Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 11

Search results for: Suneesh Kaul

11 Material Choice Driving Sustainability of 3D Printing

Authors: Jeremy Faludi, Zhongyin Hu, Shahd Alrashed, Christopher Braunholz, Suneesh Kaul, Leulekal Kassaye


Environmental impacts of six 3D printers using various materials were compared to determine if material choice drove sustainability, or if other factors such as machine type, machine size, or machine utilization dominate. Cradle-to-grave life-cycle assessments were performed, comparing a commercial-scale FDM machine printing in ABS plastic, a desktop FDM machine printing in ABS, a desktop FDM machine printing in PET and PLA plastics, a polyjet machine printing in its proprietary polymer, an SLA machine printing in its polymer, and an inkjet machine hacked to print in salt and dextrose. All scenarios were scored using ReCiPe Endpoint H methodology to combine multiple impact categories, comparing environmental impacts per part made for several scenarios per machine. Results showed that most printers’ ecological impacts were dominated by electricity use, not materials, and the changes in electricity use due to different plastics was not significant compared to variation from one machine to another. Variation in machine idle time determined impacts per part most strongly. However, material impacts were quite important for the inkjet printer hacked to print in salt: In its optimal scenario, it had up to 1/38th the impacts coreper part as the worst-performing machine in the same scenario. If salt parts were infused with epoxy to make them more physically robust, then much of this advantage disappeared, and material impacts actually dominated or equaled electricity use. Future studies should also measure DMLS and SLS processes / materials.

Keywords: 3D printing, additive manufacturing, sustainability, life-cycle assessment, design for environment

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10 Plant Leaf Recognition Using Deep Learning

Authors: Aadhya Kaul, Gautam Manocha, Preeti Nagrath


Our environment comprises of a wide variety of plants that are similar to each other and sometimes the similarity between the plants makes the identification process tedious thus increasing the workload of the botanist all over the world. Now all the botanists cannot be accessible all the time for such laborious plant identification; therefore, there is an urge for a quick classification model. Also, along with the identification of the plants, it is also necessary to classify the plant as healthy or not as for a good lifestyle, humans require good food and this food comes from healthy plants. A large number of techniques have been applied to classify the plants as healthy or diseased in order to provide the solution. This paper proposes one such method known as anomaly detection using autoencoders using a set of collections of leaves. In this method, an autoencoder model is built using Keras and then the reconstruction of the original images of the leaves is done and the threshold loss is found in order to classify the plant leaves as healthy or diseased. A dataset of plant leaves is considered to judge the reconstructed performance by convolutional autoencoders and the average accuracy obtained is 71.55% for the purpose.

Keywords: convolutional autoencoder, anomaly detection, web application, FLASK

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9 Point-Mutation in a Rationally Engineered Esterase Inverts its Enantioselectivity

Authors: Yasser Gaber, Mohamed Ismail, Serena Bisagni, Mohamad Takwa, Rajni Hatti-Kaul


Enzymes are safe and selective catalysts. They skillfully catalyze chemical reactions; however, the native form is not usually suitable for industrial applications. Enzymes are therefore engineered by several techniques to meet the required catalytic task. Clopidogrel is recorded among the five best selling pharmaceutical in 2010 under the brand name Plavix. The commonly used route for production of the drug on an industrial scale is the synthesis of the racemic mixture followed by diastereomeric resolution to obtain the pure S isomer. The process consumes a lot of solvents and chemicals. We have evaluated a biocatalytic cleaner approach for asymmetric hydrolysis of racemic clopidogrel. Initial screening of a selected number of hydrolases showed only one enzyme EST to exhibit activity and selectivity towards the desired stereoisomer. As the crude EST is a mixture of several isoenzymes, a homology model of EST-1 was used in molecular dynamic simulations to study the interaction of the enzyme with R and S isomers of clopidogrel. Analysis of the geometric hindrances of the tetrahedral intermediates revealed a potential site for mutagenesis in order to improve the activity and the selectivity. Single point mutation showed dramatic increase in activity and inversion of the enantioselectivity (400 fold change in E value).

Keywords: biocatalysis, biotechnology, enzyme, protein engineering, molecular modeling

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8 Modelling, Simulation, and Experimental Validation of the Influence of Golf-Ball-Inspired Dimpled Design in Drag Reduction and Improved Fuel Efficiency of Super-Mileage Vehicle

Authors: Bibin Sagaram, Ronith Stanly, S. S. Suneesh


Due to the dwindling supply of fuel reserves, engineers and designers now focus on fuel efficient designs for the solution of any problem; the transportation industry is not new to this kind of approach. Though the aerodynamic benefits of the dimples on a Golf-ball are known, it has never been scientifically tested on how such a design philosophy can improve the fuel efficiency of a real-life vehicle by imparting better aerodynamic performance. The main purpose of the paper is to establish the aerodynamic benefits of the Golf-ball-Inspired Dimpled Design in improving the fuel efficiency of a Super-mileage vehicle, constructed by Team Go Viridis for ‘Shell Eco Marathon Asia 2015’, and to predict the extent to which the results can be held valid for a road car. The body design was modeled in Autodesk Inventor and the Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations were carried out using Ansys Fluent software. The aerodynamic parameters of designs (with and without the Golf-ball-Inspired Dimples) have been studied and the results are experimentally validated against those obtained from wind tunnel tests carried out on a 1:10 scaled-down 3D printed model. Test drives of the Super-mileage vehicle were carried out, under various conditions, to compare the variation in fuel efficiency with and without the Golf-ball-Inspired design. Primary investigations reveal an aerodynamic advantage of 25% for the vehicle with the Golf Ball Inspired Dimpled Design as opposed to the normal design. Initial tests conducted by ‘Mythbusters’ on Discovery Network using a modified road car has shown positive results which has motivated us to conduct such a research work using a custom-built experimental Super-Mileage vehicle. The content of the paper becomes relevant to the present Automotive and Energy industry where improving the fuel efficiency is of the top most priority.

Keywords: aerodynamics, CFD, fuel efficiency, golf ball

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7 Immobilized Iron Oxide Nanoparticles for Stem Cell Reconstruction in Magnetic Particle Imaging

Authors: Kolja Them, Johannes Salamon, Harald Ittrich, Michael Kaul, Tobias Knopp


Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) are nanoscale magnets which can be biologically functionalized for biomedical applications. Stem cell therapies to repair damaged tissue, magnetic fluid hyperthermia for cancer therapy and targeted drug delivery based on SPIONs are prominent examples where the visualization of a preferably low concentrated SPION distribution is essential. In 2005 a new method for tomographic SPION imaging has been introduced. The method named magnetic particle imaging (MPI) takes advantage of the nanoparticles magnetization change caused by an oscillating, external magnetic field and allows to directly image the time-dependent nanoparticle distribution. The SPION magnetization can be changed by the electron spin dynamics as well as by a mechanical rotation of the nanoparticle. In this work different calibration methods in MPI are investigated for image reconstruction of magnetically labeled stem cells. It is shown that a calibration using rotationally immobilized SPIONs provides a higher quality of stem cell images with fewer artifacts than a calibration using mobile SPIONs. The enhancement of the image quality and the reduction of artifacts enables the localization and identification of a smaller number of magnetically labeled stem cells. This is important for future medical applications where low concentrations of functionalized SPIONs interacting with biological matter have to be localized.

Keywords: biomedical imaging, iron oxide nanoparticles, magnetic particle imaging, stem cell imaging

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6 A Method Development for Improving the Efficiency of Solid Waste Collection System Using Network Analyst

Authors: Dhvanidevi N. Jadeja, Daya S. Kaul, Anurag A. Kandya


Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) collection in a city is performed in less effective manner which results in the poor management of the environment and natural resources. Municipal corporation does not possess efficient waste management and recycling programs because of the complex task involving many factors. Solid waste collection system depends upon various factors such as manpower, number and size of vehicles, transfer station size, dustbin size and weight, on-road traffic, and many others. These factors affect the collection cost, energy and overall municipal tax for the city. Generally, different types of waste are scattered throughout the city in a heterogeneous way that poses changes for efficient collection of solid waste. Efficient waste collection and transportation strategy must be effectively undertaken which will include optimization of routes, volume of waste, and manpower. Being these optimized, the overall cost can be reduced as the fuel and energy requirements would be less and also the municipal waste taxes levied will be less. To carry out the optimization study of collection system various data needs to be collected from the Ahmedabad municipal corporation such as amount of waste generated per day, number of workers, collection schedule, road maps, number of transfer station, location of transfer station, number of equipment (tractors, machineries), number of zones, route of collection etc. The ArcGis Network Analyst is introduced for the best routing identification applied in municipal waste collection. The simulation consists of scenarios of visiting loading spots in the municipality of Ahmedabad, considering dynamic factors like network traffic changes, closed roads due to natural or technical causes. Different routes were selected in a particular area of Ahmedabad city, and present routes were optimized to reduce the length of the routes, by using ArcGis Network Analyst. The result indicates up to 35% length minimization in the routes.

Keywords: collection routes, efficiency, municipal solid waste, optimization

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5 Polymer Impregnated Sulfonated Carbon Composite as a Solid Acid Catalyst for the Dehydration of Xylose to Furfural

Authors: Praveen K. Khatri, Neha Karanwal, Savita Kaul, Suman L. Jain


Conversion of biomass through green chemical routes is of great industrial importance as biomass is considered to be most widely available inexpensive renewable resource that can be used as a raw material for the production of bio fuel and value-added organic products. In this regard, acid catalyzed dehydration of biomass derived pentose sugar (mainly D-xylose) to furfural is a process of tremendous research interest in current scenario due to the wider industrial applications of furfural. Furfural is an excellent organic solvent for refinement of lubricants and separation of butadiene from butene mixture in synthetic rubber fabrication. In addition it also serve as a promising solvent for many organic materials, such as resins, polymers and also used as a building block for synthesis of various valuable chemicals such as furfuryl alcohol, furan, pharmaceutical, agrochemicals and THF. Here in a sulfonated polymer impregnated carbon composite solid acid catalyst (P-C-SO3H) was prepared by the pyrolysis of a polymer matrix impregnated with glucose followed by its sulfonation and used for the dehydration of xylose to furfural. The developed catalyst exhibited excellent activity and provided almost quantitative conversion of xylose with the selective synthesis of furfural. The higher catalytic activity of P-C-SO3H may be due to the more even distribution of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons generated from incomplete carbonization of glucose along the polymer matrix network, leading to more available sites for sulfonation which resulted in greater sulfonic acid density in P-C-SO3H as compared to sulfonated carbon catalyst (C-SO3H). In conclusion, we have demonstrated sulfonated polymer impregnated carbon composite (P-C-SO3H) as an efficient and selective solid acid catalyst for the dehydration of xylose to furfural. After completion of the reaction, the catalyst was easily recovered and reused for several runs without noticeable loss in its activity and selectivity.

Keywords: Solid acid , Biomass conversion, Xylose Dehydration, Heterogeneous catalyst

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4 Factors Associated with Condom Breakage among Female Sex Workers: Evidence from Behavioral Tracking Survey in Thane District of Maharashtra, India

Authors: Sukhvinder Kaur, Jayanta Bora, Ashok Agarwal, Sangeeta Kaul


Background: HIV and STI transmission can be prevented if condoms are used properly, but condom tear may lead to infections even if are used consistently. Studies reveal high rates of condom breakage among Female Sex Workers (FSWs). USAID PHFI-PIPPSE is piloting a prevention model among high risk groups at Thane district of Maharashtra, India by implementing prevention and advocacy efforts for such risk behaviors. The current analysis highlights the correlates of condom breakage among FSWs from Thane. Method: A Behavioral Tracking Survey was conducted in 2014-15 among 503 FSWs through probability-based two stage random sampling from 3,660 FSWs at 100 hotspots, to understand levels of high risk behaviors, awareness and exposure to prevention programs. Bi-variate and multivariate-logistic regression methods used to assess the association of condom breakage while having sex with age, STI occurrence, anal sex with clients and alcohol consumption. Only self-reported STIs (Genital sore/ulcer, yellowish/ greenish discharge from vagina with/without foul smell, lower abdominal pain without diarrhea/dysentery or menses) were considered. Major Findings: Results depicted FSWs who reported condom breakage while having sex with any type of partner (paying clients, non-paying partners and other than main partner husband/boyfriend) had significantly high number of STIs (42.3% vs 16.9 %, P, 0.000) and had started sexual relationship in <16 years of age (31.0% vs 16.4 %, P, 0.000). Multivariate analysis after controlling the age at sex, knowledge about HIV and literacy, highlighted significantly higher odds of condom breakage among FSWs who have reported currently suffering with STI [AOR 2.91, 95% CI 1.75 - 4.83; P, 0.000]; who had anal sex with their paying client [AOR 2.59, 95% CI 1.59 - 4.19; P, 0.000]; and who consumed alcohol in the last 12 months [AOR 1.89, 95% CI 1.01 - 3.53; P, 0.047]. Conclusion: Risky behavior like anal sex with paying clients and impact of alcohol while having sex are main factors for condom breakage among young sex workers; and condom breakage leads to STIs. Hence, program interventions should address measures for prevention of condom breakage for HIV/STI prevention.

Keywords: female sex workers, condom breakage, anal sex, young sex workers

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3 Therapeutic Power of Words through Reading Writing and Storytelling

Authors: Sakshi Kaul, Sundeep Verma


The focus of the current paper is to evaluate the therapeutic power of words. This will be done by critically evaluating the impact reading, writing and storytelling have on individuals. When we read, tell or listen to a story we are exercising our imagination. Imagination becomes the source of activation of thoughts and actions. This enables and helps the reader, writer or the listener to express the suppressed emotions or desires. The stories told, untold may bring various human emotions and attributes to forth such as hope, optimism, fear, happiness. Each story narrated evokes different emotions, at times they help us unravel ourselves in the world of the teller thereby bringing solace. Stories heard or told add to individual’s life by creating a community around, giving wings of thoughts that enable individual to be more imaginative and creative thereby fostering positively and happiness. Reading if looked at from the reader’s point of view can broaden the horizon of information and ideas about facts and life laws giving more meaning to life. From ‘once upon a time’ to ‘to happily ever after’, all that stories talk about is life’s learning. The power of words sometimes may be negated, this paper would reiterate the power of words by critically evaluating how words can become powerful and therapeutic in various structures and forms in the society. There is a story behind every situation, action and reaction. Hence it is of prime importance to understand each story, to enable a person to deal with whatever he or she may be going through. For example, if a client is going through some trauma in his or her life, the counsellor needs to know exactly what is the turmoil that is being faced so that the client can be assisted accordingly. Counselling is considered a process of healing through words or as Talk therapy, where merely through words we try to heal the client. In a counselling session, the counsellor focuses on working with the clients to bring a positive change. The counsellor allows the client to express themselves which is referred to as catharsis. The words spoken, written or heard transcend to heal and can be therapeutic. The therapeutic power of words has been seen in various cultural practices and belief systems. The underlining belief that words have the power to heal, save and bring change has existed from ages. Many religious and spiritual practices also acclaim the power of the words. Through this empirical paper, we have tried to bring to light how reading, writing, and storytelling have been used as mediums of healing and have been therapeutic in nature.

Keywords: reading, storytelling, therapeutic, words

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2 Association of Vulnerability and Behavioural Outcomes of FSWs Linked with TI Prevention HIV Program: An Evidence from Cross-Sectional Behavioural Study in Thane District of Maharashtra

Authors: Jayanta Bora, Sukhvinder Kaur, Ashok Agarwal, Sangeeta Kaul


Background: It is important for targeted interventions to consider vulnerabilities of female sex workers (FSWs) such as poverty, work-related mobility and literacy for effective human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevention. This paper examines the association between vulnerability and behavioural outcomes among FSWs in Thane district, Maharashtra under USAID PHFI-PIPPSE project. Methods: Data were used from the Behavioural Tracking Survey, a cross-sectional behavioural study conducted in 2015 with 503 FSWs randomly selected from 12 TI-NGOs which were functioning and providing services to FSWs in Thane district prior to April 2014 in Thane district of Maharashtra. We have created the “vulnerability index”, a composite index of literacy, factors of dependence (alternative livelihood options, current debt), and aspects of sex work (mobility and duration in sex work) as a dependent variable. The key independent measures used were program exposure to intervention, service uptake, self-confidence, and self-identity. Bi-variate and multivariate logistic regressions were used to examine the study objectives. Results: A higher proportion of FSWs who were in the age-group 18–25 years from brothel/street /home/ lodge-based were categorized as highly vulnerable to HIV risk as compared to bar-based sex worker (74.1% versus 59.8%, P,0.002); regression analysis highlighted lower odds of vulnerability among FSWs who were aware of services and visited NGO clinic for medical check-up and counselling for STI [AOR= 0.092, 95% CI 0.018-0.460; P,0.004], However, lower odds of vulnerability on confident in supporting fellow sex worker in crisis [AOR= 0.601, 95% CI 0.476-0.758; P, 0.000] and were able to turn away clients when they refused to use a condom during sex [AOR= 0.524, 95% CI 0.342-0.802; P, 0.003]. Conclusion: The results highlight that FSWs associated with TIs and getting services are less vulnerable and highly empowered. As a result of behavioural change communication and other services provided by TIs, FSWs were able to successfully negotiate about condom use with their clients and manage solidarity in the crisis situation for fellow FSWs. Therefore, it is evident from study paper that TI prevention programs may transform the lives of masses considerably and may open a window of opportunity to infuse the information and awareness about HIV risk.

Keywords: female sex worker, HIV prevention, HIV service uptake, vulnerability

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1 Magnetic Solid-Phase Separation of Uranium from Aqueous Solution Using High Capacity Diethylenetriamine Tethered Magnetic Adsorbents

Authors: Amesh P, Suneesh A S, Venkatesan K A


The magnetic solid-phase extraction is a relatively new method among the other solid-phase extraction techniques for the separating of metal ions from aqueous solutions, such as mine water and groundwater, contaminated wastes, etc. However, the bare magnetic particles (Fe3O4) exhibit poor selectivity due to the absence of target-specific functional groups for sequestering the metal ions. The selectivity of these magnetic particles can be remarkably improved by covalently tethering the task-specific ligands on magnetic surfaces. The magnetic particles offer a number of advantages such as quick phase separation aided by the external magnetic field. As a result, the solid adsorbent can be prepared with the particle size ranging from a few micrometers to the nanometer, which again offers the advantages such as enhanced kinetics of extraction, higher extraction capacity, etc. Conventionally, the magnetite (Fe3O4) particles were prepared by the hydrolysis and co-precipitation of ferrous and ferric salts in aqueous ammonia solution. Since the covalent linking of task-specific functionalities on Fe3O4 was difficult, and it is also susceptible to redox reaction in the presence of acid or alkali, it is necessary to modify the surface of Fe3O4 by silica coating. This silica coating is usually carried out by hydrolysis and condensation of tetraethyl orthosilicate over the surface of magnetite to yield a thin layer of silica-coated magnetite particles. Since the silica-coated magnetite particles amenable for further surface modification, it can be reacted with task-specific functional groups to obtain the functionalized magnetic particles. The surface area exhibited by such magnetic particles usually falls in the range of 50 to 150 m2.g-1, which offer advantage such as quick phase separation, as compared to the other solid-phase extraction systems. In addition, the magnetic (Fe3O4) particles covalently linked on mesoporous silica matrix (MCM-41) and task-specific ligands offer further advantages in terms of extraction kinetics, high stability, longer reusable cycles, and metal extraction capacity, due to the large surface area, ample porosity and enhanced number of functional groups per unit area on these adsorbents. In view of this, the present paper deals with the synthesis of uranium specific diethylenetriamine ligand (DETA) ligand anchored on silica-coated magnetite (Fe-DETA) as well as on magnetic mesoporous silica (MCM-Fe-DETA) and studies on the extraction of uranium from aqueous solution spiked with uranium to mimic the mine water or groundwater contaminated with uranium. The synthesized solid-phase adsorbents were characterized by FT-IR, Raman, TG-DTA, XRD, and SEM. The extraction behavior of uranium on the solid-phase was studied under several conditions like the effect of pH, initial concentration of uranium, rate of extraction and its variation with pH and initial concentration of uranium, effect of interference ions like CO32-, Na+, Fe+2, Ni+2, and Cr+3, etc. The maximum extraction capacity of 233 mg.g-1 was obtained for Fe-DETA, and a huge capacity of 1047 mg.g-1 was obtained for MCM-Fe-DETA. The mechanism of extraction, speciation of uranium, extraction studies, reusability, and the other results obtained in the present study suggests Fe-DETA and MCM-Fe-DETA are the potential candidates for the extraction of uranium from mine water, and groundwater.

Keywords: diethylenetriamine, magnetic mesoporous silica, magnetic solid-phase extraction, uranium extraction, wastewater treatment

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