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17 Quasi-Photon Monte Carlo on Radiative Heat Transfer: An Importance Sampling and Learning Approach

Authors: Utkarsh A. Mishra, Ankit Bansal


At high temperature, radiative heat transfer is the dominant mode of heat transfer. It is governed by various phenomena such as photon emission, absorption, and scattering. The solution of the governing integrodifferential equation of radiative transfer is a complex process, more when the effect of participating medium and wavelength properties are taken into consideration. Although a generic formulation of such radiative transport problem can be modeled for a wide variety of problems with non-gray, non-diffusive surfaces, there is always a trade-off between simplicity and accuracy of the problem. Recently, solutions of complicated mathematical problems with statistical methods based on randomization of naturally occurring phenomena have gained significant importance. Photon bundles with discrete energy can be replicated with random numbers describing the emission, absorption, and scattering processes. Photon Monte Carlo (PMC) is a simple, yet powerful technique, to solve radiative transfer problems in complicated geometries with arbitrary participating medium. The method, on the one hand, increases the accuracy of estimation, and on the other hand, increases the computational cost. The participating media -generally a gas, such as CO₂, CO, and H₂O- present complex emission and absorption spectra. To model the emission/absorption accurately with random numbers requires a weighted sampling as different sections of the spectrum carries different importance. Importance sampling (IS) was implemented to sample random photon of arbitrary wavelength, and the sampled data provided unbiased training of MC estimators for better results. A better replacement to uniform random numbers is using deterministic, quasi-random sequences. Halton, Sobol, and Faure Low-Discrepancy Sequences are used in this study. They possess better space-filling performance than the uniform random number generator and gives rise to a low variance, stable Quasi-Monte Carlo (QMC) estimators with faster convergence. An optimal supervised learning scheme was further considered to reduce the computation costs of the PMC simulation. A one-dimensional plane-parallel slab problem with participating media was formulated. The history of some randomly sampled photon bundles is recorded to train an Artificial Neural Network (ANN), back-propagation model. The flux was calculated using the standard quasi PMC and was considered to be the training target. Results obtained with the proposed model for the one-dimensional problem are compared with the exact analytical and PMC model with the Line by Line (LBL) spectral model. The approximate variance obtained was around 3.14%. Results were analyzed with respect to time and the total flux in both cases. A significant reduction in variance as well a faster rate of convergence was observed in the case of the QMC method over the standard PMC method. However, the results obtained with the ANN method resulted in greater variance (around 25-28%) as compared to the other cases. There is a great scope of machine learning models to help in further reduction of computation cost once trained successfully. Multiple ways of selecting the input data as well as various architectures will be tried such that the concerned environment can be fully addressed to the ANN model. Better results can be achieved in this unexplored domain.

Keywords: Artificial Neural Networks, Radiative Heat Transfer, monte carlo method, pseudo-random numbers, low discrepancy sequences

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16 Railway Composite Flooring Design: Numerical Simulation and Experimental Studies

Authors: A. Coelho, F. Pedro, A. Tadeu, J. António, Ó. López


The future of the railway industry lies in the innovation of lighter, more efficient and more sustainable trains. Weight optimizations in railway vehicles allow reducing power consumption and CO₂ emissions, increasing the efficiency of the engines and the maximum speed reached. Additionally, they reduce wear of wheels and rails, increase the space available for passengers, etc. Among the various systems that integrate railway interiors, the flooring system is one which has greater impact both on passenger safety and comfort, as well as on the weight of the interior systems. Due to the high weight saving potential, relative high mechanical resistance, good acoustic and thermal performance, ease of modular design, cost-effectiveness and long life, the use of new sustainable composite materials and panels provide the latest innovations for competitive solutions in the development of flooring systems. However, one of the main drawbacks of the flooring systems is their relatively poor resistance to point loads. Point loads in railway interiors can be caused by passengers or by components fixed to the flooring system, such as seats and restraint systems, handrails, etc. In this way, they can originate higher fatigue solicitations under service loads or zones with high stress concentrations under exceptional loads (higher longitudinal, transverse and vertical accelerations), thus reducing its useful life. Therefore, to verify all the mechanical and functional requirements of the flooring systems, many physical prototypes would be created during the design phase, with all of the high costs associated with it. Nowadays, the use of virtual prototyping methods by computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided engineering (CAE) softwares allow validating a product before committing to making physical test prototypes. The scope of this work was to current computer tools and integrate the processes of innovation, development, and manufacturing to reduce the time from design to finished product and optimise the development of the product for higher levels of performance and reliability. In this case, the mechanical response of several sandwich panels with different cores, polystyrene foams, and composite corks, were assessed, to optimise the weight and the mechanical performance of a flooring solution for railways. Sandwich panels with aluminum face sheets were tested to characterise its mechanical performance and determine the polystyrene foam and cork properties when used as inner cores. Then, a railway flooring solution was fully modelled (including the elastomer pads to provide the required vibration isolation from the car body) and perform structural simulations using FEM analysis to comply all the technical product specifications for the supply of a flooring system. Zones with high stress concentrations are studied and tested. The influence of vibration modes on the comfort level and stability is discussed. The information obtained with the computer tools was then completed with several mechanical tests performed on some solutions, and on specific components. The results of the numerical simulations and experimental campaign carried out are presented in this paper. This research work was performed as part of the POCI-01-0247-FEDER-003474 (coMMUTe) Project funded by Portugal 2020 through COMPETE 2020.

Keywords: Numerical Simulation, mechanical performance, railway flooring system, cork agglomerate core

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15 Braille Lab: A New Design Approach for Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Assistive Tools for the Visually Impaired

Authors: Claudio Loconsole, Daniele Leonardis, Antonio Brunetti, Gianpaolo Francesco Trotta, Nicholas Caporusso, Vitoantonio Bevilacqua


Unfortunately, many people still do not have access to communication, with specific regard to reading and writing. Among them, people who are blind or visually impaired, have several difficulties in getting access to the world, compared to the sighted. Indeed, despite technology advancement and cost reduction, nowadays assistive devices are still expensive such as Braille-based input/output systems which enable reading and writing texts (e.g., personal notes, documents). As a consequence, assistive technology affordability is fundamental in supporting the visually impaired in communication, learning, and social inclusion. This, in turn, has serious consequences in terms of equal access to opportunities, freedom of expression, and actual and independent participation to a society designed for the sighted. Moreover, the visually impaired experience difficulties in recognizing objects and interacting with devices in any activities of daily living. It is not a case that Braille indications are commonly reported only on medicine boxes and elevator keypads. Several software applications for the automatic translation of written text into speech (e.g., Text-To-Speech - TTS) enable reading pieces of documents. However, apart from simple tasks, in many circumstances TTS software is not suitable for understanding very complicated pieces of text requiring to dwell more on specific portions (e.g., mathematical formulas or Greek text). In addition, the experience of reading\writing text is completely different both in terms of engagement, and from an educational perspective. Statistics on the employment rate of blind people show that learning to read and write provides the visually impaired with up to 80% more opportunities of finding a job. Especially in higher educational levels, where the ability to digest very complex text is key, accessibility and availability of Braille plays a fundamental role in reducing drop-out rate of the visually impaired, thus affecting the effectiveness of the constitutional right to get access to education. In this context, the Braille Lab project aims at overcoming these social needs by including affordability in designing and developing assistive tools for visually impaired people. In detail, our awarded project focuses on a technology innovation of the operation principle of existing assistive tools for the visually impaired leaving the Human-Machine Interface unchanged. This can result in a significant reduction of the production costs and consequently of tool selling prices, thus representing an important opportunity for social entrepreneurship. The first two assistive tools designed within the Braille Lab project following the proposed approach aims to provide the possibility to personally print documents and handouts and to read texts written in Braille using refreshable Braille display, respectively. The former, named ‘Braille Cartridge’, represents an alternative solution for printing in Braille and consists in the realization of an electronic-controlled dispenser printing (cartridge) which can be integrated within traditional ink-jet printers, in order to leverage the efficiency and cost of the device mechanical structure which are already being used. The latter, named ‘Braille Cursor’, is an innovative Braille display featuring a substantial technology innovation by means of a unique cursor virtualizing Braille cells, thus limiting the number of active pins needed for Braille characters.

Keywords: Human Rights, visually impaired, affordability, social challenges and technology innovations, assistive tools

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14 A Parallel Cellular Automaton Model of Tumor Growth for Multicore and GPU Programming

Authors: Manuel I. Capel, Antonio Tomeu, Alberto Salguero


Tumor growth from a transformed cancer-cell up to a clinically apparent mass spans through a range of spatial and temporal magnitudes. Through computer simulations, Cellular Automata (CA) can accurately describe the complexity of the development of tumors. Tumor development prognosis can now be made -without making patients undergo through annoying medical examinations or painful invasive procedures- if we develop appropriate CA-based software tools. In silico testing mainly refers to Computational Biology research studies of application to clinical actions in Medicine. To establish sound computer-based models of cellular behavior, certainly reduces costs and saves precious time with respect to carrying out experiments in vitro at labs or in vivo with living cells and organisms. These aim to produce scientifically relevant results compared to traditional in vitro testing, which is slow, expensive, and does not generally have acceptable reproducibility under the same conditions. For speeding up computer simulations of cellular models, specific literature shows recent proposals based on the CA approach that include advanced techniques, such the clever use of supporting efficient data structures when modeling with deterministic stochastic cellular automata. Multiparadigm and multiscale simulation of tumor dynamics is just beginning to be developed by the concerned research community. The use of stochastic cellular automata (SCA), whose parallel programming implementations are open to yield a high computational performance, are of much interest to be explored up to their computational limits. There have been some approaches based on optimizations to advance in multiparadigm models of tumor growth, which mainly pursuit to improve performance of these models through efficient memory accesses guarantee, or considering the dynamic evolution of the memory space (grids, trees,…) that holds crucial data in simulations. In our opinion, the different optimizations mentioned above are not decisive enough to achieve the high performance computing power that cell-behavior simulation programs actually need. The possibility of using multicore and GPU parallelism as a promising multiplatform and framework to develop new programming techniques to speed-up the computation time of simulations is just starting to be explored in the few last years. This paper presents a model that incorporates parallel processing, identifying the synchronization necessary for speeding up tumor growth simulations implemented in Java and C++ programming environments. The speed up improvement that specific parallel syntactic constructs, such as executors (thread pools) in Java, are studied. The new tumor growth parallel model is proved using implementations with Java and C++ languages on two different platforms: chipset Intel core i-X and a HPC cluster of processors at our university. The parallelization of Polesczuk and Enderling model (normally used by researchers in mathematical oncology) proposed here is analyzed with respect to performance gain. We intend to apply the model and overall parallelization technique presented here to solid tumors of specific affiliation such as prostate, breast, or colon. Our final objective is to set up a multiparadigm model capable of modelling angiogenesis, or the growth inhibition induced by chemotaxis, as well as the effect of therapies based on the presence of cytotoxic/cytostatic drugs.

Keywords: Simulation, High Performance Computing, Parallel programming, cellular automaton, tumor growth model, multicore and manycore programming, speed up

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13 A Self-Heating Gas Sensor of SnO2-Based Nanoparticles Electrophoretic Deposited

Authors: Glauco M. M. M. Lustosa, João Paulo C. Costa, Leinig Antônio Perazolli, Maria Aparecida Zaghete, Sonia M. Zanetti, Mario Cilense


The contamination of the environment has been one of the biggest problems of our time, mostly due to developments of many industries. SnO2 is an n-type semiconductor with band gap about 3.5 eV and has its electrical conductivity dependent of type and amount of modifiers agents added into matrix ceramic during synthesis process, allowing applications as sensing of gaseous pollutants on ambient. The chemical synthesis by polymeric precursor method consists in a complexation reaction between tin ion and citric acid at 90 °C/2 hours and subsequently addition of ethyleneglycol for polymerization at 130 °C/2 hours. It also prepared polymeric resin of zinc, cobalt and niobium ions. Stoichiometric amounts of the solutions were mixed to obtain the systems (Zn, Nb)-SnO2 and (Co, Nb) SnO2 . The metal immobilization reduces its segregation during the calcination resulting in a crystalline oxide with high chemical homogeneity. The resin was pre-calcined at 300 °C/1 hour, milled in Atritor Mill at 500 rpm/1 hour, and then calcined at 600 °C/2 hours. X-Ray Diffraction (XDR) indicated formation of SnO2 -rutile phase (JCPDS card nº 41-1445). The characterization by Scanning Electron Microscope of High Resolution showed spherical ceramic powder nanostructured with 10-20 nm of diameter. 20 mg of SnO2 -based powder was kept in 20 ml of isopropyl alcohol and then taken to an electrophoretic deposition (EPD) system. The EPD method allows control the thickness films through the voltage or current applied in the electrophoretic cell and by the time used for deposition of ceramics particles. This procedure obtains films in a short time with low costs, bringing prospects for a new generation of smaller size devices with easy integration technology. In this research, films were obtained in an alumina substrate with interdigital electrodes after applying 2 kV during 5 and 10 minutes in cells containing alcoholic suspension of (Zn, Nb)-SnO2 and (Co, Nb) SnO2 of powders, forming a sensing layer. The substrate has designed integrated micro hotplates that provide an instantaneous and precise temperature control capability when a voltage is applied. The films were sintered at 900 and 1000 °C in a microwave oven of 770 W, adapted by the research group itself with a temperature controller. This sintering is a fast process with homogeneous heating rate which promotes controlled growth of grain size and also the diffusion of modifiers agents, inducing the creation of intrinsic defects which will change the electrical characteristics of SnO2 -based powders. This study has successfully demonstrated a microfabricated system with an integrated micro-hotplate for detection of CO and NO2 gas at different concentrations and temperature, with self-heating SnO2 - based nanoparticles films, being suitable for both industrial process monitoring and detection of low concentrations in buildings/residences in order to safeguard human health. The results indicate the possibility for development of gas sensors devices with low power consumption for integration in portable electronic equipment with fast analysis. Acknowledgments The authors thanks to the LMA-IQ for providing the FEG-SEM images, and the financial support of this project by the Brazilian research funding agencies CNPq, FAPESP 2014/11314-9 and CEPID/CDMF- FAPESP 2013/07296-2.

Keywords: Chemical Synthesis, Gas Sensor, electrophoretic deposition, self-heating

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12 Capsaicin Derivatives Enhanced Activity of α1β2γ2S-Aminobutyric Acid Type a Receptor Expressed in Xenopus laevis Oocytes

Authors: Jafri M. Abdullah, Jia H. Wong, Jingli Zhang, Habsah Mohamad, Iswatun H. Abdullah Ripain, Muhammad Bilal, Amelia J. Lloyd, Abdul A. Mohamed Yusoff


Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological diseases affecting more than 50 million of people worldwide. Epilepsy is a state of recurrent, spontaneous seizures with multiple syndromes and symptoms of different causes of brain dysfunction, prognosis, and treatments; characterized by transient, occasional and stereotyped interruptions of behavior whereby the excitatory-inhibitory activities within the central nervous system (CNS) are thrown out of balance due to various kinds of interferences. The goal of antiepileptic treatment is to enable patients to be free from seizures or to achieve control of seizures through surgical treatment and/or pharmacotherapy. Pharmacotherapy through AED plays an important role especially in countries with epilepsy treatment gap due to costs and availability of health facilities, skills and resources, yet there are about one-third of the people with epilepsy have drug-resistant seizures. Hence, this poses considerable challenges to the healthcare system and the effort in providing cost-effective treatment as well as the search for alternatives to treatment and management of epilepsy. Enhancement of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-mediated inhibitory neurotransmission is one of the key mechanisms of actions of antiepileptic drugs. GABA type > a receptors (GABAAR) are ligand-gated ion channels that mediate rapid inhibitory neurotransmission upon the binding of GABA with a heteropentameric structure forming a central pore that is permeable to the influx of chloride ions in its activated state. The major isoform of GABAA receptors consists of two α1, two β2, and one γ2 subunit. It is the most abundantly expressed combinations in the brain and the most commonly researched through Xenopus laevis oocytes. With the advancing studies on ethnomedicine and traditional treatments using medicinal plants, increasing evidence reveal that spice and herb plants with medicinal properties play an important role in the treatment of ailments within communities across different cultures. Capsaicin is the primary natural capsaicinoid in hot peppers of plant genus Capsicum, consist of an aromatic ring, an amide linkage and a hydrophobic side chain. The study showed that capsaicins conferred neuroprotection in status epilepticus mouse models through anti-ictogenic, hypothermic, antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and anti-apoptotic actions in a dose-dependent manner. In this study, five capsaicin derivatives were tested for their ability to increase the GABA-induced chloride current on α1β2γ2S of GABAAR expressed on Xenopus laevis oocytes using the method of two-microelectrode voltage clamp. Two of the capsaicin derivatives, IS5 (N-(4-hydroxy-3-methoxybenzyl)-3-methylbutyramide) and IS10 (N-(4-hydroxy-3-methoxybenzyl)-decanamide) at a concentration of 30µM were able to significantly increase the GABA-induced chloride current with p=0.002 and p=0.026 respectively. This study were able to show the enhancement effect of two capsaicin derivatives with moderate length of hydrocarbon chain on this receptor subtype, revealing the promising inhibitory activity of capsaicin derivatives through enhancement of GABA-induced chloride current and further investigations should be carried out to verify its antiepileptic effects in animal models.

Keywords: α1β2γ2 GABAA receptors, α1β2γ2S, antiepileptic, capsaicin derivatives, two-microelectrode voltage clamp, Xenopus laevis oocytes

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11 Successful Optimization of a Shallow Marginal Offshore Field and Its Applications

Authors: Kumar Satyam Das, Murali Raghunathan


This note discusses the feasibility of field development of a challenging shallow offshore field in South East Asia and how its learnings can be applied to marginal field development across the world especially developing marginal fields in this low oil price world. The field was found to be economically challenging even during high oil prices and the project was put on hold. Shell started development study with the aim to significantly reduce cost through competitively scoping and revive stranded projects. The proposed strategy to achieve this involved Improve Per platform recovery and Reduction in CAPEX. Methodology: Based on various Benchmarking Tool such as Woodmac for similar projects in the region and economic affordability, a challenging target of 50% reduction in unit development cost (UDC) was set for the project. Technical scope was defined to the minimum as to be a wellhead platform with minimum functionality to ensure production. The evaluation of key project decisions like Well location and number, well design, Artificial lift methods and wellhead platform type under different development concept was carried out through integrated multi-discipline approach. Key elements influencing per platform recovery were Wellhead Platform (WHP) location, Well count, well reach and well productivity. Major Findings: Reservoir being shallow posed challenges in well design (dog-leg severity, casing size and the achievable step-out), choice of artificial lift and sand-control method. Integrated approach amongst relevant disciplines with challenging mind-set enabled to achieve optimized set of development decisions. This led to significant improvement in per platform recovery. It was concluded that platform recovery largely depended on the reach of the well. Choice of slim well design enabled designing of high inclination and better productivity wells. However, there is trade-off between high inclination Gas Lift (GL) wells and low inclination wells in terms of long term value, operational complexity, well reach, recovery and uptime. Well design element like casing size, well completion, artificial lift and sand control were added successively over the minimum technical scope design leading to a value and risk staircase. Logical combinations of options (slim well, GL) were competitively screened to achieve 25% reduction in well cost. Facility cost reduction was achieved through sourcing standardized Low Cost Facilities platform in combination with portfolio execution to maximizing execution efficiency; this approach is expected to reduce facilities cost by ~23% with respect to the development costs. Further cost reductions were achieved by maximizing use of existing facilities nearby; changing reliance on existing water injection wells and utilizing existing water injector (W.I.) platform for new injectors. Conclusion: The study provides a spectrum of technically feasible options. It also made clear that different drivers lead to different development concepts and the cost value trade off staircase made this very visible. Scoping of the project through competitive way has proven to be valuable for decision makers by creating a transparent view of value and associated risks/uncertainty/trade-offs for difficult choices: elements of the projects can be competitive, whilst other parts will struggle, even though contributing to significant volumes. Reduction in UDC through proper scoping of present projects and its benchmarking paves as a learning for the development of marginal fields across the world, especially in this low oil price scenario. This way of developing a field has on average a reduction of 40% of cost for the Shell projects.

Keywords: Benchmarking, feasibility, capex, full field development

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10 Designing and Simulation of the Rotor and Hub of the Unmanned Helicopter

Authors: Krzysztof Skiba, Ksenia Siadkowska, Zbigniew Czyz, Karol Scislowski


Today’s progress in the rotorcraft is mostly associated with an optimization of aircraft performance achieved by active and passive modifications of main rotor assemblies and a tail propeller. The key task is to improve their performance, improve the hover quality factor for rotors but not change in specific fuel consumption. One of the tasks to improve the helicopter is an active optimization of the main rotor providing for flight stages, i.e., an ascend, flight, a descend. An active interference with the airflow around the rotor blade section can significantly change characteristics of the aerodynamic airfoil. The efficiency of actuator systems modifying aerodynamic coefficients in the current solutions is relatively high and significantly affects the increase in strength. The solution to actively change aerodynamic characteristics assumes a periodic change of geometric features of blades depending on flight stages. Changing geometric parameters of blade warping enables an optimization of main rotor performance depending on helicopter flight stages. Structurally, an adaptation of shape memory alloys does not significantly affect rotor blade fatigue strength, which contributes to reduce costs associated with an adaptation of the system to the existing blades, and gains from a better performance can easily amortize such a modification and improve profitability of such a structure. In order to obtain quantitative and qualitative data to solve this research problem, a number of numerical analyses have been necessary. The main problem is a selection of design parameters of the main rotor and a preliminary optimization of its performance to improve the hover quality factor for rotors. This design concept assumes a three-bladed main rotor with a chord of 0.07 m and radius R = 1 m. The value of rotor speed is a calculated parameter of an optimization function. To specify the initial distribution of geometric warping, a special software has been created that uses a numerical method of a blade element which respects dynamic design features such as fluctuations of a blade in its joints. A number of performance analyses as a function of rotor speed, forward speed, and altitude have been performed. The calculations were carried out for the full model assembly. This approach makes it possible to observe the behavior of components and their mutual interaction resulting from the forces. The key element of each rotor is the shaft, hub and pins holding the joints and blade yokes. These components are exposed to the highest loads. As a result of the analysis, the safety factor was determined at the level of k > 1.5, which gives grounds to obtain certification for the strength of the structure. The construction of the joint rotor has numerous moving elements in its structure. Despite the high safety factor, the places with the highest stresses, where the signs of wear and tear may appear, have been indicated. The numerical analysis carried out showed that the most loaded element is the pin connecting the modular bearing of the blade yoke with the element of the horizontal oscillation joint. The stresses in this element result in a safety factor of k=1.7. The other analysed rotor components have a safety factor of more than 2 and in the case of the shaft, this factor is more than 3. However, it must be remembered that the structure is as strong as the weakest cell is. Designed rotor for unmanned aerial vehicles adapted to work with blades with intelligent materials in its structure meets the requirements for certification testing. Acknowledgement: This work has been financed by the Polish National Centre for Research and Development under the LIDER program, Grant Agreement No. LIDER/45/0177/L-9/17/NCBR/2018.

Keywords: Materials, shape memory alloy, main rotor, rotorcraft aerodynamics, unmanned helicopter

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9 Development of a Core Set of Clinical Indicators to Measure Quality of Care for Thyroid Cancer: A Modified-Delphi Approach

Authors: Liane J. Ioannou, Jonathan Serpell, Cino Bendinelli, Jenny Gough, Dean Lisewski, Julie Miller, Win Meyer-Rochow, Duncan Topliss, David Walters, Susannah Ahern, Bill Fleming, Stephen Farrell, Andrew Kiu, James Kollias, Mark Sywak, Adam Aniss, Linda Fenton, Danielle Ghusn, Simon Harper, Aleksandra Popadich, Kate Stringer, David Watters


BACKGROUND: There are significant variations in the management, treatment and outcomes of thyroid cancer, particularly in the role of: diagnostic investigation and pre-treatment scanning; optimal extent of surgery (total or hemi-thyroidectomy); use of active surveillance for small low-risk cancers; central lymph node dissections (therapeutic or prophylactic); outcomes following surgery (e.g. recurrent laryngeal nerve palsy, hypocalcaemia, hypoparathyroidism); post-surgical hormone, calcium and vitamin D therapy; and provision and dosage of radioactive iodine treatment. A proven strategy to reduce variations in the outcome and to improve survival is to measure and compare it using high-quality clinical registry data. Clinical registries provide the most effective means of collecting high-quality data and are a tool for quality improvement. Where they have been introduced at a state or national level, registries have become one of the most clinically valued tools for quality improvement. To benchmark clinical care, clinical quality registries require systematic measurement at predefined intervals and the capacity to report back information to participating clinical units. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to develop a core set clinical indicators that enable measurement and reporting of quality of care for patients with thyroid cancer. We hypothesise that measuring clinical quality indicators, developed to identify differences in quality of care across sites, will reduce variation and improve patient outcomes and survival, thereby lessening costs and healthcare burden to the Australian community. METHOD: Preparatory work and scoping was conducted to identify existing high quality, clinical guidelines and best practice for thyroid cancer both nationally and internationally, as well as relevant literature. A bi-national panel was invited to participate in a modified Delphi process. Panelists were asked to rate each proposed indicator on a Likert scale of 1–9 in a three-round iterative process. RESULTS: A total of 236 potential quality indicators were identified. One hundred and ninety-two indicators were removed to reflect the data capture by the Australian and New Zealand Thyroid Cancer Registry (ANZTCR) (from diagnosis to 90-days post-surgery). The remaining 44 indicators were presented to the panelists for voting. A further 21 indicators were later added by the panelists bringing the total potential quality indicators to 65. Of these, 21 were considered the most important and feasible indicators to measure quality of care in thyroid cancer, of which 12 were recommended for inclusion in the final set. The consensus indicator set spans the spectrum of care, including: preoperative; surgery; surgical complications; staging and post-surgical treatment planning; and post-surgical treatment. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides a core set of quality indicators to measure quality of care in thyroid cancer. This indicator set can be applied as a tool for internal quality improvement, comparative quality reporting, public reporting and research. Inclusion of these quality indicators into monitoring databases such as clinical quality registries will enable opportunities for benchmarking and feedback on best practice care to clinicians involved in the management of thyroid cancer.

Keywords: Quality Of Care, quality indicators, clinical registry, Delphi survey

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8 Analyzing Spatio-Structural Impediments in the Urban Trafficscape of Kolkata, India

Authors: Teesta Dey


Integrated Transport development with proper traffic management leads to sustainable growth of any urban sphere. Appropriate mass transport planning is essential for the populous cities in third world countries like India. The exponential growth of motor vehicles with unplanned road network is now the common feature of major urban centres in India. Kolkata, the third largest mega city in India, is not an exception of it. The imbalance between demand and supply of unplanned transport services in this city is manifested in the high economic and environmental costs borne by the associated society. With the passage of time, the growth and extent of passenger demand for rapid urban transport has outstripped proper infrastructural planning and causes severe transport problems in the overall urban realm. Hence Kolkata stands out in the world as one of the most crisis-ridden metropolises. The urban transport crisis of this city involves severe traffic congestion, the disparity in mass transport services on changing peripheral land uses, route overlapping, lowering of travel speed and faulty implementation of governmental plans as mostly induced by rapid growth of private vehicles on limited road space with huge carbon footprint. Therefore the paper will critically analyze the extant road network pattern for improving regional connectivity and accessibility, assess the degree of congestion, identify the deviation from demand and supply balance and finally evaluate the emerging alternate transport options as promoted by the government. For this purpose, linear, nodal and spatial transport network have been assessed based on certain selected indices viz. Road Degree, Traffic Volume, Shimbel Index, Direct Bus Connectivity, Average Travel and Waiting Tine Indices, Route Variety, Service Frequency, Bus Intensity, Concentration Analysis, Delay Rate, Quality of Traffic Transmission, Lane Length Duration Index and Modal Mix. Total 20 Traffic Intersection Points (TIPs) have been selected for the measurement of nodal accessibility. Critical Congestion Zones (CCZs) are delineated based on one km buffer zones of each TIP for congestion pattern analysis. A total of 480 bus routes are assessed for identifying the deficiency in network planning. Apart from bus services, the combined effects of other mass and para transit modes, containing metro rail, auto, cab and ferry services, are also analyzed. Based on systematic random sampling method, a total of 1500 daily urban passengers’ perceptions were studied for checking the ground realities. The outcome of this research identifies the spatial disparity among the 15 boroughs of the city with severe route overlapping and congestion problem. North and Central Kolkata-based mass transport services exceed the transport strength of south and peripheral Kolkata. Faulty infrastructural condition, service inadequacy, economic loss and workers’ inefficiency are the most dominant reasons behind the defective mass transport network plan. Hence there is an urgent need to revive the extant road based mass transport system of this city by implementing a holistic management approach by upgrading traffic infrastructure, designing new roads, better cooperation among different mass transport agencies, better coordination of transport and changing land use policies, large increase in funding and finally general passengers’ awareness.

Keywords: Carbon Footprint, critical congestion zones, direct bus connectivity, integrated transport development

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7 Extracellular Polymeric Substances Study in an MBR System for Fouling Control

Authors: Dimitra C. Banti, Gesthimani Liona, Petros Samaras, Manasis Mitrakas


Municipal and industrial wastewaters are often treated biologically, by the activated sludge process (ASP). The ASP not only requires large aeration and sedimentation tanks, but also generates large quantities of excess sludge. An alternative technology is the membrane bioreactor (MBR), which replaces two stages of the conventional ASP—clarification and settlement—with a single, integrated biotreatment and clarification step. The advantages offered by the MBR over conventional treatment include reduced footprint and sludge production through maintaining a high biomass concentration in the bioreactor. Notwithstanding these advantages, the widespread application of the MBR process is constrained by membrane fouling. Fouling leads to permeate flux decline, making more frequent membrane cleaning and replacement necessary and resulting to increased operating costs. In general, membrane fouling results from the interaction between the membrane material and the components in the activated sludge liquor. The latter includes substrate components, cells, cell debris and microbial metabolites, such as Extracellular Polymeric Substances (EPS) and Sludge Microbial Products (SMPs). The challenge for effective MBR operation is to minimize the rate of Transmembrane Pressure (TMP) increase. This can be achieved by several ways, one of which is the addition of specific additives, that enhance the coagulation and flocculation of compounds, which are responsible for fouling, hence reducing biofilm formation on the membrane surface and limiting the fouling rate. In this project the effectiveness of a non-commercial composite coagulant was studied as an agent for fouling control in a lab scale MBR system consisting in two aerated tanks. A flat sheet membrane module with 0.40 um pore size was submerged into the second tank. The system was fed by50 L/d of municipal wastewater collected from the effluent of the primary sedimentation basin. The TMP increase rate, which is directly related to fouling growth, was monitored by a PLC system. EPS, MLSS and MLVSS measurements were performed in samples of mixed liquor; in addition, influent and effluent samples were collected for the determination of physicochemical characteristics (COD, BOD5, NO3-N, NH4-N, Total N and PO4-P). The coagulant was added in concentrations 2, 5 and 10mg/L during a period of 2 weeks and the results were compared with the control system (without coagulant addition). EPS fractions were extracted by a three stages physical-thermal treatment allowing the identification of Soluble EPS (SEPS) or SMP, Loosely Bound EPS (LBEPS) and Tightly Bound EPS (TBEPS). Proteins and carbohydrates concentrations were measured in EPS fractions by the modified Lowry method and Dubois method, respectively. Addition of 2 mg/L coagulant concentration did not affect SEPS proteins in comparison with control process and their values varied between 32 to 38mg/g VSS. However a coagulant dosage of 5mg/L resulted in a slight increase of SEPS proteins at 35-40 mg/g VSS while 10mg/L coagulant further increased SEPS to 44-48mg/g VSS. Similar results were obtained for SEPS carbohydrates. Carbohydrates values without coagulant addition were similar to the corresponding values measured for 2mg/L coagulant; the addition of mg/L coagulant resulted to a slight increase of carbohydrates SEPS to 6-7mg/g VSS while a dose of 10 mg/L further increased carbohydrates content to 9-10mg/g VSS. Total LBEPS and TBEPS, consisted of proteins and carbohydrates of LBEPS and TBEPS respectively, presented similar variations by the addition of the coagulant. Total LBEPS at 2mg/L dose were almost equal to 17mg/g VSS, and their values increased to 22 and 29 mg/g VSS during the addition of 5 mg/L and 10 mg/L of coagulant respectively. Total TBEPS were almost 37 mg/g VSS at a coagulant dose of 2 mg/L and increased to 42 and 51 mg/g VSS at 5 mg/L and 10 mg/L doses, respectively. Therefore, it can be concluded that coagulant addition could potentially affect microorganisms activities, excreting EPS in greater amounts. Nevertheless, EPS increase, mainly SEPS increase, resulted to a higher membrane fouling rate, as justified by the corresponding TMP increase rate. However, the addition of the coagulant, although affected the EPS content in the reactor mixed liquor, did not change the filtration process: an effluent of high quality was produced, with COD values as low as 20-30 mg/L.

Keywords: MBR, membrane fouling, extracellular polymeric substances, EPS

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6 Assessing the Utility of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle-Borne Hyperspectral Image and Photogrammetry Derived 3D Data for Wetland Species Distribution Quick Mapping

Authors: Qiaosi Li, Frankie Kwan Kit Wong, Tung Fung


Lightweight unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) loading with novel sensors offers a low cost approach for data acquisition in complex environment. This study established a framework for applying UAV system in complex environment quick mapping and assessed the performance of UAV-based hyperspectral image and digital surface model (DSM) derived from photogrammetric point clouds for 13 species classification in wetland area Mai Po Inner Deep Bay Ramsar Site, Hong Kong. The study area was part of shallow bay with flat terrain and the major species including reedbed and four mangroves: Kandelia obovata, Aegiceras corniculatum, Acrostichum auerum and Acanthus ilicifolius. Other species involved in various graminaceous plants, tarbor, shrub and invasive species Mikania micrantha. In particular, invasive species climbed up to the mangrove canopy caused damage and morphology change which might increase species distinguishing difficulty. Hyperspectral images were acquired by Headwall Nano sensor with spectral range from 400nm to 1000nm and 0.06m spatial resolution image. A sequence of multi-view RGB images was captured with 0.02m spatial resolution and 75% overlap. Hyperspectral image was corrected for radiative and geometric distortion while high resolution RGB images were matched to generate maximum dense point clouds. Furtherly, a 5 cm grid digital surface model (DSM) was derived from dense point clouds. Multiple feature reduction methods were compared to identify the efficient method and to explore the significant spectral bands in distinguishing different species. Examined methods including stepwise discriminant analysis (DA), support vector machine (SVM) and minimum noise fraction (MNF) transformation. Subsequently, spectral subsets composed of the first 20 most importance bands extracted by SVM, DA and MNF, and multi-source subsets adding extra DSM to 20 spectrum bands were served as input in maximum likelihood classifier (MLC) and SVM classifier to compare the classification result. Classification results showed that feature reduction methods from best to worst are MNF transformation, DA and SVM. MNF transformation accuracy was even higher than all bands input result. Selected bands frequently laid along the green peak, red edge and near infrared. Additionally, DA found that chlorophyll absorption red band and yellow band were also important for species classification. In terms of 3D data, DSM enhanced the discriminant capacity among low plants, arbor and mangrove. Meanwhile, DSM largely reduced misclassification due to the shadow effect and morphological variation of inter-species. In respect to classifier, nonparametric SVM outperformed than MLC for high dimension and multi-source data in this study. SVM classifier tended to produce higher overall accuracy and reduce scattered patches although it costs more time than MLC. The best result was obtained by combining MNF components and DSM in SVM classifier. This study offered a precision species distribution survey solution for inaccessible wetland area with low cost of time and labour. In addition, findings relevant to the positive effect of DSM as well as spectral feature identification indicated that the utility of UAV-borne hyperspectral and photogrammetry deriving 3D data is promising in further research on wetland species such as bio-parameters modelling and biological invasion monitoring.

Keywords: Hyperspectral, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), digital surface model (DSM), feature reduction, photogrammetric point cloud, species mapping

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5 Turn Organic Waste to Green Fuels with Zero Landfill

Authors: Xu Fei (Philip) WU


As waste recycling concept been accepted more and more in modern societies, the organic portion of the municipal waste become a sires issue in today’s life. Depend on location and season, the organic waste can bee anywhere between 40-65% of total municipal solid waste. Also composting and anaerobic digestion technologies been applied in this field for years, however both process have difficulties been selected by economical and environmental factors. Beside environmental pollution and risk of virus spread, the compost is not a product been welcomed by people even the waste management has to give up them at no cost. The anaerobic digester has to have 70% of water and keep at 35 degree C or above; base on above conditions, the retention time only can be up to two weeks and remain solid has to be dewater and composting again. The enhancive waste water treatment has to be added after. Because these reasons, the voice of suggesting cancelling recycling program and turning all waste to mass burn incinerations have been raised-A process has already been proved has least energy efficiency and most air pollution problem associated process. A newly developed WXF Bio-energy process employs recently developed and patented pre-designed separation, multi-layer and multi-cavity successive bioreactor landfill technology. It features an improved leachate recycling technology, technologies to maximize the biogas generation rate and a reduced overall turnaround period on the land. A single properly designed and operated site can be used indefinitely. In this process, all collected biogas will be processed to eliminate H2S and other hazardous gases. The methane, carbon dioxide and hydrogen will be utilized in a proprietary process to manufacture methanol which can be sold to mitigate operating costs of the landfill. This integration of new processes offers a more advanced alternative to current sanitary landfill, incineration and compost technology. Xu Fei (Philip) Wu Xu Fei Wu is founder and Chief Scientist of W&Y Environmental International Inc. (W & Y), a Canadian environmental and sustainable energy technology company with patented landfill processes and proprietary waste to energy technologies. He has worked in environmental and sustainable energy fields over the last 25 years. Before W&Y, he worked for Conestoga-Rovers & Associates Limited, Microbe Environmental Science and Technology Inc. of Canada and The Ministry of Nuclear Industry and Ministry of Space Flight Industry of China. Xu Fei Wu holds a Master of Engineering Science degree from The University of Western Ontario. I wish present this paper as an oral presentation only Selected Conference Presentations: • “Removal of Phenolic Compounds with Algae” Presented at 25th Canadian Symposium on Water Pollution Research (CAWPRC Conference), Burlington, Ontario Canada. February, 1990 • “Removal of Phenolic Compounds with Algae” Presented at Annual Conference of Pollution Control Association of Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada. April, 1990 • “Removal of Organochlorine Compounds in a Flocculated Algae Photo-Bioreactor” Presented at International Symposium on Low Cost and Energy Saving Wastewater Treatment Technologies (IAWPRC Conference), Kiyoto, Japan, August, 1990 • “Maximizing Production and Utilization of Landfill Gas” 2009 Wuhan International Conference on Environment(CAWPRC Conference, sponsored by US EPA) Wuhan, China. October, 2009. • “WXF Bio-Energy-A Green, Sustainable Waste to Energy Process” Presented at 9Th International Conference Cooperation for Waste Issues, Kharkiv, Ukraine March, 2012 • “A Lannfill Site Can Be Recycled Indefinitely” Presented at 28th International Conference on solid Waste Technology and Management, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. March, 2013. Hosted by The Journal of Solid Waste Technology and Management.

Keywords: Sustainable Development, Waste Management, methanol, Bio-Energy, green fuel

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4 Developing a Cloud Intelligence-Based Energy Management Architecture Facilitated with Embedded Edge Analytics for Energy Conservation in Demand-Side Management

Authors: Yu-Hsiu Lin, Wen-Chun Lin, Yen-Chang Cheng, Chia-Ju Yeh, Yu-Chuan Chen, Tai-You Li


Demand-Side Management (DSM) has the potential to reduce electricity costs and carbon emission, which are associated with electricity used in the modern society. A home Energy Management System (EMS) commonly used by residential consumers in a down-stream sector of a smart grid to monitor, control, and optimize energy efficiency to domestic appliances is a system of computer-aided functionalities as an energy audit for residential DSM. Implementing fault detection and classification to domestic appliances monitored, controlled, and optimized is one of the most important steps to realize preventive maintenance, such as residential air conditioning and heating preventative maintenance in residential/industrial DSM. In this study, a cloud intelligence-based green EMS that comes up with an Internet of Things (IoT) technology stack for residential DSM is developed. In the EMS, Arduino MEGA Ethernet communication-based smart sockets that module a Real Time Clock chip to keep track of current time as timestamps via Network Time Protocol are designed and implemented for readings of load phenomena reflecting on voltage and current signals sensed. Also, a Network-Attached Storage providing data access to a heterogeneous group of IoT clients via Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) methods is configured to data stores of parsed sensor readings. Lastly, a desktop computer with a WAMP software bundle (the Microsoft® Windows operating system, Apache HTTP Server, MySQL relational database management system, and PHP programming language) serves as a data science analytics engine for dynamic Web APP/REpresentational State Transfer-ful web service of the residential DSM having globally-Advanced Internet of Artificial Intelligence (AI)/Computational Intelligence. Where, an abstract computing machine, Java Virtual Machine, enables the desktop computer to run Java programs, and a mash-up of Java, R language, and Python is well-suited and -configured for AI in this study. Having the ability of sending real-time push notifications to IoT clients, the desktop computer implements Google-maintained Firebase Cloud Messaging to engage IoT clients across Android/iOS devices and provide mobile notification service to residential/industrial DSM. In this study, in order to realize edge intelligence that edge devices avoiding network latency and much-needed connectivity of Internet connections for Internet of Services can support secure access to data stores and provide immediate analytical and real-time actionable insights at the edge of the network, we upgrade the designed and implemented smart sockets to be embedded AI Arduino ones (called embedded AIduino). With the realization of edge analytics by the proposed embedded AIduino for data analytics, an Arduino Ethernet shield WizNet W5100 having a micro SD card connector is conducted and used. The SD library is included for reading parsed data from and writing parsed data to an SD card. And, an Artificial Neural Network library, ArduinoANN, for Arduino MEGA is imported and used for locally-embedded AI implementation. The embedded AIduino in this study can be developed for further applications in manufacturing industry energy management and sustainable energy management, wherein in sustainable energy management rotating machinery diagnostics works to identify energy loss from gross misalignment and unbalance of rotating machines in power plants as an example.

Keywords: Demand-Side Management, energy management system, edge intelligence, fault detection and classification

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3 Employee Engagement

Authors: Jai Bakliya, Palak Dhamecha


Today customer satisfaction is given utmost priority be it any industry. But when it comes to hospitality industry this applies even more as they come in direct contact with customers while providing them services. Employee engagement is new concept adopted by Human Resource Department which impacts customer satisfactions. To satisfy your customers, it is necessary to see that the employees in the organisation are satisfied and engaged enough in their work that they meet the company’s expectations and contribute in the process of achieving company’s goals and objectives. After all employees is human capital of the organisation. Employee engagement has become a top business priority for every organisation. In this fast moving economy, business leaders know that having a potential and high-performing human resource is important for growth and survival. They recognize that a highly engaged manpower can increase innovation, productivity, and performance, while reducing costs related to retention and hiring in highly competitive talent markets. But while most executives see a clear need to improve employee engagement, many have yet to develop tangible ways to measure and tackle this goal. Employee Engagement is an approach which is applied to establish an emotional connection between an employee and the organisation which ensures the employee’s commitment towards his work which affects the productivity and overall performance of the organisation. The study was conducted in hospitality industry. A popular branded hotel was chosen as a sample unit. Data were collected, both qualitative and quantitative from respondents. It is found that employee engagement level of the organisation (Hotel) is quite low. This means that employees are not emotionally connected with the organisation which may in turn, affect performance of the employees it is important to note that in hospitality industry individual employee’s performance specifically in terms of emotional engagement is critical and, therefore, a low engagement level may contribute to low organisation performance. An attempt to this study was made to identify employee engagement level. Another objective to take this study was to explore the factors impeding employee engagement and to explore employee engagement facilitation. While in the hospitality industry where people tend to work for as long as 16 to 18 hours concepts like employee engagement is essential. Because employees get tired of their routine job and in case where job rotation cannot be done employee engagement acts as a solution. The study was conducted at Trident Hotel, Udaipur. It was conducted on the sample size of 30 in-house employees from 6 different departments. The various departments were: Accounts and General, Front Office, Food & Beverage Service, Housekeeping, Food & Beverage Production and Engineering. It was conducted with the help of research instrument. The research instrument was Questionnaire. Data collection source was primary source. Trident Udaipur is one of the busiest hotels in Udaipur. The occupancy rate of the guest over there is nearly 80%. Due the high occupancy rate employees or staff of the hotel used to remain very busy and occupied all the time in their work. They worked for their remuneration only. As a result, they do not have any encouragement for their work nor they are interested in going an extra mile for the organisation. The study result shows working environment factors including recognition and appreciation, opinions of the employee, counselling, feedback from superiors, treatment of managers and respect from the organisation are capable of increasing employee engagement level in the hotel. The above study result encouraged us to explore the factors contributed to low employee engagement. It is being found that factors such as recognition and appreciation, feedback from supervisors, opinion of the employee, counselling, feedback from supervisors, treatment from managers has contributed negatively to employee engagement level. Probable reasons for the low contribution are number of employees gave the negative feedback in accordance to the factors stated above of the organisation. It seems that the structure of organisation itself is responsible for the low contribution of employee engagement. The scope of this study is limited to trident hotel situated in the Udaipur. The limitation of the study was that that the results or findings were only based on the responses of respondents of Trident, Udaipur. And so the recommendations were also applicable in Trident, Udaipur and not to all the like organisations across the country. Through the data collected was further analysed, interpreted and concluded. On the basis of the findings, suggestions were provided to the hotel for improvisation.

Keywords: Human Resource, Research, Employee Engagement, study

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2 Characterization of Aluminosilicates and Verification of Their Impact on Quality of Ceramic Proppants Intended for Shale Gas Output

Authors: Joanna Szymanska, Paulina Wawulska-Marek, Jaroslaw Mizera


Nowadays, the rapid growth of global energy consumption and uncontrolled depletion of natural resources become a serious problem. Shale rocks are the largest and potential global basins containing hydrocarbons, trapped in closed pores of the shale matrix. Regardless of the shales origin, mining conditions are extremely unfavourable due to high reservoir pressure, great depths, increased clay minerals content and limited permeability (nanoDarcy) of the rocks. Taking into consideration such geomechanical barriers, effective extraction of natural gas from shales with plastic zones demands effective operations. Actually, hydraulic fracturing is the most developed technique based on the injection of pressurized fluid into a wellbore, to initiate fractures propagation. However, a rapid drop of pressure after fluid suction to the ground induces a fracture closure and conductivity reduction. In order to minimize this risk, proppants should be applied. They are solid granules transported with hydraulic fluids to locate inside the rock. Proppants act as a prop for the closing fracture, thus gas migration to a borehole is effective. Quartz sands are commonly applied proppants only at shallow deposits (USA). Whereas, ceramic proppants are designed to meet rigorous downhole conditions to intensify output. Ceramic granules predominate with higher mechanical strength, stability in strong acidic environment, spherical shape and homogeneity as well. Quality of ceramic proppants is conditioned by raw materials selection. Aim of this study was to obtain the proppants from aluminosilicates (the kaolinite subgroup) and mix of minerals with a high alumina content. These loamy minerals contain a tubular and platy morphology that improves mechanical properties and reduces their specific weight. Moreover, they are distinguished by well-developed surface area, high porosity, fine particle size, superb dispersion and nontoxic properties - very crucial for particles consolidation into spherical and crush-resistant granules in mechanical granulation process. The aluminosilicates were mixed with water and natural organic binder to improve liquid-bridges and pores formation between particles. Afterward, the green proppants were subjected to sintering at high temperatures. Evaluation of the minerals utility was based on their particle size distribution (laser diffraction study) and thermal stability (thermogravimetry). Scanning Electron Microscopy was useful for morphology and shape identification combined with specific surface area measurement (BET). Chemical composition was verified by Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy and X-ray Fluorescence. Moreover, bulk density and specific weight were measured. Such comprehensive characterization of loamy materials confirmed their favourable impact on the proppants granulation. The sintered granules were analyzed by SEM to verify the surface topography and phase transitions after sintering. Pores distribution was identified by X-Ray Tomography. This method enabled also the simulation of proppants settlement in a fracture, while measurement of bulk density was essential to predict their amount to fill a well. Roundness coefficient was also evaluated, whereas impact on mining environment was identified by turbidity and solubility in acid - to indicate risk of the material decay in a well. The obtained outcomes confirmed a positive influence of the loamy minerals on ceramic proppants properties with respect to the strict norms. This research is perspective for higher quality proppants production with costs reduction.

Keywords: Shale Gas, aluminosilicates, ceramic proppants, mechanical granulation

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1 Glycyrrhizic Acid Inhibits Lipopolysaccharide-Stimulated Bovine Fibroblast-Like Synoviocyte, Invasion through Suppression of TLR4/NF-κB-Mediated Matrix Metalloproteinase-9 Expression

Authors: Hosein Maghsoudi


Rheumatois arthritis (RA) is progressive inflammatory autoimmune diseases that primarily affect the joints, characterized by synovial hyperplasia and inflammatory cell infiltration, deformed and painful joints, which can lead tissue destruction, functional disability systemic complications, and early dead and socioeconomic costs. The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown, but genetic and environmental factors are contributory and the prognosis is guarded. However, advances in understanding the pathogenesis of the disease have fostered the development of new therapeutics, with improved outcomes. The current treatment strategy, which reflects this progress, is to initiate aggressive therapy soon after diagnosis and to escalate the therapy, guided by an assessment of disease activity, in pursuit of clinical remission. The pathobiology of RA is multifaceted and involves T cells, B cells, fibroblast-like synoviocyte (FLSc) and the complex interaction of many pro-inflammatory cytokine. Novel biologic agents that target tumor necrosis or interlukin (IL)-1 and Il-6, in addition T- and B-cells inhibitors, have resulted in favorable clinical outcomes in patients with RA. Despite this, at least 30% of RA patients are résistance to available therapies, suggesting novel mediators should be identified that can target other disease-specific pathway or cell lineage. Among the inflammatory cell population that might participated in RA pathogenesis, FLSc are crucial in initiaing and driving RA in concert of cartilage and bone by secreting metalloproteinase (MMPs) into the synovial fluid and by direct invasion into extracellular matrix (ECM), further exacerbating joint damage. Invasion of fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSc) is critical in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid-arthritis. The metalloproteinase (MMPs) and activator of Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4)/nuclear factor- κB pthway play a critical role in RA-FLS invasion induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS). The present study aimed to explore the anti-invasion activity of Glycyrrhizic Acid as a pharmacologically safe phytochemical agent with potent anti-inflammatory properties on IL-1beta and TNF-alpha signalling pathways in Bovine fibroblast-like synoviocyte ex- vitro, on LPS-stimulated bovine FLS migration and invasion as well as MMP expression and explored the upstream signal transduction. Results showed that Glycyrrhizic Acid suppressed LPS-stimulated bovine FLS migration and invasion by inhibition MMP-9 expression and activity. In addition our results revealed that Glycyrrhizic Acid inhibited the transcriptional activity of MMP-9 by suppression the nbinding activity of NF- κB in the MMP-9 promoter pathway. The extract of licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra L.) has been widely used for many centuries in the traditional Chinese medicine as native anti-allergic agent. Glycyrrhizin (GL), a triterpenoidsaponin, extracted from the roots of licorice is the most effective compound for inflammation and allergic diseases in human body. The biological and pharmacological studies revealed that GL possesses many pharmacological effects, such as anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and liver protective effects, and the biological effects, such as induction of cytokines (interferon-γ and IL-12), chemokines as well as extrathymic T and anti-type 2 T cells. GL is known in the traditional Chinese medicine for its anti-inflammatory effect, which is originally described by Finney in 1959. The mechanism of the GL-induced anti-inflammatory effect is based on different pathways of the GL-induced selective inhibition of the prostaglandin E2 production, the CK-II- mediated activation of both GL-binding lipoxygenas (gbLOX; 17) and PLA2, an anti-thrombin action of GL and production of the reactive oxygen species (ROS; GL exerts liver protection properties by inhibiting PLA2 or by the hydroxyl radical trapping action, leading to the lowering of serum alanine and aspartate transaminase levels. The present study was undertaken to examine the possible mechanism of anti-inflammatory properties GL on IL-1beta and TNF-alpha signalling pathways in bovine fibroblast-like synoviocyte ex-vivo, on LPS-stimulated bovine FLS migration and invasion as well as MMP expression and explored the upstream signal transduction. Our results clearly showed that treatment of bovine fibroblast-like synoviocyte with GL suppressed LPS-induced cell migration and invasion. Furthermore, it revealed that GL inhibited the transcription activity of MMP-9 by suppressing the binding activity of NF-κB in the MM-9 promoter. MMP-9 is an important ECM-degrading enzyme and overexpression of MMPs in important of RA-FLSs. LPS can stimulate bovine FLS to secret MMPs, and this induction is regulated at the transcription and translational levels. In this study, LPS treatment of bovine FLS caused an increase in MMP-2 and MMP-9 levels. The increase in MMP-9 expression and secretion was inhibited by ex- vitro. Furthermore, these effects were mimicked by MMP-9 siRNA. These result therefore indicate the the inhibition of LPS-induced bovine FLS invasion by GL occurs primarily by inhibiting MMP-9 expression and activity. Next we analyzed the functional significance of NF-κB transcription of MMP-9 activation in Bovine FLSs. Results from EMSA showed that GL suppressed LPS-induced NF-κB binding to the MMP-9 promotor, as NF-κB regulates transcriptional activation of multiple inflammatory cytokines, we predicted that GL might target NF-κB to suppress MMP-9 transcription by LPS. Myeloid differentiation-factor 88 (MyD88) and TIR-domain containing adaptor protein (TIRAP) are critical proteins in the LPS-induced NF-κB and apoptotic signaling pathways, GL inhibited the expression of TLR4 and MYD88. These results demonstrated that GL suppress LPS-induced MMP-9 expression through the inhibition of the induced TLR4/NFκB signaling pathway. Taken together, our results provide evidence that GL exerts anti-inflammatory effects by inhibition LPS-induced bovine FLSs migration and invasion, and the mechanisms may involve the suppression of TLR4/NFκB –mediated MMP-9 expression. Although further work is needed to clarify the complicated mechanism of GL-induced anti-invasion of bovine FLSs, GL might be used as a further anti-invasion drug with therapeutic efficacy in the treatment of immune-mediated inflammatory disease such as RA.

Keywords: glycyrrhizic acid, bovine fibroblast-like synoviocyte, tlr4/nf-κb, metalloproteinase-9

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