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  • Author or Editor: J. P. Rodríguez x
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Abstract  

A simple and easy to perform method for the determination of 230 Th in soil and sediment samples using gamma-spectrometry is proposed and compared with the more usual procedure using alpha-particle spectrometry. The proposed method involves an efficiency calibration for the specific determination of this radionuclide instead of a complete calibration of the spectra. A single density parameter is introduced to correct the efficiencies obtained from the reference sources. The activities of 230 Th determined by gamma-spectrometry and alpha-particle spectrometry are compared. The minimum detectable activity values obtained are completely adequate for 230 Th determination in soil and sediment samples, in which 230 Th activities are usually fairly high. Thus, this procedure is intended as a very easy way to obtain the activity of this radionuclide in these types of samples, at least as a screening method before carrying out other more laborious procedures.

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Abstract  

Simultaneous DTA-TG has been carried out on a set of natural vermiculite samples. Based on their dehydration behaviour the samples can be divided in two groups: (a) those with DTA endothermic peak temperatures at 140°–150°C and 240°–270°C (pure vermiculties) and (b) those with peak temperatures at 95°–115°C (vermiculite with mica or mica-vermiculite interstratifications). The low temperature at which the endothermic effect in group (b) appears is discussed on the basis of dilution due to the inert layers of mica, differences in chemical composition, and lowering of interlamellar water bond energy.

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Abstract  

In the present investigation, DTA and TG techniques were used to study the thermal behaviour of montmorillonite treated with solutions of the pesticide aminotriazole (AMT), in nitrogen flow. These techniques have been complemented by mass spectrometry of the evolved gases (EGA-MS). AMT is adsorbed in the interlamellar space of montmorillonite as a cation. Results obtained in this study show that this provokes a shift of the dehydroxylation peak of montmorillonite to lower temperatures than those of the untreated clay. Montmorillonite protects the adsorbedAMT, delaying its first decomposition step, and catalysesAMT final decomposition at lower temperatures. The DTA curve of montmorillonite-AMT mechanical mixture differs from the sum of those of the clay mineral and the pesticide heated individually. Montmorillonite dehydroxylation occurs at lower temperature, indicating a complex formation betweenAMT and the mineral during the heating process. However the DTA of the mixture is different from that of the complex previously studied, indicating that in the complex obtained by heating the physical mixtureAMT is adsorbed as neutral molecule or as a product of its decomposition.

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Abstract  

Thermoanalytical study of the pesticide 3-amino-1,2,4-triazole (ATA) has been carried out, using simultaneous DTA-TG in nitrogen flow, in order to know its thermal behaviour and stability. These techniques have been further complemented using evolved gas analysis and mass spectroscopy (EGA-MS). Two different stages of ATA decomposition were observed: after the first decomposition step, a mixture of compounds is obtained, according to MS data, being the principal component a compound of molecular weight 126. It is formed by a first order reaction mechanism, according to the kinetic study, withE a=124±8 kJ·mol−1. The second decomposition step takes place about 735°C, with evolution of HCN and NH3, being the final weight loss 96%.

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The study of co-occurrence patterns has been extensively applied to propose assembly rules for community organization. Recently, a new interest has grown in the effect of gradients on these patterns and to analyze them through new approximations such as co-occurrence networks, through which keystone species can be identified. Neotropical floodplains represent interesting systems to study such patterns, because of their spatial heterogeneity, temporal variability and their high fish species richness. With this in mind, our goal was to study the co-occurrence patterns of fish in a segment of the Arauca River’s floodplain and the influence of the spatial and temporal variability on them. One stream and one floodplain lake were sampled with gill nets during 2014 – 2015 across a hydrological cycle and 5 matrices for each 5 sampled months in each water body were prepared to explore the co-occurrence patterns in each water body across months and 2 for the entire period, through a probabilistic pair-wise analysis of species co-occurrence that identified aggregated and segregated species pairs. With the observed cooccurrences × water body × month, the species weighted degrees and betweenness were calculated, and co-occurrence networks were constructed. The networks structures, in terms of the degrees of every species, were compared spatially and temporally through a generalized linear model. The stream showed the highest numbers of aggregated species pairs, and in general showed the most complex networks in terms of nodes, edges and degrees. The habitat type and the hydrological phases significantly influenced the structure of the fish co-occurrence networks. Two species, Loricariichthys brunneus and Pygocentrus cariba were identified as the core of the fish communities of the floodplain and as keystone species because they contribute to the connection of the networks by having a series of links with less frequent species.

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Abstract  

This paper examines the polymerization of acrylonitrile to poly(acrylonitrile)(PAN), and its cyclization, in bulk form and using N,N-dimethylformamide (DMF) as solvent in which both monomer and polymer are soluble. Thermal analysis of the resultant products after polymerization has been performed by DSC and pyrolysis gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (Py-GC/MS). Scanning electron microscopy has been used to study the morphology of the resultant products and after thermal treatments. The DSC thermal curve of PAN-DMF sample is quite different from the PAN bulk sample, showing a single sharp exothermic peak associated with nitrile group polymerization (cyclization) of PAN at lower temperature (240°C) than that of bulk PAN sample (314°C). Cyclization of PAN was confirmed by IR spectroscopy. It was found that the amide molecules are difficult to eliminate completely in the product obtained after the polymerization reaction, even after prolonged heating at 110°C, and remain occluded. The formation of a complex by dipolar bonding is also possible and it is discussed. It is concluded that the amount of heat evolved as well as the temperature interval over which it is released are influenced by the chemical processing of PAN when using DMF as solvent of both monomer and polymer. Pyrolysis of these PAN samples revealed the release of occluded molecules of DMF, and several compounds containing nitrogen produced from the thermal degradation processes. All these results are interesting to know the chemical processing of carbon fibres and activated carbon fibres from PAN modified precursors.

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Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry
Authors: E. Stepkowska, J. Bijen, J. Perez-Rodriguez, A. Justo, P. Sanchez-Soto, and M. Aviles

Abstract  

A simple water sorption/retention (WS/WR) test, followed by stepwise static heating, was applied to the study of cement quality and the reactivity of its grain surface. The physically bound water and hence the specific surface both in the unhydrated and in the hydrated state were estimated as a function of the hydration time. Rehydration after heating at 220°C and contact with air was different inWS from that inWR samples, which indicates a difference in microstructure. XRD proved the formation of portlandite during the sorption test and eventual heating at 200°C, and its transformation into carbonates on contact with air, especially on heating at 400°C. The contents of these compounds were estimated from the mass difference between 400 and 800°C, which was compatible with the mass change between 220 and 400°C and this indicates surface reactivity. The test may serve for the routine study of cement.

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Abstract  

The phase behaviour of the twin-tailed surfactant dioctadecyldimethylammonium bromide with water was studied by DSC, FT-IR, X-ray and polarizing microscope. The phase diagram of DODAB-water system is very similar to that of DODAC-water. The dihydrate is in equilibrium with isotropic solution below 55°C. Above this temperature there is a lamellar liquid crystalline region, in equilibrium with isotropic liquid and solid crystals of DODAB·2H2O, up to 69°C. From 69 to 86°C, the lamellar mesophase is in equilibrium with ‘waxy’ anhydrous DODAB. From 86 to 116°C and very high DODAB content, there is a very narrow region of existence of inverse hexagonal mesophase, in equilibrium via a narrow biphase region with lamellar mesophase. AtT > 116°C an isotropic liquid appears. There seems to exist two different lamellar mesophases, one of them between 10 and 40 wt.% DODAB and the other between 60 and about 97 wt.% DODAB, with a biphase zone between them.

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Community Ecology
Authors: J. Madrigal-González, J. García-Rodríguez, A. Puerto-Martín, B. Fernández-Santos, and P. Alonso-Rojo

In arid and semi-arid ecosystems, the presence of woody neighbours affects the existence of several herbaceous species by modifying critical aspects of the environment (e.g., soil humidity, nutrient content or light availability) beneath their canopies. Herbaceous species growing in the understory of Pinus pinaster may be distinct from those in open areas due to litter fall, light interception and changes in nutrient availability. We suggest that the overall effect of woody neighbours on herbaceous layer diversity may vary with the scale focus of analysis. To examine this hypothesis, we collected data on the abundance of herbaceous species in open pineland forests of the central Iberian Peninsula (Spain) using sample quadrats of 0.5 m × 0.5 m distributed beneath, at the edge, and outside the canopy of pines in a landscape composed of dunes and plains. The results of CCA ordination revealed significant spatial segregation of herbaceous species reflecting the occurrence of pines and dunes in the landscape. Nested ANOVA disclosed markedly lower species richness beneath the pines, particularly in the dune sites. Species richness partitioning showed higher pine-induced heterogeneity than expected from the sample-based randomized model, leading to significantly increased species richness at the patch level. Hence, the outcome of pine-induced effects on the herbaceous plant diversity is scale-dependent, negative if we focus on separate communities, but positive if the scale focus is extended to whole patches comprising the sum of communities beneath, at the edge, and outside pine tree canopies. These results emphasize the necessity of using various scale perspectives to clarify the different ways in which pines and other woody nurse species affect structure of herbaceous communities in semi-arid Mediterranean ecosystems.

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