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An improved and convenient ninhydrin assay for aminoacylase activity measurements was developed using the commercial EZ Nin™ reagent. Alternative reagents from literature were also evaluated and compared. The addition of DMSO to the reagent enhanced the solubility of Ruhemann's purple (RP). Furthermore, we found that the use of a basic, aqueous buffer enhances stability of RP. An acidic protocol for the quantification of lysine was developed by addition of glacial acetic acid. The assay allows for parallel processing in a 96-well format with measurements microtiter plates.

Ambitious climate targets affect the competitiveness of industries in the international market. To prevent such industries from moving to other countries in the wake of increased climate protection efforts, cost adjustments may become necessary. Their design requires knowledge of country-specific production costs. Here, we present country-specific cost figures for different production routes of steel, paying particular attention to transportation costs. The data can be used in floor price models aiming to assess the competitiveness of different steel production routes in different countries (Rübbelke, 2022).

Influence of slab deflection on the out-of-plane capacity of unreinforced masonry partition walls
(2023)

Severe damage of non-structural elements is noticed in previous earthquakes, causing high economic losses and posing a life threat for the people. Masonry partition walls are one of the most commonly used non-structural elements. Therefore, their behaviour under earthquake loading in out-of-plane (OOP) direction is investigated by several researches in the past years. However, none of the existing experimental campaigns or analytical approaches consider the influence of prior slab deflection on OOP response of partition walls. Moreover, none of the existing construction techniques for the connection of partition walls with surrounding reinforced concrete (RC) is investigated for the combined slab deflection and OOP loading. However, the inevitable time-dependent behaviour of RC slabs leads to high values of final slab deflections which can further influence boundary conditions of partition walls. Therefore, a comprehensive study on the influence of slab deflection on the OOP capacity of masonry partitions is conducted. In the first step, experimental tests are carried out. Results of experimental tests are further used for the calibration of the numerical model employed for a parametric study. Based on the results, behaviour under combined loading for different construction techniques is explained. The results show that slab deflection leads either to severe damage or to a high reduction of OOP capacity. Existing practical solutions do not account for these effects. In this contribution, recommendations to overcome the problems of combined slab deflection and OOP loading on masonry partition walls are given. Possible interaction of in-plane (IP) loading, with the combined slab deflection and OOP loading on partition walls, is not investigated in this study.

Because of simple construction process, high energy efficiency, significant fire resistance and excellent sound isolation, masonry infilled reinforced concrete (RC) frame structures are very popular in most of the countries in the world, as well as in seismic active areas. However, many RC frame structures with masonry infills were seriously damaged during earthquake events, as the traditional infills are generally constructed with direct contact to the RC frame which brings undesirable infill/frame interaction. This interaction leads to the activation of the equivalent diagonal strut in the infill panel, due to the RC frame deformation, and combined with seismically induced loads perpendicular to the infill panel often causes total collapses of the masonry infills and heavy damages to the RC frames. This fact was the motivation for developing different approaches for improving the behaviour of masonry infills, where infill isolation (decoupling) from the frame has been more intensively studied in the last decade. In-plane isolation of the infill wall reduces infill activation, but causes the need for additional measures to restrain out-of-plane movements. This can be provided by installing steel anchors, as proposed by some researchers. Within the framework of European research project INSYSME (Innovative Systems for Earthquake Resistant Masonry Enclosures in Reinforced Concrete Buildings) the system based on a use of elastomers for in-plane decoupling and steel anchors for out-of-plane restrain was tested. This constructive solution was tested and deeply investigated during the experimental campaign where traditional and decoupled masonry infilled RC frames with anchors were subjected to separate and combined in-plane and out-of-plane loading. Based on a detailed evaluation and comparison of the test results, the performance and effectiveness of the developed system are illustrated.

Past earthquakes demonstrated the high vulnerability of industrial facilities equipped with complex process technologies leading to serious damage of process equipment and multiple and simultaneous release of hazardous substances. Nonetheless, current standards for seismic design of industrial facilities are considered inadequate to guarantee proper safety conditions against exceptional events entailing loss of containment and related consequences. On these premises, the SPIF project -Seismic Performance of Multi-Component Systems in Special Risk Industrial Facilities- was proposed within the framework of the European H2020 SERA funding scheme. In detail, the objective of the SPIF project is the investigation of the seismic behaviour of a representative industrial multi-storey frame structure equipped with complex process components by means of shaking table tests. Along this main vein and in a performance-based design perspective, the issues investigated in depth are the interaction between a primary moment resisting frame (MRF) steel structure and secondary process components that influence the performance of the whole system; and a proper check of floor spectra predictions. The evaluation of experimental data clearly shows a favourable performance of the MRF structure, some weaknesses of local details due to the interaction between floor crossbeams and process components and, finally, the overconservatism of current design standards w.r.t. floor spectra predictions.

Hotelling’s T² tests in paired and independent survey samples are compared using the traditional asymptotic efficiency concepts of Hodges–Lehmann, Bahadur and Pitman, as well as through criteria based on the volumes of corresponding confidence regions. Conditions characterizing the superiority of a procedure are given in terms of population canonical correlation type coefficients. Statistical tests for checking these conditions are developed. Test statistics based on the eigenvalues of a symmetrized sample cross-covariance matrix are suggested, as well as test statistics based on sample canonical correlation type coefficients.

Let X₁,…,Xₙ be independent and identically distributed random variables with distribution F. Assuming that there are measurable functions f:R²→R and g:R²→R characterizing a family F of distributions on the Borel sets of R in the way that the random variables f(X₁,X₂),g(X₁,X₂) are independent, if and only if F∈F, we propose to treat the testing problem H:F∈F,K:F∉F by applying a consistent nonparametric independence test to the bivariate sample variables (f(Xᵢ,Xⱼ),g(Xᵢ,Xⱼ)),1⩽i,j⩽n,i≠j. A parametric bootstrap procedure needed to get critical values is shown to work. The consistency of the test is discussed. The power performance of the procedure is compared with that of the classical tests of Kolmogorov–Smirnov and Cramér–von Mises in the special cases where F is the family of gamma distributions or the family of inverse Gaussian distributions.

The Rothman–Woodroofe symmetry test statistic is revisited on the basis of independent but not necessarily identically distributed random variables. The distribution-freeness if the underlying distributions are all symmetric and continuous is obtained. The results are applied for testing symmetry in a meta-analysis random effects model. The consistency of the procedure is discussed in this situation as well. A comparison with an alternative proposal from the literature is conducted via simulations. Real data are analyzed to demonstrate how the new approach works in practice.

On the basis of bivariate data, assumed to be observations of independent copies of a random vector (S,N), we consider testing the hypothesis that the distribution of (S,N) belongs to the parametric class of distributions that arise with the compound Poisson exponential model. Typically, this model is used in stochastic hydrology, with N as the number of raindays, and S as total rainfall amount during a certain time period, or in actuarial science, with N as the number of losses, and S as total loss expenditure during a certain time period. The compound Poisson exponential model is characterized in the way that a specific transform associated with the distribution of (S,N) satisfies a certain differential equation. Mimicking the function part of this equation by substituting the empirical counterparts of the transform we obtain an expression the weighted integral of the square of which is used as test statistic. We deal with two variants of the latter, one of which being invariant under scale transformations of the S-part by fixed positive constants. Critical values are obtained by using a parametric bootstrap procedure. The asymptotic behavior of the tests is discussed. A simulation study demonstrates the performance of the tests in the finite sample case. The procedure is applied to rainfall data and to an actuarial dataset. A multivariate extension is also discussed.

The European Union's aim to become climate neutral by 2050 necessitates ambitious efforts to reduce carbon emissions. Large reductions can be attained particularly in energy intensive sectors like iron and steel. In order to prevent the relocation of such industries outside the EU in the course of tightening environmental regulations, the establishment of a climate club jointly with other large emitters and alternatively the unilateral implementation of an international cross-border carbon tax mechanism are proposed. This article focuses on the latter option choosing the steel sector as an example. In particular, we investigate the financial conditions under which a European cross border mechanism is capable to protect hydrogen-based steel production routes employed in Europe against more polluting competition from abroad. By using a floor price model, we assess the competitiveness of different steel production routes in selected countries. We evaluate the climate friendliness of steel production on the basis of specific GHG emissions. In addition, we utilize an input-output price model. It enables us to assess impacts of rising cost of steel production on commodities using steel as intermediates. Our results raise concerns that a cross-border tax mechanism will not suffice to bring about competitiveness of hydrogen-based steel production in Europe because the cost tends to remain higher than the cost of steel production in e.g. China. Steel is a classic example for a good used mainly as intermediate for other products. Therefore, a cross-border tax mechanism for steel will increase the price of products produced in the EU that require steel as an input. This can in turn adversely affect competitiveness of these sectors. Hence, the effects of higher steel costs on European exports should be borne in mind and could require the cross-border adjustment mechanism to also subsidize exports.