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  • Public defence: 2024-09-20 09:00 E632, Luleå
    Johansson, Gunilla
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Health, Education and Technology, Nursing and Medical Technology.
    Nature-based interventions to promote health in people with stress-related illness2024Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Stress-related illness is increasing and is a common cause of sick leave in Sweden. Spending time in nature reduces stress and promotes health and well-being. Consequently, nature-based interventions (NBI) for people with stress-related illness have been developed, implemented and studied in southern Scandinavia. However, such interventions are uncommon in the Circumpolar North with a different climate which affect conditions for outdoor activities. 

    The overall aim of this doctoral thesis was to explore NBIs to promote health in people with stress-related illness from the perspectives of previous research, people with stress-related illness, healthcare professionals and entrepreneurs offering NBIs with a specific focus on northern natural conditions.

    The thesis includes four studies. An integrative literature review (I) identified and summarised scientific studies of NBIs for people with stress-related illness. Studies using both qualitative and quantitative designs were included. Study II explored key stakeholders’ perceptions of the value of NBIs in promoting health in people with stress-related illness. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with people with stress-related illness experience, healthcare professionals, and entrepreneurs offering NBI and data were analysed through qualitative content analysis. In study III people with stress-related illness experiences of participating in an NBI program in a northern natural setting were explored. A longitudinal case study design was used, and data were collected through repeated semi-structured interviews, diary entries and self-assessment questionnaires. Qualitative content analysis was used to analyse interviews and reflections from diaries and data from self-assessing questionnaires were presented descriptively. Study IV explored people with stress-related illness experiences of nature prescription. Data were collected through interviews with open-ended questions and analysed with a phenomenological-hermeneutic method.

    Findings show that natural environments offer unique qualities for individualised, meaningful activities and interactions with others in a non-demanding atmosphere. In NBI people with stress-related illness find a source for recovery, joy, and well-being. Spending time in nature is perceived as calming and facilitates being in the present. NBIs improve health and strengthen self-efficacy and work ability. Time in nature provides new perspectives, supports existential reflections, and empowers people with stress-related illness to find opportunities for change to achieve balance in everyday life. NBIs can be helpful for people with stress-related illness to overcome barriers to going out in nature or to find their way back to nature. 

    In conclusion, NBIs seem to be beneficial in promoting health in people with stress-related illness. Different stakeholders have similar perceptions of the value of NBIs, indicating that it could be a valuable complement to health care. NBIs in a northern natural setting seems to have similar health promoting qualities as those seen in studies of NBIs in other natural settings.

  • Public defence: 2024-09-20 12:00 C305, Luleå
    Paulsen Thoresen, Petter
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Chemical Engineering.
    Structure and property oriented organosolv lignin extraction2024Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In this Thesis, organosolv fractionation of softwood (spruce), hardwood (birch and beech), and herbaceous crops (wheat straw) was performed by applying various organosolv process conditions. Among these were a novel steam-explosion/organosolv hybrid mode, and two ternary solvent systems utilizing water/ethanol/acetone, and water/acetone/acetic acid. In addition, the effect of using inorganic acidic catalyst (H2SO4) was investigated for all raw material classes. Also, alkaline catalyst (NaOH) was investigated for wheat straw due to its reported high content of inorganics which presence adds additional structural complexity to the lignocellulosic recalcitrance. Following the organosolv fractionation, structural characterization was performed (content of cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin) in the isolated product fractions. Additionally, in-depth characterization of the isolated lignins was performed by combining Pyrolysis-Gas Chromatography Mass Spectroscopy (Pyr-GC/MS), Gel Permeation Chromatography (GPC), and different modes of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR; 13C, 1H-13C, 31P). Complementary analytics, such as content of monomeric/oligomeric sugars, dehydration products, total phenolics, and Size-Exclusion Chromatography (SEC) of the isolated product liquor, were performed to provide a comprehensive understanding of the process. Special attention was given the lignin structural changes occurring throughout the organosolv process. This was done as the use of lignin for higher-value application is considered crucial for the economic viability and development of a modern biorefinery. For this reason, significant focus was given to study how the lignin characteristics translate into physical properties such as solubility. The latter property was measured through solubility trials in binary aqueous acetone solutions, as well as solvent-based fractionation (acetone-water system). A coherent picture was aimed for, where structural motifs and lignin characteristics were correlated to reductions/enhancements in solubility at various water contents. To finally bridge this with a potential down-stream application, DPPH radical scavenging was performed in DMSO with and without intercalating Lithium Bromide (LiBr) for a selection of organosolv lignins, as well as their acetone/water fractionated lignins. This was complemented with a UV absorption study of the lignin solutions.The results provide a descriptive span of chemical characteristics related to organosolv lignins, where they range between highly native, to non-native. Whereas the former lignins are largely comprised of inter-unit motifs such as β-O-4’, β-β’ and β-5’, the non-native lignins are instead better characterized by a high content of oxidized sidechains, biaryls and bifurans, as well as showing strong indications of having quaternary cross-linkers originating from ketone functionalities. The ketones are also found to undergo aldol condensation with aldehydes formed throughout the process. Interestingly, these two extremes in lignin characteristics yield highly varying physical properties, where the predominantly native and non-native lignins for example display low and high solubility in pure acetone, respectively. Simultaneously, the latter is more prone towards water-induced precipitation, whereas the former instead require water to display complete (~100%) solubility at specific concentrations. These properties and findings are eventually consistent with recent literature where lignin aggregates also dominate their dissolved state, and the interunit motifs dictate the affinity on forming such aggregates which are important for both their dissolution, precipitation, but also their display of functionality such as antioxidant activity.                    

    The full text will be freely available from 2024-08-30 09:00
  • Public defence: 2024-09-26 09:00 C305, Luleå
    Hruzova, Katerina
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Chemical Engineering.
    Potential of Organosolv Lignin Nanoparticles as a Sustainable Flotation Reagent: Towards a Low-Carbon Footprint Mining Industry2024Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The green transition is driving a steep increase in the demand for minerals, which has put the focus on more responsible and sustainable mining practices as there is a growing pressure on mining operations to minimise their environmental footprint, mitigate risks in neighbouring communities, and decrease the consumption of natural resources. In 2022, mineral froth flotation was used to recover 18 million tonnes of copper from copper ore, accounting for 80% of total copper mine output. The mineral froth flotation process can be made more sustainable through the use of bio-based and biodegradable flotation reagents. Currently, xanthates are used as collectors for the recovery of copper-bearing sulfide minerals from sulfide ores. However, xanthates are fossil-based and pose significant risks, particularly to aquatic life and ecosystems. Additionally, a significant part of xanthates is currently obtained from production sites in Asia, which can lead to supply dependency and delays, as evident during the global pandemic.

    The aim of this thesis was to develop an efficient, sustainable, and environmentally friendly mineral froth flotation process based on total or partial replacement of xanthates with bio-based, biodegradable, and low-carbon footprint organosolv lignin particles (OLP). The lignin was obtained through organosolv fractionation of residual forest biomass, i.e. spruce and birch. The particles were produced via solvent exchange method from the homogenized lignin solution. As a result, 4 different particle types were produced: birch nanoparticles (BN), birch microparticles (BM), spruce nanoparticles (SN), and spruce microparticles (SM). At first, the characterization and surface chemistry study of the OLP was carried out to deepen the understanding of interaction mechanism between the OLP and mineral surfaces. The lignin was characterized by gel permeation chromatography and nuclear magnetic resonance for its molecular size and content of functional groups. While morphology, surface charge and stability in dispersion of the particles was determined using scanning electron microscopy, ζ-potential, and Turbiscan. All 4 particles were spherical with the diameter around 100 nm for nanoparticles and 1μm for microparticles. The ζ-potential measurement showed the surface variation caused by the difference in size and content of functional groups. Spruce particles, SN and SM, had higher negative charge due to higher content of carboxylic and total phenolic groups. Under alkali conditions, the ζ-potential below -20mV for all particles, with the lowest at −55.1 mV for SM. Finaly, the interaction of OLP with mineral surfaces was examined using quartz crystal microbalance. While the attachment of all OLP was very rigid for both, chalcopyrite and pyrite surfaces, the affinity for attachment was notably greater in the case of pyrite compared to chalcopyrite.

    The OLP was tested in proof-of-concept study on three different ore samples, and improvements in the flotation performance was observed, including better selectivity and increased recovery. The further evaluation of the OLP as flotation reagent was conducted with copper ore samples. The flotation trials were carried out with 600 g of ore sample in laboratory flotation cell. Starting with the dosage study, the results were confirmed in rougher-cleaner flotation tests. However, the OLP could not be used as a sole collector, it was shown that significant part of xanthate in the flotation mix could be replaced by OLP resulting in improved copper recovery and selectivity. Additionally, a synergy was observed when the OLP and xanthate mixture was used as combined reagents performed better than each of them separately at the same dosage. The copper recovery was increased from 82.2% to 88.7% in a semi-pilot rougher flotation when 50% of xanthate was replaced by OLP compared to the xanthate alone. Significant depression of iron recovery was observed when the OLP was utilized, even in absence of lime. Thus, the OLP reagents eliminated the need for lime, which is required on an industrial scale. Further positive effect of OLP application was indicated recovery of other valuable elements in the concentrates, such as cobalt and molybdenum, while there was no increase in penalty elements. The amount of OLP needed was up to 10 g/ton of ore, which is very small amount, and it is roughly 10 times less compared to any other modifier used in such a process. Therefore, this thesis demonstrates the potential of OLP as flotation reagent. If implemented, the proposed flotation system would lead to better resource efficiency and lower environmental impact.

    The full text will be freely available from 2024-09-05 09:00
  • Public defence: 2024-09-27 09:00 E632, Luleå
    Rujner, Hendrik
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Architecture and Water.
    Hydrologic effectiveness of vegetated swales in controlling urban stormwater2024Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Vegetated swales are an integral component of Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI), designed to manage urban stormwater at its source by reducing volumes and peaks, retaining water within the urban landscape, and providing high-capacity runoff pathways. They facilitate the integration of vegetation-based stormwater solutions with traditional grey infrastructure, creating synergies and enhancing urban drainage. In light of contemporary urban drainage challenges, swales are now assigned multiple functions beyond stormwater conveyance, necessitating enhanced predictability and reduced uncertainties in their hydrologic performance.

    This thesis investigates the hydrologic functions of vegetated swales in controlling urban stormwater. Vegetated swales are shallow, vegetated channels that manage runoff through infiltration, conveyance, storage, dissipation, and filtration, leading to reduced runoff volumes and attenuated peak flows. The study aims to advance the understanding of swale functions by examining their hydrologic and hydraulic performance under varying conditions. Key objectives include exploring the relationship between hydraulic and hydrological factors and swale hydrographs, such as soil moisture dynamics and swale characteristics, representing swale processes and spatial variability, and evaluating long-term hydrological behavior concerning soil water content (SWC).

    The methodology involved field experiments and long-term monitoring at two swales in Luleå and a combined stormwater control measure (SCM) in Skellefteå, Northern Sweden. These swales, with differing topographies and vegetative covers, were subjected to controlled irrigation experiments to mimic runoff inflows. The combined SCM, consisting of a rocky slope, vegetated slope, and vegetated collector swale arranged in series, was monitored to assess hydrologic parameters and responses based on natural rainfall inflows. Data collection included rainfall events, inflow and outflow hydrographs, soil infiltration, and SWC using Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR).

    The study highlights the influence of initial soil moisture conditions only on vegetated swale function. Low SWC leads to high runoff attenuation (up to 74%), whereas high SWC results in predominant conveyance function (attenuation as low as 17%). Runoff peaks were proportionally reduced, with outflow hydrograph lag times ranging from 5 to 15 minutes. Variability in soil properties, hydraulic conductivity, and topography significantly affected swale performance, with bottom slope irregularities impacting runoff dissipation. Double-ring infiltrometer measurements showed infiltration rates varying from 1.78 to 9.41 cm/hr across the swales.

    For the example of a vegetated swale in combination with additional drainage features upstream, runoff volume reductions frequently exceeded those in studies on grassed swales or filter strips, attributed to large pervious areas and abundant depression storage. Hydrological reductions varied with site-specific conditions, such as soil properties and shallow groundwater interactions, resulting in a median runoff coefficient of 0.03 over 60 storm events. Groundwater interactions and soil moisture fluctuations influenced unsaturated zone dynamics, causing water exfiltration even during dry periods, leading to variable runoff travel times and delayed peak lag times.

    Eight years of monitoring revealed high spatial variability in SWC, attributed to soil mixing during development. Vegetated slopes showed greater SWC variability than the downstream swale, influenced by lateral stormwater inflows. Seasonal trends indicated increasing site moisture, driven by vegetation maturation, which improved stormwater retention and site resilience.

    Overall, this dissertation enhances the understanding of influential processes and environmental conditions impacting the function and effectiveness of vegetated swales, providing valuable information to reduce uncertainties in designing and predicting swale hydrological responses.

  • Public defence: 2024-09-27 13:00 A109, Luleå
    Moosavi, Amin
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences and Mathematics, Fluid and Experimental Mechanics.
    Heat transfer in ordered porous media with application to batteries2024Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In recent decades, promising technological advancements in clean energy production and green transportation, driven by the depletion of oil resources, energy security issues, environmental challenges, and associated health concerns, have moved the world closer to a sustainable energy outlook. However, this approach has led to a high reliance on electricity and the need for optimized electricity storage systems. Among different options, lithium battery systems have gained considerable attention, particularly for electric vehicles, owing to their superior properties, such as high energy density, fast charging capacity, and long lifespan, making them compatible with both stationary and mobile applications. Nevertheless, the safe and long-term operation of lithium battery systems depends on their working temperature, as the aging process of batteries accelerates with the temperature rise, and at critical temperatures, the exothermic reactions within battery cells might lead to thermal runaway and explosion. This necessitates employing a suitable strategy to regulate the temperature within lithium batteries, which could be quite challenging due to design restrictions related to geometry, coolant selection, cost, weight, and battery system size, especially at fast charging/discharging rates. Hence, it is essential to initially have a thorough understanding of how the system operates under different working conditions and then employ an effective strategy to improve its performance. 

    In this framework, the present thesis first investigates the thermal behavior of a single cylindrical battery cell with varying geometrical parameters for the jelly roll. The study is based on a mathematical model predicting the temperature field within the cell to identify design considerations at the cell level to minimize thermal issues for the battery thermal management system. The best balance between thermal concerns and capacity was found for 21700 cylindrical cells, wherein the optimum thicknesses for the positive active material, the negative active material, the positive current collector, and the negative current collector were 180, 34, 21, and 20 μm, respectively. The thesis then shifts focus to the module-level study, evaluating the performance of air-based battery thermal management systems that meet many design criteria for battery applications but present challenges due to the low thermal conductivity of air as a coolant medium. The thermofluid characteristics of the air-based cooling system under discussion were investigated using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations and compared to free cross-flow heat exchangers. The study suggests the  k-kl-ω transition model as a computationally efficient and fairly accurate turbulence model for such heat exchangers. Moreover, it was determined that under certain conditions, two-dimensional models of free cross-flow heat exchangers could replace computationally demanding three-dimensional models for wall-bounded cross-flow heat exchangers intended for battery cooling. These findings serve as a basis for developing a novel approach for modeling the performance of large air-cooled battery systems, termed the simplified modeling approach.

    The simplified modeling approach consists of three sub-models, including a CFD model to simulate heat and flow characteristics around a cell in a periodic flow region, a set of approximate equations to determine the heat transfer rate for each row along the battery module, and an analytical model to predict the temperature field within individual cells. The employment of these sub-models, along with their independent functioning, significantly reduces computing costs. This model was employed to investigate cell spacing within an air-cooled battery module. At a constant mass flow rate to the system, the study suggests that maintaining transverse and longitudinal center-to-center distances of 1.7D and 0.9D between the cells, respectively, results in a fair balance between the maximum temperature rise and temperature gradient within the module. Following this, the model was combined with an empirical capacity degradation model to study how cell spacing and cooling conditions affect the number of cycles a battery module can operate. According to the study, proper cell spacing may extend the lifetime of the battery module by up to 55%. However, this life cycle extension comes at the cost of greater power consumption, which significantly raises cyclical costs, especially in densely packed battery modules. To address this issue, splitter plates were integrated into the design of densely packed battery modules. It was observed that splitter plates with lengths comparable to wake size could mitigate the maximum temperature rise and capacity degradation process within the batteries without causing extra cyclical costs. 

  • Public defence: 2024-10-15 09:00 E632, Luleå
    Savolainen, Eva
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Health, Education and Technology, Health, Medicine and Rehabilitation.
    The road towards making the active choice the easy choice: Facilitating and feasibility aspects of children’s active transportation2024Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
  • Public defence: 2024-10-17 13:00 A1123, Luleå
    Eronen, Minna
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Social Sciences, Technology and Arts, Humans and Technology.
    Maps for The layered Gaps: Tools for affording situational awareness in human inclusive place design2024Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)