Publications of excellent quality of the SIMAU Department researchers, year 2018 – SECOND SEMESTER



G. Giannopoulos, G. Barucca, A. Kaidatzis, V. Psycharis, R. Salikhov, M. Farle, E. Koutsouflakis, D. Niarchos, A. Mehta, M. Scuderi, G. Nicotra, C. Spinella, S. Laureti, G. Varvaro. L10-FeNi films on Au-Cu-Ni buffer-layer: a high-throughput combinatorial study. SCIENTIFIC REPORTS 8:15919 (October) (2018)
The fct L10-FeNi alloy is a promising candidate for the development of high performance criticalelements-free magnetic materials. Among the different materials, the Au-Cu-Ni alloy has resultedvery promising; however, a detailed investigation of the effect of the buffer-layer composition onthe formation of the hard FeNi phase is still missing. To accelerate the search of the best Au-Cu-Nicomposition, a combinatorial approach based on High-Throughput (HT) experimental methodshas been exploited in this paper. HT magnetic characterization methods revealed the presence of ahard magnetic phase with an out-of-plane easy-axis, whose coercivity increases from 0.49 kOe up to1.30 kOe as the Au content of the Cu-Au-Ni buffer-layer decreases. Similarly, the out-of-plane magnetocrystallineanisotropy energy density increases from 0.12 to 0.35 MJ/m3. This anisotropy is attributedto the partial formation of the L10 FeNi phase induced by the buffer-layer. In the range of compositionswe investigated, the buffer-layer structure does not change significantly and the modulation of themagnetic properties with the Au content in the combinatorial layer is mainly related to the differentnature and extent of interlayer diffusion processes, which have a great impact on the formation andorder degree of the L10 FeNi phase.
M.A. Bedini, F. Bronzini, “The post-earthquakeexperience in Italy. Difficulties and the possibility of planning the resurgence of the territoriesaffected by earthquakes”, Land Use Policy, 78 (July), 2018, 302-315
In the face of naturaldisasters, veryoftenItalyhasmissed the opportunity to introduce new models and developmentprojects. Solutions thatwould introduce new and immediate social-economic and urban planning regenerationprocesseshavenotbeenfound, and veryoften the focus hasbeenmerely on need to reconstructbuildingsthathavebeendestroyed or damaged.
After an earthquake, strategiesthat take into account the needs of residents and boost the economy with efficienturban planning strategies and civilprotectionplanshaveneverbeenadopted. Permanentkey centres haveneverbeendeveloped to cope with problemsthatexistbefore, during and after the earthquake.
The scope of thispaperis to definestrategiesthat take account the experienceof the past in order to lay the plans for the resurgence of the territoryafter an earthquake.
Thispaperaddresses the unresolved post-earthquakeissue in Central Italydating to August 2016-January 2017, in three steps:
1. Chronologicalassessment of howdifficult post-earthquakesituationsweremanaged in the past,and the role of planning today. Critical descriptions of a number of successful post-earthquaketransitionphases in Emilia-Romagna, Umbria, and Marche regions, and the seriouserrors made afterotherdisasters (Historical centre of Aquila etc.). Evaluation of the currentrole of Regional Planning, in pre and post-earthquakesituations.
2. Scenarios, suggestions and operationalproposals for EarthquakeDamagedAreas.Assessment of the situation in Central Italy, wheretherehavebeen a number of earthquakes in the periodbetween August 2016 to January2017, based on the positive and negative aspects of otherexperiences.
The need of localcommunities to return to the area asquicklyaspossibleisdiscussed, notonly in terms of reconstruction. The contents of Projects for essentialurbanstructuresat a District, Municipal and AssociatedDistricts Administration Area level are defined.
3. Programmaticsuggestions for the resurgence of the territorybased on the “productivelandscape” economic and social model.
New forms of social housing, integratedtourism and farmingactivities, and support for farming and breeding activitiestypical of the area are identifiedtogether with advanced cultural districts, while semi-abandoned rural buildings are once againplaced on the market.
J. Donnini, T. Bellezze, V. Corinaldesi, “Mechanical, electrical and self-sensing properties of cementitious mortars containing short carbon fibers”, Journal of Building Engineering, 20 (November), 2018,  8-14.
This paper is aimed at exploring mechanical, electrical and self-sensing properties of cement-based mortars through the addition of short carbon fibers, at different dosages (2%, 3%, 4% by weight of cement). Compression and bending tests on carbon fiber reinforced mortars (CFRM) were performed. The addition of carbon fibers showed to enhance the mortars’ flexural strength by increasing the fibers content, while no improvement was found in the compressive strength. Electrical resistivity of the CFRM, at different days of curing, was evaluated by AC impedance measurements, using two stainless steel wire meshes as electrodes. The electrical resistivity decreased with time, until reaching a constant value after about 60 days of curing. Carbon fibers were able to drastically reduce the mortar resistivity, up to values below 150 Ω cm. The effect of fibers dosage on the ability of the mortar to change its electrical resistivity when subjected to different stress states was also studied. The specimens were gradually loaded up to 50–60% of the maximum compressive strength, carrying out two loading/unloading cycles, while resistivity was measured using a conductivity meter. Depending on the fibers dosage and stress state within the material, CFRM resistivity changed with significant variations.
Spinelli, M., Eusebi, A.L. Vasilaki, V., Katsou, E., Frison, N., Cingolani, D., Fatone, F., 2018, Critical analyses of nitrous oxide emissions in a full scale activated sludge system treating low carbon-to-nitrogen ratio wastewater. Journal of Cleaner Production Volume 190, 20 July 2018, Pages 517-524
A critical analysis of nitrous oxide emissions in a full-scale modified Ludzack Ettinger plant treating municipal wastewater with low carbon to nitrogen ratio is presented. The results of N2O emissions were processed by coupling classical (liquid chemical/physical characterization) and new data analytics techniques (online gaseous emissions and statistical analysis). Correlation between the operational parameters of the plant and long-term online monitored nitrous oxide emissions was conducted. The analysis considered the effect of off-gas sampling methods, the variability of feeding characteristics and the main liquid process variables as the principle parameters that may affect nitrous oxide emissions. In order to detect and assess the causal relationships between online monitored system variables and nitrous oxide emissions, statistical and event-based sensitivity analysis was adopted to identify causal relationships between the variables of the system. Observations revealed that lower ratio between carbon and nitrogen (COD:N) resulted in higher N2O emissions. The average nitrous oxide emission factors changed from 0.0089 gN2O/kgTNin to 0.051 gN2O/kgTNin, that corresponded to denitrification limited by organic carbon availability. The nitrous oxide dynamics were not significantly influenced by dissolved oxygen variations (within the range of 1.5–2 mg/L). However daily peaks of nitrous oxide emissions occurred when aeration flow-rate resulting was higher and stripped more nitrous oxide from liquid.
Lijó, L., Frison, N., Fatone, F., González-García, S., Feijoo, G., Moreira, M.T., 2018, Environmental and sustainability evaluation of livestock waste management practices in Cyprus Science of the Total Environment Volume 634, 1 September 2018, Pages 127-140
The aim of this study was to compare the environmental performance and sustainability of different management options for livestock waste in Cyprus. The two most common practices in the country, i.e. the use of anaerobic lagoons and conventional biogas plants, were compared with the innovative scheme developed in the LiveWaste project (LIFE12 ENV/CY/000544), which aims not only to produce bioenergy, but also to treat the digestate for nutrient recovery and water reuse. The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology was combined with the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) to compare the performance of these alternatives. Four relevant indicators were selected for each dimension of sustainability (environmental, social and economic). The results of the evaluations showed that anaerobic lagoons are not an appropriate option for the sustainable management of livestock waste due to environmental (e.g. climate change, acidification and eutrophication) and social impacts (e.g. noise exposure, visual impact and risk perception for human health). The most important strengths and weaknesses of anaerobic treatment with and without digestate treatment were identified. Compared to conventional anaerobic digestion where digestate is directly applied as an organic fertiliser, the technology proposed in the project entails higher technological complexity due to nitrogen removal and phosphorus recovery. The rise in chemical and electricity requirements increased the impacts on some indicators, such as climate change and operational cost (emissions of greenhouse gases and operation costs were around 50% higher), while reduced impacts in others due to proper nutrient management, as acidification and eutrophication impacts (which were 10 and almost two times lower, respectively). For the specific Cypriot conditions, where the overapplication of nutrients leads to pollution of water bodies, the innovative treatment scheme with higher technological development presents an interesting approach. Nevertheless, the treatment of the digestate should be analysed taking into account the specific characteristics of each scenario.
Frison, N., Malamis, S., Katsou, E., Bolzonella, D., Fatone, F., 2018, Enhanced retention of deammonification microorganisms for the treatment of psycrophilic anaerobic digestate Chemical Engineering Journal Volume 344, 15 July 2018, Pages 633-639
This study focused on the treatment of psychrophilic anaerobic digestate from pig slurry digestion through a single-stage Sequencing Batch Reactor (SBR) accomplishing the autotrophic nitrogen removal (ANR). In period 1, the combination of the high sludge retention time (>50 days) and the presence of significant concentrations of biodegradable organic carbon favoured the uncontrolled growth of the denitrifying bacteria (HDB) and the nitrite oxidizing bacteria (NOB), affecting negatively the deammonification (DAM) activity from 14 to 15 mgN/gMLVSS·h to only 2.2 mgN/gMLVSS·h. In Period 2, the sieving of the suspended biomass at 125 µm was evaluated to enhance the retention time of DAM microrganisms in granular sludge into the SBR. This strategy allowed the recovery of 60% of the initial specific deammonification activity (sDAA) and to promote the wash-out of the NOB, obtaining a nitrogen removal efficiency of 81%. This method was never applied to increase the robustness and reliability of ANR during the treatment of livestock streams, so it could be considered after optimization as a potential option to increase the sustainability of smaller and local farms.
F. Simoni, L. Lucchetti, “Colossal nonlinear optical response of liquid crystals”, Journal of Molecular Liquids,267 (October), 2018, 67-72
We briefly review the main steps related to the discovery of the extraordinarily large nonlinear optical response of nematic liquid crystals doped by Methyl Red leading to detection of n2» 103 cm2/W in 1 μm thin films, that is the strongest nonlinear response ever reported in liquid crystals. This investigation started from the researches of Professor Yuri Reznikov on light-induced anchoring effects in these materials.
A. Mazzoli, V. Corinaldesi, J. Donnini, C. Di Perna, D. Micheli, A. Vricella, R. Pastore, L. Bastianelli, F. Moglie, V. MarianiPrimiani “Effect of graphene oxide and metallic fibers on the electromagnetic shielding effect of engineered cementitious composites”, Journal of Building Engineering, 1, July 2018, 33-39.
Electromagnetic shielding and propagation in concrete structures are getting more and more interest in radiation hazard problems and wireless communications. The protection of sensitive environment is nowadays carried out by appropriate shielding room made of metallic walls. Their efficacy is counteracted by their heaviness, not adequate for the installation over existing building walls. The using of concrete composites filled by conductive elements represents a valid alternative to metallic shielded room since they can be adopted to directly build up the building walls and/or to easily plaster existing walls. Graphene oxide powder and metallic fibers are being currently investigated as fillers in the manufacturing of electromagnetic shielding cementitious composites. The novelty of the present work is the characterization of a multi-reinforced cement realized by combining such two filler typologies: the synergistic effects of graphene oxide microparticles and short steel fibers result in enhancement of both mechanical properties and EMI effectiveness of the cementitious composites.
F. Tittarelli, C. Giosuè, A. Mobili, “Recycled Glass as Aggregate for Architectural Mortars”, International Journal of Concrete Structures and Materials, 12 (1), 2018, 57
The possibility of recycling mixed colour waste glass as it is for manufacturing decorative architectural mortars, has been investigated. In mortars, the 0–33–66–100% of calcareous gravel volume has been replaced with recycled glass cullets, with no other inorganic addition. To mitigate the possible alkali–silica reaction, mixes with a hydrophobic admixture were also compared. The obtained results show that the replacement of calcareous gravel with glass cullets of similar grain size distribution permits to reduce the dosage of the superplasticizer admixture to obtain the same workability of fresh mortar; it does not affect significantly the mechanical performances, the water vapour permeability and the capillary water absorption but it reduces significantly the drying shrinkage deformation. The used recycled glass is classified as no reactive in terms of alkali–silica reaction neither in water nor in NaOH solution following the parameters of the current normative, even in the absence of the hydrophobic admixture. The hydrophobic admixture further delays the expansion trigger but not the speed of its propagation.
A. M. Balo, H. Rahier, A. Mobili, A. Katsiki, N. Fagel, U. M. Chinje, D. Njopwouo, “Metakaolin-based inorganic polymer synthesis using cotton shell ash as sole alkaline activator”, Construction and Building Materials, 191 (October), 2018, 1011-1022.
Inorganic polymers were synthesised using metakaolin and cotton shell ash as activator. In this way, the negative environmental impact of sodium or potassium silicate solutions as alkaline activators can be eliminated. Phase transformations investigated using FTIR suggested the formation of inorganic polymers through the shift of the most intense band from 1031 cm−1 in metakaolin to around 973 cm−1 in the final product and the absence of the band at 789 cm−1 in the latter. XRD results revealed the presence of kalsilite and zeolite K-F, which appear as hexagonal and elongated crystals in SEM. A maximum compressive strength of 36.7 MPa was obtained. Compressive strength values increased with increasing K/Al ratios and with the reduction of pore densities due to the formation of the amorphous inorganic polymer matrix as observed on the SEM micrographs. Cotton shell ash can thus be used as an alternative activator.
E. Di Giuseppe, S. Sabbatini, N.Cozzolino, P. Stipa, M. D’Orazio “Optical properties of traditionalclaytiles forventilatedroofs andimplication on roofthermal performance”, Journal of Building Physics, 1-22.
A remarkableadvantage of claytilesroofcoverings in hot climatesis the realization of aventilated air layerbetweenthem and the roofingunderlaythatallows a natural andforcedconvectionthrough the tilesjoints and the channel from eaves to ridge, thuscooling the roofmaterials. Howeverrecently, in manycountries, regulatorydevelopmentson building energyefficiency or buildingssustainabilitycertificationprotocols areincreasinglyencouraging the use of alternative strategies, with the aim of reducing theurbanheatisland (UHI) effect and the buildings’ coolingconsumptions. Amongthem,the use of ‘cool’ materials for roofcovering. Thesemeasures, mandatory or voluntary,de facto push the construction products market towardsspecificdirections, riskingpenalizingtraditionalcomponentssuchasclaytiles. Thisarticle reports the results ofexperimental and numericalactivitiescarried out in order to extensivelycharacterizethe opticalproperties of claytilematerials and investigate their impact, alsocoupledwith abovesheathingventilation, on the thermal performance of a ventilatedroof underwarm-temperate climate. In the first phase of the research, the mainopticalpropertiesof over 30 differentclay products havebeenexperimentallycharacterized in ordertoget a clear and extensivepicture of suchproperties for the materials spread in the market. In a second phase, starting from the thermal data collected on an experimentalreal-scale building, a dynamicenergyanalysistoolwascalibrated and used to performsimulations by varying the opticalproperties of the roofcoveringthusassessing theimpact on the rooftemperatures, also in comparison to a claytilesroof. The resultsunderlinethat the use of the abovesheathingventilationobtainedthroughclaytilesisan effectivestrategy to reduce rooftemperatures, evenifcoveringmaterials are notqualifiedas ‘cool’, thusimpacting on both UHI and indoor comfort.
A. Vargas, B. Randazzo, P. Riolo, C. Truzzi, G. Gioacchini, E. Giorgini, N. Loreto, S. Ruschioni, M. Zarantoniello, M. Antonucci, S. Polverini, G. Cardinaletti, S. Sabbatini, F. Tulli, and I. Olivotto, “RearingZebrafish on Black SoldierFly (Hermetiaillucens): Biometric, Histological, Spectroscopic, Biochemical, and MolecularImplications”, Zebrafish, 15 (4), 2018, 404-419.
A desirable goal of the aquaculture sector is to replace most of fish meal and fish oil with more sustainable, cost-effective, and environmental friendly ingredients ensuring fish health and welfare standards. Due to minimal environmental impact, compared with most conventional feed commodities, insects deserve a growing attention as candidate ingredients for aquafeeds. The present study investigated, for the first time, the possible application of a 100% insect diet in zebrafish larval rearing. Through a multidisciplinary approach, the major biological responses of fish to the new diets were assessed. Results of biometry, fatty acid composition, expression of genes involved in fish growth, stress response, lipid metabolism, chitinolytic activity, gut inflammation, and liver macromolecular composition suggested a possible application of insect larvae for zebrafish larval rearing. However, further studies are necessary to better understand the use of this insect species in the rearing of fish.
E. Giorgini, S. Sabbatini, R. Rocchetti, V. Notarstefano, C. Rubini, C. Conti, G. Orilisi, E. Mitri, D. E. Bedolla, L.Vaccari,“In vitro FTIR microspectroscopy analysis of primary oral squamous carcinoma cells treated with cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil: a new spectroscopic approach for studying the drug–cell Interaction”, Analyst, 143, 3317-3326.
In the present study, human primary oral squamous carcinoma cells treated with cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil were analyzed, for the first time, by in vitro FTIR Microspectroscopy (FTIRM), to improve the knowledge on the biochemical pathways activated by these two chemotherapy drugs. To date, most of the studies regarding FTIRM cellular analysis have been executed on fixed cells from immortalized cell lines. FTIRM analysis performed on primary tumor cells under controlled hydrated conditions provides more reliable information on the biochemical processes occurring in in vivo tumor cells. This spectroscopic analysis allows to get on the same sample and at the same time an overview of the composition and structure of the most remarkable cellular components. In vitro FTIRM analysis of primary oral squamous carcinoma cells evidenced a time-dependent drug-specific cellular response, also including apoptosis triggering. Furthermore, the univariate and multivariate analyses of IR data evidenced meaningful spectroscopic differences ascribable to alterations affecting cellular proteins, lipids and nucleic acids. These findings suggest for the two drugs different pathways and extents of cellular damage, not provided by conventional cell-based assays (MTT assay and image-based cytometry).
F. Stazi, G. Ulpiani, M. Pergolini, C. Di Perna“The role of areal heat capacity and decrement factor in case of hyper insulated buildings: An experimental study”, Energy &Buildings, 176, 2018, 310-324
Extensive simulation-based researches have highlighted the importance of placing a massive layer in the inner side of hyper insulated CLT buildings in the interest of optimize their thermal performance on an annual basis. The purpose of the present research is to experimentally evaluate the thermal responsive- ness of multi layered and highly insulated CLT building envelopes characterized by different combination of two dynamic parameters, namely the internal areal heat capacity κ1 and the decrement factor f. An on-site monitoring campaign was extensively performed, during summer and winter seasons, on an unoccupied and windowless test room in Central Italy. Four internal linings were simultaneously tested on the south facing wall: plasterboard (as a baseline reference), two dry clay panels with dif- ferent thickness and a combination of brick and an additional internal insulation layer. Over the year, the indoor microclimate was exposed to three different occupancy/solar gains profiles, identified with Test 1–3 and supplied to the room by three electric radiators. During Test 1 and Test 2 (summer and autumn, respectively), the results have shown the limits of the adoption of lightweight and hyper-insulated external walls with high internal areal heat capacity and very low decrement factor in the Mediterranean area. In fact, such typology exhibits the highest surface temperatures, with daily maximum around 28 °C and nocturnal minimum approximately 1.5 °C lower. Moreover, increasing the thermal resistance of a wall by adding an insulated lining partially inhibits the proper storage ability on the inner side, causing the release of more heat inside the test room. Conversely in winter (Test 3), such configuration was found to have a positive response in terms of stored heat quota, with respect to the released one. The solution that guaranteed the best thermal performance on annual basis under different indoor boundary conditions was the wall envelope characterized by average inertial properties, notably κ1 equal to 33 kJ/(m 2 K) and a decrement factor of 0.072.
A. Sardella, P. De Nuntiis, M. Rizzo, C. Giosuè, F. Tittarelli, A. Bonazza, “In situ performance evaluation of chemical injections against rising damp: A case study in Italy”, Measurement, 130, 2018, 128-136
Rising damp is one of the most relevant cause of deterioration in historic buildings and its presence may trigger and intensify damage processes such as biodeterioration and decohesion linked to freeze-thaw and salt crystallization cycles. Treatment against rising damp is generally advised and several products are currently available in the market, whose efficiency, durability and compatibility with building materials are unfortunately still not exhaustively verified. For a proper evaluation of these features aiming at a sustainable protection and conservation of cultural heritage, test directly on site in addition to laboratory investigations is increasingly recommended.
Within this work we illustrate and discuss results obtained during a test on site for the efficiency evaluation over time of treatments against rising damp based on chemical injections performed in one of the case studies in the JPICH Project EMERISDA.
F. Vita, F. C. Adamo, O. Francescangeli, “Polarorder in bent-core nematics: An overview”, J. Mol. Liq., 267 (October), 2018, 564-573
The possibleexistence of a ferroelectricnematicphasehasbeenchallengingliquidcrystalscientistssinceitwas first envisagedabout 30 years ago. At present, an undisputableproof of properferroelectricity in low-molecularweightthermotropicnematicsisstillmissing. However, over the last decade severalgroupshavereported the observation of a ferroelectric-likeswitchingbehavior in the nematicphase of a number of bent-core mesogens. Thiseffectisgenerallyascribed to polar clusters of molecules, knownascybotacticgroups, permeating the nematicphase. In the unperturbed state the cluster dipoles are randomlyoriented, so that the phaseismacroscopicallyuniaxial and apolar; however, an externalfieldexceeding a thresholdisable to align the cluster dipoles, inducing the transition to a switchablepolar and biaxial state. Eventhoughthisbehaviorclearlydiffers from thatexpected in a properferroelectricliquidcrystal, itstilldeservesconsiderableinterest for itspotentialimplications from both a fundamental and a technological point of view. Here wereview the studiesdevoted to thisextraordinaryeffect, bothexperiments and simulations, and discuss the open questionsthatstillremainunanswered.
M. Orazi, U. Gori, P. Ruggeri, E. Sakellariadi, G. Scarpelli, “Small-Strain Stiffness Values for a Reconstituted Soil”, Geotechnical and Geological Engineering, 36 (5), 2018, 3323-3330
In numerical modelling of soil response itis often required to define an accurate value for thestiffness at small strains (G0). Such values are usuallyobtained from tables or charts available in theliterature, rather than being directly measured in tests.These will however be sufficiently accurate only if asimilar soil has already been studied and described. Inthe present paper, the results of a series of laboratorytests conducted on a soil from southern Italy arereported. In these tests, a well-established empiricalrelationship linking small-strain stiffness values tostate parameters was calibrated, allowing the determinationof accurate G0 values for the specific soil,and contributing to the collection of data in theliterature. The bender element technique, in conjunctionwith standard triaxial testing on reconstituted soilsamples, was employed. A series of isotropic compressiontests was used for the calibration, and theresulting power law was then checked through sheartesting. The proposed equation compares well withresults reported in the literature for different types ofsoils. On approaching failure a change in behaviour isevident; this is in accordance with observationsalready reported in the literature for a variety of soilsand is subject to several interpretations, but does notsubstantially interfere with the general validity of theproposed correlation, which can therefore be adoptedas a useful empirical equation for determining G0values for this soil.