increase the blade length or hub height compared to a wind turbine operating in high wind speed sites. The cost of the rotor and the tower is a considerable portion of the overall wind turbine cost. This study investigates a method to trade-off the blade length and hub height during the wind turbine optimization at low wind speeds. A cost and scaling model is implemented to evaluate the cost of energy. The procedure optimizes the blades’ aero-structural performance considering blade length and the hub height simultaneously. The blade element momentum (BEM) code is used to evaluate blade aerodynamic performance and classical laminate theory (CLT) is applied to estimate the stiffness and mass per unit length of each blade section. The particle swarm optimization (PSO) algorithm is applied to determine the optimal wind turbine with the minimum cost of energy (COE). The results show that increasing rotor diameter is less efficient than increasing the hub height for a low wind speed turbine and the COE reduces 16.14% and 17.54% under two design schemes through the optimization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wind Turbine Aerodynamics)
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Open AccessArticle The Influence of Valve-Pump Weight Ratios on the Dynamic Response of Leaking Valve-Pump Parallel Control Hydraulic Systems
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(7), 1201; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8071201
Received: 18 May 2018 / Revised: 12 July 2018 / Accepted: 13 July 2018 / Published: 22 July 2018
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Abstract
A new leaking valve-pump parallel control (LVPC) oil hydraulic system is proposed to improve the performance of dynamic response of present variable speed pump control (VSPC) system, which is an oil hydraulic control system with saving energy. In the LVPC, a control valve
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A new leaking valve-pump parallel control (LVPC) oil hydraulic system is proposed to improve the performance of dynamic response of present variable speed pump control (VSPC) system, which is an oil hydraulic control system with saving energy. In the LVPC, a control valve is operating at leaking status, together with a variable speed pump, to regulate the system flow of hydraulic oil simultaneously. Therefore, the degree of valve control and pump control can be adjusted by regulating the valve-pump weight ratio. The LVPC system design, mathematical model development, system parameter and control performance analysis are carried out systematically followed by an experimental for validation process. Results have shown that after introducing the valve control, the total leakage coefficient increases significantly over a wide range with the operating point and this further increases damping ratios and reduces the velocity stiffness. As the valve-pump weight ratio determines the flow distribution between the valve and the pump and the weight factors of the valve and/or the pump controls determines the response speed of the LVPC system, thus if the weight factors are constrained properly, the LVPC system will eventually have a large synthetic open-loop gain and it will respond faster than the VSPC system. The LVPC will enrich the control schemes of oil hydraulic system and has potential value in application requiring of fast response. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Mechanical Engineering)
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Open AccessArticle An Ergonomic Customized-Tool Handle Design for Precision Tools using Additive Manufacturing: A Case Study
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(7), 1200; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8071200
Received: 12 June 2018 / Revised: 9 July 2018 / Accepted: 18 July 2018 / Published: 22 July 2018
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Abstract
A study was carried out with 135 surgeons to obtain a surgical laparoscopic grasper handle design that adapts to the size of each surgeon’s hand, in a functionally appropriate way, and has the sufficient ergonomics to avoid generating the problems detected nowadays. The
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A study was carried out with 135 surgeons to obtain a surgical laparoscopic grasper handle design that adapts to the size of each surgeon’s hand, in a functionally appropriate way, and has the sufficient ergonomics to avoid generating the problems detected nowadays. The main conclusion of the work is the practical 3D parametric design obtained for a laparoscopic surgical graspers handle that is scalable to fit each particular surgeon's hand size. In addition, it has been possible to determine that the anthropometric measure of the surgeon's hand defined as Palm Length Measured (PLM) allows the design of the 3D parametric model of the surgical handle to be conveniently scaled. The results show that both additive manufacturing and the application of ergonomics criterion provide an efficient method for the custom design and manufacture of this type of specialised tool, with potential application in other sectors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Mechanical Engineering)
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Open AccessArticle Application of Aesthetic Principles to the Study of Consumer Preference Models for Vase Forms
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(7), 1199; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8071199
Received: 7 May 2018 / Revised: 13 July 2018 / Accepted: 13 July 2018 / Published: 22 July 2018
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Abstract
The factors that affect a consumer when making a purchase decision include product function, quality, and price. Different products might feature similar functional performance although they are designed and manufactured by different vendors. The most decisive factor for a consumer in buying a
[...] Read more.
The factors that affect a consumer when making a purchase decision include product function, quality, and price. Different products might feature similar functional performance although they are designed and manufactured by different vendors. The most decisive factor for a consumer in buying a product is no longer its physical functions. Nowadays, consumers care more about the aesthetics that a product can deliver. Designers should make any extra effort to improve the aesthetic design of their products. Therefore, it is critical for a designer to know the aesthetic tastes of his/her target consumer group in order to create products with the preferred style. Furthermore, the idea of design differentiation needs to be incorporated so that a product can present different aesthetic perceptions to consumers of different tastes. The objective of this study is to investigate consumers’ preference models from their preferred product forms. The aesthetic principles of Symmetry, Minimalism, and Cohesion are applied to the case study of the design of various vase forms. A quantitative approach of evaluating vase forms by the aesthetic principles is proposed. A conjoint analysis of the vase features and attributes was carried out in order to determine their correlation with consumer preferences. Consumers are classified into 6 groups of different aesthetic conceptions by cluster analysis. The consumers’ preference model can be determined by indices including Pearson’s R and Kendall’s tau. This approach provides designers with an effective way of determining the right direction for new form designs and renovation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from IEEE ICASI 2018)
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Open AccessArticle Automated Diabetic Retinopathy Screening System Using Hybrid Simulated Annealing and Ensemble Bagging Classifier
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(7), 1198; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8071198
Received: 5 July 2018 / Revised: 18 July 2018 / Accepted: 19 July 2018 / Published: 22 July 2018
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Abstract
Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) is the leading cause of blindness in working-age adults globally. Primary screening of DR is essential, and it is recommended that diabetes patients undergo this procedure at least once per year to prevent vision loss. However, in addition to the
[...] Read more.
Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) is the leading cause of blindness in working-age adults globally. Primary screening of DR is essential, and it is recommended that diabetes patients undergo this procedure at least once per year to prevent vision loss. However, in addition to the insufficient number of ophthalmologists available, the eye examination itself is labor-intensive and time-consuming. Thus, an automated DR screening method using retinal images is proposed in this paper to reduce the workload of ophthalmologists in the primary screening process and so that ophthalmologists may make effective treatment plans promptly to help prevent patient blindness. First, all possible candidate lesions of DR were segmented from the whole retinal image using a combination of morphological-top-hat and Kirsch edge-detection methods supplemented by pre- and post-processing steps. Then, eight feature extractors were utilized to extract a total of 208 features based on the pixel density of the binary image as well as texture, color, and intensity information for the detected regions. Finally, hybrid simulated annealing was applied to select the optimal feature set to be used as the input to the ensemble bagging classifier. The evaluation results of this proposed method, on a dataset containing 1200 retinal images, indicate that it performs better than previous methods, with an accuracy of 97.08%, a sensitivity of 90.90%, a specificity of 98.92%, a precision of 96.15%, an F-measure of 93.45% and the area under receiver operating characteristic curve at 98.34%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Intelligent Imaging Technology)
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Open AccessArticle Quantitative Deterioration Assessment of Road Bridge Decks Based on Site Inspected Cracks
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(7), 1197; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8071197
Received: 20 June 2018 / Revised: 4 July 2018 / Accepted: 18 July 2018 / Published: 21 July 2018
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Abstract
By integrating a multi-scale simulation with the pseudo-cracking method, the remaining fatigue life of in-service reinforced concrete (RC) bridge decks can be estimated based upon their site-inspected crack patterns. But, it still takes time for computation. In order to achieve a quick deterioration-magnitude
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By integrating a multi-scale simulation with the pseudo-cracking method, the remaining fatigue life of in-service reinforced concrete (RC) bridge decks can be estimated based upon their site-inspected crack patterns. But, it still takes time for computation. In order to achieve a quick deterioration-magnitude assessment of RC decks based upon their crack patterns, two evaluation methods are proposed. A predictive correlation between the remaining fatigue life and the cracks density (both cracks length and width) is presented as a fast judgment. For fair-detailed judgment, an artificial neural network (ANN) model is also introduced which is the basis of the machine learning. Both assessment methods are built commonly by thousands of artificial random crack patterns to cover all possible ranges since the variety of the real crack patterns on site is more or less limited. The built ANN performances are examined by k-fold cross-validation besides checking the prediction accuracy of real crack patterns of bridge RC decks. Finally, the hazard map of the deck’s bottom surface is introduced to indicate the location of higher risk cracking, which derives from the estimated weight of individual neuron in the built artificial neural network. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Numerical Modeling and Performance Prediction of COS Hydrolysis Reactor in an Integrated Gasification Fuel Cell in terms of Thermo-Chemical Transport Phenomena
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(7), 1196; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8071196
Received: 12 June 2018 / Revised: 16 July 2018 / Accepted: 17 July 2018 / Published: 21 July 2018
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Abstract
During the recent decades, global warming by greenhouse gas evolution has attracted worldwide attention and ever increasing strict regulations thereon have become institutionalized as international policies. In the process, more environment-friendly power generation technologies have been developed utilizing fossil fuels with a view
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During the recent decades, global warming by greenhouse gas evolution has attracted worldwide attention and ever increasing strict regulations thereon have become institutionalized as international policies. In the process, more environment-friendly power generation technologies have been developed utilizing fossil fuels with a view to timely commercialization. As one such “clean coal” technology, an Integrated Gasification Fuel Cell system is a promising power generation means where a carbonyl sulfide (COS) hydrolysis reactor is installed downstream of coal syngas to remove acidic gas constituents such as H2S and COS. The most significant design parameters affecting performance of the COS hydrolysis reactor were selected to be gas hourly space velocity (GHSV), reaction temperature, and length ratio, and numerical modeling was performed considering heat and fluid flow transfer as well as chemical reaction kinetics. Effect of the selected design parameters on the variation of conversion rate and reactant gas mixture concentration were comprehensively investigated to predict performance of the COS hydrolysis reactor. Stochastic modeling of reactor performance was finally performed using Monte Carlo simulation and linear regression fitting. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Mechanical Engineering)
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Open AccessCommunication Solution-Processed CdTe Thin-Film Solar Cells Using ZnSe Nanocrystal as a Buffer Layer
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(7), 1195; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8071195
Received: 9 July 2018 / Revised: 16 July 2018 / Accepted: 16 July 2018 / Published: 21 July 2018
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Abstract
The CdTe nanocrystal (NC) is an outstanding, low-cost photovoltaic material for highly efficient solution-processed thin-film solar cells. Currently, most CdTe NC thin-film solar cells are based on CdSe, ZnO, or CdS buffer layers. In this study, a wide bandgap and Cd-free ZnSe NC
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The CdTe nanocrystal (NC) is an outstanding, low-cost photovoltaic material for highly efficient solution-processed thin-film solar cells. Currently, most CdTe NC thin-film solar cells are based on CdSe, ZnO, or CdS buffer layers. In this study, a wide bandgap and Cd-free ZnSe NC is introduced for the first time as the buffer layer for all solution-processed CdTe/ZnSe NC hetero-junction thin-film solar cells with a configuration of ITO/ZnO/ZnSe/CdTe/MoOx/Au. The dependence of the thickness of the ZnSe NC film, the annealing temperature and the chemical treatment on the performance of NC solar cells are investigated and discussed in detail. We further develop a ligand-exchanging strategy that involves 1,2-ethanedithiol (EDT) during the fabrication of ZnSe NC film. An improved power conversion efficiency (PCE) of 3.58% is obtained, which is increased by 16.6% when compared to a device without the EDT treatment. We believe that using ZnSe NC as the buffer layer holds the potential for developing high-efficiency, low cost, and stable CdTe NC-based solar cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Next Generation Photovoltaic Solar Cells)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Rheology of Asphalt Binder Modified with 5W30 Viscosity Grade Waste Engine Oil
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(7), 1194; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8071194
Received: 4 May 2018 / Revised: 7 June 2018 / Accepted: 16 July 2018 / Published: 20 July 2018
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The pavement structure tends to shrink under low temperature conditions and cracks will appear upon crossing threshold binder stiffness. Decreasing the binder viscosity at such low temperatures, by introducing additional oil fraction (aromatics and saturates) in asphalt colloidal systems, may result in improved
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The pavement structure tends to shrink under low temperature conditions and cracks will appear upon crossing threshold binder stiffness. Decreasing the binder viscosity at such low temperatures, by introducing additional oil fraction (aromatics and saturates) in asphalt colloidal systems, may result in improved resistance to thermal cracking. A single multi-grade engine oil (5W30) was used in this study to analyze the rheological properties imparted to binders. Rotational Viscosity (RV) test revealed that after Rolling Thin Film Oven (RTFO) aging, fresh oil and waste oil have a similar effect on decreasing the viscosity of binder and construction temperatures, reducing them by 5~8 °C. Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) test results showed an abrupt increase of carbonyl concertation when fresh engine oil was used for rejuvenation while waste engine oil was less susceptible to oxidative aging. Dynamic analysis of modified binders proved that engine oil has better thermal cracking resistance but relaxation ability of binders and rutting resistance was impaired. Filtered waste engine oil resulted in a 35% decrement in the stiffness of binder compared to virgin asphalt after short term aging but upper Performance Grade (PG) was compromised by 1~3 °C with 2.5% oil inclusion. Unfiltered waste engine oil proved to have the least overall performance compared to fresh and filtered waste engine oil. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Using Adverse Weather Data in Social Media to Assist with City-Level Traffic Situation Awareness and Alerting
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(7), 1193; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8071193
Received: 9 June 2018 / Revised: 6 July 2018 / Accepted: 17 July 2018 / Published: 20 July 2018
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Abstract
Traffic situation awareness and alerting assisted by adverse weather conditions contributes to improve traffic safety, disaster coping mechanisms, and route planning for government agencies, business sectors, and individual travelers. However, at the city level, the physical sensor-generated data are partly held by different
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Traffic situation awareness and alerting assisted by adverse weather conditions contributes to improve traffic safety, disaster coping mechanisms, and route planning for government agencies, business sectors, and individual travelers. However, at the city level, the physical sensor-generated data are partly held by different transportation and meteorological departments, which causes problems of “isolated information” for data fusion. Furthermore, it makes traffic situation awareness and estimation challenging and ineffective. In this paper, we leverage the power of crowdsourcing knowledge in social media and propose a novel way to forecast and generate alerts for city-level traffic incidents based on a social approach rather than traditional physical approaches. Specifically, we first collect adverse weather topics and reports of traffic incidents from social media. Then, we extract temporal, spatial, and meteorological features as well as labeled traffic reaction values corresponding to the social media “heat” for each city. Afterwards, the regression and alerting model is proposed to estimate the city-level traffic situation and give the suggestion of warning levels. The experiments show that the proposed model equipped with gcForest achieves the best root mean square error (RMSE) and mean absolute percentage error (MAPE) score on the social traffic incidents test dataset. Moreover, we consider the news report as an objective measurement to flexibly validate the feasibility of proposed model from social cyberspace to physical space. Finally, a prototype system was deployed and applied to government agencies to provide an intuitive visualization solution as well as decision support assistance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Data and Semantics in a Sensor World)
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Open AccessArticle Multibody Simulation for the Vibration Analysis of a Turbocharged Diesel Engine
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(7), 1192; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8071192
Received: 15 May 2018 / Revised: 4 July 2018 / Accepted: 17 July 2018 / Published: 20 July 2018
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Abstract
In this paper, a multibody calculation methodology has been applied to the vibration analysis of a 4-cylinder, 4-stroke, turbocharged diesel engine, with a simulation driven study of the angular speed variation of a crankshaft under consideration of different modeling assumptions. Moreover, time dependent
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In this paper, a multibody calculation methodology has been applied to the vibration analysis of a 4-cylinder, 4-stroke, turbocharged diesel engine, with a simulation driven study of the angular speed variation of a crankshaft under consideration of different modeling assumptions. Moreover, time dependent simulation results, evaluated at the engine supports, are condensed to a vibration index and compared with experimental results, obtaining satisfactory outcomes. The modal analysis also considers the damping aspects and has been conducted using a multibody model created with the software AVL/EXCITE. The influence of crankshaft torsional frequencies on the rotational speed behavior has been evaluated in order to reduce the vibration phenomena. The focus of this work is related to industrial aspects since, for an existing and commercialized engine, a numerical and experimental complex study has been performed to enable design improvements aimed at reducing noise and vibrations. Existing procedures and algorithms are combined here to reach the abovementioned objectives in the most efficient way. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Analysis of Behavioral Characteristics of Smartphone Addiction Using Data Mining
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(7), 1191; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8071191
Received: 4 July 2018 / Accepted: 13 July 2018 / Published: 20 July 2018
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Abstract
In 2016, the number of mobile phone subscriptions worldwide had surpassed the total world population; moreover, the number of smartphone addicts is increasing each year. Thus, the objective of this study is to analyze smartphone addiction by considering the differences between smartphone usage
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In 2016, the number of mobile phone subscriptions worldwide had surpassed the total world population; moreover, the number of smartphone addicts is increasing each year. Thus, the objective of this study is to analyze smartphone addiction by considering the differences between smartphone usage patterns as well as cognition. Our proposed method involves automatically collecting and analyzing data through an app instead of using the existing self-reporting method, thereby improving the accuracy of data and ensuring data reliability from respondents. Based on the results of our study, we observed that there is a significant cognitive bias between the self-reports and automatically collected data. As a result of applying data mining, among the six criteria out of the total 24 items of the questionnaire, the higher the “recurrence” item, the higher the addiction; further, “forbidden” item 1 had the largest effect on addiction. In addition, the input variables that have the greatest influence on the high-risk users were the number of times the screen was turned on and real-use time/cognitive-use time. However, the amount of data and time of smartphone usage were not related to addiction. In the future, we will modify the app to obtain more accurate data, based on which, we can analyze the effects of smartphone addiction, such as depression, anxiety, stress, self-esteem, and emotional regulation, among others. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Deep Learning and Big Data in Healthcare)
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Open AccessArticle A Study on Optimal Compensation Design for Meteorological Satellites in the Presence of Periodic Disturbance
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(7), 1190; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8071190
Received: 5 June 2018 / Revised: 5 July 2018 / Accepted: 18 July 2018 / Published: 20 July 2018
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Abstract
Periodic disturbance may cause serious effects on the attitude of meteorological satellites, and the attenuation of periodic disturbance is required. In this paper, a fundamental study on the optimal design of constant compensations against known-law periodic disturbance for meteorological satellites is investigated. An
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Periodic disturbance may cause serious effects on the attitude of meteorological satellites, and the attenuation of periodic disturbance is required. In this paper, a fundamental study on the optimal design of constant compensations against known-law periodic disturbance for meteorological satellites is investigated. An analytical solution for the relationship between the frequency and amplitude ratios and the response of a typical second-order vibration system is firstly derived. The compensation and disturbance torques are determined according to practical engineering. The criteria for designing the optimal compensations are based on the analytical and simulation results. Then, the criteria are applied to a flexible spacecraft actuated by constant control torque in the presence of sustained periodic disturbance. The optimal compensation torque parameters for spacecraft are acquired based on former criteria. The compensate effectiveness of the optimal compensation torque is provided and compared with results of other selections in the frequency and amplitude ratio domain. Numerical simulation results and experimental results clearly demonstrate the good performance of proposed criteria. This work provides a significant reference for the vibration attenuation of meteorological satellites in the present of periodic disturbance. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Combined Economic and Mechanical Performance Optimization of Recycled Aggregate Concrete with High Volume of Fly Ash
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(7), 1189; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8071189
Received: 29 June 2018 / Revised: 12 July 2018 / Accepted: 18 July 2018 / Published: 20 July 2018
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Abstract
This study intends to evaluate high and low-strength concrete mixes made with high volume of fly ash (FA) and recycled concrete aggregates (RCA) from both a mechanical and economic point of view. For this purpose, the mechanical characteristics of concrete, namely compressive strength
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This study intends to evaluate high and low-strength concrete mixes made with high volume of fly ash (FA) and recycled concrete aggregates (RCA) from both a mechanical and economic point of view. For this purpose, the mechanical characteristics of concrete, namely compressive strength (fcm), splitting tensile strength (fctm), and modulus of elasticity (Ecm) were correlated with the cost of 1 m3 of concrete mixes, taking into account the most common scenarios (e.g., cost of the raw materials, transportation between supplier and concrete plant, and mixing procedure) in the centre of Portugal. The results show that the incorporation of FA and RCA are detrimental to the mechanical properties of concrete. Ecm is predominantly influenced by RCA, and “fcm” and “fctm” are mainly controlled by FA incorporation. However, after a given age, the rate of the strength development (fcm, fctm and Ecm) of RCA concrete containing FA significantly accelerates over time relative to the reference concrete (without FA and RCA) and to the mixes made with either RCA or FA. Furthermore, the cost of concrete does not significantly change by incorporating RCA. The use of superplasticizer (SP) significantly increases the cost of concrete. However, the higher cost of concrete due to the use of SP can be offset by replacing cement with FA. Regarding the optimization process, concrete mixes with the lowest cost may not necessarily be the optimum choice regarding cost efficiency. In fact, the mechanical properties of concrete also need to be considered to aid the decision on the optimal concrete mix. Finally, the results show that the optimum mixes in terms of cost and mechanical characteristics are mostly the ones made with simultaneous incorporation of RCA, FA, and SP, rather than with their individual incorporation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Materials)
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Open AccessArticle Characteristics of Curcumin-Loaded Bacterial Cellulose Films and Anticancer Properties against Malignant Melanoma Skin Cancer Cells
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(7), 1188; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8071188
Received: 6 June 2018 / Revised: 9 July 2018 / Accepted: 11 July 2018 / Published: 20 July 2018
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Abstract
Curcumin-loaded bacterial cellulose films were developed in this study. Curcumin was absorbed into never-dried bacterial cellulose pellicles by 24-h immersion in solutions of curcumin in the range of 0.2–1.0 mg /mL. The curcumin-loaded bacterial cellulose pellicles were then air-dried and characterized. The mechanical
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Curcumin-loaded bacterial cellulose films were developed in this study. Curcumin was absorbed into never-dried bacterial cellulose pellicles by 24-h immersion in solutions of curcumin in the range of 0.2–1.0 mg /mL. The curcumin-loaded bacterial cellulose pellicles were then air-dried and characterized. The mechanical properties of curcumin-loaded bacterial cellulose films, particularly the stretching properties, appeared to be lower than those of bacterial cellulose film. This was especially evident when the loading concentration of curcumin was higher than 0.4 mg/mL. Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy analysis indicated an interaction between bacterial cellulose microfibrils and curcumin. Controlled release of curcumin was achieved in buffer solutions containing Tween 80 and methanol additives, at pH 5.5 and 7.4. Curcumin-loaded bacterial cellulose films prepared with curcumin solutions at concentrations of 0.5 and 1.0 mg/mL displayed antifungal activities against Aspergillus niger. They also exhibited anticancer activity against A375 malignant melanoma cells. No significant cytotoxic effect was observed against normal dermal cells, specifically, human keratinocytes and human dermal fibroblasts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bacterial Cellulose Composites)
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Open AccessArticle Effect of Fly Ash on the Properties of Ceramics Prepared from Steel Slag
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(7), 1187; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8071187
Received: 28 June 2018 / Revised: 13 July 2018 / Accepted: 18 July 2018 / Published: 20 July 2018
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Abstract
In this study, SiO2–Al2O3–CaO–MgO steel slag ceramics containing 5 wt % MgO were used for the preparation of ceramic bodies, with the replacement of 5–20 wt % quartz and feldspar by fly ash. The effect of the
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In this study, SiO2–Al2O3–CaO–MgO steel slag ceramics containing 5 wt % MgO were used for the preparation of ceramic bodies, with the replacement of 5–20 wt % quartz and feldspar by fly ash. The effect of the addition of fly ash on the sintering shrinkage, water absorption, sintering range, and flexural strength of the steel slag ceramic was studied. Furthermore, the crystalline phase transitions and microstructures of the sintered samples were investigated by XRD, Fourier transform infrared (FTIR), and SEM. The results showed that the addition of fly ash affected the crystalline phases of the sintered ceramic samples. The main crystal phases of the base steel slag ceramic sample without fly ash were quartz, diopside, and augite. With increasing fly ash content, the quartz diffraction peak decreased gradually, while the diffraction peak intensity of anorthite became stronger. The mechanical properties of the samples decreased with the increasing amount of fly ash. The addition of fly ash (0–20 wt %) affected the optimum sintering temperature (1130–1160 °C) and widened the sintering range. The maximum addition amount of fly ash should be 15 wt %, for which the optimum sintering temperature was 1145 °C, water absorption was 0.03%, and flexural strength was 43.37 MPa higher than the Chinese national standard GBT 4100-2015 requirements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Chemistry)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Dark Solitons in Acoustic Transmission Line Metamaterials
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(7), 1186; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8071186
Received: 10 June 2018 / Revised: 12 July 2018 / Accepted: 15 July 2018 / Published: 20 July 2018
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Abstract
We study dark solitons, namely density dips with a phase jump across the density minimum, in a one-dimensional, weakly lossy nonlinear acoustic metamaterial, composed of a waveguide featuring a periodic array of side holes. Relying on the electroacoustic analogy and the transmission line
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We study dark solitons, namely density dips with a phase jump across the density minimum, in a one-dimensional, weakly lossy nonlinear acoustic metamaterial, composed of a waveguide featuring a periodic array of side holes. Relying on the electroacoustic analogy and the transmission line approach, we derive a lattice model which, in the continuum approximation, leads to a nonlinear, dispersive and dissipative wave equation. The latter, using the method of multiple scales, is reduced to a defocusing nonlinear Schrödinger equation, which leads to dark soliton solutions. The dissipative dynamics of these structures is studied via soliton perturbation theory. We investigate the role—and interplay between—nonlinearity, dispersion and dissipation on the soliton formation and dynamics. Our analytical predictions are corroborated by direct numerical simulations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Acoustic Metamaterials)
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Open AccessEditorial Special Issue on Applications of Semiconductor Optical Amplifiers
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(7), 1185; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8071185
Received: 10 July 2018 / Accepted: 18 July 2018 / Published: 20 July 2018
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applications of Semiconductor Optical Amplifiers)
Open AccessFeature PaperReview Novel Applications of Microbial Fuel Cells in Sensors and Biosensors
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(7), 1184; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8071184
Received: 1 June 2018 / Revised: 3 July 2018 / Accepted: 6 July 2018 / Published: 20 July 2018
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Abstract
A microbial fuel cell (MFC) is a type of bio-electrochemical system with novel features, such as electricity generation, wastewater treatment, and biosensor applications. In recent years, progressive trends in MFC research on its chemical, electrochemical, and microbiological aspects has resulted in its noticeable
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A microbial fuel cell (MFC) is a type of bio-electrochemical system with novel features, such as electricity generation, wastewater treatment, and biosensor applications. In recent years, progressive trends in MFC research on its chemical, electrochemical, and microbiological aspects has resulted in its noticeable applications in the field of sensing. This review was consequently aimed to provide an overview of the most interesting new applications of MFCs in sensors, such as providing the required electrical current and power for remote sensors (energy supply device for sensors) and detection of pollutants, biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), and specific DNA strands by MFCs without an external analytical device (self-powered biosensors). Moreover, in this review, procedures of MFC operation as a power supply for pH, temperature, and organic loading rate (OLR) sensors, and also self-powered biosensors of toxicity, pollutants, and BOD have been discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbial Fuel Cells)
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Open AccessArticle Parallel Crossed Chaotic Encryption for Hyperspectral Images
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(7), 1183; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8071183
Received: 29 June 2018 / Revised: 16 July 2018 / Accepted: 17 July 2018 / Published: 20 July 2018
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Abstract
Hyperspectral images (HI) collect information from across the electromagnetic spectrum, and they are an essential tool for identifying materials, recognizing processes and finding objects. However, the information on an HI could be sensitive and must to be protected. Although there are many encryption
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Hyperspectral images (HI) collect information from across the electromagnetic spectrum, and they are an essential tool for identifying materials, recognizing processes and finding objects. However, the information on an HI could be sensitive and must to be protected. Although there are many encryption schemes for images and raw data, there are not specific schemes for HI. In this paper, we introduce the idea of crossed chaotic systems and we present an ad hoc parallel crossed chaotic encryption algorithm for HI, in which we take advantage of the multidimensionality nature of the HI. Consequently, we obtain a faster encryption algorithm and with a higher entropy result than others state of the art chaotic schemes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hyper- and Multi-Spectral Imaging)
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Open AccessArticle Experimental Investigation of the Shear Strength of RC Beams Extracted from an Old Structure and Strengthened by Carbon FRP U-Strips
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(7), 1182; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8071182
Received: 16 June 2018 / Revised: 10 July 2018 / Accepted: 16 July 2018 / Published: 19 July 2018
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Abstract
In recent years, old reinforced concrete (RC) buildings have increasingly been protected as historic symbols in Italy. The conversion of these buildings can resolve the increasing need for new structures, reducing much social, economic, and environmental impact. Retrofitting solutions by carbon fiber reinforced
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In recent years, old reinforced concrete (RC) buildings have increasingly been protected as historic symbols in Italy. The conversion of these buildings can resolve the increasing need for new structures, reducing much social, economic, and environmental impact. Retrofitting solutions by carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) reinforcements are very common nowadays. Code predictions present uncertainties due to the brittle behavior and the debonding of CFRP strips resulting from concrete cracking. Therefore, especially in the case of old beams, experimental validation is necessary. This paper deals the experimental evaluation of the shear strength of two beams extracted from an old RC building in Rome built in 1929 with modest-quality concrete. Preliminary tests were carried out to evaluate the beam elastic response and the material characteristics. These beams were tested until failure (three-point load shear/bending tests) after strengthening for shear by CFRP U-jacketing and for bending by new steel rebars. The results obtained, together with the extensive data taken from the literature, were compared with the predictions by design code equations. The influence of construction details on beam shear strength and the experimental maximum CFRP strain were also analyzed. Code predictions can be effective to estimate the shear strength of the retrofitted beams. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Materials)
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Open AccessReview Polymer Nanocomposite Membranes
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(7), 1181; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8071181
Received: 11 June 2018 / Revised: 5 July 2018 / Accepted: 12 July 2018 / Published: 19 July 2018
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Abstract
Based on the results of research works reflected in the scientific literature, the main examples, methods and approaches to the development of polymer inorganic nanocomposite materials for target membranes are considered. The focus is on membranes for critical technologies with improved mechanical, thermal
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Based on the results of research works reflected in the scientific literature, the main examples, methods and approaches to the development of polymer inorganic nanocomposite materials for target membranes are considered. The focus is on membranes for critical technologies with improved mechanical, thermal properties that have the necessary capabilities to solve the problems of a selective pervaporation. For the purpose of directional changes in the parameters of membranes, effects on their properties of the type, amount and conditions of nanoparticle incorporation into the polymer matrix were analyzed. An influence of nanoparticles on the structural and morphological characteristics of the nanocomposite film is considered, as well as possibilities of forming transport channels for separated liquids are analyzed. Particular attention is paid to a correlation of nanocomposite structure-transport properties of membranes, whose separation characteristics are usually considered within the framework of the diffusion-sorption mechanism. Full article
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