Excellence in Research and Innovation for Humanity

International Science Index

Commenced in January 1999 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Paper Count: 18

Environmental, Chemical, Ecological, Geological and Geophysical Engineering

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  • 18
    Investigation of Regional Differences in Strong Ground Motions for the Iranian Plateau

    Regional variations in strong ground motions for the Iranian Plateau have been investigated by using a simple statistical method called Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). In this respect, a large database consisting of 1157 records occurring within the Iranian Plateau with moment magnitudes of greater than or equal to 5 and Joyner-Boore distances up to 200 km has been considered. Geometric averages of horizontal peak ground accelerations (PGA) as well as 5% damped linear elastic response spectral accelerations (SA) at periods of 0.2, 0.5, 1.0, and 2.0 sec are used as strong motion parameters. The initial database is divided into two different datasets, for Northern Iran (NI) and Central and Southern Iran (CSI). The comparison between strong ground motions of these two regions reveals that there is no evidence for significant differences; therefore, data from these two regions may be combined to estimate the unknown coefficients of attenuation relationships.

    Discrete Element Modeling on Bearing Capacity Problems

    In this paper, the classical bearing capacity problem is re-considered from discrete element analysis. In the discrete element approach, the bearing capacity problem is considered from the elastic stage to plastic stage to rupture stage (large displacement). The bearing capacity failure mechanism of a strip footing on soil is investigated, and the influence of micro-parameters on the bearing capacity of soil is also observed. It is found that the distinct element method (DEM) gives very good visualized results, and basically coincides well with that derived by the classical methods.

    Expected Present Value of Losses in the Computation of Optimum Seismic Design Parameters

    An approach to compute optimum seismic design parameters is presented. It is based on the optimization of the expected present value of the total cost, which includes the initial cost of structures as well as the cost due to earthquakes. Different types of seismicity models are considered, including one for characteristic earthquakes. Uncertainties are included in some variables to observe the influence on optimum values. Optimum seismic design coefficients are computed for three different structural types representing high, medium and low rise buildings, located near and far from the seismic sources. Ordinary and important structures are considered in the analysis. The results of optimum values show an important influence of seismicity models as well as of uncertainties on the variables.

    Evaluation on Mechanical Stabilities of Clay-Sand Mixtures Used as Engineered Barrier for Radioactive Waste Disposal
    In this study, natural bentonite was used as natural clay material and samples were taken from the Kalecik district in Ankara. In this research, bentonite is the subject of an analysis from standpoint of assessing the basic properties of engineered barriers with respect to the buffer material. Bentonite and sand mixtures were prepared for tests. Some of clay minerals give relatively higher hydraulic conductivity and lower swelling pressure. Generally, hydraulic conductivity of these type clays is lower than <10-12 m/s. The hydraulic properties of clay-sand mixtures are evaluated to design engineered barrier specifications. Hydraulic conductivities of bentonite-sand mixture were found in the range of 1.2x10-10 to 9.3x10-10 m/s. Optimum B/S mixture ratio was determined as 35% in terms of hydraulic conductivity and mechanical stability. At the second stage of this study, all samples were compacted into cylindrical shape molds (diameter: 50 mm and length: 120 mm). The strength properties of compacted mixtures were better than the compacted bentonite. In addition, the larger content of the quartz sand in the mixture has the greater thermal conductivity.
    Comparison between Deterministic and Probabilistic Stability Analysis, Featuring Consequent Risk Assessment
    Slope stability analyses are largely carried out by deterministic methods and evaluated through a single security factor. Although it is known that the geotechnical parameters can present great dispersal, such analyses are considered fixed and known. The probabilistic methods, in turn, incorporate the variability of input key parameters (random variables), resulting in a range of values of safety factors, thus enabling the determination of the probability of failure, which is an essential parameter in the calculation of the risk (probability multiplied by the consequence of the event). Among the probabilistic methods, there are three frequently used methods in geotechnical society: FOSM (First-Order, Second-Moment), Rosenblueth (Point Estimates) and Monte Carlo. This paper presents a comparison between the results from deterministic and probabilistic analyses (FOSM method, Monte Carlo and Rosenblueth) applied to a hypothetical slope. The end was held to evaluate the behavior of the slope and consequent risk analysis, which is used to calculate the risk and analyze their mitigation and control solutions. It can be observed that the results obtained by the three probabilistic methods were quite close. It should be noticed that the calculation of the risk makes it possible to list the priority to the implementation of mitigation measures. Therefore, it is recommended to do a good assessment of the geological-geotechnical model incorporating the uncertainty in viability, design, construction, operation and closure by means of risk management. 
    NiO-CeO2 Nano-Catalyst for the Removal of Priority Organic Pollutants from Wastewater through Catalytic Wet Air Oxidation at Mild Conditions

    Catalytic wet air oxidation (CWAO) is normally carried out at elevated temperature and pressure. This work investigates the potential of NiO-CeO2 nano-catalyst in CWAO of paper industry wastewater under milder operating conditions of 90 °C and 1 atm. The NiO-CeO2 nano-catalysts were synthesized by a simple co-precipitation method and characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), before and after use, in order to study any crystallographic change during experiment. The extent of metal-leaching from the catalyst was determined using the inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES). The catalytic activity of nano-catalysts was studied in terms of total organic carbon (TOC), adsorbable organic halides (AOX) and chlorophenolics (CHPs) removal. Interestingly, mixed oxide catalysts exhibited higher activity than the corresponding single-metal oxides. The maximum removal efficiency was achieved with Ce40Ni60 catalyst. The results indicate that the CWAO process is efficient in removing the priority organic pollutants from wastewater, as it exhibited up to 59% TOC, 55% AOX, and 54 % CHPs removal.

    Wind Power Assessment for Turkey and Evaluation by APLUS Code

    Energy is a fundamental component in economic development and energy consumption is an index of prosperity and the standard of living. The consumption of energy per capita has increased significantly over the last decades, as the standard of living has improved. Turkey’s geographical location has several advantages for extensive use of wind power. Among the renewable sources, Turkey has very high wind energy potential. Information such as installation capacity of wind power plants in installation, under construction and license stages in the country are reported in detail. Some suggestions are presented in order to increase the wind power installation capacity of Turkey. Turkey’s economic and social development has led to a massive increase in demand for electricity over the last decades. Since the Turkey has no major oil or gas reserves, it is highly dependent on energy imports and is exposed to energy insecurity in the future. But Turkey does have huge potential for renewable energy utilization. There has been a huge growth in the construction of wind power plants and small hydropower plants in recent years. To meet the growing energy demand, the Turkish Government has adopted incentives for investments in renewable energy production. Wind energy investments evaluated the impact of feed-in tariffs (FIT) based on three scenarios that are optimistic, realistic and pessimistic with APLUS software that is developed for rational evaluation for energy market. Results of the three scenarios are evaluated in the view of electricity market for Turkey.

    Soil Remediation Technologies towards Green Remediation Strategies

    As a result of diverse industrial activities, pollution from numerous contaminant affects both groundwater and soils. Many contaminated sites have been discovered in industrialized countries and their remediation is a priority in environmental legislations. The aim of this paper is to provide the evolution of remediation from consolidated invasive technologies to environmental friendly green strategies. Many clean-up technologies have been used. Nowadays the technologies selection is no longer exclusively based on eliminating the source of pollution, but the aim of remediation includes also the recovery of soil quality. “Green remediation”, a strategy based on “soft technologies”, appears the key to tackle the issue of remediation of contaminated sites with the greatest attention to environmental quality, including the preservation of soil functionality.

    Analysis of Trend and Variability of Rainfall in the Mid-Mahanadi River Basin of Eastern India

    The major objective of this study was to analyze the trend and variability of rainfall in the middle Mahandi river basin located in eastern India. The trend of variation of extreme rainfall events has predominant effect on agricultural water management and extreme hydrological events such as floods and droughts. Mahanadi river basin is one of the major river basins of India having an area of 1,41,589 km2 and divided into three regions: Upper, middle and delta region. The middle region of Mahanadi river basin has an area of 48,700 km2 and it is mostly dominated by agricultural land, where agriculture is mostly rainfed. The study region has five Agro-climatic zones namely: East and South Eastern Coastal Plain, North Eastern Ghat, Western Undulating Zone, Western Central Table Land and Mid Central Table Land, which were numbered as zones 1 to 5 respectively for convenience in reporting. In the present study, analysis of variability and trends of annual, seasonal, and monthly rainfall was carried out, using the daily rainfall data collected from the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) for 35 years (1979-2013) for the 5 agro-climatic zones. The long term variability of rainfall was investigated by evaluating the mean, standard deviation and coefficient of variation. The long term trend of rainfall was analyzed using the Mann-Kendall test on monthly, seasonal and annual time scales. It was found that there is a decreasing trend in the rainfall during the winter and pre monsoon seasons for zones 2, 3 and 4; whereas in the monsoon (rainy) season there is an increasing trend for zones 1, 4 and 5 with a level of significance ranging between 90-95%. On the other hand, the mean annual rainfall has an increasing trend at 99% significance level. The estimated seasonality index showed that the rainfall distribution is asymmetric and distributed over 3-4 months period. The study will help to understand the spatio-temporal variation of rainfall and to determine the correlation between the current rainfall trend and climate change scenario of the study region for multifarious use.

    Effects of Different Meteorological Variables on Reference Evapotranspiration Modeling: Application of Principal Component Analysis

    The correct estimation of reference evapotranspiration (ETₒ) is required for effective irrigation water resources planning and management. However, there are some variables that must be considered while estimating and modeling ETₒ. This study therefore determines the multivariate analysis of correlated variables involved in the estimation and modeling of ETₒ at Vaalharts irrigation scheme (VIS) in South Africa using Principal Component Analysis (PCA) technique. Weather and meteorological data between 1994 and 2014 were obtained both from South African Weather Service (SAWS) and Agricultural Research Council (ARC) in South Africa for this study. Average monthly data of minimum and maximum temperature (°C), rainfall (mm), relative humidity (%), and wind speed (m/s) were the inputs to the PCA-based model, while ETₒ is the output. PCA technique was adopted to extract the most important information from the dataset and also to analyze the relationship between the five variables and ETₒ. This is to determine the most significant variables affecting ETₒ estimation at VIS. From the model performances, two principal components with a variance of 82.7% were retained after the eigenvector extraction. The results of the two principal components were compared and the model output shows that minimum temperature, maximum temperature and windspeed are the most important variables in ETₒ estimation and modeling at VIS. In order words, ETₒ increases with temperature and windspeed. Other variables such as rainfall and relative humidity are less important and cannot be used to provide enough information about ETₒ estimation at VIS. The outcome of this study has helped to reduce input variable dimensionality from five to the three most significant variables in ETₒ modelling at VIS, South Africa.

    Changes in Fish and Shellfish in Thondamanaru Lagoon, Jaffna, Sri Lanka

    Current study was conducted for one year from June 2014 to May 2015, with an objective of identification of fish and shellfish diversity in the Thondamanaru lagoon ecosystem. In this study, 11 species were identified from Thondamanaru lagoon, Jaffna, Sri Lanka. There are four fishes, Chanos chanos, Hemirhamphus sp., Nematalosa sp. and Mugil cephalus and seven shell fishes, Penaeus indicus, Penaeus monodon, Penaeus latisulcatus, Penaeus semisulcatus, Metapenaeus monoceros, Portunus pelagicus and Scylla serrata. Species composition of Mugil cephalus, Penaeus indicus and Metapenaeus monoceros was high during rainy seasons. However, lagoon is being subjected to adverse environmental conditions that threaten its fish and shellfish biodiversity due to lack of saline water availability and changes in rainfall pattern.

    Exploring the Physical Environment and Building Features in Earthquake Disaster Areas
    Earthquake is an unpredictable natural disaster and intensive earthquakes have caused serious impacts on social-economic system, environmental and social resilience. Conventional ways to mitigate earthquake disaster are to enhance building codes and advance structural engineering measures. However, earthquake-induced ground damage such as liquefaction, land subsidence, landslide happen on places nearby earthquake prone or poor soil condition areas. Therefore, this study uses spatial statistical analysis to explore the spatial pattern of damaged buildings. Afterwards, principle components analysis (PCA) is applied to categorize the similar features in different kinds of clustered patterns. The results show that serious landslide prone area, close to fault, vegetated ground surface and mudslide prone area are common in those highly damaged buildings. In addition, the oldest building might not be directly referred to the most vulnerable one. In fact, it seems that buildings built between 1974 and 1989 become more fragile during the earthquake. The incorporation of both spatial statistical analyses and PCA can provide more accurate information to subsidize retrofit programs to enhance earthquake resistance in particular areas.
    Modelling Forest Fire Risk in the Goaso Forest Area of Ghana: Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems Approach

    Forest fire, which is, an uncontrolled fire occurring in nature has become a major concern for the Forestry Commission of Ghana (FCG). The forest fires in Ghana usually result in massive destruction and take a long time for the firefighting crews to gain control over the situation. In order to assess the effect of forest fire at local scale, it is important to consider the role fire plays in vegetation composition, biodiversity, soil erosion, and the hydrological cycle. The occurrence, frequency and behaviour of forest fires vary over time and space, primarily as a result of the complicated influences of changes in land use, vegetation composition, fire suppression efforts, and other indigenous factors. One of the forest zones in Ghana with a high level of vegetation stress is the Goaso forest area. The area has experienced changes in its traditional land use such as hunting, charcoal production, inefficient logging practices and rural abandonment patterns. These factors which were identified as major causes of forest fire, have recently modified the incidence of fire in the Goaso area. In spite of the incidence of forest fires in the Goaso forest area, most of the forest services do not provide a cartographic representation of the burned areas. This has resulted in significant amount of information being required by the firefighting unit of the FCG to understand fire risk factors and its spatial effects. This study uses Remote Sensing and Geographic Information System techniques to develop a fire risk hazard model using the Goaso Forest Area (GFA) as a case study. From the results of the study, natural forest, agricultural lands and plantation cover types were identified as the major fuel contributing loads. However, water bodies, roads and settlements were identified as minor fuel contributing loads. Based on the major and minor fuel contributing loads, a forest fire risk hazard model with a reasonable accuracy has been developed for the GFA to assist decision making.

    Petro-Mineralogical Studies of Phosphorite Deposit of Sallopat Block of Banswara District, Rajasthan, India

    The Paleoproterozoic phosphorite deposit of Sallopat block of Banswara district of Rajasthan belongs to kalinjara formation of lunavada group of Aravalli Super Group. The phosphorites are found to occur as massive, brecciated, laminated and stromatolitic associated with calcareous quartzite, interbedded dolomite and multi coloured chert. The phosphorites are showing alternate brown and grey coloured concentric rims which are composed of phosphate, calcite and quartz minerals. Petro-mineralogical studies of phosphorite samples using petrological microscope, XRD, FEG- SEM and EDX reveal that apatite-(CaF) and apatite-(CaOH) are phosphate minerals which are intermixed with minor amount of carbonate materials. Sporadic findings of the uniform tiny granules of partially anisotropic apatite-(CaF) along with dolomite, calcite, quartz, muscovite, zeolite and other gangue minerals have been observed with the replacement of phosphate material by quartz and carbonate. The presence of microbial filaments of organic matter and alternate concentric rims of stromatolitic structure may suggest that the deposition of the phosphate took place in shallow marine oxidizing environmental conditions leading to the formation of phosphorite layers as primary biogenic precipitates by bacterial or algal activities. Different forms and texture of phosphate minerals may be due to environmental vicissitudes at the time of deposition followed by some replacement processes and biogenic activities.

    Assessment of Heavy Metal Concentrations in Tunas Caught from Lakshweep Islands, India

    The toxic metal contamination and their biomagnification in marine fishes is a serious public health concern specially, in the coastal areas and the small islands. In the present study, concentration of toxic heavy metals like zinc (Zn), cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb), nickel (Ni), cobalt (Co), chromium (Cr) and mercury (Hg) were determined in the tissues of tunas (T. albacores) caught from the area near to Lakshdweep Islands. The heavy metals are one of the indicators for the marine water pollution. Geochemical weathering, industrialization, agriculture run off, fishing, shipping and oil spills are the major pollutants. The presence of heavy toxic metals in the near coastal water fishes at both western coast and eastern coast of India has been well established. The present study was conducted assuming that the distant island will not have the metals presence in a way it is at the near main land coast. However, our study shows that there is a significant amount of the toxic metals present in the tissues of tuna samples. The gill, lever and flash samples were collected in waters around Lakshdweep Islands. They were analyzed using ICP–AES for the toxic metals after microwave digestion. The concentrations of the toxic metals were found in all fish samples and the general trend of presence was in decreasing order as Zn > Al > Cd > Pb > Cr > Ni > Hg. The amount of metals was found to higher in fish having more weight.

    Concentrations and History of Heavy Metals in Sediment Cores: Geochemistry and Geochronology Using 210Pb

    This paper aims at assessing the concentrations of heavy metals and the isotopic composition of lead 210Pb in different fractions of sediment produced in the watershed that makes up the Mãe d'água dam and thus characterizing the distribution of metals along the sedimentary column and inferencing in the urbanization of the same process. Sample collection was carried out in June 2014; eight sediment cores were sampled in the lake of the dam. For extraction of the sediments core, a core sampler “Piston Core” was used. The trace metal concentrations were determined by conventional atomic absorption spectrophotometric methods. The samples were subjected to radiochemical analysis of 210Po. 210Pb activity was obtained by measuring 210Po activity. The chronology was calculated using the constant rate of supply (CRS). 210Pb is used to estimate the sedimentation rate.

    Development of Sustainable Farming Compartment with Treated Wastewater in Abu Dhabi
    The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is significantly dependent on desalinated water and groundwater resource, which is expensive and highly energy intensive. Despite the scarce water resource, stagnates only 54% of the recycled water was reused in 2012, and due to the lack of infrastructure to reuse the recycled water, the portion is expected to decrease with growing water usage. In this study, an “Oasis” complex comprised of Sustainable Farming Compartments (SFC) was proposed for reusing treated wastewater. The wastewater is used to decrease the ambient temperature of the SFC via an evaporative cooler. The SFC prototype was designed, built, and tested in an environmentally controlled laboratory and field site to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of the SFC subjected to various climatic conditions in Abu Dhabi. Based on the experimental results, the temperature drop achieved in the SFC in the laboratory and field site were5 ̊C from 22 ̊C and 7- 15 ̊C (from 33-45 ̊C to average 28 ̊C at relative humidity < 50%), respectively. An energy simulation using TRNSYS was performed to extend and validate the results obtained from the experiment. The results from the energy simulation and experiments show statistically close agreement. The total power consumption of the SFC system was approximately three and a half times lower than that of an electrical air conditioner. Therefore, by using treated wastewater, the SFC has a promising prospect to solve Abu Dhabi’s ecological concern related to desertification and wind erosion.
    Assessing the Viability of Solar Water Pumps Economically, Socially and Environmentally in Soan Valley, Punjab
    One of the key solutions to the climate change crisis is to develop renewable energy resources, such as solar and wind power and biogas. This paper explores the socioeconomic and environmental viability of solar energy, based on a case study of the Soan Valley Development Program. Under this project, local farmers were provided solar water pumps at subsidized rates. These have been functional for the last seven years and have gained popularity among the local communities. The study measures the economic viability of using solar energy in agriculture, based on data from 36 households, of which 12 households each use diesel, electric and solar water pumps. Our findings are based on the net present value of each technology type. We also carry out a qualitative assessment of the social impact of solar water pumps relative to diesel and electric pumps. Finally, we conduct an environmental impact assessment, using the lifecycle assessment approach. All three analyses indicate that solar energy is a viable alternative to diesel and electricity.