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Toward New-Generation Intelligent Manufacturing
Zhou Ji, Li Peigen, Zhou Yanhong, Wang Baicun, Zang Jiyuan, Meng Liu
Engineering    2018, 4 (1): 11-20.
Abstract   PDF (1814KB)

Intelligent manufacturing is a general concept that is under continuous development. It can be categorized into three basic paradigms: digital manufacturing, digital-networked manufacturing, and newgeneration intelligent manufacturing. New-generation intelligent manufacturing represents an indepth integration of new-generation artificial intelligence (AI) technology and advanced manufacturing technology. It runs through every link in the full life-cycle of design, production, product, and service. The concept also relates to the optimization and integration of corresponding systems; the continuous improvement of enterprises’ product quality, performance, and service levels; and reduction in resources consumption. New-generation intelligent manufacturing acts as the core driving force of the new industrial revolution and will continue to be the main pathway for the transformation and upgrading of the manufacturing industry in the decades to come. Human-cyber-physical systems (HCPSs) reveal the technological mechanisms of new-generation intelligent manufacturing and can effectively guide related theoretical research and engineering practice. Given the sequential development, cross interaction, and iterative upgrading characteristics of the three basic paradigms of intelligent manufacturing, a technology roadmap for ‘‘parallel promotion and integrated development” should be developed in order to drive forward the intelligent transformation of the manufacturing industry in China.

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Heading toward Artificial Intelligence 2.0
Yunhe Pan
Engineering    2016, 2 (4): 409-413.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (452KB)

With the popularization of the Internet, permeation of sensor networks, emergence of big data, increase in size of the information community, and interlinking and fusion of data and information throughout human society, physical space, and cyberspace, the information environment related to the current development of artificial intelligence (AI) has profoundly changed. AI faces important adjustments, and scientific foundations are confronted with new breakthroughs, as AI enters a new stage: AI 2.0. This paper briefly reviews the 60-year developmental history of AI, analyzes the external environment promoting the formation of AI 2.0 along with changes in goals, and describes both the beginning of the technology and the core idea behind AI 2.0 development. Furthermore, based on combined social demands and the information environment that exists in relation to Chinese development, suggestions on the development of AI 2.0 are given.

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Intelligent Manufacturing in the Context of Industry 4.0: A Review
Ray Y. Zhong, Xun Xu, Eberhard Klotz, Stephen T. Newman
Engineering    2017, 3 (5): 616-630.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (1607KB)

Our next generation of industry—Industry 4.0—holds the promise of increased flexibility in manufacturing, along with mass customization, better quality, and improved productivity. It thus enables companies to cope with the challenges of producing increasingly individualized products with a short lead-time to market and higher quality. Intelligent manufacturing plays an important role in Industry 4.0. Typical resources are converted into intelligent objects so that they are able to sense, act, and behave within a smart environment. In order to fully understand intelligent manufacturing in the context of Industry 4.0, this paper provides a comprehensive review of associated topics such as intelligent manufacturing, Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled manufacturing, and cloud manufacturing. Similarities and differences in these topics are highlighted based on our analysis. We also review key technologies such as the IoT, cyber-physical systems (CPSs), cloud computing, big data analytics (BDA), and information and communications technology (ICT) that are used to enable intelligent manufacturing. Next, we describe worldwide movements in intelligent manufacturing, including governmental strategic plans from different countries and strategic plans from major international companies in the European Union, United States, Japan, and China. Finally, we present current challenges and future research directions. The concepts discussed in this paper will spark new ideas in the effort to realize the much-anticipated Fourth Industrial Revolution.

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Emerging Trends for Microbiome Analysis: From Single-Cell Functional Imaging to Microbiome Big Data
Jian Xu, Bo Ma, Xiaoquan Su, Shi Huang, Xin Xu, Xuedong Zhou, Wei Huang, Rob Knight
Engineering    2017, 3 (1): 66-70.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (813KB)

Method development has always been and will continue to be a core driving force of microbiome science. In this perspective, we argue that in the next decade, method development in microbiome analysis will be driven by three key changes in both ways of thinking and technological platforms: ① a shift from dissecting microbiota structureby sequencing to tracking microbiota state, function, and intercellular interaction via imaging; ② a shift from interrogating a consortium or population of cells to probing individual cells; and ③ a shift from microbiome data analysis to microbiome data science. Some of the recent method-development efforts by Chinese microbiome scientists and their international collaborators that underlie these technological trends are highlighted here. It is our belief that the China Microbiome Initiative has the opportunity to deliver outstanding “Made-in-China” tools to the international research community, by building an ambitious, competitive, and collaborative program at the forefront of method development for microbiome science.

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Biophysical Regulation of Cell Behavior—Cross Talk between Substrate Stiffness and Nanotopography
Yong Yang, Kai Wang, Xiaosong Gu, Kam W. Leong
Engineering    2017, 3 (1): 36-54.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (5075KB)

The stiffness and nanotopographical characteristics of the extracellular matrix (ECM) influence numerous developmental, physiological, and pathological processes in vivo. These biophysical cues have therefore been applied to modulate almost all aspects of cell behavior, from cell adhesion and spreading to proliferation and differentiation. Delineation of the biophysical modulation of cell behavior is critical to the rational design of new biomaterials, implants, and medical devices. The effects of stiffness and topographical cues on cell behavior have previously been reviewed, respectively; however, the interwoven effects of stiffness and nanotopographical cues on cell behavior have not been well described, despite similarities in phenotypic manifestations. Herein, we first review the effects of substrate stiffness and nanotopography on cell behavior, and then focus on intracellular transmission of the biophysical signals from integrins to nucleus. Attempts are made to connect extracellular regulation of cell behavior with the biophysical cues. We then discuss the challenges in dissecting the biophysical regulation of cell behavior and in translating the mechanistic understanding of these cues to tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

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Regenerative Engineering for Knee Osteoarthritis Treatment: Biomaterials and Cell-Based Technologies
Jorge L. Escobar Ivirico, Maumita Bhattacharjee, Emmanuel Kuyinu, Lakshmi S. Nair, Cato T. Laurencin
Engineering    2017, 3 (1): 16-27.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (1352KB)

Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis worldwide. The incidence of this disease is rising and its treatment poses an economic burden. Two early targets of knee OA treatment include the predominant symptom of pain, and cartilage damage in the knee joint. Current treatments have been beneficial in treating the disease but none is as effective as total knee arthroplasty (TKA). However, while TKA is an end-stage solution of the disease, it is an invasive and expensive procedure. Therefore, innovative regenerative engineering strategies should be established as these could defer or annul the need for a TKA. Several biomaterial and cell-based therapies are currently in development and have shown early promise in both preclinical and clinical studies. The use of advanced biomaterials and stem cells independently or in conjunction to treat knee OA could potentially reduce pain and regenerate focal articular cartilage damage. In this review, we discuss the pathogenesis of pain and cartilage damage in knee OA and explore novel treatment options currently being studied, along with some of their limitations.

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Fundamental Theories and Key Technologies for Smart and Optimal Manufacturing in the Process Industry
Feng Qian, Weimin Zhong, Wenli Du
Engineering    2017, 3 (2): 154-160.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (1352KB)

Given the significant requirements for transforming and promoting the process industry, we present the major limitations of current petrochemical enterprises, including limitations in decision-making, production operation, efficiency and security, information integration, and so forth. To promote a vision of the process industry with efficient, green, and smart production, modern information technology should be utilized throughout the entire optimization process for production, management, and marketing. To focus on smart equipment in manufacturing processes, as well as on the adaptive intelligent optimization of the manufacturing process, operating mode, and supply chain management, we put forward several key scientific problems in engineering in a demand-driven and application-oriented manner, namely: ① intelligent sensing and integration of all process information, including production and management information; ② collaborative decision-making in the supply chain, industry chain, and value chain, driven by knowledge; ③ cooperative control and optimization of plant-wide production processes via human-cyber-physical interaction; and ④life-cycle assessments for safety and environmental footprint monitoring, in addition to tracing analysis and risk control. In order to solve these limitations and core scientific problems, we further present fundamental theories and key technologies for smart and optimal manufacturing in the process industry. Although this paper discusses the process industry in China, the conclusions in this paper can be extended to the process industry around the world.

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Improved Oxygen Evolution Kinetics and Surface States Passivation of Ni-Bi Co-Catalyst for a Hematite Photoanode
Ke Dang,Tuo Wang,Chengcheng Li,Jijie Zhang,Shanshan Liu,Jinlong Gong
Engineering    2017, 3 (3): 285-289.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (1314KB)

This paper describes the combinational surface kinetics enhancement and surface states passivation of nickel-borate (Ni-Bi) co-catalyst for a hematite (Fe2O3) photoanode. The Ni-Bi-modified Fe2O3 photoanode exhibits a cathodic onset potential shift of 230 mV and a 2.3-fold enhancement of the photocurrent at 1.23 V, versus the reversible hydrogen electrode (RHE). The borate (Bi) in the Ni-Bi film promotes the release of protons for the oxygen evolution reaction (OER).

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Clean Coal Technologies in China: Current Status and Future Perspectives
Shiyan Chang, Jiankun Zhuo, Shuo Meng, Shiyue Qin, Qiang Yao
Engineering    2016, 2 (4): 447-459.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (2155KB)

Coal is the dominant primary energy source in China and the major source of greenhouse gases and air pollutants. To facilitate the use of coal in an environmentally satisfactory and economically viable way, clean coal technologies (CCTs) are necessary. This paper presents a review of recent research and development of four kinds of CCTs: coal power generation; coal conversion; pollution control; and carbon capture, utilization, and storage. It also outlines future perspectives on directions for technology research and development (R&D). This review shows that China has made remarkable progress in the R&D of CCTs, and that a number of CCTs have now entered into the commercialization stage.

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Sustainable Application of a Novel Water Cycle Using Seawater for Toilet Flushing
Xiaoming Liu, Ji Dai, Di Wu, Feng Jiang, Guanghao Chen, Ho-Kwong Chui, Mark C. M. van Loosdrecht
Engineering    2016, 2 (4): 460-469.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (3630KB)

Global water security is a severe issue that threatens human health and well-being. Finding sustainable alternative water resources has become a matter of great urgency. For coastal urban areas, desalinated seawater could serve as a freshwater supply. However, since 20%–30% of the water supply is used for flushing waste from the city, seawater with simple treatment could also partly replace the use of freshwater. In this work, the freshwater saving potential and environmental impacts of the urban water system (water-wastewater closed loop) adopting seawater desalination, seawater for toilet flushing (SWTF), or reclaimed water for toilet flushing (RWTF) are compared with those of a conventional freshwater system, through a life-cycle assessment and sensitivity analysis. The potential applications of these processes are also assessed. The results support the environmental sustainability of the SWTF approach, but its potential application depends on the coastal distance and effective population density of a city. Developed coastal cities with an effective population density exceeding 3000 persons·km–2 and located less than 30?km from the seashore (for the main pipe supplying seawater to the city) would benefit from applying SWTF, regardless of other impact parameters. By further applying the sulfate reduction, autotrophic denitrification, and nitrification integrated (SANI) process for wastewater treatment, the maximum distance from the seashore can be extended to 60?km. Considering that most modern urbanized cities fulfill these criteria, the next generation of water supply systems could consist of a freshwater supply coupled with a seawater supply for sustainable urban development.

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The Cemented Material Dam: A New, Environmentally Friendly Type of Dam
Jinsheng Jia, Michel Lino, Feng Jin, Cuiying Zheng
Engineering    2016, 2 (4): 490-497.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (2412KB)

The first author proposed the concept of the cemented material dam (CMD) in 2009. This concept was aimed at building an environmentally friendly dam in a safer and more economical way for both the dam and the area downstream. The concept covers the cemented sand, gravel, and rock dam (CSGRD), the rockfill concrete (RFC) dam (or the cemented rockfill dam, CRD), and the cemented soil dam (CSD). This paper summarizes the concept and principles of the CMD based on studies and practices in projects around the world. It also introduces new developments in the CSGRD, CRD, and CSD.

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Integrated and Intelligent Manufacturing: Perspectives and Enablers
Yubao Chen
Engineering    2017, 3 (5): 588-595.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (1484KB)

With ever-increasing market competition and advances in technology, more and more countries are prioritizing advanced manufacturing technology as their top priority for economic growth. Germany announced the Industry 4.0 strategy in 2013. The US government launched the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP) in 2011 and the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) in 2014. Most recently, the Manufacturing USA initiative was officially rolled out to further “leverage existing resources… to nurture manufacturing innovation and accelerate commercialization” by fostering close collaboration between industry, academia, and government partners. In 2015, the Chinese government officially published a 10-year plan and roadmap toward manufacturing: Made in China 2025. In all these national initiatives, the core technology development and implementation is in the area of advanced manufacturing systems. A new manufacturing paradigm is emerging, which can be characterized by two unique features: integrated manufacturing and intelligent manufacturing. This trend is in line with the progress of industrial revolutions, in which higher efficiency in production systems is being continuously pursued. To this end, 10 major technologies can be identified for the new manufacturing paradigm. This paper describes the rationales and needs for integrated and intelligent manufacturing (i2M) systems. Related technologies from different fields are also described. In particular, key technological enablers, such as the Internet of Things and Services (IoTS), cyber-physical systems (CPSs), and cloud computing are discussed. Challenges are addressed with applications that are based on commercially available platforms such as General Electric (GE)’s Predix and PTC’s ThingWorx.

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Recent Progress in Cartilage Tissue Engineering—Our Experience and Future Directions
Yu Liu, Guangdong Zhou, Yilin Cao
Engineering    2017, 3 (1): 28-35.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (2916KB)

Given the limited spontaneous repair that follows cartilage injury, demand is growing for tissue engineering approaches for cartilage regeneration. There are two major applications for tissue-engineered cartilage. One is in orthopedic surgery, in which the engineered cartilage is usually used to repair cartilage defects or loss in an articular joint or meniscus in order to restore the joint function. The other is for head and neck reconstruction, in which the engineered cartilage is usually applied to repair cartilage defects or loss in an auricle, trachea, nose, larynx, or eyelid. The challenges faced by the engineered cartilage for one application are quite different from those faced by the engineered cartilage for the other application. As a result, the emphases of the engineering strategies to generate cartilage are usually quite different for each application. The statuses of preclinical animal investigations and of the clinical translation of engineered cartilage are also at different levels for each application. The aim of this review is to provide an opinion piece on the challenges, current developments, and future directions for cartilage engineering for both applications.

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Advances in Energy-Producing Anaerobic Biotechnologies for Municipal Wastewater Treatment
Wen-Wei Li, Han-Qing Yu
Engineering    2016, 2 (4): 438-446.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (1326KB)

Municipal wastewater treatment has long been known as a high-cost and energy-intensive process that destroys most of the energy-containing molecules by spending energy and that leaves little energy and few nutrients available for reuse. Over the past few years, some wastewater treatment plants have tried to revamp themselves as “resource factories,” enabled by new technologies and the upgrading of old technologies. In particular, there is an renewed interest in anaerobic biotechnologies, which can convert organic matter into usable energy and preserve nutrients for potential reuse. However, considerable technological and economic limitations still exist. Here, we provide an overview of recent advances in several cutting-edge anaerobic biotechnologies for wastewater treatment, including enhanced side-stream anaerobic sludge digestion, anaerobic membrane bioreactors, and microbial electrochemical systems, and discuss future challenges and opportunities for their applications. This review is intended to provide useful information to guide the future design and optimization of municipal wastewater treatment processes.

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Thermal Treatment of Hydrocarbon-Impacted Soils: A Review of Technology Innovation for Sustainable Remediation
Julia E. Vidonish, Kyriacos Zygourakis, Caroline A. Masiello, Gabriel Sabadell, Pedro J. J. Alvarez
Engineering    2016, 2 (4): 426-437.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (4082KB)

Thermal treatment technologies hold an important niche in the remediation of hydrocarbon-contaminated soils and sediments due to their ability to quickly and reliably meet cleanup standards. However, sustained high temperature can be energy intensive and can damage soil properties. Despite the broad applicability and prevalence of thermal remediation, little work has been done to improve the environmental compatibility and sustainability of these technologies. We review several common thermal treatment technologies for hydrocarbon-contaminated soils, assess their potential environmental impacts, and propose frameworks for sustainable and low-impact deployment based on a holistic consideration of energy and water requirements, ecosystem ecology, and soil science. There is no universally appropriate thermal treatment technology. Rather, the appropriate choice depends on the contamination scenario (including the type of hydrocarbons present) and on site-specific considerations such as soil properties, water availability, and the heat sensitivity of contaminated soils. Overall, the convergence of treatment process engineering with soil science, ecosystem ecology, and plant biology research is essential to fill critical knowledge gaps and improve both the removal efficiency and sustainability of thermal technologies.

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Two-Way 4D Printing: A Review on the Reversibility of 3D-Printed Shape Memory Materials
Amelia Yilin Lee, Jia An, Chee Kai Chua
Engineering    2017, 3 (5): 663-674.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (2018KB)

The rapid development of additive manufacturing and advances in shape memory materials have fueled the progress of four-dimensional (4D) printing. With the right external stimulus, the need for human interaction, sensors, and batteries will be eliminated, and by using additive manufacturing, more complex devices and parts can be produced. With the current understanding of shape memory mechanisms and with improved design for additive manufacturing, reversibility in 4D printing has recently been proven to be feasible. Conventional one-way 4D printing requires human interaction in the programming (or shape-setting) phase, but reversible 4D printing, or two-way 4D printing, will fully eliminate the need for human interference, as the programming stage is replaced with another stimulus. This allows reversible 4D printed parts to be fully dependent on external stimuli; parts can also be potentially reused after every recovery, or even used in continuous cycles—an aspect that carries industrial appeal. This paper presents a review on the mechanisms of shape memory materials that have led to 4D printing, current findings regarding 4D printing in alloys and polymers, and their respective limitations. The reversibility of shape memory materials and their feasibility to be fabricated using three-dimensional (3D) printing are summarized and critically analyzed. For reversible 4D printing, the methods of 3D printing, mechanisms used for actuation, and strategies to achieve reversibility are also highlighted. Finally, prospective future research directions in reversible 4D printing are suggested.

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The Human Microbiota in Health and Disease
Baohong Wang, Mingfei Yao, Longxian Lv, Zongxin Ling, Lanjuan Li
Engineering    2017, 3 (1): 71-82.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (1171KB)

Trillions of microbes have evolved with and continue to live on and within human beings. A variety of environmental factors can affect intestinal microbial imbalance, which has a close relationship with human health and disease. Here, we focus on the interactions between the human microbiota and the host in order to provide an overview of the microbial role in basic biological processes and in the development and progression of major human diseases such as infectious diseases, liver diseases, gastrointestinal cancers, metabolic diseases, respiratory diseases, mental or psychological diseases, and autoimmune diseases. We also review important advances in techniques associated with microbial research, such as DNA sequencing, metabonomics, and proteomics combined with computation-based bioinformatics. Current research on the human microbiota has become much more sophisticated and more comprehensive. Therefore, we propose that research should focus on the host-microbe interaction and on cause-effect mechanisms, which could pave the way to an understanding of the role of gut microbiota in health and disease. and provide new therapeutic targets and treatment approaches in clinical practice.

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Noncoding RNAs and Their Potential Therapeutic Applications in Tissue Engineering
Shiying Li, Tianmei Qian, Xinghui Wang, Jie Liu, Xiaosong Gu
Engineering    2017, 3 (1): 3-15.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (1142KB)

Tissue engineering is a relatively new but rapidly developing field in the medical sciences. Noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) are functional RNA molecules without a protein-coding function; they can regulate cellular behavior and change the biological milieu of the tissue. The application of ncRNAs in tissue engineering is starting to attract increasing attention as a means of resolving a large number of unmet healthcare needs, although ncRNA-based approaches have not yet entered clinical practice. In-depth research on the regulation and delivery of ncRNAs may improve their application in tissue engineering. The aim of this review is: to outline essential ncRNAs that are related to tissue engineering for the repair and regeneration of nerve, skin, liver, vascular system, and muscle tissue; to discuss their regulation and delivery; and to anticipate their potential therapeutic applications.

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Infrastructure for China’s Ecologically Balanced Civilization
Chris Kennedy, Ma Zhong, Jan Corfee-Morlot
Engineering    2016, 2 (4): 414-425.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (792KB)

China’s green investment needs up to 2020 are ¥1.7 trillion—2.9 trillion CNY ($274 billion—468 billion USD) per year. Estimates of financing requirements are provided for multiple sectors, including sustainable energy, infrastructure (including for environmental protection), environmental remediation, industrial pollution control, energy and water efficiency, and green products. The context to China’s green financing is discussed, covering urbanization, climate change, interactions between infrastructure sectors, and the transformation of industry. Much of the infrastructure financing will occur in cities, with a focus on equity, environmental protection, and quality of life under the National New-Type Urbanization Plan (20142020). China has implemented many successful policies in the building sector, but there is still considerable scope for improvement in the energy efficiency of Chinese buildings. China is currently pursuing low-carbon growth strategies that are consistent with its overall environmental and quality-of-life objectives. Beyond 2020, China’s future as an ecologically balanced civilization will rest on the implementation of a central infrastructure policy: China 2050 High Renewable Energy Penetration Scenario and Roadmap Study. As exemplified by the Circular Economy Development Strategy and Near-Term Action Plan, an essential part of China’s green industrial transformation involves engineering systems that conserve materials, thereby reducing or even eliminating wastes. To better understand changes to China’s economy under its green transformation and to unlock large potential sources of finance, it is necessary to undertake a fuller examination of all of China’s infrastructure sectors, particularly freight rail infrastructure and ports. Large investments are required to clean up a legacy of environmental contamination of soil and groundwater and to reduce industrial pollution. Transformation of the power sector away from coal will avoid some industrial treatment costs. The contribution of engineers in planning, designing, and constructing China’s new green infrastructure will be furthered by understanding the broad policy context and the interactions between land use, infrastructure, and environmental performance.

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Recent Developments in the Crystallization Process: Toward the Pharmaceutical Industry
Zhenguo Gao, Sohrab Rohani, Junbo Gong, Jingkang Wang
Engineering    2017, 3 (3): 343-353.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (2534KB)

Crystallization is one of the oldest separation and purification unit operations, and has recently contributed to significant improvements in producing higher-value products with specific properties and in building efficient manufacturing processes. In this paper, we review recent developments in crystal engineering and crystallization process design and control in the pharmaceutical industry. We systematically summarize recent methods for understanding and developing new types of crystals such as co-crystals, polymorphs, and solvates, and include several milestones such as the launch of the first co-crystal drug, Entresto (Novartis), and the continuous manufacture of Orkambi (Vertex). Conventional batch and continuous processes, which are becoming increasingly mature, are being coupled with various control strategies and the recently developed crystallizers are thus adapting to the needs of the pharmaceutical industry. The development of crystallization process design and control has led to the appearance of several new and innovative crystallizer geometries for continuous operation and improved performance. This paper also reviews major recent progress in the area of process analytical technology.

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Major Technologies for Safe Construction of High Earth-Rockfill Dams
Hongqi Ma, Fudong Chi
Engineering    2016, 2 (4): 498-509.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (6069KB)

The earth-rockfill dam is one of the primary dam types in the selection of high dams to be constructed in Western China, since it is characterized by favorable adaptability of the dam foundation; full utilization of local earth, rock, and building-excavated materials; low construction cost; and low cement consumption. Many major technical issues regarding earth-rockfill dams with a height of over 250 m were studied and solved successfully in the construction of the 261.5 m Nuozhadu earth core rockfill dam. This paper describes research achievements and basic conclusions; systematically summarizes the accumulated experiences from the construction of the Nuozhadu Dam and other high earth-rockfill dams; and discusses major technical issues, such as deformation control, seepage control, dam slope stability, safety and control of flood discharging, safety and quality control of dam construction, safety assessments, early warning, and other key technical difficulties. This study also provides a reference and technological support for the future construction of 300 m high earth-rockfill dams.

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Engineering Solutions for Representative Models of the Gastrointestinal Human-Microbe Interface
Marc Mac Giolla Eain, Joanna Baginska, Kacy Greenhalgh, Joëlle V. Fritz, Frederic Zenhausern, Paul Wilmes
Engineering    2017, 3 (1): 60-65.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (1780KB)

Host-microbe interactions at the gastrointestinal interface have emerged as a key component in the governance of human health and disease. Advances in micro-physiological systems are providing researchers with unprecedented access and insights into this complex relationship. These systems combine the benefits of microengineering, microfluidics, and cell culture in a bid to recreate the environmental conditions prevalent in the human gut. Here we present the human-microbial cross talk (HuMiX) platform, one such system that leverages this multidisciplinary approach to provide a representative in vitro model of the human gastrointestinal interface. HuMiX presents a novel and robust means to study the molecular interactions at the host-microbe interface. We summarize our proof-of-concept results obtained using the platform and highlight its potential to greatly enhance our understanding of host-microbe interactions with a potential to greatly impact the pharmaceutical, food, nutrition, and healthcare industries in the future. A number of key questions and challenges facing these technologies are also discussed.

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More than Target 6.3: A Systems Approach to Rethinking Sustainable Development Goals in a Resource-Scarce World
Qiong Zhang, Christine Prouty, Julie B. Zimmerman, James R. Mihelcic
Engineering    2016, 2 (4): 481-489.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (833KB)

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development outlines 17 individual Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that guide the needs of practice for many professional disciplines around the world, including engineering, research, policy, and development. The SDGs represent commitments to reduce poverty, hunger, ill health, gender inequality, environmental degradation, and lack of access to clean water and sanitation. If a typical reductionist approach is employed to address and optimize individual goals, it may lead to a failure in technological, policy, or managerial development interventions through unintended consequences in other goals. This study uses a systems approach to understand the fundamental dynamics between the SDGs in order to identify potential synergies and antagonisms. A conceptual system model was constructed to illustrate the causal relationships between SDGs, examine system structures using generic system archetypes, and identify leverage points to effectively influence intentional and minimize unintentional changes in the system. The structure of interactions among the SDGs reflects three archetypes of system behavior: Reinforcing Growth, Limits to Growth, and Growth and Underinvestment. The leverage points identified from the conceptual model are gender equality, sustainable management of water and sanitation, alternative resources, sustainable livelihood standards, and global partnerships. Such a conceptual system analysis of SDGs can enhance the likelihood that the development community will broaden its understanding of the potential synergistic benefits of their projects on resource management, environmental sustainability, and climate change. By linking the interactions and feedbacks of those projects with economic gains, women’s empowerment, and educational equality, stakeholders can recognize holistic improvements that can be made to the quality of life of many of the world’s poor.

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High-Speed EMU TCMS Design and LCC Technology Research
Hongwei Zhao, Zhiping Huang, Ying Mei
Engineering    2017, 3 (1): 122-129.
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This paper introduces the high-speed electrical multiple unit (EMU) life cycle, including the design, manufacturing, testing, and maintenance stages. It also presents the train control and monitoring system (TCMS) software development platform, the TCMS testing and verification bench, the EMU driving simulation platform, and the EMU remote data transmittal and maintenance platform. All these platforms and benches combined together make up the EMU life cycle cost (LCC) system. Each platform facilitates EMU LCC management and is an important part of the system.

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Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Bridge Design in the Netherlands: Architectural Challenges toward Innovative, Sustainable, and Durable Bridges
Joris Smits
Engineering    2016, 2 (4): 518-527.
Abstract   PDF (7053KB)

This paper reviews the use of fiber-reinforced polymers (FRPs) in architectural and structural bridge design in the Netherlands. The challenges and opportunities of this relatively new material, both for the architect and the engineer, are discussed. An inventory of recent structural solutions in FRP is included, followed by a discussion on architectural FRP applications derived from the architectural practice of the author and of other pioneers.

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Simulating Resin Infusion through Textile Reinforcement Materials for the Manufacture of Complex Composite Structures
Robert S. Pierce, Brian G. Falzon
Engineering    2017, 3 (5): 596-607.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (2946KB)

Increasing demand for weight reduction and greater fuel efficiency continues to spur the use of composite materials in commercial aircraft structures. Subsequently, as composite aerostructures become larger and more complex, traditional autoclave manufacturing methods are becoming prohibitively expensive. This has prompted renewed interest in out-of-autoclave processing techniques in which resins are introduced into a reinforcing preform. However, the success of these resin infusion methods is highly dependent upon operator skill and experience, particularly in the development of new manufacturing strategies for complex parts. Process modeling, as a predictive computational tool, aims to address the issues of reliability and waste that result from traditional trial-and-error approaches. Basic modeling attempts, many of which are still used in industry, generally focus on simulating fluid flow through an isotropic porous reinforcement material. However, recent efforts are beginning to account for the multiscale and multidisciplinary complexity of woven materials, in simulations that can provide greater fidelity. In particular, new multi-physics process models are able to better predict the infusion behavior through textiles by considering the effect of fabric deformation on permeability and porosity properties within the reinforcing material. In addition to reviewing previous research related to process modeling and the current state of the art, this paper highlights the recent validation of a multi-physics process model against the experimental infusion of a complex double dome component. By accounting for deformation-dependent flow behavior, the multi-physics process model was able to predict realistic flow behavior, demonstrating considerable improvement over basic isotropic permeability models.

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Membrane Engineering for Green Process Engineering
Francesca Macedonio, Enrico Drioli
Engineering    2017, 3 (3): 290-298.
Abstract   HTML   PDF (693KB)

Green process engineering, which is based on the principles of the process intensi?cation strategy, can provide an important contribution toward achieving industrial sustainable development. Green process engineering refers to innovative equipment and process methods that are expected to bring about substantial improvements in chemical and any other manufacturing and processing aspects. It includes decreasing production costs, equipment size, energy consumption, and waste generation, and improving remote control, information ?uxes, and process ?exibility. Membrane-based technology assists in the pursuit of these principles, and the potential of membrane operations has been widely recognized in the last few years. This work starts by presenting an overview of the membrane operations that are utilized in water treatment and in the production of energy and raw materials. Next, it describes the potential advantages of innovative membrane-based integrated systems. A case study on an integrated membrane system (IMS) for seawater desalination coupled with raw materials production is presented. The aim of this work is to show how membrane systems can contribute to the realization of the goals of zero liquid discharge (ZLD), total raw materials utilization, and low energy consumption.

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Modulation of Gut Microbiota in Pathological States
Yulan Wang, Baohong Wang, Junfang Wu, Xiangyang Jiang, Huiru Tang, Ole H. Nielsen
Engineering    2017, 3 (1): 83-89.
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The human microbiota is an aggregate of microorganisms residing in the human body, mostly in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT). Our gut microbiota evolves with us and plays a pivotal role in human health and disease. In recent years, the microbiota has gained increasing attention due to its impact on host metabolism, physiology, and immune system development, but also because the perturbation of the microbiota may result in a number of diseases. The gut microbiota may be linked to malignancies such as gastric cancer and colorectal cancer. It may also be linked to disorders such as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD); obesity and diabetes, which are characterized as “lifestyle diseases” of the industrialized world; coronary heart disease; and neurological disorders. Although the revolution in molecular technologies has provided us with the necessary tools to study the gut microbiota more accurately, we need to elucidate the relationships between the gut microbiota and several human pathologies more precisely, as understanding the impact that the microbiota plays in various diseases is fundamental for the development of novel therapeutic strategies. Therefore, the aim of this review is to provide the reader with an updated overview of the importance of the gut microbiota for human health and the potential to manipulate gut microbial composition for purposes such as the treatment of antibiotic-resistant Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) infections. The concept of altering the gut community by microbial intervention in an effort to improve health is currently in its infancy. However, the therapeutic implications appear to be very great. Thus, the removal of harmful organisms and the enrichment of beneficial microbes may protect our health, and such efforts will pave the way for the development of more rational treatment options in the future.

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Control for Intelligent Manufacturing: A Multiscale Challenge
Han-Xiong Li, Haitao Si
Engineering    2017, 3 (5): 608-615.
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The Made in China 2025 initiative will require full automation in all sectors, from customers to production. This will result in great challenges to manufacturing systems in all sectors. In the future of manufacturing, all devices and systems should have sensing and basic intelligence capabilities for control and adaptation. In this study, after discussing multiscale dynamics of the modern manufacturing system, a five-layer functional structure is proposed for uncertainties processing. Multiscale dynamics include: multi-time scale, space-time scale, and multi-level dynamics. Control action will differ at different scales, with more design being required at both fast and slow time scales. More quantitative action is required in low-level operations, while more qualitative action is needed regarding high-level supervision. Intelligent manufacturing systems should have the capabilities of flexibility, adaptability, and intelligence. These capabilities will require the control action to be distributed and integrated with different approaches, including smart sensing, optimal design, and intelligent learning. Finally, a typical jet dispensing system is taken as a real-world example for multiscale modeling and control.

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The Biofunctions of Phytochemicals and Their Applications in Farm Animals: The Nrf2/Keap1 System as a Target
Si Qin, De-Xing Hou
Engineering    2017, 3 (5): 738-752.
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Reactive oxygen species (ROS) can be caused by mechanical, thermal, infectious, and chemical stimuli, and their negative effects on the health of humans and other animals are of considerable concern. The nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2/Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1 (Nrf2/Keap1) system plays a major role in maintaining the balance between the production and elimination of ROS via the regulation of a series of detoxifying and antioxidant enzyme gene expressions by means of the antioxidant response element (ARE). Dietary phytochemicals, which are generally found in vegetables, fruits, grains, and herbs, have been reported to have health benefits and to improve the growth performance and meat quality of farm animals through the regulation of Nrf2-mediated phase II enzymes in a variety of ways. However, the enormous quantity of somewhat chaotic data that is available on the effects of phytochemicals needs to be properly classified according to the functions or mechanisms of phytochemicals. In this review, we first introduce the antioxidant properties of phytochemicals and their relation to the Nrf2/Keap1 system. We then summarize the effects of phytochemicals on the growth performance, meat quality, and intestinal microbiota of farm animals via targeting the Nrf2/Keap1 system. These exhaustive data contribute to better illuminate the underlying biofunctional properties of phytochemicals in farm animals.

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