1,412 research outputs found

    Returning children home from care: What can be learned from local authority data?

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    International Human Rights and child rights conventions as well as U.K. wide legislation and guidance require that children in care should be returned home to one or both parents wherever possible. Reunification with parents is the most common route out of care, but rates of re‚Äźentry are often higher than for other exit routes. This study used 8 years of administrative data (on 2,208 care entrants), collected by one large English local authority, to examine how many children were returned home and to explore factors associated with stable reunification (not re‚Äźentering care for at least 2 years). One‚Äźthird of children (36%) had been reunified, with adolescent entrants being the most likely age group to return home. Three quarters (75%) of reunified children had a stable reunification. In a fully adjusted regression model, age at entry, being on a care order prior to return home, staying longer in care, being of minority ethnicity, and having fewer placements in care were all significant in predicting chances of stable reunification. The results underline the importance of properly resourcing reunification services. The methods demonstrate the value to local authorities of analysing their own data longitudinally to understand the care pathways for children they look after

    Opportunities for Bio-Based Solvents Created as Petrochemical and Fuel Products Transition towards Renewable Resources

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    The global bio-based chemical market is growing in size and importance. Bio-based solvents such as glycerol and 2-methyltetrahydrofuran are often discussed as important introductions to the conventional repertoire of solvents. However adoption of new innovations by industry is typically slow. Therefore it might be anticipated that neoteric solvent systems (e.g., ionic liquids) will remain niche, while renewable routes to historically established solvents will continue to grow in importance. This review discusses bio-based solvents from the perspective of their production, identifying suitable feedstocks, platform molecules, and relevant product streams for the sustainable manufacturing of conventional solvents

    Late Holocene sea level variability and Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation

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    Pre-twentieth century sea level (SL) variability remains poorly understood due to limits of tide gauge records, low temporal resolution of tidal marsh records, and regional anomalies caused by dynamic ocean processes, notably multidecadal changes in Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). We examined SL and AMOC variability along the eastern United States over the last 2000 years, using a SL curve constructed from proxy sea surface temperature (SST) records from Chesapeake Bay, and twentieth century SL-sea surface temperature (SST) relations derived from tide gauges and instrumental SST. The SL curve shows multidecadal-scale variability (20‚Äď30‚ÄČyears) during the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA) and Little Ice Age (LIA), as well as the twentieth century. During these SL oscillations, short-term rates ranged from 2 to 4‚ÄČmm‚ÄČyr‚ąí1, roughly similar to those of the last few decades. These oscillations likely represent internal modes of climate variability related to AMOC variability and originating at high latitudes, although the exact mechanisms remain unclear. Results imply that dynamic ocean changes, in addition to thermosteric, glacio-eustatic, or glacio-isostatic processes are an inherent part of SL variability in coastal regions, even during millennial-scale climate oscillations such as the MCA and LIA and should be factored into efforts that use tide gauges and tidal marsh sediments to understand global sea level rise

    BioLogicTool : A Simple Visual Tool for Assisting in the Logical Selection of Pathways from Biomass to Products

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    The current chemical industry has been heavily optimized for the use of petroleum-derived base chemicals as its primary source of building blocks. However, incorporation of heteroatoms, absent in the base chemicals, is necessary to meet the different property requirements in the plethora of products the industry makes such as plastics, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals. As global oil reserves deplete, a shift toward renewable bioderived building blocks, so-called platform molecules, will become a necessity. Bioderived platform molecules are typically rich in heteroatoms as a result of their biomass feedstock also being heteroatom rich, and it would therefore seem logical to carry these heteroatoms through to the aforementioned products. A tool was herein developed to assess the rationality of a synthetic route from feedstock to product, designed specifically to give a visual representation of the pathways and options available. BioLogicTool plots (%heteroatom by mass vs M) are an alternative to the conventional van Krevelen diagram, and are designed to better consider the diversity in heteroatom content encountered in biobased chemicals. The tool can rapidly help its user to design more logical multistep synthetic routes and enhance the mass efficiency of pathways. Several examples were selected to demonstrate the power and limitations of the BioLogicTool, but it was clear from these examples that removing heteroatoms from platform molecules to reincorporate them later in the final product is, in most cases, not logical in a mass efficiency sense

    Regenerative Performance of the NASA Symmetrical Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Design

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    The NASA Glenn Research Center is developing both a novel cell design (BSC) and a novel ceramic fabrication technique to produce fuel cells predicted to exceed a specific power density of 1.0 kW/kg. The NASA Glenn cell design has taken a completely different approach among planar designs by removing the metal interconnect and returning to the use of a thin, doped LaCrO3 interconnect. The cell is structurally symmetrical. Both electrodes support the thin electrolyte and contain micro-channels for gas flow-- a geometry referred to as a bi-electrode supported cell or BSC. The cell characteristics have been demonstrated under both SOFC and SOE conditions. Electrolysis tests verify that this cell design operates at very high electrochemical voltage efficiencies (EVE) and high H2O conversion percentages, even at the low flow rates predicted for closed loop systems encountered in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) applications. For UAVs the volume, weight and the efficiency are critical as they determine the size of the water tank, the solar panel size, and other system requirements. For UAVs, regenerative solid oxide fuel cell stacks (RSOFC) use solar panels during daylight to generate power for electrolysis and then operate in fuel cell mode during the night to power the UAV and electronics. Recent studies, performed by NASA for a more electric commercial aircraft, evaluated SOFCs for auxiliary power units (APUs). System studies were also conducted for regenerative RSOFC systems. One common requirement for aerospace SOFCs and RSOFCs, determined independently in each application study, was the need for high specific power density and volume density, on the order of 1.0 kW/kg and greater than 1.0 kW/L. Until recently the best reported performance for SOFCs was 0.2 kW/kg or less for stacks. NASA Glenn is working to prototype the light weight, low volume BSC design for such high specific power aerospace applications

    P-cymenesulphonyl chloride : A bio-based activating group and protecting group for greener organic synthesis

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    A bio-derived protecting/activating group has been synthesized by introducing a sulphonyl chloride group to the aromatic ring of p-cymene derived from citrus peel waste. The resulting p-cymenesulphonyl chloride was evaluated as an activating group by reacting with 1-octanol, 2-octanol, phenol and piperidine, and further reactions of the activated alcohols. The comparison to tosyl chloride demonstrates that the bio-based alternative can be effectively utilized as a direct replacement for the current fossil derived equivalent

    A comparison of the solvation power of the green solvent 2,2,5,5-tetramethyloxolane versus toluene via partition coefficients

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    2,2,5,5-tetramethyloxolane [previously published as 2,2,5,5-tetramethyltetrahydrofuran (TMTHF)] has recently been demonstrated as a greener and cleaner alternative to toluene in several applications. Assessing similarities in properties of toluene and 2,2,5,5-tetramethyloxolane is crucial for establishing this molecules potential to replace traditional non-polar organic solvents in the cleaner production of chemicals and materials. However, the Hansen solubility parameters (HSP) and Kamlet-Taft parameters (KT) give conflicting views on their similarities and differences, which necessitates a full comparative characterisation of the solvation environment of these two solvents. Such comparisons have been achieved through a direct and extensive determination of partition coefficients between each of the two solvents and water. The partition coefficients and Abraham's solvation parameter model have quantitatively clarified the similarities and differences in properties of 2,2,5,5-tetramethyloxolane and toluene. Solutes of high dipolarity and hydrogen-bond accepting ability tended to favour the aqueous phase in both systems, while large molar volume and high refractive indices favoured the organic phase. A significant difference between 2,2,5,5-tetramethyloxolane and toluene was observed for hydrogen-bond donating solutes. In general, such solutes strongly preferred the aqueous phase in the toluene/water system but preferred the organic phase in the 2,2,5,5-tetramethyloxolane/water system. This was due to the interaction of the protic solutes with the lone pairs of electrons on the ethereal oxygen of 2,2,5,5-tetramethyloxolane, a feature that is not present on toluene, and opens up new possibilities for applications of this sustainable solvent in liquid-liquid extraction, particularly in the isolation of natural products. As toluene is such an important solvent in the chemical industry, its replacement with a greener alternative such as 2,2,5,5-tetramethyloxolane would be hugely significant for cleaner synthesis, extractions and separations

    Enzymatic synthesis of biobased polyesters utilizing aromatic diols as the rigid component

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    In the present work, the biocatalyzed synthesis of a series of aromatic-aliphatic polyesters based on the aliphatic diesters dimethyl succinate, dimethyl adipate and dimethyl sebacate and the aromatic diols 2,5-bis(hydroxymethyl)furan, 3,4-bis(hydroxymethyl)furan and 2,6-pyridinedimethanol were investigated. A similar series of polyesters based on the petroleum-based 1,3-benzenedimethanol, 1,4-benzenedimethanol and 1,4-benzenediethanol were also synthesized for comparison. Data show that the enzymatic syntheses were successful starting from all diols, with the obtained polymers having isolated yields between 67 and over 90%, number average molecular weights between 3000 Da and 5000 Da and degree of polymerization (DP) of 6‚Äď18 (based on the used aliphatic diesters and aromatic diols) when polymerized in diphenyl ether as solvent. Only using 3,4-bis(hydroxymethyl)furan as the diol led to shorter oligomers with isolated yields around 50% and DPs of 3‚Äď5. DSC and TGA thermal analyses show clear correlation between polymer crystallinity and aliphatic carbon chain length of the diester

    Elucidating enzymatic polymerisations : Chain-length selectivity of Candida antarctica lipase B towards various aliphatic diols and dicarboxylic acid diesters

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    The sustainable synthesis of polymers is a field with growing interest due to the need of modern society to preserve the environment whilst making used products and food sustainable for the future generations. In this work we investigate the possibility of synthesizing aliphatic polyesters derived from various dicarboxylic acid diesters and diols in a solvent-free reaction system. Candida antarctica lipase B was selected as biocatalyst and its selectivity towards the carbon and ester chain length were elucidated. The selected enzyme was able to synthesize various polyesters combining C4-C10 diesters and C4-C8 diols. All combinations led to monomer conversions above 90% in 24 h with the best number average molecular weights (Mn) being obtained through the combination of dimethyl adipate and 1,8-octanediol leading to a Mn of 7141 Da. Differential scanning calorimetry analysis shows a clear trend with an increase in melting temperature of the polymers that correlates with both the increase of the Mn or of the polymer's constitutional repeat unit carbon chain length. Thermogravimetric analysis and rheology measurements performed on selected samples also confirm the trend showing a variation of the polymer's degradation temperatures and viscosity profiles

    Supporting Online Learning for Advanced Placement Students in Small Rural Schools: Conceptual Foundations and Intervention Components of the Facilitator Preparation Program

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    This paper examines the need for interventions to support students who are taking advanced placement courses in small rural districts and describes the Facilitator Preparation Program (FPP) as a strategy to address this need. Issues in the delivery of Online Distance Education (ODE) in small rural schools are summarized and the conceptual foundations and service delivery considerations of the FPP are outlined. Future research needs are also considered
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