Rios Reyes, Carlos A. (University of Wolverhampton, 2008)
Zeolites are among the least-known products for environmental pollution control, separation science and technology. Due to their unique porous properties, they are used in various applications in petrochemical cracking, ion-exchange and separation and removal of gases and solvents. The preparation of synthetic zeolites from chemical reagents is expensive. Therefore, in order to reduce costs, zeolite researchers are seeking cheaper aluminosilicate bearing raw materials, such as clay minerals, to produce synthetic zeolites. This research concerns the synthesis of zeolites and zeotypes derived from low-cost materials like kaolinite (KAO), natural clinker (NC) and fly ash (FA). The motivation for using these sources as the starting materials in zeolite synthesis is driven by factors, such as they are cheap and available in bulk quantities, are currently under-utilized, have high workability, and require less water (or solution) for activation. The raw materials were activated by two different routes: (1) classic alkaline hydrothermal synthesis and (2) alkaline fusion prior to hydrothermal synthesis. In the first method, the synthesis of zeolitic materials was carried out generally in alkaline media, although KAO or its calcination product, metakaolinite (MTK), was also activated in the presence or absence of structure directing agents (SDAs) and additional silica (precipitated SiO2), with the last one determining the SiO2/Al2O3 ratio of the reaction mixture and the time given for zeolitization. Synthesis in fluoride- and calcium-bearing media was also used to activate kaolinite. The process of synthesis was optimized by applying a wide range of experimental conditions with a wide range of reaction temperature, time, mineralizer concentration and solid/solution ratio. In the second approach, an alkaline fusion step was conducted prior to hydrothermal treatment, because it plays an important role in enhancing the hydrothermal conditions for zeolite synthesis. On the other hand, this approach was adopted because it can dissolve more aluminosilicates. The main synthesis products obtained after activation of KAO in NaOH solutions included zeolite LTA (LTA), sodalite (SOD), cancrinite (CAN), faujasite (FAU), zeolite Na-P1 (GIS), JBW-type zeolite (JBW), analcime (ANA), whereas the activation of KAO in KOH solutions produced chabazite (CHA), zeolite Barrer-KF, phillipsite (PHI) and K-feldspar. The hydrothermal conversion of kaolinite in fluoride media did not produce successful results, although traces of FAU, GIS, CHA, SOD and CAN crystallized. The activation of KAO in the system CaO-SiO2-Al2O3-H2O promoted the formation of different calcium silicate hydrate (C-S-H) phases, including hydrogarnet (HYD) and tobermorite (TOB). Following the fusion approach, the main zeolitic phases obtained using NaOH as mineralizer were LTA and CAN. The main as-synthesized zeolites obtained from NC by the conventional hydrothermal treatment method include PHI, SOD and CAN. Using the fusion approach, FAU and LTA were obtained with NaOH as an activator, whereas non-zeolitic material crystallized when KOH was used. The main as-synthesized zeolitic materials obtained by hydrothermal reaction of FA include PHI, zeolite Barrer-KF, CHA and SOD with traces of TOB, ANA, zeolite LTF (LTF) and herschelite (HER), appearing occasionally. By the fusion approach, FAU was obtained with NaOH as activator, whereas no zeolitic material crystallized using KOH. Experimental results indicate that the method, mineralizer, concentration and time have strong effects on the type and degree of crystallinity of the synthesis products. On the other hand, the type and chemical composition of the as-synthesized products are strongly dependent on the chemical composition of the starting material. The chemistry of zeolite synthesis was subject to perturbations caused by the presence of impurities in the raw materials, which may remain insoluble during crystallization and cause undesired species to nucleate, developing mixtures of different types of zeolites. However, other physicochemical factors may play a very important role in the thermodynamics and kinetics of zeolite formation. The raw materials have very high contents of SiO2 and Al2O3, with SiO2/Al2O3 ratios appropriate for the synthesis of low-Si zeolitic materials with high crystallinity and cation exchange capacity (CEC). However, although zeolites’ CEC represents a very important characteristic quality in the removal of undesired species from polluted effluents, it is not the deciding factor in determining zeolite performance during ion exchange processes, since numerous other factors also need to be considered. Finally, the potential application of the raw materials and their as-synthesized products as low-cost sorbents in the remediation of metal ions and ammonium from wastewater effluents was investigated. PHI showed a lower efficiency than FAU. Selectivity of FAU for metal removal was, in decreasing order, Fe>As>Pb>Zn>Cu>Ni>Cr. Based on these results, the use of these materials has the potential to provide improved methods for the treatment of contaminated effluents.
Martino, Orsolina I. (University of Wolverhampton, 2008)
Although the effects of both the menstrual and circadian cycles on mood have been well documented, the question of whether the two interact to influence mood has not yet been addressed, despite evidence for such an interaction on other variables. Blood sugar level is a major contributor to the mediation of mood and is easily regulated by dietary intervention; there is also evidence that it is influenced by both the menstrual and circadian cycles. The present research takes a positive psychological approach to managing mood; the aims were to identify where natural variations in mood occur in relation to its underlying physiology, taking an applied approach to suggest ways of effectively managing positive mood and maintaining psychological well-being. A series of studies was carried out to measure fluctuations in mood in relation to biological rhythms, and in response to cognitively demanding situations and simple interventions. Mood was measured throughout the research using the UWIST Mood Adjective Checklist. The most consistent results were in relation to the Energetic Arousal dimension. This was shown to be influenced by both the menstrual cycle and the time of day, as well as an interaction between these two factors, and was consistently related to changes in blood glucose levels. Energetic Arousal also appeared to be more sensitive to the effectsof the suggested interventions. Diurnal changes in mood throughout the course of a normal day were more evident among women in their premenstrual to menstrual phases, and also become more apparent in response to cognitive tasks. Trait Anxiety was a mediating factor in how individuals reacted to such tasks. Mood was closely related to blood glucose levels, and raising blood glucose to a robust but safe level effectivelyenhanced positive mood in cognitively demanding situations. Oral contraceptives generally tended to eliminate menstrual cycle-related effects on mood and responses to intervention. It was concluded that mood states among healthy women are influenced by a complex interplay between biological rhythms, physiological states, individual differences and the context in which these moods take place. Simple interventions that can easily be incorporated into one’s daily routine may be efficacious in maintaining a positive mood state, which has beneficial implications for psychological well-being.
Freimanis, Graham L. (University of Wolverhampton, 2008)
Human endogenous retroviruses are the remnants of ancient retroviral infections present within our genome. These molecular fossils show similarities with present day exogenous retroviruses but act as typical Mendelian elements that are passed vertically between generations. Despite being repeatedly linked to a number of autoimmune diseases and disorders, no conclusive proof has been identified. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is one such disease which has been associated with an increase in HERV expression, compared to controls. In order to elucidate a clear role for HERVs in RA pathogenesis, autoantigens implicated in disease pathogenesis were scanned for sequence homology to retroviral genes. Such epitopes would induce antibodies cross reactive with host proteins, resulting in disease. Short peptides mimicking these regions were synthesised and the prevalence of anti-HERV antibodies was determined in RA patients and disease controls. Additionally, a novel real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) assay was developed to accurately quantify levels of HERV-K (HML-2) gag expression, relative to normalised levels of housekeeping gene expression. Both serological and molecular assays showed significant increases in HERV-K (HML-2) activity in RA patients compared to disease controls with CD4+ lymphocytes harbouring the highest activity. The real-time assay was also used to determine whether factors within the synovium could modulate HERVs, resulting in their upregulation. Exogenous viral protein expression and pro-inflammatory cytokines were shown to exert a significant modulatory effect over HERV-K (HML-2) transcription. From this data, it is clear that RA patients have increased levels of HERV-K (HML-2) gag activity compared to controls. Despite this it is likely that factors within the synovium such as exogenous viral expression and pro-inflammatory cytokines also influence HERV-K (HML-2) transcription possibly contributing to a role of bystander activation, i.e. being influenced by external factors, rather than actively contributing to disease processes. The exact role of HERVs in RA pathology remains elusive; however this research proposes several mechanisms by which HERV-K (HML-2) may contribute to disease.
Farmer, Sybil E. (University of Wolverhampton, 2008)
This thesis investigates coordination of the lower limb joints within the limb during walking. The researcher was motivated by her clinical experience as a paediatric physiotherapist. She observed that the pattern of lower limb coordination differed between normal children and those with cerebral palsy. Many of the currently used interventions did not appear to influence this patterning. As a precursor to evaluating the effectiveness of treatments in modifying coordination, a tool to measure coordination was required. The researcher initially investigated qualitative and then quantitative methods of measuring within limb coordination. A technique was developed that used relative angular velocity of two joints to determine when joints were in-phase, antiphasic or in stasis. The phasic parameters of hip/knee, knee/ankle and hip/ankle joints coordination were quantified. There were some significant differences between normal children and children with cerebral palsy. Asymmetry of these phasic parameters was identified, with children with cerebral palsy being more asymmetrical than normal children. The clinical utility of this technique was tested by comparing 2 groups of children before and after 2 surgical procedures. This showed some significant differences in phasic parameters between pre and post-operative data for one procedure. Low samples sizes mean that further work is required to confirm these findings. Data from this work has been used to calculate sample sizes to give an a priori power of 0.8 and further research is proposed and potential applications discussed. It is hoped that this technique will raise awareness of abnormal intra-limb coordination and allow therapists to identify key interactions between joints that need to be facilitated during walking training.
Davis, James A. (University of Wolverhampton, 2008)
While many Higher Education subject areas have embraced technology-supportedlearning (TSL), its uptake has been noticeably slower in the practicum of the art and design subject area. As such our understanding of the use of TSL in this practicum is under-developed. This multi- and inter-disciplinary practice-based research project is a case study, within this under-developed area, based around the question: “Can TSL aid the acquisition and development of practical skills associated with sound recording a location-based interview, introduced (as part of studio-based practice) during a three-hour class to level 1 undergraduate art and design students?” In addressing this research question I argue that the design and evaluation of TSL requires a holistic approach, grounded in an understanding of the audience, subject matter and learning context / environment, requiring a comprehensive consideration of user experience design (UXD), where theory informs rather than leads pedagogy/practice. Taking a grounded approach, an analysis of existing needs was first undertaken within the learning environment; practitioners, and other UK providers of SRIT skills were consulted; a number of pre-existing technology-based practical skillsfocused artefacts were reviewed and theories, models and principles were drawn upon across a number of associated cognate fields. Adopting a post-theoretical perspective and action research principles, an artefact called “RecordingCoach” was designed, realised, utilised and evaluated. RecordingCoach enables its users to observe sound recording equipment being setup; set up a virtual sound kit themselves as well as undertake both assisted and independent interviews with two virtual interviewees. RecordingCoach records the independent virtual interviews in real time and saves them to the host computer hard drive, capturing microphone handling, responses to situational/ environmental sound and verbal audio exchanges. The evaluation of RecordingCoach took place over a one-year period with the participation of 108 students. Attitudes towards the artefact, patterns of learning activity, behaviour and assignment performance were scrutinised and nonassessed performance indicators were referred to. The resulting findings are very positive suggesting that TSL can be effective within the practicum of the art and design subject area.
Gupta, Abhishek (University of Wolverhampton, 2008)
Reproducibility of third level fingerprint detail is important in personal identification. The effect of different substrates on the reproducibility of pore dimensions in inked reference fingerprints was investigated. Photomicrographs of reference prints were taken and pore area was measured repeatedly using appropriate software. Reproducibility of pore area was also studied in latent prints. Latent prints were deposited on chosen absorbent and non-absorbent surfaces and developed using Cyanoacrylate and Ninhydrin to determine pore area reproducibility. Photomicrographs of ridged skin were captured directly by focusing under microscope and pore area reproducibility in these images was studied. Live scans were also included in the study to see if pore area can be relied upon in live scans at 500ppi (pixels per inch). Results revealing best third level detail in inked prints were achieved by deposition onto a variety of non-absorbent substrates but inter-print variation indicated that pore area in inked prints deposited onto paper substrates cannot be used reliably in personal identification. In case of latent prints, variation was greater than normal acceptable limits suggesting that pore area is not reproducible in latent prints developed using Cyanoacrylate and Ninhydrin techniques. Results of direct microscopic images also showed too great inter-image variation which has further supported the unreliability of pore area as a tool in personal identification. Live scans at 500ppi did not prove to be useful in providing good pore detail for study. This study casts doubt on the use of pore area as a reliable identification tool in personal identification and suggests raising the scanning resolution to study pore detail in live scans.
Lamond, Jessica Elizabeth (University of Wolverhampton, 2008)
Flooding of residential property is a real and growing phenomenon in the UK causing short and long-term detriment of various kinds to its victims. The issue of potential decrease in value of those properties which are located on the floodplain, though much discussed in the media, has received scant attention in the UK research literature. An extensive literature survey has revealed a need for methodological innovation in the field of temporal impact of flooding and the inadequacy of the current paradigms for inclusion of insurance into flood modelling. A wide-ranging review of data sources, including discussion with industry experts, has identified the requirement to generate primary data on the availability and cost of flood insurance. A novel framework has been developed for this research. This framework is an extension of the recent research in flood modelling and incorporates ideas from the wider house price analysis literature. Data collected via a questionnaire survey of householders has been combined with secondary data on property prices and flood designation in order to attribute any loss in property value to the correct vector of underlying flood status. The output from this study makes a contribution to the understanding of the impact of flooding on house prices, allowing for better valuation advice. Empirical findings are that the understandable concerns of residential property owners at risk of flooding regarding long term loss of property value are largely unfounded. Price discounts are observed for some recently flooded areas but they are temporary Improved appreciation of the impact of claims and flood risk on the cost of insurance has also emerged. The insurance market was not found to be instrumental in reducing the price of property. The output from the study also makes a methodological contribution in extending concepts relating to the relationship between flooding, insurance and house prices. This development is anticipated to facilitate refinement and updating of the empirical findings with reduced effort in the light of future events.
Blunt, Arthur Godfrey (University of Wolverhampton, 2008)
Inland sand dunes supporting Grey Hair-grass Corynephorus canescens are a declining European habitat designated for conservation under the EU’s Habitats Directive. In Britain they are confined to a handful of sites in East Anglia and the West Midlands. This study investigated the relationships of the British populations to each other and to populations on five sites in Poland, where C. canescens is still widespread. It also conducted exploratory investigations into factors relevant to the conservation of this ecosystem, particularly in the West Midlands. Data were collected chiefly from 1m2 quadrat samples and direct sampling, which recorded the plants and animals present together with parameters such as vigour and fecundity in C. canescens, amounts of bare sand and litter, and measures of erosion and grazing. These data were variously analysed including by CANOCO multivariate analysis and, for the vegetation, TWINSPAN analysis. 153 taxa of plants and 251 of invertebrates were identified. Though strongly distributed on a regional basis, both flora and invertebrate fauna showed relationships particularly between Polish and West Midlands sites. Analysis of the vegetation suggested that West Midlands vegetation had some associations with C. canescens habitats in Europe and that East Anglian vegetation had links with British coastal C. canescens habitats. The invertebrate fauna showed some complex community relationships in Poland and the West Midlands but less so in East Anglia, while assemblages of invertebrates were associated with various vegetational and abiotic factors. Rabbits and hares were the only vertebrates regularly exploiting C. canescens habitats, which they grazed and, in the former case, produced sand disturbances for colonisation by C. canescens. Ants and to a lesser degree some other invertebrates also produced sand disturbances. Observations made in a preliminary cultivation study in the West Midlands suggested that C. canescens may have a biennial phenology, high fecundity, low germination rates and limited dispersal powers in that region. A trampling investigation suggested that C. canescens may be very sensitive to heavy uncontrolled trampling and to vegetational succession under protection. Stages in succession of the C. canescens community were identified, and suggestions for further study and the conservation of C. canescens were drawn up.
Onley, Deborah (University of Wolverhampton, 2008)
The aims of the study were to uncover the major psychological factors underlying tokophobia, their impacts, and whether there is likely to be a role for psychological counselling to help women and their families. Nine women who indicated that they fear and avoid childbirth despite wanting a baby, volunteered and participated in a semi-structured interview. Six of these interviews were transcribed and analysed using the guidelines provided by Smith, Jarman & Osbourn (1999), from which tables of individual themes were created. For the participants, violation of expectations led to enduring distress, which manifests as symptoms of post-traumatic stress. ‘Loss of control’ and ‘loss of self’ are powerful themes that support existing literature. The theme ‘need of acknowledgment’ adds to the existing literature. As difficulties adapting to changes in lifestyle were expressed, a seven-phase transition model was suggested as a way of explaining and understanding difficulties faced by women with regard to changes in identity and lifestyle. It was concluded that the presentation of ‘secondary tokophobia’ does not fit with the term ‘phobia’. A reclassification of tokophobia was suggested for women who experience fear and avoidance of childbirth following a traumatic birth.
Anosike, Uchenna Paschal (University of Wolverhampton, 2008)
Despite the fact that Internal Marketing (IM) has emerged to capture the interest of academic researchers and management practitioners, there is a surprising absence of empirical study investigating how IM is experienced in the world of practice. This constitutes an impediment to bridging the gap in the holistic understanding of the IM concept. The big question that remains is how to articulate precisely those activities that can be taken to constitute the structure of IM and those that do not. This study aims to bridge this gap by exploring whether the experiences of managers who are implementing IM in their organisations could provide clarity as to the meaning and the constituents structure of IM. This study first undertakes scrutiny of the extant IM literature in an attempt to clarify the multiplicity of terms often associated with IM. The meaning and the constituents structure of IM was investigated via an in-depth qualitative study guided by the principles of phenomenology. This qualitative study is based around open-ended interviews with participants sampled from the UK private and public sector firms. Data was collected and analysed in line with Giorgi’s descriptive phenomenological research praxis. The phenomenological findings indicate nine overlapping elements, namely, internal communication, employee training, reward, empowerment, employee motivation, interdepartmental co-ordination, understanding the organisation, commitment, and top management support that emerged to constitute the experiential structure of IM. Drawing upon these elements, the study offers a conceptual framework of the IM structure. Systematic analytical steps were utilised to ensure the validity of findings.
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