Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 26

Search results for: J. S. Kuang

26 Electrically Conducting Lubricants: Esterified Carbon Nanotubes

Authors: Wei Chin, Wen-Kuang Hsu

Abstract:

Fats and oils are made of esterified hydrocarbons (RCOOR-) and this work demonstrates the substitution of R by multi-walled CNTs (MWNTs). The resultant materials are fluidic, oily, electrically conducting and excellent lubricants. Esterified MWNTs can also respond to magnetic field when tubules contain long segments of Fe

Keywords: Liquids Nanomaterials Electric conductors

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25 Transient Heat Transfer of a Spiral Fin

Authors: Sen-Yung Lee, Li-Kuo Chou, Chao-Kuang Chen

Abstract:

In this study, the problem of temperature transient response of a spiral fin, with its end insulated, is analyzed with base end subjected to a variation of fluid temperature. The hybrid method of Laplace transforms/Adomian decomposed method-Padé, is applied to the temperature transient response of the fin, the result of the temperature distribution and the heat flux at the base of the spiral fin are obtained, show a good agreement in the physical phenomenon.

Keywords: Laplace transforms/Adomian decomposed method- Padé, transient response, heat transfer.

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24 Design and Fabrication of a Miniature Railway Vehicle

Authors: Max Ti-Kuang Hou, Hui-Mei Shen, Chiang-Ni Lu, I-Jen Hsu

Abstract:

We present design, fabrication, and characterization of a small (12 mm × 12 mm × 8 mm) movable railway vehicle for sensor carrying. The miniature railway vehicle (MRV) was mainly composed of a vibrational structure and three legs. A railway was designed and fabricated to power and guide the MRV. It also transmits the sensed data from the MRV to the signal processing unit. The MRV with legs on the railway was moving due to its high-frequency vibration. A model was derived to describe the motion. Besides, FEM simulations were performed to design the legs. Then, the MRV and the railway were fabricated by precision machining. Finally, an infrared sensor was carried and tested. The result shows that the MRV without loading was moving along the railway and its maximum speed was 12.2 mm/s. Moreover, the testing signal was sensed by the MRV.

Keywords: Locomotion, Micro-Robot, Miniature Railway Vehicle, Stick-Slip.

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23 Measuring Perceived Service Quality for Intelligent Living Space Showroom – Living 3.0 in Taiwan

Authors: Ming-Wen Hsu, Yaw-Kuang Chen, Che-Ming Chiang, Shin-Ku Lee

Abstract:

This research explores visitor-s expectations of service quality in intelligent living space showroom – Living 3.0 in Taiwan. Based on the five dimensions of PZB service quality, a specialist questionnaire is utilized to establish a complete service quality evaluation framework for Living 3.0. In this research, analysis hierarchy process (AHP) is applied to find the relative weights among the criteria. Finally, the service quality evaluation framework and evaluation results can be used as a guide for Living 3.0 proprietors to review, improve, and enhance service planning and service qualities in the future.

Keywords: Analysis Hierarchy Process (AHP), Service quality, Intelligent living space.

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22 A Dynamic Model for a Drill in the Drilling Process

Authors: Bo Wun Huang, Ah Der Lin, Yung Chuan Chen, Jao Hwa Kuang

Abstract:

The dynamic model of a drill in drilling process was proposed and investigated in this study. To assure a good drilling quality, the vibration variation on the drill tips during high speed drilling is needed to be investigated. A pre-twisted beam is used to simulate the drill. The moving Winkler-Type elastic foundation is used to characterize the tip boundary variation in drilling. Due to the variation of the drill depth, a time dependent dynamic model for the drill is proposed. Results simulated from this proposed model indicate that an abrupt natural frequencies drop are experienced as the drill tip tough the workpiece, and a severe vibration is induced. The effects of parameters, e.g. drilling speed, depth, drill size and thrust force on the drill tip responses studied.

Keywords: Drilling, vibration of drill, twisted beam

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21 Using Finite Element Analysis on Dynamic Characteristics in a Micro Stepping Mill

Authors: Bo Wun Huang, Pu Ping Yu, Jao-Hwa Kuang

Abstract:

For smaller mechatronic device, especially for micro Electronic system, a micro machining is a must. However, most investigations on vibration of a mill have been limited to the traditional type mill. In this article, vibration and dynamic characteristics of a micro mill were investigated in this study. The trend towards higher precision manufacturing technology requires producing miniaturized components. To improve micro-milled product quality, obtain a higher production rate and avoid milling breakage, the dynamic characteristics of micro milling must be studied. A stepped pre-twisted mill is used to simulate the micro mill. The finite element analysis is employed in this work. The flute length and diameter effects of the micro mill are considered. It is clear that the effects of micro mill shape parameters on vibration in a micro mill are significant.

Keywords: micro system, micro mill, vibration.

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20 Effect of Horizontal Joint Reinforcement on Shear Behaviour of RC Knee Connections

Authors: N. Zhang, J. S. Kuang, S. Mogili

Abstract:

To investigate seismic performance of beam-column knee joints, four full-scale reinforced concrete beam-column knee joints, which were fabricated to simulate those in as-built RC frame buildings designed to ACI 318-14 and ACI-ASCE 352R-02, were tested under reversed cyclic loading. In the experimental programme, particular emphasis was given to the effect of horizontal reinforcement (in format of inverted U-shape bars) on the shear strength and ductility capacity of knee joints. Test results are compared with those predicted by four seismic design codes, including ACI 318-14, EC8, NZS3101 and GB50010. It is seen that the current design codes of practice cannot accurately predict the shear strength of seismically designed knee joints.

Keywords: Large-scale tests, RC beam-column knee joints, seismic performance, shear strength.

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19 Nonlinear Modeling of the PEMFC Based On NNARX Approach

Authors: Shan-Jen Cheng, Te-Jen Chang, Kuang-Hsiung Tan, Shou-Ling Kuo

Abstract:

Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC) is such a time-vary nonlinear dynamic system. The traditional linear modeling approach is hard to estimate structure correctly of PEMFC system. From this reason, this paper presents a nonlinear modeling of the PEMFC using Neural Network Auto-regressive model with eXogenous inputs (NNARX) approach. The multilayer perception (MLP) network is applied to evaluate the structure of the NNARX model of PEMFC. The validity and accuracy of NNARX model are tested by one step ahead relating output voltage to input current from measured experimental of PEMFC. The results show that the obtained nonlinear NNARX model can efficiently approximate the dynamic mode of the PEMFC and model output and system measured output consistently.

Keywords: PEMFC, neural network, nonlinear identification, NNARX.

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18 Sliding Mode Position Control for Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motors Based On Passivity Approach

Authors: Jenn-Yih Chen, Bean-Yin Lee, Yuan-Chuan Hsu, Jui-Cheng Lin, Kuang-Chyi Lee

Abstract:

In this paper, a sliding mode control method based on the passivity approach is proposed to control the position of surface-mounted permanent magnet synchronous motors (PMSMs). Firstly, the dynamics of a PMSM was proved to be strictly passive. The position controller with an adaptive law was used to estimate the load torque to eliminate the chattering effects associated with the conventional sliding mode controller. The stability analysis of the overall position control system was carried out by adopting the passivity theorem instead of Lyapunov-type arguments. Finally, experimental results were provided to show that the good position tracking can be obtained, and exhibit robustness in the variations of the motor parameters and load torque disturbances.

Keywords: Adaptive law, passivity theorem, permanent magnet synchronous motor, sliding mode control.

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17 Natural Convection in Wavy-Wall Cavities Filled with Power-Law Fluid

Authors: Cha’o-Kuang Chen, Ching-Chang Cho

Abstract:

This paper investigates the natural convection heat transfer performance in a complex-wavy-wall cavity filled with power-law fluid. In performing the simulations, the continuity, Cauchy momentum and energy equations are solved subject to the Boussinesq approximation using a finite volume method. The simulations focus specifically on the effects of the flow behavior index in the power-law model and the Rayleigh number on the flow streamlines, isothermal contours and mean Nusselt number within the cavity. The results show that pseudoplastic fluids have a better heat transfer performance than Newtonian or dilatant fluids. Moreover, it is shown that for Rayleigh numbers greater than Ra=103, the mean Nusselt number has a significantly increase as the flow behavior index is decreased.

Keywords: Non-Newtonian fluid, Power-law fluid, Natural convection, Heat transfer enhancement, Cavity, Wavy wall.

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16 Noise Depressed in a Micro Stepping Motor

Authors: Bo-Wun Huang, Jao-Hwa Kuang, J.-G. Tseng, Yan-De Wu

Abstract:

An investigation of noise in a micro stepping motor is considered to study in this article. Because of the trend towards higher precision and more and more small 3C (including Computer, Communication and Consumer Electronics) products, the micro stepping motor is frequently used to drive the micro system or the other 3C products. Unfortunately, noise in a micro stepped motor is too large to accept by the customs. To depress the noise of a micro stepped motor, the dynamic characteristics in this system must be studied. In this article, a Visual Basic (VB) computer program speed controlled micro stepped motor in a digital camera is investigated. Karman KD2300-2S non-contract eddy current displacement sensor, probe microphone, and HP 35670A analyzer are employed to analyze the dynamic characteristics of vibration and noise in a motor. The vibration and noise measurement of different type of bearings and different treatment of coils are compared. The rotating components, bearings, coil, etc. of the motor play the important roles in producing vibration and noise. It is found that the noise will be depressed about 3~4 dB and 6~7 dB, when substitutes the copper bearing with plastic one and coats the motor coil with paraffin wax, respectively.

Keywords: micro motor, noise, vibration

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15 State Estimation Method Based on Unscented Kalman Filter for Vehicle Nonlinear Dynamics

Authors: Wataru Nakamura, Tomoaki Hashimoto, Liang-Kuang Chen

Abstract:

This paper provides a state estimation method for automatic control systems of nonlinear vehicle dynamics. A nonlinear tire model is employed to represent the realistic behavior of a vehicle. In general, all the state variables of control systems are not precisedly known, because those variables are observed through output sensors and limited parts of them might be only measurable. Hence, automatic control systems must incorporate some type of state estimation. It is needed to establish a state estimation method for nonlinear vehicle dynamics with restricted measurable state variables. For this purpose, unscented Kalman filter method is applied in this study for estimating the state variables of nonlinear vehicle dynamics. The objective of this paper is to propose a state estimation method using unscented Kalman filter for nonlinear vehicle dynamics. The effectiveness of the proposed method is verified by numerical simulations.

Keywords: State estimation, control systems, observer systems, unscented Kalman filter, nonlinear vehicle dynamics.

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14 Numerical Investigation into Mixing Performance of Electrokinetically-Driven Power-Law Fluids in Microchannel with Patterned Trapezoid Blocks

Authors: Cha’o-Kuang Chen, Ching-Chang Cho

Abstract:

The study investigates the mixing performance of electrokinetically-driven power-law fluids in a microchannel containing patterned trapezoid blocks. The effects of the geometry parameters of the patterned trapezoid blocks and the flow behavior index in the power-law model on the mixing efficiency within the microchannel are explored. The results show that the mixing efficiency can be improved by increasing the width of the blocks and extending the length of upper surface of the blocks. In addition, the results show that the mixing efficiency increases with an increasing flow behavior index. Furthermore, it is shown that a heterogeneous patterning of the zeta potential on the upper surfaces of the trapezoid blocks prompts the formation of local flow recirculations, and therefore improves the mixing efficiency. Consequently, it is shown that the mixing performance improves with an increasing magnitude of the heterogeneous surface zeta potential.

Keywords: Non-Newtonian fluid, Power-law fluid, Electroosmotic flow, Passive mixer, Mixing, Micromixer.

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13 The Role of Initiator in the Synthesis of Poly(Methyl Methacrylate)-Layered Silicate Nanocomposites through Bulk Polymerization

Authors: Tsung-Yen Tsai, Naveen Bunekar, Ming Hsuan Chang, Wen-Kuang Wang, Satoshi Onda

Abstract:

The structure-property relationship and initiator effect on bulk polymerized poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA)–oragnomodified layered silicate nanocomposites was investigated. In this study, we used 2, 2'-azobis (4-methoxy-2,4-dimethyl valeronitrile and benzoyl peroxide initiators for bulk polymerization. The bulk polymerized nanocomposites’ morphology was investigated by X-ray diffraction and transmission electron microscopy. The type of initiator strongly influences the physiochemical properties of the polymer nanocomposite. The thermal degradation of PMMA in the presence of nanofiller was studied. 5 wt% weight loss temperature (T5d) increased as compared to pure PMMA. The peak degradation temperature increased for the nanocomposites. Differential scanning calorimetry and dynamic mechanical analysis were performed to investigate the glass transition temperature and the nature of the constrained region as the reinforcement mechanism respectively. Furthermore, the optical properties such as UV-Vis and Total Luminous Transmission of nanocomposites are examined.

Keywords: Initiator, bulk polymerization, layered silicates, methyl methacrylate.

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12 Implementation of Edge Detection Based on Autofluorescence Endoscopic Image of Field Programmable Gate Array

Authors: Hao Cheng, Zhiwu Wang, Guozheng Yan, Pingping Jiang, Shijia Qin, Shuai Kuang

Abstract:

Autofluorescence Imaging (AFI) is a technology for detecting early carcinogenesis of the gastrointestinal tract in recent years. Compared with traditional white light endoscopy (WLE), this technology greatly improves the detection accuracy of early carcinogenesis, because the colors of normal tissues are different from cancerous tissues. Thus, edge detection can distinguish them in grayscale images. In this paper, based on the traditional Sobel edge detection method, optimization has been performed on this method which considers the environment of the gastrointestinal, including adaptive threshold and morphological processing. All of the processes are implemented on our self-designed system based on the image sensor OV6930 and Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA), The system can capture the gastrointestinal image taken by the lens in real time and detect edges. The final experiments verified the feasibility of our system and the effectiveness and accuracy of the edge detection algorithm.

Keywords: AFI, edge detection, adaptive threshold, morphological processing, OV6930, FPGA.

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11 Using Simulation Modeling Approach to Predict USMLE Steps 1 and 2 Performances

Authors: Chau-Kuang Chen, John Hughes, Jr., A. Dexter Samuels

Abstract:

The prediction models for the United States Medical Licensure Examination (USMLE) Steps 1 and 2 performances were constructed by the Monte Carlo simulation modeling approach via linear regression. The purpose of this study was to build robust simulation models to accurately identify the most important predictors and yield the valid range estimations of the Steps 1 and 2 scores. The application of simulation modeling approach was deemed an effective way in predicting student performances on licensure examinations. Also, sensitivity analysis (a/k/a what-if analysis) in the simulation models was used to predict the magnitudes of Steps 1 and 2 affected by changes in the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) Basic Science Subject Board scores. In addition, the study results indicated that the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) Verbal Reasoning score and Step 1 score were significant predictors of the Step 2 performance. Hence, institutions could screen qualified student applicants for interviews and document the effectiveness of basic science education program based on the simulation results.

Keywords: Prediction Model, Sensitivity Analysis, Simulation Method, USMLE.

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10 Active Islanding Detection Method Using Intelligent Controller

Authors: Kuang-Hsiung Tan, Chih-Chan Hu, Chien-Wu Lan, Shih-Sung Lin, Te-Jen Chang

Abstract:

An active islanding detection method using disturbance signal injection with intelligent controller is proposed in this study. First, a DC\AC power inverter is emulated in the distributed generator (DG) system to implement the tracking control of active power, reactive power outputs and the islanding detection. The proposed active islanding detection method is based on injecting a disturbance signal into the power inverter system through the d-axis current which leads to a frequency deviation at the terminal of the RLC load when the utility power is disconnected. Moreover, in order to improve the transient and steady-state responses of the active power and reactive power outputs of the power inverter, and to further improve the performance of the islanding detection method, two probabilistic fuzzy neural networks (PFNN) are adopted to replace the traditional proportional-integral (PI) controllers for the tracking control and the islanding detection. Furthermore, the network structure and the online learning algorithm of the PFNN are introduced in detail. Finally, the feasibility and effectiveness of the tracking control and the proposed active islanding detection method are verified with experimental results.

Keywords: Distributed generators, probabilistic fuzzy neural network, islanding detection, non-detection zone.

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9 Optimum Design of an 8x8 Optical Switch with Thermal Compensated Mechanisms

Authors: Tien-Tung Chung, Chin-Te Lin, Chung-Yun Lee, Kuang-Chao Fan, Shou-Heng Chen

Abstract:

This paper studies the optimum design for reducing optical loss of an 8x8 mechanical type optical switch due to the temperature change. The 8x8 optical switch is composed of a base, 8 input fibers, 8 output fibers, 3 fixed mirrors and 17 movable mirrors. First, an innovative switch configuration is proposed with thermal-compensated design. Most mechanical type optical switches have a disadvantage that their precision and accuracy are influenced by the ambient temperature. Therefore, the thermal-compensated design is to deal with this situation by using materials with different thermal expansion coefficients (α). Second, a parametric modeling program is developed to generate solid models for finite element analysis, and the thermal and structural behaviors of the switch are analyzed. Finally, an integrated optimum design program, combining Autodesk Inventor Professional software, finite element analysis software, and genetic algorithms, is developed for improving the thermal behaviors that the optical loss of the switch is reduced. By changing design parameters of the switch in the integrated design program, the final optimum design that satisfies the design constraints and specifications can be found.

Keywords: Optical switch, finite element analysis, thermal-compensated design, optimum design.

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8 A Quick Prediction for Shear Behaviour of RC Membrane Elements by Fixed-Angle Softened Truss Model with Tension-Stiffening

Authors: X. Wang, J. S. Kuang

Abstract:

The Fixed-angle Softened Truss Model with Tension-stiffening (FASTMT) has a superior performance in predicting the shear behaviour of reinforced concrete (RC) membrane elements, especially for the post-cracking behaviour. Nevertheless, massive computational work is inevitable due to the multiple transcendental equations involved in the stress-strain relationship. In this paper, an iterative root-finding technique is introduced to FASTMT for solving quickly the transcendental equations of the tension-stiffening effect of RC membrane elements. This fast FASTMT, which performs in MATLAB, uses the bisection method to calculate the tensile stress of the membranes. By adopting the simplification, the elapsed time of each loop is reduced significantly and the transcendental equations can be solved accurately. Owing to the high efficiency and good accuracy as compared with FASTMT, the fast FASTMT can be further applied in quick prediction of shear behaviour of complex large-scale RC structures.

Keywords: Bisection method, fixed-angle softened truss model with tension-stiffening, iterative root-finding technique, reinforced concrete membrane.

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7 Nuclear Power Generation and CO2 Abatement Scenarios in Taiwan

Authors: Chang-Bin Huang, Fu-Kuang Ko

Abstract:

Taiwan was the first country in Asia to announce “Nuclear-Free Homeland" in 2002. In 2008, the new government released the Sustainable Energy Policy Guidelines to lower the nationwide CO2 emissions some time between 2016 and 2020 back to the level of year 2008, further abatement of CO2 emissions is planed in year 2025 when CO2 emissions will decrease to the level of year 2000. Besides, under consideration of the issues of energy, environment and economics (3E), the new government declared that the nuclear power is a carbon-less energy option. This study analyses the effects of nuclear power generation for CO2 abatement scenarios in Taiwan. The MARKAL-MACRO energy model was adopted to evaluate economic impacts and energy deployment due to life extension of existing nuclear power plants and build new nuclear power units in CO2 abatement scenarios. The results show that CO2 abatement effort is expensive. On the other hand, nuclear power is a cost-effective choice. The GDP loss rate in the case of building new nuclear power plants is around two thirds of the Nuclear-Free Homeland case. Nuclear power generation has the capacity to provide large-scale CO2 free electricity. Therefore, the results show that nuclear power is not only an option for Taiwan, but also a requisite for Taiwan-s CO2 reduction strategy.

Keywords: Energy model, CO2 abatement, nuclear power, economic impacts.

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6 The Effects of Whole-Body Vibration Training on Jump Performance in Handball Athletes

Authors: Yen-Ting Wang, Shou-Jing Guo, Hsiu-Kuang Chang, Kenny Wen-Chyuan Chen, Alex J.Y. Lee

Abstract:

This study examined the effects of eight weeks of whole-body vibration training (WBVT) on vertical and decuple jump performance in handball athletes. Sixteen collegiate Level I handball athletes volunteered for this study. They were divided equally as control group and experimental group (EG). During the period of the study, all athletes underwent the same handball specific training, but the EG received additional WBVT (amplitude: 2 mm, frequency: 20 - 40 Hz) three time per week for eight consecutive weeks. The vertical jump performance was evaluated according to the maximum height of squat jump (SJ) and countermovement jump (CMJ). Single factor ANCOVA was used to examine the differences in each parameter between the groups after training with the pretest values as a covariate. The statistic significance was set at p < .05. After 8 weeks WBVT, the EG had significantly improved the maximal height of SJ (40.92 ± 2.96 cm vs. 48.40 ± 4.70 cm, F = 5.14, p < .05) and the maximal height CMJ (47.25 ± 7.48 cm vs. 52.20 ± 6.25 cm, F = 5.31, p < .05). 8 weeks of additional WBVT could improve the vertical and decuple jump performance in handball athletes. Enhanced motor unit synchronization and firing rates, facilitated muscular contraction stretch-shortening cycle, and improved lower extremity neuromuscular coordination could account for these enhancements.

Keywords: Muscle strength, explosive power, squat jump, and countermovement jump.

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5 Flowering Response of a Red Pitaya Germplasm Collection to Lighting Addition

Authors: Dinh-Ha Tran, Chung-Ruey Yen, Yu-Kuang H. Chen

Abstract:

A collection of thirty cultivars/clones of a red pitaya was used to investigate flowering response to lighting supplementation in the winter season of 2013-2014 in southern Taiwan. The night-breaking treatment was conducted during the period of 10 Oct. 2013 to 5 Mar. 2014 with 4-continuous hours (22.00 – 02.00 hrs) of additional lighting daily using incandescent bulbs (100W). Among cultivars and clones tested, twenty-three genotypes, most belonging to the red-magenta flesh type, were found to have positively flowering response to the lighting treatment. The duration of night-breaking treatment for successful flowering initiation varied from 33- 48 days. The lighting-sensitive genotypes bore 1-2 flowering flushes. Floral and fruiting stages took 21-26 and 46-59 days, respectively. Among sixteen fruiting genotypes, the highest fruit set rates were found in Damao 9, D4, D13, Chaozou large, Chaozhou 5, Small Nick and F22. Five cultivars and clones (Orejona, D4, Chaozhou large, Chaozhou 5 and Small Nick) produced fruits with an average weight of more than 300 g per fruit which were higher than those of the fruits formed in the summer of 2013. Fruits produced during off-season containing total soluble solids (TSS) from 17.5 to 20.7oBrix, which were higher than those produced inseason.

Keywords: Flowering response, long-day plant, night-breaking treatment, off-season production, pitaya.

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4 Cyclic Behaviour of Wide Beam-Column Joints with Shear Strength Ratios of 1.0 and 1.7

Authors: Roy Y. C. Huang, J. S. Kuang, Hamdolah Behnam

Abstract:

Beam-column connections play an important role in the reinforced concrete moment resisting frame (RCMRF), which is one of the most commonly used structural systems around the world. The premature failure of such connections would severely limit the seismic performance and increase the vulnerability of RCMRF. In the past decades, researchers primarily focused on investigating the structural behaviour and failure mechanisms of conventional beam-column joints, the beam width of which is either smaller than or equal to the column width, while studies in wide beam-column joints were scarce. This paper presents the preliminary experimental results of two full-scale exterior wide beam-column connections, which are mainly designed and detailed according to ACI 318-14 and ACI 352R-02, under reversed cyclic loading. The ratios of the design shear force to the nominal shear strength of these specimens are 1.0 and 1.7, respectively, so as to probe into differences of the joint shear strength between experimental results and predictions by design codes of practice. Flexural failure dominated in the specimen with ratio of 1.0 in which full-width plastic hinges were observed, while both beam hinges and post-peak joint shear failure occurred for the other specimen. No sign of premature joint shear failure was found which is inconsistent with ACI codes’ prediction. Finally, a modification of current codes of practice is provided to accurately predict the joint shear strength in wide beam-column joint.

Keywords: Joint shear strength, reversed cyclic loading, seismic codes, wide beam-column joints.

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3 Seismic Behaviour of RC Knee Joints in Closing and Opening Actions

Authors: S. Mogili, J. S. Kuang, N. Zhang

Abstract:

Knee joints, the beam column connections found at the roof level of a moment resisting frame buildings, are inherently different from conventional interior and exterior beam column connections in the way that forces from adjoining members are transferred into joint and then resisted by the joint. A knee connection has two distinct load resisting mechanisms, each for closing and opening actions acting simultaneously under reversed cyclic loading. In spite of many distinct differences in the behaviour of shear resistance in knee joints, there are no special design provisions in the major design codes available across the world due to lack of in-depth research on the knee connections. To understand the relative importance of opening and closing actions in design, it is imperative to study knee joints under varying shear stresses, especially at higher opening-to-closing shear stress ratios. Three knee joint specimens, under different input shear stresses, were designed to produce a varying ratio of input opening to closing shear stresses. The design was carried out in such a way that the ratio of flexural strength of beams with consideration of axial forces in opening to closing actions are maintained at 0.5, 0.7, and 1.0, thereby resulting in the required variation of opening to closing joint shear stress ratios among the specimens. The behaviour of these specimens was then carefully studied in terms of closing and opening capacities, hysteretic behaviour, and envelope curves to understand the differences in joint performance based on which an attempt to suggest design guidelines for knee joints is made emphasizing the relative importance of opening and closing actions. Specimens with relatively higher opening stresses were observed to be more vulnerable under the action of seismic loading.

Keywords: Knee-joints, large-scale testing, opening and closing shear stresses, seismic performance.

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2 Concept of a Pseudo-Lower Bound Solution for Reinforced Concrete Slabs

Authors: M. De Filippo, J. S. Kuang

Abstract:

In construction industry, reinforced concrete (RC) slabs represent fundamental elements of buildings and bridges. Different methods are available for analysing the structural behaviour of slabs. In the early ages of last century, the yield-line method has been proposed to attempt to solve such problem. Simple geometry problems could easily be solved by using traditional hand analyses which include plasticity theories. Nowadays, advanced finite element (FE) analyses have mainly found their way into applications of many engineering fields due to the wide range of geometries to which they can be applied. In such cases, the application of an elastic or a plastic constitutive model would completely change the approach of the analysis itself. Elastic methods are popular due to their easy applicability to automated computations. However, elastic analyses are limited since they do not consider any aspect of the material behaviour beyond its yield limit, which turns to be an essential aspect of RC structural performance. Furthermore, their applicability to non-linear analysis for modeling plastic behaviour gives very reliable results. Per contra, this type of analysis is computationally quite expensive, i.e. not well suited for solving daily engineering problems. In the past years, many researchers have worked on filling this gap between easy-to-implement elastic methods and computationally complex plastic analyses. This paper aims at proposing a numerical procedure, through which a pseudo-lower bound solution, not violating the yield criterion, is achieved. The advantages of moment distribution are taken into account, hence the increase in strength provided by plastic behaviour is considered. The lower bound solution is improved by detecting over-yielded moments, which are used to artificially rule the moment distribution among the rest of the non-yielded elements. The proposed technique obeys Nielsen’s yield criterion. The outcome of this analysis provides a simple, yet accurate, and non-time-consuming tool of predicting the lower-bound solution of the collapse load of RC slabs. By using this method, structural engineers can find the fracture patterns and ultimate load bearing capacity. The collapse triggering mechanism is found by detecting yield-lines. An application to the simple case of a square clamped slab is shown, and a good match was found with the exact values of collapse load.

Keywords: Computational mechanics, lower bound method, reinforced concrete slabs, yield-line.

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1 A Study on the Relation among Primary Care Professionals Serving the Disadvantaged Community, Socioeconomic Status, and Adverse Health Outcome

Authors: Chau-Kuang Chen, Juanita Buford, Colette Davis, Raisha Allen, John Hughes, Jr., James Tyus, Dexter Samuels

Abstract:

During the post-Civil War era, the city of Nashville, Tennessee, had the highest mortality rate in the United States. The elevated death and disease rates among former slaves were attributable to lack of quality healthcare. To address the paucity of healthcare services, Meharry Medical College, an institution with the mission of educating minority professionals and serving the underserved population, was established in 1876. Purpose: The social ecological framework and partial least squares (PLS) path modeling were used to quantify the impact of socioeconomic status and adverse health outcome on primary care professionals serving the disadvantaged community. Thus, the study results could demonstrate the accomplishment of the College’s mission of training primary care professionals to serve in underserved areas. Methods: Various statistical methods were used to analyze alumni data from 1975 – 2013. K-means cluster analysis was utilized to identify individual medical and dental graduates in the cluster groups of the practice communities (Disadvantaged or Non-disadvantaged Communities). Discriminant analysis was implemented to verify the classification accuracy of cluster analysis. The independent t-test was performed to detect the significant mean differences of respective clustering and criterion variables. Chi-square test was used to test if the proportions of primary care and non-primary care specialists are consistent with those of medical and dental graduates practicing in the designated community clusters. Finally, the PLS path model was constructed to explore the construct validity of analytic model by providing the magnitude effects of socioeconomic status and adverse health outcome on primary care professionals serving the disadvantaged community. Results: Approximately 83% (3,192/3,864) of Meharry Medical College’s medical and dental graduates from 1975 to 2013 were practicing in disadvantaged communities. Independent t-test confirmed the content validity of the cluster analysis model. Also, the PLS path modeling demonstrated that alumni served as primary care professionals in communities with significantly lower socioeconomic status and higher adverse health outcome (p < .001). The PLS path modeling exhibited the meaningful interrelation between primary care professionals practicing communities and surrounding environments (socioeconomic statues and adverse health outcome), which yielded model reliability, validity, and applicability. Conclusion: This study applied social ecological theory and analytic modeling approaches to assess the attainment of Meharry Medical College’s mission of training primary care professionals to serve in underserved areas, particularly in communities with low socioeconomic status and high rates of adverse health outcomes. In summary, the majority of medical and dental graduates from Meharry Medical College provided primary care services to disadvantaged communities with low socioeconomic status and high adverse health outcome, which demonstrated that Meharry Medical College has fulfilled its mission. The high reliability, validity, and applicability of this model imply that it could be replicated for comparable universities and colleges elsewhere.

Keywords: Disadvantaged Community, K-means Cluster Analysis, PLS Path Modeling, Primary care.

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