Objectives: In recent years, the Faculty of Dentistry of the University of Hong Kong have extended the implementation of 3D electronic models (e-models) into problem-based learning (PBL) of the Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) curriculum, aiming at mutual enhancement of PBL teaching quality and the students’ skills in using e-models. This study focuses on the effectiveness of e-models serving as a tool to enhance the students’ skills and competences in PBL. Methods: The questionnaire surveys are conducted to measure 50 fourth-year BDS students’ attitude change between beginning and end of blended PBL tutorials. The response rate of this survey is 100%. Results: The results of this study show the students’ agreement on enhancement of their learning experience after e-model implementation and their expectation to have more blended PBL courses in the future. The potential of e-models in cultivating students’ self-learning skills reduces their dependence on others, while improving their communication skills to argue about pros and cons of different treatment options. The students’ independent thinking ability and problem solving skills are promoted by e-model implementation, resulting in better decision making in treatment planning. Conclusion: It is important for future dental education curriculum planning to cope with the students’ needs, and offer support in the form of software, hardware and facilitators’ assistance for better e-model implementation.
We are interested in solving Liouville-type problems to explore constancy properties for maps or differential forms on Riemannian manifolds. Geometric structures on manifolds, the existence of constancy properties for maps or differential forms, and energy growth for maps or differential forms are intertwined. In this article, we concentrate on discovery of solutions to Liouville-type problems where manifolds are Euclidean spaces (i.e. flat Riemannian manifolds) and maps become real-valued functions. Liouville-type results of vanishing properties for functions are obtained. The original work in our research findings is to extend the q-energy for a function from finite in Lq space to infinite in non-Lq space by applying p-balanced technique where q = p = 2. Calculation skills such as Hölder's Inequality and Tests for Series have been used to evaluate limits and integrations for function energy. Calculation ideas and computational techniques for solving Liouville-type problems shown in this article, which are utilized in Euclidean spaces, can be universalized as a successful algorithm, which works for both maps and differential forms on Riemannian manifolds. This innovative algorithm has a far-reaching impact on research work of solving Liouville-type problems in the general settings involved with infinite energy. The p-balanced technique in this algorithm provides a clue to success on the road of q-energy extension from finite to infinite.
The stakeholders’ pressure on corporate managers to maintain firm’s profitability has created economic incentives for management to engage in earnings management practices. Therefore, this study examines the effects of audit quality and corporate governance on earnings management of quoted deposit money banks (DMBs) in Nigeria. This study specifically investigates the influence of audit tenure, audit fee, board independence, and board size on earnings management of DMBs. Explanatory research design was employed in carrying out the study while secondary data were sourced from the annual reports and accounts of all the 15 quoted DMBs in Nigerian Stock Exchange as at December 31, 2015 for a period of 10 years covering from 2006 to 2015. The data obtained for the study were analyzed using panel regression analysis approach. The findings reveal that board independence has a negative significant effect on earnings management at a 5% level of significance (p=0.002), while audit fee has a positive significant effect on earnings management at a 5% level of significance (p=0.013) and audit tenure has a negative significant effect on earnings management of DMBs at a 5% level of significance (p=0.003). Surprisingly, board size was statistically not significant at a 5% level of significance (p=0.086). The study concludes that high audit quality and sound corporate governance could improve the earnings quality of DMBs. Hence, the study recommends that the authorities saddled with the responsibility of banking supervision in Nigeria such the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and CBN to advise the National Assembly in Nigeria to pass into law the three years professional requirement for audit tenure.
Ledeburitic tool steel Vanadis 6 has been subjected to sub-zero treatment (SZT) at -140 °C and -196 °C, for different durations up to 48 h. The microstructure and hardness have been examined with reference to the same material after room temperature quenching, by using the light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, and Vickers hardness testing method. The microstructure of the material consists of the martensitic matrix with certain amount of retained austenite, and of several types of carbides – eutectic carbides, secondary carbides, and small globular carbides. SZT reduces the retained austenite amount – this is more effective at -196 °C than at -140 °C. Alternatively, the amount of small globular carbides increases more rapidly after SZT at -140 °C than after the treatment at -140 °C. The hardness of sub-zero treated material is higher than that of conventionally treated steel when tempered at low temperature. Compressive hydrostatic stresses are developed in the retained austenite due to the application of SZT, as a result of more complete martensitic transformation. This is also why the population density of small globular carbides is substantially increased due to the SZT. In contrast, the hardness of sub-zero treated samples decreases more rapidly compared to that of conventionally treated steel, and in addition, sub-zero treated material induces a loss the secondary hardening peak.
Iron nanoparticles were used to cleanup effluents. This paper involves synthesis of iron nanoparticles chemically by sodium borohydride reduction of ammonium ferrous sulfate solution (FAS). Iron oxide nanoparticles have lesser efficiency of adsorption than Zero Valent Iron nanoparticles (nZVI). Glucosamine acts as a stabilizing agent and chelating agent to prevent Iron nanoparticles from oxidation. nZVI particles were characterized using Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). Thus, the synthesized nZVI was subjected to entrapment in biopolymer, viz. barium (Ba)-alginate beads. The beads were characterized using SEM. Batch dye degradation studies were conducted using Reactive black Water soluble Nontoxic Natural substances (WNN) dye which is one of the most hazardous dyes used in textile industries. Effect of contact time, effect of pH, initial dye concentration, adsorbent dosage, isotherm and kinetic studies were carried out.
Rainfall and runoff phenomenon is a chaotic and complex outcome of nature which requires sophisticated modelling and simulation methods for explanation and use. Time Series modelling allows runoff data analysis and can be used as forecasting tool. In the paper attempt is made to model river runoff data and predict the future behavioural pattern of river based on annual past observations of annual river runoff. The river runoff analysis and predict are done using ARIMA model. For evaluating the efficiency of prediction to hydrological events such as rainfall, runoff and etc., we use the statistical formulae applicable. The good agreement between predicted and observation river runoff coefficient of determination (R2) display that the ARIMA (4,1,1) is the suitable model for predicting Karkheh River runoff at Iran.
The majority of today’s mobile robots are very dependent on battery power. Mobile robots can operate untethered for a number of hours but eventually they will need to recharge their batteries in-order to continue to function. While computer processing and sensors have become cheaper and more powerful each year, battery development has progress very little. They are slow to re-charge, inefficient and lagging behind in the general progression of robotic development we see today. However, batteries are relatively cheap and when fully charged, can supply high power output necessary for operating heavy mobile robots. As there are no cheap alternatives to batteries, we need to find efficient ways to manage the power that batteries provide during their operational lifetime. This paper proposes the use of autonomic principles of self-adaption to address the behavioral changes a battery experiences as it gets older. In life, as we get older, we cannot perform tasks in the same way as we did in our youth; these tasks generally take longer to perform and require more of our energy to complete. Batteries also suffer from a form of degradation. As a battery gets older, it loses the ability to retain the same charge capacity it would have when brand new. This paper investigates how we can adapt the current state of a battery charge and cycle count, to the requirements of a mobile robot to perform its tasks.
The use of nanostructured semiconducting material to catalyze degradation of environmental pollutants still receives much attention to date. One of the desired characteristics for pollutant degradation under ultra-violet visible light is the materials with extended carrier charge separation that allows for electronic transfer between the catalyst and the pollutants. In this work, zinc oxide n-type semiconductor vertically aligned structures were fabricated on silicon (100) substrates using the chemical bath deposition method. The as-synthesized structures were treated with nickel and sulphur. X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy were used to characterize the phase purity, structural dimensions and elemental composition of the obtained structures respectively. Photoluminescence emission measurements showed a decrease in both the near band edge emission as well as the defect band emission upon addition of nickel and sulphur with different concentrations. This was attributed to increased charger-carrier-separation due to the presence of Ni-S material on ZnO surface, which is linked to improved charge transfer during photocatalytic reactions.
Delays in the construction industry are a global phenomenon. Many construction projects experience extensive delays exceeding the initially estimated completion time. The main purpose of this study is to identify construction projects typical behaviors in order to develop a prognosis and management tool. Being able to know a construction projects schedule tendency will enable evidence-based decision-making to allow resolutions to be made before delays occur. This study presents an innovative approach that uses Cluster Analysis Method to support predictions during Earned Value Analyses. A clustering analysis was used to predict future scheduling, Earned Value Management (EVM), and Earned Schedule (ES) principal Indexes behaviors in construction projects. The analysis was made using a database with 90 different construction projects. It was validated with additional data extracted from literature and with another 15 contrasting projects. For all projects, planned and executed schedules were collected and the EVM and ES principal indexes were calculated. A complete linkage classification method was used. In this way, the cluster analysis made considers that the distance (or similarity) between two clusters must be measured by its most disparate elements, i.e. that the distance is given by the maximum span among its components. Finally, through the use of EVM and ES Indexes and Tukey and Fisher Pairwise Comparisons, the statistical dissimilarity was verified and four clusters were obtained. It can be said that construction projects show an average delay of 35% of its planned completion time. Furthermore, four typical behaviors were found and for each of the obtained clusters, the interim milestones and the necessary rhythms of construction were identified. In general, detected typical behaviors are: (1) Projects that perform a 5% of work advance in the first two tenths and maintain a constant rhythm until completion (greater than 10% for each remaining tenth), being able to finish on the initially estimated time. (2) Projects that start with an adequate construction rate but suffer minor delays culminating with a total delay of almost 27% of the planned time. (3) Projects which start with a performance below the planned rate and end up with an average delay of 64%, and (4) projects that begin with a poor performance, suffer great delays and end up with an average delay of a 120% of the planned completion time. The obtained clusters compose a tool to identify the behavior of new construction projects by comparing their current work performance to the validated database, thus allowing the correction of initial estimations towards more accurate completion schedules.
Mining industry is known for its appetite to spend sizeable capital on mine equipment. However, in the current scenario, the mining industry is challenged by daunting factors of non-uniform geological conditions, uneven ore grade, uncontrollable and volatile mineral commodity prices and the ever increasing quest to optimize the capital and operational costs. Thus, the role of equipment reliability and maintenance planning inherits a significant role in augmenting the equipment availability for the operation and in turn boosting the mine productivity. This paper presents the Risk Based Maintenance (RBM) planning conducted on mine loading equipment namely Load Haul Dumpers (LHDs) at Vedanta Resources Ltd subsidiary Hindustan Zinc Limited operated Sindesar Khurd Mines, an underground zinc and lead mine situated in Dariba, Rajasthan, India. The mining equipment at the location is maintained by the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) namely Sandvik and Atlas Copco, who carry out the maintenance and inspection operations for the equipment. Based on the downtime data extracted for the equipment fleet over the period of 6 months spanning from 1st January 2017 until 30th June 2017, it was revealed that significant contribution of three downtime issues related to namely Engine, Hydraulics, and Transmission to be common among all the loading equipment fleet and substantiated by Pareto Analysis. Further scrutiny through Bubble Matrix Analysis of the given factors revealed the major influence of selective factors namely Overheating, No Load Taken (NTL) issues, Gear Changing issues and Hose Puncture and leakage issues. Utilizing the equipment wise analysis of all the downtime factors obtained, spares consumed, and the alarm logs extracted from the machines, technical design changes in the equipment and pre shift critical alarms checklist were proposed for the equipment maintenance. The given analysis is beneficial to allow OEMs or mine management to focus on the critical issues hampering the reliability of mine equipment and design necessary maintenance strategies to mitigate them.
The Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) usually navigate through the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) associated with an Inertial Navigation System (INS). However, GNSS can have its accuracy degraded at any time or even turn off the signal of GNSS. In addition, there is the possibility of malicious interferences, known as jamming. Therefore, the image navigation system can solve the autonomy problem, because if the GNSS is disabled or degraded, the image navigation system would continue to provide coordinate information for the INS, allowing the autonomy of the system. This work aims to evaluate the accuracy of the positioning though photogrammetry concepts. The methodology uses orthophotos and Digital Surface Models (DSM) as a reference to represent the object space and photograph obtained during the flight to represent the image space. For the calculation of the coordinates of the perspective center and camera attitudes, it is necessary to know the coordinates of homologous points in the object space (orthophoto coordinates and DSM altitude) and image space (column and line of the photograph). So if it is possible to automatically identify in real time the homologous points the coordinates and attitudes can be calculated whit their respective accuracies. With the methodology applied in this work, it is possible to verify maximum errors in the order of 0.5 m in the positioning and 0.6º in the attitude of the camera, so the navigation through the image can reach values equal to or higher than the GNSS receivers without differential correction. Therefore, navigating through the image is a good alternative to enable autonomous navigation.
The global concern about climate change has been increasing, since the emission of gases from human activities contributes to the greenhouse effect in the atmosphere, indicating significant impacts to the planet in the coming years. The study of precipitation regime is fundamental for the development of research in several areas. Among them are hydrology, agriculture, and electric sector. Using the climatic projections of the models belonging to the CMIP5, the main objective of the paper was to present an analysis of the impacts of climate change without rainfall in the Uruguay River basin. After an analysis of the results, it can be observed that for the future climate, there is a tendency, in relation to the present climate, for larger numbers of dry events, mainly in the winter months, changing the pluviometric regime for wet summers and drier winters. Given this projected framework, it is important to note the importance of adequate management of the existing water sources in the river basin, since the value of rainfall is reduced for the next years, it may compromise the dynamics of the ecosystems in the region. Facing climate change is fundamental issue for regions and cities all around the world. Society must improve its resilience to phenomenon impacts, and spreading the knowledge among decision makers and citizens is also essential. So, these research results can be subsidies for the decision-making in planning and management of mitigation measures and/or adaptation in south Brazil.
Alzheimer's prevalence is on the rise, and the disease comes with problems like cessation of treatment, high cost of treatment, and the lack of early detection methods. The pathology of this disease causes the formation of protein deposits in the brain of patients called plaque amyloid. Generally, the diagnosis of this disease is done by performing tests such as a cerebrospinal fluid, CT scan, MRI, and spinal cord fluid testing, or mental testing tests and eye tracing tests. In this paper, we tried to use the Medial Temporal Atrophy (MTA) method and the Leave One Out (LOO) cycle to extract the statistical properties of the three Fz, Pz, and Cz channels of ERP signals for early diagnosis of this disease. In the process of CT scan images, the accuracy of the results is 81% for the healthy person and 88% for the severe patient. After the process of ERP signaling, the accuracy of the results for a healthy person in the delta band in the Cz channel is 81% and in the alpha band the Pz channel is 90%. In the results obtained from the signal processing, the results of the severe patient in the delta band of the Cz channel were 89% and in the alpha band Pz channel 92%.
Deficiency and insufficiency of Vitamin D is a pandemic of the 21st century. Obesity patients have a lower level of vitamin D, but the literature data are contradictory. The purpose of this study is to investigate deficiency and insufficiency vitamin D in postmenopausal women with obesity. We examined 1007 women aged 50-89 years. Mean age was 65.74±8.61 years; mean height was 1.61±0.07 m; mean weight was 70.65±13.50 kg; mean body mass index was 27.27±4.86 kg/m2, and mean 25(OH) D levels in serum was 26.00±12.00 nmol/l. The women were divided into the following six groups depending on body mass index: I group – 338 women with normal body weight, II group – 16 women with insufficient body weight, III group – 382 women with excessive body weight, IV group – 199 women with obesity of class I, V group – 60 women with obesity of class II, and VI group – 12 women with obesity of class III. Level of 25(OH)D in serum was measured by means of an electrochemiluminescent method - Elecsys 2010 analyzer (Roche Diagnostics, Germany) and cobas test-systems. 34.4% of the examined women have deficiency of vitamin D and 31.4% insufficiency. Women with obesity of class I (23.60±10.24 ng/ml) and obese of class II (22.38±10.34 ng/ml) had significantly lower levels of 25 (OH) D compared to women with normal body weight (28.24±12.99 ng/ml), p=0.00003. In women with obesity, BMI significantly influences vitamin D level, and this influence does not depend on the season.
The rapidly increasing number of population in the limited area creates an effect on the idea of the improvement of the area to suit the environment and the needs of people. Faculty of architecture Chiang Mai University is also expanding in both variety fields of study and quality of education. In 2020, the new department will be introduced in the faculty which is Department of Landscape Architecture. With the limitation of the area in the existing building, the faculty plan to renovate some parts of its school for anticipates the number of students who will join the program in the next two years. As a result, the old wooden workshop area is selected to be renovated as student studio space. With such condition, it is necessary to study the restriction and the distinctive environment of the site prior to the improvement in order to find ways to manage the existing space due to the fact that the primary functions that have been practiced in the site, an old wooden workshop space and the new function, studio space, are too different. 72.9% of the annual times in the room are considered to be out of the thermal comfort condition with high relative humidity. This causes non-comfort condition for occupants which could promote mould growth. This study aims to analyze thermal comfort condition in the Landscape Learning Studio Area for finding the solution to improve indoor air quality and respond to local conditions. The research methodology will be in two parts: 1) field gathering data on the case study 2) analysis and finding the solution of improving indoor air quality. The result of the survey indicated that the room needs to solve non-comfort condition problem. This can be divided into two ways which are raising ventilation and indoor temperature, e.g. improving building design and stack driven ventilation, using fan for enhancing more internal ventilation.
The piano sonatas of Beethoven represent part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. The aims of this research were to further explore this intangibility by placing emphasis on defining emotional normative ratings for the “Waldstein” (Op. 53) and “Tempest” (Op. 31) Sonatas of Beethoven. To this end, a musicological analysis was conducted on these particular sonatas and referential patterns in these works of Beethoven were defined. Appropriate interactive questionnaires were designed in order to create a statistical normative rating that describes the emotional status when an individual listens to these musical excerpts. Based on these ratings, it is possible for emotional annotations for these same referential patterns to be created and integrated into the music score.
System Safety Regulations (SSR) are a central component to the airworthiness certification of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). There is significant debate on the setting of appropriate SSR for UAS. Putting this debate aside, the challenge lies in how to apply the system safety process to UAS, which lacks the data and operational heritage of conventionally piloted aircraft. The limited knowledge and lack of operational data result in uncertainty in the system safety assessment of UAS. This uncertainty can lead to incorrect compliance findings and the potential certification and operation of UAS that do not meet minimum safety performance requirements. The existing system safety assessment and compliance processes, as used for conventional piloted aviation, do not adequately account for the uncertainty, limiting the suitability of its application to UAS. This paper discusses the challenges of undertaking system safety assessments for UAS and presents current and envisaged research towards addressing these challenges. It aims to highlight the main advantages associated with adopting a risk based framework to the System Safety Performance Requirement (SSPR) compliance process that is capable of taking the uncertainty associated with each of the outputs of the system safety assessment process into consideration. Based on this study, it is made clear that developing a framework tailored to UAS, would allow for a more rational, transparent and systematic approach to decision making. This would reduce the need for conservative assumptions and take the risk posed by each UAS into consideration while determining its state of compliance to the SSR.
The main focus of this research will be on analyzing correlative links between terrorism as an asymmetrical threat and the consequences it leaves on conventional security forces. The methodology behind the research will include qualitative research methods focusing on comparative analysis of books, scientific papers, documents and other sources, in order to deduce, explore and formulate the results of the research. With the coming of the 21st century and the rising multi-polar, new world threats quickly emerged. The realistic approach in international relations deems that relations among nations are in a constant state of anarchy since there are no definitive rules and the distribution of power varies widely. International relations are further characterized by egoistic and self-orientated human nature, anarchy or absence of a higher government, security and lack of morality. The asymmetry of power is also reflected on countries' security capabilities and its abilities to project power. With the coming of the new millennia and the rising multi-polar world order, the asymmetry of power can be also added as an important trait of the global society which consequently brought new threats. Among various others, terrorism is probably the most well-known, well-based and well-spread asymmetric threat. In today's global political arena, terrorism is used by state and non-state actors to fulfill their political agendas. Terrorism is used as an all-inclusive tool for regime change, subversion or a revolution. Although the nature of terrorist groups is somewhat inconsistent, terrorism as a security and social phenomenon has a one constant which is reflected in its political dimension. The state's security apparatus, which was embodied in the form of conventional armed forces, is now becoming fragile, unable to tackle new threats and to a certain extent outdated. Conventional security forces were designed to defend or engage an exterior threat which is more or less symmetric and visible. On the other hand, terrorism as an asymmetrical threat is a part of hybrid, special or asymmetric warfare in which specialized units, institutions or facilities represent the primary pillars of security. In today's global society, terrorism is probably the most acute problem which can paralyze entire countries and their political systems. This problem, however, cannot be engaged on an open field of battle, but rather it requires a different approach in which conventional armed forces cannot be used traditionally and their role must be adjusted. The research will try to shed light on the phenomena of modern day terrorism and to prove its correlation with the state conventional armed forces. States are obliged to adjust their security apparatus to the new realism of global society and terrorism as an asymmetrical threat which is a side-product of the unbalanced world.
The generation of solid waste and its effective management are debated topics in Sri Lanka as well as in the global environment. It was estimated that the most of the waste generated in global was originated from construction and demolition of buildings. Thus, the proportion of construction waste in solid waste generation cannot be underestimated. The construction waste, which is the by-product generated and removed from work sites is collected in direct and indirect processes. Hence, the objectives of this research are to identify the proportion of construction waste which can be reused and identify the methods to reduce the waste generation without reducing the quality of the process. A 6-storey building construction site was selected for this research. The site was divided into six zones depending on the process. Ten waste materials were identified by considering the adverse effects on safety and health of people and the economic value of them. The generated construction waste in each zone was recorded per week for a period of five months. The data revealed that sand, cement, wood used for form work and rusted steel rods were the generated waste which has higher economic value in all zones. Structured interviews were conducted to gather information on how the materials are categorized as waste and the capability of reducing, reusing and recycling the waste. It was identified that waste is generated in following processes; ineffective storage of material for a longer time and improper handling of material during the work process. Further, the alteration of scheduled activities of construction work also yielded more waste. Finally, a proper management of construction waste is suggested to reduce and reuse waste.
With this contribution, we want to show how the AiRT system could change the future way of working of a part of the creative industry and what new economic opportunities could arise for them. Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), also more commonly known as drones, are now essential tools used by many different companies for their creative outdoor work. However, using this very flexible applicable tool indoor is almost impossible, since safe navigation cannot be guaranteed by the operator due to the lack of a reliable and affordable indoor positioning system which ensures a stable flight, among other issues. Here we present our first results of a European project, which consists of developing an indoor drone for professional footage especially designed for the creative industries. One of the main achievements of this project is the successful implication of the end-users in the overall design process from the very beginning. To ensure safe flight in confined spaces, our drone incorporates a positioning system based on ultra-wide band technology, an RGB-D (depth) camera for 3D environment reconstruction and the possibility to fully pre-program automatic flights. Since we also want to offer this tool for inexperienced pilots, we have always focused on user-friendly handling of the whole system throughout the entire process.
The modern world faces huge challenges. Globalization changed the socio-economic conditions of many countries. The current processes in the global environment have a different impact on countries with different cultures. However, an alleviation of poverty and improvement of living conditions is still the basic challenge for the majority of countries, because much of the population still lives under the official threshold of poverty. It is very important to stimulate youth employment. In order to prepare young people for the labour market, it is essential to provide them with the appropriate professional skills and knowledge. It is necessary to plan efficient activities for decreasing an unemployment rate and for developing the perfect mechanisms for regulation of a labour market. Such planning requires thorough study and analysis of existing reality, as well as development of corresponding mechanisms. Statistical analysis of unemployment is one of the main platforms for regulation of the labour market key mechanisms. The corresponding statistical methods should be used in the study process. Such methods are observation, gathering, grouping, and calculation of the generalized indicators. Unemployment is one of the most severe socioeconomic problems in Georgia. According to the past as well as the current statistics, unemployment rates always have been the most problematic issue to resolve for policy makers. Analytical works towards to the above-mentioned problem will be the basis for the next sustainable steps to solve the main problem. The results of the study showed that the choice of young people is not often due to their inclinations, their interests and the labour market demand. That is why the wrong professional orientation of young people in most cases leads to their unemployment. At the same time, it was shown that there are a number of professions in the labour market with a high demand because of the deficit the appropriate specialties. To achieve healthy competitiveness in youth employment, it is necessary to formulate regional employment programs with taking into account the regional infrastructure specifications.
A bio-sensing method, based on the plasmonic property of gold nano-islands, has been developed for detection of exosomes in a clinical setting. The position of the gold plasmon band in the UV-Visible spectrum depends on the size and shape of gold nanoparticles as well as on the surrounding environment. By adsorbing various chemical entities, or binding them, the gold plasmon band will shift toward longer wavelengths and the shift is proportional to the concentration. Exosomes transport cargoes of molecules and genetic materials to proximal and distal cells. Presently, the standard method for their isolation and quantification from body fluids is by ultracentrifugation, not a practical method to be implemented in a clinical setting. Thus, a versatile and cutting-edge platform is required to selectively detect and isolate exosomes for further analysis at clinical level. The new sensing protocol, instead of antibodies, makes use of a specially synthesized polypeptide (Vn96), to capture and quantify the exosomes from different media, by binding the heat shock proteins from exosomes. The protocol has been established and optimized by using a glass substrate, in order to facilitate the next stage, namely the transfer of the protocol to a microfluidic environment. After each step of the protocol, the UV-Vis spectrum was recorded and the position of gold Localized Surface Plasmon Resonance (LSPR) band was measured. The sensing process was modelled, taking into account the characteristics of the nano-island structure, prepared by thermal convection and annealing. The optimal molar ratios of the most important chemical entities, involved in the detection of exosomes were calculated as well. Indeed, it was found that the results of the sensing process depend on the two major steps: the molar ratios of streptavidin to biotin-PEG-Vn96 and, the final step, the capture of exosomes by the biotin-PEG-Vn96 complex. The microfluidic device designed for sensing of exosomes consists of a glass substrate, sealed by a PDMS layer that contains the channel and a collecting chamber. In the device, the solutions of linker, cross-linker, etc., are pumped over the gold nano-islands and an Ocean Optics spectrometer is used to measure the position of the Au plasmon band at each step of the sensing. The experiments have shown that the shift of the Au LSPR band is proportional to the concentration of exosomes and, thereby, exosomes can be accurately quantified. An important advantage of the method is the ability to discriminate between exosomes having different origins.
A very large percentage of bridge failures are attributed to scouring around bridge piers and this directly influences public safety. Experiments are carried out in a 12-m long rectangular open channel flume made of transparent tempered glass. A 300 mm thick bed made up of sand particles is leveled horizontally to create the test bed and a 50 mm hollow plastic cylinder is used as a model bridge pier. Tests are carried out with varying flow depths and velocities. Data points of various scour parameters such as scour depth, width, and length are collected based on different flow conditions and visual observations of changes in the stream bed downstream the bridge pier are also made as the scour progresses. Result shows that all three major flow characteristics (flow depth, Froude number and densimetric Froude number) have one way or other affect the scour profile.