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  • Royal Society  (19)
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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2018-09-20
    Description: It is generally accepted that coevolution between soil and plant has great significance for the sustainable development of mining dumps in fragile eco-environment. However, this was not very clear in opencast mine area located in Western China. Based on comprehensive index systems and a combination of subjective and objective weighting method, a coupling coordination degree model, including comprehensive evaluation function, coupling degree and coupling coordination degree, was established to find the ‘short plank’ of different reclamation patterns and to quantify the status quo of coevolution between soil and plant systems in mined plots. The results indicated that only the plot with Pinus tabuliformis was under synchronous development, a mixed model of Robinia pseudoacacia – Pi. tabuliformis and R. pseudoacacia monoculture were developed with vegetation lagging, while plots R. pseudoacacia – Ulmus pumila – Ailanthus altissima and original landform were soil lagged. All plots were in the state of primary and intermediate coordination. Thus, some effective measures should be taken for the further development in different patterns.
    Keywords: biochemistry, ecology, environmental science
    Electronic ISSN: 2054-5703
    Topics: Natural Sciences in General
    Published by Royal Society
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2018-09-27
    Description: The CO 2 gasification of Chinese Shengli lignite (SL) catalysed by K + and Ca 2+ was studied. The results showed that calcium could greatly decrease the gasification reaction temperature of SL, and the gasification reaction rates of acid-treated SL catalysed by calcium were significantly higher than that catalysed by potassium. Kinetic analysis showed that the activation energy of the reaction catalysed by calcium was much lower than that catalysed by potassium, which was the reason for the higher catalytic activity of calcium. Fourier transform infrared characterization showed that, compared with acid-treated SL, the addition of K + /Ca 2+ resulted in the significant weakening of C=O bond, and new peaks attributed to carboxylate species appeared. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy results indicated that the numbers of C=O decreased after the metal ions were added, indicating the formation of metal–carboxylate complexes. Raman characterization showed that the I D1 / I G values increased, suggesting more structural defects, which indicated that the reactivity of coal samples had a close relation with amorphous carbon structures. Ca 2+ could interact with the carboxyl structure in lignite by both ionic forces and polycarboxylic coordination, while K + interacted with carboxyl structure mainly via ionic forces.
    Keywords: energy
    Electronic ISSN: 2054-5703
    Topics: Natural Sciences in General
    Published by Royal Society
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2018-11-01
    Description: Oxide is widely used in modifying cathode and anode materials for lithium-ion batteries. In this work, a facile method of radio magnetron sputtering is introduced to deposit a thin film on Li 4 Ti 5 O 12 composite electrodes. The pristine and modified Li 4 Ti 5 O 12 electrodes are characterized at an extended voltage range of 3–0.01 V. The reversible capacity reaches a high level of 286 mAh g –1 , which is a little less than its theoretical capacity (293 mAh g –1 ). Electrodes modified by ZnO thin films with various thickness show elevated rate capability and improved cycle performance.
    Keywords: materials science, power and energy systems
    Electronic ISSN: 2054-5703
    Topics: Natural Sciences in General
    Published by Royal Society
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2018-08-30
    Description: In this work, two kinds of partial least squares modelling methods are applied to predict a compressor map: one uses a power function polynomial as the basis function (PLSO), and the other uses a trigonometric function polynomial (PLSN). To demonstrate the potential capabilities of PLSO and PLSN for a typical interpolated prediction and an extrapolated prediction, they are compared with two other classical data-driven modelling methods, namely the look-up table and artificial neural network (ANN). PLSO and PLSN are also compared with each other. The results show that PLSO and PLSN have a better prediction performance than the look-up table and the ANN, especially for the extrapolated prediction. The computational time is also decreased sharply. Compared with PLSO, PLSN is characterized by a higher prediction accuracy and shorter computational time than PLSO. It is expected that PLSN could save computational time and also improve the accuracy of a thermodynamic model of a diesel engine.
    Keywords: mathematical modelling, mechanical engineering, power and energy systems
    Electronic ISSN: 2054-5703
    Topics: Natural Sciences in General
    Published by Royal Society
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2018-09-06
    Description: The chemical industry is of paramount importance to the world economy and this industrial sector represents a substantial income source for developing countries. However, the chemical plants producing inside an industrial district pose a great threat to the surrounding atmospheric environment and human health. Therefore, designing an appropriate and available air quality monitoring network (AQMN) is essential for assessing the effectiveness of deployed pollution-controlling strategies and facilities. As monitoring facilities located at inappropriate sites would affect data validity, a two-stage data-driven approach constituted of a spatio-temporal technique (i.e. Bayesian maximum entropy) and a multi-objective optimization model (i.e. maximum concentration detection capability and maximum dosage detection capability) is proposed in this paper. The approach aims at optimizing the design of an AQMN formed by gas sensor modules. Owing to the lack of long-term measurement data, our developed atmospheric dispersion simulation system was employed to generate simulated data for the above method. Finally, an illustrative case study was implemented to illustrate the feasibility of the proposed approach, and results imply that this work is able to design an appropriate AQMN with acceptable accuracy and efficiency.
    Keywords: atmospheric chemistry, computer modelling and simulation, environmental science
    Electronic ISSN: 2054-5703
    Topics: Natural Sciences in General
    Published by Royal Society
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2018-10-18
    Description: Aiming at the problem of the fatigue life prediction of rubber under the influence of temperature, the effects of thermal ageing and fatigue damage on the fatigue life of rubber under the influence of temperature are analysed and a fatigue life prediction model is established by selecting strain energy as a fatigue damage parameter based on the uniaxial tensile data of dumbbell rubber specimens at different temperatures. Firstly, the strain energy of rubber specimens at different temperatures is obtained by the Yeoh model, and the relationship between it and rubber fatigue life at different temperatures is fitted by the least-square method. Secondly, the function formula of temperature and model parameters is obtained by the least-square polynomial fitting. Finally, another group of rubber specimens is tested at different temperatures and the fatigue characteristics are predicted by using the proposed prediction model under the influence of temperature, and the results are compared with the measured results. The results show that the predicted value of the model is consistent with the measured value and the average relative error is less than 22.26%, which indicates that the model can predict the fatigue life of this kind of rubber specimen at different temperatures. What's more, the model proposed in this study has a high practical value in engineering practice of rubber fatigue life prediction at different temperatures.
    Keywords: materials science
    Electronic ISSN: 2054-5703
    Topics: Natural Sciences in General
    Published by Royal Society
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2018-05-03
    Description: Biochar, as a soil amendment in agriculture, has attracted considerable attention. In the study, the fate and toxicity of the herbicide fenoxaprop-ethyl were evaluated in soils with and without 5% rice husk biochar amendment. Fenoxaprop-ethyl and metabolite fenoxaprop degradation followed first-order kinetics in the two soils. Fenoxaprop-ethyl decreased fast with half-lives less than 2 days. Large amounts of fenoxaprop formed and remained in the control soil. However, fenoxaprop was much lower in the biochar-amended soil with reduction over 85% on the 35th day. The estimated half-lives of fenoxaprop were 56.9 and 1.5 days in the control and biochar-amended soils, respectively. Biochar restrained the formation and promoted the dissipation of fenoxaprop. Biological indicator earthworms ( Eisenia fetida ) were used in a 14-day acute toxicity test. Fenoxaprop-ethyl showed low toxicity to earthworms with LC 50 value of 322.9 µg g –1 . Biochar amendment was non-toxic to earthworms and effectively reduced the toxicity. The results suggested that the application of biochar may reduce the risks of fenoxaprop-ethyl in the soil environment.
    Keywords: environmental chemistry
    Electronic ISSN: 2054-5703
    Topics: Natural Sciences in General
    Published by Royal Society
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2018-06-21
    Description: Palaeoenvironmental records from the now-submerged Bering Land Bridge (BLB) covering the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) to the present are needed to document changing environments and connections with the dispersal of humans into North America. Moreover, terrestrially based records of environmental changes are needed in close proximity to the re-establishment of circulation between Pacific and Atlantic Oceans following the end of the last glaciation to test palaeo-climate models for the high latitudes. We present the first terrestrial temperature and hydrologic reconstructions from the LGM to the present from the BLB's south-central margin. We find that the timing of the earliest unequivocal human dispersals into Alaska, based on archaeological evidence, corresponds with a shift to warmer/wetter conditions on the BLB between 14 700 and 13 500 years ago associated with the early Bølling/Allerød interstadial (BA). These environmental changes could have provided the impetus for eastward human dispersal at that time, from Western or central Beringia after a protracted human population standstill. Our data indicate substantial climate-induced environmental changes on the BLB since the LGM, which would potentially have had significant influences on megafaunal and human biogeography in the region.
    Keywords: ecology, environmental science
    Electronic ISSN: 2054-5703
    Topics: Natural Sciences in General
    Published by Royal Society
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2018-06-28
    Description: Aimed at the problem of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) performance evaluation and optimal EGR rate determination of turbocharged diesel engines, an optimized decision-making method, based on grey theory and entropy weight, was proposed. The internal combustion pressure, fuel consumption rate, NO X , CO and smoke were selected as the decision-making targets and the initial decision-making model was established based on the traditional grey decision-making theory. According to the characteristics and optimization requirements of EGR, the optimal compromise between combustion and emission performance is proposed to transform into decision-making target weighting problem, then an optimized subjective weighting method based on expert scoring and grey relational analysis is proposed. Finally, the entropy weight method was used to solve the objective weight and the optimized multi-objective grey decision-making model was established, which can not only weaken the human error of subjective empowerment, but also fully explore the intrinsic relationship of the evaluation indexes. At last, an optimization simulation platform for EGR performance evaluation based on MATLB/GUIDE was designed and established. The results show that the optimization simulation platform can effectively improve the efficiency of simulation calculation, which is more convenient for practical engineering applications. The optimized method can successfully realize EGR performance evaluation and optimal EGR rate determination under different working conditions. The decision-making result was consistent with the present EGR control strategies, which provide a new research idea for EGR performance optimization.
    Keywords: mechanical engineering, energy, applied mathematics
    Electronic ISSN: 2054-5703
    Topics: Natural Sciences in General
    Published by Royal Society
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2018-05-24
    Description: A low-cost and eco-friendly superabsorbent composite is prepared through the free-radical graft co-polymerization of wheat bran (WB), acrylic acid (AA) and laterite (LA) in an aqueous solution. Elemental map, scanning electron microscopy and Fourier transform infrared spectra revealed that the LA evenly distributed in the superabsorbent composite and wheat bran-g-poly(acrylic acid)/laterite (WB-g-PAA/LA) formed successfully. Thermogravimetric analysis confirmed that the WB-g-PAA/LA had high thermal stability. Furthermore, the properties of the WB-g-PAA/LA, such as swelling in saline solutions and degradation, are also assessed. The final WB-g-PAA/LA (5 wt%) superabsorbent composite attained an optimum water absorbency of 1425 g g –1 in distilled water and 72 g g –1 in 0.9 wt% NaCl solution. The water absorbency of WB-g-PAA/LA (10 wt%) is even greater than that of the WB-g-PAA. Moreover, the water-retention capacity of WB-g-PAA/LA (5 wt%) is high, and the water-retention process followed a zero-order reaction. The reaction rate constant is 8.2428 x 10 5 exp(– E a /RT ) and the apparent activation energy ( E a ) is 35.11 kJ mol –1 . Furthermore, WB-g-PAA/LA (5 wt%) may regulate the release of urea, indicating that the superabsorbent composite could provide a promising application as a urea fertilizer carrier. Additionally, it increased the germination and growth rates of Glycyrrhiza uralensis Fisch, suggesting it could influence the growth of Chinese herbal medicine.
    Keywords: chemical ecology, environmental chemistry
    Electronic ISSN: 2054-5703
    Topics: Natural Sciences in General
    Published by Royal Society
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