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J, Volume 6, Issue 2 (June 2023) – 9 articles

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19 pages, 4704 KiB  
Article
Economic Assessment of the Impact of the Sugarcane Industry: An Empirical Approach with Two Focuses for San Luis Potosí, México
by Pedro Pérez Medina, María Guadalupe Galindo Mendoza, Gregorio Álvarez Fuentes, Leonardo David Tenorio Martínez and Valter Armando Barrera López
J 2023, 6(2), 342-360; https://doi.org/10.3390/j6020024 - 3 Jun 2023
Viewed by 2042
Abstract
The sugarcane industry has a high environmental impact. In countries such as Mexico, cultivation and harvesting practices consume and pollute many ecological resources. However, quantifying these impacts is difficult due to their diverse nature and different units of measurement. In this study, an [...] Read more.
The sugarcane industry has a high environmental impact. In countries such as Mexico, cultivation and harvesting practices consume and pollute many ecological resources. However, quantifying these impacts is difficult due to their diverse nature and different units of measurement. In this study, an approach with two focuses was taken to assess the environmental costs of the sugarcane industry in San Luis Potosí, México. The first focus is human health costs related to air pollution (black carbon) and the second one is a lifecycle assessment applied to the production phase. In the first case, four scenarios, with different concentrations and populations, were projected. Costs of 516.8 thousand USD were estimated for a scenario in which black carbon concentrations exceeded the WHO reference by one unit for the total population. In the second case, costs of 642 million USD were estimated for the impairment of seven ecosystem-based services. These estimates may vary due to the source and specificity of the information provided, but nevertheless are considered an appropriate approximation of the cost of environmental damage. It is recommended that first-hand information be collected and systematized to improve the certainty of the estimates and that changes to sugarcane agrifood systems be considered to reduce environmental costs. Full article
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24 pages, 2641 KiB  
Review
Benchmarking Thermodynamic Models for Optimization of PSA Oxygen Generators
by Michael L. Carty and Stephane Bilodeau
J 2023, 6(2), 318-341; https://doi.org/10.3390/j6020023 - 2 Jun 2023
Viewed by 2304
Abstract
In this review, the authors conducted benchmarks for three thermodynamic models to analyze PSA-based medical oxygen concentrator (MOC) systems to allow for optimization and operational flexibility. PSA oxygen generator plants are good medical-grade oxygen sources, a crucial tool in healthcare from the primary [...] Read more.
In this review, the authors conducted benchmarks for three thermodynamic models to analyze PSA-based medical oxygen concentrator (MOC) systems to allow for optimization and operational flexibility. PSA oxygen generator plants are good medical-grade oxygen sources, a crucial tool in healthcare from the primary to the tertiary level. However, they must be designed accordingly and properly operated, considering key design goals such as improving adsorbent productivity, improving oxygen recovery, and innovating to reduce unit size and weight. The importance of mapping the performance of various design and operating requirements or designs themselves on outlet product specifications and production effectiveness is outlined. Emphasizing optimal PSA design and operation, the authors suggest considering simulation-based optimization frameworks or high-fidelity modeling for the optimal layout and operation conditions of adsorption-based MOC systems. Notwithstanding, a simplified first-principles-based model with additional assumptions and simplifications generates a large volume of scenarios faster. Therefore, it represents a good approach for a feasibility study dealing with many options and designs or even the real-time monitoring of PSA operating conditions. All this paved the way for efficient translation into machine learning models and even deep learning networks that might be better suited to simulate the complex PSA process. The conclusion outlines that PSA-based plants can be flexible and effective units using any of the three models when properly optimized. Full article
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16 pages, 3696 KiB  
Article
Analysis of High-Temperature Superconducting Current Leads: Multiple Solutions, Thermal Runaway, and Protection
by Rizos N. Krikkis
J 2023, 6(2), 302-317; https://doi.org/10.3390/j6020022 - 31 May 2023
Viewed by 1100
Abstract
The multiple steady states of Ag/Bi2212-composite high-Tc superconducting leads modeling current delivery to a superconducting magnet have been numerically calculated. The model is based on longitudinal conduction combined with convective heat dissipation from a helium gas stream along the conductor. Because [...] Read more.
The multiple steady states of Ag/Bi2212-composite high-Tc superconducting leads modeling current delivery to a superconducting magnet have been numerically calculated. The model is based on longitudinal conduction combined with convective heat dissipation from a helium gas stream along the conductor. Because of the nonlinearities introduced by the voltage–current relationship and the temperature-dependent material properties, up to three solutions have been identified within the range of parameters considered. Linear stability analysis reveals that two of them are stable, i.e., the superconducting and the normal branches, while the remaining one is unstable. The limit points separating the stable from the unstable steady states form the blow-up threshold, beyond which any further increase in the operating current results in a thermal runway. Interesting findings are that for low filling ratios no bounded solution exists when the length of the lead exceeds the lower limit point, while very high maximum temperatures may be encountered along the normal solution branch. The effect of various parameters such as the conduction–convection parameter, the applied current, and the reduction in coolant flow (LOFA) on the bifurcation structure and their stabilization effect on the blow-up threshold are also evaluated. Apart from the steady and unsteady operating modes, the multiplicity analysis is also used to identify the range of the design and operating variables where safe operation, with a sufficient margin from the onset of instabilities, may be established, thus facilitating the protection of the leads and the device connected to it. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Superconductivity and Magnetism)
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16 pages, 9268 KiB  
Article
Use of Subharmonics of Base Frequencies in the CSRMT Method with Loop Sources
by Alexander K. Saraev, Nikita Yu. Bobrov and Arseny A. Shlykov
J 2023, 6(2), 286-301; https://doi.org/10.3390/j6020021 - 17 May 2023
Viewed by 1104
Abstract
In the controlled source radiomagnetotelluric (CSRMT) sounding method, a horizontal magnetic dipole, HMD (vertical loop) or a horizontal electric dipole, and HED (grounded line) are used as sources. When working with HMD, the source is usually tuned to resonance to increase the current [...] Read more.
In the controlled source radiomagnetotelluric (CSRMT) sounding method, a horizontal magnetic dipole, HMD (vertical loop) or a horizontal electric dipole, and HED (grounded line) are used as sources. When working with HMD, the source is usually tuned to resonance to increase the current in the loop. However, the disadvantage of this approach is the narrow frequency range realized in the CSRMT method (1–12 kHz) and the short operating distance from the source (600–800 m). The need to tune the source to resonance at each selected frequency reduces the efficiency of the survey. In the case of using HED for sounding, measurements are performed in a wider frequency range of 1 to 1000 kHz, and along with the signal of the base frequency, its subharmonics are measured. In this case, emitted signal measurements are possible at a distance of up to 3–4 km from the source. At the same time, the disadvantage of using HED is that it requires grounding, the arrangement of which requires additional time when working on frozen ground or dry stony soil. We consider the possibilities of generation and registration of signals of subharmonics of base frequencies when applying the CSRMT method with loop sources—HMD and VMD (horizontal loop). A matching unit (MU) based on a step-up transformer was developed, which increases the output voltage of the CSRMT transmitter. In a field test with base frequencies of 20, 40, and 80 kHz, the signal amplitudes increased by a factor of two to four for subharmonics at frequencies of 60–200 kHz and by up to 10–13 times for subharmonics at frequencies of 200–500 kHz due to transformation of signal spectrum provided by MU. The possibility of using odd subharmonics of base frequencies for inversion has been demonstrated in the results of field experiments with different sources (HED, HMD, and VMD). This expands the frequency range of the method when working with loop sources and increases the survey’s effectiveness. The use of loop sources in the CSRMT method is especially advantageous for winter work in Arctic regions. Full article
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19 pages, 5941 KiB  
Article
Land Suitability Analysis for Sustainable Urban Development: A Case of Nabatiyeh Region in Lebanon
by Amal Al-Ghorayeb, Walid Al-Shaar, Adel Elkordi, Ghaleb Faour, Mohamad Al-Shaar and Youssef Attalah
J 2023, 6(2), 267-285; https://doi.org/10.3390/j6020020 - 15 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3693
Abstract
Urbanization has led to the degradation of green areas and natural resources, which are critical for preserving biodiversity and natural benefits. Sustainable urban development (SUD) practices aim to balance urbanization with preserving and protecting green land and natural resources to achieve greater sustainability. [...] Read more.
Urbanization has led to the degradation of green areas and natural resources, which are critical for preserving biodiversity and natural benefits. Sustainable urban development (SUD) practices aim to balance urbanization with preserving and protecting green land and natural resources to achieve greater sustainability. This study evaluated land suitability for SUD in the Nabatiyeh area of Lebanon using a multi-criteria decision analysis technique, the analytical hierarchy process, combined with a geographic information system. The elevations and slopes were the most important criteria, followed by the distances from urban agglomeration and industrial areas, accessibility, and land cover types, with corresponding weights of 34% and 36%, 12%, 9%, 6%, and 3%, respectively. The study created a suitability map for future SUD. This identification assists urban planners and policymakers in making informed decisions regarding the development of urban areas. The study’s findings highlight the efficiency of combining multi-criteria decision analysis with geospatial techniques for urban planning and environmental management in promoting sustainable development and protecting the environment. Future research could explore the possibility of integrating administrative reforms to promote SUD, including improving governance, enhancing the efficiency of governmental agencies responsible for urban development, building scientific capacities, and increasing officials’ accountability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Earth Sciences)
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19 pages, 1876 KiB  
Article
UV-Spectrophotometric Determination of the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients Meloxicam and Nimesulide in Cleaning Validation Samples with Sodium Carbonate
by Pavel Anatolyevich Nikolaychuk
J 2023, 6(2), 248-266; https://doi.org/10.3390/j6020019 - 22 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2791
Abstract
The spectrophotometric methods of determination of the active pharmaceutical ingredients meloxicam and nimesulide were reviewed and a simple UV-spectrophotometric method for the determination of these active pharmaceutical ingredients in industrial equipment cleaning validation samples was proposed. The methods were based on extraction of [...] Read more.
The spectrophotometric methods of determination of the active pharmaceutical ingredients meloxicam and nimesulide were reviewed and a simple UV-spectrophotometric method for the determination of these active pharmaceutical ingredients in industrial equipment cleaning validation samples was proposed. The methods were based on extraction of the residual quantities of meloxicam and nimesulide from the manufacturing equipment surface by the concentrated sodium carbonate solution and the subsequent UV-spectrophotometric determination of the basic forms of the drugs at the wavelength of 362 nm for meloxicam and at 397 nm for nimesulide. The calibration graphs were linear in the range from 5 to 25 mg/L of both nimesulide and meloxicam, the molar attenuation coefficients were 6100 m2/mol for nimesulide and 9100 m2/mol for meloxicam, the limit of detection was 0.8 mg/L for nimesulide and 1.9 mg/L for meloxicam and the limit of quantification was 2.5 mg/L for nimesulide and 5.8 mg/L for meloxicam. The methods were selective with respect to the common excipients, showed a good accuracy (the relative uncertainty did not exceed 7%) and precision (the relative standard deviation did not exceed 4%), did not require lengthy sample preparation or sophisticated laboratory equipment and were suitable for the routine analysis of cleaning validation samples. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Chemistry & Material Sciences)
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12 pages, 807 KiB  
Article
Solvent Accessibility of Coronaviridae Spike Proteins through the Lens of Information Gain
by Sarwan Ali, Babatunde Bello and Murray Patterson
J 2023, 6(2), 236-247; https://doi.org/10.3390/j6020018 - 22 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1496
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, has generated a renewed interest in the larger family of Coronaviridae, which causes a variety of different respiratory infections in a variety of different hosts. Understanding the mechanisms behind the ability of a family of [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, has generated a renewed interest in the larger family of Coronaviridae, which causes a variety of different respiratory infections in a variety of different hosts. Understanding the mechanisms behind the ability of a family of viruses to spill over into different hosts is an ongoing study. In this work, we studied the relationship between specific amino acid sites and the solvent accessibility of the surface (or spike) protein of different Coronaviridae. Since host specificity hinges on the portion(s) of the protein that interfaces with the host cell membrane, there could be a relationship between information gain in specific amino acid sites and solvent accessibility. We found a connection between sites with high information gain and solvent accessibility within several major subgenera of Coronaviridae. Such a connection could be used to study other lesser-known families of viruses, which is desirable because information gain is much easier to compute when the number of sequences is large, as we show. Finally, we produced a visualization of the sequences within each major subgenus and discussed several regions of interest, as well as focused on some pairs of Coronaviridae hosts of interest. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biology & Life Sciences)
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16 pages, 683 KiB  
Review
The Novelty of mRNA Viral Vaccines and Potential Harms: A Scoping Review
by Matthew T.J. Halma, Jessica Rose and Theresa Lawrie
J 2023, 6(2), 220-235; https://doi.org/10.3390/j6020017 - 17 Apr 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 20471
Abstract
Pharmacovigilance databases are showing evidence of injury in the context of the modified COVID-19 mRNA products. According to recent publications, adverse event reports linked to the mRNA COVID-19 injections largely point to the spike protein as an aetiological agent of adverse events, but [...] Read more.
Pharmacovigilance databases are showing evidence of injury in the context of the modified COVID-19 mRNA products. According to recent publications, adverse event reports linked to the mRNA COVID-19 injections largely point to the spike protein as an aetiological agent of adverse events, but we propose that the platform itself may be culpable. To assess the safety of current and future mRNA vaccines, further analysis is needed on the risks due to the platform itself, and not specifically the expressed antigen. If harm can be exclusively and conclusively attributed to the spike protein, then it is possible that future mRNA vaccines expressing other antigens will be safe. If harms are attributable to the platform itself, then regardless of the toxicity, or lack thereof, of the antigen to be expressed, the platform may be inherently unsafe, pending modification. In this work, we examine previous studies of RNA-based delivery by a lipid nanoparticle (LNP) and break down the possible aetiological elements of harm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Public Health & Healthcare)
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13 pages, 3593 KiB  
Article
A Spectroscopic Evaluation of the Generation Process of Semiconductor Nanoparticles (ZnO) by DC Arc Plasma
by Raj Deep, Takuma Akazawa, Toshiyuki Yoshida and Yasuhisa Fujita
J 2023, 6(2), 207-219; https://doi.org/10.3390/j6020016 - 7 Apr 2023
Viewed by 2260
Abstract
The fabrication of ZnO nanoparticles (NPs) was monitored and studied in situ by controlling the plasma parameters of the direct current (DC) arc plasma system, such as the current density and chamber pressure. The optical emission signature of nitrogen was spectroscopically studied using [...] Read more.
The fabrication of ZnO nanoparticles (NPs) was monitored and studied in situ by controlling the plasma parameters of the direct current (DC) arc plasma system, such as the current density and chamber pressure. The optical emission signature of nitrogen was spectroscopically studied using optical emission spectroscopy (OES) techniques, and it showed a dependency on the nitrogen concentration in the ZnO nanoparticles in relation to the output of the ZnO NPs-based homojunction light-emitting diodes (LEDs). The synthesized NPs had a good crystalline quality and hexagonal wurtzite structure, and they were characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD) techniques and scanning electron microscope (SEM). The photoluminescence properties of the ZnO NPs and the optical and electrical parameters of the LEDs were also analyzed and correlated. The results indicate that the nitrogen dopants act as acceptors in the ZnO NPs and are favored in low plasma temperatures during fabrication. We anticipate that the results can provide an effective way to realize reliable nitrogen-doped p-type ZnO and tremendously encourage the development of low-dimensional ZnO homojunction LEDs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Chemistry & Material Sciences)
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