86,423 research outputs found

    Effect of hydrogel particle additives on water-accessible pore structure of sandy soils: A custom pressure plate apparatus and capillary bundle model

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    To probe the effects of hydrogel particle additives on the water-accessible pore structure of sandy soils, we introduce a custom pressure plate method in which the volume of water expelled from a wet granular packing is measured as a function of applied pressure. Using a capillary bundle model, we show that the differential change in retained water per pressure increment is directly related to the cumulative cross-sectional area distribution f(r)f(r) of the water-accessible pores with radii less than rr. This is validated by measurements of water expelled from a model sandy soil composed of 2 mm diameter glass beads. In particular, the expelled water is found to depend dramatically on sample height and that analysis using the capillary bundle model gives the same pore size distribution for all samples. The distribution is found to be approximately log-normal, and the total cross-sectional area fraction of the accessible pore space is found to be f0=0.34f_0=0.34. We then report on how the pore distribution and total water-accessible area fraction are affected by superabsorbent hydrogel particle additives, uniformly mixed into a fixed-height sample at varying concentrations. Under both fixed volume and free swelling conditions, the total area fraction of water-accessible pore space in a packing decreases exponentially as the gel concentration increases. The size distribution of the pores is significantly modified by the swollen hydrogel particles, such that large pores are clogged while small pores are formed

    Rain water transport and storage in a model sandy soil with hydrogel particle additives

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    We study rain water infiltration and drainage in a dry model sandy soil with superabsorbent hydrogel particle additives by measuring the mass of retained water for non-ponding rainfall using a self-built 3D laboratory set-up. In the pure model sandy soil, the retained water curve measurements indicate that instead of a stable horizontal wetting front that grows downward uniformly, a narrow fingered flow forms under the top layer of water-saturated soil. This rain water channelization phenomenon not only further reduces the available rain water in the plant root zone, but also affects the efficiency of soil additives, such as superabsorbent hydrogel particles. Our studies show that the shape of the retained water curve for a soil packing with hydrogel particle additives strongly depends on the location and the concentration of the hydrogel particles in the model sandy soil. By carefully choosing the particle size and distribution methods, we may use the swollen hydrogel particles to modify the soil pore structure, to clog or extend the water channels in sandy soils, or to build water reservoirs in the plant root zone

    Subject-specific finite element modelling of the human hand complex : muscle-driven simulations and experimental validation

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    This paper aims to develop and validate a subject-specific framework for modelling the human hand. This was achieved by combining medical image-based finite element modelling, individualized muscle force and kinematic measurements. Firstly, a subject-specific human hand finite element (FE) model was developed. The geometries of the phalanges, carpal bones, wrist bones, ligaments, tendons, subcutaneous tissue and skin were all included. The material properties were derived from in-vivo and in-vitro experiment results available in the literature. The boundary and loading conditions were defined based on the kinematic data and muscle forces of a specific subject captured from the in-vivo grasping tests. The predicted contact pressure and contact area were in good agreement with the in-vivo test results of the same subject, with the relative errors for the contact pressures all being below 20%. Finally, sensitivity analysis was performed to investigate the effects of important modelling parameters on the predictions. The results showed that contact pressure and area were sensitive to the material properties and muscle forces. This FE human hand model can be used to make a detailed and quantitative evaluation into biomechanical and neurophysiological aspects of human hand contact during daily perception and manipulation. The findings can be applied to the design of the bionic hands or neuro-prosthetics in the future

    Generalised additive multiscale wavelet models constructed using particle swarm optimisation and mutual information for spatio-temporal evolutionary system representation

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    A new class of generalised additive multiscale wavelet models (GAMWMs) is introduced for high dimensional spatio-temporal evolutionary (STE) system identification. A novel two-stage hybrid learning scheme is developed for constructing such an additive wavelet model. In the first stage, a new orthogonal projection pursuit (OPP) method, implemented using a particle swarm optimisation(PSO) algorithm, is proposed for successively augmenting an initial coarse wavelet model, where relevant parameters of the associated wavelets are optimised using a particle swarm optimiser. The resultant network model, obtained in the first stage, may however be a redundant model. In the second stage, a forward orthogonal regression (FOR) algorithm, implemented using a mutual information method, is then applied to refine and improve the initially constructed wavelet model. The proposed two-stage hybrid method can generally produce a parsimonious wavelet model, where a ranked list of wavelet functions, according to the capability of each wavelet to represent the total variance in the desired system output signal is produced. The proposed new modelling framework is applied to real observed images, relative to a chemical reaction exhibiting a spatio-temporal evolutionary behaviour, and the associated identification results show that the new modelling framework is applicable and effective for handling high dimensional identification problems of spatio-temporal evolution sytems

    Time-varying signal processing using multi-wavelet basis functions and a modified block least mean square algorithm

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    This paper introduces a novel parametric modeling and identification method for linear time-varying systems using a modified block least mean square (LMS) approach where the time-varying parameters are approximated using multi-wavelet basis functions. This approach can be used to track rapidly or even sharply varying processes and is more suitable for recursive estimation of process parameters by combining wavelet approximation theory with a modified block LMS algorithm. Numerical examples are provided to show the effectiveness of the proposed method for dealing with severely nonstatinoary processes

    Do local manufacturing firms benefit from transactional linkages with multinational enterprises in China?

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    This paper examines the linkage effects of foreign direct investment (FDI) on firm-level productivity in Chinese manufacturing. It is found that FDI generates positive vertical linkage effects in Chinese manufacturing at both the national and regional levels, and limited positive horizontal spillovers at the regional level. While OECD firms gain from both vertical and (probably) horizontal linkages, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwanese firms benefit only from backward linkage effects. In the domestic sector, in which we are most interested, both state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and non-SOEs are hurt by competition from foreign firms in the same industries. While SOEs gain from vertical linkages with foreign firms, non-SOEs are unable to do so. The patterns of productivity spillovers from FDI in Chinese manufacturing seem to be determined by one key factor – the technological capabilities of the firms involved. Important data limitations and policy implications of this research are discussed