495 research outputs found

    A panel analysis of UK industrial company failure

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    We examine the failure determinants for large quoted UK industrials using a panel data set comprising 539 firms observed over the period 1988-93. The empirical design employs data from company accounts and is based on Chamberlain’s conditional binomial logit model, which allows for unobservable, firm-specific, time-invariant factors associated with failure risk. We find a noticeable degree of heterogeneity across the sample companies. Our panel results show that, after controlling for unobservables, lower liquidity measured by the quick assets ratio, slower turnover proxied by the ratio of debtors turnover, and profitability were linked to the higher risk of insolvency in the analysis period. The findings appear to support the proposition that the current cash-flow considerations, rather than the future prospects of the firm, determined company failures over the 1990s recession

    Event‐scale dynamics of a parabolic dune and its relevance for mesoscale evolution

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    Parabolic dunes are wide-spread aeolian landforms found in a variety of environments. Despite modelling advances and good understanding of how they evolve, there is limited empirical data on their dynamics at short time-scales of hours, and on how these dynamics relate to their medium-term evolution. This study presents the most comprehensive dataset to date on aeolian processes (airflow and sediment transport) inside a parabolic dune at an event-scale. This is coupled with information on elevation changes inside the landform to understand its morphological response to a single wind event. Results are contextualized against the medium-term (years) allowing us to investigate one of the most persistent conundrums in geomorphology, that of the significance of short-term findings for landform evolution. Our field data suggested three key findings: 1) sediment transport rates inside parabolic dunes correlate well with wind speeds rather than turbulence; 2) up to several tonnes of sand can move through these landforms in a few hours; 3) short-term elevation changes inside parabolic dunes can be complex and different from long-term net spatial patterns, including simultaneous erosion and accumulation along the same wall. Modeled airflow patterns along the basin were similar to those measured in situ for a range of common wind directions, demonstrating the potential for strong transport during multiple events. Meso-scale analyses suggested that the measured event was representative of the type of events potentially driving significant geomorphic changes over years, with supply-limiting conditions playing an important role in resultant flux amounts

    Electrification of granular systems of identical insulators

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    Insulating particles can become highly electrified during powder handling, volcanic eruptions, and the wind-blown transport of dust, sand, and snow. Measurements in these granular systems have found that smaller particles generally charge negatively, while larger particles charge positively. These observations are puzzling, since particles in these systems are generally chemically identical, and thus have no contact potential difference. We show here that simple geometry leads to a net transfer of electrons from larger to smaller particles, in agreement with these observations. We integrate this charging mechanism into the first quantitative charging scheme for a granular system of identical insulators, and show that its predictions are in agreement with measurements. Our theory thus seems to provide an explanation for the hitherto puzzling phenomenon of the size-dependent charging of granular systems of identical insulators.Comment: 8 pages, 5 figures, published in Physical Review

    A rock-surface microweathering index from Schmidt hammer R-values and its preliminary application to some common rock types in southern Norway

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    An index of the degree of rock-surface microweathering based on Schmidt hammer R-values is developed for use in the field without laboratory testing. A series of indices - I2 to In, where n is the number of successive blows with the hammer - is first proposed based on the assumption that the R-values derived from successive impacts on the same spot on a weathered rock surface converge on the value characteristic of an unweathered surface of the same lithology. Of these indices, the I5 index, which measures the difference between the mean R-value derived from first and fifth impacts as a proportion of the mean R-value from the fifth impact, is regarded as optimal: use of fewer impacts (e.g. in an I2 index) underestimates the degree of weathering whereas use of more impacts (e.g. in an I10 index) makes little difference and is therefore inefficient and may also induce an artificial weakening of the rock. Field tests of these indices on weathered glacially-scoured bedrock outcrops of nine common metamorphic and igneous rock types from southern Norway show, however, that even after ten impacts, successive R-values fail to approach the values characteristic of unweathered rock surfaces (e.g. bedrock from glacier forelands and road cuttings). An improved *I5 index is therefore preferred, in which the estimated true R-value of an unweathered rock surface is substituted. Weathered rock surfaces exposed to the atmosphere for ~10,000 years in southern Norway exhibit *I5 indices of 36-57%, values that reflect a similarly high degree of weathering irrespective of the rock type

    Evolutionary and socio-cultural influences on feelings and attitudes towards nature: a cross-cultural study

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    Mounting environmental issues have prompted reconsideration of the human–nature relationship. Accordingly, attitudes to nature, as an important dimension of human–nature interactions, have become a research focus. How feelings and attitudes towards nature are influenced by evolutionary and social-cultural constructions, and whether there is variation between different cultural groups, demands more attention. Using a survey of visitors to two very different National Parks, the New Forest National Park, England and Jiuzhaigou Scenic Area, China, this paper shows that of nationality and living environment, differences between the two nationalities were significant in respect of both attitudes and feelings. Specifically, it demonstrates that the biophilia thesis, which purports that people have an innate and a genetically inherited need for affiliation with nature, is influenced by their socio-cultural environment, in particular their national culture, but also by their current living place. The study contributes to our understanding of sustainable tourism in natural areas

    Wetting and evaporation of salt-water nanodroplets: A molecular dynamics investigation

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    We employ molecular dynamics simulations to study the wetting and evaporation of salt-water nanodroplets on platinum surfaces. Our results show that the contact angle of the droplets increases with the salt concentration. To verify this, a second simulation system of a thin salt-water film on a platinum surface is used to calculate the various surface tensions. We find that both the solid-liquid and liquid-vapor surface tensions increase with salt concentration and as a result these cause an increase in the contact angle. However, the evaporation rate of salt-water droplets decreases as the salt concentration increases, due to the hydration of salt ions. When the water molecules have all evaporated from the droplet, two forms of salt crystals are deposited, clump and ringlike, depending on the solid-liquid interaction strength and the evaporation rate. To form salt crystals in a ring, it is crucial that there is a pinned stage in the evaporation process, during which salt ions can move from the center to the rim of the droplets. With a stronger solid-liquid interaction strength, a slower evaporation rate, and a higher salt concentration, a complete salt crystal ring can be deposited on the surface

    Granites in Malaysia: from hard rock to clay minerals

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    Tropical areas with extreme climates are host to extreme weathering processes and the weathered materials are normally left in situ with the absence of large-scale denudation processes such as glaciations. This research tries to understand the behaviour of the weathered granites in Malaysia, from hard rock to the final products, the clay minerals. Grade 1 or fresh granites were sampled from different locations in Malaysia and analysed. The residual soil above the fresh granites, which were formed from the weathering activities were also analysed. The types of clay minerals and clay-sized particle grains found from two study locations were compared. The bases of the comparisons were index properties, strength properties and the mineralogical properties. The parent rocks were also analysed to obtain the origin of the minerals formed at the later stages of weathering. It was found that the strength of the soil mass formed from the weathering processes generally depend on the clay-sized particle grains rather than the types of clay minerals. It should however be noted that only halloysites and smectites clay minerals were observed in the samples obtained from the two study locations

    Subjective evaluation of the environmental quality in China's industrial corridors.

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    Based on 270 questionnaire surveys in 8 cities of 5 industrial corridors in China, this study aims to examine the effects of industry construction on the evaluation of environmental pollution, natural environment, built environment, personal perception and development and policy. The results show that the evaluations on environmental pollution and landscape design are both below the medium level, but the evaluations of the living comfort and safety are both above the medium level. Further analysis, females usually give lower evaluation scores than males, and age and health situations are negatively related to the evaluation results; People indicate a great desire to reduce the environmental pollution and protect the natural environment. Moreover, the landscape was analysed using colour extraction techniques based on video recording, there are significant correlations between industrial pixel ratio and evaluation results of air quality, vegetation pixel ratio and evaluation results of river water quality, and public facilities pixel ratio and evaluation results of comfort levels

    Bullet impacts and built heritage damage 1640–1939

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    © 2018, The Author(s). Conflict damage to heritage has been thrust into the global spotlight during recent conflict in the Middle East. While the use of social media has heightened and enhanced public awareness of this ‘cultural terrorism’, the occurrence of this type of vandalism is not new. In fact, as this study demonstrates, evidence of the active targeting of sites, as well as collateral damage when heritage is caught in crossfire, is widely visible around Europe and further afield. Using a variety of case studies ranging from the 1640s to the 1930s, we illustrate and quantify the changing impact of ballistics on heritage buildings as weaponry and ammunition have increased in both energy and energy density potential. In the first instance, this study highlights the increasing threats to heritage in conflict areas. Second, it argues for the pressing need to quantify and map damage to the stonework in order to respond to these challenges
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