The application of computer and machines for agricultural production has been one of the outstanding
developments in Malaysian agriculture, especially in overcoming labour shortages in Oil Palm plantations. The on-line automated weedicide sprayer system was developed at Universiti Putra
Malaysia to locate the existence and intensity of weeds in real-time environment and to spray the
weedicides automatically and precisely. During the start of the spraying operation, the web camera
will initially capture the image of weeds. The computer programme will compute the red, green, blue (RGB) values in the form of computer pixel. These values will be used as reference RGB values to be compared with the RGB values of the weeds captured real-time during the spraying operation. The sprayer nozzle will be turned ‘on’ or ‘off’, depending on the percentage or intensity of the green colour pixel value of weeds. The sprayer valve will open the nozzle/s when the camera detected the presence of weeds. The purpose is to reduce wastage, reduce labour, reduce cost, and control environment hazard.
At least 6 million deaths occurred worldwide are due to cancer and this figure is expected to rise to
15 millions by the year 2020. Colorectal cancer is among the most commonly occurring cancers
both globally and in Malaysia. Numerous studies have shown significant relationships between
various dietary components and the risks for colorectal cancer. Meanwhile, several theories have
been suggested as etiological explanations, one of which is the influence of dietary factors on the
cell proliferation rate. A higher cell proliferation rate is statistically associated with increased risk
of colorectal cancer. However, evidence of a significant relationship between diet and colorectal
adenomas, a potential precursor for colorectal cancer, remains insufficient. Colorectal adenomas or
polyps are vital in their relationship with colorectal cancers as almost 70% of all colorectal cancers
are developed from these polyps. Studying the modifiable risk factors related to polyps will provide
an opportunity for the prevention of colorectal cancer even before it develops. This paper reviews
the available evidence linking dietary factors with the risk for colorectal adenomas. As the numbers
of published studies are limited, of which most are concentrated in Western countries, there is a
need for epidemiological studies in Malaysia to strengthen the evidence of a relationship between
diet and colorectal adenomas.
Two different supercapacitor configurations were fabricated using coconut shell-based activated
carbon. Results for cyclic voltammetry (CV), electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), and charge-discharge measurements are presented and discussed for both configurations. The results show that coconut shell-based activated carbon is viable economical alternative electrode material to expensive activated carbon (AC) and carbon nano tubes (CNT). Meanwhile, the calculations from the charge-discharge characteristics show that the disk-shape supercapacitor, with 10% polyvinylidene fluoride binder (PVdF), has the highest specific capacitance (70F/g). Thus, the testing shows that the flat-laminated super-capacitor with 10% binder (PVdF) has the lowest (10.1ohms). Sources of high equivalent series resistance (ESR) are proposed and methods of reducing it are also discussed in this paper.
Redox polymerization of acrylonitrile (AN) with ethyl acrylate (EA) and fumaronitrile (FN), as comonomer and termonomer respectively, were carried out using sodium bisulfite (SBS) and potassium persulphate (KPS) as initiators at 40°C. The actual composition of monomers in copolymers and terpolymers has been characterized by gas chromatography (GC). The effects of EA and FN on the glass transition temperature (Tg) and stabilization temperature have been studied by Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC). The degradation behaviour and char yield were obtained by thermogravimetric analysis. Meanwhile, incorporation of 10 mol% of EA in homoPAN system was found to greatly reduce Tg to 66°C as compared to that of the homoPAN (Tg=105°C). The initial cyclization temperature (Ti) was found to be higher (264°C) in comparison to that of homoPAN (246°C). In addition, the incorporation of EA was also shown to reduce the char yield of copolymer to 40%. When FN was incorporated as termonomer, the char yield of poly(AN/EA/ FN) 90/4/6 increased up to 44% after the heat treatment with the lowest Ti (241°C).
Polyethylene is a widely used packaging material, but its non-biodegradable nature can lead to waste
disposal problems. This increases the concern in research and development of biodegradable plastics from natural resource as alternatives to petroleum-derived plastics. In this study, biodegradable plastic composites were prepared by blending thermoplastic starch with natural rubber in the present of glycerol as plasticizer. Local sago starch was cast with 0.5 to 10% of natural rubber to prepare the bioplastic. The products were characterized by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), water absorption test, biodegradable test, hydrolysis test, and mechanical analysis. Meanwhile, composite with natural rubber latex was increased from 0.5 to 10% showing that the melting temperature is in the range of 120 to 150˚C, but with no significant difference. The water absorption characteristics, biodegradability, and tensile strength decreased by 11.21%, 30.18%, and 20.733 MPa, respectively. However, the elongation at break was increased from 26.67 to 503.3%. The findings of this study showed that sago starch has a great potential in bioplastic production with good miscibility and compatibility.
A depth-averaged numerical model was developed to study tidal circulation and suspended sediment transport in the gulf of Khambhat along the west coast of India. The spatial resolution of the model is 750m x 750m. A 2-D fine resolution (150 m x 150 m) model for the lower part of the Narmada estuary is coupled with the coarser gulf model to simulate the flow features in the lower estuary. The model dynamics and basic formulation remain the same for both the gulf model and the estuary model. The models are barotropic, based on the shallow water equations and neglect horizontal diffusion and wind stress terms in the momentum equations. The models are fully non-linear and use a semi-explicit finite difference scheme to solve mass, momentum, and advection- diffusion equation for suspended sediments in a horizontal plane. The erosion and deposition have been computed by an empirically developed source and sink term in the suspended sediment equation. The tide in the gulf is mainly represented in the model by the semi-diurnal M2 constituent. Meanwhile, fresh water discharge from the rivers joining the gulf had also been considered. Numerical experiments were carried out to study the circulation and suspended sediment concentrations in the gulf and estuarine region.
Recently, license plate detection has been used in many applications especially in transportation systems. Many methods have been proposed in order to detect license plates, but most of them work under restricted conditions such as fixed illumination, stationary background, and high resolution images. License plate detection plays an important role in car license plate recognition systems because it affects the accuracy and processing time of the system. This work aims to build a Car License Plate Detection (CLPD) system at a lower cost of its hardware devices and with less complexity of algorithms’ design, and then compare its performance with the local CAR Plate Extraction Technology (CARPET). As Malaysian plates have special design and they differ from other international plates, this work tries to compare two likely-design methods. The images are taken using a web camera for both the systems. One of the most important contributions in this paper is that the proposed CLPD method uses Vertical Edge Detection Algorithm (VEDA) to extract the vertical edges of plates. The proposed CLPD method can work to detect the region of car license plates. The method shows the total time of processing one 352x288 image is 47.7 ms, and it meets the requirement of real time processing. Under the experiment datasets, which were taken from real scenes, 579 out of 643 images were successfully detected. Meanwhile, the average accuracy of locating car license plate was 90%. In this work, a comparison between CARPET and the proposed CLPD method for the same tested images was done in terms of detection rate and efficiency. The results indicated that the detection rate was 92% and 84% for the CLPD method and CARPET, respectively. The results also showed that the CLPD method could work using dark images to detect license plates, whereas CARPET had failed to do so.
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.
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.
The exponential fed-batch cultivation of Bacillus sphaericus UPMB10 in 2 l stirred tank fermenter was performed by feeding the initial batch culture with 14 g l-1 of glycerol according to the algorithm aimed at controlling the specific growth rate (μ) of the bacterium. Very high viable cell count (1.14 x 1010 cfu ml-1), which was four times higher as compared to batch cultivation, was achieved in the fed-batch with a controlled μ at 0.4 h-1. In repeated exponential fed-batch cultivation, consisting of four cycles of harvesting and recharging, a final cell concentration of 1.9 x 1011 cfu ml-1 was obtained at the end of the fourth cycle (46 h). Meanwhile, acetylene reduction of cell samples collected from repeated fed-batch cultivation remained unchanged and was maintained at around 20 nmol C2H2 h-1 ml-1 after prolonged cultivation period, and was comparable to those obtained in batch and exponential fed-batch cultivation. Glycerol could be used as a carbon source for high performance cultivation of B. sphaericus, a nitrogen fixing bacterium, in repeated fed-batch cultivation with high cell yield and cell productivity. The productivity (0.68 g l-1 h-1) for repeated fed-batch cultivation increased about 6 times compared to that obtained in conventional batch cultivation (0.11 g l1 h-1). A innovative method in utilizing glycerol for efficient cultivation of nitrogen fixing bacterium could be beneficial to get more understanding and reference in manipulating the integrated plans for sustainable and profitable biodiesel industry.
Tractor rollover occurs when a tractor tips sideways or backwards and overturns, potentially crushing the operator. Rollovers are typically considered to occur more frequently during a sharp turn at a high speed on sloping terrains, although data show that rollovers do occur on flat land after hitting obstacles or through inappropriate use and hitching of implements. It is important to highlight that tractor overturns are the major cause of death in farm operations. The overturns are as a result of interactions between the tractor operator, the tractor and the environment. A review of the relevant literature reveals that more than 800 people are killed each year in tractor accidents, and for every person killed, at least 40 others are injured. This paper focuses on tractor overturns because they account for more than half of all the tractor-related deaths. In addition, farm tractor operational safety principles are also highlighted.
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.
The specific heats (Csp) of neat polyvinyl alcohol (NPVOH) and 40 phr glycerol plasticized polyvinyl alcohol (PPVOH) were measured using a method known as power compensate differential scanning calorimetry. A high purity sapphire (Al2O3) was used as a reference material. NPVOH has a melting temperature of approximately 480 K, while PPVOH has a value of 30 K lower than NPVOH. The amplitude increment of Csp for NPVOH was also higher than PPVOH at melting stage. Overall, Csp of NPVOH is lower than PPVOH because glycerol has reduced the rigidity of PVOH and subsequently induced the motion of molecular structure at an elevated temperature. Based on the specific heat outcomes, neat PVOH and glycerol plasticized PVOH required 1173.544 J/g and 1946.631 J/g, respectively, to heat from 330 to 550 K.
In this study, dynamic vulcanization process was used to improve the thermal properties of calcium carbonate filled composites. The composites were prepared using a Z-blade mixer at 180oC and rotor speed 50rpm. Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) techniques were used to analyze the thermal properties of the composites. The vulcanized and unvulcanized PP/EPDM composites were filled by CaCO3 at 0, 10, 20, 30, and 40 %wt. Meanwhile, thermogravimetric analysis indicates that the total weight loss of PP/EPDM/CaCO3 composites decreased with increasing filler loading. Dynamic vulcanized composites have higher thermal stability, while the crystallinity of PP/EPDM/CaCO3 composites were increased as compared to unvulcanized composites. Therefore, the thermal properties were improved by the presence of
dynamic vulcanization process.
The preliminary ichthyotoxic test on all parts of Syzygium malaccense (Myrtaceae) revealed that the leaves fraction was the most ichthyotoxic against tilapia-fish (Tilapia oreochromis). Three compounds, namely ursolic acid (1), β-sitosterol (2) and sitost-4-en-3-one (3), were isolated and their structures were elucidated with the aid of spectroscopic data and comparison with previously reported investigations. However none of these compounds gave any significant ichthyotoxicity. The volatile constituents of the leaves and fruit were determined by Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometer (GC-MS), with 180 and 203 compounds being identified in the aroma concentrates, respectively.
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.
Fibre reinforced composites have gained use in a variety of applications. The performances of these composites may suffer when the material is exposed to adverse environments for a long period of time. Kenaf ﬁbre reinforced unsaturated polyester composites were subjected to water immersion tests in order to study the effects of water absorption on the mechanical properties. Composites specimens containing (10%, 20%, and 30%) weight percentages of fibre were prepared. Water absorption tests were conducted by immersing these specimens in a distilled water bath at 25oC for four months. The tensile properties of the specimens immersed in water were evaluated and compared with the dry composite specimens. A decrease in the tensile properties of the composites was demonstrated, indicating a great loss in the mechanical properties of the water-saturated samples compared to the dry samples. The percentage of moisture uptake was also increased as the percentage of the fibre weight increased due to the high cellulose content. The water absorption pattern of these composites was found to follow the Fickian behaviour.
The paper presents a simulation work conducted on the elastomer subjected to cyclic loads. A 3D finite element model of elastomer specimen, in accordance to ASTM D412, was developed using CATIA and ANSYS commercial finite element (FEM) packages. Fatigue life predicted from the simulation was compared with well-documented published data and it showed an acceptable agreement. Meanwhile, the simulated strain-life results are slightly lower than the experimental data. Several factors which potentially influenced the variations of the results were noted. Finally, some recommendations are offered at the end of this study to further improve the simulation
Biocatalytic reaction is a type of reaction which uses enzyme or whole-cell as a (bio)-catalyst to achieve a desired conversion, under controlled conditions in a bioreactor. Temperature produces opposed effects on enzyme activity and stability, and is therefore a key variable in any biocatalytic processes. An exothermic biocatalytic reaction, in a continuous-stirred-tank reactor (CSTR), was analyzed where dynamic equations (non-linear differential equations) could be derived from the Michaelis-Menten and Arrhenius equations, by performing mass and energy balances on the reactor. In this work, the effects of the different parameters such as dilution rate, proportional control constant and dimensionless total enzyme concentration, on the stability of the system, were studied. The stability of the reaction could be analyzed, based on the ODE (ordinary differential equation), solved using the numerical technique in MATLAB® and the analytical investigation using Mathematica.® The numerical analysis can be carried out by considering the hase-plane behaviour and bifurcation diagrams of the dynamic equations, while the analytical analysis using Mathematica® can be undertaken by evaluating the eigenvalues of the system. In order to model the operational stability of biocatalysts, modulation factors need to be considered so that a proper design of bioreactors can be done. Temperature, as a key variable in such bioprocess systems, can be conveniently optimized through the use of appropriate models.