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Article
Ion Mobility in Thick and Thin Poly-3,4 Ethylenedioxythiophene Films—From EQCM to Actuation
Polymers 2021, 13(15), 2448; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/polym13152448 (registering DOI) - 26 Jul 2021
Abstract
Conductive polymer actuators and sensors rely on controlled ion transport coupled to a potential/charge change. In order to understand and control such devices, it is of paramount importance to understand the factors that determine ion flux at various conditions, including the synthesis potential. [...] Read more.
Conductive polymer actuators and sensors rely on controlled ion transport coupled to a potential/charge change. In order to understand and control such devices, it is of paramount importance to understand the factors that determine ion flux at various conditions, including the synthesis potential. In this work, the ion transport in thinner poly-3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene (PEDOT) films during charge/discharge driven by cyclic voltammetry is studied by consideration of the electrochemical quartz crystal microbalance (EQCM) and the results are compared to the actuation responses of thicker films that have been synthesized with the same conditions in the bending and linear expansion modes. The effects of polymerization potentials of 1.0 V, 1.2 V, and 1.5 V are studied to elucidate how polymerization potential contributes to actuation, as well the involvement of the EQCM. In this work, it is revealed that there is a shift from anion-dominated to mixed to cation-dominated activity with increased synthesis potential. Scanning electron microscopy shows a decrease in porosity for the PEDOT structure with increasing synthesis potential. EQCM analysis of processes taking place at various potentials allows the determination of appropriate potential windows for increased control over devices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Materials in Sensors, Actuators and Energy Conversion)
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Review
Review on Comparison of Different Energy Storage Technologies Used in Micro-Energy Harvesting, WSNs, Low-Cost Microelectronic Devices: Challenges and Recommendations
Sensors 2021, 21(15), 5041; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/s21155041 (registering DOI) - 26 Jul 2021
Abstract
This paper reviews energy storage systems, in general, and for specific applications in low-cost micro-energy harvesting (MEH) systems, low-cost microelectronic devices, and wireless sensor networks (WSNs). With the development of electronic gadgets, low-cost microelectronic devices and WSNs, the need for an efficient, light [...] Read more.
This paper reviews energy storage systems, in general, and for specific applications in low-cost micro-energy harvesting (MEH) systems, low-cost microelectronic devices, and wireless sensor networks (WSNs). With the development of electronic gadgets, low-cost microelectronic devices and WSNs, the need for an efficient, light and reliable energy storage device is increased. The current energy storage systems (ESS) have the disadvantages of self-discharging, energy density, life cycles, and cost. The ambient energy resources are the best option as an energy source, but the main challenge in harvesting energy from ambient sources is the instability of the source of energy. Due to the explosion of lithium batteries in many cases, and the pros associated with them, the design of an efficient device, which is more reliable and efficient than conventional batteries, is important. This review paper focused on the issues of the reliability and performance of electrical ESS, and, especially, discussed the technical challenges and suggested solutions for ESS (batteries, supercapacitors, and for a hybrid combination of supercapacitors and batteries) in detail. Nowadays, the main market of batteries is WSNs, but in the last decade, the world’s attention has turned toward supercapacitors as a good alternative of batteries. The main advantages of supercapacitors are their light weight, volume, greater life cycle, turbo charging/discharging, high energy density and power density, low cost, easy maintenance, and no pollution. This study reviews supercapacitors as a better alternative of batteries in low-cost electronic devices, WSNs, and MEH systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors in Low-Cost Applications)
Article
Carica papaya Leaf Extract Silver Synthesized Nanoparticles Inhibit Dengue Type 2 Viral Replication In Vitro
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(8), 718; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14080718 (registering DOI) - 26 Jul 2021
Abstract
The current global occurrence of dengue infection annually is approximately 400 million, with a case fatality rate of 2.5%. However, there are no antiviral agents. Carica papaya leaf extract is known for its medicinal value, due to the presence of organic compounds that [...] Read more.
The current global occurrence of dengue infection annually is approximately 400 million, with a case fatality rate of 2.5%. However, there are no antiviral agents. Carica papaya leaf extract is known for its medicinal value, due to the presence of organic compounds that possess antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant activities. This study determined the anti-dengue effect of C. papaya leaf extract silver synthesized nanoparticles. In this study, aqueous and non-aqueous extractions were carried out, followed by the synthesis of silver nanoparticles as well as characterization through Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and scanning electron microscopy. The in vitro anti-dengue effect was evaluated using a focus reduction neutralization test on kidney Vero E2 cell lines. In silico studies involved molecular docking to determine the potential interactions between the bioactive compounds in C. papaya leaf extract and the viral NS5 protein. C. papaya leaf methanol extract silver synthesized nanoparticle was the most promising with an IC50 of 9.20 µg/mL. Molecular docking showed 5,7 dimethoxycoumarin as the best ligand, with binding energy of −7.75 kcal/mol, indicating high affinity for the NS5 protein. These results highlight that C. papaya leaf methanol extract silver synthesized nanoparticles could be used to inhibit dengue virus type 2 viral replication. However, we recommend further studies to determine their toxicity and the safety profiles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Compounds with Medicinal Value)
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Article
Plate Fixation for Irreducible Proximal Humeral Fractures in Children and Adolescents—A Single-Center Case Series of Six Patients
Children 2021, 8(8), 635; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/children8080635 (registering DOI) - 26 Jul 2021
Abstract
Background: Recommended treatment for severely displaced proximal humeral fractures in children is the closed reduction and percutaneous fixation by K-wires or intramedullary nailing. Methods: From January 2016 to January 2017 6, 21 children/adolescents (range 8 to 16 years) with proximal humeral fractures were [...] Read more.
Background: Recommended treatment for severely displaced proximal humeral fractures in children is the closed reduction and percutaneous fixation by K-wires or intramedullary nailing. Methods: From January 2016 to January 2017 6, 21 children/adolescents (range 8 to 16 years) with proximal humeral fractures were treated surgically for severe displacement. In these six patients, several attempts of closed reduction were unsuccessful, and an open reduction was performed. The humeral head was fixed with a 3.5 mm T-plate without affecting the growth plate. Plate removal was performed at a mean interval of 132 days after initial surgery. Two years after initial surgery, the clinical outcome was assessed by the Constant–Murley score and QuickDASH score (including sport/music and work) and the shoulder joint was evaluated with a standardized sonographic examination for the rotator cuff and the conjoint tendon. Results: In all six patients, dorsal displacement of the fracture was irreducible due to the interposition of tendinous or osseous structures. Intraoperatively, the interposed structures were the long biceps tendon in two, periosteal tissue in two, a bony fragment in one, and the long biceps tendon together with the conjoint tendon in one case. At mean follow-up of 26 months (range 22 months to 29 months), patients showed very good clinical results with an excellent mean Constant–Murley score of 97.5 (range 91 to 100) and mean QuickDASH score (including sport/music and work) of 5.5 (range 0–20.8). An X-ray follow-up 6 weeks after surgery demonstrated early consolidation and correct alignment in all patients. A sonographic evaluation at 2 years post injury showed that the biceps and the conjoined tendon were intact in all patients. Conclusions: If a proximal humeral fracture is not reducible by closed means, a tissue entrapment (most likely biceps tendon) should be considered. Treatment with an open reduction and plate fixation yields very good clinical and radiological results and preserves interposed structures as the biceps and conjoint tendon. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pediatric Fractures)
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Article
The Challenge of Teacher Training in the 2030 Agenda Framework Using Geotechnologies
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(8), 381; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/educsci11080381 (registering DOI) - 26 Jul 2021
Abstract
Social evolution, globalization, and advances in technology are making it increasingly necessary to offer complete and comprehensive teacher training. This training should produce citizens who are concerned about the planet and its future. These values are embedded in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), [...] Read more.
Social evolution, globalization, and advances in technology are making it increasingly necessary to offer complete and comprehensive teacher training. This training should produce citizens who are concerned about the planet and its future. These values are embedded in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the breadth of which allows them to be integrated into the secondary school curriculum for most subjects. To construct a complete teacher training model, the following have been considered: previous studies based on qualitative and quantitative methodologies (the Delphi method and questionnaires for ‘expert’ teachers), the teaching experience of the authors, the action research methodology, and validation by other teachers who use technologies and are concerned about sustainability issues. The result is a teacher training model that is in line with UNESCO’s sustainability competencies and based not only on technology, the scientific content of the subject to be taught, and didactics (pedagogy), but also on education in sustainability and the SDGs that need to be integrated. This approach is expected to produce changes in citizens’ attitudes that contribute to the achievement of the SDGs and lead to the teachers feeling positive about their teaching experiences. However, a systematic application of this approach in classrooms and an assessment of its learning results are still pending. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geography Education Promoting Sustainability—Series 2)
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Article
Machine-Learning-Based Prediction of Corrosion Behavior in Additively Manufactured Inconel 718
Data 2021, 6(8), 80; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/data6080080 (registering DOI) - 26 Jul 2021
Abstract
This research work focuses on machine-learning-assisted prediction of the corrosion behavior of laser-powder-bed-fused (LPBF) and postprocessed Inconel 718. Corrosion testing data of these specimens were collected and fit into the following machine learning algorithms: polynomial regression, support vector regression, decision tree, and extreme [...] Read more.
This research work focuses on machine-learning-assisted prediction of the corrosion behavior of laser-powder-bed-fused (LPBF) and postprocessed Inconel 718. Corrosion testing data of these specimens were collected and fit into the following machine learning algorithms: polynomial regression, support vector regression, decision tree, and extreme gradient boosting. The model performance, after hyperparameter optimization, was evaluated using a set of established metrics: R2, mean absolute error, and root mean square error. Among the algorithms, the extreme gradient boosting algorithm performed best in predicting the corrosion behavior, closely followed by other algorithms. Feature importance analysis was executed in order to determine the postprocessing parameters that influenced the most the corrosion behavior in Inconel 718 manufactured by LPBF. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Chemoinformatics)
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Article
Age, Growth and Otolith Microstructure of the Spotted Lanternfish Myctophum punctatum Rafinesque 1810
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2021, 9(8), 801; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jmse9080801 (registering DOI) - 25 Jul 2021
Abstract
This study investigated, for the first time, the age and growth of the spotted lanternfish Myctophum punctatum through an analysis of otolith microstructure. A total of 377 individuals were collected from the Strait of Messina (central Mediterranean Sea), ranging between 20.3 and 73.7 [...] Read more.
This study investigated, for the first time, the age and growth of the spotted lanternfish Myctophum punctatum through an analysis of otolith microstructure. A total of 377 individuals were collected from the Strait of Messina (central Mediterranean Sea), ranging between 20.3 and 73.7 mm of standard length. Their length–weight relationship was estimated, and these outputs indicated an isometric growth, for all specimens and when males and females were analysed separately. The sagittal otoliths were removed from 185 fish, although the microincrement readings were considered valid for only 173 otoliths. Microincrement counts ranged from 32 to 48 (average = 37.6) in the otolith central zone, 30 to 56 (average = 44.3) in the middle zone, and 36 to 384 (average = 165.5) in the external zone. Overall, total microincrements ranged between 106 and 469. Different growth models (Gompertz, von Bertalanffy and logistic models) were considered, to understand which one fit best in describing the growth patterns in M. punctatum. The Gompertz model was then selected as the best-fitting model and its parameters for all individuals were L = 74.79, k = 0.0084 and I = 139.60. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Deepwater Fishes)
Article
Welding of Large Thickness Super Duplex Stainless Steel: Microstructure and Properties
Metals 2021, 11(8), 1184; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/met11081184 (registering DOI) - 25 Jul 2021
Abstract
In this study, Submerged Arc Welding (SAW) and Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) processes were used in multi-pass welding of 33 mm thickness super duplex stainless steel plates. Recommended and higher than recommended arc energy and interpass temperatures were used. Both GMAW and [...] Read more.
In this study, Submerged Arc Welding (SAW) and Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) processes were used in multi-pass welding of 33 mm thickness super duplex stainless steel plates. Recommended and higher than recommended arc energy and interpass temperatures were used. Both GMAW and SAW processes were able to produce large thickness weldments meeting the microstructural, mechanical, and corrosion resistance requirements, and also when using higher than recommended arc energy and interpass temperature. It was possible to reduce the number of welding passes by half when using higher than recommended arc energy and interpass temperature. The SAW process needed only half of the welding time required for the GMAW process to produce a weldment with nearly the same number of weld passes, when using recommended arc energy and interpass temperature. Based on the results of this investigation, the practical recommendations for welding large thicknesses should be revised and updated. Full article
Review
Ciliary Dyneins and Dynein Related Ciliopathies
Cells 2021, 10(8), 1885; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cells10081885 (registering DOI) - 25 Jul 2021
Abstract
Although ubiquitously present, the relevance of cilia for vertebrate development and health has long been underrated. However, the aberration or dysfunction of ciliary structures or components results in a large heterogeneous group of disorders in mammals, termed ciliopathies. The majority of human ciliopathy [...] Read more.
Although ubiquitously present, the relevance of cilia for vertebrate development and health has long been underrated. However, the aberration or dysfunction of ciliary structures or components results in a large heterogeneous group of disorders in mammals, termed ciliopathies. The majority of human ciliopathy cases are caused by malfunction of the ciliary dynein motor activity, powering retrograde intraflagellar transport (enabled by the cytoplasmic dynein-2 complex) or axonemal movement (axonemal dynein complexes). Despite a partially shared evolutionary developmental path and shared ciliary localization, the cytoplasmic dynein-2 and axonemal dynein functions are markedly different: while cytoplasmic dynein-2 complex dysfunction results in an ultra-rare syndromal skeleto-renal phenotype with a high lethality, axonemal dynein dysfunction is associated with a motile cilia dysfunction disorder, primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) or Kartagener syndrome, causing recurrent airway infection, degenerative lung disease, laterality defects, and infertility. In this review, we provide an overview of ciliary dynein complex compositions, their functions, clinical disease hallmarks of ciliary dynein disorders, presumed underlying pathomechanisms, and novel developments in the field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Comparative Biology of Microtubule Organization in Eukaryotes)
Article
Analyzing User Digital Emotions from a Holy versus Non-Pilgrimage City in Saudi Arabia on Twitter Platform
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(15), 6846; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/app11156846 (registering DOI) - 25 Jul 2021
Abstract
Humans are the product of what society and their environment conditions them into being. People living in metropolitan cities have a very fast-paced life and are constantly exposed to different situations. A social media platform enables individuals to express their emotions and sentiments [...] Read more.
Humans are the product of what society and their environment conditions them into being. People living in metropolitan cities have a very fast-paced life and are constantly exposed to different situations. A social media platform enables individuals to express their emotions and sentiments and thus acts as a reservoir for the digital emotion footprints of its users. This study proposes that the user data available on Twitter has the potential to showcase the contrasting emotions of people residing in a pilgrimage city versus those residing in other, non-pilgrimage areas. We collected the Arabic geolocated tweets of users living in Mecca (holy city) and Riyadh (non-pilgrimage city). The user emotions were classified on the basis of Plutchik’s eight basic emotion categories, Fear, Anger, Sadness, Joy, Surprise, Disgust, Trust, and Anticipation. A new bilingual dictionary, AEELex (Arabic English Emotion Lexicon), was designed to determine emotions derived from user tweets. AEELex has been validated on commonly known and popular lexicons. An emotion analysis revealed that people living in Mecca had more positivity than those residing in Riyadh. Anticipation was the emotion that was dominant or most expressed in both places. However, a larger proportion of users living in Mecca fell under this category. The proposed analysis was an initial attempt toward studying the emotional and behavioral differences between users living in different cities of Saudi Arabia. This study has several other important applications. First, the emotion-based study could contribute to the development of a machine learning-based model for predicting depression in netizens. Second, behavioral appearances mined from the text could benefit efforts to identify the regional location of a particular user. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Implicit and Explicit Human-Computer Interaction)
Editorial
Natural Products and Skin Diseases
Molecules 2021, 26(15), 4489; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26154489 (registering DOI) - 25 Jul 2021
Abstract
The skin is the largest multifunctional organ in the human body, serving as an excellent barrier against chemical and biological hazards [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Products and Skin Diseases)
Review
Targeting Mammalian 5-Lipoxygenase by Dietary Phenolics as an Anti-Inflammatory Mechanism: A Systematic Review
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(15), 7937; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22157937 (registering DOI) - 25 Jul 2021
Abstract
5-Lipoxygenase (5-LOX) plays a key role in inflammation through the biosynthesis of leukotrienes and other lipid mediators. Current evidence suggests that dietary (poly)phenols exert a beneficial impact on human health through anti-inflammatory activities. Their mechanisms of action have mostly been associated with the [...] Read more.
5-Lipoxygenase (5-LOX) plays a key role in inflammation through the biosynthesis of leukotrienes and other lipid mediators. Current evidence suggests that dietary (poly)phenols exert a beneficial impact on human health through anti-inflammatory activities. Their mechanisms of action have mostly been associated with the modulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF-α, IL-1b), prostaglandins (PGE2), and the interaction with NF-kB and cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2) pathways. Much less is known about the 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX) pathway as a target of dietary (poly)phenols. This systematic review aimed to summarize how dietary (poly)phenols target the 5-LOX pathway in preclinical and human studies. The number of studies identified is low (5, 24, and 127 human, animal, and cellular studies, respectively) compared to the thousands of studies focusing on the COX-2 pathway. Some (poly)phenolics such as caffeic acid, hydroxytyrosol, resveratrol, curcumin, nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA), and quercetin have been reported to reduce the formation of 5-LOX eicosanoids in vitro. However, the in vivo evidence is inconclusive because of the low number of studies and the difficulty of attributing effects to (poly)phenols. Therefore, increasing the number of studies targeting the 5-LOX pathway would largely expand our knowledge on the anti-inflammatory mechanisms of (poly)phenols. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Feature Papers in Bioactives and Nutraceuticals)
Article
BengaliNet: A Low-Cost Novel Convolutional Neural Network for Bengali Handwritten Characters Recognition
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(15), 6845; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/app11156845 (registering DOI) - 25 Jul 2021
Abstract
As it is the seventh most-spoken language and fifth most-spoken native language in the world, the domain of Bengali handwritten character recognition has fascinated researchers for decades. Although other popular languages i.e., English, Chinese, Hindi, Spanish, etc. have received many contributions in the [...] Read more.
As it is the seventh most-spoken language and fifth most-spoken native language in the world, the domain of Bengali handwritten character recognition has fascinated researchers for decades. Although other popular languages i.e., English, Chinese, Hindi, Spanish, etc. have received many contributions in the area of handwritten character recognition, Bengali has not received many noteworthy contributions in this domain because of the complex curvatures and similar writing fashions of Bengali characters. Previously, studies were conducted by using different approaches based on traditional learning, and deep learning. In this research, we proposed a low-cost novel convolutional neural network architecture for the recognition of Bengali characters with only 2.24 to 2.43 million parameters based on the number of output classes. We considered 8 different formations of CMATERdb datasets based on previous studies for the training phase. With experimental analysis, we showed that our proposed system outperformed previous works by a noteworthy margin for all 8 datasets. Moreover, we tested our trained models on other available Bengali characters datasets such as Ekush, BanglaLekha, and NumtaDB datasets. Our proposed architecture achieved 96–99% overall accuracies for these datasets as well. We believe our contributions will be beneficial for developing an automated high-performance recognition tool for Bengali handwritten characters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Intelligent Processing on Image and Optical Information, Volume III)
Article
Study on the High-Speed Milling Performance of High-Volume Fraction SiCp/Al Composites
Materials 2021, 14(15), 4143; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ma14154143 (registering DOI) - 25 Jul 2021
Abstract
Compared with other materials, high-volume fraction aluminum-based silicon carbide composites (hereinafter referred to as SiCp/Al) have many advantages, including high strength, small change in the expansion coefficient due to temperature, high wear resistance, high corrosion resistance, high fatigue resistance, low density, good dimensional [...] Read more.
Compared with other materials, high-volume fraction aluminum-based silicon carbide composites (hereinafter referred to as SiCp/Al) have many advantages, including high strength, small change in the expansion coefficient due to temperature, high wear resistance, high corrosion resistance, high fatigue resistance, low density, good dimensional stability, and thermal conductivity. SiCp/Al composites have been widely used in aerospace, ordnance, transportation service, precision instruments, and in many other fields. In this study, the ABAQUS/explicit large-scale finite element analysis platform was used to simulate the milling process of SiCp/Al composites. By changing the parameters of the tool angle, milling depth, and milling speed, the influence of these parameters on the cutting force, cutting temperature, cutting stress, and cutting chips was studied. Optimization of the parameters was based on the above change rules to obtain the best processing combination of parameters. Then, the causes of surface machining defects, such as deep pits, shallow pits, and bulges, were simulated and discussed. Finally, the best cutting parameters obtained through simulation analysis was the tool rake angle γ0 = 5°, tool clearance angle α0 = 5°, corner radius r = 0.4 mm, milling depth ap = 50 mm, and milling speed vc= 300 m/min. The optimal combination of milling parameters provides a theoretical basis for subsequent cutting. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Finite Element Modeling of Solid State Phenomena in Metals and Alloys)
Article
Electric Scooter-Related Injuries: A New Epidemic in Orthopedics
J. Clin. Med. 2021, 10(15), 3283; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jcm10153283 (registering DOI) - 25 Jul 2021
Abstract
Background: The use of electric scooters has increased considerably as they are an accessible means of transportation. The number of injuries from falls and collisions has risen significantly. Therefore, the aim of the study was to describe demographics injury patterns of electric scooter [...] Read more.
Background: The use of electric scooters has increased considerably as they are an accessible means of transportation. The number of injuries from falls and collisions has risen significantly. Therefore, the aim of the study was to describe demographics injury patterns of electric scooter accidents produced over one year. Methods: A prospective observational study of electric scooter- related injuries presented in the emergency room from May 2019 until May 2020. The inclusion criteria was based on the direct cause of injury produced while an electric scooter was in use. Demographic data, the use of a helmet or the lack thereof, accident mechanism, injury time, type of injury produced, and the treatment applied were collected. Results: Over the study period, 397 patients were identified with a total of 422 injuries. The mean age was 30.8 years, with 12.6% of patients being minors. The patients mainly presented in evening hours and in summertime at the emergency department. Of the total injuries seen, 46.9% were fractures. Some 25% of the total cases required surgery. Only 19% of the riders wore a helmet at the time of the accident. Most of the fractures were to the upper limbs (62.6%). There was a greater incidence of radius fractures. Conclusion: Injuries incurred while using electric scooters are an emerging phenomenon, despite existing regulations. In this study, most injuries occurred in young men and were due to falls from the vehicle. Nearly half of those injuries were fractures to the upper limbs. Surprisingly, 50% of the fractures required surgery. Full article
Article
A Study on the Sound Insulation Performance of Cross-laminated Timber
Materials 2021, 14(15), 4144; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ma14154144 (registering DOI) - 25 Jul 2021
Abstract
Cross-laminated Timber (CLT) has become an emerging board material of wood construction that is strong enough to sustain a high-rise building. However, many wooden congregate housing units overseas that utilize CLT have poor sound environments because the low mass of such wood influences [...] Read more.
Cross-laminated Timber (CLT) has become an emerging board material of wood construction that is strong enough to sustain a high-rise building. However, many wooden congregate housing units overseas that utilize CLT have poor sound environments because the low mass of such wood influences sound insulation performance. In this research, we explored the effect of different CLT walls on sound insulation performance and integrated applicable sound insulation simulation tools to simplify the process of designing a CLT wall structure. This research aimed at a double wall and CLT combined with a gypsum board as the research object. The sound insulation performance test was carried out in a laboratory, while the sound insulation performance of the structure was predicted through simulation tools and prediction models and then compared with the measured values to verify the applicability of the simulation tool. The CLT with a double wall and CLT with gypsum board (CLT + GB) achieved of 50 dB. The numerical simulation had better prediction performance than INSUL at the double wall, while the double wall with cavity structure was close to the measured result via mass law calculation. The INSUL-predicted CLT with a gypsum board at 500 Hz~3150 Hz was close to the measured value. Full article
Article
Slotted E-Shaped Meta-Material Decoupling Slab for Densely Packed MIMO Antenna Arrays
Micromachines 2021, 12(8), 873; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/mi12080873 (registering DOI) - 25 Jul 2021
Abstract
In contemporary wireless communication systems, the multiple-input and multiple-output systems are extensively utilized due to their enhanced spectral efficiency and diversity. Densely packed antenna arrays play an important role in such systems to enhance their spatial diversity, array gain, and beam scanning capabilities. [...] Read more.
In contemporary wireless communication systems, the multiple-input and multiple-output systems are extensively utilized due to their enhanced spectral efficiency and diversity. Densely packed antenna arrays play an important role in such systems to enhance their spatial diversity, array gain, and beam scanning capabilities. In this article, a slotted meta-material decoupling slab (S-MTM-DS) with dual reflexes slotted E-shapes and an inductive stub is proposed. Its function was validated when located between two microstrip patch antenna elements to reduce the inter-element spacing, the mutual coupling, the return losses, and manufacturing costs due to size reduction. A prototype is simply fabricated in a volume of 67.41 × 33.49 × 1.6 mm3 and frequency-span measured from 8.4:11 GHz. At 9.4 GHz frequency, the spaces between the transmitting elements are decreased to 0.57 of the free space wavelength. When the proposed isolation S-MTM-DS is applied, the average isolation among them is measured to be −36 dB, the operational bandwidth is enhanced to be 1.512 GHz, the fractional bandwidth improved to be 16.04%, and the return losses are decreased to be −26.5 dB at 9.4 GHz center frequency. Consequently, the proposed design has the potential to be implemented simply in wireless contemporary communication schemes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Miniaturized Microwave Components and Devices)
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Article
Genome-Wide Analysis and Expression Profile of Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) Gene Family in Rapeseed (Brassica napus L.) under Different Hormones and Abiotic Stress Conditions
Antioxidants 2021, 10(8), 1182; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/antiox10081182 (registering DOI) - 25 Jul 2021
Abstract
Superoxide dismutase (SOD) is an important enzyme that acts as the first line of protection in the plant antioxidant defense system, involved in eliminating reactive oxygen species (ROS) under harsh environmental conditions. Nevertheless, the SOD gene family was yet to be reported in [...] Read more.
Superoxide dismutase (SOD) is an important enzyme that acts as the first line of protection in the plant antioxidant defense system, involved in eliminating reactive oxygen species (ROS) under harsh environmental conditions. Nevertheless, the SOD gene family was yet to be reported in rapeseed (Brassica napus L.). Thus, a genome-wide investigation was carried out to identify the rapeseed SOD genes. The present study recognized 31 BnSOD genes in the rapeseed genome, including 14 BnCSDs, 11 BnFSDs, and six BnMSDs. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that SOD genes from rapeseed and other closely related plant species were clustered into three groups based on the binding domain with high bootstrap values. The systemic analysis exposed that BnSODs experienced segmental duplications. Gene structure and motif analysis specified that most of the BnSOD genes displayed a relatively well-maintained exon–intron and motif configuration within the same group. Moreover, we identified five hormones and four stress- and several light-responsive cis-elements in the promoters of BnSODs. Thirty putative bna-miRNAs from seven families were also predicted, targeting 13 BnSODs. Gene ontology annotation outcomes confirm the BnSODs role under different stress stimuli, cellular oxidant detoxification processes, metal ion binding activities, SOD activity, and different cellular components. Twelve BnSOD genes exhibited higher expression profiles in numerous developmental tissues, i.e., root, leaf, stem, and silique. The qRT-PCR based expression profiling showed that eight genes (BnCSD1, BnCSD3, BnCSD14, BnFSD4, BnFSD5, BnFSD6, BnMSD2, and BnMSD10) were significantly up-regulated under different hormones (ABA, GA, IAA, and KT) and abiotic stress (salinity, cold, waterlogging, and drought) treatments. The predicted 3D structures discovered comparable conserved BnSOD protein structures. In short, our findings deliver a foundation for additional functional investigations on the BnSOD genes in rapeseed breeding programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Approaches in Enhancing Antioxidant Defense in Plants)
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Article
Optimization of Computed Tomography Angiography Protocols for Follow-Up Type B Aortic Dissection Patients by Using 3D Printed Model
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(15), 6844; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/app11156844 (registering DOI) - 25 Jul 2021
Abstract
Thoracic endovascular aortic repair (TEVAR) is a life-saving therapy for type B aortic dissection (TBAD). However, surveillance computed tomography (CT) scans in post-TEVAR patients are associated with high radiation dose, thus resulting in potential risk of radiation-induced malignancy. In this study, we developed [...] Read more.
Thoracic endovascular aortic repair (TEVAR) is a life-saving therapy for type B aortic dissection (TBAD). However, surveillance computed tomography (CT) scans in post-TEVAR patients are associated with high radiation dose, thus resulting in potential risk of radiation-induced malignancy. In this study, we developed a patient-specific three-dimensional (3D) printed phantom with stent grafts in situ, then scanned the phantom with different CT protocols to determine the optimal scanning parameters for post-treatment patients. The CT scans were conducted with different kVp and pitch values (80, 100, 120 kVp and pitch of 1.2, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5), resulting in a total of 12 datasets. Signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) was measured to determine and compare the image quality between different datasets. Results showed no significant differences in SNR between different kVp when the pitch value was 1.2. At low pitch values, a decrease in kVp from 120 to 80 led to a significant effective dose reduction by more than 20%. SNR decreased by 30% when pitch was increased from 1.2 to 2.5 at 80 kVp, and 20% at 120 kVp. In contrast, there was only a 3.9% decrease in SNR when kVp was reduced from 120 to 80 at pitch 1.2, and 15.9% at pitch 2.5. High pitch with 100 kVp can effectively reduce the dose while maintaining image quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Additive Manufacturing Technologies)
Article
Higher Handgrip Strength Is Linked to Better Cognitive Performance in Chinese Adults with Hypertension
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(8), 985; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/brainsci11080985 (registering DOI) - 25 Jul 2021
Abstract
Objective: There is growing evidence that in adults, higher levels of handgrip strength (HGS) are linked to better cognitive performance. However, the relationship between HGS and cognitive performance has not been sufficiently investigated in special cohorts, such as individuals with hypertension who have [...] Read more.
Objective: There is growing evidence that in adults, higher levels of handgrip strength (HGS) are linked to better cognitive performance. However, the relationship between HGS and cognitive performance has not been sufficiently investigated in special cohorts, such as individuals with hypertension who have an intrinsically higher risk of cognitive decline. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between HGS and cognitive performance in adults with hypertension using data from the Global Ageing and Adult Health Survey (SAGE). Methods: A total of 4486 Chinese adults with hypertension from the SAGE were included in this study. Absolute handgrip strength (aHGS in kilograms) was measured using a handheld electronic dynamometer, and cognitive performance was assessed in the domains of short-term memory, delayed memory, and language ability. Multiple linear regression models were fitted to examine the association between relative handgrip strength (rHGS; aHGS divided by body mass index) and measures of cognitive performance. Results: Overall, higher levels of rHGS were associated with higher scores in short-term memory (β = 0.20) and language (β = 0.63) compared with the lowest tertiles of rHGS. In male participants, higher HGS was associated with higher scores in short-term memory (β = 0.31), language (β = 0.64), and delayed memory (β = 0.22). There were no associations between rHGS and cognitive performance measures in females. Conclusion: We observed that a higher level of rHGS was associated with better cognitive performance among hypertensive male individuals. Further studies are needed to investigate the neurobiological mechanisms, including sex-specific differences driving the relationship between measures of HGS and cognitive performance in individuals with hypertension. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Function and Health, Sports, and Exercise)
Article
Seedless Cu Electroplating on Co-W Thin Films in Low pH Electrolyte: Early Stages of Formation
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(8), 1914; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/nano11081914 (registering DOI) - 25 Jul 2021
Abstract
The use of Ta/TaN barrier bilayer systems in electronic applications has been ubiquitous over the last decade. Alternative materials such as Co‑W or Ru‑W alloys have gathered interest as possible replacements due to their conjugation of favourable electrical properties and barrier layer efficiency [...] Read more.
The use of Ta/TaN barrier bilayer systems in electronic applications has been ubiquitous over the last decade. Alternative materials such as Co‑W or Ru‑W alloys have gathered interest as possible replacements due to their conjugation of favourable electrical properties and barrier layer efficiency at reduced thicknesses while enabling seedless Cu electroplating. The microstructure, morphology, and electrical properties of Cu films directly electrodeposited onto Co‑W or Ru‑W are important to assess, concomitant with their ability to withstand the electroplating baths/conditions. This work investigates the effects of the current application method and pH value of the electroplating solution on the electrocrystallisation behaviour of Cu deposited onto a Co‑W barrier layer. The film structure, morphology, and chemical composition were studied by X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy, as well as photoelectron spectroscopy. The results show that the electrolyte solution at pH 1.8 is incapable of creating a compact Cu film over the Co-W layer in either pulsed or direct-current modes. At higher pH, a continuous film is formed. A mechanism is proposed for the nucleation and growth of Cu on Co‑W, where a balance between Cu nucleation, growth, and preferential Co dissolution dictates the substrate area coverage and compactness of the electrodeposited films. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Nanofabrication and Nanomanufacturing)
Article
Sensitivity and Performance Analyses of the Distributed Hydrology–Soil–Vegetation Model Using Geomorphons for Landform Mapping
Water 2021, 13(15), 2032; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/w13152032 (registering DOI) - 25 Jul 2021
Abstract
Landform classification is important for representing soil physical properties varying continuously across the landscape and for understanding many hydrological processes in watersheds. Considering it, this study aims to use a geomorphology map (Geomorphons) as an input to a physically based hydrological model (Distributed [...] Read more.
Landform classification is important for representing soil physical properties varying continuously across the landscape and for understanding many hydrological processes in watersheds. Considering it, this study aims to use a geomorphology map (Geomorphons) as an input to a physically based hydrological model (Distributed Hydrology Soil Vegetation Model (DHSVM)) in a mountainous headwater watershed. A sensitivity analysis of five soil parameters was evaluated for streamflow simulation in each Geomorphons feature. As infiltration and saturation excess overland flow are important mechanisms for streamflow generation in complex terrain watersheds, the model’s input soil parameters were most sensitive in the “slope”, “hollow”, and “valley” features. Thus, the simulated streamflow was compared with observed data for calibration and validation. The model performance was satisfactory and equivalent to previous simulations in the same watershed using pedological survey and moisture zone maps. Therefore, the results from this study indicate that a geomorphologically based map is applicable and representative for spatially distributing hydrological parameters in the DHSVM. Full article
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Article
The Variation in 3D Face Shapes of Dutch Children for Mask Design
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(15), 6843; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/app11156843 (registering DOI) - 25 Jul 2021
Abstract
The use of 3D anthropometric data of children’s heads and faces has great potential in the development of protective gear and medical products that need to provide a close fit in order to function well. Given the lack of detailed data of this [...] Read more.
The use of 3D anthropometric data of children’s heads and faces has great potential in the development of protective gear and medical products that need to provide a close fit in order to function well. Given the lack of detailed data of this kind, the aim of this study is to map the size and shape variation of Dutch children’s heads and faces and investigate possible implications for the design of a ventilation mask. In this study, a dataset of heads and faces of 303 Dutch children aged six months to seven years consisting of traditional measurements and 3D scans were analysed. A principal component analysis (PCA) of facial measurements was performed to map the variation of the children’s face shapes. The first principal component describes the overall size, whilst the second principal component captures the more width related variation of the face. After establishing a homology between the 3D scanned face shapes, a second principal component analysis was done on the point coordinates, revealing the most prominent variations in 3D shape within the sample. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Approaches and Applications in Ergonomic Design)

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