Commenced in January 2007
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Edition: International
Paper Count: 10

Search results for: Nico Schoen

10 Concept for Determining the Focus of Technology Monitoring Activities

Authors: Guenther Schuh, Christina Koenig, Nico Schoen, Markus Wellensiek


Identification and selection of appropriate product and manufacturing technologies are key factors for competitiveness and market success of technology-based companies. Therefore many companies perform technology intelligence (TI) activities to ensure the identification of evolving technologies at the right time. Technology monitoring is one of the three base activities of TI, besides scanning and scouting. As the technological progress is accelerating, more and more technologies are being developed. Against the background of limited resources it is therefore necessary to focus TI activities. In this paper, we propose a concept for defining appropriate search fields for technology monitoring. This limitation of search space leads to more concentrated monitoring activities. The concept will be introduced and demonstrated through an anonymized case study conducted within an industry project at the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology. The described concept provides a customized monitoring approach, which is suitable for use in technology-oriented companies especially those that have not yet defined an explicit technology strategy. It is shown in this paper that the definition of search fields and search tasks are suitable methods to define topics of interest and thus to direct monitoring activities. Current as well as planned product, production and material technologies as well as existing skills, capabilities and resources form the basis of the described derivation of relevant search areas. To further improve the concept of technology monitoring the proposed concept should be extended during future research e.g. by the definition of relevant monitoring parameters.

Keywords: monitoring radar, search field, technology intelligence, technology monitoring

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9 Electrochemical Activity of NiCo-GDC Cermet Anode for Solid Oxide Fuel Cells Operated in Methane

Authors: Kamolvara Sirisuksakulchai, Soamwadee Chaianansutcharit, Kazunori Sato


Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFCs) have been considered as one of the most efficient large unit power generators for household and industrial applications. The efficiency of an electronic cell depends mainly on the electrochemical reactions in the anode. The development of anode materials has been intensely studied to achieve higher kinetic rates of redox reactions and lower internal resistance. Recent studies have introduced an efficient cermet (ceramic-metallic) material for its ability in fuel oxidation and oxide conduction. This could expand the reactive site, also known as the triple-phase boundary (TPB), thus increasing the overall performance. In this study, a bimetallic catalyst Ni₀.₇₅Co₀.₂₅Oₓ was combined with Gd₀.₁Ce₀.₉O₁.₉₅ (GDC) to be used as a cermet anode (NiCo-GDC) for an anode-supported type SOFC. The synthesis of Ni₀.₇₅Co₀.₂₅Oₓ was carried out by ball milling NiO and Co3O4 powders in ethanol and calcined at 1000 °C. The Gd₀.₁Ce₀.₉O₁.₉₅ was prepared by a urea co-precipitation method. Precursors of Gd(NO₃)₃·6H₂O and Ce(NO₃)₃·6H₂O were dissolved in distilled water with the addition of urea and were heated subsequently. The heated mixture product was filtered and rinsed thoroughly, then dried and calcined at 800 °C and 1500 °C, respectively. The two powders were combined followed by pelletization and sintering at 1100 °C to form an anode support layer. The fabrications of an electrolyte layer and cathode layer were conducted. The electrochemical performance in H₂ was measured from 800 °C to 600 °C while for CH₄ was from 750 °C to 600 °C. The maximum power density at 750 °C in H₂ was 13% higher than in CH₄. The difference in performance was due to higher polarization resistances confirmed by the impedance spectra. According to the standard enthalpy, the dissociation energy of C-H bonds in CH₄ is slightly higher than the H-H bond H₂. The dissociation of CH₄ could be the cause of resistance within the anode material. The results from lower temperatures showed a descending trend of power density in relevance to the increased polarization resistance. This was due to lowering conductivity when the temperature decreases. The long-term stability was measured at 750 °C in CH₄ monitoring at 12-hour intervals. The maximum power density tends to increase gradually with time while the resistances were maintained. This suggests the enhanced stability from charge transfer activities in doped ceria due to the transition of Ce⁴⁺ ↔ Ce³⁺ at low oxygen partial pressure and high-temperature atmosphere. However, the power density started to drop after 60 h, and the cell potential also dropped from 0.3249 V to 0.2850 V. These phenomena was confirmed by a shifted impedance spectra indicating a higher ohmic resistance. The observation by FESEM and EDX-mapping suggests the degradation due to mass transport of ions in the electrolyte while the anode microstructure was still maintained. In summary, the electrochemical test and stability test for 60 h was achieved by NiCo-GDC cermet anode. Coke deposition was not detected after operation in CH₄, hence this confirms the superior properties of the bimetallic cermet anode over typical Ni-GDC.

Keywords: bimetallic catalyst, ceria-based SOFCs, methane oxidation, solid oxide fuel cell

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8 General and Sport Specific Fitness Testing Practices: Global Developments

Authors: Peter Smolianov, Jed Smith, Lisa Chen, Steven Dion, Christopher Schoen, Jaclyn Norberg


This study compared general conditioning and sport specific fitness tests used in China, European Union (EU), Russia, and the United States. A constant content comparison method was used to identify the differences. Data from the study indicated that there were shared test components, including aerobic fitness, muscular strength, endurance, and flexibility. However, the testing components and items, as well as the cut-off values of the analyzed tests varied by country for the same gender and age. Culturally unique methods of testing and preparing for the tests were identified. Additionally, evidence revealed support for lifelong fitness and long-term sport participation through comprehensive fitness and wellness guidelines for different age groups and through new internet-based technologies.

Keywords: fitness testing, global trends, new developments, worldwide comparison

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7 Evaluating a Holistic Fitness Program Used by High Performance Athletes and Mass Participants

Authors: Peter Smolianov, Jed Smith, Lisa Chen, Steven Dion, Christopher Schoen, Jaclyn Norberg


This study evaluated the effectiveness of an experimental training program used to improve performance and health of competitive athletes and recreational sport participants. This holistic program integrated and advanced Eastern and Western methods of prolonging elite sports participation and enjoying lifelong fitness, particularly from China, India, Russia, and the United States. The program included outdoor, gym, and water training approaches focused on strengthening while stretching/decompressing and on full body activation-all in order to improve performance as well as treat and prevent common disorders and pains. The study observed and surveyed over 100 users of the program including recreational fitness and sports enthusiasts as well as elite athletes who competed for national teams of different countries and for Division I teams of National Collegiate Athletic Association in the United States. Different types of sport were studied, including territorial games (e.g., American football, basketball, volleyball), endurance/cyclical (athletics/track and field, swimming), and artistic (e.g., gymnastics and synchronized swimming). Results of the study showed positive effects on the participants’ performance and health, particularly for those who used the program for more than two years and especially in reducing spinal disorders and in enabling to perform new training tasks which previously caused back pain.

Keywords: lifelong fitness, injury prevention, prolonging sport participation, improving performance and health

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6 A Web-Based Systems Immunology Toolkit Allowing the Visualization and Comparative Analysis of Publically Available Collective Data to Decipher Immune Regulation in Early Life

Authors: Mahbuba Rahman, Sabri Boughorbel, Scott Presnell, Charlie Quinn, Darawan Rinchai, Damien Chaussabel, Nico Marr


Collections of large-scale datasets made available in public repositories can be used to identify and fill gaps in biomedical knowledge. But first, these data need to be made readily accessible to researchers for analysis and interpretation. Here a collection of transcriptome datasets was made available to investigate the functional programming of human hematopoietic cells in early life. Thirty two datasets were retrieved from the NCBI Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) and loaded in a custom, interactive web application called the Gene Expression browser (GXB), designed for visualization and query of integrated large-scale data. Multiple sample groupings and gene rank lists were created based on the study design and variables in each dataset. Web links to customized graphical views can be generated by users and subsequently be used to graphically present data in manuscripts for publication. The GXB tool also enables browsing of a single gene across datasets, which can provide information on the role of a given molecule across biological systems. The dataset collection is available online. As a proof-of-principle, one of the datasets (GSE25087) was re-analyzed to identify genes that are differentially expressed by regulatory T cells in early life. Re-analysis of this dataset and a cross-study comparison using multiple other datasets in the above mentioned collection revealed that PMCH, a gene encoding a precursor of melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH), a cyclic neuropeptide, is highly expressed in a variety of other hematopoietic cell types, including neonatal erythroid cells as well as plasmacytoid dendritic cells upon viral infection. Our findings suggest an as yet unrecognized role of MCH in immune regulation, thereby highlighting the unique potential of the curated dataset collection and systems biology approach to generate new hypotheses which can be tested in future mechanistic studies.

Keywords: early-life, GEO datasets, PMCH, interactive query, systems biology

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5 Effects of Concomitant Use of Metformin and Powdered Moringa Oleifera Leaves on Glucose Tolerance in Sprague-Dawley Rats

Authors: Emielex M. Aguilar, Kristen Angela G. Cruz, Czarina Joie L. Rivera, Francis Dave C. Tan, Gavino Ivan N. Tanodra, Dianne Katrina G. Usana, Mary Grace T. Valentin, Nico Albert S. Vasquez, Edwin Monico C. Wee


The risk of diabetes mellitus is increasing in the Philippines, with Metformin and Insulin as drugs commonly used for its management. The use of herbal medicines has grown increasingly, especially among the elderly population. Moringa oleifera or malunggay is one of the most common plants in the country, and several studies have shown the plant to exhibit a hypoglycemic property with its flavonoid content. This study aims to investigate the possible effects of concomitant use of Metformin and powdered M. oleifera leaves (PMOL) on blood glucose levels. Twenty male Sprague-Dawley rats were equally distributed into four groups. Fasting blood glucose levels of the rats were measured prior to experimentation. The following treatments were administered to the four groups, respectively: glucose only 2 g/kg; glucose 2 g/kg + Metformin 100 mg/kg; glucose 2 g/kg + PMOL 200 mg/kg; and glucose 2 g/kg + PMOL 200 mg/kg and Metformin 100 mg/kg. Blood glucose levels were determined on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th hour post-treatment and compared between groups. Statistical analysis showed that the type of intervention did not show significance in the reduction of blood glucose levels when compared with the other groups (p=0.378), while the effect of time exhibited significance (p=0.000). The interaction between the type of intervention and time of blood glucose measurement was shown to be significant (p=0.024). Within each group, the control and PMOL-treated groups showed significant reduction in blood glucose levels over time with p-values of 0.000 and 0.000, respectively, while the Metformin-treated and the combination groups had p-values of 0.062 and 0.093, respectively, which are not significant. The descriptive data also showed that the mean total reduction of blood glucose levels of the Metformin and PMOL combination treatment group was lower than the PMOL-treated group alone, while the mean total reduction of blood glucose levels of the combination group was higher than the Metformin-treated group alone. Based on the results obtained, the combination of Metformin and PMOL did not significantly lower the blood glucose levels of the rats as compared to the other groups. However, the concomitant use of Metformin and PMOL may affect each other’s blood glucose lowering activity. Additionally, prolonged time of exposure and delay in the first blood glucose measurement after treatment could exhibit a significant effect in the blood glucose levels. Further studies are recommended regarding the effects of the concomitant use of the two agents on blood glucose levels.

Keywords: blood glucose levels, concomitant use, metformin, Moringa oleifera

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4 Influence of Thermal Ageing on Microstructural Features and Mechanical Properties of Reduced Activation Ferritic/Martensitic Grades

Authors: Athina Puype, Lorenzo Malerba, Nico De Wispelaere, Roumen Petrov, Jilt Sietsma


Reduced Activation Ferritic/Martensitic (FM) steels like EUROFER are of interest for first wall application in the future demonstration (DEMO) fusion reactor. Depending on the final design codes for the DEMO reactor, the first wall material will have to function in low-temperature mode or high-temperature mode, i.e. around 250-300°C of above 550°C respectively. However, the use of RAFM steels is limited up to a temperature of about 550°C. For the low-temperature application, the material suffers from irradiation embrittlement, due to a shift of ductile-to-brittle transition temperature (DBTT) towards higher temperatures upon irradiation. The high-temperature response of the material is equally insufficient for long-term use in fusion reactors, due to the instability of the matrix phase and coarsening of the precipitates at prolonged high-temperature exposure. The objective of this study is to investigate the influence of thermal ageing for 1000 hrs and 4000 hrs on microstructural features and mechanical properties of lab-cast EUROFER. Additionally, the ageing behavior of the lab-cast EUROFER is compared with the ageing behavior of standard EUROFER97-2 and T91. The microstructural features were investigated with light optical microscopy (LOM), electron back-scattered diffraction (EBSD) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Additionally, hardness measurements, tensile tests at elevated temperatures and Charpy V-notch impact testing of KLST-type MCVN specimens were performed to study the microstructural features and mechanical properties of four different F/M grades, i.e. T91, EUROFER97-2 and two lab-casted EUROFER grades. After ageing for 1000 hrs, the microstructures exhibit similar martensitic block sizes independent on the grain size before ageing. With respect to the initial coarser microstructures, the aged microstructures displayed a dislocation structure which is partially fragmented by polygonization. On the other hand, the initial finer microstructures tend to be more stable up to 1000hrs resulting in similar grain sizes for the four different steels. Increasing the ageing time to 4000 hrs, resulted in an increase of lath thickness and coarsening of M23C6 precipitates leading to a deterioration of tensile properties.

Keywords: ageing experiments, EUROFER, ferritic/martensitic steels, mechanical properties, microstructure, T91

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3 US Track And Field System: Examining Micro-Level Practices against a Global Model for Integrated Development of Mass and Elite Sport

Authors: Peter Smolianov, Steven Dion, Christopher Schoen, Jaclyn Norberg, Nicholas Stone, Soufiane Rafi


This study assessed the micro-level elements of track and field development in the US against a model for integrating high-performance sport with mass participation. This investigation is important for the country’s international sport performance, which declined relative to other countries and wellbeing, which in its turn deteriorated as over half of the US population became overweight. A questionnaire was designed for the following elements of the model: talent identification and development as well as advanced athlete support. Survey questions were validated by 12 experts, including academics, executives from sport governing bodies, coaches, and administrators. To determine the areas for improvement, the questionnaires were completed by 102 US track and field coaches representing the country’s regions and coaching levels. Possible advancements were further identified through semi-structured discussions with 10 US track and field administrators. The study found that talent search and development is a critically important area for improvement: 49 percent of respondents had overall negative perceptions, and only 16 percent were positive regarding these US track and field practices. Both quantitative survey results and open responses revealed that the key reason for the inadequate athlete development was a shortage of well-educated and properly paid coaches: 77 percent of respondents indicated that coach expertise is never or rarely high across all participant ages and levels. More than 40 percent of the respondents were uncertain of or not familiar with world’s best talent identification and development practices, particularly methods of introducing children to track and field from outside the sport’s participation base. Millions more could be attracted to the sport by adopting best international practices. First, physical education should be offered a minimum three times a week in all school grades, and track and field together with other healthy sports, should be taught at school to all children. Second, multi-sport events, including track and field disciplines, should be organized for everyone within and among all schools, cities and regions. Three, Australian and Eastern European methods of talent search at schools should be utilized and tailored to the US conditions. Four, comprehensive long term athlete development guidelines should be used for the advancement of the American Development Model, particularly track and field tests and guidelines as part of both school education and high-performance athlete development for every age group from six to over 70 years old. These world’s best practices are to improve the country’s international performance while increasing national sport participation and positively influencing public health.

Keywords: high performance, mass participation, sport development, track and field, USA

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2 Nigerian Football System: Examining Meso-Level Practices against a Global Model for Integrated Development of Mass and Elite Sport

Authors: I. Derek Kaka’an, P. Smolianov, D. Koh Choon Lian, S. Dion, C. Schoen, J. Norberg


This study was designed to examine mass participation and elite football performance in Nigeria with reference to advance international football management practices. Over 200 sources of literature on sport delivery systems were analyzed to construct a globally applicable model of elite football integrated with mass participation, comprising of the following three levels: macro- (socio-economic, cultural, legislative, and organizational), meso- (infrastructures, personnel, and services enabling sport programs) and micro-level (operations, processes, and methodologies for development of individual athletes). The model has received scholarly validation and showed to be a framework for program analysis that is not culturally bound. The Smolianov and Zakus model has been employed for further understanding of sport systems such as US soccer, US Rugby, swimming, tennis, and volleyball as well as Russian and Dutch swimming. A questionnaire was developed using the above-mentioned model. Survey questions were validated by 12 experts including academicians, executives from sport governing bodies, football coaches, and administrators. To identify best practices and determine areas for improvement of football in Nigeria, 120 coaches completed the questionnaire. Useful exemplars and possible improvements were further identified through semi-structured discussions with 10 Nigerian football administrators and experts. Finally, content analysis of Nigeria Football Federation’s website and organizational documentation was conducted. This paper focuses on the meso-level of Nigerian football delivery, particularly infrastructures, personnel, and services enabling sport programs. This includes training centers, competition systems, and intellectual services. Results identified remarkable achievements coupled with great potential to further develop football in different types of public and private organizations in Nigeria. These include: assimilating football competitions with other cultural and educational activities, providing favorable conditions for employees of all possible organizations to partake and help in managing football programs and events, providing football coaching integrated with counseling for prevention of antisocial conduct, and improving cooperation between football programs and organizations for peace-making and advancement of international relations, tourism, and socio-economic development. Accurate reporting of the sports programs from the media should be encouraged through staff training for better awareness of various events. The systematic integration of these meso-level practices into the balanced development of mass and high-performance football will contribute to international sport success as well as national health, education, and social harmony.

Keywords: football, high performance, mass participation, Nigeria, sport development

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1 Effect of Thermal Treatment on Mechanical Properties of Reduced Activation Ferritic/Martensitic Eurofer Steel Grade

Authors: Athina Puype, Lorenzo Malerba, Nico De Wispelaere, Roumen Petrov, Jilt Sietsma


Reduced activation ferritic/martensitic (RAFM) steels like EUROFER97 are primary candidate structural materials for first wall application in the future demonstration (DEMO) fusion reactor. Existing steels of this type obtain their functional properties by a two-stage heat treatment, which consists of an annealing stage at 980°C for thirty minutes followed by quenching and an additional tempering stage at 750°C for two hours. This thermal quench and temper (Q&T) treatment creates a microstructure of tempered martensite with, as main precipitates, M23C6 carbides, with M = Fe, Cr and carbonitrides of MX type, e.g. TaC and VN. The resulting microstructure determines the mechanical properties of the steel. The ductility is largely determined by the tempered martensite matrix, while the resistance to mechanical degradation, determined by the spatial and size distribution of precipitates and the martensite crystals, plays a key role in the high temperature properties of the steel. Unfortunately, the high temperature response of EUROFER97 is currently insufficient for long term use in fusion reactors, due to instability of the matrix phase and coarsening of the precipitates at prolonged high temperature exposure. The objective of this study is to induce grain refinement by appropriate modifications of the processing route in order to increase the high temperature strength of a lab-cast EUROFER RAFM steel grade. The goal of the work is to obtain improved mechanical behavior at elevated temperatures with respect to conventionally heat treated EUROFER97. A dilatometric study was conducted to study the effect of the annealing temperature on the mechanical properties after a Q&T treatment. The microstructural features were investigated with scanning electron microscopy (SEM), electron back-scattered diffraction (EBSD) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Additionally, hardness measurements, tensile tests at elevated temperatures and Charpy V-notch impact testing of KLST-type MCVN specimens were performed to study the mechanical properties of the furnace-heated lab-cast EUROFER RAFM steel grade. A significant prior austenite grain (PAG) refinement was obtained by lowering the annealing temperature of the conventionally used Q&T treatment for EUROFER97. The reduction of the PAG results in finer martensitic constituents upon quenching, which offers more nucleation sites for carbide and carbonitride formation upon tempering. The ductile-to-brittle transition temperature (DBTT) was found to decrease with decreasing martensitic block size. Additionally, an increased resistance against high temperature degradation was accomplished in the fine grained martensitic materials with smallest precipitates obtained by tailoring the annealing temperature of the Q&T treatment. It is concluded that the microstructural refinement has a pronounced effect on the DBTT without significant loss of strength and ductility. Further investigation into the optimization of the processing route is recommended to improve the mechanical behavior of RAFM steels at elevated temperatures.

Keywords: ductile-to-brittle transition temperature (DBTT), EUROFER, reduced activation ferritic/martensitic (RAFM) steels, thermal treatments

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