Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 19

Search results for: Alexiou Dimitra

19 Allocation of Mobile Units in an Urban Emergency Service System

Authors: Dimitra Alexiou

Abstract:

In an urban area the allocation placement of an emergency service mobile units, such as ambulances, police patrol must be designed so as to achieve a prompt response to demand locations. In this paper, a partition of a given urban network into distinct sub-networks is performed such that; the vertices in each component are close and simultaneously the difference of the sums of the corresponding population in the sub-networks is almost uniform. The objective here is to position appropriately in each sub-network a mobile emergency unit in order to reduce the response time to the demands. A mathematical model in the framework of graph theory is developed. In order to clarify the corresponding method a relevant numerical example is presented on a small network.

Keywords: graph partition, emergency service, distances, location

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18 Finding Viable Pollution Routes in an Urban Network under a Predefined Cost

Authors: Dimitra Alexiou, Stefanos Katsavounis, Ria Kalfakakou

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In an urban area the determination of transportation routes should be planned so as to minimize the provoked pollution taking into account the cost of such routes. In the sequel these routes are cited as pollution routes. The transportation network is expressed by a weighted graph G= (V, E, D, P) where every vertex represents a location to be served and E contains unordered pairs (edges) of elements in V that indicate a simple road. The distances/cost and a weight that depict the provoked air pollution by a vehicle transition at every road are assigned to each road as well. These are the items of set D and P respectively. Furthermore the investigated pollution routes must not exceed predefined corresponding values concerning the route cost and the route pollution level during the vehicle transition. In this paper we present an algorithm that generates such routes in order that the decision maker selects the most appropriate one.

Keywords: bi-criteria, pollution, shortest paths, computation

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17 Statistical and Land Planning Study of Tourist Arrivals in Greece during 2005-2016

Authors: Dimitra Alexiou

Abstract:

During the last 10 years, in spite of the economic crisis, the number of tourists arriving in Greece has increased, particularly during the tourist season from April to October. In this paper, the number of annual tourist arrivals is studied to explore their preferences with regard to the month of travel, the selected destinations, as well the amount of money spent. The collected data are processed with statistical methods, yielding numerical and graphical results. From the computation of statistical parameters and the forecasting with exponential smoothing, useful conclusions are arrived at that can be used by the Greek tourism authorities, as well as by tourist organizations, for planning purposes for the coming years. The results of this paper and the computed forecast can also be used for decision making by private tourist enterprises that are investing in Greece. With regard to the statistical methods, the method of Simple Exponential Smoothing of time series of data is employed. The search for a best forecast for 2017 and 2018 provides the value of the smoothing coefficient. For all statistical computations and graphics Microsoft Excel is used.

Keywords: tourism, statistical methods, exponential smoothing, land spatial planning, economy

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16 The Influence of Beta Shape Parameters in Project Planning

Authors: Αlexios Kotsakis, Stefanos Katsavounis, Dimitra Alexiou

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Networks can be utilized to represent project planning problems, using nodes for activities and arcs to indicate precedence relationship between them. For fixed activity duration, a simple algorithm calculates the amount of time required to complete a project, followed by the activities that comprise the critical path. Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) generalizes the above model by incorporating uncertainty, allowing activity durations to be random variables, producing nevertheless a relatively crude solution in planning problems. In this paper, based on the findings of the relevant literature, which strongly suggests that a Beta distribution can be employed to model earthmoving activities, we utilize Monte Carlo simulation, to estimate the project completion time distribution and measure the influence of skewness, an element inherent in activities of modern technical projects. We also extract the activity criticality index, with an ultimate goal to produce more accurate planning estimations.

Keywords: beta distribution, PERT, Monte Carlo simulation, skewness, project completion time distribution

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15 Data and Spatial Analysis for Economy and Education of 28 E.U. Member-States for 2014

Authors: Alexiou Dimitra, Fragkaki Maria

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The objective of the paper is the study of geographic, economic and educational variables and their contribution to determine the position of each member-state among the EU-28 countries based on the values of seven variables as given by Eurostat. The Data Analysis methods of Multiple Factorial Correspondence Analysis (MFCA) Principal Component Analysis and Factor Analysis have been used. The cross tabulation tables of data consist of the values of seven variables for the 28 countries for 2014. The data are manipulated using the CHIC Analysis V 1.1 software package. The results of this program using MFCA and Ascending Hierarchical Classification are given in arithmetic and graphical form. For comparison reasons with the same data the Factor procedure of Statistical package IBM SPSS 20 has been used. The numerical and graphical results presented with tables and graphs, demonstrate the agreement between the two methods. The most important result is the study of the relation between the 28 countries and the position of each country in groups or clouds, which are formed according to the values of the corresponding variables.

Keywords: Multiple Factorial Correspondence Analysis, Principal Component Analysis, Factor Analysis, E.U.-28 countries, Statistical package IBM SPSS 20, CHIC Analysis V 1.1 Software, Eurostat.eu Statistics

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14 Comparison of Transparent Nickel Doped Cobalt Sulfide and Platinum Counter Electrodes Used in Quasi-Solid State Dye Sensitized Solar Cells

Authors: Dimitra Sygkridou, Dimitrios Karageorgopoulos, Elias Stathatos, Evangelos Vitoratos

Abstract:

Transparent nickel doped cobalt sulfide was fabricated on a SnO2:F electrode and tested as an efficient electrocatalyst and as an alternative to the expensive platinum counter electrode. In order to investigate how this electrode could affect the electrical characteristics of a dye-sensitized solar cell, we manufactured cells with the same TiO2 photoanode sensitized with dye (N719) and employing the same quasi-solid electrolyte, altering only the counter electrode used. The cells were electrically and electrochemically characterized and it was observed that the ones with the Ni doped CoS2 outperformed the efficiency of the cells with the Pt counter electrode (3.76% and 3.44% respectively). Particularly, the higher efficiency of the cells with the Ni doped CoS2 counter electrode (CE) is mainly because of the enhanced photocurrent density which is attributed to the enhanced electrocatalytic ability of the CE and the low charge transfer resistance at the CE/electrolyte interface.

Keywords: nickel doped cobalt sulfide, counter electrodes, dye-sensitized solar cells, quasi-solid state electrolyte, hybrid organic-inorganic materials

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13 Up-Scaling of Highly Transparent Quasi-Solid State Dye-Sensitized Solar Devices Composed of Nanocomposite Materials

Authors: Dimitra Sygkridou, Andreas Rapsomanikis, Elias Stathatos, Polycarpos Falaras, Evangelos Vitoratos

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At the present work highly transparent strip type quasi-solid state dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) were fabricated through inkjet printing using nanocomposite TiO2 inks as raw materials and tested under outdoor illumination conditions. The cells, which can be considered as the structural units of large area modules, were fully characterized electrically and electrochemically and after the evaluation of the received results a large area DSSC module was manufactured. The module design was a sandwich Z-interconnection where the working electrode is deposited on one conductive glass and the counter electrode on a second glass. Silver current collective fingers were printed on the conductive glasses to make the internal electrical connections and the adjacent cells were connected in series and finally insulated using a UV curing resin to protect them from the corrosive (I-/I3-) redox couple of the electrolyte. Finally, outdoor tests were carried out to the fabricated dye-sensitized solar module and its performance data were collected and assessed.

Keywords: dye-sensitized solar devices, inkjet printing, quasi-solid state electrolyte, transparency, up-scaling

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12 Action Research through Drama in Education on Adolescents’ Career Self-Efficacy and Decision-Making Skills Development

Authors: Christina Zourna, Ioanna Papavassiliou-Alexiou

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The purpose of this multi-phased action research PhD study in Greece was to investigate if and how Drama in Education (DiE) – used as an innovative group counselling method – may have positive effects on secondary education students’career self-efficacy and career decision-making skills development. Using both quantitative and qualitative research tools, high quality data were gathered at various stages of the research and were analysed through multivariate methods and open-source computer aided data analysis software such as R Studio, QualCoder, and SPSS packages. After a five-month-long educational intervention based on DiE method, it was found that 9th, 10th, and 11th gradersameliorated their self-efficacy and learned the process of making an informed career decision – through targeted information gathering about themselves and possible study paths – thus, developing career problem-solving and career management skills. Gender differences were non statistically important, while differences in grades showed a minor influence on some of the measured factorssuch as general career indecisiveness and self-evaluation. Students in the 11th grade scored significantly higher than younger students in the career self-efficacy scale and have stronger faith in their abilities e.g., choosing general over vocational school and major study orientation. The study has shown that DiE can be effective in group career guidance, especially concerning the pillars of self-awareness, self-efficacy, and career decision-making processes.

Keywords: career decision-making skills, career self-efficacy, CDDQ scale, CDMSE-SF scale, drama in education method

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11 The Role of Executive Functions and Emotional Intelligence in Leadership: A Neuropsychological Perspective

Authors: Chrysovalanto Sofia Karatosidi, Dimitra Iordanoglou

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The overlap of leadership skills with personality traits, beliefs, values, and the integration of cognitive abilities, analytical and critical thinking skills into leadership competencies raises the need to segregate further and investigate them. Hence, the domains of cognitive functions that contribute to leadership effectiveness should also be identified. Organizational cognitive neuroscience and neuroleadership can shed light on the study of these critical leadership skills. As the first part of our research, this pilot study aims to explore the relationships between higher-order cognitive functions (executive functions), trait emotional intelligence (EI), personality, and general cognitive ability in leadership. Twenty-six graduate and postgraduate students were assessed on neuropsychological tests that measure important aspects of executive functions (EF) and completed self-reported questionnaires about trait EI, personality, leadership styles, and leadership effectiveness. Specifically, we examined four core EF—fluency (phonemic and semantic), information updating and monitoring, working memory, and inhibition of prepotent responses. Leadership effectiveness was positively associated with phonemic fluency (PF), which involves mental flexibility, in turn, an increasingly important ability for future leaders in this rapidly changing world. Transformational leadership was positively associated with trait EI, extraversion, and openness to experience, a result that is following previous findings. The relationship between specific EF constructs and leadership effectiveness emphasizes the role of higher-order cognitive functions in the field of leadership as an individual difference. EF brings a new perspective into leadership literature by providing a direct, non-invasive, scientifically-valid connection between brain function and leadership behavior.

Keywords: cognitive neuroscience, emotional intelligence, executive functions, leadership

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10 Management Prospects of Winery By-Products Based on Phenolic Compounds and Antioxidant Activity of Grape Skins: The Case of Greek Ionian Islands

Authors: Marinos Xagoraris, Iliada K. Lappa, Charalambos Kanakis, Dimitra Daferera, Christina Papadopoulou, Georgios Sourounis, Charilaos Giotis, Pavlos Bouchagier, Christos S. Pappas, Petros A. Tarantilis, Efstathia Skotti

Abstract:

The aim of this work was to recover phenolic compounds from grape skins produced in Greek varieties of the Ionian Islands in order to form the basis of calculations for their further utilization in the context of the circular economy. Isolation and further utilization of phenolic compounds is an important issue in winery by-products. For this purpose, 37 samples were collected, extracted, and analyzed in an attempt to provide the appropriate basis for their sustainable exploitation. Extraction of the bioactive compounds was held using an eco-friendly, non-toxic, and highly effective water-glycerol solvent system. Then, extracts were analyzed using UV-Vis, liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS), FTIR, and Raman spectroscopy. Also, total phenolic content and antioxidant activity were measured. LC-MS chromatography showed qualitative differences between different varieties. Peaks were attributed to monomeric 3-flavanols as well as monomeric, dimeric, and trimeric proanthocyanidins. The FT-IR and Raman spectra agreed with the chromatographic data and contributed to identifying phenolic compounds. Grape skins exhibited high total phenolic content (TPC), and it was proved that during vinification, a large number of polyphenols remained in the pomace. This study confirmed that grape skins from Ionian Islands are a promising source of bioactive compounds, suggesting their utilization under a bio-economic and environmental strategic framework.

Keywords: antioxidant activity, grape skin, phenolic compounds, waste recovery

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9 Physical Modeling of Woodwind Ancient Greek Musical Instruments: The Case of Plagiaulos

Authors: Dimitra Marini, Konstantinos Bakogiannis, Spyros Polychronopoulos, Georgios Kouroupetroglou

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Archaemusicology cannot entirely depend on the study of the excavated ancient musical instruments as most of the time their condition is not ideal (i.e., missing/eroded parts) and moreover, because of the concern damaging the originals during the experiments. Researchers, in order to overcome the above obstacles, build replicas. This technique is still the most popular one, although it is rather expensive and time-consuming. Throughout the last decades, the development of physical modeling techniques has provided tools that enable the study of musical instruments through their digitally simulated models. This is not only a more cost and time-efficient technique but also provides additional flexibility as the user can easily modify parameters such as their geometrical features and materials. This paper thoroughly describes the steps to create a physical model of a woodwind ancient Greek instrument, Plagiaulos. This instrument could be considered as the ancestor of the modern flute due to the common geometry and air-jet excitation mechanism. Plagiaulos is comprised of a single resonator with an open end and a number of tone holes. The combination of closed and open tone holes produces the pitch variations. In this work, the effects of all the instrument’s components are described by means of physics and then simulated based on digital waveguides. The synthesized sound of the proposed model complies with the theory, highlighting its validity. Further, the synthesized sound of the model simulating the Plagiaulos of Koile (2nd century BCE) was compared with its replica build in our laboratory by following the scientific methodologies of archeomusicology. The aforementioned results verify that robust dynamic digital tools can be introduced in the field of computational, experimental archaemusicology.

Keywords: archaeomusicology, digital waveguides, musical acoustics, physical modeling

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8 Professional Skills Development of Educational Leaders through Drama in Education: An Example of Best Practice in Greece

Authors: Christina Zourna, Ioanna Papavassiliou-Alexiou

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Drama in Education (DiE) is a dynamic experiential method that can be used in many interdisciplinary contexts. In the Educational and Social Policy Department, University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki, Greece, DiE is being used as a core method for developing professional competences in pre- and postgraduate courses as well as adult education training programs. In this presentation, an innovative DiE application will be described concerning the development of educational leaders’ skills necessary to meet unprecedented, unexpected challenges in the 21st century schools. In a non-threatening risk-taking no-penalty environment, future educational leaders live-in-role problems, challenges, and dilemmas before having to face similar ones in their profession. Through personal involvement, emotional engagement, and reflection, via individual and group activities, they experience the behaviour, dilemmas, decision-making processes, and informed choices of a recognized leader and are able to make connections with their own life. As pretext serves the life of Alexander the Great, the Macedonian King who defeated the vast Persian empire in the 4th century BC and, by uniting all Greeks, conquered the up-to-date known eastern world thanks to his authentic leadership skills and exceptional personality traits. Since the early years of his education mastered by the famous Greek philosopher Aristotle, Alexander proved his unique qualities by providing the world with the example of an undeniably genuine, inspirational, effective, and most recognizable authentic leader. Through questionnaires and individual interviews, participants in these workshops revealed how they developed active listening, empathy, creativity, imagination, critical strategic and out-of-the-box thinking, cooperation and own vision communicating, crisis management skills, self-efficacy, self-awareness, self-exposure, information management, negotiation and inspiration skills, enhanced sense of responsibility and commitment, and decision-making skills.

Keywords: drama in education method, educational leadership, professional competences, skills’ development

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7 Regeneration Study on the Athens City Center: Transformation of the Historical Triangle to “Low Pollution and Restricted Vehicle Traffic Zone”

Authors: Chondrogianni Dimitra, Yorgos J. Stephanedes

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The impact of the economic crisis, coupled with the aging of the city's old core, is reflected in central Athens. Public and private users, residents, employees, visitors desire the quality upgrading of abandoned buildings and public spaces through environmental upgrading and sustainable mobility, and promotion of the international metropolitan character of the city. In the study, a strategy for reshaping the character and function of the historic Athenian triangle is proposed, aiming at its economic, environmental, and social sustainable development through feasible, meaningful, and non-landscaping solutions of low cost and high positive impact. Sustainable mobility is the main principle in re-planning the study area and transforming it into a “Low Pollution and Limited Vehicle Traffic Zone” is the main strategy. Τhe proposed measures include the development of pedestrian mobility networks by expanding the pedestrian roads and limited-traffic routes, of bicycle networks based on the approved Metropolitan Bicycle Route of Athens, of public transportation networks with new lines of electric mini-buses, and of new regulations for vehicle mobility in the historic triangle. In addition, complementary actions are proposed regarding the provision of Wi-Fi on fixed track media, development of applications that facilitate combined travel and provide real-time data, integration of micromobility (roller skates, Segway, Hoverboard), and its enhancement as a flexible means of personal mobility, and development of car-sharing, ride-sharing and dynamic carpooling initiatives.

Keywords: regeneration plans, sustainable mobility, environmental upgrading, athens historical triangle

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6 Factors that Contribute to the Improvement of the Sense of Self-Efficacy of Special Educators in Inclusive Settings in Greece

Authors: Sotiria Tzivinikou, Dimitra Kagkara

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Teacher’s sense of self-efficacy can affect significantly both teacher’s and student’s performance. More specific, self-efficacy is associated with the learning outcomes as well as student’s motivation and self-efficacy. For example, teachers with high sense of self-efficacy are more open to innovations and invest more effort in teaching. In addition to this, effective inclusive education is associated with higher levels of teacher’s self-efficacy. Pre-service teachers with high levels of self-efficacy could handle student’s behavior better and more effectively assist students with special educational needs. Teacher preparation programs are also important, because teacher’s efficacy beliefs are shaped early in learning, as a result the quality of teacher’s education programs can affect the sense of self-efficacy of pre-service teachers. Usually, a number of pre-service teachers do not consider themselves well prepared to work with students with special educational needs and do not have the appropriate sense of self-efficacy. This study aims to investigate the factors that contribute to the improvement of the sense of self-efficacy of pre-service special educators by using an academic practicum training program. The sample of this study is 159 pre-service special educators, who also participated in the academic practicum training program. For the purpose of this study were used quantitative methods for data collection and analysis. Teacher’s self-efficacy was assessed by the teachers themselves with the completion of a questionnaire which was based on the scale of Teacher’s Sense of Efficacy Scale. Pre and post measurements of teacher’s self-efficacy were taken. The results of the survey are consistent with those of the international literature. The results indicate that a significant number of pre-service special educators do not hold the appropriate sense of self-efficacy regarding teaching students with special educational needs. Moreover, a quality academic training program constitutes a crucial factor for the improvement of the sense of self-efficacy of pre-service special educators, as additional for the provision of high quality inclusive education.

Keywords: inclusive education, pre-service, self-efficacy, training program

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5 Walkability with the Use of Mobile Apps

Authors: Dimitra Riza

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This paper examines different ways of exploring a city by using smart phones' applications while walking, and the way this new attitude will change our perception of the urban environment. By referring to various examples of such applications we will consider options and possibilities that open up with new technologies, their advantages and disadvantages, as well as ways of experiencing and interpreting the urban environment. The widespread use of smart phones gave access to information, maps, knowledge, etc. at all times and places. The city tourism marketing takes advantage of this event and promotes the city's attractions through technology. Mobile mediated walking tours, provide new possibilities and modify the way we used to explore cities, for instance by giving directions proper to find easily destinations, by displaying our exact location on the map, by creating our own tours through picking points of interest and interconnecting them to create a route. These apps act as interactive ones, as they filter the user's interests, movements, etc. Discovering a city on foot and visiting interesting sites and landmarks, became very easy, and has been revolutionized through the help of navigational and other applications. In contrast to the re-invention of the city as suggested by the Baudelaire's Flâneur in the 19th century, or to the construction of situations by the Situationists in 60s, the new technological means do not allow people to "get lost", as these follow and record our moves. In the case of strolling or drifting around the city, the option of "getting lost" is desired, as the goal is not the "wayfinding" or the destination, but it is the experience of walking itself. Getting lost is not always about dislocation, but it is about getting a feeling, free of the urban environment while experiencing it. So, on the one hand, walking is considered to be a physical and embodied experience, as the observer becomes an actor and participates with all his senses in the city activities. On the other hand, the use of a screen turns out to become a disembodied experience of the urban environment, as we perceive it in a fragmented and distanced way. Relations with the city are similar to Alberti’s isolated viewer, detached from any urban stage. The smartphone, even if we are present, acts as a mediator: we interact directly with it and indirectly with the environment. Contrary to the Flaneur and to the Situationists, who discovered the city with their own bodies, today the body itself is being detached from that experience. While contemporary cities turn out to become more walkable, the new technological applications tend to open out all possibilities in order to explore them by suggesting multiple routes. Exploration becomes easier, but Perception changes.

Keywords: body, experience, mobile apps, walking

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4 AI-Enabled Smart Contracts for Reliable Traceability in the Industry 4.0

Authors: Harris Niavis, Dimitra Politaki

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The manufacturing industry was collecting vast amounts of data for monitoring product quality thanks to the advances in the ICT sector and dedicated IoT infrastructure is deployed to track and trace the production line. However, industries have not yet managed to unleash the full potential of these data due to defective data collection methods and untrusted data storage and sharing. Blockchain is gaining increasing ground as a key technology enabler for Industry 4.0 and the smart manufacturing domain, as it enables the secure storage and exchange of data between stakeholders. On the other hand, AI techniques are more and more used to detect anomalies in batch and time-series data that enable the identification of unusual behaviors. The proposed scheme is based on smart contracts to enable automation and transparency in the data exchange, coupled with anomaly detection algorithms to enable reliable data ingestion in the system. Before sensor measurements are fed to the blockchain component and the smart contracts, the anomaly detection mechanism uniquely combines artificial intelligence models to effectively detect unusual values such as outliers and extreme deviations in data coming from them. Specifically, Autoregressive integrated moving average, Long short-term memory (LSTM) and Dense-based autoencoders, as well as Generative adversarial networks (GAN) models, are used to detect both point and collective anomalies. Towards the goal of preserving the privacy of industries' information, the smart contracts employ techniques to ensure that only anonymized pointers to the actual data are stored on the ledger while sensitive information remains off-chain. In the same spirit, blockchain technology guarantees the security of the data storage through strong cryptography as well as the integrity of the data through the decentralization of the network and the execution of the smart contracts by the majority of the blockchain network actors. The blockchain component of the Data Traceability Software is based on the Hyperledger Fabric framework, which lays the ground for the deployment of smart contracts and APIs to expose the functionality to the end-users. The results of this work demonstrate that such a system can increase the quality of the end-products and the trustworthiness of the monitoring process in the smart manufacturing domain. The proposed AI-enabled data traceability software can be employed by industries to accurately trace and verify records about quality through the entire production chain and take advantage of the multitude of monitoring records in their databases.

Keywords: blockchain, data quality, industry4.0, product quality

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3 Thermally Stable Crystalline Triazine-Based Organic Polymeric Nanodendrites for Mercury(2+) Ion Sensing

Authors: Dimitra Das, Anuradha Mitra, Kalyan Kumar Chattopadhyay

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Organic polymers, constructed from light elements like carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, sulphur, and boron atoms, are the emergent class of non-toxic, metal-free, environmental benign advanced materials. Covalent triazine-based polymers with a functional triazine group are significant class of organic materials due to their remarkable stability arising out of strong covalent bonds. They can conventionally form hydrogen bonds, favour π–π contacts, and they were recently revealed to be involved in interesting anion–π interactions. The present work mainly focuses upon the development of a single-crystalline, highly cross-linked triazine-based nitrogen-rich organic polymer with nanodendritic morphology and significant thermal stability. The polymer has been synthesized through hydrothermal treatment of melamine and ethylene glycol resulting in cross-polymerization via condensation-polymerization reaction. The crystal structure of the polymer has been evaluated by employing Rietveld whole profile fitting method. The polymer has been found to be composed of monoclinic melamine having space group P21/a. A detailed insight into the chemical structure of the as synthesized polymer has been elucidated by Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) and Raman spectroscopic analysis. X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopic (XPS) analysis has also been carried out for further understanding of the different types of linkages required to create the backbone of the polymer. The unique rod-like morphology of the triazine based polymer has been revealed from the images obtained from Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscopy (FESEM) and Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM). Interestingly, this polymer has been found to selectively detect mercury (Hg²⁺) ions at an extremely low concentration through fluorescent quenching with detection limit as low as 0.03 ppb. The high toxicity of mercury ions (Hg²⁺) arise from its strong affinity towards the sulphur atoms of biological building blocks. Even a trace quantity of this metal is dangerous for human health. Furthermore, owing to its small ionic radius and high solvation energy, Hg²⁺ ions remain encapsulated by water molecules making its detection a challenging task. There are some existing reports on fluorescent-based heavy metal ion sensors using covalent organic frameworks (COFs) but reports on mercury sensing using triazine based polymers are rather undeveloped. Thus, the importance of ultra-trace detection of Hg²⁺ ions with high level of selectivity and sensitivity has contemporary significance. A plausible sensing phenomenon by the polymer has been proposed to understand the applicability of the material as a potential sensor. The impressive sensitivity of the polymer sample towards Hg²⁺ is the very first report in the field of highly crystalline triazine based polymers (without the introduction of any sulphur groups or functionalization) towards mercury ion detection through photoluminescence quenching technique. This crystalline metal-free organic polymer being cheap, non-toxic and scalable has current relevance and could be a promising candidate for Hg²⁺ ion sensing at commercial level.

Keywords: fluorescence quenching , mercury ion sensing, single-crystalline, triazine-based polymer

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2 Extracellular Polymeric Substances Study in an MBR System for Fouling Control

Authors: Dimitra C. Banti, Gesthimani Liona, Petros Samaras, Manasis Mitrakas

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Municipal and industrial wastewaters are often treated biologically, by the activated sludge process (ASP). The ASP not only requires large aeration and sedimentation tanks, but also generates large quantities of excess sludge. An alternative technology is the membrane bioreactor (MBR), which replaces two stages of the conventional ASP—clarification and settlement—with a single, integrated biotreatment and clarification step. The advantages offered by the MBR over conventional treatment include reduced footprint and sludge production through maintaining a high biomass concentration in the bioreactor. Notwithstanding these advantages, the widespread application of the MBR process is constrained by membrane fouling. Fouling leads to permeate flux decline, making more frequent membrane cleaning and replacement necessary and resulting to increased operating costs. In general, membrane fouling results from the interaction between the membrane material and the components in the activated sludge liquor. The latter includes substrate components, cells, cell debris and microbial metabolites, such as Extracellular Polymeric Substances (EPS) and Sludge Microbial Products (SMPs). The challenge for effective MBR operation is to minimize the rate of Transmembrane Pressure (TMP) increase. This can be achieved by several ways, one of which is the addition of specific additives, that enhance the coagulation and flocculation of compounds, which are responsible for fouling, hence reducing biofilm formation on the membrane surface and limiting the fouling rate. In this project the effectiveness of a non-commercial composite coagulant was studied as an agent for fouling control in a lab scale MBR system consisting in two aerated tanks. A flat sheet membrane module with 0.40 um pore size was submerged into the second tank. The system was fed by50 L/d of municipal wastewater collected from the effluent of the primary sedimentation basin. The TMP increase rate, which is directly related to fouling growth, was monitored by a PLC system. EPS, MLSS and MLVSS measurements were performed in samples of mixed liquor; in addition, influent and effluent samples were collected for the determination of physicochemical characteristics (COD, BOD5, NO3-N, NH4-N, Total N and PO4-P). The coagulant was added in concentrations 2, 5 and 10mg/L during a period of 2 weeks and the results were compared with the control system (without coagulant addition). EPS fractions were extracted by a three stages physical-thermal treatment allowing the identification of Soluble EPS (SEPS) or SMP, Loosely Bound EPS (LBEPS) and Tightly Bound EPS (TBEPS). Proteins and carbohydrates concentrations were measured in EPS fractions by the modified Lowry method and Dubois method, respectively. Addition of 2 mg/L coagulant concentration did not affect SEPS proteins in comparison with control process and their values varied between 32 to 38mg/g VSS. However a coagulant dosage of 5mg/L resulted in a slight increase of SEPS proteins at 35-40 mg/g VSS while 10mg/L coagulant further increased SEPS to 44-48mg/g VSS. Similar results were obtained for SEPS carbohydrates. Carbohydrates values without coagulant addition were similar to the corresponding values measured for 2mg/L coagulant; the addition of mg/L coagulant resulted to a slight increase of carbohydrates SEPS to 6-7mg/g VSS while a dose of 10 mg/L further increased carbohydrates content to 9-10mg/g VSS. Total LBEPS and TBEPS, consisted of proteins and carbohydrates of LBEPS and TBEPS respectively, presented similar variations by the addition of the coagulant. Total LBEPS at 2mg/L dose were almost equal to 17mg/g VSS, and their values increased to 22 and 29 mg/g VSS during the addition of 5 mg/L and 10 mg/L of coagulant respectively. Total TBEPS were almost 37 mg/g VSS at a coagulant dose of 2 mg/L and increased to 42 and 51 mg/g VSS at 5 mg/L and 10 mg/L doses, respectively. Therefore, it can be concluded that coagulant addition could potentially affect microorganisms activities, excreting EPS in greater amounts. Nevertheless, EPS increase, mainly SEPS increase, resulted to a higher membrane fouling rate, as justified by the corresponding TMP increase rate. However, the addition of the coagulant, although affected the EPS content in the reactor mixed liquor, did not change the filtration process: an effluent of high quality was produced, with COD values as low as 20-30 mg/L.

Keywords: extracellular polymeric substances, MBR, membrane fouling, EPS

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1 Non-Thermal Pulsed Plasma Discharge for Contaminants of Emerging Concern Removal in Water

Authors: Davide Palma, Dimitra Papagiannaki, Marco Minella, Manuel Lai, Rita Binetti, Claire Richard

Abstract:

Modern analytical technologies allow us to detect water contaminants at trace and ultra-trace concentrations highlighting how a large number of organic compounds is not efficiently abated by most wastewater treatment facilities relying on biological processes; we usually refer to these micropollutants as contaminants of emerging concern (CECs). The availability of reliable end effective technologies, able to guarantee the high standards of water quality demanded by legislators worldwide, has therefore become a primary need. In this context, water plasma stands out among developing technologies as it is extremely effective in the abatement of numerous classes of pollutants, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly. In this work, a custom-built non-thermal pulsed plasma discharge generator was used to abate the concentration of selected CECs in the water samples. Samples were treated in a 50 mL pyrex reactor using two different types of plasma discharge occurring at the surface of the treated solution or, underwater, working with positive polarity. The distance between the tips of the electrodes determined where the discharge was formed: underwater when the distance was < 2mm, at the water surface when the distance was > 2 mm. Peak voltage was in the 100-130kV range with typical current values of 20-40 A. The duration of the pulse was 500 ns, and the frequency of discharge could be manually set between 5 and 45 Hz. Treatment of 100 µM diclofenac solution in MilliQ water, with a pulse frequency of 17Hz, revealed that surface discharge was more efficient in the degradation of diclofenac that was no longer detectable after 6 minutes of treatment. Over 30 minutes were required to obtain the same results with underwater discharge. These results are justified by the higher rate of H₂O₂ formation (21.80 µmolL⁻¹min⁻¹ for surface discharge against 1.20 µmolL⁻¹min⁻¹ for underwater discharge), larger discharge volume and UV light emission, high rate of ozone and NOx production (up to 800 and 1400 ppb respectively) observed when working with surface discharge. Then, the surface discharge was used for the treatment of the three selected perfluoroalkyl compounds, namely, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorohexanoic acid (PFHxA), and pefluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) both individually and in mixture, in ultrapure and groundwater matrices with initial concentration of 1 ppb. In both matrices, PFOS exhibited the best degradation reaching complete removal after 30 min of treatment (degradation rate 0.107 min⁻¹ in ultrapure water and 0.0633 min⁻¹ in groundwater), while the degradation rate of PFOA and PFHxA was slower of around 65% and 80%, respectively. Total nitrogen (TN) measurements revealed levels up to 45 mgL⁻¹h⁻¹ in water samples treated with surface discharge, while, in analogous samples treated with underwater discharge, TN increase was 5 to 10 times lower. These results can be explained by the significant NOx concentrations (over 1400 ppb) measured above functioning reactor operating with superficial discharge; rapid NOx hydrolysis led to nitrates accumulation in the solution explaining the observed evolution of TN values. Ionic chromatography measures confirmed that the vast majority of TN was under the form of nitrates. In conclusion, non-thermal pulsed plasma discharge, obtained with a custom-built generator, was proven to effectively degrade diclofenac in water matrices confirming the potential interest of this technology for wastewater treatment. The surface discharge was proven to be more effective in CECs removal due to the high rate of formation of H₂O₂, ozone, reactive radical species, and strong UV light emission. Furthermore, nitrates enriched water obtained after treatment could be an interesting added-value product to be used as fertilizer in agriculture. Acknowledgment: This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 765860.

Keywords: CECs removal, nitrogen fixation, non-thermal plasma, water treatment

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