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  • Svensson, Jennie
    KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Materials Science and Engineering, Applied Process Metallurgy.
    An Experimental Study to Improve the Casting Performance of Steel Grades Sensitive for Clogging2017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In this study, the goal is to optimize the process and to reduce the clogging tendency during the continuous casting process. The focus is on clogging when the refractory base material (RBM) in the SEN is in contact with the liquid steel. It is difficult or impossible to avoid non-metallic inclusions in the liquid steel, but by a selection of a good RBM in the SEN clogging can be reduced.


    Different process steps were evaluated during the casting process in order to reduce the clogging tendency. First, the preheating of the SEN was studied. The results showed that the SEN can be decarburized during the preheating process. In addition, decarburization of SEN causes a larger risk for clogging. Two types of plasma coatings were implemented to protect the RBM, to prevent reactions with the RBM, and to reduce the clogging tendency. Calcium titanate (CaTiO3) mixed with yttria stabilized zirconia (YSZ) plasma coatings were tested in laboratory and pilot plant trials, for casting of aluminium-killed low-carbon steels. For casting of cerium alloyed stainless steels, YSZ plasma coatings were tested in laboratory, pilot plant and industrial trials. The results showed that the clogging tendency was reduced when implementing both coating materials.


    It is also of importance to produce clean steel in order to reduce clogging. Therefore, the steel cleanliness in the tundish was studied experimentally. The result showed that inclusions originated from the slag, deoxidation products and tundish refractory and that they were present in the tundish as well as in the final steel product.

  • Public defence: 2017-03-28 13:00 F3, Stockholm
    Nilsson, Annika
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Real Estate and Construction Management.
    Housing Finance in Kampala, Uganda: To Borrow or Not to Borrow2017Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Housing is an important part of development processes and typically requires long-term finance. Without long-term financial instruments, it is difficult for households to smooth income over time by investing in housing. However, in developing countries the use of long-term loans is limited, particularly among the middle-class and lower income individuals. Most people in developing countries build their houses incrementally over time without long-term loans. The limited use of long-term loans is generally seen as a symptom of market failures and policy distortions. This thesis empirically explores constraints to increase housing loans and factors that determinate the demand for different types of loans for investment in land and residential housing. The study is conducted in Kampala, the capital of Uganda. The thesis looks at supply and demand of loans. Most of the data on the supply side is collected through interviews and literature studies. The demand side is investigated through questionnaires to household where data is collected in four surveys targeting different household groups. The findings indicate that in the context of Kampala, there are factors affecting the demand for housing loans that have not previously been fully explored. The surveys on the demand for housing loans among middle income groups suggest that a main reason for not taking a long-term loan is not limited access but the risk of losing the property due to the foreclosure process in case the borrowers fail to pay back the loan on time. Therefore they prefer to take short-term loans, so called salary loans that are not secured on their property, even though they are more expensive than a loan secured on their formal land ownership. The findings from the informal settlements show that the low demand for loans is more dependent on affordability and the short maturity of credits that they can access. Other findings are more in line with earlier international studies, such as inefficient land administration as a constraint for formalizing land and using land as security. The distribution of land rights and the system of land administration and management requires upgrading of land policies and their impacts. Information asymmetries also undermine the identification and credit rating of borrowers. Lack of long term funding is another constraint to increase long- term loans. A general conclusion that can be drawn from the findings is that those that need and can afford a loan for investment in land and/or housing prefer to take short-term loans instead of a larger long-term loan secured on their land. In doing so, they avoid exposing themselves to the risk of losing their land due to the foreclosure process in case they fail to pay back the loan disbursements on time. These findings contradict much of the concerns that both scholars and financial providers have expressed about households choice of loans. Even though there are obstacles on the supply side, understanding the demand side is very important.

  • Public defence: 2017-03-29 10:00 F3, Stockholm
    Shen, Rickard
    KTH, School of Engineering Sciences (SCI), Solid Mechanics (Dept.). KTH Royal Institute of Technology.
    On the low primary water stress corrosion cracking susceptibility of weld deformed Alloy 6902017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    It has been shown in recent years that the nickel-base Alloy 690 can become susceptible to stress corrosion cracking (SCC) in the primary water of nuclear power plants with pressurized water reactors if it has been sufficiently deformed at room temperature. Although the material is not intentionally used in a deformed state, it can become deformed by various manufacturing processes. Welding is believed to be the process that is most likely to cause susceptibility, yet it does not seem quite that detrimental in experiments. The overall purpose of this work was to investigate why weld-induced deformation does not seem to cause the same degree of susceptibility as cold deformation.

    The work started with a microstructural investigation, presented in Paper A, to assess if any of the changes caused by welding can explain the difference in behavior. While a beneficial change in the microstructure was observed, it was not enough to explain the differences.

    The focus was then turned towards addressing knowledge gaps of the method used to assess weld-induced deformation. This method is based on measuring misorientations using electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD). It was shown in Paper B that kernel average misorientation (KAM) is closer related to the degree of hardening than the degree of deformation, and that it can be used to obtain a qualitative map of hardness at the micrometer scale. Improvements to the KAM-based method were presented in Paper C along with estimates near welds from component mockups.

    The validity of using a misorientation-based method on warm deformation was tested in Paper D. It was shown that the method gives a rough estimate of the degree of strain hardening, although the data suggests it is a small overestimation. The overestimation would mean that weld deformation may have a lower hardness than the strain estimate implies, which is beneficial for SCC resistance.

  • Public defence: 2017-03-31 10:00 F3
    Akhlaghi, Shahin
    KTH, School of Chemical Science and Engineering (CHE), Fibre and Polymer Technology.
    Degradation of acrylonitrile butadiene rubber and fluoroelastomers in rapeseed biodiesel and hydrogenated vegetable oil2017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Biodiesel and hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) are currently viewed by the transportation sector as the most viable alternative fuels to replace petroleum-based fuels. The use of biodiesel has, however, been limited by the deteriorative effect of biodiesel on rubber parts in automobile fuel systems. This work therefore aimed at investigating the degradation of acrylonitrile butadiene rubber (NBR) and fluoroelastomers (FKM) on exposure to biodiesel and HVO at different temperatures and oxygen concentrations in an automated ageing equipment and a high-pressure autoclave. The oxidation of biodiesel at 80 °C was promoted by an increase in the oxygen partial pressure, resulting in the formation of larger amounts of hydroperoxides and acids in the fuel. The fatty acid methyl esters of the biodiesel oxidized less at 150 °C on autoclave aging, because the termination reactions between alkyl and alkylperoxyl radicals dominated over the initiation reactions. HVO consists of saturated hydrocarbons, and remained intact during the exposure. The NBR absorbed a large amount of biodiesel due to fuel-driven internal cavitation in the rubber, and the uptake increased with increasing oxygen partial pressure due to the increase in concentration of oxidation products of the biodiesel. The absence of a tan δ peak (dynamical mechanical measurements) of the bound rubber and the appearance of carbon black particles devoid of rubber suggested that the cavitation was caused by the detachment of bound rubber from particle surfaces. A significant decrease in the strain-at-break and in the Payne-effect amplitude of NBR exposed to biodiesel was explained as being due to the damage caused by biodiesel to the rubber-carbon-black network. During the high-temperature autoclave ageing, the NBR swelled less in biodiesel, and showed a small decrease in the strain-at-break due to the cleavage of rubber chains. The degradation of NBR in the absence of carbon black was due only to biodiesel-promoted oxidative crosslinking. The zinc cations released by the dissolution of zinc oxide particles in biodiesel promoted reduction reactions in the acrylonitrile part of the NBR. Heat-treated star-shaped ZnO particles dissolved more slowly in biodiesel than the commercial ZnO nanoparticles due to the elimination of inter-particle porosity by heat treatment. The fuel sorption was hindered in HVO-exposed NBR by the steric constraints of the bulky HVO molecules. The extensibility of NBR decreased only slightly after exposure to HVO, due to the migration of plasticizer from the rubber. The bisphenol-cured FKM co- and terpolymer swelled more than the peroxide-cured GFLT-type FKM in biodiesel due to the chain cleavage caused by the attack of biodiesel on the double bonds formed during the bisphenol curing. The FKM rubbers absorbed biodiesel faster, and to a greater extent, with increasing oxygen concentration. It is suggested that the extensive biodiesel uptake and the decrease in the strain-at-break and Young’s modulus of the FKM terpolymer was due to dehydrofluorination of the rubber by the coordination complexes of biodiesel and magnesium oxide and calcium hydroxide particles. An increase in the CH2-concentration of the extracted FKM rubbers suggested that biodiesel was grafted onto the FKM at the unsaturated sites resulting from dehydrofluorination.

  • Public defence: 2017-03-31 10:00 Inghesalen, KI, Solna
    Byström, Sanna
    KTH, School of Biotechnology (BIO), Proteomics and Nanobiotechnology.
    Affinity assays for profiling disease-associated proteins in human plasma2017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Affinity-based proteomics offers opportunities for the discovery and validation of disease-associated proteins in human body fluids. This thesis describes the use of antibody-based immunoassays for multiplexed analysis of proteins in human plasma, serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). This high-throughput method was applied with the objective to identify proteins associated to clinical variables. The main work in this thesis was conducted within the diseases of multiple sclerosis and malignant melanoma, as well as mammographic density, a risk factor for breast cancer.

    The suspension bead array (SBA) technology has been the main method for the work presented in this thesis (Paper I-IV). SBA assays and other affinity proteomic technologies were introduced for protein profiling of sample material obtained from clinical collaborators and biobanks. Perspectives on the validation of antibody selectivity by means of e.g. immuno-capture mass spectrometry are also provided.

    Paper I describes the development and application of a protocol for multiplexed pro- tein profiling of CSF. The analysis of 340 CSF samples from patients with multiple sclerosis and other neurological disease revealed proteins with potential association to disease progression (GAP43) and inflammation (SERPINA3). Paper II continued on this work with an extended investigation of more than 1,000 clinical samples and included both plasma and CSF collected from the same patients. Comparison of disease subtypes and controls revealed five plasma proteins of potential diagnostic relevance, such as IRF8 and GAP43. The previously reported associations for GAP43 and SERPINA3 in CSF was confirmed. Subsequent immunohistochemical analysis of post-mortem brain tissue revealed differential protein expression in disease affected areas. In Paper III, 150 serum samples from patients with cutaneous malignant melanoma were analyzed. Protein profiles from antibody bead arrays suggested three proteins (RGN, MTHFD1L, STX7) of differential abundance between patients with no disease recurrence and low tumor thickness (T-stage 1 and 2) compared to patients with high tumor thickness (T-stage 3 and 4) and disease recurrence. We observed MTHFD1L expression in tissue of a majority of patients, while expression of STX7 in melanoma tissue had been reported previously. Paper IV describes the analysis of protein in plasma in relation to mammographic breast density (MD), one of the strongest risk factors for the development of breast cancers. More than 1,300 women without prior history of breast cancer were screened. Linear associations to MD in two independent sample sets were found for 11 proteins, which are expressed in the breast and involved in tissue homeostasis, DNA repair, cancer development and/or progression in MD.

    In conclusion, this thesis describes the use of multiplexed antibody bead arrays for protein profiling of serum, plasma and CSF, and it shortlists disease associated proteins for further validation studies. 

  • Public defence: 2017-03-31 10:00 Gladan, Stockholm
    Andersson, Martin
    KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Machine Design (Dept.).
    An experimental investigation of spur gear efficiency and temperature: A comparison between ground and superfinished surfaces2017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This thesis focuses on reliability when testing gear efficiency and on how gear mesh efficiency can be increased without detrimental effects on the gears. Test equipment commonly used in gear research was analysed to identify important parameters for gear efficiency testing. The effect of the bearing model's load-dependent losses on gear mesh efficiency was also investigated. Two different surface finishes of gears, ground and superfinished, were investigated to determine how two different load levels during running-in affect gear mesh efficiency and changes in surface roughness. Efficiency and gear temperature were also measured for ground and superfinished gears with dip lubrication, as well as two different forms of spray lubrication (before and after gear mesh contact).

    Tests on a gear test rig, showed that different assemblies of the same test setup can yield different measurements of torque loss. The applied bearing model had a significant effect on the estimated gear mesh efficiency. The mesh efficiency of ground gears is affected by the running-in procedure, with a higher running-in load resulting in a higher mesh efficiency than a lower load. This effect was not seen for superfinished gears, which show the same gear mesh efficiency for both running-in loads. Gearbox efficiency increased with spray lubrication rather than dip lubrication. The gear mesh efficiency increased, and thus gear temperatures were reduced, when superfinished gears were used rather than ground gears. A lower gear temperature was measured when gears were spray lubricated at the mesh inlet rather than the mesh outlet.

  • Public defence: 2017-04-06 09:30 F3, Stockholm
    Malovanyy, Andriy
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Land and Water Resources Engineering.
    Anammox-based systems for nitrogen removal from mainstream municipal wastewater2017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Nitrogen removal from municipal wastewater with the application of deammonification process offers an operational cost reduction, especially if it is combined with a maximal use of organic content of wastewater for biogas production. In this thesis, two approaches for integration of the deammonification process into the municipal wastewater treatment scheme were studied.

    The first approach is based on ammonium concentration from municipal wastewater by ion exchange followed by biological removal of ammonium from the concentrated stream by deammonification process. Experiments with synthetic and real municipal wastewater showed that strong acid cation resin is suitable for ammonium concentration due to its high exchange capacity and fast regeneration. Since NaCl was used for regeneration of ion exchange materials, spent regenerant had elevated salinity. The deammonification biomass was adapted to NaCl content of 10-15 g/L by step-wise salinity increase. The technology was tested in batch mode with 99.9 % of ammonium removal from wastewater with ion exchange and up to 95 % of nitrogen removal from spent regenerant by deammonification process.

    The second studied approach was to apply anammox process to low-concentrated municipal wastewater in a moving bed biofilm reactor (MBBR) and integrated fixed film activated sludge (IFAS) system without a pre-concentration step. After a 5 months period of transition to mainstream wastewater the pilot plant was operated during 22 months and stable performance of one-stage deammonification was proven. Clear advantage of IFAS system was shown. The highest stable nitrogen removal efficiency of 70 % and a nitrogen removal rate of 55 g N/(m3·d) was reached. Moreover, the influence of operation conditions on competition between ammonium oxidizing bacteria (AOB) and nitrite oxidizing bacteria (NOB) was studied by literature review, batch tests and continuous pilot plant operation.

  • Public defence: 2017-04-07 09:00 Sal F3, Stockholm
    Khurshid, Mansoor
    KTH, School of Engineering Sciences (SCI), Aeronautical and Vehicle Engineering, Lightweight Structures.
    Static and fatigue analyses of welded steel structures: some aspects towards lightweight design2017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The objectives of this thesis comprise of overcoming the challenges in designing lightweight welded structures such as material selection, choice of fatigue design methods, and increased performance by using improvement techniques. Material selection of welded joints is dependent on the filler and base material strengths. Partially and fully penetrated cruciform and butt welded joints were designed in under-matching, matching, and over-matching filler materials. Base material steel grades were S600MC, S700MC, and S960. Current design rules are developed for welds in steel up to yield strength of 700MPa. Therefore, design rules in Eurocode3, AWS d1.1, and BSK 07 were verified and recommendations for developing design rules for designing welded joints in S960 were concluded. Numerical methodology for estimating static strength of welded joints by simulating heat affected zone was also developed.

    Another objective of the thesis work was to overcome the challenges in selection of fatigue design methods. The available design curves in standards are developed for uniaxial stress states, however, in real life the welds in mechanical structures are subjected to complex multiaxial stress states. Furthermore; weld toe failures are frequently investigated, weld root failures are seldom investigated. Therefore, in this work the multiaxial fatigue strength of welded joints failing at the weld root was assessed using experiments and various nominal and local stress based approaches. Butt welded joints with different weld seam inclinations with respect to applied uniaxial loading were designed to assess the root fatigue strength in higher multiaxial stress ratio regime. The fatigue strength of multi-pass tube-to-plate welded joints subjected to internal pressure only and combined internal pressure and torsion in and 90° out of phase loading was also investigated. Test data generated in this thesis was evaluated together with the test data collected from literature.

    Last objective of the thesis included investigation of the increased performance in fatigue strength by post weld treatment methods such as HFMI. The behavior of residual stresses induced due to HFMI treatment during fatigue loading is studied. Numerical residual stress estimations and residual stress relaxation models are developed and the effect of various HFMI treatment process parameters and steel grade on the induced residual stress state is investigated. Specimens studied were non load carrying longitudinal attachments and simple plates. Residual stresses in both test specimens were measured using X-ray diffraction technique.

  • Public defence: 2017-04-07 14:00 B1, Stockholm
    Tadesse, Abel
    KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Materials Science and Engineering, Casting of Metals.
    On the Volume Changes during the Solidification of Cast Irons and Peritectic Steels2017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This thesis work deals with the volume changes during the solidification of cast irons and peritectic steels. The volume changes in casting metals are related to the expansion and/or contraction of the molten metal during solidification. Often, different types of shrinkage, namely macro- and micro-shrinkage, affect the casting quality. In addition to that, exposure of the metal casting to higher contraction or expansion during the solidification might also be related to internal strain development in samples, which eventually leads to surface crack propagation in some types of steel alloys during continuous casting. In consequence, a deep understanding of the mechanisms and control of the solidification will improve casting quality and production.

    All of the experiments during the entire work were carried out on laboratory scale samples. Displacement changes during solidification were measured with the help of a Linear Variable Displacement Transformer (LVDT). All of the LVDT experiments were performed on samples inside a sand mould. Simultaneously, the cooling curves of the respective samples during solidification were recorded with a thermocouple. By combining the displacement and cooling curves, the volume changes was evaluated and later used to explain the influence of inoculants, carbon and cooling rates on volume shrinkages of the casting. Hypoeutectic grey cast iron (GCI) and nodular cast iron (NCI) with hypo-, hyper- and eutectic carbon compositions were considered in the experiments from cast iron group. High nickel alloy steel (Sandvik Sanbar 64) was also used from peritectic steel type. These materials were melted inside an induction furnace and treated with different types of inoculants before and during pouring in order to modify the composition.

    Samples that were taken from the LVDT experiments were investigated using a number of different  methods in order to support the observations from the displacement measurements:  Differential Thermal Analysis (DTA), to evaluate the different phase present; Dilatometry, to see the effect of cooling rates on contraction for the various types of alloys; metallographic studies with optical microscopy; Backscattered electrons (BSE) analysis on SEM S-3700N, to investigate the different types of oxide and sulphide nuclei; and bulk density measurements  by applying Archimedes' principle. Furthermore, the experimental volume expansion during solidification was compared with the theoretically calculated values for GCI and NCI.

    It was found that the casting shows hardly any shrinkage during early solidification in GCI, but in the eutectic region the casting expands until the end of solidification. The measured and the calculated volume changes are close to one another, but the former shows more expansion. The addition of MBZCAS (Si, Ca, Zr, Ba, Mn and Al) promotes more flake graphite, and ASSC (Si, Ca, Sr and Al) does not increase the number of eutectic cells by much. In addition to that, it lowers the primary austenite fraction, promotes more eutectic growth and decreases undercooled graphite and secondary dendritic arm spacing (SDAS). As a result, the volume expansion changes in the eutectic region. The expansion during the eutectic growth increase with an increase in the inoculant weight percentage. At the same time, the eutectic cells become smaller and increase in number. The effect of the inoculant and the superheat temperature shows a variation in the degree of expansion/contraction and the cooling rates for the experiments. Effective inoculation tends to homogenize the eutectic structure, reducing the undercooled and interdendritic graphite throughout the structure.

    In NCI experiments, it was found that the samples showed no expansion in the transversal direction due to higher micro-shrinkages in the centre, whereas in the longitudinal direction the samples shows expansion until solidification was complete.   The theoretical and measured volume changes agreed with each other. The austenite fraction and number of micro-shrinkage pores decreased with increase in carbon content. The nodule count and distribution changes with carbon content. The thermal contraction

    of NCI is not influenced by the variation in carbon content at lower cooling rates. The structural analysis and solidification simulation results for NCI show that the nodule size and count distribution along the cross-sections at various locations are different due to the variation in cooling rates and carbon concentration. Finer nodule graphite appears in the thinner sections and close to the mold walls. A coarser structure is distributed mostly in the last solidified location. The simulation result indicates that finer nodules are associated with higher cooling rate and a lower degree of microsegregation, whereas the coarser nodules are related to lower cooling rate and a higher degree of microsegregation. As a result, this structural variation influences the micro-shrinkage in different parts.

    The displacement change measurements show that the peritectic steel expands and/or contracts during the solidification. The primary austenite precipitation during the solidification in the metastable region is accompanied by gradual expansion on the casting sides. Primary δ-ferrite precipitation under stable phase diagram is complemented by a severe contraction during solidification. The microstructural analysis reveals that the only difference between the samples is grain refinement with Ti addition. Moreover, the severe contraction in solidification region might be the source for the crack formation due to strain development, and further theoretical analysis is required in the future to verify this observation.

  • Public defence: 2017-04-10 10:00 F3, Stockholm
    Babazadeh, Davood
    KTH, School of Electrical Engineering (EES), Electric Power and Energy Systems.
    Distributed Control of HVDC Transmission Grids2017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Recent issues such as priority access of renewable resources recommended by European energy directives and increase the electricity trading among countries lead to new requirements on the operation and expansion of transmission grids. Since AC grid expansions are limited by legislative issues and long distance transmission capacity, there is a considerable attention drawn to application of HVDC transmission grids on top of, or in complement to, existing AC power systems. The secure operation of HVDC grids requires a hierarchical control system. In HVDC grids, the primary control action to deal with power or DC voltage deviations is communication-free and local. In addition to primary control, the higher supervisory control actions are needed to guarantee the optimal operation of HVDC grids. However, the implementation of supervisory control functions is linked to the arrangement of system operators; i.e. an individual HVDC operator (central structure) or sharing tasks among AC system operators (distributed structure).

    This thesis presents distributed control of an HVDC grid. To this end, three possible supervisory functions are investigated; coordination of power injection set-points, DC slack bus selection and network topology identification. In this thesis, all three functions are first studied for the central structure. For the distributed solution, two algorithms based on Alternating Direction Method of Multipliers (ADMM) and Auxiliary Problem Principle (APP) are adopted to solve the coordination of power injection. For distributed selection of DC slack bus, the choice of parameters for quantitative ranking of converters is important. These parameters should be calculated based on local measurements if distributed decision is desired. To this end, the short circuit capacity of connected AC grid and power margin of converters are considered. To estimate the short circuit capacity as one of the required selection parameters, the result shows that the recursive least square algorithm can be very efficiently used. Besides, it is possible to intelligently use a naturally occurring droop response in HVDC grids as a local measurement for this estimation algorithm. Regarding the network topology, a two-stage distributed algorithm is introduced to use the abstract information about the neighbouring substation topology to determine the grid connectivity.

  • Public defence: 2017-04-10 14:00 F3, Stockholm
    Marzinotto, Alejandro
    KTH, School of Computer Science and Communication (CSC), Robotics, perception and learning, RPL.
    Flexible Robot to Object Interactions Through Rigid and Deformable Cages2017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In this thesis we study the problem of robotic interaction with objects from a flexible perspective that complements the rigid force-closure approach. In a flexible interaction the object is not firmly bound to the robot (immobilized), which leads to many interesting scenarios. We focus on the secure kind of flexible interactions, commonly referred to as caging grasps. In this context, the adjective secure implies that the object is not able to escape arbitrarily far away from the robot which is caging it. A cage is a secure flexible interaction because it does not immobilize the object, but restricts its motion to a finite set of possible configurations. We study cages in two novel scenarios for objects with holes: caging through multi-agent cooperation and through dual-arm knotting with a rope. From these two case studies, we were able to analyze the caging problem in a broader perspective leading to the definition of a hierarchical classification of flexible interactions and cages.

    In parallel to the geometric and physical problem of flexible interactions with objects, we study also the problem of discrete action scheduling through a novel control architecture called Behavior Trees (BTs). In this thesis we propose a formulation that unifies the competing BT philosophies into a single framework. We analyze how the mainstream BT formulations differ from each other, as well as their benefits and limitations. We also compare the plan representation capabilities of BTs with respect to the traditional approach of Controlled Hybrid Dynamical Systems (CHDSs). In this regard, we present bidirectional translation algorithms between such representations as well as the necessary and sufficient conditions for translation convergence. Lastly, we demonstrate our action scheduling BT architecture showcasing the aforementioned caging scenarios, as well as other examples that show how BTs can be interfaced with other high level planners.

  • Public defence: 2017-04-11 09:30 F3, Stockholm
    Colledanchise, Michele
    KTH, School of Computer Science and Communication (CSC), Robotics, perception and learning, RPL.
    Behavior Trees in Robotics2017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Behavior Trees (BTs) are a Control Architecture (CA) that was invented in the video game industry, for controlling non-player characters. In this thesis we investigate the possibilities of using BTs for controlling autonomous robots, from a theoretical as well as practical standpoint. The next generation of robots will need to work, not only in the structured assembly lines of factories, but also in the unpredictable and dynamic environments of homes, shops, and other places where the space is shared with humans, and with different and possibly conflicting objectives. The nature of these environments makes it impossible to first compute the long sequence of actions needed to complete a task, and then blindly execute these actions. One way of addressing this problem is to perform a complete re-planning once a deviation is detected. Another way is to include feedback in the plan, and invoke additional incremental planning only when outside the scope of the feedback built into the plan. However, the feasibility of the latter option depends on the choice of CA, which thereby impacts the way the robot deals with unpredictable environments. In this thesis we address the problem of analyzing BTs as a novel CA for robots. The philosophy of BTs is to create control policies that are both modular and reactive. Modular in the sense that control policies can be separated and recombined, and reactive in the sense that they efficiently respond to events that were not predicted, either caused by external agents, or by unexpected outcomes of robot's own actions. Firstly, we propose a new functional formulation of BTs that allows us to mathematically analyze key system properties using standard tools from robot control theory. In particular we analyze whenever a BT is safe, in terms of avoiding particular parts of the state space; and robust, in terms of having a large domain of operation. This formulation also allows us to compare BTs with other commonly used CAs such as Finite State Machines (FSMs); the Subsumption Architecture; Sequential Behavior Compositions; Decision Trees; AND-OR Trees; and Teleo-Reactive Programs. Then we propose a framework to systematically analyze the efficiency and reliability of a given BT, in terms of expected time to completion and success probability. By including these performance measures in a user defined objective function, we can optimize the order of different fallback options in a given BT for minimizing such function. Finally we show the advantages of using BTs within an Automated Planning framework. In particular we show how to synthesize a policy that is reactive, modular, safe, and fault tolerant with two different approaches: model-based (using planning), and model-free (using learning).

  • Public defence: 2017-04-12 10:00 F3, Stockholm
    Afzal, Mohammad
    KTH, School of Engineering Sciences (SCI), Aeronautical and Vehicle Engineering, Marcus Wallenberg Laboratory MWL. KTH.
    On efficient and adaptive modelling of friction damping in bladed disks2017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This work focuses on efficient modelling and adaptive control of friction damping in bladed disks. To efficiently simulate the friction contact, a full-3D time-discrete contact model is reformulated and an analytical expression for the Jacobian matrix is derived that reduces the computation time drastically with respect to the classical finite difference method. The developed numerical solver is applied on bladed disks with shroud contact and the advantage of full-3D contact model compared to a quasi-3D contact model is presented. The developed numerical solver is also applied on bladed disks with strip damper and multiple friction contacts and obtained results are discussed. Furthermore, presence of higher harmonics in the nonlinear contact forces is analyzed and their effect on the excitation of the different nodal diameters of the bladed disk are systematically presented. The main parameters that influence the effectiveness of friction damping in bladed disks are engine excitation order,  contact stiffnesses,  friction coefficient, relative motion at the friction interface and the normal contact load. Due to variation in these parameters during operation, the obtained friction damping in practice may differ from the optimum value. Therefore, to control the normal load adaptively that will lead to an optimum damping in the system despite these variations, use of magnetostrictive actuator is proposed. The magnetostrictive material that develops an internal strain under the influence of an external magnetic field is employed to increase and decrease the normal contact load. A linearized model of the magnetostrictive actuator is used to characterize the magnetoelastic behavior of the actuator.  A nonlinear static contact analysis of the bladed disk reveals that a change of normal load more than 700 N can be achieved using a reasonable size of the actuator. This will give a very good control on friction damping once applied in practice.

  • Public defence: 2017-04-13 10:00 Gardaulan, Stockholm
    Ramachandraiah, Harisha
    KTH, School of Biotechnology (BIO), Proteomics and Nanobiotechnology.
    Microfluidic based isolation of circulating tumor cells from whole blood for cancer diagnostics2017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Detection of circulating tumor cells (CTC) in peripheral blood is indicative of early recognition of tumor progression and such an important biomarker for early diagnosis, staging, monitoring and prognosis of cancer. However, CTC are found in very low concentrations and reliable isolation of these rare cells is challenging. Microfluidics enables precise manipulation of fluids and cells and is ideal for cell sorting methods for clinical diagnostics. The thesis contributes towards the development of microfluidic based CTC isolation methods from peripheral blood. The methods are based on size and immunoaffinity. The first part of the thesis describes the phenomenon of inertial focusing for size based cell separation at high throughputs. In paper 1, we demonstrate continuous filtration of leukocytes from diluted blood, with an efficiency of 78% at a flow rate of 2.2ml/min. In the paper 2, separation of total and subpopulation of leukocytes with a purity of 86% for granulocytes and 91% for lymphocytes is demonstrated. Furthermore, cancer cells spiked into whole blood could be separated at a yield of 88%. Finally, in paper 3 and 4 we unravel parts of the unexplored elasto-inertial microfluidics and was utilized to precisely focus the cells, as part of an integrated optofluidic micro flow cytometer device, capable to simultaneously measure fluorescence and scattering of cells and particles at a rate of 2500 particles/sec (paper 4). Second part of the thesis focuses on acoustophoresis. In (paper 5), a multifunctional acoustic microdevice was developed for isolation of cancer cells from red blood cells with a separation efficiency of 92.4% and trapping efficiency of 93%. In (paper 6), microbubbles activated acoustic cell sorter was developed for affinity based cell separation. As a proof of principle, cancer cells in a suspension were separated at an efficiency of 75%. In the third part, using cellulose nano fibrils (paper 7), we demonstrate efficiently capture and release of cancer cells at a release efficiency of 95%. Finally, a novel, single step self-assembly of spider silk proteins is introduced inside microfluidic channels for effective capture of cancer cells with 85% capture efficiency and subsequent release of captured cells with 95% release efficiency (paper 8). The novel recombinant silk modified microfluidic device was validated using pancreatic cancer patients. In summary, we have developed different microfluidic based isolation technologies for the capture and characterization of CTC.

  • Public defence: 2017-04-18 14:00 FA31, Stockholm
    Basso, Simone
    KTH, School of Engineering Sciences (SCI), Physics, Nuclear Power Safety.
    Particulate Debris Spreading and Coolability2017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In Nordic design of boiling water reactors, a deep water pool under the reactor vessel is employed for the core melt fragmentation and the long term cooling of decay heated corium debris in case of a severe accident. To assess the effectiveness of such accident management strategy the Risk-Oriented Accident Analysis Methodology has been proposed. The present work contributes to the further development of the methodology and is focused on the issue of ex-vessel debris coolability.

    The height and shape of the porous debris bed are among the most important factors that determine if the debris can be cooled by natural circulation of water. The bed geometry is formed in the process of melt release, fragmentation, sedimentation and packing of the debris in the pool. Bed shape is affected by the coolant flow that induces movement of particles in the pool and after settling on top of the bed. The later one is called debris bed self-leveling phenomenon.

    In this study, the self-leveling was investigated experimentally and analytically. Experiments were carried out in order to collect data necessary for the development of a numerical model with an empirical closure. The self-leveling model was coupled to a model for prediction of the debris bed dryout. Such coupled code allows to calculate the time necessary to have a coolable configuration of the bed. The influence of input parameters was assessed through sensitivity analysis in order to screen out the less influential parameters.

    Results of the risk analysis are reported as complementary cumulative distribution functions of the conditional containment failure probability (CCFP).

    Sensitivity analyses identified: effective particle diameter and debris bed porosity as the parameters that provide the largest contribution to the CCFP uncertainty. It is found that the effect of the initial maximum height of the bed on the CCFP is reduced by the self-leveling.

  • Public defence: 2017-04-18 14:00 F3, Stockholm
    Ahmad Termida, Nursitihazlin
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Transport Science, System Analysis and Economics. Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia, Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Department of Infrastructure and Geomatic Engineering.
    Understanding Individuals' Learning and Decision Processes in a Changing Environment by Using Panel Data2017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    When a new transport service is introduced, people have to learn and familiarize themselves with the new service before they decide to adopt it. These processes are developed over time, thus produce dynamics in individuals’ behavioural responses towards the service. This affects the demand of the new service, thus affect revenues. Available studies have examined the factors influencing these responses from microeconomic perspectives. The influence of the theory-based subjective factors has not been examined empirically. Understanding these would assist transport and urban planners to design a better marketing strategy to increase the market share of the new service. A change in seasons affect individuals’ activity-travel decisions, thus produce dynamics in activitytravel patterns in different seasons. Individuals’ constraints, in a form of mandatory activities (working/studying), are influencing individuals’ decisions to participate in day-to-day nonmandatory activities (leisure and routine activities). The interdependency between travel demand, time allocation and mode choice that considers interactions between mandatory and non-mandatory activities, in different seasons is less explored. Understanding these would assist transport planners and operators to manage travel demand strategies across different seasons of the year and provide better transportation systems for all individuals. This thesis includes five papers. Paper I explores individuals’ characteristics of the quick-response and the adopters of the new public transport (PT) service and examines the temporal effects. Paper II investigates the subjective factors influencing a quick-response to the new PT service by proposing a modified attitude-behaviour framework. Paper III and IV analyse the effects of seasonal variations and individuals’ constraints on their day-to-day activity-travel decisions and patterns. Paper V analyses the attrition and fatigue in the two-week travel diary panel survey instrument.

  • Public defence: 2017-04-20 10:00 F3, Stockholm
    Sandhi, Arifin
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Land and Water Resources Engineering.
    Abstract [en]

    Use of arsenic-rich groundwater for crop irrigation can increase the arsenic (As) content in food crops and act as a carcinogen, compromising human health. Using aquatic plant based phytofiltration is a potential eco-technique for removing arsenic from water. The aquatic moss species Warnstorfia fluitans grows naturally in mining areas in northern Sweden, where high concentrations of arsenic occur in lakes and rivers. This species was selected as a model for field, climate chamber and greenhouse studies on factors governing arsenic removal and arsenic phytofiltration of irrigation water. The arsenic and silicon (Si) concentrations in soil, water and plant samples were measured by AAS (atomic absorption spectrophotometry), while arsenite and arsenate species were determined using AAS combined with high pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) with an anion exchange column. The arsenic content in grains of hybrid and local aromatic rice (Oryza sativa) cultivars with differing arsenic accumulation factor (AF) values was investigated in an arsenic hotspot in Bangladesh. The results showed that arsenic AF was important in identifying arsenic-safer rice cultivars for growing in an arsenic hotspot. The study based on silicon effect on arsenic uptake in lettuce showed that arsenic accumulation in lettuce (Lactuca sativa) could be reduced by silicon addition. The aquatic moss had good phytofiltration capacity, with fast arsenic removal of up to 82% from a medium with low arsenic concentration (1 µM). Extraction analysis showed that inorganic arsenic species were firmly bound inside moss tissue. Absorption of arsenic was relatively higher than adsorption in the moss. Regarding effects of different abiotic factors, plants were stressed at low pH (pH 2.5) and arsenic removal rate was lower from the medium, while arsenic efflux occurred in arsenate-treated medium at low (12°C) and high (30°C) temperature regimes. Besides these factors, low oxygenation increased the efficiency of arsenic removal from the medium. Finally, combining W. fluitans as a phytofilter with a lettuce crop on a constructed wetland significantly reduced the arsenic content in edible parts (leaves) of lettuce. Thus W. fluitans has great potential for use as an arsenic phytofilter in temperate regions.

  • Public defence: 2017-04-24 10:00 T2, Stockholm
    Zhu, Lin
    KTH, School of Technology and Health (STH), Basic Science and Biomedicine, Structural Biotechnology.
    Structural studies of HDL and applications of EM on membrane proteins2017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    A large number of proteins interact with biological membranes, either integrated in the membrane (PepTSo2), embedded on a membrane surface (5-lipoxygenase) or encircling a cutout of lipid bilayer (apolipoprotein1 (apoA-I). They function as transporters, receptors or biocatalysts in cellular processes like inflammation or cholesterol transport which are touched upon here. Malfunction of specific membrane proteins are the cause for several diseases or disorders.

    Knowledge of protein structure supports understanding of its mechanism of function. Here, transmission electron microscopy (TEM) was used for structure determination. To obtain structure information to high resolution for membrane proteins, normally surrounded by lipids, demands specific methods and materials for stabilization. Stabilized in detergent the structure of the bacterial transporter PepTSo2 was shown to form a tetramer even bound to substrate. However, with a protein based stabilizer, Salipro, the structure of PepTSo2 could be determined to high resolution.

    High density lipoprotein (HDL) in blood plasma, involved in the removal of cholesterol from peripheral tissues, have a central role in cardiovascular function, metabolic syndrome and diabetes.

    The HDL-particle is composed of two copies of ApoA1 and around hundred lipid molecules. From TEM data, for the first time the clearly discoidal shape could be shown by 3-dimendional reconstructions. These were used for modelling the ApoA1 protein dimer by a "biased fitting" procedure. The results indicate how ApoA1 folds around a lipid bilayer in a disc-shaped structure.

    Modified HDL called nanodiscs were here used to show the Ca2+ dependent binding of 5-lipoxygenase on the nanodisc bilayer and thereby increased production of the inflammatory mediator leukotrieneA4. Dimerization of 5-lipoxygenase inactivates these functions.

  • Public defence: 2017-04-26 13:00 F3, Stockholm
    Moyo, Kerbina
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Real Estate and Construction Management, Real Estate Planning and Land Law.
    Women's Access to Land in Tanzania: The Case of the Makete District2017Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Access to land is crucial for combating discrimination. Women who are denied such access tend to be disadvantaged, a pattern that results in economic powerlessness. Tanzana is among the most undeveloped nations in the world, where gender inequalities with respect to accessing land are central problems. This study consequently aims at investigating women's access to land through customary land tenure in the Makete district in Tanzania. A case study strategy was adopted to address the research problem, whereby interviews, focus group discussions and documentary reviews were the main data collection methods.

    The findings indicate that the majority of women within villages are illiterate; unaware of any existing entitlements and lacking insufficient assets to fight for their rights, and that their involvement in land administration institutions is limited. At the familiy level, daughters and women are deprived of any right to possess land through inheritance because relatives believe they will be married to other families from which they will then gain access to land. This generally has been proven not to be the case. After marriage, women commonly are apportioned land strictly for crop cultivation (usufruct rights). Consequently, there are many challenges in realising women's property rights in Tanzania. These challenges include the dualisim of the property rights system: customary tenure operates alongside statutory tenure; inadequate knowledge about women's property rights by both women and men; negative attitudes towards women's influence, position, capability and reputation; outdated customs; archaic and conflicting interests in laws; and lack of legal capacity (empowerment) as to property rights.

    The most important tools for meeting these challenges include education and awareness campaigns that are designed to build the capacity of citizens as to the necessity of equity in access to property rights (land) using various legal tools at varying levels. Other measures include amending and repealing outdated laws, including provisons dicriminating against women's property rights and contradicting constitutional provisons and other international instruments. Other avenues are advocacy and working for behavioural chages can also be invoked by empowering individuals at all stages of life, supporting their involvement in productive activities and creating group networks, and facilitating the formation of community-based organisations as well as building capacity by mainstreaming land adminstration institutions.

  • Public defence: 2017-04-28 10:00 Kollegiesalen, Stockholm
    Wåhlander, Martin
    KTH, School of Chemical Science and Engineering (CHE), Fibre and Polymer Technology, Coating Technology.
    Controlled Polymer Grafting from Nanoparticles for the Design of Dielectric Nanocomposites2017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The interest for polymeric nanocomposites has rapidly grown during the last decades, fuelled by the great potential and superior properties of nanoparticles (NPs). The production volumes of commercial NPs have increased exponentially during the last ten years, and the quality has been significantly improved. The aim of this study was to design polymer grafted commercially available metal-oxide NPs, and graphene oxide (GO), to develop isotropic (homogeneous) and anisotropic (heterogeneous) polymer nanocomposites for dielectric applications. The motivation was to formulate functional insulation materials for compact components in future power-grid systems using high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) or high-voltage alternating-current (HVAC), and to fabricate responsive sensor materials for monitoring e.g. temperature and voltage fluctuations in so called “Smart Grids”.

    Aluminium oxide (Al2O3), zinc oxide (ZnO) and reduced GO (rGO) NPs were modified with sparse polymer grafts via a controlled “covalent route” and were mixed with silicone (PDMS) or polyethylene matrices (EBA and LDPE) commonly used in HV-cable systems. The graft length and the graft-to-matrix compatibility were tailored to obtain nanocomposites with various self-assembled NP-morphologies, including well-dispersed, connected and phase-separated structures. The graft length was used to adjust the inter-particle distance of nanocomposites with continuous morphologies or connected (percolated) NPs. It was found that nanocomposites with percolated NPs and short inter-particle distances exhibited 10-100 times higher conductivity than the unfilled (neat) polymer, or displayed a rapid non-linear increase in conductivity (~1 million times) with increasingelectric field, while well-dispersed NPs with long inter-particle distances exhibited 10-100 times lower conductivity (i.e. higher resistivity) as an effect of their trapping of charge carriers. These tunable and functional properties are desirable for HV-insulation, field-grading applications, and flexible electronics.

    In addition it was shown that GO modified with dense polymer grafts via a “physisorption route” formed suspensions with liquid crystals, or matrix-free GO-composites with well-dispersed GO in isotropic or nematic states. These materials were reinforced by the GO, and exhibited elevated glass transition temperatures and a rapid thermo-responsive shape-memory effect, and are thus proposed to have a great potential as sensor materials and responsive separation membranes.

    The full text will be freely available from 2017-11-09 10:30
  • Public defence: 2017-04-28 14:00 Kollegiesalen, Stockholm
    Fu, Jiali
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Transport Science, Transport Planning, Economics and Engineering.
    Evaluating and Improving the Transport Efficiency of Logistics Operations2017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The thesis focuses on evaluating and improving the transport efficiency of two types of logistics operations in the supply chain.

    One research area is the production of raw material in construction operations, specifically earthmoving operations. Methods and tools are developed to provide decision support in improving the transport efficiency of earthmoving at the vehicle and the systems levels. Using known road topography and a GPS unit, an optimal control problem is formulated and solved (Paper III) to determine the optimal gear shift sequence and timing in order to improve the transport efficiency at the vehicle level. For decision support at the systems level, a Fleet Performance Simulation (FPS) model is designed (Paper IV) to evaluate the transport efficiency for a given mix of construction vehicles in earthmoving. The FPS system is integrated with an optimization algorithm to solve the optimal fleet composition problem for earthmoving operations (Paper V & VI). Construction operations are dynamic and the environment is changing constantly, which bring difficulties in decision-making. Using GPS data from construction vehicles, a map inference framework (Papers I & II) is developed to automatically extract relevant input to decision support at the vehicle and the systems levels, which include the locations of various workstations, driving time distributions and road networks.

    The second research area is the transport efficiency of urban distribution system, which is in the final phase of the supply chain. An off-peak delivery pilot project in Stockholm is used as the background, designed to evaluate the potential for commercial vehicles to make use of off-peak hours for goods delivery. The thesis (Paper VII) evaluates the transport efficiency impacts of the off-peak pilot. An evaluation framework is defined where transport efficiency is studied in a number of dimensions. GPS data, fleet management data, and logistic information are used to assess the impacts.

  • Public defence: 2017-05-05 13:00 Kollegiesalen, Stockholm
    Deckner, Fanny
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Civil and Architectural Engineering, Soil and Rock Mechanics.
    Vibration transfer process during vibratory sheet pile driving: from source to soil2017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Vibratory driven sheet piles are a cost-effective retaining wall structure, and in coming decades the continued use of this method will be crucial for minimising costs within the construction sector. However, vibratory driven sheet piles are a source of ground vibrations, which may harm structures or induce disturbance. Most urban construction projects face strict limits on permissible vibration level. Being able to reliably predict the expected vibration level prior to construction is therefore highly important. Reliable prediction demands a profound knowledge of the vibration transfer process, from source to point of interest. This thesis focuses on clarifying the vibration transfer process and will serve as a platform for the future development of a reliable prediction model. The vibration transfer process is divided into two main parts: vibration source and vibrations in soil. The different parts in the vibration transfer process are studied and investigated with the help of a literature review, field tests and numerical modelling. Within the scope of this thesis, three field tests have been conducted and a new instrumentation system has been developed. The new instrumentation system enables recording of both sheet pile vibrations and ground vibrations at depth during the entire driving. The field tests aimed to study the vibration transfer from sheet pile to soil and the vibration transfer within a sheet pile wall, as well as the wave pattern in soil. To study sheet pile behaviour during driving a numerical model was developed, which is also meant to serve as a basis for further studies. The main scientific contribution of this thesis is the identification of the sheet pile behaviour during driving. For practical application, the main contribution is the development of an increased knowledge of the vibration transfer process from source to soil, together with the new instrumentation system and the development of the numerical model.

    The full text will be freely available from 2017-04-07 13:00