Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 33

Search results for: Federico Prandi

33 MIOM: A Mixed-Initiative Operational Model for Robots in Urban Search and Rescue

Authors: Mario Gianni, Federico Nardi, Federico Ferri, Filippo Cantucci, Manuel A. Ruiz Garcia, Karthik Pushparaj, Fiora Pirri


In this paper, we describe a Mixed-Initiative Operational Model (MIOM) which directly intervenes on the state of the functionalities embedded into a robot for Urban Search&Rescue (USAR) domain applications. MIOM extends the reasoning capabilities of the vehicle, i.e. mapping, path planning, visual perception and trajectory tracking, with operator knowledge. Especially in USAR scenarios, this coupled initiative has the main advantage of enhancing the overall performance of a rescue mission. In-field experiments with rescue responders have been carried out to evaluate the effectiveness of this operational model.

Keywords: mixed-initiative planning and control, operator control interfaces for rescue robotics, situation awareness, urban search, rescue robotics

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32 Heterogeneous-Resolution and Multi-Source Terrain Builder for CesiumJS WebGL Virtual Globe

Authors: Umberto Di Staso, Marco Soave, Alessio Giori, Federico Prandi, Raffaele De Amicis


The increasing availability of information about earth surface elevation (Digital Elevation Models DEM) generated from different sources (remote sensing, Aerial Images, Lidar) poses the question about how to integrate and make available to the most than possible audience this huge amount of data. In order to exploit the potential of 3D elevation representation the quality of data management plays a fundamental role. Due to the high acquisition costs and the huge amount of generated data, highresolution terrain surveys tend to be small or medium sized and available on limited portion of earth. Here comes the need to merge large-scale height maps that typically are made available for free at worldwide level, with very specific high resolute datasets. One the other hand, the third dimension increases the user experience and the data representation quality, unlocking new possibilities in data analysis for civil protection, real estate, urban planning, environment monitoring, etc. The open-source 3D virtual globes, which are trending topics in Geovisual Analytics, aim at improving the visualization of geographical data provided by standard web services or with proprietary formats. Typically, 3D Virtual globes like do not offer an open-source tool that allows the generation of a terrain elevation data structure starting from heterogeneous-resolution terrain datasets. This paper describes a technological solution aimed to set up a so-called “Terrain Builder”. This tool is able to merge heterogeneous-resolution datasets, and to provide a multi-resolution worldwide terrain services fully compatible with CesiumJS and therefore accessible via web using traditional browser without any additional plug-in.

Keywords: Terrain Builder, WebGL, Virtual Globe, CesiumJS, Tiled Map Service, TMS, Height-Map, Regular Grid, Geovisual Analytics, DTM

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31 Levels of Reflection in Engineers EFL Learners: The Path to Content and Language Integrated Learning Implementation in Chilean Higher Education

Authors: Sebastián Olivares Lizana, Marianna Oyanedel González


This study takes part of a major project based on implementing a CLIL program (Content and Language Integrated Learning) at Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María, a leading Chilean tertiary Institution. It aims at examining the relationship between the development of Reflective Processes (RP) and Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP) in weekly learning logs written by faculty members, participants of an initial professional development online course on English for Academic Purposes (EAP). Such course was designed with a genre-based approach, and consists of multiple tasks directed to academic writing proficiency. The results of this analysis will be described and classified in a scale of key indicators that represent both the Reflective Processes and the advances in CALP, and that also consider linguistic proficiency and task progression. Such indicators will evidence affordances and constrains of using a genre-based approach in an EFL Engineering CLIL program implementation at tertiary level in Chile, and will serve as the starting point to the design of a professional development course directed to teaching methodologies in a CLIL EFL environment in Engineering education at Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María.

Keywords: EFL, EAL, genre, CLIL, engineering

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30 Impact of Team-Based Learning Approach in English Language Learning Process: A Case Study of Universidad Federico Santa Maria

Authors: Yessica A. Aguilera


English is currently the only foreign language included in the national educational curriculum in Chile. The English curriculum establishes that once completed secondary education, students are expected to reach B1 level according to the Common European Reference Framework (CEFR) scale. However, the objective has not been achieved, and to the author’s best knowledge, there is still a severe lack of English language skills among students who have completed their secondary education studies. In order to deal with the fact that students do not manage English as expected, team-based learning (TBL) was introduced in English language lessons at the Universidad Federico Santa María (USM). TBL is a collaborative teaching-learning method which enhances active learning by combining individual and team work. This approach seeks to help students achieve course objectives while learning how to function in teams. The purpose of the research was to assess the implementation and effectiveness of TBL in English language classes at USM technical training education. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected from teachers and students about their experience through TBL. Research findings show that both teachers and students are satisfied with the method and that students’ engagement and participation in class is higher. Additionally, students score higher on examinations improving academic outcomes. The findings of the research have the potential to guide how TBL could be included in future English language courses.

Keywords: collaborative learning, college education, English language learning, team-based learning

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29 Stability Analysis of a Low Power Wind Turbine for the Simultaneous Generation of Energy through Two Electric Generators

Authors: Daniel Icaza, Federico Córdova, Chiristian Castro, Fernando Icaza, Juan Portoviejo


In this article, the mathematical model is presented, and simulations were carried out using specialized software such as MATLAB before the construction of a 900-W wind turbine. The present study was conducted with the intention of taking advantage of the rotation of the blades of the wind generator after going through a process of amplification of speed by means of a system of gears to finally mechanically couple two electric generators of similar characteristics. This coupling allows generating a maximum voltage of 6 V in DC for each generator and putting in series the 12 V DC is achieved, which is later stored in batteries and used when the user requires it. Laboratory tests were made to verify the level of power generation produced based on the wind speed at the entrance of the blades.

Keywords: smart grids, wind turbine, modeling, renewable energy, robust control

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28 QSAR Modeling of Germination Activity of a Series of 5-(4-Substituent-Phenoxy)-3-Methylfuran-2(5H)-One Derivatives with Potential of Strigolactone Mimics toward Striga hermonthica

Authors: Strahinja Kovačević, Sanja Podunavac-Kuzmanović, Lidija Jevrić, Cristina Prandi, Piermichele Kobauri


The present study is based on molecular modeling of a series of twelve 5-(4-substituent-phenoxy)-3-methylfuran-2(5H)-one derivatives which have potential of strigolactones mimics toward Striga hermonthica. The first step of the analysis included the calculation of molecular descriptors which numerically describe the structures of the analyzed compounds. The descriptors ALOGP (lipophilicity), AClogS (water solubility) and BBB (blood-brain barrier penetration), served as the input variables in multiple linear regression (MLR) modeling of germination activity toward S. hermonthica. Two MLR models were obtained. The first MLR model contains ALOGP and AClogS descriptors, while the second one is based on these two descriptors plus BBB descriptor. Despite the braking Topliss-Costello rule in the second MLR model, it has much better statistical and cross-validation characteristics than the first one. The ALOGP and AClogS descriptors are often very suitable predictors of the biological activity of many compounds. They are very important descriptors of the biological behavior and availability of a compound in any biological system (i.e. the ability to pass through the cell membranes). BBB descriptor defines the ability of a molecule to pass through the blood-brain barrier. Besides the lipophilicity of a compound, this descriptor carries the information of the molecular bulkiness (its value strongly depends on molecular bulkiness). According to the obtained results of MLR modeling, these three descriptors are considered as very good predictors of germination activity of the analyzed compounds toward S. hermonthica seeds. This article is based upon work from COST Action (FA1206), supported by COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology).

Keywords: chemometrics, germination activity, molecular modeling, QSAR analysis, strigolactones

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27 The Role of P2X7 Cytoplasmic Anchor in Inflammation

Authors: Federico Cevoli


Purinergic P2X7 receptors (P2X7R) are ligand-gated non-selective cation channels involved in several physiological and pathological processes. They are particularly promising pharmacological targets as they are present in an increasing number of different cells types. P2X7R activation is triggered following elevated concentrations of extracellular ATP, similarly to those observed in tissues injury, chronic inflammation and T-cell activation, as well as in the scrambling of phospholipids leading to membrane blebbing and apoptosis. Another hallmark of P2X7 is cell permeabilization, commonly known as “macropore” formation allowing the passage of nanometer-sized molecules up to 900Da. Recently, full-length P2X7 Cryo-EM structures revealed unique functional sites, including two cytoplasmic domains - the cytoplasmic "anchor" and "ballast". To date, the molecular units/complex by which P2X7R exerts its pathophysiological functions are unknown. Using custom-made cell-penetrating HIV-1 TAT peptides, we show for the first-time potential implications of P2X7 cytoplasmic anchor in the regulation of caspase3/7 activation as well as TNFα regulation.

Keywords: P2X7R, immunology, TAT-peptide, cell death

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26 Ductility Reduction Factors for Displacement Spectra Corresponding to Soft Soil Zone of the Valley of Mexico

Authors: Noé D. Lazos-Gallardo, Sonia E. Ruiz, Federico Valenzuela-Beltran


A simplified mathematical expression to estimate ductility reduction factors of the displacement spectra corresponding to the soft soil zone of Mexico City is proposed. The aim is to allow a better characterization of the displacement spectra and provide a simple expression to be used in displacement based design (DBD). Emphasis is on the Mexico City Building Code. The study is based on the analysis of single degree of freedom (SDOF) systems with elasto-plastic hysteretic behavior. Several seismic ground motions corresponding to subduction events with magnitudes equal to or greater than 6 and recorded in different stations of Mexico City are used. The proposed expression involves the ratio of elastic and inelastic pseudo-aceleration spectra, and depends on factors such the ductility demand and the vibration period of the structural system. The resulting ductility reduction factors obtained in this study are compared with others existing in the literature, and their advantages and disadvantages are discussed.

Keywords: displacement based design, displacements spectrum, ductility reduction factors, soft soil

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25 Influence of a Pulsatile Electroosmotic Flow on the Dispersivity of a Non-Reactive Solute through a Microcapillary

Authors: Jaime Muñoz, José Arcos, Oscar Bautista Federico Méndez


The influence of a pulsatile electroosmotic flow (PEOF) at the rate of spread, or dispersivity, for a non-reactive solute released in a microcapillary with slippage at the boundary wall (modeled by the Navier-slip condition) is theoretically analyzed. Based on the flow velocity field developed under such conditions, the present study implements an analytical scheme of scaling known as the Theory of Homogenization, in order to obtain a mathematical expression for the dispersivity, valid at a large time scale where the initial transients have vanished and the solute spreads under the Taylor dispersion influence. Our results show the dispersivity is a function of a slip coefficient, the amplitude of the imposed electric field, the Debye length and the angular Reynolds number, highlighting the importance of the latter as an enhancement/detrimental factor on the dispersivity, which allows to promote the PEOF as a strong candidate for chemical species separation at lab-on-a-chip devices.

Keywords: dispersivity, microcapillary, Navier-slip condition, pulsatile electroosmotic flow, Taylor dispersion, Theory of Homogenization

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24 Reliability-Based Ductility Seismic Spectra of Structures with Tilting

Authors: Federico Valenzuela-Beltran, Sonia E. Ruiz, Alfredo Reyes-Salazar, Juan Bojorquez


A reliability-based methodology which uses structural demand hazard curves to consider the increment of the ductility demands of structures with tilting is proposed. The approach considers the effect of two orthogonal components of the ground motions as well as the influence of soil-structure interaction. The approach involves the calculation of ductility demand hazard curves for symmetric systems and, alternatively, for systems with different degrees of asymmetry. To get this objective, demand hazard curves corresponding to different global ductility demands of the systems are calculated. Next, Uniform Exceedance Rate Spectra (UERS) are developed for a specific mean annual rate of exceedance value. Ratios between UERS corresponding to asymmetric and to symmetric systems located in soft soil of the valley of Mexico are obtained. Results indicate that the ductility demands corresponding to tilted structures may be several times higher than those corresponding to symmetric structures, depending on several factors such as tilting angle and vibration period of structure and soil.

Keywords: asymmetric yielding, seismic performance, structural reliability, tilted structures

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23 WSN System Warns Atta Cephalotes Climbing in Mango Fruit Trees

Authors: Federico Hahn Schlam, Fermín Martínez Solís


Leaf-cutting ants (Atta cephalotes) forage from mango tree leaves and flowers to feed their colony. Farmers find it difficult to control ants due to the great quantity of trees grown in commercial orchards. In this article, IoT can support farmers for ant detection in real time, as production losses can be considered of 324 US per tree.A wireless sensor network, WSN, was developed to warn the farmer from ant presence in trees during a night. Mango trees were gathered into groups of 9 trees, where the central tree holds the master microcontroller, and the other eight trees presented slave microcontrollers (nodes). At each node, anemitter diode-photodiode unitdetects ants climbing up. A capacitor is chargedand discharged after being sampled every ten minutes. The system usesBLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) to communicate between the master microcontroller by BLE.When ants were detected the number of the tree was transmitted via LoRa from the masterto the producer smartphone to warn him. In this paper, BLE, LoRa, and energy consumption were studied under variable vegetation in the orchard. During 2018, 19 trees were attacked by ants, and ants fed 26.3% of flowers and 73.7% of leaves.

Keywords: BLE, atta cephalotes, LoRa, WSN-smartphone, energy consumption

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22 Oscillatory Electroosmotic Flow of Power-Law Fluids in a Microchannel

Authors: Rubén Bãnos, José Arcos, Oscar Bautista, Federico Méndez


The Oscillatory electroosmotic flow (OEOF) in power law fluids through a microchannel is studied numerically. A time-dependent external electric field (AC) is suddenly imposed at the ends of the microchannel which induces the fluid motion. The continuity and momentum equations in the x and y direction for the flow field were simplified in the limit of the lubrication approximation theory (LAT), and then solved using a numerical scheme. The solution of the electric potential is based on the Debye-H¨uckel approximation which suggest that the surface potential is small,say, smaller than 0.025V and for a symmetric (z : z) electrolyte. Our results suggest that the velocity profiles across the channel-width are controlled by the following dimensionless parameters: the angular Reynolds number, Reω, the electrokinetic parameter, ¯κ, defined as the ratio of the characteristic length scale to the Debye length, the parameter λ which represents the ratio of the Helmholtz-Smoluchowski velocity to the characteristic length scale and the flow behavior index, n. Also, the results reveal that the velocity profiles become more and more non-uniform across the channel-width as the Reω and ¯κ are increased, so oscillatory OEOF can be really useful in micro-fluidic devices such as micro-mixers.

Keywords: low zeta potentials, non-newtonian, oscillatory electroosmotic flow, power-law model

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21 Predictive Maintenance of Industrial Shredders: Efficient Operation through Real-Time Monitoring Using Statistical Machine Learning

Authors: Federico Pittino, Thomas Arnold


The shredding of waste materials is a key step in the recycling process towards the circular economy. Industrial shredders for waste processing operate in very harsh operating conditions, leading to the need for frequent maintenance of critical components. Maintenance optimization is particularly important also to increase the machine’s efficiency, thereby reducing the operational costs. In this work, a monitoring system has been developed and deployed on an industrial shredder located at a waste recycling plant in Austria. The machine has been monitored for one year, and methods for predictive maintenance have been developed for two key components: the cutting knives and the drive belt. The large amount of collected data is leveraged by statistical machine learning techniques, thereby not requiring very detailed knowledge of the machine or its live operating conditions. The results show that, despite the wide range of operating conditions, a reliable estimate of the optimal time for maintenance can be derived. Moreover, the trade-off between the cost of maintenance and the increase in power consumption due to the wear state of the monitored components of the machine is investigated. This work proves the benefits of real-time monitoring system for the efficient operation of industrial shredders.

Keywords: predictive maintenance, circular economy, industrial shredder, cost optimization, statistical machine learning

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20 Health Trajectory Clustering Using Deep Belief Networks

Authors: Farshid Hajati, Federico Girosi, Shima Ghassempour


We present a Deep Belief Network (DBN) method for clustering health trajectories. Deep Belief Network (DBN) is a deep architecture that consists of a stack of Restricted Boltzmann Machines (RBM). In a deep architecture, each layer learns more complex features than the past layers. The proposed method depends on DBN in clustering without using back propagation learning algorithm. The proposed DBN has a better a performance compared to the deep neural network due the initialization of the connecting weights. We use Contrastive Divergence (CD) method for training the RBMs which increases the performance of the network. The performance of the proposed method is evaluated extensively on the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) database. The University of Michigan Health and Retirement Study (HRS) is a nationally representative longitudinal study that has surveyed more than 27,000 elderly and near-elderly Americans since its inception in 1992. Participants are interviewed every two years and they collect data on physical and mental health, insurance coverage, financial status, family support systems, labor market status, and retirement planning. The dataset is publicly available and we use the RAND HRS version L, which is easy to use and cleaned up version of the data. The size of sample data set is 268 and the length of the trajectories is equal to 10. The trajectories do not stop when the patient dies and represent 10 different interviews of live patients. Compared to the state-of-the-art benchmarks, the experimental results show the effectiveness and superiority of the proposed method in clustering health trajectories.

Keywords: health trajectory, clustering, deep learning, DBN

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19 Biosynthesis of Healthy Secondary Metabolites in Olive Fruit in Response to Different Agronomic Treatments

Authors: Anna Perrone, Federico Martinelli


Olive fruit is well-known for the high content in secondary metabolites with high interest at nutritional, nutraceutical, antioxidant, and healthy levels. The content of secondary metabolites in olive at harvest may be affected by different water regimes, with significant effects on olive oil composition and quality and, consequently, on its healthy and nutritional features. In this work, a summary of several research studies dealing with the biosynthesis of healthy and nutraceutical metabolites of the secondary metabolism in olive fruit will be reported. The phytochemical findings have been correlated with the expression of key genes involved in polyphenol, terpenoid, and carotenoid biosynthesis and metabolism in response to different development stages and water regimes. Flavonoids were highest in immature fruits, while anthocyanins increased at ripening. In epicarp tissue, this was clearly associated with an up-regulation of the UFGT gene. Olive fruits cultivated under different water regimes were analyzed by metabolomics. This method identified several hundred metabolites in the ripe mesocarp. Among them, 46 were differentially accumulated in the comparison between rain-fed and irrigated conditions. Well-known healthy metabolites were more abundant at a higher level of water regimes. Increased content of polyphenols was observed in the rain-fed fruit; particularly, anthocyanin concentration was higher at ripening. Several secondary metabolites were differentially accumulated between different irrigation conditions. These results showed that these metabolic approaches could be efficiently used to determine the effects of agronomic treatments on olive fruit physiology and, consequently, on nutritional and healthy properties of the obtained extra-virgin olive oil.

Keywords: olea europea, anthocyanins, polyphenols, water regimes

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18 Vulnerability of Steel Moment-Frame Buildings with Pinned and, Alternatively, with Semi-Rigid Connections

Authors: Daniel Llanes, Alfredo Reyes, Sonia E. Ruiz, Federico Valenzuela Beltran


Steel frames have been used in building construction for more than one hundred years. Beam-column may be connected to columns using either stiffened or unstiffened angles at the top and bottom beam flanges. Designers often assume that these assemblies acted as “pinned” connections for gravity loads and that the stiffened connections would act as “fixed” connections for lateral loads. Observation of damages sustained by buildings during the 1994 Northridge earthquake indicated that, contrary to the intended behavior, in many cases, brittle fractures initiated within the connections at very low levels of plastic demand, and in some cases, while the structures remained essentially elastic. Due to the damage presented in these buildings other type of alternative connections have been proposed. According to a research funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the screwed connections have better performance when they are subjected to cyclic loads, but at the same time, these connections have some degree of flexibility. Due to this situation, some researchers ventured into the study of semi-rigid connections. In the present study three steel buildings, constituted by regular frames are analyzed. Two types of connections are considered: pinned and semi-rigid connections. With the aim to estimate their structural capacity, a number of incremental dynamic analyzes are performed. 3D structural models are used for the analyses. The seismic ground motions were recorded on sites near Los Angeles, California, where the structures are supposed to be located. The vulnerability curves of the building are obtained in terms of maximum inter-story drifts. The vulnerability curves (which correspond to the models with two different types of connections) are compared, and its implications on its structural design and performance is discussed.

Keywords: steel frame Buildings, vulnerability curves, semi-rigid connections, pinned connections

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17 Numerical Model of Low Cost Rubber Isolators for Masonry Housing in High Seismic Regions

Authors: Ahmad B. Habieb, Gabriele Milani, Tavio Tavio, Federico Milani


Housings in developing countries have often inadequate seismic protection, particularly for masonry. People choose this type of structure since the cost and application are relatively cheap. Seismic protection of masonry remains an interesting issue among researchers. In this study, we develop a low-cost seismic isolation system for masonry using fiber reinforced elastomeric isolators. The elastomer proposed consists of few layers of rubber pads and fiber lamina, making it lower in cost comparing to the conventional isolators. We present a finite element (FE) analysis to predict the behavior of the low cost rubber isolators undergoing moderate deformations. The FE model of the elastomer involves a hyperelastic material property for the rubber pad. We adopt a Yeoh hyperelasticity model and estimate its coefficients through the available experimental data. Having the shear behavior of the elastomers, we apply that isolation system onto small masonry housing. To attach the isolators on the building, we model the shear behavior of the isolation system by means of a damped nonlinear spring model. By this attempt, the FE analysis becomes computationally inexpensive. Several ground motion data are applied to observe its sensitivity. Roof acceleration and tensile damage of walls become the parameters to evaluate the performance of the isolators. In this study, a concrete damage plasticity model is used to model masonry in the nonlinear range. This tool is available in the standard package of Abaqus FE software. Finally, the results show that the low-cost isolators proposed are capable of reducing roof acceleration and damage level of masonry housing. Through this study, we are also capable of monitoring the shear deformation of isolators during seismic motion. It is useful to determine whether the isolator is applicable. According to the results, the deformations of isolators on the benchmark one story building are relatively small.

Keywords: masonry, low cost elastomeric isolator, finite element analysis, hyperelasticity, damped non-linear spring, concrete damage plasticity

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16 Photocatalytic Eco-Active Ceramic Slabs to Abate Air Pollution under LED Light

Authors: Claudia L. Bianchi, Giuseppina Cerrato, Federico Galli, Federica Minozzi, Valentino Capucci


At the beginning of the industrial productions, porcelain gres tiles were considered as just a technical material, aesthetically not very beautiful. Today thanks to new industrial production methods, both properties, and beauty of these materials completely fit the market requests. In particular, the possibility to prepare slabs of large sizes is the new frontier of building materials. Beside these noteworthy architectural features, new surface properties have been introduced in the last generation of these materials. In particular, deposition of TiO₂ transforms the traditional ceramic into a photocatalytic eco-active material able to reduce polluting molecules present in air and water, to eliminate bacteria and to reduce the surface dirt thanks to the self-cleaning property. The problem of photocatalytic materials resides in the fact that it is necessary a UV light source to activate the oxidation processes on the surface of the material, processes that are turned off inexorably when the material is illuminated by LED lights and, even more so, when we are in darkness. First, it was necessary a thorough study change the existing plants to deposit the photocatalyst very evenly and this has been done thanks to the advent of digital printing and the development of an ink custom-made that stabilizes the powdered TiO₂ in its formulation. In addition, the commercial TiO₂, which is used for the traditional photocatalytic coating, has been doped with metals in order to activate it even in the visible region and thus in the presence of sunlight or LED. Thanks to this active coating, ceramic slabs are able to purify air eliminating odors and VOCs, and also can be cleaned with very soft detergents due to the self-cleaning properties given by the TiO₂ present at the ceramic surface. Moreover, the presence of dopant metals (patent WO2016157155) also allows the material to work as well as antibacterial in the dark, by eliminating one of the negative features of photocatalytic building materials that have so far limited its use on a large scale. Considering that we are constantly in contact with bacteria, some of which are dangerous for health. Active tiles are 99,99% efficient on all bacteria, from the most common such as Escherichia coli to the most dangerous such as Staphilococcus aureus Methicillin-resistant (MRSA). DIGITALIFE project LIFE13 ENV/IT/000140 – award for best project of October 2017.

Keywords: Ag-doped microsized TiO₂, eco-active ceramic, photocatalysis, digital coating

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15 An Optimal Hybrid EMS System for a Hyperloop Prototype Vehicle

Authors: J. F. Gonzalez-Rojo, Federico Lluesma-Rodriguez, Temoatzin Gonzalez


Hyperloop, a new mode of transport, is gaining significance. It consists of the use of a ground-based transport system which includes a levitation system, that avoids rolling friction forces, and which has been covered with a tube, controlling the inner atmosphere lowering the aerodynamic drag forces. Thus, hyperloop is proposed as a solution to the current limitation on ground transportation. Rolling and aerodynamic problems, that limit large speeds for traditional high-speed rail or even maglev systems, are overcome using a hyperloop solution. Zeleros is one of the companies developing technology for hyperloop application worldwide. It is working on a concept that reduces the infrastructure cost and minimizes the power consumption as well as the losses associated with magnetic drag forces. For this purpose, Zeleros proposes a Hybrid ElectroMagnetic Suspension (EMS) for its prototype. In the present manuscript an active and optimal electromagnetic suspension levitation method based on nearly zero power consumption individual modules is presented. This system consists of several hybrid permanent magnet-coil levitation units that can be arranged along the vehicle. The proposed unit manages to redirect the magnetic field along a defined direction forming a magnetic circuit and minimizing the loses due to field dispersion. This is achieved using an electrical steel core. Each module can stabilize the gap distance using the coil current and either linear or non-linear control methods. The ratio between weight and levitation force for each unit is 1/10. In addition, the quotient between the lifted weight and power consumption at the target gap distance is 1/3 [kg/W]. One degree of freedom (DoF) (along the gap direction) is controlled by a single unit. However, when several units are present, a 5 DoF control (2 translational and 3 rotational) can be achieved, leading to the full attitude control of the vehicle. The proposed system has been successfully tested reaching TRL-4 in a laboratory test bench and is currently in TRL-5 state development if the module association in order to control 5 DoF is considered.

Keywords: active optimal control, electromagnetic levitation, HEMS, high-speed transport, hyperloop

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14 SAFECARE: Integrated Cyber-Physical Security Solution for Healthcare Critical Infrastructure

Authors: Francesco Lubrano, Fabrizio Bertone, Federico Stirano


Modern societies strongly depend on Critical Infrastructures (CI). Hospitals, power supplies, water supplies, telecommunications are just few examples of CIs that provide vital functions to societies. CIs like hospitals are very complex environments, characterized by a huge number of cyber and physical systems that are becoming increasingly integrated. Ensuring a high level of security within such critical infrastructure requires a deep knowledge of vulnerabilities, threats, and potential attacks that may occur, as well as defence and prevention or mitigation strategies. The possibility to remotely monitor and control almost everything is pushing the adoption of network-connected devices. This implicitly introduces new threats and potential vulnerabilities, posing a risk, especially to those devices connected to the Internet. Modern medical devices used in hospitals are not an exception and are more and more being connected to enhance their functionalities and easing the management. Moreover, hospitals are environments with high flows of people, that are difficult to monitor and can somehow easily have access to the same places used by the staff, potentially creating damages. It is therefore clear that physical and cyber threats should be considered, analysed, and treated together as cyber-physical threats. This means that an integrated approach is required. SAFECARE, an integrated cyber-physical security solution, tries to respond to the presented issues within healthcare infrastructures. The challenge is to bring together the most advanced technologies from the physical and cyber security spheres, to achieve a global optimum for systemic security and for the management of combined cyber and physical threats and incidents and their interconnections. Moreover, potential impacts and cascading effects are evaluated through impact propagation models that rely on modular ontologies and a rule-based engine. Indeed, SAFECARE architecture foresees i) a macroblock related to cyber security field, where innovative tools are deployed to monitor network traffic, systems and medical devices; ii) a physical security macroblock, where video management systems are coupled with access control management, building management systems and innovative AI algorithms to detect behavior anomalies; iii) an integration system that collects all the incoming incidents, simulating their potential cascading effects, providing alerts and updated information regarding assets availability.

Keywords: cyber security, defence strategies, impact propagation, integrated security, physical security

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13 Synthetic Classicism: A Machine Learning Approach to the Recognition and Design of Circular Pavilions

Authors: Federico Garrido, Mostafa El Hayani, Ahmed Shams


The exploration of the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) in architecture is still embryonic, however, its latent capacity to change design disciplines is significant. 'Synthetic Classism' is a research project that questions the underlying aspects of classically organized architecture not just in aesthetic terms but also from a geometrical and morphological point of view, intending to generate new architectural information using historical examples as source material. The main aim of this paper is to explore the uses of artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms in architectural design while creating a coherent narrative to be contained within a design process. The purpose is twofold: on one hand, to develop and train machine learning algorithms to produce architectural information of small pavilions and on the other, to synthesize new information from previous architectural drawings. These algorithms intend to 'interpret' graphical information from each pavilion and then generate new information from it. The procedure, once these algorithms are trained, is the following: parting from a line profile, a synthetic 'front view' of a pavilion is generated, then using it as a source material, an isometric view is created from it, and finally, a top view is produced. Thanks to GAN algorithms, it is also possible to generate Front and Isometric views without any graphical input as well. The final intention of the research is to produce isometric views out of historical information, such as the pavilions from Sebastiano Serlio, James Gibbs, or John Soane. The idea is to create and interpret new information not just in terms of historical reconstruction but also to explore AI as a novel tool in the narrative of a creative design process. This research also challenges the idea of the role of algorithmic design associated with efficiency or fitness while embracing the possibility of a creative collaboration between artificial intelligence and a human designer. Hence the double feature of this research, both analytical and creative, first by synthesizing images based on a given dataset and then by generating new architectural information from historical references. We find that the possibility of creatively understand and manipulate historic (and synthetic) information will be a key feature in future innovative design processes. Finally, the main question that we propose is whether an AI could be used not just to create an original and innovative group of simple buildings but also to explore the possibility of fostering a novel architectural sensibility grounded on the specificities on the architectural dataset, either historic, human-made or synthetic.

Keywords: architecture, central pavilions, classicism, machine learning

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12 Adaptive Environmental Control System Strategy for Cabin Air Quality in Commercial Aircrafts

Authors: Paolo Grasso, Sai Kalyan Yelike, Federico Benzi, Mathieu Le Cam


The cabin air quality (CAQ) in commercial aircraft is of prime interest, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Current Environmental Control Systems (ECS) rely on a prescribed fresh airflow per passenger to dilute contaminants. An adaptive ECS strategy is proposed, leveraging air sensing and filtration technologies to ensure a better CAQ. This paper investigates the CAQ level achieved in commercial aircraft’s cabin during various flight scenarios. The modeling and simulation analysis is performed in a Modelica-based environment describing the dynamic behavior of the system. The model includes the following three main systems: cabin, recirculation loop and air-conditioning pack. The cabin model evaluates the thermo-hygrometric conditions and the air quality in the cabin depending on the number of passengers and crew members, the outdoor conditions and the conditions of the air supplied to the cabin. The recirculation loop includes models of the recirculation fan, ordinary and novel filtration technology, mixing chamber and outflow valve. The air-conditioning pack includes models of heat exchangers and turbomachinery needed to condition the hot pressurized air bled from the engine, as well as selected contaminants originated from the outside or bled from the engine. Different ventilation control strategies are modeled and simulated. Currently, a limited understanding of contaminant concentrations in the cabin and the lack of standardized and systematic methods to collect and record data constitute a challenge in establishing a causal relationship between CAQ and passengers' comfort. As a result, contaminants are neither measured nor filtered during flight, and the current sub-optimal way to avoid their accumulation is their dilution with the fresh air flow. However, the use of a prescribed amount of fresh air comes with a cost, making the ECS the most energy-demanding non-propulsive system within an aircraft. In such a context, this study shows that an ECS based on a reduced and adaptive fresh air flow, and relying on air sensing and filtration technologies, provides promising results in terms of CAQ control. The comparative simulation results demonstrate that the proposed adaptive ECS brings substantial improvements to the CAQ in terms of both controlling the asymptotic values of the concentration of the contaminant and in mitigating hazardous scenarios, such as fume events. Original architectures allowing for adaptive control of the inlet air flow rate based on monitored CAQ will change the requirements for filtration systems and redefine the ECS operation.

Keywords: cabin air quality, commercial aircraft, environmental control system, ventilation

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11 Barrier Membrane Influence Histology of Guided Bone Regenerations: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Authors: Laura Canagueral-Pellice, Antonio Munar-Frau, Adaia Valls-Ontanon, Joao Carames, Federico Hernandez-Alfaro, Jordi Caballe-Serrano


Objective: Guided bone regeneration (GBR) aims to replace the missing bone with a new structure to achieve long-term stability of rehabilitations. The aim of the present systematic review and meta-analysis is to determine the effect of barrier membranes on histological outcomes after GBR procedures. Moreover, the effect of the grafting material and tissue gain were analyzed. Materials & methods: Two independent reviewers performed an electronic search in Pubmed and Scopus, identifying all eligible publications up to March 2020. Only randomized controlled trials (RCTs) assessing a histological analysis of augmented areas were included. Results: A total of 6 publications were included for the present systematic review. A total of 110 biopsied sites were analysed; 10 corresponded to vertical bone augmentation procedures, whereas 100 analysed horizontal regeneration procedures. A mean tissue gain of 3 ± 1.48mm was obtained for horizontal defects. Histological assessment of new bone formation, residual particle and sub-epithelial connective tissue (SCT) was reported. The four main barrier membranes used were natural collagen membranes, e-PTFE, polylactic resorbable membranes and acellular dermal matrix membranes (AMDG). The analysis demonstrated that resorbable membranes result in higher values of new bone formation and lower values of residual particles and SCT. Xenograft resulted in lower new bone formation compared to allograft; however, no statistically significant differences were observed regarding residual particle and SCT. Overall, regeneration procedures adding autogenous bone, plasma derivate or growth factors achieved in general greater new bone formation and tissue gain. Conclusions: There is limited evidence favoring the effect of a certain type of barrier membrane in GBR. Data needs to be evaluated carefully; however, resorbable membranes are correlated with greater new bone formation values, especially when combined with allograft materials and/or the addition of autogenous bone, platelet reach plasma (PRP) or growth factors in the regeneration area. More studies assessing the histological outcomes of different GBR protocols and procedures testing different biomaterials are needed to maximize the clinical and histological outcomes in bone regeneration science.

Keywords: barrier membrane, graft material, guided bone regeneration, implant surgery, histology

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10 In-Plume H₂O, CO₂, H₂S and SO₂ in the Fumarolic Field of La Fossa Cone (Vulcano Island, Aeolian Archipelago)

Authors: Cinzia Federico, Gaetano Giudice, Salvatore Inguaggiato, Marco Liuzzo, Maria Pedone, Fabio Vita, Christoph Kern, Leonardo La Pica, Giovannella Pecoraino, Lorenzo Calderone, Vincenzo Francofonte


The periods of increased fumarolic activity at La Fossa volcano have been characterized, since early 80's, by changes in the gas chemistry and in the output rate of fumaroles. Excepting the direct measurements of the steam output from fumaroles performed from 1983 to 1995, the mass output of the single gas species has been recently measured, with various methods, only sporadically or for short periods. Since 2008, a scanning DOAS system is operating in the Palizzi area for the remote measurement of the in-plume SO₂ flux. On these grounds, the need of a cross-comparison of different methods for the in situ measurement of the output rate of different gas species is envisaged. In 2015, two field campaigns have been carried out, aimed at: 1. The mapping of the concentration of CO₂, H₂S and SO₂ in the fumarolic plume at 1 m from the surface, by using specific open-path diode tunable lasers (GasFinder Boreal Europe Ltd.) and an Active DOAS for SO₂, respectively; these measurements, coupled to simultaneous ultrasonic wind speed and meteorological data, have been elaborated to obtain the dispersion map and the output rate of single species in the overall fumarolic field; 2. The mapping of the concentrations of CO₂, H₂S, SO₂, H₂O in the fumarolic plume at 0.5 m from the soil, by using an integrated system, including IR spectrometers and specific electrochemical sensors; this has provided the concentration ratios of the analysed gas species and their distribution in the fumarolic field; 3. The in-fumarole sampling of vapour and measurement of the steam output, to validate the remote measurements. The dispersion map of CO₂, obtained from the tunable laser measurements, shows a maximum CO₂ concentration at 1m from the soil of 1000 ppmv along the rim, and 1800 ppmv in the inner slopes. As observed, the largest contribution derives from a wide fumarole of the inner-slope, despite its present outlet temperature of 230°C, almost 200°C lower than those measured at the rim fumaroles. Actually, fumaroles in the inner slopes are among those emitting the largest amount of magmatic vapour and, during the 1989-1991 crisis, reached the temperature of 690°C. The estimated CO₂ and H₂S fluxes are 400 t/d and 4.4 t/d, respectively. The coeval SO₂ flux, measured by the scanning DOAS system, is 9±1 t/d. The steam output, recomputed from CO₂ flux measurements, is about 2000 t/d. The various direct and remote methods (as described at points 1-3) have produced coherent results, which encourage to the use of daily and automatic DOAS SO₂ data, coupled with periodic in-plume measurements of different acidic gases, to obtain the total mass rates.

Keywords: DOAS, fumaroles, plume, tunable laser

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9 Rural Entrepreneurship as a Response to Climate Change and Resource Conservation

Authors: Omar Romero-Hernandez, Federico Castillo, Armando Sanchez, Sergio Romero, Andrea Romero, Michael Mitchell


Environmental policies for resource conservation in rural areas include subsidies on services and social programs to cover living expenses. Government's expectation is that rural communities who benefit from social programs, such as payment for ecosystem services, are provided with an incentive to conserve natural resources and preserve natural sinks for greenhouse gases. At the same time, global climate change has affected the lives of people worldwide. The capability to adapt to global warming depends on the available resources and the standard of living, putting rural communities at a disadvantage. This paper explores whether rural entrepreneurship can represent a solution to resource conservation and global warming adaptation in rural communities. The research focuses on a sample of two coffee communities in Oaxaca, Mexico. Researchers used geospatial information contained in aerial photographs of the geographical areas of interest. Households were identified in the photos via the roofs of households and georeferenced via coordinates. From the household population, a random selection of roofs was performed and received a visit. A total of 112 surveys were completed, including questions of socio-demographics, perception to climate change and adaptation activities. The population includes two groups of study: entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs. Data was sorted, filtered, and validated. Analysis includes descriptive statistics for exploratory purposes and a multi-regression analysis. Outcomes from the surveys indicate that coffee farmers, who demonstrate entrepreneurship skills and hire employees, are more eager to adapt to climate change despite the extreme adverse socioeconomic conditions of the region. We show that farmers with entrepreneurial tendencies are more creative in using innovative farm practices such as the planting of shade trees, the use of live fencing, instead of wires, and watershed protection techniques, among others. This result counters the notion that small farmers are at the mercy of climate change and have no possibility of being able to adapt to a changing climate. The study also points to roadblocks that farmers face when coping with climate change. Among those roadblocks are a lack of extension services, access to credit, and reliable internet, all of which reduces access to vital information needed in today’s constantly changing world. Results indicate that, under some circumstances, funding and supporting entrepreneurship programs may provide more benefit than traditional social programs.

Keywords: entrepreneurship, global warming, rural communities, climate change adaptation

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8 Biocompatibility assessment of different origin Barrier Membranes for Guided Bone Regeneration

Authors: Antonio Munar-Frau, Sascha Klismoch, Manfred Schmolz, Federico Hernandez-Alfaro, Jordi Caballe-Serrano


Introduction: Biocompatibility of biomaterials has been proposed as one of the main criteria for treatment success. For guided bone regeneration (GBR), barrier membranes present a conflict given the number of origins and modifications of these materials. The biologic response to biomaterials is orchestrated by a series of events leading to the integration or rejection of the biomaterial, posing questions such as if a longer occlusive property may trigger an inflammatory reaction. Whole blood cultures are a solution to study the immune response to drugs or biomaterials during the first 24-48 hours. The aim of this study is to determine the early immune response of different origins and chemical modifications of barrier membranes. Materials & Methods: 5 different widely used barrier membranes were included in this study: Acellular dermal matrix (AlloDerm, LifeCell®), Porcine Peritoneum (BioGide, Geistlich Pharma®), Porcine Pericardium (Jason, Botiss Biomaterials GmbH®), Porcine Cross-linked collagen (Ossix Plus, Datum Dental®) and d-PTFE (Cytoplast TXT, Osteogenics Biomedical®). Blood samples were extracted from 3 different healthy donors and incubated with the different samples of barrier membranes for 24 hours. After the incubation time, serum samples were obtained and analyzed by means of biocompatibility assays taking into account 42 markers. Results: In an early stage of the inflammatory response, the Acellular dermal matrix, porcine peritoneum and porcine cross-linked collagen expressed similar patterns of cytokine expression with a great manifestation of ENA 78. Porcine pericardium and d-PTFE presented similar cytokine activation, especially for MMP-3 and MMP-9, although other cytokines were highlighted with lower expression. For the later immune response, Porcine peritoneum and acellular dermal matrix MCP-1 and IL-15 were evident. Porcine pericardium, porcine cross-linked collagen and d-PTFE presented a high expression of IL-16 and lower manifestation of other cytokines. Different behaviors depending on an earlier or later stage of the inflammation process were observed. Barrier membrane inflammatory expression does not only differ depending on the origin, variables such as treatment of the collagen and polymers may also have a great impact on the cytokine expression of the studied barrier membranes during inflammation. Conclusions: Surface treatment and modifications might affect the biocompatibility of the membranes, as different cytokine expressions were evidently depending on the origin of the biomaterial. This study is only a brushstroke regarding the biocompatibility of materials, as it is one of the pioneer studies for ex vivo barrier membranes assays. Studies regarding surface modification are needed in order to clarify mystifications of barrier membrane science.

Keywords: biomaterials, bone regeneration, biocompatibility, inflammation

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7 Performance Improvement of Piston Engine in Aeronautics by Means of Additive Manufacturing Technologies

Authors: G. Andreutti, G. Saccone, D. Lucariello, C. Pirozzi, S. Franchitti, R. Borrelli, C. Toscano, P. Caso, G. Ferraro, C. Pascarella


The reduction of greenhouse gases and pollution emissions is a worldwide environmental issue. The amount of CO₂ released by an aircraft is associated with the amount of fuel burned, so the improvement of engine thermo-mechanical efficiency and specific fuel consumption is a significant technological driver for aviation. Moreover, with the prospect that avgas will be phased out, an engine able to use more available and cheaper fuels is an evident advantage. An advanced aeronautical Diesel engine, because of its high efficiency and ability to use widely available and low-cost jet and diesel fuels, is a promising solution to achieve a more fuel-efficient aircraft. On the other hand, a Diesel engine has generally a higher overall weight, if compared with a gasoline one of same power performances. Fixing the MTOW, Max Take-Off Weight, and the operational payload, this extra-weight reduces the aircraft fuel fraction, partially vinifying the associated benefits. Therefore, an effort in weight saving manufacturing technologies is likely desirable. In this work, in order to achieve the mentioned goals, innovative Electron Beam Melting – EBM, Additive Manufacturing – AM technologies were applied to a two-stroke, common rail, GF56 Diesel engine, developed by the CMD Company for aeronautic applications. For this purpose, a consortium of academic, research and industrial partners, including CMD Company, Italian Aerospace Research Centre – CIRA, University of Naples Federico II and the University of Salerno carried out a technological project, funded by the Italian Minister of Education and Research – MIUR. The project aimed to optimize the baseline engine in order to improve its performance and increase its airworthiness features. This project was focused on the definition, design, development, and application of enabling technologies for performance improvement of GF56. Weight saving of this engine was pursued through the application of EBM-AM technologies and in particular using Arcam AB A2X machine, available at CIRA. The 3D printer processes titanium alloy micro-powders and it was employed to realize new connecting rods of the GF56 engine with an additive-oriented design approach. After a preliminary investigation of EBM process parameters and a thermo-mechanical characterization of titanium alloy samples, additive manufactured, innovative connecting rods were fabricated. These engine elements were structurally verified, topologically optimized, 3D printed and suitably post-processed. Finally, the overall performance improvement, on a typical General Aviation aircraft, was estimated, substituting the conventional engine with the optimized GF56 propulsion system.

Keywords: aeronautic propulsion, additive manufacturing, performance improvement, weight saving, piston engine

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6 The Involvement of the Homing Receptors CCR7 and CD62L in the Pathogenesis of Graft-Versus-Host Disease

Authors: Federico Herrera, Valle Gomez García de Soria, Itxaso Portero Sainz, Carlos Fernández Arandojo, Mercedes Royg, Ana Marcos Jimenez, Anna Kreutzman, Cecilia MuñozCalleja


Introduction: Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) still remains the major complication associated with allogeneic stem cell transplantation (SCT). The pathogenesis involves migration of donor naïve T-cells into recipient secondary lymphoid organs. Two molecules are important in this process: CD62L and CCR7, which are characteristically expressed in naïve/central memory T-cells. With this background, we aimed to study the influence of CCR7 and CD62L on donor lymphocytes in the development and severity of GVHD. Material and methods: This single center study included 98 donor-recipient pairs. Samples were collected prospectively from the apheresis product and phenotyped by flow cytometry. CCR7 and CD62L expression in CD4+ and CD8+ T-cells were compared between patients who developed acute (n=40) or chronic GVHD (n=33) and those who did not (n=38). Results: The patients who developed acute GVHD were transplanted with a higher percentage of CCR7+CD4+ T-cells (p = 0.05) compared to the no GVHD group. These results were confirmed when these patients were divided in degrees according to the severity of the disease; the more severe disease, the higher percentage of CCR7+CD4+ T-cells. Conversely, chronic GVHD patients received a higher percentage of CCR7+CD8+ T-cells (p=0.02) in comparison to those who did not develop the complication. These data were also confirmed when patients were subdivided in degrees of the disease severity. A multivariable analysis confirmed that percentage of CCR7+CD4+ T-cells is a predictive factor of acute GVHD whereas the percentage of CCR7+CD8+ T-cells is a predictive factor of chronic GVHD. In vitro functional assays (migration and activation assays) supported the idea of CCR7+ T-cells were involved in the development of GVHD. As low levels of CD62L expression were detected in all apheresis products, we tested the hypothesis that CD62L was shed during apheresis procedure. Comparing CD62L surface levels in T-cells from the same donor immediately before collecting the apheresis product, and the final apheresis product we found that this process down-regulated CD62L in both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells (p=0.008). Interestingly, when CD62L levels were analysed in days 30 or 60 after engraftment, they recovered to baseline (p=0.008). However, to investigate the relation between CD62L expression and the development of GVHD in the recipient samples after the engraftment, no differences were observed comparing patients with GVHD to those who did not develop the disease. Discussion: Our prospective study indicates that the CCR7+ T-cells from the donor, which include naïve and central memory T-cells, contain the alloreactive cells with a high ability to mediate GVHD (in the case of both migration and activation). Therefore we suggest that the proportion and functional properties of CCR7+CD4+ and CCR7+CD8+ T-cells in the apheresis could act as a predictive biomarker to both acute and chronic GVHD respectively. Importantly, our study precludes that CD62L is lost in the apheresis and therefore it is not a reliable biomarker for the development of GVHD.

Keywords: CCR7, CD62L, GVHD, SCT

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5 Regeneration of Cesium-Exhausted Activated Carbons by Microwave Irradiation

Authors: Pietro P. Falciglia, Erica Gagliano, Vincenza Brancato, Alfio Catalfo, Guglielmo Finocchiaro, Guido De Guidi, Stefano Romano, Paolo Roccaro, Federico G. A. Vagliasindi


Cesium-137 (¹³⁷Cs) is a major radionuclide in spent nuclear fuel processing, and it represents the most important cause of contamination related to nuclear accidents. Cesium-137 has long-term radiological effects representing a major concern for the human health. Several physico-chemical methods have been proposed for ¹³⁷Cs removal from impacted water: ion-exchange, adsorption, chemical precipitation, membrane process, coagulation, and electrochemical. However, these methods can be limited by ionic selectivity and efficiency, or they present very restricted full-scale application due to equipment and chemical high costs. On the other hand, adsorption is considered a more cost-effective solution, and activated carbons (ACs) are known as a low-cost and effective adsorbent for a wide range of pollutants among which radionuclides. However, adsorption of Cs onto ACs has been investigated in very few and not exhaustive studies. In addition, exhausted activated carbons are generally discarded in landfill, that is not an eco-friendly and economic solution. Consequently, the regeneration of exhausted ACs must be considered a preferable choice. Several alternatives, including conventional thermal-, solvent-, biological- and electrochemical-regeneration, are available but are affected by several economic or environmental concerns. Microwave (MW) irradiation has been widely used in industrial and environmental applications and it has attracted many attentions to regenerating activated carbons. The growing interest in MW irradiation is based on the passive ability of the irradiated medium to convert a low power irradiation energy into a rapid and large temperature increase if the media presents good dielectric features. ACs are excellent MW-absorbers, with a high mechanical strength and a good resistance towards heating process. This work investigates the feasibility of MW irradiation for the regeneration of Cs-exhausted ACs. Adsorption batch experiments were carried out using commercially available granular activated carbon (GAC), then Cs-saturated AC samples were treated using a controllable bench-scale 2.45-GHz MW oven and investigating different adsorption-regeneration cycles. The regeneration efficiency (RE), weight loss percentage, and textural properties of the AC samples during the adsorption-regeneration cycles were also assessed. Main results demonstrated a relatively low adsorption capacity for Cs, although the feasibility of ACs was strictly linked to their dielectric nature, which allows a very efficient thermal regeneration by MW irradiation. The weight loss percentage was found less than 2%, and an increase in RE after three cycles was also observed. Furthermore, MW regeneration preserved the pore structure of the regenerated ACs. For a deeper exploration of the full-scale applicability of MW regeneration, further investigations on more adsorption-regeneration cycles or using fixed-bed columns are required.

Keywords: adsorption mechanisms, cesium, granular activated carbons, microwave regeneration

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4 Interplay of Material and Cycle Design in a Vacuum-Temperature Swing Adsorption Process for Biogas Upgrading

Authors: Federico Capra, Emanuele Martelli, Matteo Gazzani, Marco Mazzotti, Maurizio Notaro


Natural gas is a major energy source in the current global economy, contributing to roughly 21% of the total primary energy consumption. Production of natural gas starting from renewable energy sources is key to limit the related CO2 emissions, especially for those sectors that heavily rely on natural gas use. In this context, biomethane produced via biogas upgrading represents a good candidate for partial substitution of fossil natural gas. The upgrading process of biogas to biomethane consists in (i) the removal of pollutants and impurities (e.g. H2S, siloxanes, ammonia, water), and (ii) the separation of carbon dioxide from methane. Focusing on the CO2 removal process, several technologies can be considered: chemical or physical absorption with solvents (e.g. water, amines), membranes, adsorption-based systems (PSA). However, none emerged as the leading technology, because of (i) the heterogeneity in plant size, ii) the heterogeneity in biogas composition, which is strongly related to the feedstock type (animal manure, sewage treatment, landfill products), (iii) the case-sensitive optimal tradeoff between purity and recovery of biomethane, and iv) the destination of the produced biomethane (grid injection, CHP applications, transportation sector). With this contribution, we explore the use of a technology for biogas upgrading and we compare the resulting performance with benchmark technologies. The proposed technology makes use of a chemical sorbent, which is engineered by RSE and consists of Di-Ethanol-Amine deposited on a solid support made of γ-Alumina, to chemically adsorb the CO2 contained in the gas. The material is packed into fixed beds that cyclically undergo adsorption and regeneration steps. CO2 is adsorbed at low temperature and ambient pressure (or slightly above) while the regeneration is carried out by pulling vacuum and increasing the temperature of the bed (vacuum-temperature swing adsorption - VTSA). Dynamic adsorption tests were performed by RSE and were used to tune the mathematical model of the process, including material and transport parameters (i.e. Langmuir isotherms data and heat and mass transport). Based on this set of data, an optimal VTSA cycle was designed. The results enabled a better understanding of the interplay between material and cycle tuning. As exemplary application, the upgrading of biogas for grid injection, produced by an anaerobic digester (60-70% CO2, 30-40% CH4), for an equivalent size of 1 MWel was selected. A plant configuration is proposed to maximize heat recovery and minimize the energy consumption of the process. The resulting performances are very promising compared to benchmark solutions, which make the VTSA configuration a valuable alternative for biomethane production starting from biogas.

Keywords: biogas upgrading, biogas upgrading energetic cost, CO2 adsorption, VTSA process modelling

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