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.
Watkins, Jennifer (University of Wolverhampton, 2010)
Platelets are known to play a key role in acute coronary events, such as myocardial infarction, associated with advanced atherosclerosis, but a number of papers have recently been published suggesting that platelet adhesion may initiate atherosclerotic lesion formation. The proposed research aimed to investigate this by seeing whether platelet adhesion occurred, directly or via leukocytes, to the endothelium in diabetic conditions. Diabetic-like conditions were chosen because an accelerated rate of lesion formation occurs. This was achieved by incubating endothelial cells with high concentrations of glucose and various types of AGEs. Bovine serum albumin of different purity, a peptide of albumin, and haemoglobin were glycated with D-glucose. Samples were taken at 2 weeks intervals to allow for determining the extent of glycation and allowing for investigation into whether the extent of glycation affected platelet adhesion. It also made possible analysis of extent of glycation, to see whether these have a relation to endothelial dysfunction (including cell proliferation, cell adhesion molecule expression, and ROS and cytokine production). There are discrepancies in the finding of studies looking into the effect of AGEs on the endothelium and there are no reported studies looking at cytokine production. As such, it was hoped that this research would allow for a greater understanding of the processes involved and whether endothelial dysfunction could account for accelerated lesion formation associated with diabetes. As a whole, the research intended to explore the hypothesis that platelet adhesion to the endothelium is required for foam cell formation and their development into atherosclerotic lesions. It aimed to see whether hyperglycaemia and the presence of high levels of AGEs induces endothelial dysfunction and therefore increases monocyte adhesion by the presence of activated platelets. In doing so, a greater understanding of the processes involved in accelerated lesion formation would allow for targeted research to allow for treatments to reduce foam cell deposition. This could be the use of a cocktail of anti-platelet drugs or ones that reduce endothelial dysfunction. This would reduce the manifestation of cardiovascular disease and therefore improve diabetic patient life as well as reduce the cost of treatment for the NHS, and therefore for the tax payer.
Raymond, Graham J. (University of Wolverhampton, 2008)
This thesis investigates how the Conservative party coped with the far-reaching effects of democratic reform between 1867 and 1914. It analyses the performance of successive party leaders through their exploitation of high politics; and how ideology influenced their policy, and decision making. It also examines how the party’s organization was periodically revised to manage changing political circumstances. The relationships between these three elements, high politics, ideology, and organization are then analysed to explain the Conservative party’s appeal for electoral support during the period of study. The respective contributions made by the three elements to the party’s electoral performance are considered in relation to each other. Using this approach the thesis explains how the Conservative party managed to improve upon its dismal electoral record between 1832 and 1874; how it achieved electoral dominance between 1886 and 1906; and why its electoral fortunes declined so dramatically thereafter. The conclusions reached are threefold. Firstly, the importance attached to high politics by the Peterhouse school of thought may, in some respects, be exaggerated, certainly regarding elections. High politics, by its very nature seeks to exert influence at a level far removed from the mass electorate. Political rhetoric has obvious uses during elections, not least in the field of extra-parliamentary speech-making. But in the absence of any reliable indicators of what the electorate actually felt or desired, the effectiveness of political rhetoric could not be gauged a priori. The results of political manoeuvring at the highest levels may have been apparent to voters, but was of little concern to them. At worst, they were ignorant of it, and at best, ambivalent to it. Secondly, party leaders, whether knowingly or unknowingly, exploited the flexibility of Conservative ideology in their quest for votes. However, the core concepts of that ideology remained inviolable, only contingent values were successfully subjected to re-appraisal and revision to attract the voters. When ideological core values were misunderstood or misinterpreted the party suffered accordingly. Thirdly, the value of the Conservative party’s organization has been underestimated. High politics and ideology may have combined to produce a Conservative message for the voters, but the appeal of that message was unknowable. On the other hand, the party’s organization, when empowered to do so, adroitly and effectively utilized all the tools available to them to manage and maximize all potential Conservative support. Organization may be viewed as a make-weight, but like all make-weights it possessed the power to tip the electoral scales one way or the other.
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.
Anwary, Arif Reza (University of Wolverhampton, 2012)
In this research, Procrustes and Euclidean distance matrix analysis (EDMA) have been investigated for analysing the three-dimensional shape and form of the human back. Procrustes analysis is used to distinguish deformed backs from normal backs. EDMA is used to locate the changes occurring on the back surface due to spinal deformity (scoliosis, kyphosis and lordosis) for back deformity patients. A surface topography system, ISIS2 (Integrated Shape Imaging System 2), is available to measure the three-dimensional back surface. The system presents clinical parameters, which are based on distances and angles relative to certain anatomical landmarks on the back surface. Location, rotation and scale definitely influence these parameters. Although the anatomical landmarks are used in the present system to take some account of patient stance, it is still felt that variability in the clinical parameters is increased by the use of length and angle data. Patients also grow and so their back size, shape and form change between appointments with the doctor. Instead of distances and angles, geometric shape that is independent of location, rotation and scale effects could be measured. This research is mainly focusing on the geometric shape and form change in the back surface, thus removing the unwanted effects. Landmarks are used for describing back information and an analysis of the variability in positioning the landmarks has been carried out for repeated measurements. Generalized Procrustes analysis has been applied to all normal backs to calculate a mean Procrustes shape, which is named the standard normal shape (SNS). Each back (normal and deformed) is then translated, rotated and scaled to give a best fit with the SNS using ordinary Procrustes analysis. Riemannian distances are then estimated between the SNS and all individual backs. The highest Riemannian distance value between the normal backs and the SNS is lower than the lowest Riemannian distance value between the deformed backs and the SNS. The results shows that deformed backs can be differentiated from normal backs. EDMA has been used to estimate a mean form, variance-covariance matrix and mean form difference from all the normal backs. This mean form is named the standard normal form (SNF). The influence of individual landmarks for form difference between each deformed back and the SNF is estimated. A high value indicates high deformity on the location of that landmark and a low value close to 1 indicates less deformity. The result is displayed in a graph that provides information regarding the degree and location of the deformity. The novel aspects of this research lie in the development of an effective method for assessing the three-dimensional back shape; extracting automatic landmarks; visualizing back shape and back form differences.
Cloak, Ross James (University of Wolverhampton, 2011)
Ankle injuries are one of the most common injuries in sport, often leading to functional deficits and instability, a vicious cycle of recurrent sprains and time loss due to injury. Although research has been conducted on the best methods of treating such deficits and instability, new training methodologies are continually being sought to help improve clinical outcomes and with this comes a need for designed research to test such hypotheses. The purpose of the present research was to investigate the effect of vibration training on balance and muscle function in physically active individuals suffering self reported functional ankle instability (FAI). Stage one of the research was to initially investigate the effect of a six week whole body vibration training (WBVT) exercise routine on 38 University dancers reporting FAI. An initial assessment of the severity of the instability was done using the Cumberland Ankle Instability Tool (CAIT), to identify those who classed themselves functionally unstable but still able to participate in their chosen sport. The group was randomly arranged into one of two groups (treatment and control) and a pre/post test study was undertaken, with the control group asked to continue normal activity. The selection of participants was based on instability score from the CAIT. A larger sample of athletes was initially recruited across two accessible sports of football and dance due to access and availability. These groups then completed CAIT and where included if scoring criteria were met. The treatment group undertook six weeks of progressive vibration training on a stabile vibration system. Pre and post testing consisted of measures of static single leg balance, a Star Excursion Balance Test (SEBT) and Electromyography (EMG) of peroneus longus in demi-pointe. Results indicated a significant improvement in static balance (p = .04) and certain SEBT directions within the treatment group compared to the control group (p <.05). Neither group reported any significant difference in mean power frequency for the peroneus longus (p >.05). The results of the study suggested six weeks vibration training improved certain balance parameters within FAI populations. These results although initially encouraging, identified the need for further research with not just a direct comparison between treatment and control, but a closer examination of the effect of vibration training in comparison to more classical methods of rehabilitation before it can be recommended as a serious methods of treatment for FAI. The second stage of the research involved the implementation of a new piece of rehabilitation equipment which combined a vibration unit within a wobble board (Vibrosphere TM, Sweden). The manufactures claim the combination of the two principles accelerates rehabilitation for numerous lower body injuries and disorders. This specially designed unit allowed direct analysis of the effect of the vibration component of the unit on balance and muscle function, by comparing those who used the combined vibration/wobble board and those who simply used the wobble board alone. A control group was also included to analyse any difference over time as the testing was done during a pre-season training cycle. The research consisted of 33 semi-professional footballers reporting FAI as confirmed by CAIT and taler tilt and an anterior drawer test, being randomly assigned to one of three groups; Vibration/wobble board, Wobble board alone and Control. Both Vibration/wobble board and Wobble board alone completed identical exercises on identical equipment so results could not be attributed to different equipment. The results of the study suggest a significant difference in static balance; modified SEBT and Single leg triple hop for distance between groups with the greatest improvement being within the combined vibration/wobble board group (p <.05). The results suggest the combination of vibration and wobble board improve balance and functional strength in those footballers reporting FAI compared to wobble board training alone. The precise mechanisms behind the current results are unclear. It has been suggested that it may be due to vibration having a positive effect on the stimulation of mechanoreceptors and the combination of that and unstable surface control seems to be optimal. It is difficult to compare studies but the research has highlighted certain areas for further research. The difference in static balance and SEBT scores between the dancers and footballers seems to suggest that the CAIT scores although similar may identify the need for more specific tests for each population. Also a longitudinal study is required to access injury rates following intervention and effect duration of the improvements seen.
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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