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Open AccessArticle
A New Approach to Estimating the Path Loss in Underground Wireless Sensor Networks
J. Sens. Actuator Netw. 2017, 6(3), 18; doi:10.3390/jsan6030018 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Unlike terrestrial Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs), communication between buried nodes in WUSNs happens through the ground. Due to the complexity of soil, accurate estimation of the underground signal attenuation is challenging. Existing path loss models mainly rely on semi-empirical and empirical mixing models
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Unlike terrestrial Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs), communication between buried nodes in WUSNs happens through the ground. Due to the complexity of soil, accurate estimation of the underground signal attenuation is challenging. Existing path loss models mainly rely on semi-empirical and empirical mixing models for calculating the dielectric properties of the soil. In this paper, two existing models for estimating the path loss in soil (i.e., the CRIM-Fresnel and Modified-Friis models) are compared with measurements obtained at three locations. In addition, an improved method is proposed for estimating the path loss based on a new approach for calculating the dielectric properties of soil from Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR) measurements. The proposed approach calculates the complex permittivity values from TDR waveform based on a new modified method and subsequently use them as inputs into the Modified-Friis model. The results from the field trials were compared with the proposed method and the existing models. The results of this comparison showed that the proposed estimation technique provides a better estimation of Radio Frequency (RF) attenuation than the existing models. It also eliminates the need to take samples back to the laboratory by providing in situ calculation of attenuation based on TDR. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The UK Solar Farm Fleet: A Challenge for the National Grid?
Energies 2017, 10(8), 1220; doi:10.3390/en10081220 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Currently, in the UK, it is widely believed that supply from renewable energy sources is capable of reaching proportions too great for the transmission system. This research investigates this topic objectively by offering an understanding of year-to-year and area-to-area variability of PV (photovoltaic)
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Currently, in the UK, it is widely believed that supply from renewable energy sources is capable of reaching proportions too great for the transmission system. This research investigates this topic objectively by offering an understanding of year-to-year and area-to-area variability of PV (photovoltaic) performance, measured in terms of specific yield (kWh/kWp). The dataset is created using publicly available data that gives an indication of impact on the grid. The daily and seasonal variance is determined, demonstrating a surprisingly good energy yield in April (second only to August). The geographic divergence of generation from large scale solar systems is studied for various sized regions. Generation is compared to demand. Timing of output is analyzed and probability of achieving peak output ascertained. Output and demand are not well matched, as regards location. Nevertheless, the existing grid infrastructure is shown to have sufficient capacity to handle electricity flow from large scale PV. Full nameplate capacity is never reached by the examples studied. Although little information is available about oversizing of array-to-inverter ratios, this is considered unlikely to be a major contributor to grid instability. It is determined that output from UK solar farms currently presents scant danger to grid stability. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Risk Evaluation in Failure Mode and Effects Analysis Using Fuzzy Measure and Fuzzy Integral
Symmetry 2017, 9(8), 162; doi:10.3390/sym9080162 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) is a popular and useful approach applied to examine potential failures in different products, designs, processes, and services. As a vital index, the risk priority number (RPN) can determine the risk priorities of failure modes by some
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Failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) is a popular and useful approach applied to examine potential failures in different products, designs, processes, and services. As a vital index, the risk priority number (RPN) can determine the risk priorities of failure modes by some risk factors such as occurrence (O), severity (S), and detection (D). However, in FMEA, the traditional risk priority number approach has some shortcomings, especially in setting the weight of risk factors. This paper presents an improved risk priority number approach based on a fuzzy measure and fuzzy integral. A fuzzy measure is used to reflect the importance of the individual indicators and the indicator set and a fuzzy integral is a nonlinear function defined on the basis of fuzzy measure. The weights of risk factors given by domain experts are seen as fuzzy densities to generate a λ-fuzzy measure which can reflect the weights’ difference and relevance about risk factors. Then, the Choquet integral is used to fuse every value of risk factors about failure modes so as to obtain the comprehensive evaluation result. The result can reflect the comprehensive risk level, so it has a definite physical significance. Finally, an illustrative example and a comparison with another approach are given to show the effectiveness of the proposed approach in the paper. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Efficient Transdermal Delivery of Alendronate, a Nitrogen-Containing Bisphosphonate, Using Tip-Loaded Self-Dissolving Microneedle Arrays for the Treatment of Osteoporosis
Pharmaceutics 2017, 9(3), 29; doi:10.3390/pharmaceutics9030029 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
To improve the transdermal bioavailability and safety of alendronate (ALN), a nitrogen-containing bisphosphonate, we developed self-dissolving microneedle arrays (MNs), in which ALN is loaded only at the tip portion of micron-scale needles by a dip-coating method (ALN(TIP)–MN). We observed micron-scale pores in rat
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To improve the transdermal bioavailability and safety of alendronate (ALN), a nitrogen-containing bisphosphonate, we developed self-dissolving microneedle arrays (MNs), in which ALN is loaded only at the tip portion of micron-scale needles by a dip-coating method (ALN(TIP)–MN). We observed micron-scale pores in rat skin just after application of ALN(TIP)–MN, indicating that transdermal pathways for ALN were created by MN. ALN was rapidly released from the tip of MNs as observed in an in vitro release study. The tip portions of MNs completely dissolved in the rat skin within 5 min after application in vivo. After application of ALN(TIP)–MN in mice, the plasma concentration of ALN rapidly increased, and the bioavailability of ALN was approximately 96%. In addition, the decrease in growth plate was effectively suppressed by this efficient delivery of ALN in a rat model of osteoporosis. Furthermore, no skin irritation was observed after application of ALN(TIP)–MN and subcutaneous injection of ALN, while mild skin irritation was induced by whole-ALN-loaded MN (ALN–MN)—in which ALN is contained in the whole of the micron-scale needles fabricated from hyaluronic acid—and intradermal injection of ALN. These findings indicate that ALN(TIP)–MN is a promising transdermal formulation for the treatment of osteoporosis without skin irritation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Ecologically Friendly Sourcing in Developing Countries: A Non-Food Case Study
Logistics 2017, 1(1), 6; doi:10.3390/logistics1010006 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The purpose of this paper is to investigate how nearby sourcing versus long-distance sourcing affects the ecological friendliness—operationalized in terms of energy efficiency—of a supply chain for a non-food item in a developing country. Using case research, we show that the average energy
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The purpose of this paper is to investigate how nearby sourcing versus long-distance sourcing affects the ecological friendliness—operationalized in terms of energy efficiency—of a supply chain for a non-food item in a developing country. Using case research, we show that the average energy needed to supply a pair of imported shoes to a retailer in Morocco is less than the average energy needed to supply a pair of locally produced shoes. These findings highlight the need to assess the true total energy effects of nearby sourcing versus long-distance sourcing since the outcomes of such assessments may be more complicated than they appear upon first glance, particularly in developing countries. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Specular Reflection Effects Elimination in Terrestrial Laser Scanning Intensity Data Using Phong Model
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(8), 853; doi:10.3390/rs9080853 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The intensity value recorded by terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) systems is significantly influenced by the incidence angle. The incidence angle effect is an object property, which is mainly related to target scattering properties, surface structures, and even some instrumental effects. Most existing models
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The intensity value recorded by terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) systems is significantly influenced by the incidence angle. The incidence angle effect is an object property, which is mainly related to target scattering properties, surface structures, and even some instrumental effects. Most existing models focus on diffuse reflections of rough surfaces and ignore specular reflections, despite that both reflections simultaneously exist in all natural surfaces. Due to the coincidence of the emitter and receiver in TLS, specular reflections can be ignored at large incidence angles. On the contrary, at small incidence angles, TLS detectors can receive a portion of specular reflections. The received specular reflections can trigger highlight phenomenon (hot-spot effects) in the intensity data of the scanned targets, particularly those with a relatively smooth or highly-reflective surface. In this study, a new method that takes diffuse and specular reflections, as well as the instrumental effects into consideration, is proposed to eliminate the specular reflection effects in TLS intensity data. Diffuse reflections and instrumental effects are modeled by a polynomial based on Lambertian reference targets, whereas specular reflections are modeled by the Phong model. The proposed method is tested and validated on different targets scanned by the Faro Focus3D 120 terrestrial scanner. Results imply that the coefficient of variation of the intensity data from a homogeneous surface is reduced by approximately 38% when specular reflections are considered. Compared with existing methods, the proposed method exhibits good feasibility and high accuracy in eliminating the specular reflection effects for intensity image interpretation and 3D point cloud representation by intensity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of Droughts on Mid-Tropospheric CO2
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(8), 852; doi:10.3390/rs9080852 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Using CO2 data from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS), it is found for the first time that the mid-tropospheric CO2 concentration is ~1 part per million by volume higher during dry years than wet years over the southwestern USA from June
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Using CO2 data from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS), it is found for the first time that the mid-tropospheric CO2 concentration is ~1 part per million by volume higher during dry years than wet years over the southwestern USA from June to September. The mid-tropospheric CO2 differences between dry and wet years are related to circulation and CO2 surface fluxes. During drought conditions, vertical pressure velocity from NCEP2 suggests that there is more rising air over most regions, which can help bring high surface concentrations of CO2 to the mid-troposphere. In addition to the circulation, there is more CO2 emitted from the biosphere to the atmosphere during droughts in some regions, which can contribute to higher concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere. Results obtained from this study demonstrate the significant impact of droughts on atmospheric CO2 and therefore on a feedback cycle contributing to greenhouse gas warming. It can also help us better understand atmospheric CO2, which plays a critical role in our climate system. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
The Effect of Hydrogen Bonding on Radical Semi-Batch Copolymerization of Butyl Acrylate and 2-Hydroxyethyl Acrylate
Polymers 2017, 9(8), 368; doi:10.3390/polym9080368 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The radical copolymerization of butyl acrylate (BA) and 2-hydroxyethyl acrylate (HEA) was investigated under batch and semi-batch operations, with a focus on the influence of hydrogen-bonding on acrylate backbiting. The effect of hydrogen bonding on HEA to BA relative incorporation rates during copolymerization,
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The radical copolymerization of butyl acrylate (BA) and 2-hydroxyethyl acrylate (HEA) was investigated under batch and semi-batch operations, with a focus on the influence of hydrogen-bonding on acrylate backbiting. The effect of hydrogen bonding on HEA to BA relative incorporation rates during copolymerization, previously seen in low-conversion kinetic studies, was also observed under high-conversion semi-batch conditions. However, overall reaction rates (as indicated by free monomer concentrations), polymer molar masses, and branching levels did not vary as copolymer HEA content was increased from 0 to 40 wt % in the semi-batch system. In contrast, introduction of a H-bonding solvent, n-pentanol, led to an observable decrease in branching levels, and branching levels were also reduced in batch (co)polymerizations with HEA. These differences can be attributed to the low levels of unreacted HEA in the starved-feed semi-batch system. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Constraining Polymers into β-Turns: Miscibility and Phase Segregation Effects in Lipid Monolayers
Polymers 2017, 9(8), 369; doi:10.3390/polym9080369 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Abstract: Investigation of model biomembranes and their interactions with natural or synthetic macromolecules are of great interest to design membrane systems with specific properties such as drug-delivery. Here we study the behavior of amphiphilic β-turn mimetic polymer conjugates at the air–water interface
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Abstract: Investigation of model biomembranes and their interactions with natural or synthetic macromolecules are of great interest to design membrane systems with specific properties such as drug-delivery. Here we study the behavior of amphiphilic β-turn mimetic polymer conjugates at the air–water interface and their interactions with lipid model membranes. For this endeavor we synthesized two different types of conjugates containing either hydrophobic polyisobutylene (PIB, Mn = 5000 g·mol−1) or helical poly(n-hexyl isocyanate) (PHIC, Mn = 4000 g·mol−1), both polymers being immiscible, whereas polyisobutylene as a hydrophobic polymer can incorporate into lipid membranes. The conjugates were investigated using Langmuir-film techniques coupled with epifluorescence microscopy and AFM (Atomic Force Microscopy), in addition to their phase behavior in mixed lipid/polymer membranes composed of DPPC (dipalmitoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine). It was found that the DPPC monolayers are strongly disturbed by the presence of the polymer conjugates and that domain formation of the polymer conjugates occurs at high surface pressures (π > 30 mN·m−1). Full article
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