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Synthesis and characterization of binary and ternary nanocomposites based on TiO2, SiO2 and ZnO with PVA based template-free gel combustion method

Abstract

Binary and ternary nanocomposites based on TiO2, SiO2 and ZnO were synthesized by PVA-based template-free gel combustion method. The morphology and the particles sizes of the synthesized samples depended on some parameters including the initial concentrations of metal salts and PVA amount in the sol, solvent composition and solution pH. Effects of these parameters were investigated and optimized by using the Taguchi method. In the experimental design, the Taguchi L25 array was used to investigate six factors at five levels. The samples were characterized by dynamic light scattering (DLS), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET) specific surface areas, scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The obtained results showed that the present method can be used to synthesize TiO2/SiO2/ZnO ternary nanocomposite with an effective surface area of 0.3 m2 · g−1 and ZnO/TiO2, TiO2/SiO2, ZnO/SiO2 binary nanocomposites with an effective surface area of 234 m2 · g−1, 6 m2 · g−1 and 0.5 m2 · g−1, respectively. The ZnO/TiO2 nanocomposite which was synthesized under the following experimental conditions: 2.5 wt.% Zn salt, 2.5 wt.% Ti salt, 2.0 wt.% PVA, pH = 1 and ethanol:water ratio 30:70 was selected by the Taguchi method as an optimum sample with the smallest particles (average diameter = 50 nm).

Open access
Optimization and characterization of NiO thin films prepared via NSP technique and its P-N junction diode application

Abstract

The present work reports on the optimization of substrate temperature, molar concentration and volume of the solution of nickel oxide (NiO) thin films prepared by nebulizer spray pyrolysis (NSP) technique. NiO films were optimized and characterized by XRD, SEM, EDX, UV-Vis and I-V measurements. Based on XRD analysis, the molar concentration, volume of solution and substrate temperature of the prepared NiO films were optimized as 0.20 M, 5 mL and 450 °C for P-N diode applications. The XRD pattern of the optimized NiO film revealed cubic structure. The surface morphological variations and elemental composition were confirmed by SEM and EDX analysis. The optical properties were studied with UV-Vis spectrophotometer and the minimum band gap value was 3.67 eV for 450 °C substrate temperature. Using J-V characteristics, the diode parameters: ideality factor n and barrier height Φb values of p-NiO/N-Si diode prepared at optimum conditions, i.e. 450 °C, 0.2 M, 5 mL, were evaluated in dark and under illumination.

Open access
The Consequences of Non-Uniform Founding of Concrete Tank in Weak Wet Subsoil

Abstract

The article presents problem of non-uniform foundation of structures in weak wet subsoil. The problem is illustrated with the case study of two-chamber-reinforced concrete water tank constructed in 1920s of 20th century, which cracked during construction. Under part of foundation, where the peat was found, the concrete piles were introduced.

The results of five-year measurement of crack widths with crack gauges and geodesic measurements of vertical displacement of tank were presented. These results indicate that the tank is not stable and part of broken tank supported on piles is movable.

On the basis of the presented data, the general conclusions concerning the non-uniform founding of tanks are formulated.

Open access
Experimental and statistical analysis of blast-induced ground vibrations (BIGV) prediction in Senegal’s quarry

Abstract

Extractive industries often use explosives to destroy rocks, and productivity requirements tend to increase the charges of the explosives. The blasts induce vibrations, which result in a potential damage of the surrounding structures. Therefore, the prediction of vibrations should be described with accuracy, in order to ensure the safety of engineered structures. However, the prediction of vibrations’ levels remain a complicated issue, because it involves numerous parameters correlated to the quarry site.

In this paper, statistical analysis based on the peak particle velocity (PPV) and the attenuation law has been carried out to assess the safety charges (Q) for different distances (R) between the blast and the considered structure to secure. Moreover, the experimental investigations were conducted on the quarry site of “Sococim”, which is located on the south coast of Senegal. To ensure the safety of the “Conveyor belt” and “Panel 1 (Upper exploitation level)” sites, the PPV should be less than 10 mm/s. In fact, the attenuation model has been used to assess the safe charge weights of the explosive (Q) to be used at the “Conveyor belt” site and at the “Panel 1 (Upper exploitation level)” site. Therefore, the safe charge weights per delay (Q) were respectively 116 kg and 13.75 kg.

Open access
Investigation of Murine T-Cells and Cancer Cells under Thermal Stressors and 2D Slow Rotating System Effects as a Testbed for Suborbital Flights

Abstract

Research indicates that exposure to microgravity leads to immune system dysregulation. However, there is a lack of clear evidence on the specific reasons and precise mechanisms accounting for these immune system changes. Past studies investigating space travel-induced alterations in immunological parameters report many conflicting results, explained by the role of certain confounders, such as cosmic radiation, individual body environment, or differences in experimental design. To minimize the variability in results and to eliminate some technical challenges, we advocate conducting thorough feasibility studies prior to actual suborbital or orbital space experiments. We show how exposure to suborbital flight stressors and the use of a two-dimensional slow rotating device affect T-cells and cancer cells survivability. To enhance T-cell activation and viability, we primed them alone or in combination with IL-2 and IL-12 cytokines. Viability of T-cells was assessed before, during the experiment, and at the end of the experiment for which T-cells were counted every day for the last 4 days to allow the cells to form clear structures and do not disturb their evolution into various geometries. The slow rotating device could be considered a good system to perform T-cell activation studies and develop cell aggregates for various types of cells that react differently to thermal stressors.

Open access
SHI irradiation induced modifications of plasmonic properties of Ag-TiO2 thin film and study using FDTD simulation

Abstract

Modifications in morphological and plasmonic properties of heavily doped Ag-TiO2 nanocomposite thin films by ion irradiation have been observed. The Ag-TiO2 nanocomposite thin films were synthesized by RF co-sputtering and irradiated by 90 MeV Ni ions with different fluences. The modifications in morphological, structural and plasmonic properties of the nanocomposite thin films caused by ion irradiation were studied by transmission electron microscopy (TEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and UV-Vis absorption spectroscopy. The thickness of the film and concentration of Ag were assessed by Rutheford backscattering (RBS) as ~50 nm and 56 at.%, respectively. Interestingly, localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) appeared at 566 nm in the thin film irradiated at the fluence of 1 × 1013 ions/cm2. This plasmonic behavior can be attributed to the increment in interparticle separation. Increased interparticle separation diminishes the plasmonic coupling between the nanoparticles and the LSPR appears in the visible region. The distribution of Ag nanoparticles obtained from HR-TEM images has been used to simulate absorption spectra and electric field distribution along Ag nanoparticles with the help of FDTD (Finite Difference Time Domain). Further, the ion irradiation results (experimental as well simulated) were compared with the annealed nanocomposite thin film and it was found that optical properties of heavily doped metal in the metal oxide matrix can be more improved by ion irradiation in comparison with thermal annealing.

Open access
Effect of macromolecular mass transport in microgravity protein crystallization

Abstract

To investigate the effect of macromolecular transport and the incorporation of protein aggregate impurities in growing crystals, experiments were performed on the International Space Station (ISS) and compared with control experiments performed in a 1G laboratory environment. Crystal growth experiments for hen egg-white lysozyme (HEWL) and Plasmodium falciparum glutathione S-transferase (PfGST) were monitored using the ISS Light Microscopy Module (LMM). Experiments were performed applying the liquid–liquid counter diffusion crystallization method using rectangular, optically transparent capillaries. To analyze the quantity of impurity incorporated into growing crystals, stable fluorescently labeled protein aggregates were prepared and subsequently added at different percent concentrations to nonlabeled monomeric protein suspensions. For HEWL, a covalent cross-linked HEWL dimer was fluorescently labeled, and for PfGST, a stable tetramer was prepared. Crystallization solutions containing different protein aggregate ratios were prepared. The frozen samples were launched on 19.02.2017 via SpaceX-10 mission and immediately transferred to a -80°C freezer on the ISS. Two series of crystallization experiments were performed on ISS, one during 26.02.2017 to 10.03.2017 and a second during 16.06.2017 to 23.06.2017. A comparison of crystal growth rate and size showed different calculated average growth rates as well as different dimensions for crystals growing in different positions along the capillary. The effect of macromolecular mass transport on crystal growth in microgravity was experimentally calculated. In parallel, the percentage of incorporated fluorescent aggregate into the crystals was monitored utilizing the fluorescent LMM and ground-based fluorescent microscopes.

Open access
Effect of using insert on the flow pressure in cylindrical silo

Abstract

This paper presents an experimental investigation of the discharge flow pressure in the vertical silo and the hopper due to the use of insert (top cone with trunk cone bottom). Using the Insert inside the silos is one of the proposed solutions to avoid the problems of having funnel flow pattern, which has a significant effect on the distribution of flow pressure exerted on the silo wall and the hopper. The experiments were performed on a metal cylinder prototype; corn was used as a granular material, and the wall and hopper pressure distribution was measured by a special pressure transducer. The experiments revealed an important result in the flow pressure due to the change in the location of the insert. The experiments were conducted in Damascus University laboratories.

Open access
Conformity of finished forming sieves for paper industry

Abstract

The sieves’ manufacturers that want to be competitive at the market must have the implemented quality control system. Different methods, based on taking the sample, which is a representative of the total quantity of the forming sieves production, are applied for evaluation of the sieve’s conformity. The basic characteristics of this type of the quality function are control, measuring and testing of the forming sieves’ properties at the end of the manufacturing process. The objective is to detect and separate the products that deviate from the set criteria, to remain in the factory, then to be repaired if possible or discarded in the opposite case and thus to prevent delivery of the defective sieves to the paper manufacturers.

Open access
Effect of Black Liquor from Date Palm on the Workability and Compressive Strength of Portland Cement and Concrete

Abstract

Lignin is the second most abundant natural polymer. Due to the high content of carbon and hydrogen (C-H, C-C, C=O), it can be used as a potential dispersant for cement matrix. The objective of this study is to extract lignin from date palm and study its effect in the form of black liquor (BL) on the rheological and physic-mechanical properties of the cements and concrete. The lignin in black liquor form represents approximately 30 wt% dry weight of date palm. It is a heteropolymer composed primarily of methoxylated phenylpropylene alcohol monomeric units interconnected by a variety of stable carbon-carbon and carbon-oxygen-carbon (ether and esters) linkages. The results found show the positive effect on the workability of cement and concrete and confirms its dispersion effect by improving compressive strength of concrete during the early and the later ages of hydration.

Open access