Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 24

Search results for: Vasile Simulescu

24 SEC-MALLS Study of Hyaluronic Acid and BSA Thermal Degradation in Powder and in Solution

Authors: Vasile Simulescu, Jakub Mondek, Miloslav Pekař


Hyaluronic acid (HA) is an anionic glycosaminoglycan distributed throughout connective, epithelial and neural tissues. The importance of hyaluronic acid increased in the last decades. It has many applications in medicine and cosmetics. Hyaluronic acid has been used in attempts to treat osteoarthritis of the knee via injecting it into the joint. Bovine serum albumin (also known as BSA) is a protein derived from cows, which has many biochemical applications. The aim of our research work was to compare the thermal degradation of hyaluronic acid and BSA in powder and in solution, by determining changes in molar mass and conformation, by using SEC-MALLS (size exclusion chromatography -multi angle laser light scattering). The aim of our research work was to observe the degradation in powder and in solution of different molar mass hyaluronic acid samples, at different temperatures for certain periods. The degradation of the analyzed samples was mainly observed by modifications in molar mass.

Keywords: thermal degradation, hyaluronic acid, BSA, SEC-MALLS

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23 Synthesis, Characterization and Cytotoxic Effect of Eu2O3-doped ZnO Nanostructures

Authors: Otilia R. Vasile, Florina C. Ilie, Irina F. Nicoara, Cristina D. Ghitulica, Roxana Trusca, Ovidiu Oprea, Vasile A. Surdu, Bogdan S. Vasile, Ecaterina Adronescu


In this work ZnO nanostructures (nanopowders and nanostars) have been synthesized via a simple sol-gel method. The used methods for synthesizing the nanostructures involve two steps as follows: (1) precipitation of zinc acetate precursor for the synthesis of ZnO nanopowders and zinc chloride precursor for the synthesis of ZnO nanostars and (2) addition of Eu2O3 in different concentrations (1%, 3%, and 5%) using europium acetate as precursor. Detailed crystalline parameters for each of the synthetized species were analysed using X-ray diffraction. Structural transitions were also discussed. The structure and morphology of the as-prepared ZnO nanopowders and nanostars were investigated by electron microscopy. TEM investigations have shown an average particle size range from 23 to 29 nm and polyhedral and spherical morphology with tendency to form aggregates for nanopowders. For nanostars structures, a star-like morphology could be observed. Cytotoxicity tests on MG-63 cell lines were also performed. Photocatalytic activity of ZnO nanopowders have reached higher values compared to ZnO nanostars.

Keywords: cytotoxicity, photocatalytic activity, TEM, ZnO

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22 In vitro Cytotoxicity Study on Silver Powders Synthesized via Different Routes

Authors: Otilia Ruxandra Vasile, Ecaterina Andronescu, Cristina Daniela Ghitulica, Bogdan Stefan Vasile, Roxana Trusca, Eugeniu Vasile, Alina Maria Holban, Carmen Mariana Chifiriuc, Florin Iordache, Horia Maniu


Engineered powders offer great promise in several applications, but little information is known about cytotoxicity effects. The aim of the current study was the synthesis and cytotoxicity examination of silver powders using pyrosol method at temperatures of 600°C, 650°C and 700°C, respectively sol-gel method and calcinations at 500°C, 600°C, 700°C and 800°C. We have chosen to synthesize and examine silver particles cytotoxicity due to its use in biological applications. The synthesized Ag powders were characterized from the structural, compositional and morphological point of view by using XRD, SEM, and TEM with SAED. In order to determine the influence of the synthesis route on Ag particles cytotoxicity, different sizes of micro and nanosilver synthesized powders were evaluated for their potential toxicity. For the study of their cytotoxicity, cell cycle and apoptosis have been done analysis through flow cytometry on human colon carcinoma cells and mesenchymal stem cells and through the MTT assay, while the viability and the morphological changes of the cells have been evaluated by using cloning studies. The results showed that the synthesized silver nanoparticles have displayed significant cytotoxicity effects on cell cultures. Our synthesized silver powders were found to present toxicity in a synthesis route and time-dependent manners for pyrosol synthesized nanoparticles; whereas a lower cytotoxicity has been measured after cells were treated with silver nanoparticles synthesized through sol-gel method.

Keywords: Ag, cytotoxicity, pyrosol method, sol-gel method

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21 Molecular Docking Assessment of Pesticides Binding to Bacterial Chitinases

Authors: Diana Larisa Vladoiu, Vasile Ostafe, Adriana Isvoran


Molecular docking calculations reveal that pesticides provide favorable interactions with the bacterial chitinases. Pesticides interact with both hydrophilic and aromatic residues involved in the active site of the enzymes, their positions partially overlapping the substrate and the inhibitors locations. Molecular docking outcomes, in correlation with experimental literature data, suggest that the pesticides may be degraded or having an inhibitor effect on the activity of these enzymes, depending of the application dose and rate.

Keywords: chitinases, inhibition, molecular docking, pesticides

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20 Solution to Increase the Produced Power in Micro-Hydro Power Plant

Authors: Radu Pop, Adrian Bot, Vasile Rednic, Emil Bruj, Oana Raita, Liviu Vaida


Our research presents a study concerning optimization of water flow capture for micro-hydro power plants in order to increase the energy production. It is known that the fish ladder whole, were the water is capture is fix, and the water flow may vary with the river flow, this means that on the fish ladder we will have different servitude flows, sometimes more than needed. We propose to demonstrate that the ‘winter intake’ from micro-hydro power plant, could be automated with an intelligent system which is capable to read some imposed data and adjust the flow in to the needed value. With this automation concept, we demonstrate that the performance of the micro-hydro power plant could increase, in some flow operating regimes, with approx. 10%.

Keywords: energy, micro-hydro, water intake, fish ladder

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19 Econophysics: The Use of Entropy Measures in Finance

Authors: Muhammad Sheraz, Vasile Preda, Silvia Dedu


Concepts of econophysics are usually used to solve problems related to uncertainty and nonlinear dynamics. In the theory of option pricing the risk neutral probabilities play very important role. The application of entropy in finance can be regarded as the extension of both information entropy and the probability entropy. It can be an important tool in various financial methods such as measure of risk, portfolio selection, option pricing and asset pricing. Gulko applied Entropy Pricing Theory (EPT) for pricing stock options and introduced an alternative framework of Black-Scholes model for pricing European stock option. In this article, we present solutions to maximum entropy problems based on Tsallis, Weighted-Tsallis, Kaniadakis, Weighted-Kaniadakies entropies, to obtain risk-neutral densities. We have also obtained the value of European call and put in this framework.

Keywords: option pricing, Black-Scholes model, Tsallis entropy, Kaniadakis entropy, weighted entropy, risk-neutral density

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18 CPU Architecture Based on Static Hardware Scheduler Engine and Multiple Pipeline Registers

Authors: Ionel Zagan, Vasile Gheorghita Gaitan


The development of CPUs and of real-time systems based on them made it possible to use time at increasingly low resolutions. Together with the scheduling methods and algorithms, time organizing has been improved so as to respond positively to the need for optimization and to the way in which the CPU is used. This presentation contains both a detailed theoretical description and the results obtained from research on improving the performances of the nMPRA (Multi Pipeline Register Architecture) processor by implementing specific functions in hardware. The proposed CPU architecture has been developed, simulated and validated by using the FPGA Virtex-7 circuit, via a SoC project. Although the nMPRA processor hardware structure with five pipeline stages is very complex, the present paper presents and analyzes the tests dedicated to the implementation of the CPU and of the memory on-chip for instructions and data. In order to practically implement and test the entire SoC project, various tests have been performed. These tests have been performed in order to verify the drivers for peripherals and the boot module named Bootloader.

Keywords: hardware scheduler, nMPRA processor, real-time systems, scheduling methods

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17 Improving the Performances of the nMPRA Architecture by Implementing Specific Functions in Hardware

Authors: Ionel Zagan, Vasile Gheorghita Gaitan


Minimizing the response time to asynchronous events in a real-time system is an important factor in increasing the speed of response and an interesting concept in designing equipment fast enough for the most demanding applications. The present article will present the results regarding the validation of the nMPRA (Multi Pipeline Register Architecture) architecture using the FPGA Virtex-7 circuit. The nMPRA concept is a hardware processor with the scheduler implemented at the processor level; this is done without affecting a possible bus communication, as is the case with the other CPU solutions. The implementation of static or dynamic scheduling operations in hardware and the improvement of handling interrupts and events by the real-time executive described in the present article represent a key solution for eliminating the overhead of the operating system functions. The nMPRA processor is capable of executing a preemptive scheduling, using various algorithms without a software scheduler. Therefore, we have also presented various scheduling methods and algorithms used in scheduling the real-time tasks.

Keywords: nMPRA architecture, pipeline processor, preemptive scheduling, real-time system

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16 A Comparative Case Study on Teaching Romanian Language to Foreign Students: Swedes in Lund versus Arabs in Alba Iulia

Authors: Lucian Vasile Bagiu, Paraschiva Bagiu


The study is a contrastive essay on language acquisition and learning and follows the outcomes of teaching Romanian language to foreign students both at Lund University, Sweden (from 2014 to 2017) and at '1 Decembrie 1918' University in Alba Iulia, Romania (2017-2018). Having employed the same teaching methodology (on campus, same curricula) for the same level of study (beginners’ level: A1-A2), the essay focuses on the written exam at the end of the semester. The study argues on grammar exercises concerned with: the indefinite and the definite article; the conjugation of verbs in the present indicative; the possessive; verbs in the past tense; the subjunctive; the degrees of comparison for adjectives. Identifying similar errors when solving identical grammar exercises by different groups of foreign students is an opportunity to emphasize the major challenges any foreigner has to face and overcome when trying to acquire Romanian language. The conclusion draws attention to the complexity of the morphology of Romanian language in several key elements which may be insurmountable for a foreign speaker no matter if the language acquisition takes place in a foreign country or a Romanian university.

Keywords: Arab students, morphological errors, Romanian language, Swedish students, written exam

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15 Microstructural and Corrosion Analysis of a Ti-Nb-Ta Biocompatible Dental Implant Alloy

Authors: Roxana Maria Angelescu, Doina Răducanu, Mariana Lucia Angelescu, Ion Cincă, Vasile Dănuţ Cojocaru, Cosmin Cotruț, Şerban Nicolae


Titanium alloys are often used for biomedical applications as hard tissue replacements, such as: orthopedic implants, spinal fixation devices and dental implants. Their advantages are well known and demonstrated: excellent mechanical properties, biocompatibility and good corrosion resistance, but it is also known that the main disadvantage of the metallic materials is their tendency of corrosion in in-vivo environments. In 1987, titanium was found to be the only metallic biomaterial that osseointegrates. The aim of this study was to investigate the microstructure and the corrosion behavior of the Ti-20Nb-5Ta wt% alloy. In this case Nb stabilizes the β-Ti structure and Ta is a highly passivating metal. The as studied alloy was melt under argon protective atmosphere in a levitation induction melting furnace, type FIVE CELES - MP25, with a nominal power of 25 kW and a melting capacity of 30 cm3. The microstructure of the as studied alloy was analyzed by using the electronic microscope Tescan Vega II-XMU. The phase structure of the as studied alloy was determined, as well as the crystalline grain size (100-200µ). To determine the corrosion behavior of the as studied alloy, the technique used was the linear polarization, with the PARSTAT 4000 potentiostat, produced by Princeton Applied Research; potentiodynamic curves were obtained with the VeraStudio v.2.4.2 software.

Keywords: corrosion resistance, microstructure, titanium alloys

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14 Portable Cardiac Monitoring System Based on Real-Time Microcontroller and Multiple Communication Interfaces

Authors: Ionel Zagan, Vasile Gheorghita Gaitan, Adrian Brezulianu


This paper presents the contributions in designing a mobile system named Tele-ECG implemented for remote monitoring of cardiac patients. For a better flexibility of this application, the authors chose to implement a local memory and multiple communication interfaces. The project described in this presentation is based on the ARM Cortex M0+ microcontroller and the ADAS1000 dedicated chip necessary for the collection and transmission of Electrocardiogram signals (ECG) from the patient to the microcontroller, without altering the performances and the stability of the system. The novelty brought by this paper is the implementation of a remote monitoring system for cardiac patients, having a real-time behavior and multiple interfaces. The microcontroller is responsible for processing digital signals corresponding to ECG and also for the implementation of communication interface with the main server, using GSM/Bluetooth SIMCOM SIM800C module. This paper translates all the characteristics of the Tele-ECG project representing a feasible implementation in the biomedical field. Acknowledgment: This paper was supported by the project 'Development and integration of a mobile tele-electrocardiograph in the GreenCARDIO© system for patients monitoring and diagnosis - m-GreenCARDIO', Contract no. BG58/30.09.2016, PNCDI III, Bridge Grant 2016, using the infrastructure from the project 'Integrated Center for research, development and innovation in Advanced Materials, Nanotechnologies, and Distributed Systems for fabrication and control', Contract No. 671/09.04.2015, Sectoral Operational Program for Increase of the Economic Competitiveness co-funded from the European Regional Development Fund.

Keywords: Tele-ECG, real-time cardiac monitoring, electrocardiogram, microcontroller

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13 Strain Sensing Seams for Monitoring Body Movement

Authors: Sheilla Atieno Odhiambo, Simona Vasile, Alexandra De Raeve, Ann Schwarz


Strain sensing seams have been developed by integrating conductive sewing threads in different types of seams design on a fabric typical for sports clothing using sewing technology. The aim is to have a simple integrated textile strain sensor that can be applied to sports clothing to monitor the movements of the upper body parts of the user during sports. Different types of commercially available sewing threads were used as the bobbin thread in the production of different architectural seam sensors. These conductive sewing threads have been integrated into seams in particular designs using specific seam types. Some of the threads are delicate and needed to be laid into the seam with as little friction as possible and less tension; thus, they could only be sewn in as the bobbin thread and not the needle thread. Stitch type 304; 406; 506; 601;602; 605. were produced. The seams were made on a fabric of 80% polyamide 6.6 and 20% elastane. The seams were cycled(stretch-release-stretch) for five cycles and up to 44 cycles following EN ISO 14704-1: 2005 (modified), using a tensile instrument and the changes in the resistance of the seams with time were recorded using Agilent meter U1273A. Both experiments were conducted simultaneously on the same seam sample. Sensing functionality, among which is sensor gauge and reliability, were evaluated on the promising sensor seams. The results show that the sensor seams made from HC Madeira 40 conductive yarns performed better inseam stitch 304 and 602 compared to the other combination of stitch type and conductive sewing threads. These sensing seams 304, 406 and 602 will further be interconnected to our developed processing and communicating unit and further integrated into a sports clothing prototype that can track body posture. This research is done within the framework of the project SmartSeam.

Keywords: conductive sewing thread, sensing seams, smart seam, sewing technology

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12 Innovative Technologies for Aeration and Feeding of Fish in Aquaculture with Minimal Impact on the Environment

Authors: Vasile Caunii, Andreea D. Serban, Mihaela Ivancia


The paper presents a new approach in terms of the circular economy of technologies for feeding and aeration of accumulations and water basins for fish farming and aquaculture. Because fish is and will be one of the main foods on the planet, the use of bio-eco-technologies is a priority for all producers. The technologies proposed in the paper want to reduce by a substantial percentage the costs of operation of ponds and water accumulation, using non-polluting technologies with minimal impact on the environment. The paper proposes two innovative, intelligent systems, fully automated that use a common platform, completely eco-friendly. One system is intended to aerate the water of the fish pond, and the second is intended to feed the fish by dispersing an optimal amount of fodder, depending on population size, age and habits. Both systems use a floating platform, regenerative energy sources, are equipped with intelligent and innovative systems, and in addition to fully automated operation, significantly reduce the costs of aerating water accumulations (natural or artificial) and feeding fish. The intelligent system used for feeding, in addition, to reduce operating costs, optimizes the amount of food, thus preventing water pollution and the development of bacteria, microorganisms. The advantages of the systems are: increasing the yield of fish production, these are green installations, with zero pollutant emissions, can be arranged anywhere on the water surface, depending on the user's needs, can operate autonomously or remotely controlled, if there is a component failure, the system provides the operator with accurate data on the issue, significantly reducing maintenance costs, transmit data about the water physical and chemical parameters.

Keywords: bio-eco-technologies, economy, environment, fish

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11 Carbon, Nitrogen Doped TiO2 Macro/Mesoporous Monoliths with High Visible Light Absorption for Photocatalytic Wastewater Treatment

Authors: Paolo Boscaro, Vasile Hulea, François Fajula, Francis Luck, Anne Galarneau


TiO2 based monoliths with hierarchical macropores and mesopores have been synthesized following a novel one pot sol-gel synthesis method. Taking advantage of spinodal separation that occurs between titanium isopropoxide and an acidic solution in presence of polyethylene oxide polymer, monoliths with homogeneous interconnected macropres of 3 μm in diameter and mesopores of ca. 6 nm (surface area 150 m2/g) are obtained. Furthermore, these monoliths present some carbon and nitrogen (as shown by XPS and elemental analysis), which considerably reduce titanium oxide energy gap and enable light to be absorbed up to 700 nm wavelength. XRD shows that anatase is the dominant phase with a small amount of brookite. Enhanced light absorption and high porosity of the monoliths are responsible for a remarkable photocatalytic activity. Wastewater treatment has been performed in closed reactor under sunlight using orange G dye as target molecule. Glass reactors guarantee that most of UV radiations (to almost 300 nm) of solar spectrum are excluded. TiO2 nanoparticles P25 (usually used in photocatalysis under UV) and un-doped TiO2 monoliths with similar porosity were used as comparison. C,N-doped TiO2 monolith allowed a complete colorant degradation in less than 1 hour, whereas 10 h are necessary for 40% colorant degradation with P25 and un-doped monolith. Experiment performed in the dark shows that only 3% of molecules have been adsorbed in the C,N-doped TiO2 monolith within 1 hour. The much higher efficiency of C,N-doped TiO2 monolith in comparison to P25 and un-doped monolith, proves that doping TiO2 is an essential issue and that nitrogen and carbon are effective dopants. Monoliths offer multiples advantages in respect to nanometric powders: sample can be easily removed from batch (no needs to filter or to centrifuge). Moreover flow reactions can be set up with cylindrical or flat monoliths by simple sheathing or by locking them with O-rings.

Keywords: C-N doped, sunlight photocatalytic activity, TiO2 monolith, visible absorbance

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10 Synthesis and Characterization of Graphene Composites with Application for Sustainable Energy

Authors: Daniel F. Sava, Anton Ficai, Bogdan S. Vasile, Georgeta Voicu, Ecaterina Andronescu


The energy crisis and environmental contamination are very serious problems, therefore searching for better and sustainable renewable energy is a must. It is predicted that the global energy demand will double until 2050. Solar water splitting and photocatalysis are considered as one of the solutions to these issues. The use of oxide semiconductors for solar water splitting and photocatalysis started in 1972 with the experiments of Fujishima and Honda on TiO2 electrodes. Since then, the evolution of nanoscience and characterization methods leads to a better control of size, shape and properties of materials. Although the past decade advancements are astonishing, for these applications the properties have to be controlled at a much finer level, allowing the control of charge-carrier lives, energy level positions, charge trapping centers, etc. Graphene has attracted a lot of attention, since its discovery in 2004, due to the excellent electrical, optical, mechanical and thermal properties that it possesses. These properties make it an ideal support for photocatalysts, thus graphene composites with oxide semiconductors are of great interest. We present in this work the synthesis and characterization of graphene-related materials and oxide semiconductors and their different composites. These materials can be used in constructing devices for different applications (batteries, water splitting devices, solar cells, etc), thus showing their application flexibility. The synthesized materials are different morphologies and sizes of TiO2, ZnO and Fe2O3 that are obtained through hydrothermal, sol-gel methods and graphene oxide which is synthesized through a modified Hummer method and reduced with different agents. Graphene oxide and the reduced form could also be used as a single material for transparent conductive films. The obtained single materials and composites were characterized through several methods: XRD, SEM, TEM, IR spectroscopy, RAMAN, XPS and BET adsorption/desorption isotherms. From the results, we see the variation of the properties with the variation of synthesis parameters, size and morphology of the particles.

Keywords: composites, graphene, hydrothermal, renewable energy

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9 The Diary of Dracula, by Marin Mincu: Inquiries into a Romanian 'Book of Wisdom' as a Fictional Counterpart for Corpus Hermeticum

Authors: Lucian Vasile Bagiu, Paraschiva Bagiu


The novel written in Italian and published in Italy in 1992 by the Romanian scholar Marin Mincu is meant for the foreign reader, aiming apparently at a better knowledge of the historical character of Vlad the Empalor (Vlad Dracul), within the European cultural, political and historical context of 1463. Throughout the very well written tome, one comes to realize that one of the underlining levels of the fiction is the exposing of various fundamental features of the Romanian culture and civilization. The author of the diary, Dracula, makes mention of Corpus Hermeticum no less than fifteen times, suggesting his own diary is some sort of a philosophical counterpart. The essay focuses on several ‘truths’ and ‘wisdom’ revealed in the fictional teachings of Dracula. The boycott of History by the Romanians is identified as an echo of the philosophical approach of the famous Romanian scholar and writer Lucian Blaga. The orality of the Romanian culture is a landmark opposed to written culture of the Western Europe. The religion of the ancient Dacian God Zalmoxis is seen as the basis for the Romanian existential and/or metaphysical ethnic philosophy (a feature tackled by the famous Romanian historian of religion Mircea Eliade), with a suggestion that Hermes Trismegistus may have written his Corpus Hermeticum being influenced by Zalmoxis. The historical figure of the last Dacian king Decebalus (death 106 AD) is a good pretext for a tantalizing Indo-European suggestion that the prehistoric Thraco-Dacian people may have been the ancestors of the first Romans settled in Latium. The lost diary of the Emperor Trajan The Bello Dacico may have proved that the unknown language of the Dacians was very much alike Latin language (a secret well hidden by the Vatican). The attitude towards death of the Dacians, as described by Herodotus, may have later inspired Pitagora, Socrates, the Eleusinian and Orphic Mysteries, etc. All of these within the Humanistic and Renascentist European context of the epoch, Dracula having a close relationship with scholars such as Nicolaus Cusanus, Cosimo de Medici, Marsilio Ficino, Pope Pius II, etc. Thus The Diary of Dracula turns out as exciting and stupefying as Corpus Hermeticum, a book impossible to assimilate entirely, yet a reference not wise to be ignored.

Keywords: Corpus Hermeticum, Dacians, Dracula, Zalmoxis

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8 Flexible Design Solutions for Complex Free form Geometries Aimed to Optimize Performances and Resources Consumption

Authors: Vlad Andrei Raducanu, Mariana Lucia Angelescu, Ion Cinca, Vasile Danut Cojocaru, Doina Raducanu


By using smart digital tools, such as generative design (GD) and digital fabrication (DF), problems of high actuality concerning resources optimization (materials, energy, time) can be solved and applications or products of free-form type can be created. In the new digital technology materials are active, designed in response to a set of performance requirements, which impose a total rethinking of old material practices. The article presents the design procedure key steps of a free-form architectural object - a column type one with connections to get an adaptive 3D surface, by using the parametric design methodology and by exploiting the properties of conventional metallic materials. In parametric design the form of the created object or space is shaped by varying the parameters values and relationships between the forms are described by mathematical equations. Digital parametric design is based on specific procedures, as shape grammars, Lindenmayer - systems, cellular automata, genetic algorithms or swarm intelligence, each of these procedures having limitations which make them applicable only in certain cases. In the paper the design process stages and the shape grammar type algorithm are presented. The generative design process relies on two basic principles: the modeling principle and the generative principle. The generative method is based on a form finding process, by creating many 3D spatial forms, using an algorithm conceived in order to apply its generating logic onto different input geometry. Once the algorithm is realized, it can be applied repeatedly to generate the geometry for a number of different input surfaces. The generated configurations are then analyzed through a technical or aesthetic selection criterion and finally the optimal solution is selected. Endless range of generative capacity of codes and algorithms used in digital design offers various conceptual possibilities and optimal solutions for both technical and environmental increasing demands of building industry and architecture. Constructions or spaces generated by parametric design can be specifically tuned, in order to meet certain technical or aesthetical requirements. The proposed approach has direct applicability in sustainable architecture, offering important potential economic advantages, a flexible design (which can be changed until the end of the design process) and unique geometric models of high performance.

Keywords: parametric design, algorithmic procedures, free-form architectural object, sustainable architecture

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7 Carbon-Supported Pd Nano-Particles as Green Catalysts for the Production of Fuels from Biomass

Authors: Andrea Dragu, Solen Kinayyigit, Valerie Colliere, Karin Karin Philippot, Camelia Bala, Vasile I. Parvulescu


The production of transportation fuels from biomass has gained a growing attention due to diminishing fossil fuel reserves, rising petroleum prices and increasing concern about global warming. In recent years, renewable hydrocarbons that are completely fungible with fossil fuels have been suggested to be efficiently produced by catalytic deoxygenation of fatty acids and their derivatives viadecarboxylation / decarbonylation. Several triglycerides (tall oil fatty acids) and saturated/unsaturated fatty acids and their corresponding esters were used as feedstocks. Their impact together with the influence of the reaction conditions and the catalyst composition on the nature of the reaction pathways of the deoxygenation of vegetable oils and their derivatives were recently reviewed. Following this state of the art the aim of the present study was the investigation of Pd NPs deposited onto mesoporous carbon supports as active and stable catalysts for the deoxygenation of oleic acid. The catalysts were prepared by the deposition of Pd NPs synthesised following an organometallic route on mesoporous carbons with different characteristics. Experiments were carried out under both batch and flow conditions. They demonstrated that under batch conditions (200 atm; 573K), the extent of the reaction depended, firstly, on the Pd loading and then on the metal dispersion and the oxidation state of palladium, both influenced by the way the support has been treated before the NPs deposition and by the preparation/stabilization methodology of Pd NPs. No aromatic compounds were detected in the reaction products but octadecanol and octadecane were observed in large extents. Under flow conditions (4 atm; 573 K), the conversion of stearic acid was superior to that observed in batch conditions. The product mixture contained over 20% heptadecane. No octadecanol, octadecane, and aromatic compounds were detected. The maxima in performances are obtained after only 0.5 h. After that, the yields in heptadecane suffer from a severe decrease until 3h reaction time. However, at that time, stopping feeding the reactor with oleic acid and flushing the catalyst only with mesitylene recovered the activity and the selectivity of the catalysts. With the complete removal of H2, the analysis revealed the presence of heptadecene in high excess compared to heptadecane (almost 7 to 1), thus suggesting decarbonylation as the main route. ICP-OES measurements indicated no leaching of palladium and simple washing of catalysts with mesitylene allowed recycling without any change in conversion or product distribution. Noteworthy, mesitylene as solvent exhibited no effect in this reaction. In conclusion, this study demonstrates the feasibility of such catalysts for the green production of fuels from biomass.

Keywords: fuels from biomass, green catalyst, Pd nano-particles , recycble catalyst

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6 A Cloud-Based Federated Identity Management in Europe

Authors: Jesus Carretero, Mario Vasile, Guillermo Izquierdo, Javier Garcia-Blas


Currently, there is a so called ‘identity crisis’ in cybersecurity caused by the substantial security, privacy and usability shortcomings encountered in existing systems for identity management. Federated Identity Management (FIM) could be solution for this crisis, as it is a method that facilitates management of identity processes and policies among collaborating entities without enforcing a global consistency, that is difficult to achieve when there are ID legacy systems. To cope with this problem, the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) initiative proposed in 2014 a federated solution in anticipation of the adoption of the Regulation (EU) N°910/2014, the so-called eIDAS Regulation. At present, a network of eIDAS Nodes is being deployed at European level to allow that every citizen recognized by a member state is to be recognized within the trust network at European level, enabling the consumption of services in other member states that, until now were not allowed, or whose concession was tedious. This is a very ambitious approach, since it tends to enable cross-border authentication of Member States citizens without the need to unify the authentication method (eID Scheme) of the member state in question. However, this federation is currently managed by member states and it is initially applied only to citizens and public organizations. The goal of this paper is to present the results of a European Project, named [email protected], that focuses on the integration of eID in 5 cloud platforms belonging to authentication service providers of different EU Member States to act as Service Providers (SP) for private entities. We propose an initiative based on a private eID Scheme both for natural and legal persons. The methodology followed in the [email protected] project is that each Identity Provider (IdP) is subscribed to an eIDAS Node Connector, requesting for authentication, that is subscribed to an eIDAS Node Proxy Service, issuing authentication assertions. To cope with high loads, load balancing is supported in the eIDAS Node. The [email protected] project is still going on, but we already have some important outcomes. First, we have deployed the federation identity nodes and tested it from the security and performance point of view. The pilot prototype has shown the feasibility of deploying this kind of systems, ensuring good performance due to the replication of the eIDAS nodes and the load balance mechanism. Second, our solution avoids the propagation of identity data out of the native domain of the user or entity being identified, which avoids problems well known in cybersecurity due to network interception, man in the middle attack, etc. Last, but not least, this system allows to connect any country or collectivity easily, providing incremental development of the network and avoiding difficult political negotiations to agree on a single authentication format (which would be a major stopper).

Keywords: cybersecurity, identity federation, trust, user authentication

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5 Superparamagnetic Core Shell Catalysts for the Environmental Production of Fuels from Renewable Lignin

Authors: Cristina Opris, Bogdan Cojocaru, Madalina Tudorache, Simona M. Coman, Vasile I. Parvulescu, Camelia Bala, Bahir Duraki, Jeroen A. Van Bokhoven


The tremendous achievements in the development of the society concretized by more sophisticated materials and systems are merely based on non-renewable resources. Consequently, after more than two centuries of intensive development, among others, we are faced with the decrease of the fossil fuel reserves, an increased impact of the greenhouse gases on the environment, and economic effects caused by the fluctuations in oil and mineral resource prices. The use of biomass may solve part of these problems, and recent analyses demonstrated that from the perspective of the reduction of the emissions of carbon dioxide, its valorization may bring important advantages conditioned by the usage of genetic modified fast growing trees or wastes, as primary sources. In this context, the abundance and complex structure of lignin may offer various possibilities of exploitation. However, its transformation in fuels or chemicals supposes a complex chemistry involving the cleavage of C-O and C-C bonds and altering of the functional groups. Chemistry offered various solutions in this sense. However, despite the intense work, there are still many drawbacks limiting the industrial application. Thus, the proposed technologies considered mainly homogeneous catalysts meaning expensive noble metals based systems that are hard to be recovered at the end of the reaction. Also, the reactions were carried out in organic solvents that are not acceptable today from the environmental point of view. To avoid these problems, the concept of this work was to investigate the synthesis of superparamagnetic core shell catalysts for the fragmentation of lignin directly in the aqueous phase. The magnetic nanoparticles were covered with a nanoshell of an oxide (niobia) with a double role: to protect the magnetic nanoparticles and to generate a proper (acidic) catalytic function and, on this composite, cobalt nanoparticles were deposed in order to catalyze the C-C bond splitting. With this purpose, we developed a protocol to prepare multifunctional and magnetic separable nano-composite [email protected]@Fe3O4 catalysts. We have also established an analytic protocol for the identification and quantification of the fragments resulted from lignin depolymerization in both liquid and solid phase. The fragmentation of various lignins occurred on the prepared materials in high yields and with very good selectivity in the desired fragments. The optimization of the catalyst composition indicated a cobalt loading of 4wt% as optimal. Working at 180 oC and 10 atm H2 this catalyst allowed a conversion of lignin up to 60% leading to a mixture containing over 96% in C20-C28 and C29-C37 fragments that were then completely fragmented to C12-C16 in a second stage. The investigated catalysts were completely recyclable, and no leaching of the elements included in the composition was determined by inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES).

Keywords: superparamagnetic core-shell catalysts, environmental production of fuels, renewable lignin, recyclable catalysts

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4 Ectopic Osteoinduction of Porous Composite Scaffolds Reinforced with Graphene Oxide and Hydroxyapatite Gradient Density

Authors: G. M. Vlasceanu, H. Iovu, E. Vasile, M. Ionita


Herein, the synthesis and characterization of chitosan-gelatin highly porous scaffold reinforced with graphene oxide, and hydroxyapatite (HAp), crosslinked with genipin was targeted. In tissue engineering, chitosan and gelatin are two of the most robust biopolymers with wide applicability due to intrinsic biocompatibility, biodegradability, low antigenicity properties, affordability, and ease of processing. HAp, per its exceptional activity in tuning cell-matrix interactions, is acknowledged for its capability of sustaining cellular proliferation by promoting bone-like native micro-media for cell adjustment. Genipin is regarded as a top class cross-linker, while graphene oxide (GO) is viewed as one of the most performant and versatile fillers. The composites with natural bone HAp/biopolymer ratio were obtained by cascading sonochemical treatments, followed by uncomplicated casting methods and by freeze-drying. Their structure was characterized by Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy and X-ray Diffraction, while overall morphology was investigated by Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and micro-Computer Tomography (µ-CT). Ensuing that, in vitro enzyme degradation was performed to detect the most promising compositions for the development of in vivo assays. Suitable GO dispersion was ascertained within the biopolymer mix as nanolayers specific signals lack in both FTIR and XRD spectra, and the specific spectral features of the polymers persisted with GO load enhancement. Overall, correlations between the GO induced material structuration, crystallinity variations, and chemical interaction of the compounds can be correlated with the physical features and bioactivity of each composite formulation. Moreover, the HAp distribution within follows an auspicious density gradient tuned for hybrid osseous/cartilage matter architectures, which were mirrored in the mice model tests. Hence, the synthesis route of a natural polymer blend/hydroxyapatite-graphene oxide composite material is anticipated to emerge as influential formulation in bone tissue engineering. Acknowledgement: This work was supported by the project 'Work-based learning systems using entrepreneurship grants for doctoral and post-doctoral students' (Sisteme de invatare bazate pe munca prin burse antreprenor pentru doctoranzi si postdoctoranzi) - SIMBA, SMIS code 124705 and by a grant of the National Authority for Scientific Research and Innovation, Operational Program Competitiveness Axis 1 - Section E, Program co-financed from European Regional Development Fund 'Investments for your future' under the project number 154/25.11.2016, P_37_221/2015. The nano-CT experiments were possible due to European Regional Development Fund through Competitiveness Operational Program 2014-2020, Priority axis 1, ID P_36_611, MySMIS code 107066, INOVABIOMED.

Keywords: biopolymer blend, ectopic osteoinduction, graphene oxide composite, hydroxyapatite

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3 Preparation and Characterization of Anti-Acne Dermal Products Based on Erythromycin β-Cyclodextrin Lactide Complex

Authors: Lacramioara Ochiuz, Manuela Hortolomei, Aurelia Vasile, Iulian Stoleriu, Marcel Popa, Cristian Peptu


Local antibiotherapy is one of the most effective acne therapies. Erythromycin (ER) is a macrolide antibiotic topically administered for over 30 years in the form of gel, ointment or hydroalcoholic solution for the acne therapy. The use of ER as a base for topical dosage forms raises some technological challenges due to the physicochemical properties of this substance. The main disadvantage of ER is the poor water solubility (2 mg/mL) that limits both formulation using hydrophilic bases and skin permeability. Cyclodextrins (CDs) are biocompatible cyclic oligomers of glucose, with hydrophobic core and hydrophilic exterior. CDs are used to improve the bioavailability of drugs by increasing their solubility and/or their rate of dissolution after including the poorly water soluble substances (such as ER) in the hydrophobic cavity of CDs. Adding CDs leads to the increase of solubility and improved stability of the drug substance, increased permeability of substances of low water solubility, decreased toxicity and even to active dose reduction as a result of increased bioavailability. CDs increase skin tolerability by reducing the irritant effect of certain substances. We have included ER to lactide modified β-cyclodextrin, in order to improve the therapeutic effect of topically administered ER. The aims of the present study were to synthesise and describe a new complex with prolonged release of ER with lactide modified β-cyclodextrin (CD-LA_E), to investigate the CD-LA_E complex by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), to analyse the effect of semisolid base on the in vitro and ex vivo release characteristics of ER in the CD-LA_E complex by assessing the permeability coefficient and the release kinetics by fitting on mathematical models. SEM showed that, by complexation, ER changes its crystal structure and enters the amorphous phase. FTIR analysis has shown that certain specific bands of some groups in the ER structure move during the incapsulation process. The structure of the CD-LA_E complex has a molar ratio of 2.12 to 1 between lactide modified β-cyclodextrin and ER. The three semisolid bases (2% Carbopol, 13% Lutrol 127 and organogel based on Lutrol and isopropyl myristate) show a good capacity for incorporating the CD-LA_E complex, having a content of active ingredient ranging from 98.3% to 101.5% as compared to the declared value of 2% ER. The results of the in vitro dissolution test showed that the ER solubility was significantly increased by CDs incapsulation. The amount of ER released from the CD-LA_E gels was in the range of 76.23% to 89.01%, whereas gels based on ER released a maximum percentage of 26.01% ER. The ex vivo dissolution test confirms the increased ER solubility achieved by complexation, and supports the assumption that the use of this process might increase ER permeability. The highest permeability coefficient was obtained in ER released from gel based on 2% Carbopol: in vitro 33.33 μg/cm2/h, and ex vivo 26.82 μg/cm2/h, respectively. The release kinetics of complexed ER is performed by Fickian diffusion, according to the results obtained by fitting the data in the Korsmeyer-Peppas model.

Keywords: erythromycin, acne, lactide, cyclodextrin

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2 The Optimization of Topical Antineoplastic Therapy Using Controlled Release Systems Based on Amino-functionalized Mesoporous Silica

Authors: Lacramioara Ochiuz, Aurelia Vasile, Iulian Stoleriu, Cristina Ghiciuc, Maria Ignat


Topical administration of chemotherapeutic agents (eg. carmustine, bexarotene, mechlorethamine etc.) in local treatment of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) is accompanied by multiple side effects, such as contact hypersensitivity, pruritus, skin atrophy or even secondary malignancies. A known method of reducing the side effects of anticancer agent is the development of modified drug release systems using drug incapsulation in biocompatible nanoporous inorganic matrices, such as mesoporous MCM-41 silica. Mesoporous MCM-41 silica is characterized by large specific surface, high pore volume, uniform porosity, and stable dispersion in aqueous medium, excellent biocompatibility, in vivo biodegradability and capacity to be functionalized with different organic groups. Therefore, MCM-41 is an attractive candidate for a wide range of biomedical applications, such as controlled drug release, bone regeneration, protein immobilization, enzymes, etc. The main advantage of this material lies in its ability to host a large amount of the active substance in uniform pore system with adjustable size in a mesoscopic range. Silanol groups allow surface controlled functionalization leading to control of drug loading and release. This study shows (I) the amino-grafting optimization of mesoporous MCM-41 silica matrix by means of co-condensation during synthesis and post-synthesis using APTES (3-aminopropyltriethoxysilane); (ii) loading the therapeutic agent (carmustine) obtaining a modified drug release systems; (iii) determining the profile of in vitro carmustine release from these systems; (iv) assessment of carmustine release kinetics by fitting on four mathematical models. Obtained powders have been described in terms of structure, texture, morphology thermogravimetric analysis. The concentration of the therapeutic agent in the dissolution medium has been determined by HPLC method. In vitro dissolution tests have been done using cell Enhancer in a 12 hours interval. Analysis of carmustine release kinetics from mesoporous systems was made by fitting to zero-order model, first-order model Higuchi model and Korsmeyer-Peppas model, respectively. Results showed that both types of highly ordered mesoporous silica (amino grafted by co-condensation process or post-synthesis) are thermally stable in aqueous medium. In what regards the degree of loading and efficiency of loading with the therapeutic agent, there has been noticed an increase of around 10% in case of co-condensation method application. This result shows that direct co-condensation leads to even distribution of amino groups on the pore walls while in case of post-synthesis grafting many amino groups are concentrated near the pore opening and/or on external surface. In vitro dissolution tests showed an extended carmustine release (more than 86% m/m) both from systems based on silica functionalized directly by co-condensation and after synthesis. Assessment of carmustine release kinetics revealed a release through diffusion from all studied systems as a result of fitting to Higuchi model. The results of this study proved that amino-functionalized mesoporous silica may be used as a matrix for optimizing the anti-cancer topical therapy by loading carmustine and developing prolonged-release systems.

Keywords: carmustine, silica, controlled, release

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1 A Tool to Provide Advanced Secure Exchange of Electronic Documents through Europe

Authors: Jesus Carretero, Mario Vasile, Javier Garcia-Blas, Felix Garcia-Carballeira


Supporting cross-border secure and reliable exchange of data and documents and to promote data interoperability is critical for Europe to enhance sector (like eFinance, eJustice and eHealth). This work presents the status and results of the European Project MADE, a Research Project funded by Connecting Europe facility Programme, to provide secure e-invoicing and e-document exchange systems among Europe countries in compliance with the eIDAS Regulation (Regulation EU 910/2014 on electronic identification and trust services). The main goal of MADE is to develop six new AS4 Access Points and SMP in Europe to provide secure document exchanges using the eDelivery DSI (Digital Service Infrastructure) amongst both private and public entities. Moreover, the project demonstrates the feasibility and interest of the solution provided by providing several months of interoperability among the providers of the six partners in different EU countries. To achieve those goals, we have followed a methodology setting first a common background for requirements in the partner countries and the European regulations. Then, the partners have implemented access points in each country, including their service metadata publisher (SMP), to allow the access to their clients to the pan-European network. Finally, we have setup interoperability tests with the other access points of the consortium. The tests will include the use of each entity production-ready Information Systems that process the data to confirm all steps of the data exchange. For the access points, we have chosen AS4 instead of other existing alternatives because it supports multiple payloads, native web services, pulling facilities, lightweight client implementations, modern crypto algorithms, and more authentication types, like username-password and X.509 authentication and SAML authentication. The main contribution of MADE project is to open the path for European companies to use eDelivery services with cross-border exchange of electronic documents following PEPPOL (Pan-European Public Procurement Online) based on the e-SENS AS4 Profile. It also includes the development/integration of new components, integration of new and existing logging and traceability solutions and maintenance tool support for PKI. Moreover, we have found that most companies are still not ready to support those profiles. Thus further efforts will be needed to promote this technology into the companies. The consortium includes the following 9 partners. From them, 2 are research institutions: University Carlos III of Madrid (Coordinator), and Universidad Politecnica de Valencia. The other 7 (EDICOM, BIZbrains, Officient, Aksesspunkt Norge, eConnect, LMT group, Unimaze) are private entities specialized in secure delivery of electronic documents and information integration brokerage in their respective countries. To achieve cross-border operativity, they will include AS4 and SMP services in their platforms according to the EU Core Service Platform. Made project is instrumental to test the feasibility of cross-border documents eDelivery in Europe. If successful, not only einvoices, but many other types of documents will be securely exchanged through Europe. It will be the base to extend the network to the whole Europe. This project has been funded under the Connecting Europe Facility Agreement number: INEA/CEF/ICT/A2016/1278042. Action No: 2016-EU-IA-0063.

Keywords: security, e-delivery, e-invoicing, e-delivery, e-document exchange, trust

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