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Open AccessArticle Joint Source-Relay Optimization for MIMO Full-Duplex Bidirectional Wireless Sensor Networks with SWIPT
Sensors 2019, 19(8), 1827; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19081827
Received: 4 March 2019 / Revised: 12 April 2019 / Accepted: 12 April 2019 / Published: 17 April 2019
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Abstract
The simultaneous wireless information and power transfer (SWIPT) technique has been considered as a promising approach to prolong the lifetime of energy-constraint wireless sensor networks (WSNs). In this paper, a multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) full-duplex (FD) bidirectional wireless sensor network (BWSN) with SWIPT is [...] Read more.
The simultaneous wireless information and power transfer (SWIPT) technique has been considered as a promising approach to prolong the lifetime of energy-constraint wireless sensor networks (WSNs). In this paper, a multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) full-duplex (FD) bidirectional wireless sensor network (BWSN) with SWIPT is investigated. Based on minimum total mean-square-error (total-MSE) criterion, a joint optimization problem for source and relay beamforming and source receiving subject to transmitting power and harvesting energy constraints is established. Since this problem is non-convex, an iterative algorithm based on feasible point pursuit-successive convex approximation (FPP-SCA) is derived to obtain a local optimum. Moreover, considering the scenarios in which source and relay nodes equipped with the same and different numbers of antennas, a low-complexity diagonalizing design-based scheme is employed to simplify each non-convex subproblem into convex problems and to reduce the computational complexity. Numerical results of the total-MSE and bit error rate (BER) are implemented to demonstrate the performance of the two different schemes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sensor Networks)
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<p>The system model of the multi-input multi-output (MIMO) full-duplex (FD) bidirectional wireless sensor network (BWSN) with energy harvesting (EH).</p>
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<p>The bit error rate (BER) versus signal noise ratio (SNR) for the proposed schemes under different <inline-formula><mml:math id="mm473" display="block"><mml:semantics><mml:mi>β</mml:mi></mml:semantics></mml:math></inline-formula>.</p>
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<p>The total mean square error (total-MSE) versus the iterations for <inline-formula><mml:math id="mm474" display="block"><mml:semantics><mml:mrow><mml:mi>N</mml:mi><mml:mo>=</mml:mo><mml:mi>M</mml:mi><mml:mo>=</mml:mo><mml:mn>2</mml:mn></mml:mrow></mml:semantics></mml:math></inline-formula>.</p>
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<p>BER versus SNR for 50 iterations.</p>
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<p>The antennas versus SNR for 50 iterations.</p>
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<p>The comparison between the proposed network and existing BWSN <inline-formula><mml:math id="mm475" display="block"><mml:semantics><mml:mrow><mml:mi>N</mml:mi><mml:mo>=</mml:mo><mml:mi>M</mml:mi><mml:mo>=</mml:mo><mml:mn>2</mml:mn></mml:mrow></mml:semantics></mml:math></inline-formula>.</p>
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Open AccessArticle Fabrication and Characterization of Micro-Nano Electrodes for Implantable BCI
Micromachines 2019, 10(4), 242; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10040242
Received: 13 March 2019 / Revised: 29 March 2019 / Accepted: 8 April 2019 / Published: 11 April 2019
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Abstract
Signal recording and stimulation with high spatial and temporal resolution are of increasing interest with the development of implantable brain-computer interfaces (BCIs). However, implantable BCI technology still faces challenges in the biocompatibility and long-term stability of devices after implantation. Due to the cone [...] Read more.
Signal recording and stimulation with high spatial and temporal resolution are of increasing interest with the development of implantable brain-computer interfaces (BCIs). However, implantable BCI technology still faces challenges in the biocompatibility and long-term stability of devices after implantation. Due to the cone structure, needle electrodes have advantages in the biocompatibility and stability as nerve recording electrodes. This paper develops the fabrication of Ag needle micro/nano electrodes with a laser-assisted pulling method and modifies the electrode surface by electrochemical oxidation. A significant impedance reduction of the modified Ag/AgCl electrodes compared to the Ag electrodes is demonstrated by the electrochemical impedance spectrum (EIS). Furthermore, the stability of modified Ag/AgCl electrodes is confirmed by cyclic voltammogram (CV) scanning. These findings suggest that these micro/nano electrodes have a great application prospect in neural interfaces. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Implantable Microdevices)
Open AccessArticle Comparative Analysis of Carbohydrates, Nucleosides and Amino Acids in Different Parts of Trichosanthes kirilowii Maxim. by (Ultra) High-Performance Liquid Chromatography Coupled with Tandem Mass Spectrometry and Evaporative Light Scattering Detector Methods
Molecules 2019, 24(7), 1440; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24071440
Received: 19 March 2019 / Revised: 4 April 2019 / Accepted: 11 April 2019 / Published: 11 April 2019
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Abstract
Trichosanthes kirilowii Maxim. is one of the original plants for traditional Chinese medicines Trichosanthis Fructus, Trichosanthis Semen, Trichosanthis Pericarpium and Trichosanthis Radix. Amino acids, nucleosides and carbohydrates are usually considered to have nutritional value and health-care efficacy. In this study, methods involving high-performance [...] Read more.
Trichosanthes kirilowii Maxim. is one of the original plants for traditional Chinese medicines Trichosanthis Fructus, Trichosanthis Semen, Trichosanthis Pericarpium and Trichosanthis Radix. Amino acids, nucleosides and carbohydrates are usually considered to have nutritional value and health-care efficacy. In this study, methods involving high-performance liquid chromatography coupled with evaporative light scattering detector (HPLC-ELSD), UV-visible spectrophotometry and ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry (UHPLC-MS/MS) were established for quantifying carbohydrates (fructose, glucose, stachyose, raffinose and polysaccharide), fourteen nucleosides and twenty one amino acids. Moreover, sixty-three samples from nine different parts, including pericarp, seed, fruit pulp, stem, leaf, main root, main root bark, lateral root and lateral root bark of T. kirilowii from different cultivated varieties were examined. The established methods were validated with good linearity, precision, repeatability, stability, and recovery. The results showed that the average content of total amino acids in roots (15.39 mg/g) and root barks (16.38 mg/g) were relatively higher than for others. Contents of nucleosides in all parts of T. kirilowii were below 1.5 mg/g. For carbohydrates, fruit pulp has a higher content than others for glucose (22.91%), fructose (20.63%) and polysaccharides (27.29%). By using partial least-squared discriminate analysis (PLS-DA), Variable importance in the projection (VIP) plots and analysis of variance (ANOVA) analysis, the characteristic components of the different organs (fruit, stems and leaves, roots) were found. This analysis suggested there were potential medicinal and nutritive health care values in various parts of the T. kirilowii, which provided valuable information for the development and utilization of T. kirilowii. Full article
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<p>UHPLC-MS-MS chromatograms of mixed standards (<bold>A</bold>) and sample (<bold>B</bold>) for the 35 analytes in this study. The analytes numbers <bold>1</bold>–<bold>35</bold> are consistent with those in <xref ref-type="table" rid="molecules-24-01440-t001">Table 1</xref>.</p>
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<p>HPLC-ELSD chromatogram of mono-oligosaccharides in <italic>T. kirilowii</italic>. (<bold>A</bold>) Mixed reference; (<bold>B</bold>) leaves of sample S1 (Wanlou 7); (1) fructose; (2) mannose; (3) glucose; (4) sucrose; (5) maltose; (6) raffinose; (7) stachyose.</p>
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<p>Comparison of nutrients in different <italic>T. kirilowii</italic> samples.</p>
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<p>PLS-DA plot of <italic>T. kirilowii</italic> samples. main root (<bold>A</bold>), lateral root (<bold>B</bold>), lateral root bark (<bold>C</bold>), main root bark (<bold>D</bold>), stem (<bold>E</bold>), leaf (<bold>F</bold>), pericarp (<bold>G</bold>), fruit pulp (<bold>H</bold>) and seed kernels (<bold>I</bold>).</p>
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Open AccessArticle Fabrication and Characterization of the Li-Doped ZnO Thin Films Piezoelectric Energy Harvester with Multi-Resonant Frequencies
Micromachines 2019, 10(3), 212; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10030212
Received: 12 February 2019 / Revised: 17 March 2019 / Accepted: 22 March 2019 / Published: 26 March 2019
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Abstract
A novel piezoelectric energy harvester with multi-resonant frequencies based on Li-doped ZnO (LZO) thin films is proposed in this paper, consisting of an elastic element with three (or more) different length cantilever beam arrays and a piezoelectric structure (Al/Li-doped ZnO/Pt/Ti). The LZO thin [...] Read more.
A novel piezoelectric energy harvester with multi-resonant frequencies based on Li-doped ZnO (LZO) thin films is proposed in this paper, consisting of an elastic element with three (or more) different length cantilever beam arrays and a piezoelectric structure (Al/Li-doped ZnO/Pt/Ti). The LZO thin films of piezoelectric structure were prepared on Pt/Ti/SiO2/Si by using a radio frequency (RF) magnetron sputtering method under certain process conditions. When the LZO thin films were deposited with an LZO target concentration of 5 wt%, the piezoelectric coefficient d33 was 9.86 pm/V. Based on this, the energy harvester chips were fabricated on a <100> silicon substrate using micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) technology, and its performance can be measured by fixing it to a printed circuit board (PCB) test substrate. The experimental results show that, when exerting an external vibration acceleration of 2.2 g and a vibration frequency of 999 Hz, the energy harvester can achieve a big load voltage of 1.02 V at a load resistance of 600 kΩ, and a high load power of 2.3 µW at a load resistance of 200 kΩ. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section A:Physics)
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<p>Basic structure of energy harvester with cantilever beam: (<bold>a</bold>) front view; (<bold>b</bold>) back view.</p>
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<p>The operating principle of the energy harvester: (<bold>a</bold>) without environmental vibration; (<bold>b</bold>) under environmental vibration.</p>
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<p>The main fabrication technology process of energy harvester: (<bold>a</bold>) cleaning silicon wafer; (<bold>b</bold>) growing SiO<sub>2</sub> layer; (<bold>c</bold>) sputtering Pt/Ti bottom electrode layer; (<bold>d</bold>) preparing LZO thin films; (<bold>e</bold>) depositing Al top electrode layer; (<bold>f</bold>) etching chip front side; (<bold>g</bold>) releasing cantilever beam.</p>
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<p>The photograph of the testing structure for the energy harvester.</p>
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<p>The XRD patterns of the LZO thin films under different Li doping concentrations.</p>
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<p>The SEM photographs: (<bold>a</bold>) pure ZnO; (<bold>b</bold>) 3 wt% LZO; (<bold>c</bold>) 5wt% LZO; (<bold>d</bold>) 8 wt% LZO; (<bold>e</bold>) 10 wt% LZO; (<bold>f</bold>) cross-sectional morphology of the 5 wt% LZO.</p>
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<p>The three-dimensional surface morphology of the LZO piezoelectric thin films under different Li doping concentrations: (<bold>a</bold>) pure ZnO; (<bold>b</bold>) 3 wt% LZO; (<bold>c</bold>) 5 wt% LZO; (<bold>d</bold>) 8 wt% LZO; (<bold>e</bold>) 10 wt% LZO.</p>
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<p>The piezoelectric coefficient <italic>d</italic><sub>33</sub> of the LZO thin films under different Li doping concentrations.</p>
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<p>The testing system of the energy harvester.</p>
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<p>The vibration characteristics of the cantilever beam array: (<bold>a</bold>) the first beam; (<bold>b</bold>) the second beam; (<bold>c</bold>) the third beam.</p>
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<p>The vibration characteristics of energy harvester series connection.</p>
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<p>The relationship curves between the load voltage and load resistance of the piezoelectric energy harvester with series connection (inset is equivalent circuit).</p>
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<p>The relationship curves between the load power and load resistance of the piezoelectric energy harvester with series connection (inset is equivalent circuit).</p>
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Open AccessArticle Design and Analysis of a Turning Dynamometer Embedded in Thin-Film Sensor
Micromachines 2019, 10(3), 210; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10030210
Received: 30 January 2019 / Revised: 22 March 2019 / Accepted: 25 March 2019 / Published: 26 March 2019
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Abstract
This paper proposes a high-strain sensitivity turning dynamometer that combines several thin-film resistor grids into three Wheatstone full-bridge circuits that can measure triaxial cutting forces. This dynamometer can replace different cutter heads using flange connections. In order to improve the strain effect of [...] Read more.
This paper proposes a high-strain sensitivity turning dynamometer that combines several thin-film resistor grids into three Wheatstone full-bridge circuits that can measure triaxial cutting forces. This dynamometer can replace different cutter heads using flange connections. In order to improve the strain effect of the dynamometer, the strain film sensor is fixed on the regular octagonal connection plates on both ends of the elastomer by vacuum brazing, and the stepped groove structure is also designed inside the elastomer. The dynamometer model is simplified as a four-segment cantilever beam which has different sections. The measurement mechanism model of the dynamometer system is established by the transformation relationship between deflection and strain, under external force. The standard turning tool of 20 mm square is used as a reference. The influence of the structural dimensions of the dynamometer on its strain sensitivity coefficient K is studied. The applicability of the theoretical model of dynamometer strain is verified by finite element analysis. Finally, the dynamometer with the largest K value is subjected to the bending test and compared with a standard turning tool. The experimental results show that the measurement sensitivity of the dynamometer is 2.32 times greater than that of the standard turning tool. The results also show that this dynamometer can effectively avoid the influence of the pasting process on strain transmission, thus indicating its great potential for measuring cutting force in the future. Full article
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<p>Dynamometer model structure: (<bold>a</bold>) Explosion view of the dynamometer structure, (<bold>b</bold>) mutual positional relationship of resistance grids from <italic>R</italic><sub>1</sub> to <italic>R</italic><sub>16</sub>.</p>
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<p>Wheatstone bridge circuit diagram: (<bold>a</bold>) Circuit 1, (<bold>b</bold>) circuit 2, (<bold>c</bold>) circuit 3.</p>
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<p>Dynamometer structure dimensions parameter.</p>
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<p>Alloy film sensor: (<bold>a</bold>) Sensor structure, (<bold>b</bold>) fabricated sensor, (<bold>c</bold>) sizes of the resistance grids <italic>R</italic><sub>1</sub>, <italic>R</italic><sub>3</sub>, <italic>R</italic><sub>5</sub>, and <italic>R</italic><sub>7</sub>, (<bold>d</bold>) sizes of the resistance grids <italic>R</italic><sub>2</sub>, <italic>R</italic><sub>4</sub>, <italic>R</italic><sub>6</sub>, and <italic>R</italic><sub>8</sub>, (<bold>e</bold>) sizes of the resistance grids from <italic>R</italic><sub>9</sub> to <italic>R</italic><sub>16</sub>.</p>
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<p>Film sensor uniaxial tensile test: (<bold>a</bold>) Bridge circuit diagram, (<bold>b</bold>) experimental device.</p>
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<p>Calibration signal of the thin-film sensor.</p>
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<p>Relationship between sensor mounting height and dynamometer strain sensitivity coefficient: (<bold>a</bold>) <italic>K</italic><sub>1</sub> and <italic>h</italic> relationship curve, (<bold>b</bold>) <italic>K</italic><sub>2</sub> and <italic>h</italic> relationship curve.</p>
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<p>Dynamometer strain cloud: (<bold>a</bold>) Strain cloud with one-way force <italic>F<sub>z</sub></italic> of 1000 N, (<bold>b</bold>) strain cloud with one-way force <italic>F<sub>x</sub></italic> of 1000 N, (<bold>c</bold>) strain cloud with one-way force <italic>F<sub>y</sub></italic> of 1000 N.</p>
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<p>Dynamometer bending test.</p>
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<p>Relationship between substrate strain and applied load.</p>
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Open AccessArticle Ore-Fluid Evolution of the Sizhuang Orogenic Gold Deposit, Jiaodong Peninsula, China
Minerals 2019, 9(3), 190; https://doi.org/10.3390/min9030190
Received: 14 January 2019 / Revised: 15 March 2019 / Accepted: 16 March 2019 / Published: 21 March 2019
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Abstract
The Sizhuang gold deposit with a proven gold resource of >120 t, located in northwest Jiaodong Peninsula in China, lies in the southern part of the Jiaojia gold belt. Gold mineralization can be divided into altered rock type, auriferous quartz vein type, and [...] Read more.
The Sizhuang gold deposit with a proven gold resource of >120 t, located in northwest Jiaodong Peninsula in China, lies in the southern part of the Jiaojia gold belt. Gold mineralization can be divided into altered rock type, auriferous quartz vein type, and sulfide-quartz veinlet in K-feldspar altered granite. According to mineral paragenesis and mineral crosscutting relationships, three stages of metal mineralization can be identified: early stage, main stage, and late stage. Gold mainly occurs in the main stage. The petrography and microthermometry of fluid inclusion shows three types of inclusions (type 1 H2O–CO2 inclusions, type 2 aqueous inclusions, and type 3 CO2 inclusions). Early stage quartz-hosted inclusions have a trapped temperatures range 303–390 °C. The gold-rich main stage contains a fluid-inclusion cluster with both type 1 and 2 inclusions (trapped between 279 and 298 °C), and a wide range of homogenization temperatures of CO2 occurs to the vapor phase (17.6 to 30.5 °C). The late stage calcite only contains type 1 inclusions with homogenization temperatures between 195 and 289 °C. With evidences from the H–O isotope data and the study of water–rock interaction, the metamorphic water of the Jiaodong Group is considered to be the dominating source for the ore-forming fluid. The ore-fluid belonged to a CO2–H2O–NaCl system with medium-low temperature (160–360 °C), medium-low salinity (3.00–11.83 wt% NaCl eq.), and low density (1.51–1.02 g/cm3). Fluid immiscibility caused by pressure fluctuation is the key mechanism in inducing gold mineralization in the Sizhuang gold deposit. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymetallic Metallogenic System)
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<p>A simplified geological map of the Jiaodong gold province showing the distribution of major fault zones, Precambrian metamorphic rocks, Mesozoic granitoid intrusions, sedimentary rocks, and gold deposits: Modified from Yang et al. (2016) [<xref ref-type="bibr" rid="B17-minerals-09-00190">17</xref>]. The double concentric circles represent cities. The areas covered with vertical grey lines and horizontal grey lines respectively represent Jiaobei Terrane and Sulu Terrane in Jiaodong. Abbreviations: SSDF, Sanshandao Fault; JJF, Jiaojia Fault; ZPF, Zhaoping Fault; QXF, Qixia Fault; TCF, Taocun Fault; MJF, Muping-Jimo Fault; WQYF, Wulian-Qingdao-Yantai Fault; HQF, Haiyang-Qingdao Fault; MRF, Muping-Rushan Fault; WHF, Weihai Fault; RCF, Rongcheng Fault; HSF, Haiyang-Shidao Fault.</p>
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<p>A simplified geological map of the Jiaojia gold belt [<xref ref-type="bibr" rid="B17-minerals-09-00190">17</xref>] showing the distribution of major faults and gold deposits: The Sizhuang gold deposit is located at the south segment of the Jiaojia Fault.</p>
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<p>A sketch map of the Sizhuang gold deposit showing the orebodies and hydrothermal alteration: (<bold>a</bold>) The plan view of the Sizhuang deposit and (<bold>b</bold>) the geological cross sections along lines AB. The orebody was defined by the gold cut-off grade (1 g/t).</p>
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<p>Photography of the three styles of ores: (<bold>a</bold>,<bold>d</bold>) Disseminated-stockwork style; (<bold>b</bold>,<bold>e</bold>) Auriferous quartz vein style; (<bold>c</bold>,<bold>f</bold>) sulfide-quartz veinlet in K-feldspar alteration granite; and (<bold>g</bold>–<bold>i</bold>) photomicrographs in the reflected light of the disseminated-stockwork type, auriferous quartz vein style and sulfide-quartz veinlet in K-feldspar alteration granite, respectively.</p>
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<p>Field photographs showing the crosscutting relationships of the major geologic bodies from the Sizhuang gold deposit: (<bold>a</bold>,<bold>b</bold>) The K-feldspar altered granite crosscuts the biotite granite and (<bold>c</bold>,<bold>d</bold>) the quartz-sulfide vein crosscuts the K-feldspar altered granite, and the calcite vein crosscuts the quartz-sulfide vein.</p>
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<p>Photomicrographs under transmitted light (<bold>a</bold>,<bold>b</bold>,<bold>h</bold>) and reflected light (<bold>c</bold>–<bold>g</bold>), showing important mineral assemblages in the Sizhuang gold deposit: (<bold>a</bold>) Sericite-quartz alteration consists of sericite and quartz, with few pyrite; (<bold>b</bold>) disseminated pyrite occurs in the matrix of sericite and quartz; (<bold>c</bold>–<bold>g</bold>) the primary sulfides in the main stage of the Sizhaung deposit; and (<bold>h</bold>) the calcite vein crosscuts the sericite and quartz. Abbreviations: Kfs = K-feldspar, Ccp = chalcopyrite, Qtz = quartz, Ser = sericite, Py = pyrite, Sp = sphalerite, Cc = calcite.</p>
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<p>The paragenetic sequence of the hydrothermal alteration and mineralization at the Sizhuang gold deposit interpreted by crosscutting relationships and assemblages of minerals: The thickness means the abundance of minerals in the paragenetic sequence.</p>
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<p>Photographs of the field view and ores shows the inclusion-hosted quartz (<bold>a</bold>,<bold>c</bold>) and calcite (<bold>b</bold>,<bold>d</bold>).</p>
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<p>Photomicrographs of the fluid inclusions in the Sizhuang gold deposits: (<bold>a</bold>,<bold>b</bold>) Type 2 aqueous inclusions contain two phases (liquid H<sub>2</sub>O and vapor H<sub>2</sub>O); (<bold>c</bold>,<bold>d</bold>) Type 1 H<sub>2</sub>O–CO<sub>2</sub> inclusions generally consist of three phases (liquid H<sub>2</sub>O, liquid CO<sub>2</sub> and CO<sub>2</sub> rich vapor); (<bold>e</bold>) Type 3 CO<sub>2</sub> inclusions are small and infrequent in this study; and (<bold>f</bold>) the inclusions with a total homogenization temperature of 298 °C is a type 2 aqueous inclusion. The other inclusions are Type 1 H<sub>2</sub>O–CO<sub>2</sub> inclusions.</p>
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<p>Histograms of the microthermometric data showing the temperatures of T<sub>mCO2</sub>, T<sub>mclath</sub>, T<sub>hCO2</sub> and T<sub>hTOT</sub> and the salinity.</p>
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<p>The temperatures (°C) of the total homogenization temperatures (T<sub>hTOT</sub>) versus salinity (wt% NaCl eq.): The solid and hollow signs represent the H<sub>2</sub>O–CO<sub>2</sub> inclusions and aqueous inclusions, respectively.</p>
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<p>Histograms of the density of type 1 fluid inclusions: The range of inclusion density is wide in different stages or in different mineralization styles.</p>
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<p>The H–O composition of ore-fluids in early and main stages: Area A means metamorphic water of the Jiaodong Group mixed with meteoric water; Area B means magmatic water of the Linglong granite mixed with meteoric water; and Area C means magmatic water of the Guojialing granite mixed with meteoric water. The base map is modified after Guo et al. (2014) [<xref ref-type="bibr" rid="B53-minerals-09-00190">53</xref>].</p>
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<p>The evolution of the H–O composition during the water–rock interaction.</p>
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Open AccessArticle pH-Responsive Micelles Assembled by Three-Armed Degradable Block Copolymers with a Cholic Acid Core for Drug Controlled-Release
Polymers 2019, 11(3), 511; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11030511
Received: 16 February 2019 / Revised: 13 March 2019 / Accepted: 14 March 2019 / Published: 18 March 2019
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Abstract
One of the most famous anticancer drugs, paclitaxel (PTX), has often been used in drug controlled-release studies. The polymers derived from bio-compound bile acids and degradable poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) form a reservoir and have been used as a drug delivery system with great advantages. [...] Read more.
One of the most famous anticancer drugs, paclitaxel (PTX), has often been used in drug controlled-release studies. The polymers derived from bio-compound bile acids and degradable poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) form a reservoir and have been used as a drug delivery system with great advantages. Herein, we grafted poly(N,N-diethylaminoethyl methacrylate) and poly(poly(ethylene glycol) methyl ether methacrylate) into the bile acid-derived three-armed macroinitiator CA-(PCL)3, resulting in the amphiphilic block copolymers CA-(PCL-b-PDEAEMA-b-PPEGMA)3. These pH-responsive three-armed block copolymers self-assembled into micelles in aqueous solution and PTX was encapsulated into the micellar core to form PTX-loaded micelles with a drug loading of 29.92 wt %. The micelles were stable in PBS at pH 7.4 and showed a pH-triggered release behavior of PTX under acidic environments, in which 55% of PTX was released at pH 5.0 in 80 h. These cholic acid-based functionalized three-armed block polymers present good biocompatibility, showing great potential for drug controlled-release. Full article
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<p>Schematic diagram of self-assembly and pH response release of polymer drug-loaded micelles.</p>
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<p>Gel permeation chromatography (GPC) analysis in THF of CA-(PCL<sub>28</sub>)<sub>3</sub>, CA-(PCL<sub>28</sub>-Br)<sub>3</sub>, CA-(PCL<sub>28</sub>-<italic>b</italic>-PDEAEMA<sub>5</sub>)<sub>3</sub>, CA-CDEP, CA-CP.</p>
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<p>Intensity ratio (I<sub>336</sub>/I<sub>332</sub>) in the fluorescence spectra of pyrene as a function of polymeric concentrations in aqueous solution.</p>
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<p>TEM images of the two polymers. The upper images show (<bold>a</bold>) CA-CP blank micelles at pH 7.4, (<bold>b</bold>) pH 5.0, and (<bold>c</bold>) PTX-loaded micelles. The lower images show (<bold>d</bold>) CA-CDEP blank micelles at pH 7.4, (<bold>e</bold>) pH 5.0, and (<bold>f</bold>) PTX-loaded micelles. The concentration of all samples is 0.5 mg/mL.</p>
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<p>Particle-size distribution of micelles in PBS. (<bold>A</bold>) CA-CP, (<bold>B</bold>) CA-CDEP; (<bold>a</bold>,<bold>e</bold>) for blank micelles at 7.4; (<bold>b</bold>,<bold>f</bold>) for blank micelles at 5.0; (<bold>c</bold>,<bold>g</bold>) for drug-loaded micelles 3/10; (<bold>d</bold>,<bold>h</bold>) for drug-loaded micelles 5/10.</p>
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<p>In vitro PTX release profiles of drug-loaded micelles (<bold>A</bold>) CA-CP and (<bold>B</bold>) CA-CDEP at 37 °C with different pH.</p>
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<p>Cytotoxicity assay of the polymer blank micelles and drug-loaded micelles after 48 h incubation at different concentrations of polymer against NIH-3T3 cells using CCK-8 assay.</p>
Full article ">Scheme 1
<p>Synthesis of the block polymer CA-(PCL-<italic>b</italic>-PDEAEMA-<italic>b</italic>-PPEGMA)<sub>3</sub>.</p>
Full article ">
Open AccessArticle Complex Microbiome in Brain Abscess Revealed by Whole-Genome Culture-Independent and Culture-Based Sequencing
J. Clin. Med. 2019, 8(3), 351; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm8030351
Received: 6 February 2019 / Revised: 4 March 2019 / Accepted: 7 March 2019 / Published: 12 March 2019
Viewed by 380 | PDF Full-text (1449 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Brain abscess is a severe infectious disease with high mortality and mobility. Although culture-based techniques have been widely used for the investigation of microbial composition of brain abscess, these approaches are inherent biased. Recent studies using 16S ribosomal sequencing approaches revealed high complexity [...] Read more.
Brain abscess is a severe infectious disease with high mortality and mobility. Although culture-based techniques have been widely used for the investigation of microbial composition of brain abscess, these approaches are inherent biased. Recent studies using 16S ribosomal sequencing approaches revealed high complexity of the bacterial community involved in brain abscess but fail to detect fungal and viral composition. In the study, both culture-independent nanopore metagenomic sequencing and culture-based whole-genome sequencing using both the Illumina and the Nanopore platforms were conducted to investigate the microbial composition and genomic characterization in brain abscess. Culture-independent metagenomic sequencing revealed not only a larger taxonomic diversity of bacteria but also the presence of fungi and virus communities. The culture-based whole-genome sequencing identified a novel species in Prevotella and reconstructs a Streptococcus constellatus with a high GC-skew genome. Antibiotic-resistance genes CfxA and ErmF associated with resistance to penicillin and clindamycin were also identified in culture-based and culture-free sequencing. This study implies current understanding of brain abscess need to consider the broader diversity of microorganisms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Medicine)
Figures

Figure 1

Figure 1
<p>Magnetic resonance image (MRI) of brain showing heterogeneous enhancement with focal rim enhancing cystic lesions in left anterior temporal lobe.</p>
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<p>Experimental workflow of culture-based and culture-free sequencing. Brain abscess was first confirmed by MRI. The abscess sample was cultivated and followed by sequencing and assembly. The sample was also directly sequenced in order to disclose the taxonomic composition of entire community including uncultivated bacteria.</p>
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<p>Circular genome map of <italic>Prevotella</italic> sp. TCVGH (<bold>a</bold>) and <italic>Streptococcus constellatus</italic> TCV107 (<bold>b</bold>). Circular genome maps. From outer to inner circles: genes on forward strand, genes on reverse strand, rRNA, GC content and GC skew. (<bold>a</bold>) Circular genome map of <italic>Prevotella</italic> sp. TCVGH; (<bold>b</bold>) Circular genome map of <italic>Streptococcus constellatus</italic> TCV107. The innermost circle shows strong and opposite GC skews in the leading and lagging strands, partitioning the genome into two halves separated by replication origin (<italic>ori</italic>) and terminus (<italic>ter</italic>) sequences. The two outer circles exhibit strong gene orientation bias, whereas half genes are dominantly on the forward strand and the other half are on the reverse strand, partitioned by <italic>ter</italic> and <italic>ori</italic>.</p>
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<p>Microbial composition of brain abscesses. Taxonomic classification of culture-free sequencing. In total, microbiome occupies 36.1% while human contamination and unmapping reads takes 29.6% and 34.2%, respectively. The microbiome reads are further classified into bacteria (97.5%), fungi (1.5%) and virus (1%) communities. The species within each community are shown in the outer circle.</p>
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Open AccessArticle A Microscale Linear Phased-Array Ultrasonic Transducer Based on PZT Ceramics
Sensors 2019, 19(5), 1244; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19051244
Received: 7 January 2019 / Revised: 25 February 2019 / Accepted: 4 March 2019 / Published: 12 March 2019
Viewed by 295 | PDF Full-text (8350 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this paper, a microscale high-frequency ultrasonic transducer was prepared by combining traditional planar ultrasonic phased-array technology and micro processing technology. The piezoelectric ceramic material PZT was used as the functional material of the transducer. The number of the arrays was 72, the [...] Read more.
In this paper, a microscale high-frequency ultrasonic transducer was prepared by combining traditional planar ultrasonic phased-array technology and micro processing technology. The piezoelectric ceramic material PZT was used as the functional material of the transducer. The number of the arrays was 72, the width of each array was 50 μm, the pitch of each array was 70 μm, and the length of each array was 3 mm. The PZT chip was finely ground to a thickness of 130 μm and could reach a frequency of 10 MHz. The experimental platform of micron-scale precision was set up for a beam-forming lateral sound field test and imaging experiment to validate the theoretical analysis. The echo imaging test showed that a mold with a feature size of about 400 μm could be imaged well. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Modeling, Testing and Reliability Issues in MEMS Engineering)
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Figure 1

Figure 1
<p>Fast algorithm coordinate system.</p>
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<p>The lateral sound field (<bold>a</bold>) and axis sound field distribution (<bold>b</bold>).</p>
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<p>One-dimensional rectangular array.</p>
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<p>Relationship curve of array width (<bold>a</bold>), pitch (<bold>b</bold>), and number (<bold>c</bold>) with the transverse sound field of the ?3 dB main lobe width.</p>
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<p>Relationship curve of array width (<bold>a</bold>), pitch (<bold>b</bold>), and number (<bold>c</bold>) with the transverse sound pressure.</p>
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<p>The influence of array parameters, including pitch (<bold>a</bold>), width (<bold>b</bold>), and number (<bold>c</bold>), on the primary side lobe.</p>
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<p>The lateral sound field of the phased array with different element pitches of 60 μm (<bold>a</bold>), 70 μm (<bold>b</bold>), 120 μm (<bold>c</bold>), and 160 μm (<bold>d</bold>).</p>
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<p>Schematic diagram of fabrication process (<bold>a</bold>) and final prepared transducer (<bold>b</bold>).</p>
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<p>Fabricated transducer.</p>
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<p>Acoustic pressure measurement setup using a hydrophone.</p>
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<p>Measured acoustic pressure for a 32-element array with a 70 μm beam-forming pitch.</p>
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<p>Measured acoustic beam-pattern compared with simulation results for a 32-element array with a 70 μm beam-forming pitch.</p>
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<p>Pulse-echo testing.</p>
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<p>C-scan pulse-echo imaging of a homemade mold.</p>
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Open AccessCorrection Correction: Hou et al. Emerging Role of Vitamins D and K in Modulating Uremic Vascular Calcification: The Aspect of Passive Calcification. Nutrients 2019, 11(1):152
Nutrients 2019, 11(3), 567; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11030567
Received: 5 March 2019 / Accepted: 5 March 2019 / Published: 6 March 2019
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Abstract
The authors wish to make the following changes to their paper (Hou et al [...] Full article
Open AccessArticle Wet Snow Flashover Characteristics of 500-kV AC Insulator Strings with Different Arrangements
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(5), 930; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9050930
Received: 7 January 2019 / Revised: 26 February 2019 / Accepted: 26 February 2019 / Published: 5 March 2019
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Abstract
In order to study the wet snow flashover characteristics of 500-kV AC insulator strings under different arrangements, wet snow flashover tests were carried out in the large climate chamber of China Electric Power Research Institute (CEPRI). The wet snow flashover voltages were obtained [...] Read more.
In order to study the wet snow flashover characteristics of 500-kV AC insulator strings under different arrangements, wet snow flashover tests were carried out in the large climate chamber of China Electric Power Research Institute (CEPRI). The wet snow flashover voltages were obtained by the even-rising method and the flashovers were filmed by a camera. The test results showed that the installation of an anti-icing shed of large diameter could increase the wet snow flashover voltage. The distance between the two insulators was a key parameter that influenced the discharge process and the flashover voltage. Under Λ-string arrangement, for common insulators, the flashover performance of iced insulators increased with the connection angle; for anti-icing insulators, the flashover performance increased at first and then decreased with the connection angle. In wet snow conditions, when the connection angle was at the commonly adopted angle of 60°, the flashover performance of the common insulators under the V-string and Λ-string arrangements was almost the same. For anti-icing insulators, however, the V-string arrangement was recommended according to the tests. The results obtained in this study can provide a reference for external insulation design in wet snow conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy)
Figures

Graphical abstract

Graphical abstract
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<p>The experimental setup. (<bold>a</bold>) Climate chamber, (<bold>b</bold>) Divider, (<bold>c</bold>) Transformer, (<bold>d</bold>) Lamps for ice melting</p>
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<p>The experimental setup. (<bold>a</bold>) Climate chamber, (<bold>b</bold>) Divider, (<bold>c</bold>) Transformer, (<bold>d</bold>) Lamps for ice melting</p>
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<p>The snow cannon used for wet snow accretion on insulator strings.</p>
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<p>Profiles of FXBW-500/210. (<bold>a</bold>) Schematic diagram of the anti-icing unit, (<bold>b</bold>) Schematic diagram of the common unit, (<bold>c</bold>) Detailed dimension of the anti-icing unit, (<bold>d</bold>) Detailed dimension of the common unit.</p>
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<p>Various arrangements examples of snow-covered insulator strings: (<bold>a</bold>) Single string, (<bold>b</bold>) 450 mm II-string, (<bold>c</bold>) 650 mm II-string, (<bold>d</bold>) 2° Λ-string (450 mm-600 mm string), (<bold>e</bold>) 30° Λ-string (450 mm string), (<bold>f</bold>) 60° Λ-string (450 mm string), (<bold>g</bold>) 90° Λ-string (450 mm string), (<bold>h</bold>) 60° V-string (450 mm string)</p>
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<p>Model of the 90° Λ-string.</p>
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<p>Relationship between the voltage change ratio <italic>β</italic> and connection angle for the common and anti-icing sheds</p>
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<p>The flashover arcs of Λ-string. (<bold>a</bold>) The 90° with anti-icing sheds, (<bold>b</bold>) The 90° with common sheds.</p>
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<p>The morphology of ice accreted on the anti-icing sheds when the connection angle is 90°.</p>
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<p>The comparison of voltage change ratio <italic>β</italic> between Λ-string and V-string.</p>
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<p>The arcs of Λ-string and V-string with anti-icing shed. (<bold>a</bold>) The 60°Λ-string, (<bold>b</bold>) The 60° V-string.</p>
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<p>The flashover path of II-string. (<bold>a</bold>) 450 mm II-string, (<bold>b</bold>) 2° Λ-string (450 mm–600 mm string).</p>
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<p>Comparison voltage change ratio <italic>β</italic> between the common shed and the anti-icing shed.</p>
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<p>Equivalent circuit model of insulator string.</p>
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Open AccessArticle Associations of Genetic Variations in ABCA1 and Lifestyle Factors with Coronary Artery Disease in a Southern Chinese Population with Dyslipidemia: A Nested Case-Control Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(5), 786; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16050786
Received: 28 December 2018 / Revised: 6 February 2019 / Accepted: 26 February 2019 / Published: 4 March 2019
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Abstract
Coronary artery disease has become a major health concern over the past several decades. We aimed to explore the association of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the ATP-binding cassette subfamily A member 1 (ABCA1) and lifestyle factors with coronary artery disease [...] Read more.
Coronary artery disease has become a major health concern over the past several decades. We aimed to explore the association of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the ATP-binding cassette subfamily A member 1 (ABCA1) and lifestyle factors with coronary artery disease (CAD) in dyslipidemia. This nested case-control study included 173 patients with CAD and 500 matched control individuals (1:3, case: control) from a district in southern China. We collected medical reports, lifestyle details, and blood samples of individuals with dyslipidemia and used the polymerase chain reaction-ligase detection reaction method to genotype the SNPs. The CC genotype of the additive and recessive models of rs4149339, together with regular intake of fried foods or dessert, increased the risk of CAD (adjusted odd ratio (OR) = 1.91, p = 0.030; adjusted OR = 1.97, p = 0.017; adjusted OR = 1.80, p = 0.002; adjusted OR = 1.98, p = 0.001). The AT + AA genotype of the dominant model of rs4743763 and moderate/heavy physical activity reduced the risk of CAD (adjusted OR = 0.66, p = 0.030; adjusted OR = 0.44, p = 0.001). The CT + CC genotype of the dominant model of rs2472386 reduced the risk of CAD only in males (adjusted OR = 0.36, p = 0.001). The interaction between rs4149339 and rs4743763 of ABCA1 and haplotype CTT (comprising rs4149339, rs4743763, and rs2472386) appeared to increase the risk of CAD (relative excess risk due to interaction (RERI) = 3.19, p = 0.045; OR = 1.49, p = 0.019). Polymorphisms of rs4149339, rs4743763 and rs2472386 in ABCA1 and three lifestyle factors (physical activity, fried food intake, and dessert intake) were associated with CAD in people with dyslipidemia in southern China. These results provide the theoretical basis for gene screening and the prevention of chronic cardiovascular diseases. Full article
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Figure 1
<p>Forest map for the risk of coronary artery disease (CAD) with different genetic models and lifestyle factors. Adjusted for age, sex, waist circumference, smoking, and drinking. <italic>p</italic> value &lt; 0.05 was considered statistically significant and maintains significance using the Benjamini-Hochberg procedure with the false discovery rate at 0.11.</p>
Full article ">
Open AccessArticle Effects of Bogies on the Wake Flow of a High-Speed Train
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(4), 759; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9040759
Received: 30 December 2018 / Revised: 31 January 2019 / Accepted: 13 February 2019 / Published: 21 February 2019
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Abstract
The wake region of high-speed trains is an area of complex turbulent flow characterized by the periodic generation and shedding of vortices, which causes discomfort to passengers and affects the stability and safety of the train. In this study, the unsteady characteristics of [...] Read more.
The wake region of high-speed trains is an area of complex turbulent flow characterized by the periodic generation and shedding of vortices, which causes discomfort to passengers and affects the stability and safety of the train. In this study, the unsteady characteristics of the wake flows of three 1:1 scale China Railway High-Speed 380A (CRH380A) high-speed train models with different degrees of simplification were numerically investigated using the improved delayed detached eddy simulation (IDDES) method. Analyses of the aerodynamic forces, train-induced slipstream, and turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) were conducted to determine the effects of the bogies on the wake flow of the high-speed train. It was found that the existence of bogies on the bottom of the train, especially the last bogie, not only enhanced the wake flow but also introduced large perturbances into the wake flow. Moreover, the generation and evolution of the vortices in the wake flows were determined by analyzing the instantaneous flow fields and coherent flow structures that were obtained by the dynamic mode decomposition (DMD) method. The results showed that a pair of large, counter-rotating streamwise vortices in the real model of the high-speed train was generated by the cowcatcher and their intensity was significantly enhanced by perturbances that were introduced by the bogies on the bottom of the train. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Mechanical Engineering)
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Figure 1

Figure 1
<p>Real model.</p>
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<p>Simplified model.</p>
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<p>Semi-simplified model.</p>
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<p>Computational domain.</p>
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<p>Grid layout on the cross-section of y = 0 (upper) and on the surface of the trailing car (lower).</p>
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<p>Wind tunnel test setup at CARDC, Sichuan.</p>
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<p>Drag coefficients of the slices of the train.</p>
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<p>Time history curve of the cylinder lift coefficient, Re = 8000.</p>
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<p>Frequency determined by FFT.</p>
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<p>The first six DMD modes of the wake flow of a cylinder.</p>
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<p>Frequency determined by DMD.</p>
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<p>Time history curves of the aerodynamic coefficients of the trailing cars of three models.</p>
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<p>Time history curves of the aerodynamic coefficients of the trailing cars of three models.</p>
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<p>Distributions of the slipstream velocity of the three train models at y = 3 m and (<bold>a</bold>) z = 0.2 m and (<bold>b</bold>) z = 1.4 m.</p>
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<p>Streamwise distributions of time-averaged TKE at different spanwise positions (z = 0.2 m): (<bold>a</bold>) real model, (<bold>b</bold>) semi-simplified model, and (<bold>c</bold>) simplified model.</p>
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<p>Streamwise distributions of time-averaged TKE at different vertical positions (y = 0.875 m): (<bold>a</bold>) real model, (<bold>b</bold>) semi-simplified model, and (<bold>c</bold>) simplified model.</p>
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<p>Iso-surfaces of <italic>Q</italic> (<italic>Q</italic> = 200, <italic>t</italic> = 5 s) of the (<bold>a</bold>) real model, (<bold>b</bold>) semi-simplified model, and (<bold>c</bold>) simplified model.</p>
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<p>Contours of the instantaneous streamwise vorticity of the simplified model at different cross-sections.</p>
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<p>Pressure contour of the simplified model at x = 37 m.</p>
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<p>Geometry of the nose of the trailing car in the simplified model.</p>
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<p>Contours of the instantaneous streamwise vorticity of the real model at different cross-sections.</p>
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<p>Contours of the instantaneous streamwise vorticity of the semi-simplified model at different cross-sections.</p>
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<p>Energy distributions of the DMD modes 1–100 of the real and simplified models.</p>
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<p>DMD mode 1 and mode 2 of the lower layer wake of the simplified model.</p>
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<p>Reconstructed flow fields of the lower layer wake of the simplified model.</p>
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<p>DMD mode 1 and mode 2 of the upper layer wake of the simplified model.</p>
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<p>DMD mode 1 and mode 2 of the upper layer wake of the simplified model.</p>
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<p>DMD mode 1 and mode 2 of the wake of the real model.</p>
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<p>Reconstructed flow fields of the wake of the real model.</p>
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Open AccessArticle Effects of the Molding Method and Blank Size of Green Body on the Sintering Densification of Magnesia
Materials 2019, 12(4), 647; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12040647
Received: 4 January 2019 / Revised: 2 February 2019 / Accepted: 14 February 2019 / Published: 21 February 2019
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Abstract
The bulk density of sintered magnesia is significantly influenced by molding methodology and blank size of the green body during dry pressing. The entrapped air in the green body plays a critical role in determining the bulk density of magnesia samples. Herein, high-density [...] Read more.
The bulk density of sintered magnesia is significantly influenced by molding methodology and blank size of the green body during dry pressing. The entrapped air in the green body plays a critical role in determining the bulk density of magnesia samples. Herein, high-density magnesia samples, with different sizes, are prepared by using vacuum compaction molding and conventional compaction molding. The physical properties, such as bulk density and pore size distribution, and morphology or as-sintered magnesia samples were characterized by using Archimedes method, mercury porosimetry, and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The results indicate that the bulk density of conventional compaction magnesia samples decreased below 3.40 g·cm−3 with the increase of thickness due to the presence of entrapped-air induced large pores and intergranular cracks. In addition, the large pores and intergranular cracks in conventionally-compacted samples are observed by SEM images. However, vacuum compaction of magnesia samples resulted in a bulk density of higher than 3.40 g·cm−3 for all thicknesses. Moreover, the defects in vacuum-compacted magnesia samples are mainly in the form of small circular pores. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue High Temperature Ceramic Materials)
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Figure 1
<p>SEM micrographs of the high-activity magnesia powder (<bold>a</bold>) magnesia particles. and (<bold>b</bold>) surface of magnesia particle.</p>
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<p>The bulk density of as-prepared samples, pressed by vacuum compaction and conventional compactions, with respect to thicknesses.</p>
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<p>Schematic illustration of the entrapped-air induced defects inside the green body.</p>
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<p>SEM micrographs and pore size distributions of samples with 8 mm using vacuum compaction molding (<bold>a</bold>,<bold>c</bold>) and conventional compaction molding (<bold>b</bold>,<bold>d</bold>).</p>
Full article ">Figure 4 Cont.
<p>SEM micrographs and pore size distributions of samples with 8 mm using vacuum compaction molding (<bold>a</bold>,<bold>c</bold>) and conventional compaction molding (<bold>b</bold>,<bold>d</bold>).</p>
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<p>SEM micrographs and pore size distributions of samples with 12 mm using vacuum compaction molding (<bold>a</bold>,<bold>c</bold>) and conventional compaction molding (<bold>b</bold>,<bold>d</bold>).</p>
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Open AccessArticle A Fast Sparse Coding Method for Image Classification
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(3), 505; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9030505
Received: 12 December 2018 / Revised: 22 January 2019 / Accepted: 29 January 2019 / Published: 1 February 2019
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Abstract
Image classification is an important problem in computer vision. The sparse coding spatial pyramid matching (ScSPM) framework is widely used in this field. However, the sparse coding cannot effectively handle very large training sets because of its high computational complexity, and ignoring the [...] Read more.
Image classification is an important problem in computer vision. The sparse coding spatial pyramid matching (ScSPM) framework is widely used in this field. However, the sparse coding cannot effectively handle very large training sets because of its high computational complexity, and ignoring the mutual dependence among local features results in highly variable sparse codes even for similar features. To overcome the shortcomings of previous sparse coding algorithm, we present an image classification method, which replaces the sparse dictionary with a stable dictionary learned via low computational complexity clustering, more specifically, a k-medoids cluster method optimized by k-means++. The proposed method can reduce the learning complexity and improve the feature’s stability. In the experiments, we compared the effectiveness of our method with the existing ScSPM method and its improved versions. We evaluated our approach on two diverse datasets: Caltech-101 and UIUC-Sports. The results show that our method can increase the accuracy of spatial pyramid matching, which suggests that our method is capable of improving performance of sparse coding features. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Intelligent Imaging Technology)
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<p>Flow chart of our framework.</p>
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