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To explore whether different polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) concentrations affect the results of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), a prospective study was conducted for 194 couples undergoing 210 ICSI therapy cycles. These cycles were divided into three groups (10, 7 and 5% groups) using the corresponding concentration of PVP for sperm immobilization. The main outcome measures were analyzed. Results indicated that, with a decrease in PVP concentrations, all of the main outcome measures increased. In particular, the high-quality cleavage embryo rate in the 7% group was significantly lower than in the 5% group (P < 0.01), and the cleavage, high-quality cleavage embryo, and high-quality blastocyst rates in the 5% group were significantly higher than those in the 10% group (all P < 0.001). For high-/intermediate-quality semen, all of the main outcome measures were significantly increased with 5% PVP. For the poor-quality semen, only the high-quality cleavage embryo and high-quality blastocyst rates were significantly higher in the 5% group. Therefore, lowering PVP concentrations greatly promoted the development of embryos in ICSI cycles, with an optimal concentration of 5% for ICSI.
We investigate the conditions that determine the detachment of a water drop from different vibrating textured plates by using vertical vibrations. The plate surfaces were patterned by a lattice of pillars of different shapes with different geometrical arrangements. The acceleration threshold for the water droplet to bounce off the surfaces was measured as a function of the excitation frequency. In each case, the acceleration threshold presents a minimum at the natural frequency of the droplet. The minimum acceleration required for the take-off is larger for small droplets than for large droplets. Namely, one finds that the value of the threshold depends on the size of the droplet and on the maximum apparent contact area between the droplet and the substrate. The theoretical model takes into account the energy necessary to break the capillary bridges between the droplet and the pillars of the surface. This model captures the main ingredients explaining the drop size dependence of the acceleration threshold for the take-off.
Ethanolamine (Etn) contained in milk is the base constituent of phosphatidylethanolamine and is required for the proliferation of intestinal epithelial cells and bacteria, which is important for maintenance of the gut microbiome and intestinal development. The present study investigated the effect of Etn on intestinal function and microbiome using 21-d-old Sprague–Dawley rats treated with 0, 250, 500 and 1000 μm Etn in drinking water for 2 weeks immediately after weaning. Growth performance, intestinal morphology, antioxidant capacity and mucosal immunity, as well as gut microbiota community composition, were evaluated. Metagenomic prediction and metabolic phenotype analysis based on 16S RNA sequencing were also carried out to assess changes in metabolic functions. We found that weaned rats administered 500 μm Etn enhanced mucosal antioxidant capacity, as evidenced by higher superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase levels in the jejunum (P<0·05) compared with those in the control group. Predominant microbes including Bacteroidetes, Proteobacteria, Elusimicrobia and Tenericutes were altered by different levels of Etn compared with the control group. An Etn concentration of 500 µm shifted colonic microbial metabolic functions that are in favour of lipid- and sugar-related metabolism and biosynthesis. Etn also altered the metabolic phenotypes such as anaerobic microbial counts, and oxidative stress tolerance at over 250 µm. This is the first report for a role of Etn in modifying gut microbiota and intestinal functions. Our findings highlighted the important role of Etn in shaping gut microbial community and promotes intestinal functions, which may provide a better insight of breast-feeding to infant’s gut health.
Boron carbide (B4C) powder was consolidated at 45 MPa by Spark Plasma Sintering (SPS) for 20 min from 1450 to 2000 °C. The density of the B4C reached 99.6% at 2000 °C. A continuum model was applied to describe the densification mechanism of B4C powder under SPS conditions. The shrinkage rate was sensitive to particle size and temperature. The effect of porosity on thermal diffusion was significant, especially for small particle sizes. It appears that there is Joule heating, discharge, and electromagnetic field involved during the SPS of B4C. The current can enhance the sintering process, and it can obviously reduce the creep activation energy.
This paper critically evaluates methods used to synthesize boride compounds with emphasis on diborides of the early transition metals. The earliest reports of the synthesis of boride ceramics used impure elemental powders to produce multiphase reaction products; phase-pure borides were only synthesized after processes were established to purify elemental boron. Carbothermal reduction of the corresponding transition metal oxides emerged as a viable production route and continues to be the primary method for the synthesis of commercial transition metal diboride powders. Even though reaction-based processes and chemical synthesis methods are mainly used for research studies, they are powerful tools for producing diborides because they provide the ability to tailor purity and particle size. The choice of synthesis method requires balancing factors that include cost, purity, and particle size with the performance needed in expected applications.
The present study was performed to identify the genotype of a hypertrophic cardiomyopathy family and investigate the clinicopathogenic characteristics and prognostic features of relevant genetic abnormalities. Target sequence capture sequencing was performed to screen for pathogenic alleles in a 32-year-old female patient (proband). Sanger sequencing was carried out to verify the results. Sanger sequencing was also performed on other family members to identify allele carriers. A survival analysis was carried out using published literature and our findings. We found that the proband and her son harboured a Gly716Arg sequence variant of the β-myosin heavy chain. Neither the proband’s father nor the mother were carriers of this sequence variant; thus, the mutation was classified as “de novo”. Further survival analysis revealed that female patients appear to have a longer life expectancy compared with males. Our study may provide an effective approach for the genetic diagnosis of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
We propose a novel framework for large-scale maritime ship group surveillance using spaceborne optical imaging satellite data and Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) satellite data. Considering that the size of a ship is usually less than the distance between different ships for large-scale maritime surveillance, we treat each ship as a mass point and ship groups are modelled as point sets. Motivated by the observation that ship groups performing tactical or strategic operations often have a stable topology and their attributes remain unchanged, we combine both topological features and attributive features within the framework of Dempster-Shafer (D-S) theory for coherent ship group analysis. Our method has been tested using different sets of simulated data and recorded data. Experimental results demonstrate our method is robust and efficient for large-scale maritime surveillance.
Many countries are making increased efforts to improve marine security and safety and develop ship surveillance techniques to satisfy the increasing demands. Space-borne Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) delivers high performance day/night all weather capabilities and a space-based Automatic Identification System (AIS) can give near real time and global coverage. Limited by the development of sensors and data processing techniques, the integration of space-borne SAR and AIS has much to offer ship surveillance. State-of-the-art data fusion methods have generally provided satisfactory performance. However, in high-density shipping or high sea-states, performance quality is less assured. This paper firstly investigates improved data association methods. The association methods based on the position feature are improved, and multi-feature-based association methods are proposed. Then, ship identification and tracking by the integration of space-borne SAR and AIS are researched further. Multi-source data fusion strategy is also investigated. Finally, the discussion is presented and the future works are emphasized in the conclusion.
Ship surveillance is important for maritime security and safety. It plays important roles in many applications including ocean environment monitoring, search and rescue, anti-piracy and military reconnaissance. Among various sensors used for maritime surveillance, space-borne Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) is valued for its high resolution over wide swaths and all-weather working capabilities. However, the state-of-the-art algorithms for ship detection and identification do not always achieve a satisfactory performance. With the rapid development of space-borne Automatic Identification System (AIS), near real-time and global surveillance has become feasible. However, not all ships are equipped with or operate AIS. Space-borne SAR and AIS are considered to be complementary, and ship surveillance using an integrated combination has attracted much attention. In order to summarize the achievements and present references for further research, this paper attempts to explicitly review the developments in previous research as the basis of a brief introduction to space-borne SAR and AIS.
The world's demand of fuels for transportation has multiplied over the last decades due to the concurrent fast expansion of population, urbanization, and global mobility. The global transport sector is responsible for 28% of total final energy demand. The majority of the energy used in transportation – 70% – is utilized on the movement of passengers and goods on roads locally, nationally, and across regions. Transportation weighs heavily on climate, energy security, and environmental considerations, as 95% of transport energy comes from oil-based fuels. Transportation is the cause of other critical challenges due to its supporting role in local and global economies, as well as the implications of increasing transportation on human health and social interactions. The immense and multi-faceted challenges of a global transportation system deeply rooted in fossil fuels are compounded by the quickly evolving aspirations of a worldwide population that is increasingly on the move and has learned to regard mobility, in particular by motorized modes, as an important component of the modern lifestyle they have or are seeking to attain.
This chapter evaluates the roots of these challenges and outlines the options for a feasible major transformation of the global transportation system over the next 30–40 years. The goal of this transformation is the development of a robust path for the consolidation of transportation systems around the world that can deliver the mobility services needed to support growing economic and social activity while also creating the conditions for enhanced energy security, rigorous climate change mitigation, improved human health, better environment, and urban and social sustainability.
An energy resource is the first step in the chain that supplies energy services (for a definition of energy services, see Chapter 1). Energy services are largely ignorant of the particular resource that supplies them; however, often the infrastructures, technologies, and fuels along the delivery chain are highly dependent on a particular type of resource. The availability and costs of bringing energy resources to the market place are key determinants to affordable and accessible energy services.
Energy resources pose no inherent limitation to meeting the rapidly growing global energy demand as long as adequate upstream investment is forthcoming – for exhaustible resources in exploration, production technology, and capacity (mining and field development) and, by analogy, for renewables in conversion technologies.
Hydrocarbons and Nuclear
Occurrences of hydrocarbons and fissile materials in the Earth's crust are plentiful – yet they are finite. The extent of the ultimately recoverable oil, natural gas, coal, or uranium is the subject of numerous reviews, yet still the range of values in the literature is large (Table 7.1). For example, the range for conventional oil is between 4900 exajoules (EJ) for reserves to 13,700 EJ (reserves plus resources) – a range that sustains continued debate and controversy. The large range is the result of varying boundaries of what is included in the analysis of a finite stock of an exhaustible resource, e.g., conventional oil only or conventional oil plus unconventional occurrences, such as oil shale, tar sands, and extra-heavy oils.
In 2008 January the 24th Chinese expedition team successfully deployed the Chinese Small Telescope ARray (CSTAR) to Dome A, the highest point on the Antarctic plateau. CSTAR consists of four 14.5cm optical telescopes, each with a different filter (g, r, i and open) and has a 4.5°×4.5° field of view (FOV). Based on the CSTAR data, initial statistics of astronomical observational site quality and light curves of variable objects were obtained. To reach higher photometric quality, we are continuing to work to overcome the effects of uneven cirrus cloud cirrus, optical “ghosts” and intra-pixel sensitivity. The snow surface stability is also tested for further astronomical observational instrument and for glaciology studies.
A self-reinforced ultrahigh-temperature ceramic (UHTC) with elongated ZrB2 grains has been successfully densified by pressureless sintering using commercially available ZrB2, SiC, and WC powders as raw materials. Benefiting from the unique interlocking microstructure, this material had improved strength (518 ± 10 MPa) and higher fracture toughness (6.5 ± 0.2 MPa m1/2) compared to ZrB2–SiC ceramics prepared by pressureless sintering. This work provides a new route for tailoring the microstructure and mechanical properties of UHTCs.
High current pulsed electron beam (HCPEB) is a fairly new technique for surface modifications. The present contribution reviews some recent insights on the microstructure modifications encountered at the top surface of HCPEB treated (NiTi and FeAl) intermetallics. In particular, the potential of the technique for structure modifications associated with the use of the pulsed electron beam under “heating” and “melting” conditions is highlighted. The interesting surface modifications include the creation of an homogeneous protective layer under the melting mode while thermal stresses under the heating mode can induce surface hardening and stress enhanced rapid solid state alloying.
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