Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 22

Search results for: Vinicius R. Domingues

22 The Challenges for Engineers to Change the Construction Method in Brazil

Authors: Yuri B. Cesarino, Vinícius R. Domingues, Darym J. F. Campos


Developing countries have some restrains towards the adoption of new technologies and construction methods. Some nations, such as Brazil, still use conventional construction methodologies, knowing its lesser cost-effectiveness. This research has been conducted to demonstrate how industrialized construction methods should be implemented in Brazil, especially in times of need. Using the common sense among different authors with different perspectives, it is clear that the second method is more suitable for construction development because of its great advantages. However, it is unlikely for this process to be adopted in the country as a result of several social-economic restraints. Nonetheless, Brazilian engineers have a major challenge ahead of them, and it will take more than creativity to solve such an issue.

Keywords: Brazilian engineers, construction methods, industrialized construction, infrastructure

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21 A Brief Study about Nonparametric Adherence Tests

Authors: Vinicius R. Domingues, Luan C. S. M. Ozelim


The statistical study has become indispensable for various fields of knowledge. Not any different, in Geotechnics the study of probabilistic and statistical methods has gained power considering its use in characterizing the uncertainties inherent in soil properties. One of the situations where engineers are constantly faced is the definition of a probability distribution that represents significantly the sampled data. To be able to discard bad distributions, goodness-of-fit tests are necessary. In this paper, three non-parametric goodness-of-fit tests are applied to a data set computationally generated to test the goodness-of-fit of them to a series of known distributions. It is shown that the use of normal distribution does not always provide satisfactory results regarding physical and behavioral representation of the modeled parameters.

Keywords: Kolmogorov-Smirnov test, Anderson-Darling test, Cramer-Von-Mises test, nonparametric adherence tests

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20 Numerical Analysis of Rapid Drawdown in Dams Based on Brazilian Standards

Authors: Renato Santos Paulinelli Raposo, Vinicius Resende Domingues, Manoel Porfirio Cordao Neto


Rapid drawdown is one of the cases referred to ground stability study in dam projects. Due to the complexity generated by the combination of loads and the difficulty in determining the parameters, analyses of rapid drawdown are usually performed considering the immediate reduction of water level upstream. The proposal of a simulation, considering the gradual reduction in water level upstream, requires knowledge of parameters about consolidation and those related to unsaturated soil. In this context, the purpose of this study is to understand the methodology of collection and analysis of parameters to simulate a rapid drawdown in dams. Using a numerical tool, the study is complemented with a hypothetical case study that can assist the practical use of data compiled. The referenced dam presents homogeneous section composed of clay soil, a height of 70 meters, a width of 12 meters, and upstream slope with inclination 1V:3H.

Keywords: dam, GeoStudio, rapid drawdown, stability analysis

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19 “The Day I Became a Woman” by Marziyeh Meshkiny: An Analysis of the Cinematographic Image of the Middle East

Authors: Ana Carolina Domingues


This work presents the preliminary results of the above-titled doctoral research. Based on this film and on Middle East authors who discuss films made by women, it has been concluded so far, that it is part of a larger movement, which together with other productions, show the perceptions of the world of these women, who see the world otherwise, for not holding positions of power. These modes of perception revealed from the encounter of women with the cameras, educate viewers to denaturalize the impressions constructed in relation to the Middle East.

Keywords: cinema, image, middle east, women

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18 Control Strategies for a Robot for Interaction with Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Authors: Vinicius Binotte, Guilherme Baldo, Christiane Goulart, Carlos Valadão, Eliete Caldeira, Teodiano Bastos


Socially assistive robotic has become increasingly active and it is present in therapies of people affected for several neurobehavioral conditions, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). In fact, robots have played a significant role for positive interaction with children with ASD, by stimulating their social and cognitive skills. This work introduces a mobile socially-assistive robot, which was built for interaction with children with ASD, using non-linear control techniques for this interaction.

Keywords: socially assistive robotics, mobile robot, autonomous control, autism

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17 Hydrogel Based on Cellulose Acetate Used as Scaffold for Cell Growth

Authors: A. Maria G. Melero, A. M. Senna, J. A. Domingues, M. A. Hausen, E. Aparecida R. Duek, V. R. Botaro


A hydrogel from cellulose acetate cross linked with ethylenediaminetetraacetic dianhydride (HAC-EDTA) was synthesized by our research group, and submitted to characterization and biological tests. Cytocompatibility analysis was performed by confocal microscopy using human adipocyte derived stem cells (ASCs). The FTIR analysis showed characteristic bands of cellulose acetate and hydroxyl groups and the tensile tests evidence that HAC-EDTA present a Young’s modulus of 643.7 MPa. The confocal analysis revealed that there was cell growth at the surface of HAC-EDTA. After one day of culture the cells presented spherical morphology, which may be caused by stress of the sequestration of Ca2+ and Mg2+ ions at the cell medium by HAC-EDTA, as demonstrated by ICP-MS. However, after seven days and 14 days of culture, the cells present fibroblastoid morphology, phenotype expected by this cellular type. The results give efforts to indicate this new material as a potential biomaterial for tissue engineering, in the future in vivo approach.

Keywords: cellulose acetate, hydrogel, biomaterial, cellular growth

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16 Use of Natural Fibers in Landfill Leachate Treatment

Authors: Araujo J. F. Marina, Araujo F. Marcus Vinicius, Mulinari R. Daniella


Due to the resultant leachate from waste decomposition in landfills has polluter potential hundred times greater than domestic sewage, this is considered a problem related to the depreciation of environment requiring pre-disposal treatment. In seeking to improve this situation, this project proposes the treatment of landfill leachate using natural fibers intercropped with advanced oxidation processes. The selected natural fibers were palm, coconut and banana fiber. These materials give sustainability to the project because, besides having adsorbent capacity, are often part of waste discarded. The study was conducted in laboratory scale. In trials, the effluents were characterized as Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), Turbidity and Color. The results indicate that is technically promising since that there were extremely oxidative conditions, the use of certain natural fibers in the reduction of pollutants in leachate have been obtained results of COD removals between 67.9% and 90.9%, Turbidity between 88.0% and 99.7% and Color between 67.4% and 90.4%. The expectation generated is to continue evaluating the association of efficiency of other natural fibers with other landfill leachate treatment processes.

Keywords: lndfill leachate, chemical treatment, natural fibers, advanced oxidation processes

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15 Lean Manufacturing: Systematic Layout Planning Application to an Assembly Line Layout of a Welding Industry

Authors: Fernando Augusto Ullmann Tobe, Moacyr Amaral Domingues, Figueiredo, Stephany Rie Yamamoto Gushiken


The purpose of this paper is to present the process of elaborating the layout of an assembly line of a welding industry using the principles of lean manufacturing as the main driver. The objective of this paper is relevant since the current layout of the assembly line causes non-productive times for operators, being related to the lean waste of unnecessary movements. The methodology used for the project development was Project-based Learning (PBL), which is an active way of learning focused on real problems. The process of selecting the methodology for layout planning was developed considering three criteria to evaluate the most relevant one for this paper's goal. As a result of this evaluation, Systematic Layout Planning was selected, and three steps were added to it – Value Stream Mapping for the current situation and after layout changed and the definition of lean tools and layout type. This inclusion was to consider lean manufacturing in the layout redesign of the industry. The layout change resulted in an increase in the value-adding time of operations carried out in the sector, reduction in movement times between previous and final assemblies, and in cost savings regarding the man-hour value of the employees, which can be invested in productive hours instead of movement times.

Keywords: assembly line, layout, lean manufacturing, systematic layout planning

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14 Isolation, Characterization and Application of Bacteriophages on the Biocontrol of Listeria monocytogenes in Soft Cheese

Authors: Vinicius Buccelli Ribeiro, Maria Teresa Destro, Mariza Landgraf


Bacteriophages are one of the most abundant replicating entities on Earth and can be found everywhere in which their hosts live and there are reports regarding isolation from different niches such as soil and foods. Since studies are moving forward with regard to biotechnology area, different research projects are being performed focusing on the phage technology and its use by the food industry. This study aimed to evaluate a cocktail (LP501) of phages isolated in Brazil for its lytic potential against Listeria monocytogenes. Three bacteriophages (LP05, LP12 and LP20) were isolated from soil samples and all of them showed 100% lysis against a panel of 10 L. monocytogenes strains representing different serotypes of this pathogen. A mix of L. monocytogenes 1/2a and 4b were inoculated in soft cheeses (approximately 105 cfu/cm2) with the phage cocktail added thereafter (1 x 109 PFU/cm2). Samples were analyzed immediately and then stored at 10°C for ten days. At 30 min post-infection, the cocktail reduced L. monocytogenes counts approximately 1.5 logs, compared to controls without bacteriophage. The treatment produced a statistically significant decrease in the counts of viable cells (p < 0.05) and in all assays performed we observed a decrease of up to 4 logs of L. monocytogenes. This study will make available to the international community behavioral and molecular data regarding bacteriophages present in soil samples in Brazil. Furthermore, there is the possibility to apply this new cocktail of phages in different food products to combat L. monocytogenes.

Keywords: bacteriophages, biocontrol, listeria monocytogenes, soft cheese

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13 Gender Differences in Walking Capacity and Cardiovascular Regulation in Patients with Peripheral Arterial Disease

Authors: Gabriel Cucato, Marilia Correia, Wagner Domingues, Aline Palmeira, Paulo Longano, Nelson Wolosker, Raphael Ritti-Dias


Women with peripheral arterial disease (PAD) present lower walking capacity in comparison with men. However, whether cardiovascular regulation is also different between genders is unknown. Thus, the aim of this study was to compare walking capacity and cardiovascular regulation between men and women with PAD. A total of 23 women (66±7 yrs) and 31 men (64±9 yrs) were recruited. Patients performed a 6-minute test and the onset claudication distance and total walking distance were measured. Additionally, cardiovascular regulation was assessed by arterial stiffness (pulse wave velocity and augmentation index) and heart rate variability (frequency domain). Independent T test or Mann-Whitney U test were performed. In comparison with men, women present lower onset claudication distance (108±66m vs. 143±50m; P=0.032) and total walking distance (286±83m vs. 361±91 m, P=0.007). Regarding cardiovascular regulation, there were no differences in heart rate variability SDNN (72±160ms vs. 32±22ms, P=0.587); RMSSD (75±209 vs. 25±22ms, P=0.726); pNN50 (11±17ms vs. 8±14ms, P=0.836) in women and men, respectively. Moreover, there were no difference in augmentation index (39±10% vs. 34±11%, P=0.103); pulse pressure (59±17mmHg vs. 56±19mmHg, P=0.593) and pulse wave velocity (8.6±2.6m\s vs. 9.0±2.7m/s, P=0.580). In conclusion, women have impaired walking capacity compared to men. However, sex differences were not observed on cardiovascular regulation in patients with PAD.

Keywords: exercise, intermittent claudication, cardiovascular load, arterial stiffness

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12 Management of Urban Watering: A Study of Appliance of Technologies and Legislation in Goiania, Brazil

Authors: Vinicius Marzall, Jussanã Milograna


The urban drainwatering remains a major challenge for most of the Brazilian cities. Not so different of the most part, Goiania, a state capital located in Midwest of the country has few legislations about the subject matter and only one registered solution of compensative techniques for drainwater. This paper clam to show some solutions which are adopted in other Brazilian cities with consolidated legislation, suggesting technics about detention tanks in a building sit. This study analyzed and compared the legislation of Curitiba, Porto Alegre e Sao Paulo, with the actual legislation and politics of Goiania. After this, were created models with adopted data for dimensioning the size of detention tanks using the envelope curve method considering synthetic series for intense precipitations and building sits between 250 m² and 600 m², with an impermeabilization tax of 50%. The results showed great differences between the legislation of Goiania and the documentation of the others cities analyzed, like the number of techniques for drainwatering applied to the reality of the cities, educational actions to awareness the population about care the water courses and political management by having a specified funds for drainwater subjects, for example. Besides, the use of detention tank showed itself practicable, have seen that the occupation of the tank is minor than 3% of the building sit, whatever the size of the terrain, granting the exit flow to pre-occupational taxes in extreme rainfall events. Also, was developed a linear equation to measure the detention tank based in the size of the building sit in Goiania, making simpler the calculation and implementation for non-specialized people.

Keywords: clean technology, legislation, rainwater management, urban drainwater

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11 Quantification of Hydrogen Sulfide and Methyl Mercaptan in Air Samples from a Waste Management Facilities

Authors: R. F. Vieira, S. A. Figueiredo, O. M. Freitas, V. F. Domingues, C. Delerue-Matos


The presence of sulphur compounds like hydrogen sulphide and mercaptans is one of the reasons for waste-water treatment and waste management being associated with odour emissions. In this context having a quantifying method for these compounds helps in the optimization of treatment with the goal of their elimination, namely biofiltration processes. The aim of this study was the development of a method for quantification of odorous gases in waste treatment plants air samples. A method based on head space solid phase microextraction (HS-SPME) coupled with gas chromatography - flame photometric detector (GC-FPD) was used to analyse H2S and Metil Mercaptan (MM). The extraction was carried out with a 75-μm Carboxen-polydimethylsiloxane fiber coating at 22 ºC for 20 min, and analysed by a GC 2010 Plus A from Shimadzu with a sulphur filter detector: splitless mode (0.3 min), the column temperature program was from 60 ºC, increased by 15 ºC/min to 100 ºC (2 min). The injector temperature was held at 250 ºC, and the detector at 260 ºC. For calibration curve a gas diluter equipment (digital Hovagas G2 - Multi Component Gas Mixer) was used to do the standards. This unit had two input connections, one for a stream of the dilute gas and another for a stream of nitrogen and an output connected to a glass bulb. A 40 ppm H2S and a 50 ppm MM cylinders were used. The equipment was programmed to the selected concentration, and it automatically carried out the dilution to the glass bulb. The mixture was left flowing through the glass bulb for 5 min and then the extremities were closed. This method allowed the calibration between 1-20 ppm for H2S and 0.02-0.1 ppm and 1-3.5 ppm for MM. Several quantifications of air samples from inlet and outlet of a biofilter operating in a waste management facility in the north of Portugal allowed the evaluation the biofilters performance.

Keywords: biofiltration, hydrogen sulphide, mercaptans, quantification

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10 Effects of Handgrip Isometric Training in Blood Pressure of Patients with Peripheral Artery Disease

Authors: Raphael M. Ritti-Dias, Marilia A. Correia, Wagner J. R. Domingues, Aline C. Palmeira, Paulo Longano, Nelson Wolosker, Lauro C. Vianna, Gabriel G. Cucato


Patients with peripheral arterial disease (PAD) have a high prevalence of hypertension, which contributes to a high risk of acute cardiovascular events and cardiovascular mortality. Strategies to reduce cardiovascular risk of these patients are needed. Meta-analysis studies have shown that isometric handgrip training promotes reductions in clinical blood pressure in normotensive, pre-hypertensive and hypertensive individuals. However, the effect of this exercise training on other cardiovascular function indicators in PAD patients remains unknown. Thus, the aim of this study was to analyze the effects of isometric handgrip training on blood pressure in patients with PAD. In this clinical trial, 28 patients were randomly allocated into two groups: isometric handgrip training (HG) and control (CG). The HG conducted the unilateral handgrip training three days per week (four sets of two minutes, with 30% of maximum voluntary contraction with an interval of four minutes between sets). CG was encouraged to increase their physical activity levels. At baseline and after eight weeks blood pressure and heart rate were obtained. ANOVA two-way for repeated measures with the group (GH and GC) and time (pre- and post-intervention) as factors was performed. After 8 weeks of training there were no significant changes in systolic blood pressure (HG pre 141 ± 24.0 mmHg vs. HG post 142 ± 22.0 mmHg; CG pre 140 ± 22.1 mmHg vs. CG post 146 ± 16.2 mmHg; P=0.18), diastolic blood pressure (HG pre 74 ± 10.4 mmHg vs. HG post 74 ± 11.9 mmHg; CG pre 72 ± 6.9 mmHg vs. CG post 74 ± 8.0 mmHg; P=0.22) and heart rate (HG pre 61 ± 10.5 bpm vs. HG post 62 ± 8.0 bpm; CG pre 64 ± 11.8 bpm vs. CG post 65 ± 13.6 bpm; P=0.81). In conclusion, our preliminary data indicate that isometric handgrip training did not modify blood pressure and heart rate in patients with PAD.

Keywords: blood pressure, exercise, isometric, peripheral artery disease

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9 Evaluation of the Mechanical Behavior of a Retaining Wall Structure on a Weathered Soil through Probabilistic Methods

Authors: P. V. S. Mascarenhas, B. C. P. Albuquerque, D. J. F. Campos, L. L. Almeida, V. R. Domingues, L. C. S. M. Ozelim


Retaining slope structures are increasingly considered in geotechnical engineering projects due to extensive urban cities growth. These kinds of engineering constructions may present instabilities over the time and may require reinforcement or even rebuilding of the structure. In this context, statistical analysis is an important tool for decision making regarding retaining structures. This study approaches the failure probability of the construction of a retaining wall over the debris of an old and collapsed one. The new solution’s extension length will be of approximately 350 m and will be located over the margins of the Lake Paranoá, Brasilia, in the capital of Brazil. The building process must also account for the utilization of the ruins as a caisson. A series of in situ and laboratory experiments defined local soil strength parameters. A Standard Penetration Test (SPT) defined the in situ soil stratigraphy. Also, the parameters obtained were verified using soil data from a collection of masters and doctoral works from the University of Brasília, which is similar to the local soil. Initial studies show that the concrete wall is the proper solution for this case, taking into account the technical, economic and deterministic analysis. On the other hand, in order to better analyze the statistical significance of the factor-of-safety factors obtained, a Monte Carlo analysis was performed for the concrete wall and two more initial solutions. A comparison between the statistical and risk results generated for the different solutions indicated that a Gabion solution would better fit the financial and technical feasibility of the project.

Keywords: economical analysis, probability of failure, retaining walls, statistical analysis

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8 Simultaneous Determination of Bisphenol a, Phtalates and Its Metabolites in Human Urine, by Tandem SPE Coupled to GC-MS

Authors: L. Correia-Sá, S. Norberto, Conceição Calhau, C. Delerue-Matos, V. F. Domingues


Endocrine disruptor chemicals (EDCs) are synthetic compounds that even though being initially designed for a specific function are now being linked with a wide range of side effects. The list of possible EDCs is growing and includes phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA). Phthalates are one of the most widely used plasticizers to improve the extensibility, elasticity and workability of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyvinyl acetates, etc. Considered non-toxic and harmless additives for polymers, they were used unrestrainedly all over the world for several decades. However, recent studies have indicated that some phthalates and their metabolic products are reproductive and developmental toxicants in animals and suspected endocrine disruptors in humans. BPA (2,2-bis(4-hydroxyphenyl)propane) is a high production volume chemical mainly used in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. Although BPA was initially considered to be a weak environmental estrogen, nowadays it is known that this compound can stimulate several cellular responses at very low levels of concentrations. The aim of this study was to develop a method based on tandem SPE to evaluate the presence of phthalates, metabolites and BPA in human urine samples. The analyzed compounds included: dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), BPA, mono-isobutyl phthalate (MiBP), monobutyl phthalate (MBP) and. mono-(2-ethyl-5-oxohexyl) (MEOHP). Two SPE cartridges were applied both from Phenomenex, the strata X polymeric reversed phase and the strata X A (Strong anion). Chromatographic analyses were carried out in a Thermo GC ULTRA GC-MS/MS. Good recoveries and linear calibration curves were obtained. After validation, the methodology was applied to human urine samples for phthalates, metabolites and BPA evaluation.

Keywords: Bisphenol A (BPA), gas chromatography, metabolites, phtalates, SPE, tandem mode

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7 3D Dentofacial Surgery Full Planning Procedures

Authors: Oliveira M., Gonçalves L., Vale F., Caramelo F., Francisco I., Vale, F., Sanz D., Domingues M., Lopes M., Moreia D., Lopes T., Santos T., Cardoso H.


The ARTHUR project consists of a platform that allows the virtual performance of maxillofacial surgeries, offering, in a photorealistic concept, the possibility for the patient to have an idea of the surgical changes before they are performed on their face. For this, the system brings together several image formats, dicoms and objs that, after loading, will generate the bone volume, soft tissues and hard tissues. The system also incorporates the patient's stereophotogrammetry, in addition to their data and clinical history. After loading and inserting data, the clinician can virtually perform the surgical operation and present the final result to the patient, generating a new facial surface that contemplates the changes made in the bone and tissues of the maxillary area. This tool acts in different situations that require facial reconstruction, however this project focuses specifically on two types of use cases: bone congenital disfigurement and acquired disfiguration such as oral cancer with bone attainment. Being developed a cloud based solution, with mobile support, the tool aims to reduce the decision time window of patient. Because the current simulations are not realistic or, if realistic, need time due to the need of building plaster models, patient rates on decision, rely on a long time window (1,2 months), because they don’t identify themselves with the presented surgical outcome. On the other hand, this planning was performed time based on average estimated values of the position of the maxilla and mandible. The team was based on averages of the facial measurements of the population, without specifying racial variability, so the proposed solution was not adjusted to the real individual physiognomic needs.

Keywords: 3D computing, image processing, image registry, image reconstruction

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6 Profile of Serological Response of Equids Naturally Infected with Burkholderia mallei

Authors: Iahtasham Khan, Vania Lucia De Assis Santana, Marcilia Maria Alves De Souza, Mabel Hanna Vance Harrop, Fernando Leandro Dos Santos, Cecília Maria Souza Leão E. Silva, Pedro Paulo Silveira, Marcelo Brasil, Marcus Vinícius, Hélio Cordeiro Manso Filho, Muhammad Younus, Aman Ullah Khan


Glanders ranks high on clinical lists in some regions of Brazil as a cause of respiratory and lymphatic disease in equids. Glanders is caused by Burkolderia mallei (B. mallei) Gram-negative bacterium. B. mallei was first biological agent used in World War I in 20th century. The complement fixation test (CFT) is a serodiagnostic tool prescribed by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE)for the diagnosis of glanders in the international trade of equids. The aim of the present study was to monitor the serological responses in equines naturally infected with B. mallei using the CFT. A total of 574 equids were tested with CFT, 30 days apart in a total of 12 samplings. One hundred thirty-four sera tested negative in all samplings; 192 sera tested positive in one sampling and 125 sera tested positive in two or more samplings. Remaining 123 samples showed uncertain results. Thus, CFT results can vary over a period of time. These variations could be the consequence of the effects of the natural immune response in each animal. The findings of the present study demonstrate difficulties regarding the simultaneous implementation of CFT and test and slaughter policies to eradicate glanders. Another constraint to control this disease is the presence of carrier/transitory CFT-negative animals, which are a potential source of disease in glanders-free areas. Serodiagnostic tests of higher sensitivity and specificity like immunobloat should be implemented to achieve success in the eradication of glanders.

Keywords: glanders, equids, horses, immunological, mules

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5 Consumer Behavior and the Demand for Sustainable Buildings in an Emerging Market: The Example of Brazil

Authors: Vinícius L. L. Morrone, David Douek, Helder M. F. Pereira, Bernadete L. M. Grandolpho


This work aimed to identify the relationships between the level of consumer environmental awareness and their search for sustainable properties, as well as to understand the main sustainability structures considered by these consumers during the decision process. Additionally, the paper looked up to the influence environmental awareness and financial status have over the disposition of buyers to pay more for sustainable properties. To achieve these objectives, 318 questionnaires were answered electronically, after being sent to the Green Building Brazil email basis, as to other Real Estate developers client basis. From all the questionnaires answered, 71 were discarded, leaving a total amount of 247 admitted questionnaires to be analyzed. The responses were evaluated based on the theory of consumer decision making, especially on the influence factors of this process. The data were processed using a PLS model, using the R software. The results have shown that the level of consumer environmental awareness effectively affects the consumer’s will of acquiring a sustainable property or, at least, a property with some environmental friendly structures. The consumer’s environmental awareness also positively impacts the importance consumers give to individual environmental friendly structures. Also, as a consumer value to those individual structures raises, it is also observed a raise in his will to buy a sustainable property. Additionally, the impact of consumer’s environmental awareness and financial status over the willingness to pay more for a property with those attributes. The results indicate that there was no relationship between consumers' environmental awareness and their willingness to pay more for a sustainable property. On the other hand, the financial status and the family income of the consumers showed a positive relation with the willingness to pay more for a sustainable property. This indicates that consumers with better financial conditions, which according to the analysis do not necessarily have a greater environmental awareness, are those who are willing to pay more for a sustainable property. Thus, this study indicates that, even if the environmental awareness impact positively the demand for sustainable structures and properties, this impact is not price reflected, due to the price elasticity of the consumption, especially for a category of lower income consumers. This paper adds to the literature in the way it projects some guidelines to the consumer’s decision process in the Real Estate market in emerging economies, as well as it presents some drivers to pricing decisions.

Keywords: consumer behavior, environmental awareness, real estate pricing, sustainable buildings

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4 Evaluation of Natural Waste Materials for Ammonia Removal in Biofilters

Authors: R. F. Vieira, D. Lopes, I. Baptista, S. A. Figueiredo, V. F. Domingues, R. Jorge, C. Delerue-matos, O. M. Freitas


Odours are generated in municipal solid wastes management plants as a result of decomposition of organic matter, especially when anaerobic degradation occurs. Information was collected about the substances and respective concentration in the surrounding atmosphere of some management plants. The main components which are associated with these unpleasant odours were identified: ammonia, hydrogen sulfide and mercaptans. The first is the most common and the one that presents the highest concentrations, reaching values of 700 mg/m3. Biofiltration, which involves simultaneously biodegradation, absorption and adsorption processes, is a sustainable technology for the treatment of these odour emissions when a natural packing material is used. The packing material should ideally be cheap, durable, and allow the maximum microbiological activity and adsorption/absorption. The presence of nutrients and water is required for biodegradation processes. Adsorption and absorption are enhanced by high specific surface area, high porosity and low density. The main purpose of this work is the exploitation of natural waste materials, locally available, as packing media: heather (Erica lusitanica), chestnut bur (from Castanea sativa), peach pits (from Prunus persica) and eucalyptus bark (from Eucalyptus globulus). Preliminary batch tests of ammonia removal were performed in order to select the most interesting materials for biofiltration, which were then characterized. The following physical and chemical parameters were evaluated: density, moisture, pH, buffer and water retention capacity. The determination of equilibrium isotherms and the adjustment to Langmuir and Freundlich models was also performed. Both models can fit the experimental results. Based both in the material performance as adsorbent and in its physical and chemical characteristics, eucalyptus bark was considered the best material. It presents a maximum adsorption capacity of 0.78±0.45 mol/kg for ammonia. The results from its characterization are: 121 kg/m3 density, 9.8% moisture, pH equal to 5.7, buffer capacity of 0.370 mmol H+/kg of dry matter and water retention capacity of 1.4 g H2O/g of dry matter. The application of natural materials locally available, with little processing, in biofiltration is an economic and sustainable alternative that should be explored.

Keywords: ammonia removal, biofiltration, natural materials, odour control

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3 CyberSteer: Cyber-Human Approach for Safely Shaping Autonomous Robotic Behavior to Comply with Human Intention

Authors: Vinicius G. Goecks, Gregory M. Gremillion, William D. Nothwang


Modern approaches to train intelligent agents rely on prolonged training sessions, high amounts of input data, and multiple interactions with the environment. This restricts the application of these learning algorithms in robotics and real-world applications, in which there is low tolerance to inadequate actions, interactions are expensive, and real-time processing and action are required. This paper addresses this issue introducing CyberSteer, a novel approach to efficiently design intrinsic reward functions based on human intention to guide deep reinforcement learning agents with no environment-dependent rewards. CyberSteer uses non-expert human operators for initial demonstration of a given task or desired behavior. The trajectories collected are used to train a behavior cloning deep neural network that asynchronously runs in the background and suggests actions to the deep reinforcement learning module. An intrinsic reward is computed based on the similarity between actions suggested and taken by the deep reinforcement learning algorithm commanding the agent. This intrinsic reward can also be reshaped through additional human demonstration or critique. This approach removes the need for environment-dependent or hand-engineered rewards while still being able to safely shape the behavior of autonomous robotic agents, in this case, based on human intention. CyberSteer is tested in a high-fidelity unmanned aerial vehicle simulation environment, the Microsoft AirSim. The simulated aerial robot performs collision avoidance through a clustered forest environment using forward-looking depth sensing and roll, pitch, and yaw references angle commands to the flight controller. This approach shows that the behavior of robotic systems can be shaped in a reduced amount of time when guided by a non-expert human, who is only aware of the high-level goals of the task. Decreasing the amount of training time required and increasing safety during training maneuvers will allow for faster deployment of intelligent robotic agents in dynamic real-world applications.

Keywords: human-robot interaction, intelligent robots, robot learning, semisupervised learning, unmanned aerial vehicles

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2 Biofiltration Odour Removal at Wastewater Treatment Plant Using Natural Materials: Pilot Scale Studies

Authors: D. Lopes, I. I. R. Baptista, R. F. Vieira, J. Vaz, H. Varela, O. M. Freitas, V. F. Domingues, R. Jorge, C. Delerue-Matos, S. A. Figueiredo


Deodorization is nowadays a need in wastewater treatment plants. Nitrogen and sulphur compounds, volatile fatty acids, aldehydes and ketones are responsible for the unpleasant odours, being ammonia, hydrogen sulphide and mercaptans the most common pollutants. Although chemical treatments of the air extracted are efficient, these are more expensive than biological treatments, namely due the use of chemical reagents (commonly sulphuric acid, sodium hypochlorite and sodium hydroxide). Biofiltration offers the advantage of avoiding the use of reagents (only in some cases, nutrients are added in order to increase the treatment efficiency) and can be considered a sustainable process when the packing medium used is of natural origin. In this work the application of some natural materials locally available was studied both at laboratory and pilot scale, in a real wastewater treatment plant. The materials selected for this study were indigenous Portuguese forest materials derived from eucalyptus and pinewood, such as woodchips and bark, and coconut fiber was also used for comparison purposes. Their physico-chemical characterization was performed: density, moisture, pH, buffer and water retention capacity. Laboratory studies involved batch adsorption studies for ammonia and hydrogen sulphide removal and evaluation of microbiological activity. Four pilot-scale biofilters (1 cubic meter volume) were installed at a local wastewater treatment plant treating odours from the effluent receiving chamber. Each biofilter contained a different packing material consisting of mixtures of eucalyptus bark, pine woodchips and coconut fiber, with added buffering agents and nutrients. The odour treatment efficiency was monitored over time, as well as other operating parameters. The operation at pilot scale suggested that between the processes involved in biofiltration - adsorption, absorption and biodegradation - the first dominates at the beginning, while the biofilm is developing. When the biofilm is completely established, and the adsorption capacity of the material is reached, biodegradation becomes the most relevant odour removal mechanism. High odour and hydrogen sulphide removal efficiencies were achieved throughout the testing period (over 6 months), confirming the suitability of the materials selected, and mixtures thereof prepared, for biofiltration applications.

Keywords: ammonia hydrogen sulphide and removal, biofiltration, natural materials, odour control in wastewater treatment plants

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1 Characterization of the MOSkin Dosimeter for Accumulated Dose Assessment in Computed Tomography

Authors: Lenon M. Pereira, Helen J. Khoury, Marcos E. A. Andrade, Dean L. Cutajar, Vinicius S. M. Barros, Anatoly B. Rozenfeld


With the increase of beam widths and the advent of multiple-slice and helical scanners, concerns related to the current dose measurement protocols and instrumentation in computed tomography (CT) have arisen. The current methodology of dose evaluation, which is based on the measurement of the integral of a single slice dose profile using a 100 mm long cylinder ionization chamber (Ca,100 and CPPMA, 100), has been shown to be inadequate for wide beams as it does not collect enough of the scatter-tails to make an accurate measurement. In addition, a long ionization chamber does not offer a good representation of the dose profile when tube current modulation is used. An alternative approach has been suggested by translating smaller detectors through the beam plane and assessing the accumulated dose trough the integral of the dose profile, which can be done for any arbitrary length in phantoms or in the air. For this purpose, a MOSFET dosimeter of small dosimetric volume was used. One of its recently designed versions is known as the MOSkin, which is developed by the Centre for Medical Radiation Physics at the University of Wollongong, and measures the radiation dose at a water equivalent depth of 0.07 mm, allowing the evaluation of skin dose when placed at the surface, or internal point doses when placed within a phantom. Thus, the aim of this research was to characterize the response of the MOSkin dosimeter for X-ray CT beams and to evaluate its application for the accumulated dose assessment. Initially, tests using an industrial x-ray unit were carried out at the Laboratory of Ionization Radiation Metrology (LMRI) of Federal University of Pernambuco, in order to investigate the sensitivity, energy dependence, angular dependence, and reproducibility of the dose response for the device for the standard radiation qualities RQT 8, RQT 9 and RQT 10. Finally, the MOSkin was used for the accumulated dose evaluation of scans using a Philips Brilliance 6 CT unit, with comparisons made between the CPPMA,100 value assessed with a pencil ionization chamber (PTW Freiburg TW 30009). Both dosimeters were placed in the center of a PMMA head phantom (diameter of 16 cm) and exposed in the axial mode with collimation of 9 mm, 250 mAs and 120 kV. The results have shown that the MOSkin response was linear with doses in the CT range and reproducible (98.52%). The sensitivity for a single MOSkin in mV/cGy was as follows: 9.208, 7.691 and 6.723 for the RQT 8, RQT 9 and RQT 10 beams qualities respectively. The energy dependence varied up to a factor of ±1.19 among those energies and angular dependence was not greater than 7.78% within the angle range from 0 to 90 degrees. The accumulated dose and the CPMMA, 100 value were 3,97 and 3,79 cGy respectively, which were statistically equivalent within the 95% confidence level. The MOSkin was shown to be a good alternative for CT dose profile measurements and more than adequate to provide accumulated dose assessments for CT procedures.

Keywords: computed tomography dosimetry, MOSFET, MOSkin, semiconductor dosimetry

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