Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 28

Search results for: Adrian Murphy

28 Numerical Simulation of Lightning Strike Direct Effects on Aircraft Skin Composite Laminate

Authors: Muhammad Khalil, Nader Abuelfoutouh, Gasser Abdelal, Adrian Murphy

Abstract:

Nowadays, the direct effects of lightning to aircrafts are of great importance because of the massive use of composite materials. In comparison with metallic materials, composites present several weaknesses for lightning strike direct effects. Especially, their low electrical and thermal conductivities lead to severe lightning strike damage. The lightning strike direct effects are burning, heating, magnetic force, sparking and arcing. As the problem is complex, we investigated it gradually. A magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) model is developed to simulate the lightning strikes in order to estimate the damages on the composite materials. Then, a coupled thermal-electrical finite element analysis is used to study the interaction between the lightning arc and the composite laminate and to investigate the material degradation.

Keywords: Composite structures, lightning multiphysics, magnetohydrodynamics, coupled thermal-electrical analysis, thermal plasmas.

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27 Thermal Analysis of Toroidal Transformers Using Finite Element Method

Authors: Adrian T.

Abstract:

In this paper a three dimensional thermal model of a power toroidal transformer is proposed for both steady-state or transient conditions. The influence of electric current and ambient temperature on the temperature distribution, has been investigated. To validate the three dimensional thermal model, some experimental tests have been done. There is a good correlation between experimental and simulation results.

Keywords: Temperature distribution, thermal analysis, toroidal transformer.

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26 A Reconfigurable Processing Element Implementation for Matrix Inversion Using Cholesky Decomposition

Authors: Aki Happonen, Adrian Burian, Erwin Hemming

Abstract:

Fixed-point simulation results are used for the performance measure of inverting matrices using a reconfigurable processing element. Matrices are inverted using the Cholesky decomposition algorithm. The reconfigurable processing element is capable of all required mathematical operations. The fixed-point word length analysis is based on simulations of different condition numbers and different matrix sizes.

Keywords: Cholesky Decomposition, Fixed-point, Matrixinversion, Reconfigurable processing.

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25 The Open Knowledge Kernel

Authors: Adrian Perreau de Pinninck, David Dupplaw, Spyros Kotoulas, Ronny Siebes

Abstract:

Web services are pieces of software that can be invoked via a standardized protocol. They can be combined via formalized taskflow languages. The Open Knowledge system is a fully distributed system using P2P technology, that allows users to publish the setaskflows, and programmers to register their web services or publish implementations of them, for the roles described in these workflows.Besides this, the system offers the functionality to select a peer that could coordinate such an interaction model and inform web services when it is their 'turn'. In this paper we describe the architecture and implementation of the Open Knowledge Kernel which provides the core functionality of the Open Knowledge system.

Keywords: Architecture, P2P, Web Services, Semantic Web

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24 Bridging the Communication Gap at NASA - A Case Study in Communities of Practice

Authors: Daria Topousis, Keri Murphy, Jeanne Holm

Abstract:

Following the loss of NASA's Space Shuttle Columbia in 2003, it was determined that problems in the agency's organization created an environment that led to the accident. One component of the proposed solution resulted in the formation of the NASA Engineering Network (NEN), a suite of information retrieval and knowledge-sharing tools. This paper describes the implementation of communities of practice, which are formed along engineering disciplines. Communities of practice enable engineers to leverage their knowledge and best practices to collaborate and take information learning back to their jobs and embed it into the procedures of the agency. This case study offers insight into using traditional engineering disciplines for virtual collaboration, including lessons learned during the creation and establishment of NASA-s communities.

Keywords: Collaboration, communities of practice, knowledge management, virtual teams.

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23 The Use of Webquests in Developing Inquiry Based Learning: Views of Teachers and Students in Qatar

Authors: Abdullah Abu-Tineh, Carol Murphy, Nigel Calder, Nasser Mansour

Abstract:

This paper reports on an aspect of e-learning in developing inquiry-based learning (IBL). We present data on the views of teachers and students in Qatar following a professional development programme intended to help teachers implement IBL in their science and mathematics classrooms. Key to this programme was the use of WebQuests. Views of the teachers and students suggested that WebQuests helped students to develop technical skills, work collaboratively and become independent in their learning. The use of WebQuests also enabled a combination of digital and non-digital tools that helped students connect ideas and enhance their understanding of topics.

Keywords: Digital technology, inquiry-based learning, mathematics and science education, professional development.

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22 Production Structures of Energy Based on Water Force, Its Infrastructure Protection, and Possible Causes of Failure

Authors: Gabriela-Andreea Despescu, Mădălina-Elena Mavrodin, Gheorghe Lăzăroiu, Florin Adrian Grădinaru

Abstract:

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the enhancement of a hydroelectric plant protection by coordinating protection measures / existing security and introducing new measures under a risk management process. In addition, plan identifies key critical elements of a hydroelectric plant, from its level vulnerabilities and threats it is subjected to in order to achieve the necessary protection measures to reduce the level of risk.

Keywords: Critical infrastructure, risk analysis, critical infrastructure protection, vulnerability, risk management, turbine, Impact analysis.

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21 Thermal Analysis of a Sliding Electric Contact System Using Finite Element Method

Authors: Adrian T. Pleșca

Abstract:

In this paper a three dimensional thermal model of a sliding contact system is proposed for both steady-state or transient conditions. The influence of contact force, electric current and ambient temperature on the temperature distribution, has been investigated. A thermal analysis of the different type of the graphite material of fixed electric contact and its influence on contact system temperature rise, has been performed. To validate the three dimensional thermal model, some experimental tests have been done. There is a good correlation between experimental and simulation results.

Keywords: Sliding electric contact, temperature distribution, thermal analysis.

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20 Effective Methodology for Security Risk Assessment of Computer Systems

Authors: Daniel F. García, Adrián Fernández

Abstract:

Today, computer systems are more and more complex and support growing security risks. The security managers need to find effective security risk assessment methodologies that allow modeling well the increasing complexity of current computer systems but also maintaining low the complexity of the assessment procedure. This paper provides a brief analysis of common security risk assessment methodologies leading to the selection of a proper methodology to fulfill these requirements. Then, a detailed analysis of the most effective methodology is accomplished, presenting numerical examples to demonstrate how easy it is to use.

Keywords: Computer security, qualitative and quantitative methods, risk assessment methodologies, security risk assessment.

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19 Thermal Analysis of the Fuse with Unequal Fuse Links Using Finite Element Method

Authors: Adrian T.Pleşca

Abstract:

In this paper a three dimensional thermal model of high breaking capacity fuse with unequal fuse links is proposed for both steady-state or transient conditions. The influence of ambient temperature and electric current on the temperature distribution inside the fuse, has been investigated. A thermal analysis of the unbalanced distribution of the electric current through the fuse elements and their influence on fuse link temperature rise, has been performed. To validate the three dimensional thermal model, some experimental tests have been done. There is a good correlation between experimental and simulation results.

Keywords: Electric fuse, fuse links, temperature distribution, thermal analysis.

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18 Affine Combination of Splitting Type Integrators, Implemented with Parallel Computing Methods

Authors: Adrian Alvarez, Diego Rial

Abstract:

In this work we present a family of new convergent type methods splitting high order no negative steps feature that allows your application to irreversible problems. Performing affine combinations consist of results obtained with Trotter Lie integrators of different steps. Some examples where applied symplectic compared with methods, in particular a pair of differential equations semilinear. The number of basic integrations required is comparable with integrators symplectic, but this technique allows the ability to do the math in parallel thus reducing the times of which exemplify exhibiting some implementations with simple schemes for its modularity and scalability process.

Keywords: Lie Trotter integrators, Irreversible Problems, Splitting Methods without negative steps, MPI, HPC.

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17 Effects of Stiffness on Endothelial Cells Behavior

Authors: Forough Ataollahi, Belinda Pingguan-Murphy, Wan Abu Bakar Wan Abas, Noor Azuan Abu Osman

Abstract:

Endothelium proliferation is an important process in cardiovascular homeostasis and can be regulated by extracellular environment, as cells can actively sense mechanical environment. In this study, we evaluated endothelial cell proliferation on PDMS/alumina (Al2O3) composites and pure PDMS. The substrates were prepared from pure PDMS and its composites with 5% and 10% Al2O3 at curing temperature 50˚C for 4h and then characterized by mechanical, structural and morphological analyses. Higher stiffness was found in the composites compared to the pure PDMS substrate. Cell proliferation of the cultured bovine aortic endothelial cells on substrate materials were evaluated via Resazurin assay and 1, 1’-Dioctadecyl-1, 3, 3, 3’, 3’-Tetramethylindocarbocyanine Perchlorate-Acetylated LDL (Dil-Ac-LDL) cell staining, respectively. The results revealed that stiffer substrates promote more endothelial cells proliferation to the less stiff substrates. Therefore, this study firmly hypothesizes that the stiffness elevates endothelial cells proliferation.

Keywords: Bovine aortic endothelial cells, extra cellular matrix, proliferation, stiffness.

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16 IntelliCane: A Cane System for Individuals with Lower-Limb Mobility and Functional Impairments

Authors: Adrian Bostan, Nicolae Tapus, Adriana Tapus

Abstract:

The purpose of this research paper is to study and develop a system that is able to help identify problems and improve human rehabilitation after traumatic injuries. Traumatic injuries in human’s lower limbs can occur over a life time and can have serious side effects if they are not treated correctly. In this paper, we developed an intelligent cane (IntelliCane) so as to help individuals in their rehabilitation process and provide feedback to the users. The first stage of the paper involves an analysis of the existing systems on the market and what can be improved. The second stage presents the design of the system. The third part, which is still under development is the validation of the system in real world setups with people in need. This paper presents mainly stages one and two.

Keywords: IntelliCane, 3D printing, microprocessor, weight measurement, rehabilitation tool.

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15 Thermal Analysis of the Current Path from Circuit Breakers Using Finite Element Method

Authors: Adrian T. Plesca

Abstract:

This paper describes a three-dimensional thermal model of the current path included in the low voltage power circuit breakers. The model can be used to analyse the thermal behaviour of the current path during both steady-state and transient conditions. The current path lengthwise temperature distribution and timecurrent characteristic of the terminal connections of the power circuit breaker have been obtained. The influence of the electric current and voltage drop on main electric contact of the circuit breaker has been investigated. To validate the three-dimensional thermal model, some experimental tests have been done. There is a good correlation between experimental and simulation results.

Keywords: Current path, power circuit breakers, temperature distribution, thermal analysis.

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14 Containment/Penetration Analysis for the Protection of Aircraft Engine External Configuration and Nuclear Power Plant Structures

Authors: Dong Wook Lee, Adrian Mistreanu

Abstract:

The authors have studied a method for analyzing containment and penetration using an explicit nonlinear Finite Element Analysis. This method may be used in the stage of concept design for the protection of external configurations or components of aircraft engines and nuclear power plant structures. This paper consists of the modeling method, the results obtained from the method and the comparison of the results with those calculated from simple analytical method. It shows that the containment capability obtained by proposed method matches well with analytically calculated containment capability.

Keywords: Computer Aided Engineering, CAE, containment analysis, Finite Element Analysis, FEA, impact analysis, penetration analysis.

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13 Multimedia E-Books for Digital Mechanism and Gear Library

Authors: Rike Brecht, Heidi Krömker, Adrian Kühlewind

Abstract:

This paper presents a digital engineering library – the Digital Mechanism and Gear Library, DMG-Lib – providing a multimedia collection of e-books, pictures, videos and animations in the domain of mechanisms and machines. The specific characteristic about DMG-Lib is the enrichment and cross-linking of the different sources. DMG-Lib e-books not only present pages as pixel images but also selected figures augmented with interactive animations. The presentation of animations in e-books increases the clearness of the information. To present the multimedia e-books and make them available in the DMG-Lib internet portal a special e-book reader called StreamBook was developed for optimal presentation of digitized books and to enable reading the e-books as well as working efficiently and individually with the enriched information. The objective is to support different user tasks ranging from information retrieval to development and design of mechanisms.

Keywords: E-books, digital library, multimedia, enrichment and cross-linking

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12 A Reconfigurable Processing Element for Cholesky Decomposition and Matrix Inversion

Authors: Aki Happonen, Adrian Burian, Erwin Hemming

Abstract:

Fixed-point simulation results are used for the performance measure of inverting matrices by Cholesky decomposition. The fixed-point Cholesky decomposition algorithm is implemented using a fixed-point reconfigurable processing element. The reconfigurable processing element provides all mathematical operations required by Cholesky decomposition. The fixed-point word length analysis is based on simulations using different condition numbers and different matrix sizes. Simulation results show that 16 bits word length gives sufficient performance for small matrices with low condition number. Larger matrices and higher condition numbers require more dynamic range for a fixedpoint implementation.

Keywords: Cholesky Decomposition, Fixed-point, Matrix inversion, Reconfigurable processing.

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11 Therapeutic Product Preparation Bioprocess Modeling

Authors: Mihai Caramihai, Irina Severin, Ana Aurelia Chirvase, Adrian Onu, Cristina Tanase, Camelia Ungureanu

Abstract:

An immunomodulator bioproduct is prepared in a batch bioprocess with a modified bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The bioprocess is performed in 100 L Bioengineering bioreactor with 42 L cultivation medium made of peptone, meat extract and sodium chloride. The optimal bioprocess parameters were determined: temperature – 37 0C, agitation speed - 300 rpm, aeration rate – 40 L/min, pressure – 0.5 bar, Dow Corning Antifoam M-max. 4 % of the medium volume, duration - 6 hours. This kind of bioprocesses are appreciated as difficult to control because their dynamic behavior is highly nonlinear and time varying. The aim of the paper is to present (by comparison) different models based on experimental data. The analysis criteria were modeling error and convergence rate. The estimated values and the modeling analysis were done by using the Table Curve 2D. The preliminary conclusions indicate Andrews-s model with a maximum specific growth rate of the bacterium in the range of 0.8 h-1.

Keywords: bioprocess modeling, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, kinetic models,

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10 Migration from Commercial to in-House Developed Learning Management Systems

Authors: Lejla A. Bexheti, Visar S. Shehu, Adrian A. Besimi

Abstract:

The Learning Management Systems present learning environment which offers a collection of e-learning tools in a package that allows a common interface and information sharing among the tools. South East European University initial experience in LMS was with the usage of the commercial LMS-ANGEL. After a three year experience on ANGEL usage because of expenses that were very high it was decided to develop our own software. As part of the research project team for the in-house design and development of the new LMS, we primarily had to select the features that would cover our needs and also comply with the actual trends in the area of software development, and then design and develop the system. In this paper we present the process of LMS in-house development for South East European University, its architecture, conception and strengths with a special accent on the process of migration and integration with other enterprise applications.

Keywords: e-learning tools, LMS, migration, user feedback.

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9 A Bayesian Hierarchical 13COBT to Correct Estimates Associated with a Delayed Gastric Emptying

Authors: Leslie J.C.Bluck, Sarah J.Jackson, Georgios Vlasakakis, Adrian Mander

Abstract:

The use of a Bayesian Hierarchical Model (BHM) to interpret breath measurements obtained during a 13C Octanoic Breath Test (13COBT) is demonstrated. The statistical analysis was implemented using WinBUGS, a commercially available computer package for Bayesian inference. A hierarchical setting was adopted where poorly defined parameters associated with a delayed Gastric Emptying (GE) were able to "borrow" strength from global distributions. This is proved to be a sufficient tool to correct model's failures and data inconsistencies apparent in conventional analyses employing a Non-linear least squares technique (NLS). Direct comparison of two parameters describing gastric emptying ng ( tlag -lag phase, t1/ 2 -half emptying time) revealed a strong correlation between the two methods. Despite our large dataset ( n = 164 ), Bayesian modeling was fast and provided a successful fitting for all subjects. On the contrary, NLS failed to return acceptable estimates in cases where GE was delayed.

Keywords: Bayesian hierarchical analysis, 13COBT, Gastricemptying, WinBUGS.

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8 The Effect of Micro Tools Fabricated Dent on Alumina/Alumina Oxide Interface

Authors: Taposh Roy, Dipankar Choudhury, Belinda Pingguan-Murphy

Abstract:

The tribological outcomes of micro dent are found to be outstanding in many engineering and natural surfaces. Ceramic (Al2O3) is considered one of the most potential material to bearing surfaces particularly, artificial hip or knee implant. A well-defined micro dent on alumina oxide interface could further decrease friction and wear rate, thus increase their stability and durability. In this study we fabricated circular micro dent surface profiles (Dia: 400µm, Depth 20µm, P: 1.5mm; Dia: 400µm, Depth 20µm, P: 2mm) on pure Al2O3 (99.6%) substrate by using a micro tool machines. A preliminary tribological experiment was carried out to compare friction coefficient of these fabricated dent surfaces with that of non-textured surfaces. The experiment was carried on well know pin-on-disk specimens while other experimental parameters such as hertz pressure, speed, lubrication, and temperature were maintained to standard of simulated hip joints condition. The experiment results revealed that micro dent surface texture reduced 15%, 8% and 4% friction coefficient under 0.132,0.162, 0.187 GPa contact pressure respectively. Since this is a preliminary tribological study, we will pursue further experiments considering higher ranges of dent profiles and longer run experiments. However, the preliminary results confirmed the suitability of fabricating dent profile to ceramic surfaces by using micro tooling, and also their improved tribological performance in simulated hip joints.

Keywords: Micro dent, tribology, ceramic on ceramic hipjoints.

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7 Estimation of the Upper Tail Dependence Coefficient for Insurance Loss Data Using an Empirical Copula-Based Approach

Authors: Adrian O’Hagan, Robert McLoughlin

Abstract:

Considerable focus in the world of insurance risk quantification is placed on modeling loss values from lines of business (LOBs) that possess upper tail dependence. Copulas such as the Joe, Gumbel and Student-t copula may be used for this purpose. The copula structure imparts a desired level of tail dependence on the joint distribution of claims from the different LOBs. Alternatively, practitioners may possess historical or simulated data that already exhibit upper tail dependence, through the impact of catastrophe events such as hurricanes or earthquakes. In these circumstances, it is not desirable to induce additional upper tail dependence when modeling the joint distribution of the loss values from the individual LOBs. Instead, it is of interest to accurately assess the degree of tail dependence already present in the data. The empirical copula and its associated upper tail dependence coefficient are presented in this paper as robust, efficient means of achieving this goal.

Keywords: Empirical copula, extreme events, insurance loss reserving, upper tail dependence coefficient.

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6 Developing Vision-Based Digital Public Display as an Interactive Media

Authors: Adrian Samuel Limanto, Yunli Lee

Abstract:

Interactive public displays give access as an innovative media to promote enhanced communication between people and information. However, digital public displays are subject to a few constraints, such as content presentation. Content presentation needs to be developed to be more interesting to attract people’s attention and motivate people to interact with the display. In this paper, we proposed idea to implement contents with interaction elements for vision-based digital public display. Vision-based techniques are applied as a sensor to detect passers-by and theme contents are suggested to attract their attention for encouraging them to interact with the announcement content. Virtual object, gesture detection and projection installation are applied for attracting attention from passers-by. Preliminary study showed positive feedback of interactive content designing towards the public display. This new trend would be a valuable innovation as delivery of announcement content and information communication through this media is proven to be more engaging.

Keywords: Digital announcement, digital public display, human-information interaction, interactive media.

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5 Physical Habitat Simulation and Comparison within a Lerma River Reach, with Respect to the Same but Modified Reach, to Create a Linear Park

Authors: Ezequiel Garcia-Rodriguez, Luis A. Ochoa-Franco, Adrian I. Cervantes-Servin

Abstract:

In this work, the Ictalurus punctatus species estimated available physical habitat is compared with the estimated physical habitat for the same but modified river reach, with the aim of creating a linear park, along a length of 5 500 m. To determine the effect of ecological park construction, on physical habitat of the Lerma river stretch of study, first, the available habitat for the Ictalurus punctatus species was estimated through the simulation of the physical habitat, by using surveying, hydraulics, and habitat information gotten at the river reach in its actual situation. Second, it was estimated the available habitat for the above species, upon the simulation of the physical habitat through the proposed modification for the ecological park creation. Third, it is presented a comparison between both scenarios in terms of available habitat estimated for Ictalurus punctatus species, concluding that in cases of adult and spawning life stages, changes in the channel to create an ecological park would produce a considerable loss of potentially usable habitat (PUH), while in the case of the juvenile life stage PUH remains virtually unchanged, and in the case of life stage fry the PUH would increase due to the presence of velocities and depths of lesser magnitude, due to the presence of minor flow rates and lower volume of the wet channel. It is expected that habitat modification for linear park construction may produce the lack of Ictalurus punktatus species conservation at the river reach of the study.

Keywords: Habitat modification, Ictalurus punctatus, Lerma, river, linear park.

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4 The Intonation of Romanian Greetings: A Sociolinguistics Approach

Authors: Anca-Diana Bibiri, Mihaela Mocanu, Adrian Turculeț

Abstract:

In a language the inventory of greetings is dynamic with frequent input and output, although this is hardly noticed by the speakers. In this register, there are a number of constant, conservative elements that survive different language models (among them, the classic formulae: bună ziua! (good afternoon!), bună seara! (good evening!), noapte bună! (good night!), la revedere! (goodbye!) and a number of items that fail to pass the test of time, according to language use at a time (ciao!, pa!, bai!). The source of innovation depends both of internal factors (contraction, conversion, combination of classic formulae of greetings), and of external ones (borrowings and calques). Their use imposes their frequencies at once, namely the elimination of the use of others. This paper presents a sociolinguistic approach of contemporary Romanian greetings, based on prosodic surveys in two research projects: AMPRom, and SoRoEs. Romanian language presents a rich inventory of questions (especially partial interrogatives questions/WH-Q) which are used as greetings, alone or, more commonly accompanying a proper greeting. The representative of the typical formulae is Ce mai faci? (How are you?), which, unlike its English counterpart How do you do?, has not become a stereotype, but retains an obvious emotional impact, while serving as a mark of sociolinguistic group. The analyzed corpus consists of structures containing greetings recorded in the main Romanian cultural (urban) centers. From the methodological point of view, the acoustic analysis of the recorded data is performed using software tools (GoldWave, Praat), identifying intonation patterns related to three sociolinguistics variables: age, sex and level of education. The intonation patterns of the analyzed statements are at the interface between partial questions and typical greetings.

Keywords: acoustic analysis, greetings, Romanian language, sociolinguistics

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3 Spatial Indeterminacy: Destabilization of Dichotomies in Modern and Contemporary Architecture

Authors: Adrian Lo

Abstract:

Since the advent of modern architecture, notions of free plan and transparency have proliferated well into current trends. The movement’s notion of a spatially homogeneous, open and limitless ‘free plan’ contrasts with the spatially heterogeneous ‘series of rooms’ defined by load bearing walls, which in turn triggered new notions of transparency created by vast expanses of glazed walls. Similarly, transparency was also dichotomized as something that was physical or optical, as well as something conceptual, akin to spatial organization. As opposed to merely accepting the duality and possible incompatibility of these dichotomies, this paper seeks to ask how can space be both literally and phenomenally transparent, as well as exhibit both homogeneous and heterogeneous qualities? This paper explores this potential destabilization or blurring of spatial phenomena by dissecting the transparent layers and volumes of a series of selected case studies to investigate how different architects have devised strategies of spatial ambiguity and interpenetration. Projects by Peter Eisenman, Sou Fujimoto, and SANAA will be discussed and analyzed to show how the superimposition of geometries and spaces achieve different conditions of layering, transparency, and interstitiality. Their particular buildings will be explored to reveal various innovative kinds of spatial interpenetration produced through the articulate relations of the elements of architecture, which challenge conventional perceptions of interior and exterior whereby visual homogeneity blurs with spatial heterogeneity. The results show how spatial conceptions such as interpenetration and transparency have the ability to subvert not only inside-outside dialectics, but could also produce multiple degrees of interiority within complex and indeterminate spatial dimensions in constant flux as well as present alternative forms of social interaction.

Keywords: interpenetration, literal and phenomenal transparency, spatial heterogeneity, visual homogeneity

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2 Reliability Levels of Reinforced Concrete Bridges Obtained by Mixing Approaches

Authors: Adrián D. García-Soto, Alejandro Hernández-Martínez, Jesús G. Valdés-Vázquez, Reyna A. Vizguerra-Alvarez

Abstract:

Reinforced concrete bridges designed by code are intended to achieve target reliability levels adequate for the geographical environment where the code is applicable. Several methods can be used to estimate such reliability levels. Many of them require the establishment of an explicit limit state function (LSF). When such LSF is not available as a close-form expression, the simulation techniques are often employed. The simulation methods are computing intensive and time consuming. Note that if the reliability of real bridges designed by code is of interest, numerical schemes, the finite element method (FEM) or computational mechanics could be required. In these cases, it can be quite difficult (or impossible) to establish a close-form of the LSF, and the simulation techniques may be necessary to compute reliability levels. To overcome the need for a large number of simulations when no explicit LSF is available, the point estimate method (PEM) could be considered as an alternative. It has the advantage that only the probabilistic moments of the random variables are required. However, in the PEM, fitting of the resulting moments of the LSF to a probability density function (PDF) is needed. In the present study, a very simple alternative which allows the assessment of the reliability levels when no explicit LSF is available and without the need of extensive simulations is employed. The alternative includes the use of the PEM, and its applicability is shown by assessing reliability levels of reinforced concrete bridges in Mexico when a numerical scheme is required. Comparisons with results by using the Monte Carlo simulation (MCS) technique are included. To overcome the problem of approximating the probabilistic moments from the PEM to a PDF, a well-known distribution is employed. The approach mixes the PEM and other classic reliability method (first order reliability method, FORM). The results in the present study are in good agreement whit those computed with the MCS. Therefore, the alternative of mixing the reliability methods is a very valuable option to determine reliability levels when no close form of the LSF is available, or if numerical schemes, the FEM or computational mechanics are employed.

Keywords: Structural reliability, reinforced concrete bridges, mixing approaches, point estimate method, Monte Carlo simulation.

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1 A Construction Management Tool: Determining a Project Schedule Typical Behaviors Using Cluster Analysis

Authors: Natalia Rudeli, Elisabeth Viles, Adrian Santilli

Abstract:

Delays in the construction industry are a global phenomenon. Many construction projects experience extensive delays exceeding the initially estimated completion time. The main purpose of this study is to identify construction projects typical behaviors in order to develop a prognosis and management tool. Being able to know a construction projects schedule tendency will enable evidence-based decision-making to allow resolutions to be made before delays occur. This study presents an innovative approach that uses Cluster Analysis Method to support predictions during Earned Value Analyses. A clustering analysis was used to predict future scheduling, Earned Value Management (EVM), and Earned Schedule (ES) principal Indexes behaviors in construction projects. The analysis was made using a database with 90 different construction projects. It was validated with additional data extracted from literature and with another 15 contrasting projects. For all projects, planned and executed schedules were collected and the EVM and ES principal indexes were calculated. A complete linkage classification method was used. In this way, the cluster analysis made considers that the distance (or similarity) between two clusters must be measured by its most disparate elements, i.e. that the distance is given by the maximum span among its components. Finally, through the use of EVM and ES Indexes and Tukey and Fisher Pairwise Comparisons, the statistical dissimilarity was verified and four clusters were obtained. It can be said that construction projects show an average delay of 35% of its planned completion time. Furthermore, four typical behaviors were found and for each of the obtained clusters, the interim milestones and the necessary rhythms of construction were identified. In general, detected typical behaviors are: (1) Projects that perform a 5% of work advance in the first two tenths and maintain a constant rhythm until completion (greater than 10% for each remaining tenth), being able to finish on the initially estimated time. (2) Projects that start with an adequate construction rate but suffer minor delays culminating with a total delay of almost 27% of the planned time. (3) Projects which start with a performance below the planned rate and end up with an average delay of 64%, and (4) projects that begin with a poor performance, suffer great delays and end up with an average delay of a 120% of the planned completion time. The obtained clusters compose a tool to identify the behavior of new construction projects by comparing their current work performance to the validated database, thus allowing the correction of initial estimations towards more accurate completion schedules.

Keywords: Cluster analysis, construction management, earned value, schedule.

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