kylee’s research

Monday, November 5th, 2012

Conditions of Highly Polluted Areas in Shanghai


  • Construction dust in the air and on the streets.
  • Exhaust from industrial buildings (Sulfur dioxide, NH3, and nitrogen dioxide)
  • Smoggy conditions where one cannot see more than 10 feet in front of them
  • Smells like burning waste (coal, garbage, plant matter)
  • Cannot see the sky
  • Streets are filled with dust, soot, and garbage.
  • Mostly places of movement rather than an area to occupy for more than a moment except for the people that live or work in the area.


Monday, November 5th, 2012

Strategies in Dealing with Pollution

Monday, November 5th, 2012

Shanghai: City of Strangers and Loss of Culture

Strangers: Upper,lower, middle classes, and foreigners included, only interact with one another if need be, such as upper requiring a service from the lower. The upper and some of the middle classes have formed an Elitist attitude. They believe they are the only true Shanghainese. They believe anyone inferior to them is not worth interacting with. It creates divisions and imbalance in a city instead of performing as a united whole. Elitists are generally people of a select group of people with a certain ancestry, intrinsic quality or worth, higher intellect, wealth, specialized training or experience, or other distinctive attributes. Power is concentrated in the hands of a limited number of people in this group and leaves out the rest of the population.  To make a pluralist city, there need to be more places where different groups can interact.

Loss of Culture: There has been a large loss of the traditional Shanghainese culture. As the city grew as an economical powerhouse, it also grew to become more westernized. It has become more about cultural production and competition with the world, and has lost grip on the individual Shanghainese culture. Shanghai has been better at imitating than creating is that it doesn’t have the grounding in local cultural traditions. There should be a blend of the two, East and West, making it a pluralist culture.

Monday, November 5th, 2012

Oxygenation of Coral

Coral polyps generally take up molecular oxygen that is dissolved in seawater directly by diffusion through their tissues. That O2 can move from the surrounding environment into the epidermal layers of the polyp or from the internal gastrovascular cavity into the gastrodermal (internal) tissues. Water-pumping cells within the gastrovascular cavity help the diffusion process here. Coral polyps create a network or colony with connective tissues (coenosarc) which connects individuals to others. The exchange for oxygen is constant through the surface of each polyp, but is shared through out the reef.

Monday, November 5th, 2012

Oxygenation of Jellyfish


External respiration:
The exchange of gases between the environment and an animal occurs by diffusion through a wet surface on the animal which is permeable to oxygen and carbon dioxide. Diffusion is the random movement of molecules and causes a net movement of molecules from a region of high concentration to a region of low concentration. Thus, oxygen moves into an organism because its concentration is lower inside than in the environment (air or water); carbon dioxide moves out of an organism because its concentration is higher inside than in the environment

Direct Diffusion:
Oxygen diffuses from the environment through cells on the animal’s surface and then diffuses to individual cells inside.

In the Jellyfish, oxygen enters through the epidermis, the thin outer layer of skin, and into the mesoglea. In the mesoglea, oxygen is abosorbed by cells and is taken in to the metabolic area of the jellyfish. The mesoglea also acts as an oxygen store for when they encounter an environement with low levels of oxygen.

Monday, November 5th, 2012

Areas of High Pollution

Shanghai: PM10 and PM2.5: These particles are caused by dust or emissions from vehicles, factories, construction sites and coal combustion. Fine particulates (PM2.5) can penetrate lungs and enter the bloodstream, making them the most detrimental to health. As you’d expect, chronic exposure leads to an increased risk of health issues, particularly heart disease and lung cancer. Sulfur dioxide, NH3, and nitrogen dioxide are a large amount of what makes up the mass of pollution. Normal working hours when the factories are operating tend to be the worst for air quality, and even more so in the commuting hours before and after. This is generally from 7AM-6PM.

Factors Already Employed to Prevent Pollution:

  • PM2.5 monitoring stations are to be introduced to 30 cities nationwide (including Shanghai).
  • Shanghai is by the sea, which helps to rapidly clear the air.
  • Five-Year Plan on Energy Conservation and Emission Reduction Introducing Accountability System for Performance Assessment: The Plan also calls for redoubled effort of denitration and desulphurization in electric power industry and non-electric power industries. Flue gas desulphurization will be applied to sintering machines and the desulphurization rate of all sintering machines and pellet production equipment in built area of cities. Electric power, iron & steel, papermaking and printing & dying industries will be subject to total pollution control while newly built and extended projects will be managed by replacement of pollution discharge with equivalent or reduced amount.
  • Some wear surgical masks.
  • Avoiding being outdoors in the main metropolitan area.



  • Smoke factories
  • Vehicles and fumes emitted by diesel-powered vehicles (main cause)
  • Burning a agricultural products. Ex: hay.
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Exhaust gas from fossil fuels that is used for thermal power generation also includes nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides and causes the air pollution



  • Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) started to restrict diesel-powered vehicles in collaboration with the eight local governments in the Kanto district.
  • Fixed emission sources, such as strict control of air pollutant sources, including boilers, and use of higher quality fuel
  • Promotion of public transportation and bicycle usage.

The east side of Tokyo in the map is where 23 wards are located while west side is where the rest of cities are. As you can see, the levels of air pollution are relative low in the west side of Tokyo in all cases. The east is where most industrial production occurs, which influences the larger amount of vehicular travel. Winters and summers are said to the worst. In the winter the northern winds blow pollution from Shanghai and Beijing over to Tokyo.



  • Hazardous heavy metals found in the air over Beijing come from ferrous metal smelting and coal burning in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area.
  • Vehicles and fumes emitted by diesel-powered vehicles (main cause)
  • Tobacco smoke



  • The government regularly uses cloud-seeding measures to increase the likelihood of rain showers in the region to clear the air prior to large events.
  • Beijing has added 3,800 natural gas buses, one of the largest fleets in the world.
  • The city has also planted hundreds of thousands of trees and increased green space in an effort to make the city more livable.
  • Daily pollution readings at 27 monitoring stations around the city are reported on the website of the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau (BJEPB). This allows the public to know when being outdoors is safer in a sense.
  • Most of the population wears surgical masks when outdoors.
  • Halted construction during Olympics, only allowed those there for the games into the city, and promoted the lowering of vehicular use during the time.

Vehicle emissions are largest in Beijing’s downtown area. Summers are said to be the worst. Prevailing south/southeasterly flow during the summer and the mountains to the north and northwest are one of the infuencing factors. During the Beijing Olympics, emissions were at their lowest in the past decade. They wanted the quality to be the best it could for the atheletes.

Monday, November 5th, 2012

Environments of Disaster

Chemical warfare does not depend upon explosive force to achieve an objective. Rather it depends upon the unique properties of the chemical agent weaponized. A lethal agent is designed to injure or incapacitate the enemy, or deny unhindered use of a particular area of terrain. Defoliants are used to quickly kill vegetation and deny its use for cover and concealment. It can also be used against agriculture and livestock to promote hunger and starvation. Air becomes harmful to be exposed to and some chemicals may cause a depletion of oxygen. The application of producing and distributing oxygen can be applied to an internal environment to continue living.

Pollution: With the continuation of the release of pollutants everyday, there may come a time where oxygen can no longer be produced. There are many more molecules that have a higher affinity to be carried and populate the air.

Monday, November 5th, 2012

Forms of Oxygen

Photosynthesis:Photosynthesis uses sunlight to split water and carbon dioxide from oxygen. It is the main source of energy for nearly all forms of life on Earth. The photosynthesis of water occurs in the thylakoids of chloroplasts in plants. Thylakoids are located in the stroma. The thylakoids are flattened disks, bounded by a membrane with a lumen or thylakoid space within it. The site of photosynthesis is the thylakoid membrane, which contains integral and peripheral membrane protein complexes, including chlorophyll, which form the photosystems. One molecule of chlorophyll absorbs one photon and loses one electron. This electron is passed to a modified form of chlorophyll called pheophytin, which passes the electron to a quinone molecule, allowing the start of a flow of electrons down an electron transport chain that leads to the ultimate reduction of NADP to NADPH. This causes a formation of a proton gradient across the thylakoid membrane;which is used to synthesize photophosphorylation and the coupling of the absorption of light energy and oxidation of water to the creation of chemical energy during photosynthesis. The chlorophyll molecule regains the lost electron from the oxidized water molecule through a process called photolysis, which releases the dioxygen (O2) molecule.

Oxygen in the Blood-Hemoglobin:

Molecular dioxygen, O2, is essential for cellular respiration in all aerobic organisms. Oxygen is used in mitochondria to help generate adenosine triphosphate (ATP) during oxidative phosphorylation. The reaction for aerobic respiration is essentially the reverse of photosynthesis. In vertebrates, O2 diffuses through membranes in the lungs and into red blood cells. Hemoglobin binds O2, changing its color from bluish red to bright red. Hemoglobin in the blood carries oxygen from the respiratory organs (lungs or gills) to the rest of the body tissues where it releases the oxygen to burn nutrients to provide energy to power the functions of the organism, and collects the resultant carbon dioxide to bring it back to the respiratory organs to be dispensed from the organism. The hemoglobin molecule can carry up to four O2 oxygen molecules. The hemoglobin releases its oxygen molecules and replaces them with carbon dioxide molecules and carries the carbon dioxide back to the lungs where the exchange repeats.

Oxygen in the Body Tissues-Myoglobin: Myoglobin is an iron and oxygen binding protein found in the muscle fibers of most vertebrates and almost all mammals. It is very similar to hemoglobin in structure and sequence, but is not a tetramer; instead, it is a monomer that lacks cooperative binding. It is used to store oxygen rather than transport it. High concentrations of myoglobin in muscle cells allow organisms to hold their breaths longer.During periods of oxygen deprivation oxymyoglobin releases its bound oxygen which is then used for metabolic purposes. Each myoglobin molecule contains one heme prosthetic group inserted into a hydrophobic cleft in the protein. Each heme residue contains one central coordinately bound iron atom that is normally in the Fe2+, or ferrous, oxidation state. The oxygen carried by hemeproteins is bound directly to the ferrous iron atom of the heme prosthetic group.

Hemocyanin and Hemerythrin: Hemocyanins are respiratory proteins in the form of metalloproteins containing two copper atoms that reversibly bind a single oxygen molecule (O2). Hemocyanins are not bound to blood cells but are instead suspended directly in the hemolymph. The copper atoms of hemocyanin are bound as prosthetic groups coordinated by histidine residues. Hemerythrin is an oligomeric protein responsible for oxygen (O2) transport in the marine invertebrate phyla of sipunculids, priapulids, brachiopods, and in a single annelid worm, magelona. It is a monomeric O2-binding protein found in the muscles of marine invertebrates. Most O2 carriers operate via formation of Dioxygen complexes, but hemerythrin holds the O2 as a hydroperoxide. The site that binds O2 consists of a pair of iron centres. The iron atoms are bound to the protein through the carboxylate side chains of a glutamate and aspartates and through five histidine residues. The uptake of O2 by hemerythrin is accompanied by a two-electron oxidation of the diferrous centre to produce OOH- complex.

Carbon Monoxide and Other Expellants: Carbon monoxide binds more strongly with hemoglobin and myoglobin than oxygen or carbon dioxide, forming a tight bond (the compound carboxyhemoglobin) that blocks hemoglobin from binding with either. Carbon monoxide begins to cause symptoms of oxygen deprivation when its blood concentration reaches 10 percent, impairs neurologic function at 30 percent, and can cause death at 50 percent. A gas commonly present in the environment, carbon monoxide is a byproduct of incomplete combustion. There is also competitive binding affinity for cyanide (CN-), sulfur monoxide (SO), nitric oxide (NO), and sulfide (S2-), including hydrogen sulfide (H2S). All of these bind to iron in heme without changing its oxidation state, but they nevertheless inhibit oxygen-binding. Pollutants are a large inhibitor of oxygen in the atmosphere. Their affinity reduces the production of oxygen molecules.

Sunday, November 4th, 2012


My initial interests for my thesis stemmed from animals and the process in which some were able to take in oxygen through their skin. This led to the idea of biomimicry. Abstract principles are being learned from forms, processes, materials, etc. in nature that may be applied to man-made designs. In Delanda’s Matter Matters: Building with Bone and Muscles, a few examples are talked about. Bones are a composite of collagen and mineral crystals. They influenced man-made composites such as fiberglass, epoxy resins, thin glass fibers, etc. The idea of composite structures that can be converted into the other is another principle. Cartilage can convert to bone. It is the assembly and growth factor in bones-ideas of self-assembly can be produced from knowing these functions. The muscle cells contain protein filaments that slide past one another, producing a contraction that changes both the length and the shape of the cell doing the same to the overall shape of the muscle. This allows for the muscle to push and pull on external loads. The ability the exert loads from its ability to contract is being produced artificially.

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