In recent times, the development and manufacture of new products and the necessary tools required to carry out such activities has resulted in vast amounts of knowledge and information being generated. In product development there are no hard and fast rules determining the length of product development projects and quite often over a 10-year period several hundreds of projects could come into being, quite often coinciding with huge advances in technology over the same period. This advancement in technology has often taken over the role of the designer who carries out calculations and attempt to provide solutions. This has resulted in certain cases with designers having very little to no understanding or practical experience of the manufacturing process and design expertise required to ratify product designs. The resultant loss of information and intent and the lack of exploitation of manufacturing constraints and product knowledge can quite often lead to difficulties resulting in product re-design and in some cases failure in the hands of the customer. In order to provide knowledge to support product development, there is a requirement to capture the knowledge of the manufacturing processes within the organization, which includes the process, materials, resource, design rules, capacity and other constraints that may limit the capabilities of the organization. The research presented in this thesis proposes a knowledge based framework to support product development Furthermore, the research includes the development of a knowledge based system in order to identify, capture, formalize, present and utilize knowledge within a product development environment. In this research, a knowledge based framework to support product development was developed in order to create an “AS-IS” process map of current product development practices within a case company from the cold roll forming industry. The process map guided the identification of information and knowledge required to support the product development process and formed the basis of the knowledge based system developed to provide effective decision support. Finally, the framework and knowledge based system were implemented within the case company. The results from the case study demonstrated how the knowledge based frame work and knowledge based system provided effective decision support by providing information and knowledge in the place, time and format required, thus ultimately reducing product development costs and improving quality
Ashman, Kelly Louise (University of Wolverhampton, 2009)
This thesis is an investigation into the creative balance between pre-compositional and musical decisions. The title represents my workings as a composer, and how the influence of others have effected my decisions to use their musical language and in the same way de-construct the workings of those significant techniques within the portfolio. The portfolio represents my development as a composer, from one with a good basic knowledge, to a composer who’s absorption of others techniques has become a subconscious part of my own tonal style. The first chapter reviews the general set up of the portfolio and the reasoning behind the structuring of the pieces within. There is also a focus on the influences throughout the compositions that have filtered into the works. The following four chapters refer to each of the compositions individually in order of composition; Elusive Landscapes, Percushett, Seven Songs and Dimensions, providing in depth explanations for the decisions made throughout the compositional process. This is accompanied by an in depth analysis of the pre-compositional process and how each one is deconstructed. The appendix contains the original presentation of the E.E.Cummings poems as used in Seven Songs as they appear on the page. These include Nine Birds(rising, The little horse is newly Born), Now, (more near ourselves than we, If everything happens that can’t be done, Voices to voices, One winter afternoon and FINIS…Over silent waters, ordered in the appendix in the order they appear in the composition.
Rathnapala, Delpagoda Gamage Tharinda (University of Wolverhampton, 2009)
Conventional business procedures are increasingly being replaced by dynamic and revolutionized growth due to the integration of Information and Communication technologies to meet changing business requirements. For survival in this highly competitive field of construction, the adaptation of new technologies enhancement and its revolution is considered as an essential requirement. Emerging ICT developments and new construction techniques have generated much needed discussion about how these two streams are connected together. The concept of prefabrication has grown in recent years to change conventional construction processes and simultaneously Building Information Model (BIM) has emerged to brighten up traditionally ill functioned business communication flow. Building Information Modelling in the early stage of building construction development provides the vehicle to bring the construction industry into line with other technically driven fields, such as Automotive and Aerospace. However, in the past this has not given much consideration towards interaction between itself and the much improved construction industry prefabrication process. This research has reviewed the current state of BIM capability in the Architecture Engineering and Construction (AEC) professions and establishes what is technologically possible. It also closely scrutinises one of the leading UK‟s cold rolled steel prefabricator‟s design and manufacturing process. The result of the findings leads the research to undertake in-depth benchmarking process to review and select an appropriate BIM application for live implementation. Upon selection, BIM application is customised to cater current and future design process of the above SME unit and implemented within a live construction project environment. Latest design process within SME unit along with BIM solution then evaluated against commercial criteria which determine the validity of incorporating construction industry prefabricating processes into current BIM applications iiand highlighted its overall benefits for the prefabricators and construction industry as a whole. Latter part of the research investigated the latest technological advancement available within BIM applications. Review has lead to highlight Application Programming Interface (API) available within the BIM applications. API provided much needed control mechanism to end users via standard programming mechanisms which captured during this research as the gateway to incorporate prefabricating information into BIM. Future Novel Framework developed based on API capabilities of the BIM applications in order to incorporate prefabricating processes into BIM Applications
Reynolds, Margaret Grace (University of Wolverhampton, 2009)
The focus of this study is the exploration of the relationship between parenting skills and young children’s developmental progress. The Government purports that good parenting makes a difference in children’s lives by preventing many social and health related problems. Although the literature supports this relationship, it lacks evaluation from the young child’s perspective. The study has 4 main aims. These are to ascertain if there is a relationship between parenting skills and young children’s developmental progress; to identify what it is within that relationship that enables the growth of resilience in the child; to find out if teaching parenting skills to parents of young children improves parenting skills, and to consider the outcome of improved parenting skills on the 0-5 year old child’s development. The overarching paradigms are both qualitative and quantitative, and triangulation of data is used to give confidence to interpretation of data. The method employed in the study is action research, comprising of 2 cycles, each containing the following elements; survey of opinion, questionnaire, semi-structured interview, collective case study and evaluation. The main tool used in cycle 1 of the study 1 was The Schedule of Growing Skills l (SOGS l), a pre-published tool. In cycle 2, the main tools used were The Schedule of Growing Skills ll (SOGS ll updated SOGS l), the Parenting Skills Scale (PSS), and a questionnaire entitled ‘Questions about you and your family’ developed for use in this study. Use of a similar tool at the validity stage of PSS development was a possible weakness, although no tool the same as PSS was available. Inclusion of a larger number of respondents at the evaluation stage could have improved the robustness of the data. Ethical approval was obtained from The University of Wolverhampton, and Dudley Primary Care NHS Trust. Issues considered included confidentiality, informed consent and potential harm versus benefit. Respondents were drawn from parents living in Dudley and their 0-5 year old children, and professionals from health and social services within the area. There were 4 respondent groups involved in the evaluation of the specialist area, child protection, in cycle 1. These were child protection register children n=6, each registered child’s health visitor n=6, local comparison group n=60 and National Profile SOGS l scores. PSS development respondents included in face validity, reliability and concurrent validity stages were n=20, n=100 and n=50 respectively. Evaluation respondents in cycle 2 were parent groups n=3, 5, 3, 5 and 8, children n=3, 5, 3, 5 and 9 respectively, and health visitors involved with each group n=5, local comparison group children n=100 and National Profile SOGS ll scores The main finding in cycle 1 was a link between poor parenting skills and young children’s developmental progress. Cycle 2 results found teaching and application of improved parenting skills improved developmental progress in the child. The contribution to knowledge, resulting from this study, is that early teaching and application of improved parenting skills seems to improve the child’s developmental progress, demonstrated by the use of PSS in conjunction with SOGS ll. The PSS tool has been shown to be effective in evaluating the outcome of teaching parenting skills for both the child in the 0-5 year age range and the parent. The method used enabled professionals and parents to be actively involved in the research. This study has provided an evidence-based evaluation tool for the outcomes of teaching parenting skills. Further evaluation involving larger numbers in different areas could give more insight into the effectiveness of the tool, and identification of an optimum subtotal in each scale area.
Khan, Muhammad Enam (University of Wolverhampton, 2009)
The study investigates the deposition of a multilayer coating onto two aluminium alloys: Al 1050 and Al 6061. Of particular interest has been the treatment of the surface of both these samples for deposition of metallic coatings through a zincate based immersion process. The zinc immersion layer chemically displaces the oxide film on Al 1050 and Al 6061 and then zinc is deposited followed by nickel and chromium electrodeposition. Superior adhesion was associated with uniform, thin and fine grained deposits from Bondal solution which exhibited rapid and complete coverage of both aluminium samples. The metallurgical characteristics of the aluminium alloys and the processing sequence developed had a significant influence on the growth and morphology of the deposits from the Bondal solution and affected subsequent adhesion of electroplated nickel and chromium. This engendered the treated surface with sufficient catalytic nature to be able to receive a subsequent electroless nickel layer together with finishing layers of electrolytic nickel and chromium respectively. Due to the favourable physical properties of aluminium and its alloys (density, strength to weight ratio), there is a growing demand for nickel/chromium coated aluminium components for automotive and other applications. The most common method currently is to directly electroplate nickel onto the aluminium substrate. However, this can lead to problems with components having complex geometry in that chemical attack on the pretreated aluminium can occur in low current density areas before the substrate can be completely covered with nickel due to the acidic nature and high temperature of the nickel electroplating process. One way of preventing this current density related problem is to use an electroless nickel undercoat before the nickel/chromium deposit is applied. The mechanism by which this occurs is not fully understood and it is an objective of the current research to investigate the mechanism of nucleation of the electroless nickel layer on zincated aluminium. Results of X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy showed that the zincated layer was dissolved in the electroless nickel bath but zinc was detected below 10 nm from the top surface of the homogenous nickel phosphorus film, while aluminium and alloying elements from both alloys have diffused into the film. Hexavalent chromium electroplating from chromic acid is under pressure due to its health hazard and environmental problems and is subjected to increasingly stringent control and legislation. Health and safety considerations have prompted the electroplating industry to consider alternatives to coating processes that involve hexavalent chromium. It is a further objective of the research to compare the properties of nickel/chromium coated aluminium with top coats of chromium deposited from hexavalent and trivalent (chloride based) electrolytes. Duplex nickel and chromium electrodeposition were modified with an electroless nickel undercoat, thus four coatings were studied for the aluminium samples. Results obtained from the hardness measurements of Al 1050 and Al 6061 were compared for four coatings. Hardness tests profiles obtained for Al 1050 and Al 6061 show that deposits from trivalent chromium electrolytes were not as hard as hexavalent chromium deposits. However, the hardness of duplex nickel/chromium coatings was improved by use of an electroless nickel undercoat. Scratch adhesion tests were focused on the failure mode of coatings evaluated on the basis of scratch channels, frictional force and acoustic emission signals. The adhesion test showed buckling and chipping of the coatings with no sign of spallation or delamination. Four coatings exhibited a higher critical load for both aluminium alloy samples. This confirmed that failure occurred within the coatings, rather than adhesive failure at the coating/substrate interface. Results obtained from copper acetic acid salt spray and electrochemical corrosion tests for Al 1050 and Al 6061 exhibited excellent corrosion resistance. Scanning electron microscope images showed initiation and propagation of small pits which did not coalesce to form large and deep craters that could result in the eventual failure of the coatings. Micro discontinuous chromium deposits spread the corrosion current, thus improving corrosion performance. Icorr values obtained from linear polarization corrosion tests show higher values for duplex nickel/chromium coatings on Al 1050 than Al 6061. Icorr values show similar trends for duplex nickel/chromium coating on Al 1050 and Al 6061 modified with an electroless nickel undercoat. In conclusion results showed a significant improvement in the chromium electroplating characteristics of Al 1050 and Al 6061 with an electroless nickel undercoat.
Smith, Richard G. (University of Wolverhampton, 2009)
Human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) are estimated to form approximately 5% of the human genome. While the majority of sequences are defective, containing premature stop mutations and frameshift mutations, a number encode fully functional proteins. HERVs have been proposed as aetiological agents for a variety of autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematosus, and multiple sclerosis (MS), and have been detected in a variety of tumours. The study aims to develop tools to detect and investigate human endogenous retroviruses in order to establish their roles in MS and anaplastic astrocytomas. A method of detecting and quantifying levels of HERV-W env messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) and MSRV gag by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain (RT-PCR) reaction in a variety of cell lines was developed, with PCR products detected in all cell lines tested, and in particular, high levels of transcription occurring in the BeWo choriocarcinoma cell line. In the astrocytoma cell lines, those with P53 mutation had higher levels of HERV-W env. MSRV gag variants were also detected in these cell lines, but stimulation with interferon-γ, a proinflammatory cytokine, did not alter expression significantly. An antibody against an epitope of MSRV gag has been successfully developed, purified and tested to determine the expression of a predicted linear epitope. This epitope was recognised in all cell lines tested, but unusually for a HERV showed nuclear expression. Further analysis is needed to confirm the identity of the protein detected. Finally a number of retroviral peptides with homology to putative antigens were predicted using a novel bioinformatics approach, of which two, HERV-W env 412 and MSAV gag 274, were tested in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay of plasma samples from MS patients, patients with other neurological diseases and normal healthy donors. No significant differences in antibody titres were found between the sample groups for either peptide.
Faraday, Judith (University of Wolverhampton, 2009)
During the interwar period, a radical departure from earlier traditional management practices in British department stores can be identified. Increasing trade, combined with the introduction of new systems and stock, required a dramatic increase in the number and calibre of managers employed to run the shops. Using a case study approach, this thesis will identify the reasons for the implementation of a new recruitment and employment strategy. For the John Lewis Partnership, it considers how this translated into jobs and opportunities for middle-class educated women, a group of workers whose experience of the work place has previously received little academic attention. It assesses the contribution the women made to the overall development of the company. Addressing the social and practical issues which surrounded their employment, with specific reference to staff turnover, pay and conditions, the thesis considers how these recruits were perceived by their employer, their peers and by themselves. It presents a group of workers who entered and often left the workplace after achieving levels of managerial status. It identifies the influence these women were able to exert on their employers, creating and retaining their position within specialist fields of employment and dominating the middle management of the John Lewis Partnership during the period 1918 - 1950.
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