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Open AccessArticle
Quenching and Partitioning of Multiphase Aluminum-Added Steels
Metals 2019, 9(3), 373; https://doi.org/10.3390/met9030373 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The quenching and partitioning response following intercritical annealing was investigated for three lean TRIP-type high-Al steel compositions. Depending on the intercritical austenite fraction following annealing, the steels assumed either a ferrite/martensite/retained austenite microstructure or a multiphase structure with ferritic, bainitic and martensitic constituents [...] Read more.
The quenching and partitioning response following intercritical annealing was investigated for three lean TRIP-type high-Al steel compositions. Depending on the intercritical austenite fraction following annealing, the steels assumed either a ferrite/martensite/retained austenite microstructure or a multiphase structure with ferritic, bainitic and martensitic constituents along with retained austenite. The amount of retained austenite was found to correlate with the initial quench temperature and, depending on the intercritical annealing condition prior to initial quenching, with the uniform and ultimate elongations measured in tensile testing. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Numerical Investigation on Tidally Induced Sediment Transport and Morphological Changes with Changing Sea Level in South-East England
Geosciences 2019, 9(3), 140; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9030140 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The impact of tide-induced morphological changes and water level variations on the sediment transport in a tidally dominated system has been investigated using the numerical model Delft3D and South-East England as a test case. The goal of this manuscript is to explore the [...] Read more.
The impact of tide-induced morphological changes and water level variations on the sediment transport in a tidally dominated system has been investigated using the numerical model Delft3D and South-East England as a test case. The goal of this manuscript is to explore the long-term changes in morphology due to sea level rise and the large-scale morphodynamic equilibrium of the South-East England. Our results suggest that the long term (century scale) tidally-induced morphological evolution of the seabed slows down in time and promotes a vanishing net transport across the large scale system. Century-scale morphologically updated simulations show that both morphological changes and net transport values tend to decrease in time as the system attains a dynamic equilibrium configuration. Results further suggest that the presence of a gradual increase in mean sea level accelerates the initial morphological evolution of the system whose morphological rate of change gradually attains, however, same plateau values as in the absence of sea level rise. Given the same base morphology, increasing water levels enhance residual currents and the net transport near the coastline; and vice-versa, decreasing sea levels minimize both residuals and net transport near the coastline. The areas that are more affected by, water level and morphological changes, are the ones where the net transport is the highest. This manuscript explores and allows extending the idea of morphodynamic equilibrium at a regional scale, larger than the one for which this concept has been generally explored i.e., estuarine scale. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Increased Extracellular Matrix Protein Production in Chronic Diabetic Complications: Implications of Non-Coding RNAs
Non-Coding RNA 2019, 5(1), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/ncrna5010030 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Management of chronic diabetic complications remains a major medical challenge worldwide. One of the characteristic features of all chronic diabetic complications is augmented production of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins. Such ECM proteins are deposited in all tissues affected by chronic complications, ultimately causing [...] Read more.
Management of chronic diabetic complications remains a major medical challenge worldwide. One of the characteristic features of all chronic diabetic complications is augmented production of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins. Such ECM proteins are deposited in all tissues affected by chronic complications, ultimately causing organ damage and dysfunction. A contributing factor to this pathogenetic process is glucose-induced endothelial damage, which involves phenotypic transformation of endothelial cells (ECs). This phenotypic transition of ECs, from a quiescent state to an activated dysfunctional state, can be mediated through alterations in the synthesis of cellular proteins. In this review, we discussed the roles of non-coding RNAs, specifically microRNAs (miRNAs) and long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs), in such processes. We further outlined other epigenetic mechanisms regulating the biogenesis and/or function of non-coding RNAs. Overall, we believe that better understanding of such molecular processes may lead to the development of novel biomarkers and therapeutic strategies in the future. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Implementation of Deep Deterministic Policy Gradients for Controlling Dynamic Bipedal Walking
Biomimetics 2019, 4(1), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics4010028 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
A control system for bipedal walking in the sagittal plane was developed in simulation. The biped model was built based on anthropometric data for a 1.8 m tall male of average build. At the core of the controller is a deep deterministic policy [...] Read more.
A control system for bipedal walking in the sagittal plane was developed in simulation. The biped model was built based on anthropometric data for a 1.8 m tall male of average build. At the core of the controller is a deep deterministic policy gradient (DDPG) neural network that was trained in GAZEBO, a physics simulator, to predict the ideal foot placement to maintain stable walking despite external disturbances. The complexity of the DDPG network was decreased through carefully selected state variables and a distributed control system. Additional controllers for the hip joints during their stance phases and the ankle joint during toe-off phase help to stabilize the biped during walking. The simulated biped can walk at a steady pace of approximately 1 m/s, and during locomotion it can maintain stability with a 30 kg·m/s impulse applied forward on the torso or a 40 kg·m/s impulse applied rearward. It also maintains stable walking with a 10 kg backpack or a 25 kg front pack. The controller was trained on a 1.8 m tall model, but also stabilizes models 1.4–2.3 m tall with no changes. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Crosstalk Between Mammalian Antiviral Pathways
Non-Coding RNA 2019, 5(1), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/ncrna5010029 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
As part of their innate immune response against viral infections, mammals activate the expression of type I interferons to prevent viral replication and dissemination. An antiviral RNAi-based response can be also activated in mammals, suggesting that several mechanisms can co-occur in the same [...] Read more.
As part of their innate immune response against viral infections, mammals activate the expression of type I interferons to prevent viral replication and dissemination. An antiviral RNAi-based response can be also activated in mammals, suggesting that several mechanisms can co-occur in the same cell and that these pathways must interact to enable the best antiviral response. Here, we will review how the classical type I interferon response and the recently described antiviral RNAi pathways interact in mammalian cells. Specifically, we will uncover how the small RNA biogenesis pathway, composed by the nucleases Drosha and Dicer can act as direct antiviral factors, and how the type-I interferon response regulates the function of these. We will also describe how the factors involved in small RNA biogenesis and specific small RNAs impact the activation of the type I interferon response and antiviral activity. With this, we aim to expose the complex and intricate network of interactions between the different antiviral pathways in mammals. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Power Balance Method using Coupled Shunt Inductor and Multiple-Input Transformer for ISOP LLC Converter
Electronics 2019, 8(3), 352; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics8030352 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
High-capacity power-supply systems using a large input voltage typically improve efficiency and can be miniaturized by dividing the input voltage into multiple small voltages, thereby minimizing the stress on the switching element and thus materializing a fast switching function. When a large input [...] Read more.
High-capacity power-supply systems using a large input voltage typically improve efficiency and can be miniaturized by dividing the input voltage into multiple small voltages, thereby minimizing the stress on the switching element and thus materializing a fast switching function. When a large input voltage is divided into small voltages in series through a DC link capacitor, power is supplied to each converter and the power of each LLC (Inductor-Inductor-Capacitor) converter can be divided and converted. However, such LLC converters, which are configured by the division of the input voltage, have power imbalance due to the parameter variation between active and passive elements of the power board, which results in an increase in the stress and heat of a particular element. As this problem of power balance necessitates a design for securing a power margin and as the heated element increases its volume, the efficiency and reliability of the LLC converter are degenerated. Accordingly, this study attempted to solve the problem of the power imbalance of LLC converters at each level using a coupled shunt inductor and multiple-input transformers sharing magnetic coupling. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
MetaboAnalystR 2.0: From Raw Spectra to Biological Insights
Metabolites 2019, 9(3), 57; https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo9030057 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Global metabolomics based on high-resolution liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC-MS) has been increasingly employed in recent large-scale multi-omics studies. Processing and interpretation of these complex metabolomics datasets have become a key challenge in current computational metabolomics. Here, we introduce MetaboAnalystR 2.0 for comprehensive [...] Read more.
Global metabolomics based on high-resolution liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC-MS) has been increasingly employed in recent large-scale multi-omics studies. Processing and interpretation of these complex metabolomics datasets have become a key challenge in current computational metabolomics. Here, we introduce MetaboAnalystR 2.0 for comprehensive LC-MS data processing, statistical analysis, and functional interpretation. Compared to the previous version, this new release seamlessly integrates XCMS and CAMERA to support raw spectral processing and peak annotation, and also features high-performance implementations of mummichog and GSEA approaches for predictions of pathway activities. The application and utility of the MetaboAnalystR 2.0 workflow were demonstrated using a synthetic benchmark dataset and a clinical dataset. In summary, MetaboAnalystR 2.0 offers a unified and flexible workflow that enables end-to-end analysis of LC-MS metabolomics data within the open-source R environment. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Correlative Experimental and Theoretical Investigation of the Angle-Resolved Composition Evolution of Thin Films Sputtered from a Compound Mo2BC Target
Coatings 2019, 9(3), 206; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings9030206 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The angle-resolved composition evolution of Mo-B-C thin films deposited from a Mo2BC compound target was investigated experimentally and theoretically. Depositions were carried out by direct current magnetron sputtering (DCMS) in a pressure range from 0.09 to 0.98 Pa in Ar and [...] Read more.
The angle-resolved composition evolution of Mo-B-C thin films deposited from a Mo2BC compound target was investigated experimentally and theoretically. Depositions were carried out by direct current magnetron sputtering (DCMS) in a pressure range from 0.09 to 0.98 Pa in Ar and Kr. The substrates were placed at specific angles α with respect to the target normal from 0 to ±67.5°. A model based on TRIDYN and SIMTRA was used to calculate the influence of the sputtering gas on the angular distribution function of the sputtered species at the target, their transport through the gas phase, and film composition. Experimental pressure- and sputtering gas-dependent thin film chemical composition data are in good agreement with simulated angle-resolved film composition data. In Ar, the pressure-induced film composition variations at a particular α are within the error of the EDX measurements. On the contrary, an order of magnitude increase in Kr pressure results in an increase of the Mo concentration measured at α = 0° from 36 at.% to 43 at.%. It is shown that the mass ratio between sputtering gas and sputtered species defines the scattering angle within the collision cascades in the target, as well as for the collisions in the gas phase, which in turn defines the angle- and pressure-dependent film compositions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Heretical, Heterodox Howl: Jackals in Pāli Buddhist Literature
Religions 2019, 10(3), 221; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10030221 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Buddhist literature in Pāli presents a world that is rich in animal imagery, with some animals carrying largely positive associations and other animals seen in a consistently negative light. Among the many species that populate the Pāli imaginaire, the jackal bears a [...] Read more.
Buddhist literature in Pāli presents a world that is rich in animal imagery, with some animals carrying largely positive associations and other animals seen in a consistently negative light. Among the many species that populate the Pāli imaginaire, the jackal bears a particular status as a much-maligned beast. Jackals are depicted in Pāli literature as lowly, inferior, greedy, and cunning creatures. The jackal, as a natural scavenger, exists on the periphery of both human and animal society and is commonly associated with carrion, human corpses, impurity, and death. In this paper, I am interested in the use of the jackal as an image for both heresy and heterodoxy—that is, the jackal’s consistent association with heretical Buddhist figures, such as Devadatta, and with heterodox teachers, such as the leaders of competing samaṇa movements. Why was the jackal such an appropriate animal to stand for those who hold the wrong views? And how does association with such an animal sometimes result in a particularly nefarious sort of dehumanization that goes against the teachings of Buddhism? Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Effects of Swell on Wave Height Distribution of Energy-Conserved Bimodal Seas
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2019, 7(3), 79; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse7030079 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
An understanding of the wave height distribution of a sea state is important in forecasting extreme wave height and lifetime fatigue predictions of marine structures. In bimodal seas, swell can be present at different percentages and different frequencies while the energy content of [...] Read more.
An understanding of the wave height distribution of a sea state is important in forecasting extreme wave height and lifetime fatigue predictions of marine structures. In bimodal seas, swell can be present at different percentages and different frequencies while the energy content of the sea state remains unaltered. This computational study investigates how the wave height distribution is affected by different swell percentages and long swell periods in an energy-conserved bimodal sea both near a wave maker and in shallow water. A formulated energy-conserved bimodal spectrum was created from unimodal sea states and converted into random waves time series using the Inverse Fast Fourier Transform (IFFT). The resulting time series was used to drive a Reynolds-Averaged Navier Stokes computational (RANS) model. Wave height values were then extracted from the model results (both away near and near the structure) using down-crossing analysis to inspect the non-linearity imposed by wave-wave interactions and through transformations as they propagate into shallow waters near the structure. It is concluded that the kurtosis and skewness of the wave height distribution very inversely with the swell percentage and peak periods. Non-linearities are greater in the unimodal seas compared to the bimodal seas with the same energy content. Also, non-linearities are greater structure side than at wave maker and are more dependent on the phases of the component waves at different frequencies. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication
Metastable State of Water and Performance of Osmotically Driven Membrane Processes
Membranes 2019, 9(3), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes9030043 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Semipermeable membranes play critical roles in many natural and engineering systems. The osmotic pressure is found experimentally much less effective than the hydraulic pressure to drive water through the membrane, which is commonly attributed to the internal concentration polarization (ICP) in the porous [...] Read more.
Semipermeable membranes play critical roles in many natural and engineering systems. The osmotic pressure is found experimentally much less effective than the hydraulic pressure to drive water through the membrane, which is commonly attributed to the internal concentration polarization (ICP) in the porous layer of the membrane. In this study, it has been shown that a necessary condition for the osmotic pressure to be effective is water continuity across the entire membrane thickness under negative pressure, i.e., the water inside the membrane remains in a metastable state. However, the metastable state of water cannot be maintained indefinitely, and cavitation will undoubtedly occur in the osmotically driven processes. Collapse of the water metastable state was suggested for the first time to be a more important and fundamental reason for the low water fluxes in the osmotically driven membrane processes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Thermodynamic Analysis of a Half-Effect Absorption Cooling System Powered by a Low-Enthalpy Geothermal Source
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(6), 1220; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9061220 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
A thermodynamic analysis of a half-effect absorption cooling system powered by a low-enthalpy geothermal source was carried out. This paper presents modeling of the half-effect absorption cooling system operating with an ammonia/lithium nitrate mixture and based on the first and second laws of [...] Read more.
A thermodynamic analysis of a half-effect absorption cooling system powered by a low-enthalpy geothermal source was carried out. This paper presents modeling of the half-effect absorption cooling system operating with an ammonia/lithium nitrate mixture and based on the first and second laws of thermodynamics, using as energy inputs real data from two geothermal wells located at Las Tres Vírgenes volcanic complex, Baja California Sur, México. Plots of coefficients of performance and exergy efficiency against condenser, evaporator, and generator temperatures are presented for the half-effect cooling system. The results showed that the system was able to operate at generation temperatures between 56 and 70 °C, which were supplied by the geothermal wells in order to produce cooling at temperatures as low as −16 °C, achieving coefficients of performance between 0.10 and 0.36, while the exergy efficiency varied from 0.15 to 0.40 depending on the system operating temperatures. Full article

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