Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 20

Search results for: Hervé Bournot

20 CFD Modeling of Pollutant Dispersion in a Free Surface Flow

Authors: Sonia Ben Hamza, Sabra Habli, Nejla Mahjoub Said, Hervé Bournot, Georges Le Palec


In this work, we determine the turbulent dynamic structure of pollutant dispersion in two-phase free surface flow. The numerical simulation was performed using ANSYS Fluent. The flow study is three-dimensional, unsteady and isothermal. The study area has been endowed with a rectangular obstacle to analyze its influence on the hydrodynamic variables and progression of the pollutant. The numerical results show that the hydrodynamic model provides prediction of the dispersion of a pollutant in an open channel flow and reproduces the recirculation and trapping the pollutant downstream near the obstacle.

Keywords: CFD, free surface, polluant dispersion, turbulent flows

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19 Numerical Study of an Impinging Jet in a Coflow Stream

Authors: Rim Ben Kalifa, Sabra Habli, Nejla Mahjoub Saïd, Hervé Bournot, Georges Le Palec


The present study treats different phenomena taking place in a configuration of air jet impinging on a flat surface in a coflow stream. A Computational Fluid Dynamics study is performed using the Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes equations by means of the Reynolds Stress Model (RSM) second order turbulent closure model. The results include mean and turbulent velocities and quantify the large effects of the coflow stream on an impinging air jet. The study of the jet in a no-directed coflow stream shows the presence of a phenomenon of recirculation near the flat plate. The influence of the coflow velocity ratio on the behavior of an impinging plane jet was also numerically investigated. The coflow stream imposed noticeable restrictions on the spreading of the impinging jet. The results show that the coflow stream decreases considerably the entrainment of air jet.

Keywords: turbulent jet, turbulence models, coflow stream, velocity ratio

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18 Pollutant Dispersion in Coastal Waters

Authors: Sonia Ben Hamza, Sabra Habli, Nejla Mahjoub Saïd, Hervé Bournot, Georges Le Palec


This paper spots light on the effect of a point source pollution on streams, stemming out from intentional release caused by unconscious facts. The consequences of such contamination on ecosystems are very serious. Accordingly, effective tools are highly demanded in this respect, which enable us to come across an accurate progress of pollutant and anticipate different measures to be applied in order to limit the degradation of the environmental surrounding. In this context, we are eager to model a pollutant dispersion of a free surface flow which is ejected by an outfall sewer of an urban sewerage network in coastal water taking into account the influence of climatic parameters on the spread of pollutant. Numerical results showed that pollutant dispersion is merely due to the presence of vortices and turbulence. Hence, it was realized that the pollutant spread in seawater is strongly correlated with climatic conditions in this region.

Keywords: coastal waters, numerical simulation, pollutant dispersion, turbulent flows

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17 The Influence of the Discharge Point Position on the Pollutant Dispersion

Authors: Sonia Ben Hamza, Sabra Habli, Nejla Mahjoub Said, Hervé Bournot, Georges Le Palec


The distribution characteristics of pollutants released at different vertical inlet positions of an open channel are investigated with a three-dimensional numerical model. Pollutants are injected from time-dependent sources in a turbulent free surface flow. Numerical computations were carried out using ANSYS Fluent which is based on the finite volume approach. The air/water interface was modeled with the volume of the fluid method (VOF). By focusing on investigating the influences of flow on pollutants, it is found that pollutant released from the bottom position of the channel takes more time to disperse in the longitudinal direction of the flow in comparison with the case of pollutant released near the free surface. On the other hand, the pollutant released from the bottom position generates a vertical dispersion with decreased amplitude. These findings may assist in cost-effective scientific countermeasures to be taken for accident or planned pollutant discharged into a river.

Keywords: numerical simulation, pollutant release, turbulent free surface flow, VOF model

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16 CFD Study of Free Surface Flows Resulting from a Dam-Breaking

Authors: Sonia Ben Hamza, Sabra Habli, Nejla Mahjoub Saïd, Hervé Bournot, Georges Le Palec


Free surface flows caused by dam breaks in channels or rivers is an attention-getting subject to the engineering practice, however, the studies are few to be reported. In this paper, a numerical investigation of unsteady free surface flows resulting from a dam-breaking in a rectangular channel is studied. Numerical computations were carried out using ANSYS Fluent which is based on the finite volume approach. The air/water interface was modeled with the volume of fluid method (VOF). Verification for a typical dam-break problem is analyzed by comparing the present results with others and very good agreement is obtained. The present approach is then used to predict the characteristics of free surface flow due to the dam breaking in channel. The characteristics of complex unsteady free surface flow in these examples are clearly explained. The numerical results show that the flow became more disturbed after impacting the vertical wall, then a recirculation zone, as well as turbulence phenomena, were created. At this instant, a cavity of air was included on the flow. The results agree well with the experimental data found in the literature.

Keywords: CFD, dam-break, free surface, turbulent flows, VOF

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15 Coupling of Reticular and Fuzzy Set Modelling in the Analysis of the Action Chains from Socio-Ecosystem, Case of the Renewable Natural Resources Management in Madagascar

Authors: Thierry Ganomanana, Dominique Hervé, Solo Randriamahaleo


Management of Malagasy renewable natural re-sources allows, in the case of forest, the mobilization of several actors with norms and/or territory. The interaction in this socio-ecosystem is represented by a graph of two different relationships in which most of action chains, from individual activities under the continuous of forest dynamic and discrete interventions by institutional, are also studied. The fuzzy set theory is adapted to graduate the elements of the set Illegal Activities in the space of sanction’s institution by his severity and in the space of degradation of forest by his extent.

Keywords: fuzzy set, graph, institution, renewable resource, system

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14 Numerical Investigation of a Slightly Oblique Round Jet Flowing into a Uniform Counterflow Stream

Authors: Amani Amamou, Sabra Habli, Nejla Mahjoub Saïd, Philippe Bournot, Georges Le Palec


A counterflowing jet is a particular configuration of turbulent jets issuing into a moving ambient which has not carried much attention in literature compared with jet in a coflow or in a crossflow. This is due to the marked instability of the jet in a counterflow coupled with experimental and theoretical difficulties related to the flow inversion phenomenon. Nevertheless, jets in a counterflow are encountered in many engineering applications which required enhanced mixing as combustion, process and environmental engineering. In this work, we propose to investigate a round turbulent jet flowing into a uniform counterflow stream through a numerical approach. A hydrodynamic and thermal study of a slightly oblique round jets issuing into a uniform counterflow stream is carried out for different jet-to-counterflow velocity ratios ranging between 3.1 and 15. It is found that even a slight inclination of the jet in the vertical direction of the flow affects the structure and the velocity field of the counterflowing jet. In addition, the evolution of passive scalar temperature and pertinent length scales are presented at various velocity ratios, confirming that the flow is sensitive to directional perturbations.

Keywords: jet, counterflow, velocity, temperature, jet inclination

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13 Shock and Particle Velocity Determination from Microwave Interrogation

Authors: Benoit Rougier, Alexandre Lefrancois, Herve Aubert


Microwave interrogation in the range 10-100 GHz is identified as an advanced technique to investigate simultaneously shock and particle velocity measurements. However, it requires the understanding of electromagnetic wave propagation in a multi-layered moving media. The existing models limit their approach to wave guides or evaluate the velocities with a fitting method, restricting therefore the domain of validity and the precision of the results. Moreover, few data of permittivity on high explosives at these frequencies under dynamic compression have been reported. In this paper, shock and particle velocities are computed concurrently for steady and unsteady shocks for various inert and reactive materials, via a propagation model based on Doppler shifts and signal amplitude. Refractive index of the material under compression is also calculated. From experimental data processing, it is demonstrated that Hugoniot curve can be evaluated. The comparison with published results proves the accuracy of the proposed method. This microwave interrogation technique seems promising for shock and detonation waves studies.

Keywords: electromagnetic propagation, experimental setup, Hugoniot measurement, shock propagation

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12 A Weighted K-Medoids Clustering Algorithm for Effective Stability in Vehicular Ad Hoc Networks

Authors: Rejab Hajlaoui, Tarek Moulahi, Hervé Guyennet


In a highway scenario, the vehicle speed can exceed 120 kmph. Therefore, any vehicle can enter or leave the network within a very short time. This mobility adversely affects the network connectivity and decreases the life time of all established links. To ensure an effective stability in vehicular ad hoc networks with minimum broadcasting storm, we have developed a weighted algorithm based on the k-medoids clustering algorithm (WKCA). Indeed, the number of clusters and the initial cluster heads will not be selected randomly as usual, but considering the available transmission range and the environment size. Then, to ensure optimal assignment of nodes to clusters in both k-medoids phases, the combined weight of any node will be computed according to additional metrics including direction, relative speed and proximity. Empirical results prove that in addition to the convergence speed that characterizes the k-medoids algorithm, our proposed model performs well both AODV-Clustering and OLSR-Clustering protocols under different densities and velocities in term of end-to-end delay, packet delivery ratio, and throughput.

Keywords: communication, clustering algorithm, k-medoids, sensor, vehicular ad hoc network

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11 Integration of Climatic Factors in the Meta-Population Modelling of the Dynamic of Malaria Transmission, Case of Douala and Yaoundé, Two Cities of Cameroon

Authors: Justin-Herve Noubissi, Jean Claude Kamgang, Eric Ramat, Januarius Asongu, Christophe Cambier


The goal of our study is to analyse the impact of climatic factors in malaria transmission taking into account migration between Douala and Yaoundé, two cities of Cameroon country. We show how variations of climatic factors such as temperature and relative humidity affect the malaria spread. We propose a meta-population model of the dynamic transmission of malaria that evolves in space and time and that takes into account temperature and relative humidity and the migration between Douala and Yaoundé. We also integrate the variation of environmental factors as events also called mathematical impulsion that can disrupt the model evolution at any time. Our modelling has been done using the Discrete EVents System Specification (DEVS) formalism. Our implementation has been done on Virtual Laboratory Environment (VLE) that uses DEVS formalism and abstract simulators for coupling models by integrating the concept of DEVS.

Keywords: compartmental models, DEVS, discrete events, meta-population model, VLE

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10 Reducing Weight and Fuel Consumption of Civil Aircraft by EML

Authors: Luca Bertola, Tom Cox, Pat Wheeler, Seamus Garvey, Herve Morvan


Electromagnetic launch systems have been proposed for military applications to accelerate jet planes on aircraft carriers. This paper proposes the implementation of similar technology to aid civil aircraft take-off, which can provide significant economic, environmental and technical benefits. Assisted launch has the potential of reducing ground noise and emissions near airports and improving overall aircraft efficiency through reducing engine thrust requirements. This paper presents a take-off performance analysis for an Airbus A320-200 taking off with and without the assistance of the electromagnetic catapult. Assisted take-off allows for a significant reduction in take-off field length, giving more capacity with existing airport footprints and reducing the necessary footprint of new airports, which will both reduce costs and increase the number of suitable sites. The electromagnetic catapult may allow the installation of smaller engines with lower rated thrust. The consequent fuel consumption and operational cost reduction are estimated. The potential of reducing the aircraft operational costs and the runway length required making electromagnetic launch system an attractive solution to the air traffic growth in busy airports.

Keywords: electromagnetic launch, fuel consumption, take-off analysis, weight reduction

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9 Dynamic and Thermal Characteristics of Three-Dimensional Turbulent Offset Jet

Authors: Ali Assoudi, Sabra Habli, Nejla Mahjoub Saïd, Philippe Bournot, Georges Le Palec


Studying the flow characteristics of a turbulent offset jet is an important topic among researchers across the world because of its various engineering applications. Some of the common examples include: injection and carburetor systems, entrainment and mixing process in gas turbine and boiler combustion chambers, Thrust-augmenting ejectors for V/STOL aircrafts and HVAC systems, environmental dischargers, film cooling and many others. An offset jet is formed when a jet discharges into a medium above a horizontal solid wall parallel to the axis of the jet exit but which is offset by a certain distance. The structure of a turbulent offset-jet can be described by three main regions. Close to the nozzle exit, an offset jet possesses characteristic features similar to those of free jets. Then, the entrainment of fluid between the jet, the offset wall and the bottom wall creates a low pressure zone, forcing the jet to deflect towards the wall and eventually attaches to it at the impingement point. This is referred to as the Coanda effect. Further downstream after the reattachment point, the offset jet has the characteristics of a wall jet flow. Therefore, the offset jet has characteristics of free, impingement and wall jets, and it is relatively more complex compared to these types of flows. The present study examines the dynamic and thermal evolution of a 3D turbulent offset jet with different offset height ratio (the ratio of the distance from the jet exit to the impingement bottom wall and the jet nozzle diameter). To achieve this purpose a numerical study was conducted to investigate a three-dimensional offset jet flow through the resolution of the different governing Navier–Stokes’ equations by means of the finite volume method and the RSM second-order turbulent closure model. A detailed discussion has been provided on the flow and thermal characteristics in the form of streamlines, mean velocity vector, pressure field and Reynolds stresses.

Keywords: offset jet, offset ratio, numerical simulation, RSM

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8 Effectiveness of Weather Index Insurance for Smallholders in Ethiopia

Authors: Federica Di Marcantonio, Antoine Leblois, Wolfgang Göbel, Hervè Kerdiles


Weather-related shocks can threaten the ability of farmers to maintain their agricultural output and food security levels. Informal coping mechanisms (i.e. migration or community risk sharing) have always played a significant role in mitigating the negative effects of weather-related shocks in Ethiopia, but they have been found to be an incomplete strategy, particularly as a response to covariate shocks. Particularly, as an alternative to the traditional risk pooling products, an innovative form of insurance known as Index-based Insurance has received a lot of attention from researchers and international organizations, leading to an increased number of pilot initiatives in many countries. Despite the potential benefit of the product in protecting the livelihoods of farmers and pastoralists against climate shocks, to date there has been an unexpectedly low uptake. Using information from current pilot projects on index-based insurance in Ethiopia, this paper discusses the determinants of uptake that have so far undermined the scaling-up of the products, by focusing in particular on weather data availability, price affordability and willingness to pay. We found that, aside from data constraint issues, high price elasticity and low willingness to pay represent impediments to the development of the market. These results, bring us to rethink the role of index insurance as products for enhancing smallholders’ response to covariate shocks, and particularly for improving their food security.

Keywords: index-based insurance, willingness to pay, satellite information, Ethiopia

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7 Use of Quasi-3D Inversion of VES Data Based on Lateral Constraints to Characterize the Aquifer and Mining Sites of an Area Located in the North-East of Figuil, North Cameroon

Authors: Fofie Kokea Ariane Darolle, Gouet Daniel Hervé, Koumetio Fidèle, Yemele David


The electrical resistivity method is successfully used in this paper in order to have a clearer picture of the subsurface of the North-East ofFiguil in northern Cameroon. It is worth noting that this method is most often used when the objective of the study is to image the shallow subsoils by considering them as a set of stratified ground layers. The problem to be solved is very often environmental, and in this case, it is necessary to perform an inversion of the data in order to have a complete and accurate picture of the parameters of the said layers. In the case of this work, thirty-three (33) Schlumberger VES have been carried out on an irregular grid to investigate the subsurface of the study area. The 1D inversion applied as a preliminary modeling tool and in correlation with the mechanical drillings results indicates a complex subsurface lithology distribution mainly consisting of marbles and schists. Moreover, the quasi-3D inversion with lateral constraint shows that the misfit between the observed field data and the model response is quite good and acceptable with a value low than 10%. The method also reveals existence of two water bearing in the considered area. The first is the schist or weathering aquifer (unsuitable), and the other is the marble or the fracturing aquifer (suitable). The final quasi 3D inversion results and geological models indicate proper sites for groundwaters prospecting and for mining exploitation, thus allowing the economic development of the study area.

Keywords: electrical resistivity method, 1D inversion, quasi 3D inversion, groundwaters, mining

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6 Prebiotics and Essential Oils-Enriched Diet Can Increase the Efficiency of Vaccine against Furunculosis in Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus Mykiss)

Authors: Niki Hayatgheib, SéGolèNe Calvez, Catherine Fournel, Lionel Pineau, Herve Pouliquen, Emmanuelle Moreau


Furunculosis caused by infection with Aeromonas salmonicida subsp. salmonicida has been a known disease found principally in salmonid aquaculture. Vaccination has been partly successful in preventing this disease, but outbreaks still occur. The application of functional feed additive found to be a promising yield to improve fish health against diseases. In this study, we tested the efficacy of prebiotics and plant essential oils-enriched diet on immune response and disease resistance in vaccinated and non-vaccinated rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) against furunculosis. A total of 600 fish were fed with the basal diet or supplement. On 4th week of feeding, fish were vaccinated with an autovaccine. Following 8 weeks, fish were challenged with Aeromonas salmonicida subsp. salmonicida and mortalities were recorded for 3 weeks. Lysozyme activity and antibody titer in serum were measured in different groups. The results of this study showed that lysozyme and circulatory antibody titer in plasma elevated significantly in vaccinated fish fed with additive. The best growth rate and relative percentage survival (62%) were in fish fed with a supplement, while 15% in control fish. Overall, prebiotics and essential oils association can be considered as a potential component for enhancing vaccine efficacy against furunculosis by increasing the growth performance, immune responses and disease resistance in rainbow trout.

Keywords: aeromonas salmonicida subsp. salmonicida, aquaculture, disease resistance, fish, immune response, prebiotics-essential oils feed additive, rainbow trout, vaccination

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5 Computational Aided Approach for Strut and Tie Model for Non-Flexural Elements

Authors: Mihaja Razafimbelo, Guillaume Herve-Secourgeon, Fabrice Gatuingt, Marina Bottoni, Tulio Honorio-De-Faria


The challenge of the research is to provide engineering with a robust, semi-automatic method for calculating optimal reinforcement for massive structural elements. In the absence of such a digital post-processing tool, design office engineers make intensive use of plate modelling, for which automatic post-processing is available. Plate models in massive areas, on the other hand, produce conservative results. In addition, the theoretical foundations of automatic post-processing tools for reinforcement are those of reinforced concrete beam sections. As long as there is no suitable alternative for automatic post-processing of plates, optimal modelling and a significant improvement of the constructability of massive areas cannot be expected. A method called strut-and-tie is commonly used in civil engineering, but the result itself remains very subjective to the calculation engineer. The tool developed will facilitate the work of supporting the engineers in their choice of structure. The method implemented consists of defining a ground-structure built on the basis of the main constraints resulting from an elastic analysis of the structure and then to start an optimization of this structure according to the fully stressed design method. The first results allow to obtain a coherent return in the first network of connecting struts and ties, compared to the cases encountered in the literature. The evolution of the tool will then make it possible to adapt the obtained latticework in relation to the cracking states resulting from the loads applied during the life of the structure, cyclic or dynamic loads. In addition, with the constructability constraint, a final result of reinforcement with an orthogonal arrangement with a regulated spacing will be implemented in the tool.

Keywords: strut and tie, optimization, reinforcement, massive structure

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4 A Serious Game to Upgrade the Learning of Organizational Skills in Nursing Schools

Authors: Benoit Landi, Hervé Pingaud, Jean-Benoit Culie, Michel Galaup


Serious games have been widely disseminated in the field of digital learning. They have proved their utility in improving skills through virtual environments that simulate the field where new competencies have to be improved and assessed. This paper describes how we created CLONE, a serious game whose purpose is to help nurses create an efficient work plan in a hospital care unit. In CLONE, the number of patients to take care of is similar to the reality of their job, going far beyond what is currently practiced in nurse school classrooms. This similarity with the operational field increases proportionally the number of activities to be scheduled. Moreover, very often, the team of nurses is composed of regular nurses and nurse assistants that must share the work with respect to the regulatory obligations. Therefore, on the one hand, building a short-term planning is a complex task with a large amount of data to deal with, and on the other, good clinical practices have to be systematically applied. We present how reference planning has been defined by addressing an optimization problem formulation using the expertise of teachers. This formulation ensures the gameplay feasibility for the scenario that has been produced and enhanced throughout the game design process. It was also crucial to steer a player toward a specific gaming strategy. As one of our most important learning outcomes is a clear understanding of the workload concept, its factual calculation for each caregiver along time and its inclusion in the nurse reasoning during planning elaboration are focal points. We will demonstrate how to modify the game scenario to create a digital environment in which these somewhat abstract principles can be understood and applied. Finally, we give input on an experience we had on a pilot of a thousand undergraduate nursing students.

Keywords: care planning, workload, game design, hospital nurse, organizational skills, digital learning, serious game

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3 A Simplified Method to Assess the Damage of an Immersed Cylinder Subjected to Underwater Explosion

Authors: Kevin Brochard, Herve Le Sourne, Guillaume Barras


The design of a submarine’s hull is crucial for its operability and crew’s safety, but also complex. Indeed, engineers need to balance lightness, acoustic discretion and resistance to both immersion pressure and environmental attacks. Submarine explosions represent a first-rate threat for the integrity of the hull, whose behavior needs to be properly analyzed. The presented work is focused on the development of a simplified analytical method to study the structural response of a deeply immersed cylinder submitted to an underwater explosion. This method aims to provide engineers a quick estimation of the resulting damage, allowing them to simulate a large number of explosion scenarios. The present research relies on the so-called plastic string on plastic foundation model. A two-dimensional boundary value problem for a cylindrical shell is converted to an equivalent one-dimensional problem of a plastic string resting on a non-linear plastic foundation. For this purpose, equivalence parameters are defined and evaluated by making assumptions on the shape of the displacement and velocity field in the cross-sectional plane of the cylinder. Closed-form solutions for the deformation and velocity profile of the shell are obtained for explosive loading, and compare well with numerical and experimental results. However, the plastic-string model has not yet been adapted for a cylinder in immersion subjected to an explosive loading. In fact, the effects of fluid-structure interaction have to be taken into account. Moreover, when an underwater explosion occurs, several pressure waves are emitted by the gas bubble pulsations, called secondary waves. The corresponding loads, which may produce significant damages to the cylinder, must also be accounted for. The analytical developments carried out to solve the above problem of a shock wave impacting a cylinder, considering fluid-structure interaction will be presented for an unstiffened cylinder. The resulting deformations are compared to experimental and numerical results for different shock factors and different standoff distances.

Keywords: immersed cylinder, rigid plastic material, shock loading, underwater explosion

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2 An A-Star Approach for the Quickest Path Problem with Time Windows

Authors: Christofas Stergianos, Jason Atkin, Herve Morvan


As air traffic increases, more airports are interested in utilizing optimization methods. Many processes happen in parallel at an airport, and complex models are needed in order to have a reliable solution that can be implemented for ground movement operations. The ground movement for aircraft in an airport, allocating a path to each aircraft to follow in order to reach their destination (e.g. runway or gate), is one process that could be optimized. The Quickest Path Problem with Time Windows (QPPTW) algorithm has been developed to provide a conflict-free routing of vehicles and has been applied to routing aircraft around an airport. It was subsequently modified to increase the accuracy for airport applications. These modifications take into consideration specific characteristics of the problem, such as: the pushback process, which considers the extra time that is needed for pushing back an aircraft and turning its engines on; stand holding where any waiting should be allocated to the stand; and runway sequencing, where the sequence of the aircraft that take off is optimized and has to be respected. QPPTW involves searching for the quickest path by expanding the search in all directions, similarly to Dijkstra’s algorithm. Finding a way to direct the expansion can potentially assist the search and achieve a better performance. We have further modified the QPPTW algorithm to use a heuristic approach in order to guide the search. This new algorithm is based on the A-star search method but estimates the remaining time (instead of distance) in order to assess how far the target is. It is important to consider the remaining time that it is needed to reach the target, so that delays that are caused by other aircraft can be part of the optimization method. All of the other characteristics are still considered and time windows are still used in order to route multiple aircraft rather than a single aircraft. In this way the quickest path is found for each aircraft while taking into account the movements of the previously routed aircraft. After running experiments using a week of real aircraft data from Zurich Airport, the new algorithm (A-star QPPTW) was found to route aircraft much more quickly, being especially fast in routing the departing aircraft where pushback delays are significant. On average A-star QPPTW could route a full day (755 to 837 aircraft movements) 56% faster than the original algorithm. In total the routing of a full week of aircraft took only 12 seconds with the new algorithm, 15 seconds faster than the original algorithm. For real time application, the algorithm needs to be very fast, and this speed increase will allow us to add additional features and complexity, allowing further integration with other processes in airports and leading to more optimized and environmentally friendly airports.

Keywords: a-star search, airport operations, ground movement optimization, routing and scheduling

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1 Spectroscopic Autoradiography of Alpha Particles on Geologic Samples at the Thin Section Scale Using a Parallel Ionization Multiplier Gaseous Detector

Authors: Hugo Lefeuvre, Jerôme Donnard, Michael Descostes, Sophie Billon, Samuel Duval, Tugdual Oger, Herve Toubon, Paul Sardini


Spectroscopic autoradiography is a method of interest for geological sample analysis. Indeed, researchers may face different issues such as radioelement identification and quantification in the field of environmental studies. Imaging gaseous ionization detectors find their place in geosciences for conducting specific measurements of radioactivity to improve the monitoring of natural processes using naturally-occurring radioactive tracers, but also for the nuclear industry linked to the mining sector. In geological samples, the location and identification of the radioactive-bearing minerals at the thin-section scale remains a major challenge as the detection limit of the usual elementary microprobe techniques is far higher than the concentration of most of the natural radioactive decay products. The spatial distribution of each decay product in the case of uranium in a geomaterial is interesting for relating radionuclides concentration to the mineralogy. The present study aims to provide spectroscopic autoradiography analysis method for measuring the initial energy of alpha particles with a parallel ionization multiplier gaseous detector. The analysis method has been developed thanks to Geant4 modelling of the detector. The track of alpha particles recorded in the gas detector allow the simultaneous measurement of the initial point of emission and the reconstruction of the initial particle energy by a selection based on the linear energy distribution. This spectroscopic autoradiography method was successfully used to reproduce the alpha spectra from a 238U decay chain on a geological sample at the thin-section scale. The characteristics of this measurement are an energy spectrum resolution of 17.2% (FWHM) at 4647 keV and a spatial resolution of at least 50 µm. Even if the efficiency of energy spectrum reconstruction is low (4.4%) compared to the efficiency of a simple autoradiograph (50%), this novel measurement approach offers the opportunity to select areas on an autoradiograph to perform an energy spectrum analysis within that area. This opens up possibilities for the detailed analysis of heterogeneous geological samples containing natural alpha emitters such as uranium-238 and radium-226. This measurement will allow the study of the spatial distribution of uranium and its descendants in geo-materials by coupling scanning electron microscope characterizations. The direct application of this dual modality (energy-position) of analysis will be the subject of future developments. The measurement of the radioactive equilibrium state of heterogeneous geological structures, and the quantitative mapping of 226Ra radioactivity are now being actively studied.

Keywords: alpha spectroscopy, digital autoradiography, mining activities, natural decay products

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