Przemysław Stanisz, Jerzy Cetnar and Mikołaj Oettingen
The highest efficiency in the usage of nuclear energy resources can be implemented in fast breeder reactors of generation IV. It is achieved thanks to the ability of consuming minor actinides (MAs) in energy production. One of the options to use this benefit is full recycling of MAs to close the nuclear fuel cycle. Monte Carlo burn up (MCB), an integrated burn-up calculation code, deals with the complexity of the burn-up process which is applied to the European Lead-cooled Fast Reactor (ELFR). MCB uses continuous energy representation of cross section and spatial effects of full core reactor model; however, it automatically calculates nuclide production in all possible reactions or decay channels. Multi-recycling of MAs can cause an intensified build-up of curium, berkelium and californium. Some of their isotopes are strong neutron emitters from spontaneous fission, which hinders fuel recycling. The implementation of a novel methodology for trajectory period folding allows us to trace the life cycle of crucial MAs from the beginning of the reactor life towards the state of adiabatic equilibrium. The result of the analysis performed is presented, showing the sources of strong contribution to the neutron production rate. The parametric sensitivity analysis method for selected nuclide reactions is applied, revealing sensitivity of transmutation chains for the production of neutron emitter isotopes.
Grażyna Przybytniak, Jarosław Sadło, Małgorzata Dąbrowska and Zbigniew Zimek
Calf skin collagen and three amino acids essential for its structure, namely glycine, L-proline and 4-hydroxyl-L-proline, were irradiated with gamma rays up to a dose of 10 kGy. Conversion of radicals over time or after thermal annealing to selected temperatures was monitored by X-band electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy. Some experimental spectra were compared with signals simulated based on literature data from the electron nuclear double resonance (ENDOR) studies. The following phenomena were confirmed in the tested amino acids: abstraction of hydrogen atom (glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, collagen), deamination (glycine, hydroxyproline), decarboxylation (hydroxyproline). Chain scission at glycine residues, radiation-induced decomposition of side groups and oxidative degradation were observed in irradiated collagen. The decay of radicals in collagen saturated with water occurred at lower temperatures than in macromolecules having only structural water. The paramagnetic centres were the most stable in an oxygen-free atmosphere (vacuum). Radical processes deteriorated the structure of collagen; hence, radiation sterilization of skin grafts requires careful pros and cons analysis.
Hyam Nazmy Khalaf, Mostafa Y. A. Mostafa and Michael Zhukovsky
Particle size distribution is an important factor governing whether aerosols can be deposited in various respiratory tract regions in humans. Recently, electronic cigarette (EC), as the alternative of tobacco cigarette, has become increasingly popular all over the world. However, emissions from ECs may contribute to both indoor and outdoor air pollution; moreover, comments about their safety remain controversial, and the number of users is increasing rapidly. In this investigation, aerosols were generated from ECs and studied in the indoor air and in a chamber under controlled conditions of radon concentration. The generated aerosols were characterized in terms of particle number concentrations, size, and activity distributions by using aerosol diffusion spectrometer (ADS), diffusion battery, and cascade impactor. The range of ADS assessment was from 10−3 μm to 10 μm. The number concentration of the injected aerosol particles was between 40 000 and 100 000 particles/cm3. The distribution of these particles was the most within the ultrafine particle size range (0–0.2 μm), and the other particle were in the size range from 0.3 μm to 1 μm. The surface area distribution and the mass size distribution are presented and compared with bimodal distribution. In the radon chamber, all distributions were clearly bimodal, as the free radon decay product was approximately 1 nm in diameter, with a fraction of ~0.7 for a clean chamber (without any additional source of aerosols). The attached fraction with the aerosol particles from the ECs had a size not exceeding 1.0 μm.
Omid Khayat and Hossein Afarideh
Multiphase flow meters are used to measure the water-liquid ratio (WLR) and void fraction in a multiphase fluid stream pipeline. In the present study, a system of multiphase flow measurement has been designed by application of three thallium-doped sodium iodide scintillators and a radioactive source of 133Ba simulated by Monte Carlo N-particle (MCNP) transport code. In order to capture radiations passing across the pipe, two direct detectors have been installed on opposite sides of the radioactive source. Another detector has been placed perpendicular to the transmission beam emitted from the 133Ba source to receive radiations scattered from the fluid flow. Simulation was done by the MCNP code for different volumetric fractions of water, oil, and gas phases for two types of flow regimes, namely, homogeneous and annular; training and validation data have been provided for the artificial neural network (ANN) to develop a computation model for pattern recognition. Depending on applications of the neural system, several structures of ANNs are used in the current paper to model the flow measurement relations, while the detector outputs are considered as the input parameters of the neural networks. The first, second, and third structures benefit from two, three, and five multilayer perceptron neural networks, respectively. Increasing the number of ANNs makes the system more complicated and decreases the available data; however, it increases the accuracy of estimation of WLR and gas void fraction. According to the results, the maximum relative difference was observed in the scattering detector. It was clear that transmission detectors would demonstrate the difference between the flow regimes as well. It is necessary to note that the error calculated by the MCNP simulator is <0.5% for the direct detectors (TR1 and TR2). Due to the difference between the data of the two flow regimes and the errors of data in the simulation codes of the MCNP, it was possible to separate these flow regimes. The effect of changing WLR on the efficiency for a constant void fraction confirms a considerable variance in the results of annular and homogeneous flows occurring in the scattering detector. There is a similar trend for the void fraction; hence, one can easily distinguish changes in efficiency due to the WLR. Analysis of the simulation results revealed that in the proposed structure of the multiphase flow meter and the computation model used for simulation, the two flow regimes are simply distinguishable.
Tarek Mansouri and Khelifa Abbeche
Based on the response of small-scale model square footing, the present paper shows the results of an experimental bearing capacity of eccentrically loaded square footing, near a slope sand bed. To reach this aim, a steel model square footing of (150 mm × 150 mm) and a varied sand relative density of 30%, 50% and 70% are used. The bearing capacity-settlement relationship of footing located at the edge of a slope and the effect of various parameters such as eccentricity (e) and dimensions report (b/B) were studied. Test results indicate that ultimate bearing capacity decreases with increasing load eccentricity to the core boundary of footing and that as far as the footing is distant from the crest, the bearing capacity increases. Furthermore, the results also prove that there is a clear proportional relation between relative densities –bearing capacity. The model test provides qualitative information on parameters influencing the bearing capacity of square footing. These tests can be used to check the bearing capacity estimated by the conventional methods.
Sebastian Olesiak and Joanna Hydzik-Wiśniewska
The paper evaluates the effectiveness of reinforcing a damaged earth structure with making counterfort drains in its slope. The system of counterfort drains changed the soil properties significantly over a long-term use. The evaluation was based on many years of field and laboratory tests and stability analysis. The field tests concerned the observation of N WST probing resistance change, and the laboratory tests concerned the change in soil consistency and water content. The paper presents the results of tests that were conducted over 13 years.
The benefit of biodegradable “green plastics” over established synthetic plastics from petro-chemistry, namely their complete degradation and safe disposal, makes them attractive for use in various fields, including agriculture, food packaging, and the biomedical and pharmaceutical sector. In this context, microbial polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) are auspicious biodegradable plastic-like polyesters that are considered to exert less environmental burden if compared to polymers derived from fossil resources.
The question of environmental and economic superiority of bio-plastics has inspired innumerable scientists during the last decades. As a matter of fact, bio-plastics like PHA have inherent economic drawbacks compared to plastics from fossil resources; they typically have higher raw material costs, and the processes are of lower productivity and are often still in the infancy of their technical development. This explains that it is no trivial task to get down the advantage of fossil-based competitors on the plastic market. Therefore, the market success of biopolymers like PHA requires R&D progress at all stages of the production chain in order to compensate for this disadvantage, especially as long as fossil resources are still available at an ecologically unjustifiable price as it does today.
Ecological performance is, although a logical argument for biopolymers in general, not sufficient to make industry and the society switch from established plastics to bio-alternatives. On the one hand, the review highlights that there’s indeed an urgent necessity to switch to such alternatives; on the other hand, it demonstrates the individual stages of the production chain, which need to be addressed to make PHA competitive in economic, environmental, ethical, and performance-related terms. In addition, it is demonstrated how new, smart PHA-based materials can be designed, which meet the customer’s expectations when applied, e.g., in the biomedical or food packaging sector.
Peter M. Eze, Joy C. Nnanna, Ugochukwu Okezie, Happiness S. Buzugbe, Chika C. Abba, Chidimma R. Chukwunwejim, Festus B. C. Okoye and Charles O. Esimone
Endophytic fungi associated with Nigerian plants have recently generated significant interest in drug discovery programmes due to their immense potential to contribute to the discovery of new bioactive compounds. This study was carried out to investigate the secondary metabolites of endophytic fungi isolated from leaves of Newbouldia laevis, Ocimum gratissimum, and Carica papaya. The plants were collected from Agulu, Anambra State, South-East Nigeria. Endophytic fungal isolation, fungal fermentation; and extraction of secondary metabolites were carried out using standard methods. The crude extracts were screened for antimicrobial activities using the agar well diffusion method, and were also subjected to high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis to identify their constituents. A total of five endophytic fungi was isolated, two from N. laevis (NL-L1 and NL-L2), one from O. gratissimum (SL-L1), and two from C. papaya (PPL-LAC and PPL-LE2). In the antimicrobial assay, the extracts of NL-L2, SL-L1, and PPL-LE2 displayed mild antibacterial activity against both Gram negative and Gram positive test bacteria. PPL-LAC extract showed mild activity only against S. aureus, while no antimicrobial activity was recorded for NL-L1 extract. All the endophytic fungal extracts showed no activity against the test fungi C. albicans and A. fumigatus. HPLC analysis of the fungal extracts revealed the presence of ethyl 4-hydroxyphenyl acetate and ferulic acid in NL-L1; ruspolinone in NL-L2; protocatechuic acid, scytalone, and cladosporin in SL-L1; indole-3-acetic acid and indole-3-carbaldehyde in PPL-LE2; and indole-3-acetic acid in PPL-LAC. The findings of this study revealed the potentials possessed by these plants as source of endophytes that express biological active compounds. These endophytes hold key of possibilities to the discovery of novel molecules for pharmaceutical, agricultural and industrial applications.