Open Access Institutional Repository at Robert Gordon University

    Social work in Brazil in the vortex of three crises: pandemic, social and political.

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    Social work in Brazil advocates a radical and critical model of social work theorisation and practice. This article explores the Brazilian theoretical and practice model, identifying the profession as being in a vortex of COVID-19, increasing state economic austerity, attacks on previously hard-won progressive social policy, and increasing inequality and precarity. This provides a challenging practice environment. The professional re-conceptualisation model proposes that social work needs to fully theorise social difficulties to ensure that the profession intervenes to address the causes of the problems, rather than manifestations underlying them. Through aligning itself with working-class conflicts, promoting rights and refusing to accept the rolling-back of support, the Brazilian framework, located within its social realities, offers an opportunity for social workers globally to consider what lessons can be learnt, to recognise the uniqueness of its perspectives and to provide solidarity through its recognition

    Identification, analysis and recommendations regarding potentially high-risk lifting tasks in industry: a case study.

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    In examining the work environment of a major South African manufacturing concern, this paper describes a practical project of identification, analysis and recommendations regarding potentially high-risk lifting tasks. Manual materials handling-related injuries result in a significant cost to industry and manual lifting in particular represents a major cause of injury to industrial workers. Ayoub (1992) states that backache is the second most common reason for absenteeism from work, and back injuries are a major source of both lost time and compensation claims. An examination of clinic records at the plant in this case study confirmed that it is no exception to this trend. Consequently, an investigation was undertaken to identify potentially dangerous lifting tasks in the plant. In consultation with a co-responsible agent, 32 discrete positions in 18 tasks were identified for inclusion in the project. Data were collected and liftRISK analyses (Charteris and Scott, 1990) were conducted. Of the 18 tasks analysed, 8 had a very high situational risk and a further 3 had an excessive situational risk. In addition to liftRISK analyses, attenuating work environment risk factors - such as excessive carry, obstacles in the carry phase, rotation and poor underfoot stability - were noted. The most common negative contributory factor in task assessment was excessive stoop. Task modification recommendations were made on the basis of the findings

    A novel square root adaptive unscented Kalman filter combined with variable forgetting factor recursive least square method for accurate state-of-charge estimation of lithium-ion batteries.

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    Lithium-ion battery state-of-charge (SOC) serves as an important battery state parameter monitored by the battery management system (BMS), real-time and accurate estimation of the SOC is vital for safe, reasonable, and efficient use of the battery as well as the development of BMS technology. Taking the ternary lithium battery as the research object, based on the second-order RC equivalent circuit model, a variable forgetting factor least square method (VFFRLS) is used for parameter identification and a combination of the square root of covariance and noise statistics estimation techniques to estimate the SOC, to solve the problem of dispersion of the unscented Kalman filter and the error covariance tends to infinity with iterative calculation, thus ensuring the accuracy of SOC estimation. The feasibility and robustness of the algorithm and the battery state estimation strategy are verified under HPPC and BBDST conditions with maximum errors of 1.41% and 1.53%, respectively. The experimental results show that the combined algorithm of VFFRLS and SRAUKF has good robustness and stability, and has high accuracy in the SOC estimation of Li-ion batteries, which provides a reference for the research of lithium-ion batteries

    Mapping the socio-political landscape of heat mitigation through urban greenspaces: the case of Taipei Metropolis.

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    We assess socio-political challenges for urban heat island (UHI) mitigation in greenspace planning, focusing on Taipei Metropolis, Taiwan. Through analysis of articles from two newspapers, we suggest that attention to greenery and heat tends to reflect immediate weather or planning considerations, and that there is a persistent perception of greenspace as a barrier to economic development. Broad-based, durable rationales extending beyond climate adaptation benefits may be required to sustain support for greenspace planning in Taipei. There is also a need to raise decision makers’ awareness of the specific actions required to realize cooling benefits via greening. We argue that the Taipei case demonstrates the potential for policy messaging based on greenspace functions to attain cross-sectoral buy-in for greenspace development or preservation, but that planners and policymakers must ensure that consensus-based governance actually delivers cooling benefits to citizens. Our results also indicate that greenspace planning policy could more explicitly address community-level greening specifically targeted at cooling or other climate adaptation challenges

    Development of new silver nanoparticles suitable for materials with antimicrobial properties.

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    Silver nanoparticles are the most important nanoparticles in connection with the antimicrobial effect. Nowadays, the green synthesis of various types of nanoparticles is rapid, effective and produce less toxic nanoparticles often with specific properties. In our experiment we have developed and described in details various types of silver nanoparticles synthesized chemically or by the green synthesis. Nine different silver nanoparticles were synthesized, three by citrate method at different pHs (8; 9; 10), four using gallic acid at alkaline pHs (10; 11), and two by green synthesis using green tea and coffee extracts, both at pH 9. Characterisation of silver nanoparticles was performed using dynamic light scattering, scanning electron microscopy, and ultraviolet-visible absorption spectroscopy. Silver nanoparticles prepared by green synthesis showed the highest antioxidant activity and also ability for quenching of free radicals. Antibacterial activity of silver nanoparticles was determined on bacterial cultures such as Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. Silver nanoparticles synthesized using green tea and coffee extracts showed the highest antibacterial activity for both bacterial strains. Minimal inhibition concentration for both strains was found to be 65 {aelig}M at each silver nanoparticle synthesized using green synthesis

    Preparation of novel modified-release dosage forms of diclofenac sodium and ibuprofen.

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    Mini-matrix multiple unit dosage forms (MUDFs) of diclofenac sodium and S(+) ibuprofen have been prepared. Normal tabletting techniques were used to form the mini-matrices prior to their enclosure in hard gelatin capsules. Four natural hydrophilic gums, namely xanthan, karaya, locust bean and carrageenan gums as well as hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC) were used as the principle release-retarding agents. Various excipients - lactose, Encompress®, cellulose acetate phthalate (CAP), Veegum F® and Avicel PH101® - were added in different proportions to further modify drug release. The diclofenac sodium mini-matrices (4.5 mm in diameter) were produced by the wet granulation method. The release profiles from several encapsulated minimatrices in phosphate buffer solution (pH 7.0) showed that xanthan, karaya and locust bean gums could sustain the release of diclofenac sodium while the carrageenan gum did not produce a satisfactory sustaining effect. The rank order of decreasing swelling rate in both axial and radial dimensions was xanthan > karaya > locust bean gum and each of these gums showed almost Fickian swelling behaviour. The solvent penetration rates were consistent with the swelling rates. However, the order of decreasing drug release and erosion rates was locust bean> xanthan > karaya gum. For each of these gums, the release behaviour was anomalous indicating that both Fickian drug diffusion and polymer relaxation were involved in the release process. The dominant mechanism depended on the nature and content of the gum, as well as the stage in the dissolution period. The study involving xanthan gum showed that the diclofenac sodium release rate declined linearly with a progressive increase in the gumcontent, without changing the release behaviour. However, for high drug: xanthan gum ratio (2:1), the release kinetics changed to Super Case II. Solubility differences between the excipients did not affect the release rate, but increasing proportions of each excipient produced a faster release rate with the release mechanism changing from anomalous to Case II and then to Super Case II transport. Mini-matrices containing HPMC produced faster drug release than those containing the three natural gums. There was no synergistic effect between xanthan and locust bean gums on the release of diclofenac sodium from mini-matrices. Variation in the stirring speed (used in the dissolution apparatus) and matrix volume had little effect on drug release, whereas the pH of the dissolution medium greatly affected the release of diclofenac sodium. Following on from the studies involving diclofenac sodium, xanthan and karaya gums were used to produce mini-matrices of S(+) ibuprofen. Excipients with good compressibility characteristics such as lactose, Encompress® and Avicel PH101® were needed in the formulations. At pH 7, higher drug release rates were obtained with karaya gum (Super Case II mechanism) compared with xanthan gum (anomalous behaviour). Solubility differences between the excipients slightly affected the release rate. Compression forces (11 - 26 kN) slightly affected the crushing strength. The minimatrices were relatively stable to variation in temperature (5 - 37°C) and relative humidity (10 - 75%) over a 2 month time period. These studies have shown that near zero-order release of diclofenac sodium and S(+) ibuprofen can be achieved using encapsulated mini-matrices formulations. The release mechanisms and release rates can be adjusted by variation of the type and content of gums and/or excipients

    Integration of health and social care in a regional area of Scotland: exploring the needs and experiences of service users and their families.

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    AIM: - To explore the experiences of service users and their families accessing integrated health and social care services to meet their health and wellbeing needs. OBJECTIVES: 1. To identify the experiences of service users and their families who access integrated health and social care services within Grampian. 2. To describe the extent to which the preferences of services users and their families are met in achieving their health and wellbeing needs. 3. To evaluate the utility of integrated health and social care services in meeting the health and wellbeing needs of service users. This poster was also presented at a NHS Grampian: celebrating excellence in March and June 2018 and also at Robert Gordon University's Research week in June 2018

    Understanding the impact of collaborative online international learning on employability: a stakeholder comparison.

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    Emerging pedagogical theory identifies a growing need for innovative, student-centered, experiential approaches to learning within a context of rapidly evolving conversational media, the commodification of education and changing perceptions of the academy and lifelong learning. This paper will present an overview of a PhD project which will investigate the value of Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) as an innovative pedagogical approach and its possible impact on graduate employability, from the perspective of students, curriculum leaders and employers. The research paradigm is interpretivist and an inductive approach will be used to generate a phenomenological epistemology of COIL strategies within universities. Primary qualitative data collection will involve a series of in-depth interviews with students, curriculum leaders and employers in four different countries, and will seek to develop a new conceptual model for COIL programmes within Higher Education which will address the need for future ready graduates in a rapidly transforming employment market

    Contracts affected by economic sanctions: Russian and international perspectives.

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    Economic sanctions, particularly unilateral ones, are an increasingly popular instrument of foreign policy. Some states have extensive experience in adopting them and in resolving private disputes arising from such measures. For other countries, this practice is more recent and their sanction regimes are not as mature. Against the background of post-2014 sanction regimes targeting Russia and its counter-sanctions, this article considers the primary aspects of the impact sanctions have on the private contractual sphere. These include qualification of sanctions as a ground for invalidity of contracts and as impediment excusing debtors from the performance of their obligations. The article begins by analysing the theoretical framework developed in international doctrine and practice. It highlights the differences between the application of sanctions by domestic courts and by arbitral tribunals and considers their significance. Alongside its international counterparts, the article considers Russian domestic statutory regulation, which is well-developed and similar to that in other civil law European jurisdictions. Although it is possible to hypothesise on the possible judicial approaches, available Russian case law on this subject remains scarce and occasionally inconsistent. The avenues for further development of fundamental approaches in the practice of courts and arbitral tribunals are explored in the conclusion

    An investigation of energy-based planned maintenance of offshore drilling mud pumps.

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    Mud pumps used on offshore installations for drilling operations have been known to experience unpredictable breakdowns, including during critical stages of drilling. The fluid end has been identified as requiring more maintenance work due to component failure, compared to the power end. The most common maintenance strategies in use include breakdown maintenance, time-based maintenance and condition monitoring. Time-based maintenance, based on running hours, is the most commonly preferred method by most, if not all, mud pump operators. However, the nature of drilling operations require pump performance with variable loads (pressures), variable speed characteristics and time-based maintenance would not be able to account for the different operating conditions within any identical time frames. To address this shortcoming, this research looked at the postulation that material wear loss is related to the energy expended and developed a dedicated reciprocating wear test system to identify and investigate the effect of operating variables on the wear loss of piston rubbers, which was considered to be the most problematic of the fluid end components
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