1,359 research outputs found

    Delamination properties of laminated glass windows subject to blast loading

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    Delamination processes absorb significant amounts of energy in laminated glass windows when they are subjected to blast loads. Blast tests were performed previously and their results had been used to calculate the loads imposed on the support systems. In this research, the delamination process at realistic deformation rates was studied to understand the reaction force response obtained. Laboratory tensile tests were performed on pre-cracked laminated glass specimens to investigate their delamination behaviour. The experiments confirmed the presence of a plateau in the force-deflection graphs, suggesting that the delamination process absorbed significant energy. The experimental results were then employed to calibrate FEA models of the delamination process with the aim of estimating the delamination energy of the polyvinyl butyral (PVB) membrane and glass layers and its relationship with deformation speed. The delamination energies obtained through this research, if used with the appropriate PVB material model, are a valuable new tool new tool in the modelling and design of laminated glass façade structures

    Determining Material Response for Polyvinyl Butyral (PVB) in Blast Loading Situations

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    Protecting structures from the effect of blast loads requires the careful design of all building components. In this context, the mechanical properties of Polyvinyl Butyral (PVB) are of interest to designers as the membrane behaviour will affect the performance of laminated glass glazing when loaded by explosion pressure waves. This polymer behaves in a complex manner and is difficult to model over the wide range of strain rates relevant to blast analysis. In this study, data from experimental tests conducted at strain rates from 0.01 s−1 to 400 s−1 were used to develop material models accounting for the rate dependency of the material. Firstly, two models were derived assuming Prony series formulations. A reduced polynomial spring and a spring derived from the model proposed by Hoo Fatt and Ouyang were used. Two fits were produced for each of these models, one for low rate cases, up to 8 s−1, and one for high rate cases, from 20 s−1. Afterwards, a single model representing all rates was produced using a finite deformation viscoelastic model. This assumed two hyperelastic springs in parallel, one of which was in series with a non-linear damper. The results were compared with the experimental results, assessing the quality of the fits in the strain range of interest for blast loading situations. This should provide designers with the information to choose between the available models depending on their design needs

    Extragalactic propagation of ultrahigh energy cosmic-rays

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    In this paper we review the extragalactic propagation of ultrahigh energy cosmic-rays (UHECR). We present the different energy loss processes of protons and nuclei, and their expected influence on energy evolution of the UHECR spectrum and composition. We discuss the possible implications of the recent composition analyses provided by the Pierre Auger Observatory. The influence of extragalactic magnetic fields and possible departures from the rectilinear case are also mentioned as well as the production of secondary cosmogenic neutrinos and photons and the constraints their observation would imply for the UHECRs origin. Finally, we conclude by briefly discussing the relevance of a multi messenger approach for solving the mystery of UHECRs.Comment: 45 pages, 16 figures Extended version of a paper to be published in the topical issue of Astroparticle Physics on Cosmic-ray

    Identification of a novel botulinum neurotoxin gene cluster in Enterococcus

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    The deadly neurotoxins of Clostridium botulinum (BoNTs) comprise eight serotypes (A–G; X). The neurotoxin gene cluster encoding BoNT and its accessory proteins includes an operon containing an ntnh gene upstream of the boNT gene. Another operon contains either ha (haemagglutinin) or orfX genes (of unknown function). Here we describe a novel boNT gene cluster from Enterococcus sp. 3G1_DIV0629, with a typical ntnh gene and an uncommon orfX arrangement. The neurotoxin (designated putative eBoNT/J) contains a metallopeptidase zinc-binding site, a translocation domain and a target cell attachment domain. Structural properties of the latter suggest a novel targeting mechanism with consequent implications for application by the pharmaceutical industry. This is the first complete boNT gene cluster identified in a non-clostridial genome

    Stronger diversity effects with increased environmental stress : a study of multitrophic interactions between oak, powdery mildew and ladybirds

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    Recent research has suggested that increasing neighbourhood tree species diversity may mitigate the impact of pests or pathogens by supporting the activities of their natural enemies and/or reducing the density of available hosts. In this study, we attempted to assess these mechanisms in a multitrophic study system of young oak (Quercus), oak powdery mildew (PM, caused by Erysiphe spp.) and a mycophagous ladybird (Psyllobora vigintiduo-punctata). We assessed ladybird mycophagy on oak PM in function of different neighbourhood tree species compositions. We also evaluated whether these species interactions were modulated by environmental conditions as suggested by the Stress Gradient Hypothesis. We adopted a complementary approach of a field experiment where we monitored oak saplings subjected to a reduced rainfall gradient in a young planted forest consisting of different tree species mixtures, as well as a lab experiment where we independently evaluated the effect of different watering treatments on PM infections and ladybird mycophagy. In the field experiment, we found effects of neighbourhood tree species richness on ladybird mycophagy becoming more positive as the target trees received less water. This effect was only found as weather conditions grew drier. In the lab experiment, we found a preference of ladybirds to graze on infected leaves from trees that received less water. We discuss potential mechanisms that might explain this preference, such as emissions of volatile leaf chemicals. Our results are in line with the expectations of the Natural Enemies Hypothesis and support the hypothesis that biodiversity effects become stronger with increased environmental stress

    A novel TMPRSS6 mutation that prevents protease auto-activation causes IRIDA

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    IRIDA (iron-refractory iron-deficiency anaemia) is a rare autosomal-recessive disorder hallmarked by hypochromic microcytic anaemia, low transferrin saturation and high levels of the iron-regulated hormone hepcidin. The disease is caused by mutations in the transmembrane serine protease TMPRSS6 (transmembrane protease serine 6) that prevent inactivation of HJV (haemojuvelin), an activator of hepcidin transcription. In the present paper, we describe a patient with IRIDA who carries a novel mutation (Y141C) in the SEA domain of the TMPRSS6 gene. Functional characterization of the TMPRSS6(Y141C) mutant protein in cultured cells showed that it localizes to similar subcellular compartments as wild-type TMPRSS6 and binds HJV, but fails to auto-catalytically activate itself. As a consequence, hepcidin mRNA expression is increased, causing the clinical symptoms observed in this IRIDA patient. The present study provides important mechanistic insight into how TMPRSS6 is activated

    Functional Structure of Biological Communities Predicts Ecosystem Multifunctionality

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    The accelerating rate of change in biodiversity patterns, mediated by ever increasing human pressures and global warming, demands a better understanding of the relationship between the structure of biological communities and ecosystem functioning (BEF). Recent investigations suggest that the functional structure of communities, i.e. the composition and diversity of functional traits, is the main driver of ecological processes. However, the predictive power of BEF research is still low, the integration of all components of functional community structure as predictors is still lacking, and the multifunctionality of ecosystems (i.e. rates of multiple processes) must be considered. Here, using a multiple-processes framework from grassland biodiversity experiments, we show that functional identity of species and functional divergence among species, rather than species diversity per se, together promote the level of ecosystem multifunctionality with a predictive power of 80%. Our results suggest that primary productivity and decomposition rates, two key ecosystem processes upon which the global carbon cycle depends, are primarily sustained by specialist species, i.e. those that hold specialized combinations of traits and perform particular functions. Contrary to studies focusing on single ecosystem functions and considering species richness as the sole measure of biodiversity, we found a linear and non-saturating effect of the functional structure of communities on ecosystem multifunctionality. Thus, sustaining multiple ecological processes would require focusing on trait dominance and on the degree of community specialization, even in species-rich assemblages

    Biodiversity Loss and the Taxonomic Bottleneck: Emerging Biodiversity Science

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    Human domination of the Earth has resulted in dramatic changes to global and local patterns of biodiversity. Biodiversity is critical to human sustainability because it drives the ecosystem services that provide the core of our life-support system. As we, the human species, are the primary factor leading to the decline in biodiversity, we need detailed information about the biodiversity and species composition of specific locations in order to understand how different species contribute to ecosystem services and how humans can sustainably conserve and manage biodiversity. Taxonomy and ecology, two fundamental sciences that generate the knowledge about biodiversity, are associated with a number of limitations that prevent them from providing the information needed to fully understand the relevance of biodiversity in its entirety for human sustainability: (1) biodiversity conservation strategies that tend to be overly focused on research and policy on a global scale with little impact on local biodiversity; (2) the small knowledge base of extant global biodiversity; (3) a lack of much-needed site-specific data on the species composition of communities in human-dominated landscapes, which hinders ecosystem management and biodiversity conservation; (4) biodiversity studies with a lack of taxonomic precision; (5) a lack of taxonomic expertise and trained taxonomists; (6) a taxonomic bottleneck in biodiversity inventory and assessment; and (7) neglect of taxonomic resources and a lack of taxonomic service infrastructure for biodiversity science. These limitations are directly related to contemporary trends in research, conservation strategies, environmental stewardship, environmental education, sustainable development, and local site-specific conservation. Today’s biological knowledge is built on the known global biodiversity, which represents barely 20% of what is currently extant (commonly accepted estimate of 10 million species) on planet Earth. Much remains unexplored and unknown, particularly in hotspots regions of Africa, South Eastern Asia, and South and Central America, including many developing or underdeveloped countries, where localized biodiversity is scarcely studied or described. ‘‘Backyard biodiversity’’, defined as local biodiversity near human habitation, refers to the natural resources and capital for ecosystem services at the grassroots level, which urgently needs to be explored, documented, and conserved as it is the backbone of sustainable economic development in these countries. Beginning with early identification and documentation of local flora and fauna, taxonomy has documented global biodiversity and natural history based on the collection of ‘‘backyard biodiversity’’ specimens worldwide. However, this branch of science suffered a continuous decline in the latter half of the twentieth century, and has now reached a point of potential demise. At present there are very few professional taxonomists and trained local parataxonomists worldwide, while the need for, and demands on, taxonomic services by conservation and resource management communities are rapidly increasing. Systematic collections, the material basis of biodiversity information, have been neglected and abandoned, particularly at institutions of higher learning. Considering the rapid increase in the human population and urbanization, human sustainability requires new conceptual and practical approaches to refocusing and energizing the study of the biodiversity that is the core of natural resources for sustainable development and biotic capital for sustaining our life-support system. In this paper we aim to document and extrapolate the essence of biodiversity, discuss the state and nature of taxonomic demise, the trends of recent biodiversity studies, and suggest reasonable approaches to a biodiversity science to facilitate the expansion of global biodiversity knowledge and to create useful data on backyard biodiversity worldwide towards human sustainability

    Multistep Parametric Processes in Nonlinear Optics

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    We present a comprehensive overview of different types of parametric interactions in nonlinear optics which are associated with simultaneous phase-matching of several optical processes in quadratic nonlinear media, the so-called multistep parametric interactions. We discuss a number of possibilities of double and multiple phase-matching in engineered structures with the sign-varying second-order nonlinear susceptibility, including (i) uniform and non-uniform quasi-phase-matched (QPM) periodic optical superlattices, (ii) phase-reversed and periodically chirped QPM structures, and (iii) uniform QPM structures in non-collinear geometry, including recently fabricated two-dimensional nonlinear quadratic photonic crystals. We also summarize the most important experimental results on the multi-frequency generation due to multistep parametric processes, and overview the physics and basic properties of multi-color optical parametric solitons generated by these parametric interactions.Comment: To be published in Progress in Optic
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