328 research outputs found

    Common vocabularies for collective intelligence - work in progress

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    Web based applications and tools offer a great potential to increase the efficiency of information flow and communication among different agents during emergencies. Among the different factors, technical and non technical, that hinder the integration of an information model in emergency management sector, is a lack of a common, shared vocabulary. This paper furthers previous work in the area of ontology development, and presents a summary and overview of the goal, process and methodology to construct a shared set of metadata that can be used to map existing vocabulary. This paper is a work in progress report


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    In this study we investigated the influence of polypropylene/organoclay fibers on durability and mechanical behaviour of concrete. Pure polypropylene fibers and polypropylene nanocomposite fibers of two different lengths (20 and 60 mm) have been mixed in concrete at two volume fractions (0.1% and 0.3%). Nanoclay addition increases fibers elastic modulus (about 27%) reducing ductility. Workability of concrete is greatly influenced by fibers length and volume fraction: increasing these two values workability decreases. Fibers are not influent on compressive and flexural strength while post-cracking toughness is increased. Nanocomposite fibers have a better pull-out strength due to a better friction during slipping, but this doesn’t ensure a better adhesion. Water absorption, freeze/thaw cycles and sulfate attack test demonstrate that increasing fibers volume fraction, durability of concrete increases

    Effect of polymer/organoclay composition on morphology and rheological properties of polylactide nanocomposites

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    In this work the relationships between system composition, polymer–organoclay interaction, morphology and rheological response, under shear, and elongational flow, of different melt compounded polylactic acid (PLA)/organoclay nanocomposites are investigated, with the aim to properly select the better organoclay for a well-specified PLA grade and processing technology. Polylactide nanocomposites are prepared using two commercial polylactide grades (PLA 4032D and PLA 2003D) and two different organomodified montmorillonites (Cloisite 30B and Nanofil SE3010). FTIR analysis evidences the occurrence of stronger polymer/organoclay interactions for the system PLA4032D+C30B, resulting in a higher clay dispersion and exfoliation levels. Moreover, rheological tests at low shear rates show that, if PLA 2003D is used as polymer matrix (differing from PLA4032D by the presence of a high molecular weight tail), a better dispersed nanomorphology can be obtained with Nanofil SE3010, characterized by a double d-spacing compared to Cloisite 30B, despite the higher polar character of this latter nanofiller. On the other hand, elongational rheological measurements evidence for NSE3010-based hybrids a marked extensional thickening, whilst the stronger polar interactions between the phases in both the polylactide grades filled with C30B, determine increments in elongational viscosity, but inhibit the strain hardening behavior

    Use of polypropylene fibers coated with nano-silica particles into a cementitious mortar

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    Fiber reinforced cementitious composite (FRCC) materials have been widely used during last decades in order to overcome some of traditional cementitious materials issues: brittle behaviour, fire resistance, cover spalling, impact strength. For composite materials, fiber/matrix bond plays an important role because by increasing fiber/matrix interactions is possible to increase the behaviour of the entire material. In this study, in order to improve fiber to matrix adhesion, two chemical treatments of polypropylene fibers were investigated: alkaline hydrolysis and nano-silica sol-gel particles deposition. Treatmtents effect on fibers morphology and mechanical properties was investigated by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and tensile tests. SEM investigations report the presence of spherical nano-silica particles on fiber surface, in the case of sol-gel process, while alkaline hydrolysis leads to an increase of fibers roughness. Both treatments have negligible influence on fibers mechanical properties confirming the possibility of their use in a cementitious mortar. Pullout tests were carried out considering three embedded length of fibers in mortar samples (10, 20 and 30 mm, respectively) showing an increase of pullout energy for treated fibers. The influence on fiber reinforced mortar mechanical properties was investigated by three-point flexural tests on prismatic specimens considering two fibers length (15 and 30 mm) and two fibers volume fractions (0.50 and 1.00 %). A general increase of flexural strength over the reference mix was achieved and an overall better behaviour is recognizable for mortars containing treated fibers

    Electrostatic and Structural Bases of Fe2+ Translocation through Ferritin Channels

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    Ferritin molecular cages are marvelous 24-mer supramolecular architectures that enable massive iron storage (>2000 iron atoms) within their inner cavity. This cavity is connected to the outer environment by two channels at C3 and C4 symmetry axes of the assembly. Ferritins can also be exploited as carriers for in vivo imaging and therapeutic applications, owing to their capability to effectively protect synthetic non-endogenous agents within the cage cavity and deliver them to targeted tissue cells without stimulating adverse immune responses. Recently, X-ray crystal structures of Fe(2+)-loaded ferritins provided important information on the pathways followed by iron ions toward the ferritin cavity and the catalytic centers within the protein. However, the specific mechanisms enabling Fe(2+) uptake through wild-type and mutant ferritin channels is largely unknown. To shed light on this question, we report extensive molecular dynamics simulations, site-directed mutagenesis, and kinetic measurements that characterize the transport properties and translocation mechanism of Fe(2+) through the two ferritin channels, using the wild-type bullfrog Rana catesbeiana H' protein and some of its variants as case studies. We describe the structural features that determine Fe(2+) translocation with atomistic detail, and we propose a putative mechanism for Fe(2+) transport through the channel at the C3 symmetry axis, which is the only iron-permeable channel in vertebrate ferritins. Our findings have important implications for understanding how ion permeation occurs, and further how it may be controlled via purposely engineered channels for novel biomedical applications based on ferritin

    Preparation and performance analysis of active packaging PET films combining oxygen scavenging with barrier properties for shelf life extension of sensitive foods

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    The aim of this work was to prepare and evaluate the scavenging performance and the oxygen absorption kinetics of active food packaging PET films, containing a novel auto-activated, copolyester-based oxygen scavenger, which includes in its formulation also a copolyamide phase for enhanced passive gas barrier. Films at three different scavenger content (5%, 10% and 20% by weght) were produced by cast film technology, analyzed in terms of morphology and scavenging activity and tested to verify their effectiveness in preserving the quality of oxygen sensitive foods, performing preliminary shelf life tests on slices of cooked ham. The results highlighted that the films at 10% scavenger loading showed the most homogeneous dispersion and distribution of the reactive domains inside the PET matrix, the best scavenging performances and high potential in prolonging the shelf life of sensitive food matrices

    Sustainable Active PET Films by Functionalization With Antimicrobial Bio-Coatings

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    The realization of antimicrobial films through the incorporation of active agents into a polymer matrix is a promising alternative to the direct addition of antimicrobials into the food matrix. To this aim, the goal of this work was to develop a sustainable, food packaging solution with antimicrobial effectiveness and high functional performance, based on Ethyl-Nα-dodecanoyl-L-arginate (LAE). Active biodegradable coatings, easy soluble to be removed, were realized by spreading a Polylactic acid/LAE coating solution, at different antimicrobial concentration (from 0 to 20%), on a recyclable Polyethylene-terephthalate substrate. The antimicrobial activity of the multilayer films was tested in vitro against E.Coli CECT 434 strain as pathogenic agent in liquid culture media. Moreover, the LAE chemical interaction with the PLA matrix was investigated, as well as its effect on the adhesion, wetting, optical and barrier properties of the films. The results pointed out that that the minimum LAE concentration incorporated already guarantees an antimicrobial activity comparable to commercial antimicrobial packaging solutions, and that, among the systems investigated, 10% LAE is the minimum concentration guaranteeing total inhibition without significantly altering the functionalities of the developed systems

    A multidisciplinary study on the spatial variability of the local stratigraphic conditions in partially saturated slopes for flow-like landslide prediction

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    Flow-like landslides, which occur mainly in shallow granular deposits resting on steep bedrock, represent a major natural hazard worldwide. The pore water pressure distribution and the soil water content directly affect the soil shear strength, thus controlling the triggering of these landslides. Criticalgeomorphological and topographical settings, together with peculiar stratigraphic and hydrogeological features, are commonly recognized as predisposing factors for flow-like landslides occurrence. Hence, investigating the spatial and temporal variability of hydraulic slope conditions is a fundamental activity that consists of identifying local geological factors and seasonal monitoring of the subsurface water regime. The present work proposes an integrated geological, geophysical and geotechnical approach to identify the spatial variability of the local stratigraphic setting and hydrogeological conditions in a partially saturated slope, in order to set up a procedure able to provide a prediction of the flow-like landslides occurrence atslope scale. The multidisciplinary study has been applied to a test site on Mt. Faito, in the Lattari Mts. (Southern Italy), where extensive geophysical, geological and geotechnical soil characterization and in situmonitoring data collected over two years are available