Our continuing interest in anthraquinones from the Guttiferae family has led us to look at the genus Cratoxylum. A detailed chemical study on Cratoxylum aborescens resulted in the isolation of three anthraquinones, namely 1,8-dihydroxy-3-methoxy-6-methylanthraquinone (1), vismiaquinone (2) and vismione (3). These compounds were identified using 1D and 2D NMR spectroscopy. This is the first report on the chemistry of Cratoxylum aborescens.
Aquaculture is a growing industry with a great potential towards the contribution of the country’s total
fish requirement. Serious efforts have been done to develop and improve the production of fish by rearing high value fish in tanks or ponds. Under the Third National Agricultural Policy (1998-2010), the target is to annually produce 1.93 million tonnes of fish worth approximately RM8.3 billion by the year 2010. Consequently, the development of an automatic fish feeding machine can be very beneficial to the growth of the aquaculture industry. This device was developed to overcome labour problems in the industry and introduce a semi-automatic process in the aquaculture industry. It has the ability to dispense dried fish food in various forms such as pellets, sticks, tablets or granules into fish tanks or ponds in a controlled manner for a stipulated time. The automatic fish feeder is controlled by a digital timer and it is capable of feeding the fish in accordance with a pre-determined time schedule without the presence of an operator, and at a feeding rate of 250g/min. The feeder can be adjusted to the desired height and conveniently moved around to be positioned adjacent to the pond or tank. Meanwhile, its hopper can be covered and easily dissembled to change the size of the hopper to accommodate different capacities of feed. This automatic fish feeder can be implemented in aquaculture system to convenience to fish culturists.
Natural ventilation is defined as the number of air exchanges per hour per unit floor area necessary
to reduce high indoor air temperature and humidity. In addition, it maintains the concentration of carbon dioxide. Natural ventilation is preferred in mechanical system as the ventilation opening is built into the greenhouse, with lower construction cost and no energy and maintenance inputs are required. A mathematical model to quantify natural ventilation rates was developed and verified in large-scale greenhouse structures. For this purpose, four Naturally Ventilated Tropical Greenhouse Structures were designed and constructed at the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI). These were single, double, triple, and quadruple span structures with floor areas of 500 m2, 1000 m2, 1500 m2 and 2000 m2, respectively. This paper presents the validation of a mathematical model which was developed to quantify natural ventilation rates which are very crucial to reduce high in-house temperature built up in the tropics. Regression equations of natural ventilation against wind speed were found to be Φw = 0.0632V, Φw= 0.0395V, Φw= 0.0316Vand Φw=0.0276V for the single, double, triple and quadruple spans, respectively. Meanwhile, coefficients of determination showed strong relationships between ventilation rate and wind speed, with R2 = 0.9999 for all structures. Larger floor area was found to have higher in-house temperature than smaller ones. Ventilation rate inside the single-span structure was found to be higher compared to the multi-span structures, which increased linearly with the increasing wind speed at the eaves of structure.
The present conventional (destructive) method used in determining LAI is laborious, difficult and time consuming. Thus, an image-based measurement using camera system with fish eye lens offers an alternative means for an accurate indirect measurement of LAI in oil palm. In this study, a methodology was developed to improve the leaf area index of the oil palm determination using hemispherical photography as an indirect method. A set of true LAI data, collected using the destructive method, were used as a reference to calibrate the LAI measurements obtained by the hemispherical photography. A good relationship (r = 0.85) was found between age of palm and hemispherical photographic LAI. However, the estimated LAI obtained by the hemispherical photographic method was underestimated as compared to the destructive method. Some means of calibration was necessary to determine the relationship between the actual LAI and the hemispherical photographic LAI. It was necessary to multiply the LAI value from 5 years to 16 years, by a clumping factor of 2.14 for 5 to 9 year old palms, 2.33 for 10 to 14-year old palms and 2.37 for above 15- year old palms to calculate the accurate LAI values. For palms which are less than 5 year old (i.e. 2 to 3 years in this study), the photography LAI value was equal to the calculated LAI value. This proposed that correction factors would solve this underestimation effect. In addition, two equations were also proposed to estimate the true LAI from the Photographic LAI for immature and mature oil palm plantation.
Proper integrated management of a dam reservoir requires that all components of the water resource system be known. One of these components is the daily reservoir inflow which is the subject matter of this study, i.e. to establish predictions of what is coming in the next rainfall-runoff process over a catchment. The transformation of rainfall into runoff is an extremely complex, dynamic, and more of a non-linear process. The available six-year average daily rainfall data across the Sembrong dam catchment were computed using the well-known Theissen’s polygon method. Daily reservoir inflow data were extracted by applying the water balance model to the Sembrong dam reservoir. Modelling of relationship between rainfall and reservoir inflow data was done using feed-forward back-propagation neural networks. The final selected model has one hidden layer with 11 neurons in the hidden layer. The selected model was applied for an independent data series testing. Results in relation to specific climatic and hydrologic properties of a small tropical catchment suggested that the model is suitable to be used in forecasting the next day’s reservoir inflow. The efficiencies of the model Abtained indicated the validity of using the neural network for modelling reservoir inflow series.
Epoxidised Natural Rubber (ENR) is now a commercially available polymer produced by chemical modification of natural rubber. Currently, three types of ENR are commercially available, and these are ENR 10, ENR 25, and ENR 50 with 10%, 25%, and 50% mol epoxidation, respectively. Studies on prevulcanisation of ENR 50 and postvulcanisation of the latex films were carried out. The objective of this study was to develop ENR 50 that could be dipped easily in coagulant dipping solution to produce dipped products. Several attempts were made by compounding prevulcanised ENR 50 at various sulphur levels ranging from 0.5 to 3.0 pphr. Using suitable coagulant dipping systems, ENR 50 film could be formed despite the high contents of non-ionic surfactant. It was found that the tensile strength of prevulcanised ENR 50 film decreased with the increase in the sulphur level. The results show that as level of sulphur increased, M300 also increased to an optimum value of 1.5 pphr of sulphur. For the postvulcanised ENR 50 film, however, the tensile strength increased and then decreased with the increasing sulphur level. Meanwhile M300 increased with the increasing postvulcanization time and sulphur level. The postvulcanisation of ENR 50 film seems to be a more effective way of increasing tensile properties than by prevulcanisation of ENR 50.
The effect of polypropylene maleic anhydride (PPMAH) on tensile properties and morphology of polypropylene (PP)/recycled acrylonitrile butadiene rubber (NBRr)/ rice husk powder (RHP) composites has been studied. The composites were prepared through melt mixing at 180ºC for 9 minutes using 50 rpm rotor speed. The specimens were analyzed using different techniques, namely tensile test and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). The results obtained showed that the tensile strength and Young’s modulus of the modified composites were increased, while the elongation at break showed the opposite trend as compared with the unmodified composites. The morphology results support the tensile properties and these indicated a better interaction between the filler and matrix with the presence of PPMAH as a compatibilizer.
Ocean sediments give information on the paleoclimatic evolution in the geological past which gives detailed information on both the age of the sediments and both paleoceanographic and paleoclimatic conditions during sedimentation. One possible way to date sediments is with 210Pb method which can be used to date sediments up to 100 years. In this study, two core samples labelled as JB15 and JB17 were collected using pledging corer, analysed and measured for the activity of 209Po and 210Po using the alpha spectrometer. Applying the methods, average sedimentation rates for JB15 and JB17 were calculated as 0.38 cmyr-1 and 0.43 cmyr-1, respectively. Assuming that the sedimentation rate values are accurate, this might imply that the sediments at the depth of 30 cm were deposited 70 years ago.
Stone Mastic Asphalt (SMA) is one type of asphalt mixture which is highly dependent on the method
of compaction as compared to conventional Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) mixture. A suitable laboratory compaction method which can closely simulate field compaction is evidently needed as future trend
in asphalt pavement industry all over the world is gradually changing over to the SMA due to its excellent performance characteristics. This study was conducted to evaluate the SMA slab mixtures compacted using a newly developed Turamesin roller compactor, designed to cater for laboratory compaction in field simulation conditions. As the newly developed compaction device, there is a need for evaluating the compacted slab dimensions (which include length, width, and thickness), analyzing the consistency of the measured parameters to verify the homogeneity of the compacted slabs and determining the reliability of Turamesin. A total of 15 slabs from three different types of asphalt mixtures were compacted, measured, and analyzed for their consistencies in terms of length, width, and thickness. Based on study the conducted, the compacted slabs were found to have problems in terms of the improperly compacted section of about 30 mm length at both ends of the slabs and the differences in the thickness between left- and right-side of the slab which were due to unequal load distribution from the roller compactor. The results obtained from this study have led to the development of Turamesin as an improved laboratory compaction device.
A series of batch laboratory studies were conducted to investigate the suitability of activated carbon SA2 for the removal of cadmium ions and zinc ions from their aqueous solutions. The single component equilibrium data were analyzed using the Langmuir and Freundlich isotherms. Overall, the Langmuir isotherm showed a better fitting for all adsorptions under investigation in terms of correlation coefficient and error analysis (SSE only 18.2 for Cd2+ and 47.95 for Zn2+). As the binary adsorption is competitive, extended Langmuir models could not predict the binary component isotherm well. The modified extended Langmuir models were used to fit the binary system equilibrium data. The binary isotherm data could be described reasonably well by the modified
extended Langmuir model, as indicated in the error analysis.
Experiments were conducted to determine the field and economic performances of machines and techniques for crop establishment in lowland paddy in Bangladesh. In machine seeded field, the crops were grown in rows to allow the operation of rotary type weeder for weed control. In hand broadcasted field, crops were not arranged in rows and weed control operation was therefore done through traditional means. Results obtained showed that the effect of rice seeding techniques, using pre-germinated rice seed of BR-1 variety on the effective field capacity, was highly significant. The work rate of hand broadcasting was found to be one to one and a half times faster than that of seeding by manually driven drum type row seeder. Field efficiency of hand broadcasting was about 90 percent, and this was found to be significantly higher than those of machine seeding which ranged from 70-80 percent at both seed rates, since no time was lost in turning. BRRI modified drum type row seeder, with a seeding rate of 60 kg/ha, was shown to be better for an optimum crop yield. Based on partial budget analysis, a farmer can save about US$53.34 per hectare in a year using the BRRI modified drum type row seeder, followed by a rotary weeder as compared to hand seeding, followed by hand weeding.
Dielectric properties of natural rubber Hevea brasiliensis latex were measured at frequencies 0.2 to 20 GHz, at temperatures of 2, 15, 25, 35, and 50oC and around 30-98% moisture content. Measurements were done using open-ended coaxial line sensor and automated network analyzer. As expected, results showed that dielectric constant increased with increasing moisture. From 0.2 to 2.6 GHz, the losses were governed by conductive losses but for frequencies greater than 2.6 GHz, these were mainly due to dipolar losses. The former is due to conducting phases in hevea latex, while the latter is mainly governed by the orientation of water molecules. The results were analyzed at 2.6, 10, and 18 GHz, respectively. These were then compared with the values predicted by the dielectric mixture equations recommended by Weiner, Bruggeman and Kraszewski. All the measured values were found to be within the Weiner’s boundaries and close to the upper limit of Weiner’s model. It is also close to the predicted values of Bruggeman’s model with a/b = 0.1. All the models including Kraszewski are suitable for predicting the dielectric properties of hevea latex for frequencies 2.6 to 18 GHz, moisture content 30 to 98% and temperatures 2 to 50oC.
In this paper, a new method known as Grid Base Classifier was proposed. This method carries the advantages of the two previous methods in order to improve the classification tasks. The problem with the current lazy algorithms is that they learn quickly, but classify very slowly. On the other hand, the eager algorithms classify quickly, but they learn very slowly. The two algorithms were compared, and the proposed algorithm was found to be able to both learn and classify quickly. The method was developed based on the grid structure which was done to create a powerful method for classification. In the current research, the new algorithm was tested and applied to the multiclass classification of two or more categories, which are important for handling problems related to practical classification. The new method was also compared with the Levenberg-Marquardt back-propagation neural network in the learning stage and the Condensed nearest neighbour in the generalization stage to examine the performance of the model. The results from the artificial and real-world data sets (from UCI Repository) showed that the new method could improve both the efficiency and accuracy of pattern classification.
Academic and corporate interest in sustainable product and process development has risen considerably
in recent years. This can be seen by the number of papers published and in particular by special issued of journals. This paper reports the results of a review of published peer-reviewed literature from 1987 to 2012 to provide an up-to-date picture of sustainability and sustainable assessment. A structured methodology is followed to narrow down the search from around 3500 papers to 111. A variety of different sustainability assessment methodologies are reviewed in two classified research areas: product sustainability assessment and process sustainability assessment. In presenting a detailed taxonomy of product and process sustainability assessment methods, the paper also outlines the advantages and weaknesses of the sustainability assessment methods. The review sheds light on the weak points of current research in this area. The paper also highlights several key issues which have to be taken into account in attempting to develop a product or process sustainability assessment research paradigm for future applications in manufacturing systems.
The present investigation deals with the development of ethanol-vapour-sensing materials coated with the semiconducting oxide TiO2. Thick films of anatase TiO2 were deposited using the sol-gel dip-coating technique on alumina substrates by conventional alkoxide sol and modified sol added with Degussa P-25 as the sensing medium. It was shown that crystallised TiO2 anatase was obtained at the annealing temperature of 500oC. The fabricated TiO2 sensors exhibited highest sensitivity at the sensing temperature of 350 ºC. Sensitivity towards the ethanol vapour was further increased with UV light effect. The enhancement of the sensitivity of the modified catalytic pellet can be explained by the crystallite of anatase TiO2 and the effect of the photocatalytic of TiO2. The high sensitivity of the TiO2 film deposited with modified sol revealed that the modified sol could be a new alternative in the development of a TiO2 ethanol sensor.
Tailing sand is the residue mineral from tin extraction that contains between 94% and 99.5% silica, which can be used as moulding sand. It is found in abundance in the Kinta Valley in the state of Perak, Malaysia. Adequate water content and clay in moulding sand are important factors for better strength and
casting quality of products made from tailing sand. Samples of tailing sand were investigated according
to the American Foundrymen Society (AFS) standard. Cylindrical test pieces of Ø50 mm×50 mm in height from various sand-water ratios were compacted by applying three ramming blows of 6666g each using a Ridsdale-Dietert metric standard rammer. The specimens were tested for green compression strength using a Ridsdale-Dietert universal sand strength machine. Before the tests were conducted, moisture content of the tailing sand was measured using a moisture analyser. A mixture bonded with 8% clay possesses higher green compression strength compared to samples bonded with 4% clay. The results also show that in order to achieve maximum green compression strength, the optimum allowable moisture content for mixtures bonded with 8% clay is ranged between 3.75 and 6.5% and for mixtures bonded with 4% clay is 3-5.5%.
Thermal characterization of sugar palm fibre (SPF), reinforced high impact polystyrene (HIPS)
composites, was studied by means of thermogravimetric analysis. The effects of alkaline treatment and compatibilizing agent on the thermal stability of the composites were evaluated. Alkaline treatment was carried out by soaking the fibres in 4 and 6% of NaOH solution, while treatment with compatibilizing agent was employed by adding 2 and 3% maleic anhydride-graft-polystyrene (MA-g-PS) to the composites. Both the treatments were aimed to improve the mechanical performance of the composites. From the study, the thermal stability of the treated composites was found to be higher than that of untreated composites. It is shown that the incorporation of sugar palm fibre influences the degree of thermal stability of the composites. The treatments on composites also contributed to shifting the peak temperature of degradation of the composites. In other words, there are strong chemical reactions between the components of the treated composites. The thermal stability of the composites, with alkaline treatment and compatibilizing agent, was found to be better as compared to those of the untreated composites.
A biodegradable composite (PLA/KBF blends) was prepared using melt blending technique in a brabender mixer and characterized with FTIR and TGA analyzer. Five percent of triacetin and glycerol contents were used as plasticizers to plasticise PLA matrix. KBF was treated with 4% NaOH solution, while 30 wt% of fibre loading was used constantly for all the composite samples. From the FTIR analysis, the additions of triacetin and glycerol to PLA composites did not produce any significant difference, and there were no chemical changes in both the plasticized PLA with the treated and untreated KBF, respectively. Observation done on the TGA analysis revealed that both plasticizers did improve the thermal stability of the composites, and this might be due to the modification on the fibre surfaces, which further led to the delay in the degradation of the PLA matrix and to significant stabilization effect.
Multi-feature methods are able to contribute to a more effective method compared to single-feature
methods since feature fusion methods will be able to close the gap that exists in the single-feature
methods. This paper presents a feature fusion method, which focuses on extracting colour and shape features for content-based image retrieval (CBIR). The colour feature is extracted based on the proposed Multi-resolution Joint Auto Correlograms (MJAC), while the shape information is obtained through the proposed Extended Generalised Ridgelet-Fourier (EGRF). These features are fused together through a proposed integrated scheme. The feature fusion method has been tested on the SIMPLIcity image database, where several retrieval measurements are utilised to compare the effectiveness of the proposed method with few other comparable methods. The retrieval results show that the proposed Integrated Colour-shape (ICS) descriptor has successfully obtained the best overall retrieval performance in all the retrieval measurements as compared to the benchmark methods, which include precision (53.50%), precision at 11 standard recall levels (52.48%), and rank (17.40).
This study demonstrated the utilization of radiation-induced initiator methods for the formation of
nanoparticles of Acrylated Palm Oil (APO) using aqueous Pluronic F-127 (PF-127) microemulsion
system. This microemulsion system was subjected to gamma irradiation to form the crosslinked APO
nanoparticles. Dynamic light scattering (DLS), Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy and
Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) were used to characterize the size and the chemical structure
of the nanoparticles. As a result, the size of the APO nanoparticle was decreased when the irradiation
dose increased. The decrease in size might be due to the effects of intermolecular crosslinking and
intramolecular crosslinking reactions of the APO nanoparticles during irradiation process. The size of the
nanoparticle is in the range of 98 to 200 nanometer (nm) after irradiation using gamma irradiator. This radiation-induced method provides a free initiator
induced and easy to control process as compared
to the classical or chemical initiator process. The
study has shown that radiation-induced initiator
methods, namely, polymerization and crosslinking
in the microemulsion, were promising for the
synthesis of nanoparticles.