177 research outputs found

    An overview on the use of additives and preparation procedure in phase change materials for thermal energy storage with a focus on long term applications

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    In this review we aim at providing an up-to-date and comprehensive overview on the use of additives within selected Phase Change Materials (PCMs) from both an experimental and more theoretical perspective. Traditionally, mostly focusing on short-term thermal energy storage applications, the addition of (nano)fillers has been extensively studied to enhance unsatisfactory thermo-physical properties in PCMs, in order to overcome limiting aspects such as low thermal conductivity possibly leading to unacceptable long charging and/or discharging periods and inefficient heat-storage systems. On the other hand, here we focus on the most important PCMs for long-term thermal energy storage (i.e. spanning from classical solid-to-liquid to more recent solid-to-solid PCMs) and make an effort in shedding light on the role played not only by additives but also (and importantly) by additivation protocols on the resulting thermo-physical and stability properties. While introducing and connecting to general advantages related to additivation in classical PCMs for thermal energy storage, we discuss specifically the use of additives in sugar alcohols and sodium acetate trihydrate, as well as in novel emerging classes of PCMs capable of undergoing solid-to-solid transitions and showing promising features for long-term heat storage materials. We highlight outstanding issues in the use of additives for property enhancement in PCMs and expect that the present work can contribute to expand the current understanding and field of application of the less mature PCMs for thermal energy storage, especially as far as long term applications are concerned

    Thermally triggered nanorocket from double-walled carbon nanotube in water

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    In this work, we propose and investigate the use of double-walled carbon nanotubes (DWCNTs) as nanosized rockets. The nanotubes are immersed in water, and the propulsion of inner nanotube is achieved by heating the water encapsulated within the DWCNT. Considering a setup made of (5,5)(8,8) DWCNT, molecular dynamics simulations for different water temperatures show that the trajectory can be divided into four phases: trigger, expulsion, damping and final equilibrium. After analysing the dynamics and the involved forces, we find out that the inner nanotube expulsion is mainly controlled by van der Waals interactions between the nanotubes; whereas, the damping role is predominantly played by the external aqueous environment. Based on these results, we propose an analytical model able to predict both the triggering time for a given water temperature and the whole dynamics of nanorocket. The validity of such dynamical model can be extended also to a broader variety of DWCNT configurations, once the different forces acting on the inner nanotube are provided. The proposed model may contribute to assist the design of nanorockets in several nanotechnology applications, such as triggered drug delivery, cell membrane piercing, or colloids with thermophoretic properties


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    The Strait of Messina is certainly a focal area for the biological cycle of the jellyfish Pelagia noctiluca in the Western Mediterranean Sea. By means of both original and literature data, a conceptual model outlining the biological cycle of this species is proposed. P. noctiluca reproduces from late winter to late spring in the Aeolian Island Archipelago. From late spring to early summer, currents transport newly produced young individuals (20-30 mm bell diameter) eastwards, towards the Strait. The Strait of Messina ecosystem is not a suitable reproduction area for its intense hydrodynamism that would surely lead to a very low reproductive success due to gamete dispersion. This area, however, represents an optimal site for growth, due to its intensive primary and secondary production, but also for an optimal temperature range, lower in summer and higher in winter in respect to the surrounding basins. Pelagia remains all the summer inside the Strait, increasing in bell diameter (50-70 mm) and biomass. Subsequently, in late summer-early autumn, the mature specimens, taking advantage of a typical autumnal downwelling transport, move to deep Tyrrhenian waters where overwinter, to upwell in the Aeolian Archipelago by late winter to start a new cycle

    Synergistic freshwater and electricity production using passive membrane distillation and waste heat recovered from camouflaged photovoltaic modules

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    A sustainable supply of both freshwater and energy is key for modern societies. In this work, we investigate a synergistic way to address both these issues, producing freshwater while reducing greenhouse gas emissions due to electricity generation. To this, we propose a coupling between a photovoltaic (PV) device and an innovative desalination technique based on passive multi-stage membrane distillation. The passive distillation device is driven by low-temperature heat and does not need any mechanical or electrical devices to operate. The required heat is recovered from the back side of the PV device that, for the first time, mitigates the aesthetic and environmental impact thanks to an innovative surface texture. The aim is to demonstrate the feasibility to generate PV electricity from the sun and, simultaneously, freshwater from the waste heat. The solution is studied by numerical simulations and experiments at the same time, achieving a good accordance between these two approaches. The device is able to produce up to 2 L m-2 h-1 of freshwater under one sun irradiance. Furthermore, a relative photovoltaic efficiency gain of 4.5% is obtained, since the temperature of the PV module is reduced by 9 °C when coupled with the desalination technology. This work paves the way to compact installations made of such passive units, which may easily provide energy and safe water with low environmental and visual impact, especially in off-grid areas and emergency conditions

    Editorial Group: a Long-term Rehabilitation Approach Developed at SC Psichiatria, Maggiore Della Carita Hospital in Novara

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    Introduction Our Psychiatry Ward offers several group activities to both inpatients and outpatients. Among these, the Editorial Group involves only outpatients (who had been previously admitted to the Psychiatry Ward as inpatients) in fair psychopathological compensation, carefully selected for this long-term rehabilitation approach. Aims To describe the Editorial Group activity. Methods The Editorial Group meets once a week at the Psychiatry Ward. It involves patients, nurses and a group leader who is a Psychiatrist. The psychiatrists' and nurses' role is to facilitate the group process and the exploration of the topics discussed. Members are encouraged to discuss their opinions about tales, movies and books; to share poems, paintings, photographs. The aim of this process is to eventually develop a Ward magazine which is published quarterly. Results Members' commitment is extended beyond the weekly meeting hour of the group; indeed, we have observed that patients in their free time spontaneously decide to spend time collecting material to share and drawing up the articles, which are assigned according to patients' aptitudes and preferences. A continued commitment to share daily life experiences and to express creativity, helps patients get involved in the Group, and eventually leads to something concrete and valuable to share with others, also beyond the Group. Both the leader and the other equipe members help patients listening to each others' opinions, ideas and personal experiences. Conclusions The Editorial Group helps patients improving emotional and relational skills, and stimulates cognitive resources. Moreover, it enhances creativity, promotes collaboration and stimulates curiosity

    Clinical characteristics associated with suicide attempts in clinical settings: A comparison of suicidal and non-suicidal depressed inpatients

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    INTRODUCTION: Both psychiatrists and psychiatric nurses are involved in the psychiatric management of suicidal inpatients. One-to-one observation by qualified nurses and the accommodation of the patient in a room close to the infirmary are usually recommended. Suicidal risk should be reassessed periodically to check response to treatment. AIM: To compare the severity of depressive symptoms in depressed inpatients admitted after an attempted suicide and those admitted for any other reason and to assess the severity of suicide attempts and the management of suicidal risk in clinical settings. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We divided the sample into two subgroups: patients with a diagnosis of depression admitted because of a recent suicide attempt and depressed patients with no recent history of attempted suicide. Socio-demographic and clinical data were gathered; assessments included the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale and the Nurses’ Global Assessment of Suicide Risk (NGASR). RESULTS: Forty-six patients were recruited over a 1-year period: 20 were admitted to the hospital following a suicide attempt; the other 26 had not attempted suicide and were admitted for other depression-related reasons. Multivariate analysis revealed a correlation between use of antidepressants and recent attempted suicide. Attempting suicide was not related to the severity of depressive symptoms. In the recent suicide attempt subgroup, NGASR suicide risk levels were lower at discharge than at admission. Patients with a recent history of attempted suicide had a higher number of suicide attempts in their clinical history than patients with no recent history of attempted suicide. CONCLUSION: There were no correlations between psychiatric diagnosis, severity of depressive symptoms, and recent suicide attempt. Antidepressant therapy protected against suicide attempts. History of suicide attempts was one of the best predictors of recent attempted suicide. A more thorough understanding of the complex phenomenon of suicide and the reasons for suicidal behavior is needed
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