Pure perovskite Ba0.90Ca0.10TiO3 ceramics, with a relative density of between 79 and 98% and grain sizes larger than 1 µm, were prepared by solid-state reaction. The dielectric and electrocaloric properties were investigated and discussed considering the density and grain size of the samples. Room temperature impedance measurements show good dielectric properties for all ceramics with relative permittivity between 800 and 1100 and losses of <5%. Polarization vs. E loops indicates regular variation with increasing sintering temperature (grain size and density), an increase in loop area, and remanent and saturation polarization (from Psat = 7.2 µC/cm2 to Psat = 16 µC/cm2). The largest electrocaloric effect was 1.67 K for ceramic with GS = 3 µm at 363 K and electrocaloric responsivity (ζ) was 0.56 K mm/kV. These values are larger than in the case of other similar materials; thus, Ba0.90Ca0.10TiO3 ceramics with a density larger than 90% and grain sizes of a few µms are suitable materials for electrocaloric devices.
The US military presence in Afghanistan has been the subject of retrospective analyzes that facilitated the identification and learning of important lessons for future military actions. This article analyses, through the case study method, the way defense resources were managed from a sustainable development perspective, focusing on the durable effects of the main projects aimed at ensuring this country’s initial steps towards a sustainable development destination. As a result, this study points to the positive potential that the military instrument could have in a country’s efforts to achieve sustainable development goals, highlighting the way that unsustainable management practices can compromise or even nullify the progress in this area. Consequently, the main product of this research is a model of unsustainable use of defense resources that decision makers should know and avoid in the future, to obtain long-term beneficial results.
The paper demonstrates that the Multi-Criteria Analysis (MCA) is one very useful analytical tool and method to help Allied political decision makers and military strategists to rethink the Alliance’s new role and mission in Africa, as the Southern neighbour of NATO and the EU having great possibilities to influence, either positively or negatively, the European and Euro-Atlantic security. Thus, the paper’s scope is to use MCA in order to highlight the importance of Africa for NATO’s Geopolitics and what Member States should undertake in order to join the competitive North African and Sahel region’s arms and presence race against the increased Russian and Chinese economic and military interests.
Smart waste management is an important tool for energy and resource conservation, and the related recycling and reuse policies are conducive to a positive impact on the ecological footprint. Since waste treatment is a very expensive process, the principle of prevention should be implemented increasingly at the European level to meet the Green Deal’s objectives and related eco-friendly approaches more easily and cost-effectively. Therefore, the rationale of the present work was to statistically study, for the first time, from a waste management viewpoint, the waste categories and quantities produced in the past decade, and mainly eight waste categories were compared at the Romanian versus the European level, including on the level of European regulation implementation. For that, assumptions were made and ANOVA and path analysis were performed. The results of ANOVA emphasizes the differences between the eight types of waste collected, to understand the challenges and the weak points of the member states in their approach to meeting the Green Deal’s objectives and gaining sustainable development. Furthermore, the causes of differences in the European Union’s member states were analyzed in clusters, based on three criteria: total waste, waste management, and waste treatment, and the results are discussed here. The study revealed that Romania proved an increased efficiency in waste treatment and the path analysis proves that waste management is better implemented than treatment management. The study concludes that, regardless of the results obtained so far, further endeavors are necessary at the Romanian governmental level to meet the waste-related European goal.
Addressing the new strategic threats generated by globalization of both economic and geo-political environments, force projection and multinational approaches of conflicts are the way that nations are protecting their values. Corroborating deployment, as a required process for force projection, and multinationality, as a basic feature of modern social activities, the aim of this paper is to highlight the instruments that nations may use nowadays considering both of these two elements. Focused on the capabilities that can be generated by employing different multinational solutions, the subject was approached using literature review as a main research method; furthermore, analyzing cases from the past and projects for the future, we exemplified the aimed concepts and the way they are linked in the deployment process.
Starting from the complexity of a military conflict of the future, in this article I set out a realistic analysis of how to apply and correlate military doctrine during the post and during a conflict and its application to influence the adopted security strategy. I will try to present interpretations of how the security situation will evolve strategically and militarily in line with new and old risks and threats and return to the notion of conventionality and classicism in the symmetry or asymmetry of future conflicts. The complexity of this issue is a real challenge for military analysts, the unpredictable evolution of the security environment and the constant emergence of new challenges, create major impediments in terms of identifying future risks and threats and interpreting a likely security situation. This approach will be finalized with the conclusions that will emerge from the analysis of the current security environment and the type of armed conflict that will probably be in the near or distant future.
The recent COVID-19 pandemic once again showed the value of harnessing reliable and timely data in fighting the disease. Obtained from multiple sources via different collection streams, an immense amount of data is processed to understand and predict the future state of the disease. Apart from predicting the spatio–temporal dynamics, it is used to foresee the changes in human mobility patterns and travel behaviors and understand the mobility and spread speed relationship. During this period, data-driven analytic approaches and Operations Research tools are widely used by scholars to prescribe emerging transportation and location planning problems to guide policy-makers in making effective decisions. In this study, we provide a review of studies which tackle transportation and location problems during the COVID-19 pandemic with a focus on data analytics. We discuss the major data collecting streams utilized during the pandemic era, highlight the importance of rapid and reliable data sharing, and give an overview of the challenges and limitations on the use of data.
Given the realities that we are experiencing in the Ukraine crisis, with military and financial-banking implications, the need to develop and implement an early warning platform in case of crisis or disasters has arisen. This work addresses this need, with expertise in defence and security, financial-banking and cybersecurity domains, and creates a platform specialized in identifying and evaluating early warning indices for crisis management. The goal is to provide state-of-the-art early warning systems that help the population at risk to avoid crisis situations, while serving as decision support tools for various authorities (Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Intelligence Services, Financial-banking systems) when confronted with a crisis situation similar to the one from Ukraine.
Employee engagement is a constant theme in the business world. When employees are successful, so are the companies they work for. The purpose of this article is to bring to the forefront some information that can influence higher organisational engagement and help managers approach open methods of employee relations to get employees dedicated to collaborative work and results. In business, motivation is closely linked to organisational commitment. The higher the level of engagement, the more things like productivity or efficiency can occur, giving the employer more advantages over the competition.
Modelling and simulation is a major area of interest for states and international organizations in the context of the operational environment characterized by complexity, dynamism and unpredictability. At the moment, in NATO, the standard architecture for the field of modelling and simulation is High Level Architecture (HLA), but lately the concept of Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) has aroused the interest of specialists within the Alliance. In this paper, a comparative analysis is performed between the two types of architectures in order to determine the optimal variant for the field of military modelling and simulation. Following the analysis, it was concluded that a combined approach of the two types of architectures is needed to maximize the efficiency of modelling and simulation applications.
In the current politico-military context, the digitalization of processes and the use of automated tools for data collection, analysis and dissemination have an important contribution during the planning and decision-making process. In this paper, my intention is to analyze the operational forces deployment planning and executing processes, and to identify how the digitalization and the use of dedicated computer applications can enhance these activities. In order to achieve these goals, in addition to analyzing relevant documents in the field, I chose to apply the case study research method. Thus, my attention focused on the study of military operations executed by modern armies, to identify important lessons in the stated field of interest. Even though the studied operations (Iraqi Freedom and Desert Shield / Storm) were performed two, respectively three decades ago, their relevance in the field of deployment is still valuable, fact highlighted by the actual applicability of the lessons depicted from these two events.
The concept of artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly becoming a significant factor for change, in the society in general, both in the private and public sectors. It has not been ignored by the military either, as countries throughout the world (from the US to Russia and China) are studying the potential uses of artificial intelligence in a functional context, and its uses in the defense area. The purpose of this paper is to explore the future potential uses and limitations of using the artificial intelligence in the military, with emphasis on the areas of defence planning and defence resources management.
The purpose of this paper is to analyze the deployment of forces in expeditionary operations, in relation to the operations performed in the past by the modern armed forces. Thus, the intention is to approach the deployment of forces by identifying the most important actions, practical and decisional landmarks, which have decisively influenced the strategic maneuver, reception, staging and onward movement processes, in order to integrate forces in the contemporary theaters of operations. Going straight for the stated objectives, I conducted a multiple-case study, based on reviewing the relevant available literature, in order to efficiently access all the elements in the concerned field of interest.
Digital transformation of higher education undergoes cultural, mental, and technological change as an overall process. The present paper represents a correlation of the current literature that brings to light the key pillars aspects of the digital transformation of higher education. The objective of this research study was to outline a model of digital transformation strategy applicable to the Romanian academic environment. The original contribution of this study lies in establishing the key pillars elements and necessary stages for the implementation of digital transformation strategy for higher education which should be focused on students and effects.
Addressing the use of ISR structures in conventional operations in the context of national resilience, in an era of unpredictability of the security environment and the current presence of a regional conflict, inevitably becomes a mandatory concern for both support and decision-makers at all hierarchical levels and from all categories of troops. The development of a national defense position can be achieved through a flexible and robust ISR system, permanently adapted to the requirements of modern conflicts. Understanding how ISR capabilities can be used in conventional operations by addressing the principles, disciplines and collection systems is a key element in understanding the contribution of ISR to national resilience.
The current studies entail quality by design (QbD)-enabled development of a simple, rapid, precise, accurate, and cost-effective high-performance liquid chromatographic method for estimation of metformin hydrochloride (M-HCl). Design of experiments (DoE) was applied for multivariate optimization of the experimental conditions of the HPLC method. Risk assessment was performed to identify the critical method parameters (CMPs) using Ishikawa diagram. The factor screening studies were performed using a two-factor three-levels design. Two independent factors, buffer pH and mobile phase composition, were used to design mathematical models. Central composite design (CCD) was used to study the response surface methodology and to study in depth the effects of these independent factors, thus evaluating the critical analytical attributes (CAAs), namely, retention time, peak area, and symmetry factor as the parameters of method robustness. Desirability function was used to simultaneously optimize the CAAs. The optimized and predicted data from contour diagram consisted of 0.02 M acetate buffer pH = 3/methanol in a ratio of 70/30 (v/v) as the mobile phase with a flow rate 1 mL/min. The separation was made on a Thermoscientific ODS HypersylTM chromatographic column (250 × 4.6 mm, 5 μm) with oven temperature 35 °C and UV detection at 235 nm. The optimized assay conditions were validated according to ICH guidelines. Hence, the results clearly showed that QbD approach could be successfully applied to optimize HPLC method for estimation of M-HCl. The method was applied both for the evaluation of M-HCl content in tablets, and for in vitro dissolution studies of M-HCl from conventional and prolonged-release tablets.
In this study, we consider the problem of healthcare resource management and location planning problem during the early stages of a pandemic/epidemic under demand uncertainty. Our main ambition is to improve the preparedness level and response effectiveness of healthcare authorities in fighting pandemics/epidemics by implementing analytical techniques. Building on lessons from the Chinese experience in the COVID-19 outbreak, we first develop a deterministic multi-objective mixed integer linear program (MILP) which determines the location and size of new pandemic hospitals (strategic level planning), periodic regional health resource re-allocations (tactical level planning) and daily patient-hospital assignments (operational level planning). Taking the forecasted number of cases along a planning horizon as an input, the model minimizes the weighted sum of the number of rejected patients, total travel distance, and installation cost of hospitals subject to real-world constraints and organizational rules. Next, accounting for the uncertainty in the spread speed of the disease, we employ an across scenario robust (ASR) model and reformulate the robust counterpart of the deterministic MILP. The ASR attains relatively more realistic solutions by considering multiple scenarios simultaneously while ensuring a predefined threshold of relative regret for the individual scenarios. Finally, we demonstrate the performance of proposed models on the case of Wuhan, China. Taking the 51 days worth of confirmed COVID-19 case data as an input, we solve both deterministic and robust models and discuss the impact of all three level decisions to the quality and performance of healthcare services during the pandemic. Our case study results show that although it is a challenging task to make strategic level decisions based on uncertain forecasted data, an immediate action can considerably improve the response effectiveness of healthcare authorities. Another important observation is that, the installation times of pandemic hospitals have significant impact on the system performance in fighting with the shortage of beds and facilities.
Flexible composites containing BaTiO3 nanoparticles into Gelatin bio-polymer matrix were designed and investigated. Following the idea that the electric field concentration in corners/edges at the interfaces between dissimilar materials give rise to enhanced effective permittivity in composites, cuboid-like BaTiO3 nanoparticles have been employed as nanofillers into Gelatin matrix by using an inexpensive solution-based processing method. As predicted by finite element method simulations developed for cubic-like inclusions into a homogeneous polymer matrix, the experimental permittivity of xBT-(1-x)Gelatin composites increases when increasing the high-permittivity filler addition. For the composition x = 40 wt% (corresponding to 12 vol% BaTiO3 addition), permittivity reaches εr ∼15.7 with respect to εr ∼9.8 of pure Gelatine (measured at 10⁵ Hz), while the average piezoelectric coefficient d33 as determined by piezoelectric force microscopy shows a remarkable increase up to 21 p.m./V in composites with x = 40 wt%, in comparison to ∼7 p.m./V in pure Gelatin. By using the experimentally determined material constants, the simulated piezoelectric voltage output vs. time has shown a similar increase (about a doubling of its amplitude) of the harvesting signal in the composite with x = 40 wt% BT, with respect to one of the polymer matrix, thus demonstrating the beneficial role of embedding BT nanoparticles into the biopolymer for increasing the mechanical harvesting response.
The technological advancements of the last couple of years combined with the unique situation created by the Covid-19 pandemic made the customer more open to the digitalization of several financial services and procedures in order to further reduce the need for face-to-face interaction. The financial technology companies found themselves in the position to leverage advancements in fields such as data analytics and artificial intelligence as well as the new financial paradigm brought by blockchain technology thus making technological innovation a top priority to meet these new customer needs. As the tendency of the financial sector as a whole to further embrace digitalization becomes more apparent, so does the protection of customer data become more complex as cyber-attack vectors increase in complexity aided by an ever-expanding attack surface. We argue that the rapid pace in which technological advancements are adopted in the financial services sector must be accompanied by responsible cyber security policies and regulations enforced from both the technological and human standpoints. We will provide an overview on the pace in which cybercrime in the financial sector grew in intensity as FinTech moved towards an end-to-end approach, the most common cyber threats which affect the financial sector as well as why cyber threat management should not be limited to a reactionary approach.
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