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While assessing the environmental impact of nuclear power plants, researchers have focused their attention on radiocarbon (14C) owing to its high mobility in the environment and important radiological impact on human beings. The 10 MW high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTR-10) is the first pebble-bed gas-cooled test reactor in China that adopted helium as primary coolant and graphite spheres containing tristructural-isotropic (TRISO) coated particles as fuel elements. A series of experiments on the 14C source terms in HTR-10 was conducted: (1) measurement of the specific activity and distribution of typical nuclides in the irradiated graphite spheres from the core, (2) measurement of the activity concentration of 14C in the primary coolant, and (3) measurement of the amount of 14C discharged in the effluent from the stack. All experimental data on 14C available for HTR-10 were summarized and analyzed using theoretical calculations. A sensitivity study on the total porosity, open porosity, and percentage of closed pores that became open after irradiating the matrix graphite was performed to illustrate their effects on the activity concentration of 14C in the primary coolant and activity amount of 14C in various deduction routes.
With the aims of overcoming the limitations of the existing basic flow model derived from an axisymmetric generating body and extending the aerodynamic design method of the airframe/inlet integrated waverider vehicle, this study develops an upgraded basic flow model derived from an axisymmetric shock wave. It then upgrades the design method for airframe/inlet integration of an air-breathing hypersonic waverider vehicle, which is termed the ‘full-waverider vehicle’ in this study. In this paper, first, the design principle and method for the upgraded full-waverider vehicle derived from an axisymmetric basic shock wave are described in detail. Second, an upgraded basic flow model that accounts for both internal and external flows is derived from an axisymmetric basic shock wave by use of both the streamline tracing method and the method of characteristics (MOC). Third, the upgraded full-waverider vehicle is developed from the upgraded basic flow model by the streamline tracing method. Fourth, the design theories and methodologies of both the upgraded basic flow model and the upgraded full-waverider vehicle are validated by a numerical computation method. Finally, the aerodynamic performances and viscous effects of both the upgraded basic flow model and the upgraded full-waverider vehicle are analysed by numerical computation. The obtained results show that the upgraded basic flow model and aerodynamic design method are effective for the design of the airframe/inlet integration of an air-breathing hypersonic waverider vehicle.
Statistical models are commonly employed in the estimation of influenza-associated excess mortality that, due to various reasons, is often underestimated by laboratory-confirmed influenza deaths reported by healthcare facilities. However, methodology for timely and reliable estimation of that impact remains limited because of the delay in mortality data reporting. We explored real-time estimation of influenza-associated excess mortality by types/subtypes in each year between 2012 and 2018 in Hong Kong using linear regression models fitted to historical mortality and influenza surveillance data. We could predict that during the winter of 2017/2018, there were ~634 (95% confidence interval (CI): (190, 1033)) influenza-associated excess all-cause deaths in Hong Kong in population ⩾18 years, compared to 259 reported laboratory-confirmed deaths. We estimated that influenza was associated with substantial excess deaths in older adults, suggesting the implementation of control measures, such as administration of antivirals and vaccination, in that age group. The approach that we developed appears to provide robust real-time estimates of the impact of influenza circulation and complement surveillance data on laboratory-confirmed deaths. These results improve our understanding of the impact of influenza epidemics and provide a practical approach for a timely estimation of the mortality burden of influenza circulation during an ongoing epidemic.
The very high temperature reactor (VHTR) is a development of the high-temperature gas-cooled reactors (HTGRs) and one of the six proposed Generation IV reactor concept candidates. The 10 MW high temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTR-10) is the first pebble-bed gas-cooled test reactor in China. A sampling system for the measurement of carbon-14 (14C) was established in the helium purification system of the HTR-10 primary loop, which could sample 14C from the coolant at three locations. The results showed that activity concentration of 14C in the HTR-10 primary coolant was 1.2(1) × 102 Bq/m3 (STP). The production mechanisms, distribution characteristics, reduction routes, and release types of 14C in HTR-10 were analyzed and discussed. A theoretical model was built to calculate the amount of 14C in the core of HTR-10 and its concentration in the primary coolant. The activation reaction of 13C has been identified to be the dominant 14C source in the core, whereas in the primary coolant, it is the activation of 14N. These results can supplement important information for the source term analysis of 14C in HTR-10 and promote the study of 14C in HTGRs.
The water and energy sectors of an economy are inextricably linked. Energy is required in water production, distribution, and recycling, while water is often used for energy generation. In many geographical locations, the energy-water nexus is exacerbated by the shortage of both fresh water resources and energy generation infrastructure. New materials, including metamaterials, are now emerging to address the challenges of providing renewable energy and fresh water, especially to off-the-grid communities struggling with water shortages. Novel nanomaterials have fueled recent technology breakthroughs in solar water desalination, fog and dew collection, and cloud seeding. Materials for passive thermal management of buildings and individuals offer promising strategies to reduce the use of energy and water for heating and cooling. While many challenges remain, emerging materials and technologies improve sustainable management of water and energy resources.
Liquid films can be entrained when the dewetting velocity attains a threshold, and this dynamical wetting transition has been well studied in the situation of plane substrates. We investigate the forced dewetting in a capillary tube using diffuse-interface simulations and lubrication analysis, focusing on the onset of wetting transition and subsequent interface evolution. Results show that the meniscus remains stable when the displacing rate is below a threshold, beyond which film entrainment occurs and eventually leads to the formation of Taylor bubbles separated by liquid slugs, as has also been observed in the recent experiments of Zhao et al. (Phys. Rev. Lett., vol. 120, 2018, 084501). We derive an analytical solution of the critical capillary number, and demonstrate that the wetting transition is accompanied by a vanishing apparent contact angle and an abrupt drop of the contact-line velocity. Both the bubble and slug lengths are found to depend on the capillary number and the wettability of the wall. A theoretical formula for the bubble length is also proposed and compares favourably with numerical and experimental results.
Atom probe tomography (APT) is rising in influence across many parts of materials science and engineering thanks to its unique combination of highly sensitive composition measurement and three-dimensional microstructural characterization. In this invited article, we have selected a few recent applications that showcase the unique capacity of APT to measure the local composition at structural defects. Whether we consider dislocations, stacking faults, or grain boundary, the detailed compositional measurements tend to indicate specific partitioning behaviors for the different solutes in both complex engineering and model alloys we investigated.
Climatic change that affects biological productivity is often argued to be a primary force influencing human activities during the glacial period. To test this assumption, we combine in-site pollen, paleoclimatic, and archaeological data from the Dadiwan site and nearby areas on the western Loess Plateau (WLP) that date to Marine Oxygen Isotope Stage (MIS) 3. Our comparison of multiple datasets suggests that regional human activities increased when the vegetation around the Dadiwan area shifted from forest steppe in the early MIS 3 (59–46.7 ka) to steppe in the middle to late MIS 3 (46.7–29.5 ka). Our results indicate that regional human activities increased again during the late MIS 3 when the amount of precipitation was higher, as indicated by the lower Artemisia proportion. We suggest that increased precipitation on the WLP enhanced the above-ground biomass production and may be responsible for an increase in human activity and population in this region.
Necrotising enterocolitis (NEC) is a devastating disease that typically affects formula-fed premature infants, suggesting that dietary components may influence disease pathogenesis. TAG are the major fat components of infant formula, and their digestion requires pancreatic lipases, which may be naturally deficient in premature neonates. We hypothesise that NEC develops partly from the accumulation of incompletely digested long-chain TAG-containing unsaturated fatty acids within the intestinal epithelial cells, leading to oxidative stress and enterocyte damage. We further hypothesise that the administration of a formula that contains reduced TAG (‘pre-digested fat’) that do not require lipase action may reduce NEC severity. To test these hypotheses, we induced NEC in neonatal mice using three different fat formulations, namely ‘standard fat’, ‘pre-digested fat’ or ‘very low fat’, and determined that mice fed ‘standard fat’ developed severe NEC, which was significantly reduced in mice fed ‘pre-digested fat’ or ‘very low fat’. The expression level of the critical fat-digesting enzyme carboxyl ester lipase was significantly lower in the newborn compared with older pups, leading to impaired fat digestion. The accumulation of mal-digested fat resulted in the significant accumulation of fat droplets within the intestinal epithelium of the distal ileum, resulting in the generation of reactive oxygen species and intestinal inflammation. Strikingly, these changes were prevented in pups fed ‘pre-digested fat’ or ‘very low fat’ formulas. These findings suggest that nutritional formula containing a pre-digested fat system may overcome the natural lipase deficiency of the premature gut, and serve as a novel approach to prevent NEC.
Full-scale simulations of a (Magnetorheological) MR damper are carried out for revealing its hysteretic behaviors associated with implementation of semi-active control using the routine of computational fluid dynamics. By virtue of the structural symmetry of the MR damper, a two-dimensional configuration for finite element simulation is built up. Herschel-Bulkley model is employed to represent the property of the MR fluid, of which the control parameters and their relevances to the input current are addressed. Typical cases involving sinusoidal and irregular displacements, steady and transient currents loaded upon the MR damper are investigated. Numerical investigations reveal that the damper force has a positive correlation with input current, excitation amplitude and excitation frequency. The full-scale simulation is proved to exhibit a sound accuracy through the validation of experimental data. It provides a logical manner revealing the true performance of MR dampers under desirable operating modes in practice, and can be readily integrated with the gain design of the associated semi-actively controlled structure. This progress bypasses the technical challenge inherent in the traditional tests with low-frequency cyclic loadings due to the limitation of experimental setup. Besides, comparative study between two-dimensional and three-dimensional configuration simulations of the MR damper shows that former has a better applicability, which can be carried out on a low-cost platform.
Rhizoctonia solani Kühn and Pythium aphanidermatum Edson cause cabbage seedling damping-off, resulting in severe yield losses. The current study demonstrates the production of toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by two strains of Bacillus mycoides and the evaluation of a potential use of B. mycoides as a biocontrol agent to control cabbage damping-off. Two VOCs, dimethyl disulphide and ammonia, were found to reduce radial growth, cause hyphal deformation and result in organelle degeneration in both R. solani and P. aphanidermatum. Pathogen hyphae, after being exposed to VOCs, showed poor rigidity, shrinkage, curling and swelling. The amount of VOCs produced by B. mycoides and the antagonistic activity against plant pathogens varied, depending on the type of medium used to culture bacteria. Application of B. mycoides cell suspensions to cultivation medium promotes growth of five different plant species tested. Experiments conducted in greenhouses revealed that B. mycoides did not reduce damping-off incidence caused by R. solani. However, B. mycoides reduced damping-off incidence induced by P. aphanidermatum by as much as 45% on cabbage seedlings. The results provide valuable information on the feasibility of utilizing B. mycoides as a biocontrol agent in controlling cabbage damping-off.
Recent studies indicate that early postnatal period is a critical window for gut microbiota manipulation to optimise the immunity and body growth. This study investigated the effects of maternal faecal microbiota orally administered to neonatal piglets after birth on growth performance, selected microbial populations, intestinal permeability and the development of intestinal mucosal immune system. In total, 12 litters of crossbred newborn piglets were selected in this study. Litter size was standardised to 10 piglets. On day 1, 10 piglets in each litter were randomly allotted to the faecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) and control groups. Piglets in the FMT group were orally administrated with 2ml faecal suspension of their nursing sow per day from the age of 1 to 3 days; piglets in the control group were treated with the same dose of a placebo (0.1M potassium phosphate buffer containing 10% glycerol (vol/vol)) inoculant. The experiment lasted 21 days. On days 7, 14 and 21, plasma and faecal samples were collected for the analysis of growth-related hormones and cytokines in plasma and lipocalin-2, secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA), selected microbiota and short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) in faeces. Faecal microbiota transplantation increased the average daily gain of piglets during week 3 and the whole experiment period. Compared with the control group, the FMT group had increased concentrations of plasma growth hormone and IGF-1 on days 14 and 21. Faecal microbiota transplantation also reduced the incidence of diarrhoea during weeks 1 and 3 and plasma concentrations of zonulin, endotoxin and diamine oxidase activities in piglets on days 7 and 14. The populations of Lactobacillus spp. and Faecalibacterium prausnitzii and the concentrations of faecal and plasma acetate, butyrate and total SCFAs in FMT group were higher than those in the control group on day 21. Moreover, the FMT piglets have higher concentrations of plasma transforming growth factor-β and immunoglobulin G, and faecal sIgA than the control piglets on day 21. These findings indicate that early intervention with maternal faecal microbiota improves growth performance, decreases intestinal permeability, stimulates sIgA secretion, and modulates gut microbiota composition and metabolism in suckling piglets.
We report on a novel processing route to prepare La0.8Ce0.2(Fe0.95Co0.05)11.8Si1.2/Cu bulk composites by low-temperature hot pressing. With increasing copper content, the compressive strength of the composites first decrease and then increase owing to the buffering effect of copper, but the magnetocaloric effect reduces to some extent. Copper addition improves the thermal conductivity of the composites, which compensates for the decrease in thermal conductivity due to porosity. A relatively large entropy change of 5.75–7.19 J/(kg K) at 2 T near the Curie temperature (249 K), good thermal conductivity of 7.51–15.55 W/(m·K), and improved compressive strength of 151.1–248.0 MPa make these composites attractive magnetic refrigeration materials.
Hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD) is an acute infectious disease caused by serotypes of the enterovirus (EV) family. HFMD reinfection occurs commonly in lack of cross-protection between different EV serotypes. In this study, we investigated the hazards of HFMD reinfection using Cox-proportional hazard model. Retrospective data of 95 209 HFMD cases in Wuhan during 2008–2015 was used. Kaplan–Meier survival methods and Cox-proportional hazard model were used to estimate the hazard probabilities. Of the all HFMD cases, about 2% experienced reinfection (1842/95 209). Kaplan–Meier curves revealed the reinfection risk sharply increased before 40 months from first infection. Higher hazards of reinfection were detected among those who were males, aged 3 years and below, scattered children, belonging to urban areas and first infected with coxsackievirus (CV)-A16 compared with their respective counterparts. Cox-proportional hazard model suggested that gender, age, group, living area and serotypes of first infection had significant effect on reinfection even after adjusting for potential confounding effects of other selected factors considered in the study. These results indicate that boys aged 3 years and below, especially those living in urban areas and first infected with CV-A16 are more prone to reinfection. Interventions should be imposed on these high-risk populations.
Superior and inferior rice grains have different weights and are located on the upper primary branch and lower secondary branches of the panicle, respectively. To study differences in germination vigour of these two types of grain, a number of factors were investigated from 0 to 48 h of germination. The present study demonstrated that in inferior grains the starch granule structure was looser at 0 h, with full water absorption at 48 h, while in superior grains the structure was tight and dense. Relative water content increased, and dry matter decreased, more rapidly in inferior grains than in superior ones. Abscisic acid and gibberellin levels, as well as α-amylase activity, also changed more rapidly in inferior grains, while soluble sugar content and amylase coding gene expression increased more rapidly in inferior than superior grains during early germination. The expression of OsGAMYB was higher in inferior grains at 24 h but higher in superior grains at 48 h. The phenotypic index of seedlings was higher in seedlings from superior grains at the two-leaf stage. However, the thousand-grain weight and yield per plant in superior and inferior plants showed no significant difference at harvest. The present study indicates that inferior grains germinate faster than superior ones in the early germination stage. Although inferior grains produced weaker seedlings, it is worthwhile using them in rice production due to their comparative yield potential over that of superior grains.
Universal salt iodisation (USI) has been successfully implemented in China for more than 15 years. Recent evidence suggests that the definition of ‘adequate iodine’ (100–199 µg/l) be revised to ‘sufficient iodine’ (100–299 µg/l) based on the median urinary iodine concentration (MUI) in school-age children. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of thyroid dysfunction in populations after long-term salt iodisation and examine whether the definition of adequate iodine can be broadened to sufficient iodine based on the thyroid function in four population groups. A cross-sectional survey was conducted in six provinces in the northern, central and southern regions of China. Four population groups consisting of 657 children, 755 adults, 347 pregnant women and 348 lactating women were recruited. Three spot urinary samples were collected over a 10-d period and blood samples were collected on the 1st day. In the study, among the adults, pregnant women and lactating women, the prevalence rates of elevated thyroglobulin antibody and thyroid microsomal antibody levels were 12·4, 8·5 and 7·8 %, and 12·1, 9·1 and 9·1 %, respectively. Abnormally high thyroid dysfunction prevalence was not observed after more than 15 years of USI in China because the thyroid dysfunction rates were all <5 %. The recommended range should be cautiously broadened from adequate iodine to sufficient iodine according to the MUI of school-age children considering the high levels of hormones and antibodies in the other populations. Adults, particularly pregnant women positive for thyroid antibodies, should be closely monitored.
This paper reports the measurement of the energy loss of protons at the energy of 100 keV penetrating a partially ionized hydrogen plasma. The plasma of ne ≈ 1015–16 cm−3; Te ≈ 1–2 eV and lifetime of about 8 µs is created by the hydrogen gas discharge. The experimental results show an increase of a factor of 2.8 in the energy loss, which are in good agreement with the Bethe, Standard Stopping Model, Li–Petrasso and Vlasov models’ predictions within the error limit. The Bethe–Bloch Coulomb logarithm term is found to increase by a factor of 4.0 for free electrons as compared with the situation where bound electrons prevail. The potential application of protons energy loss for diagnosing the electron density in plasma is proposed too.