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Ricercatore t.d. art. 24 c. 3 lett. A
Dipartimento di Scienze e Metodi dell'Ingegneria

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2023 - Combined Effects of Different LED Light Recipes and Slow-Release Fertilizers on Baby Leaf Lettuce Growth for Vertical Farming: Modeling through DoE [Articolo su rivista]
Barbieri, Francesco; Barbi, Silvia; Bertacchini, Alessandro; Montorsi, Monia

The modern agriculture system based on open-field crops requires a lot of energy and resources in terms of soil, water, and chemicals. Vertical farming (VF) systems could be a viable alternative for some types of cultivation that are receiving interest thanks to their high modularity, optimized water and nutrients use, and LEDs employment as an energy-efficient light source. However, VF design and installation are expensive and require well-tailored optimization depending on the specific crop to increase its competitiveness. This work analyzed the effects of different combinations of NPK (nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium) slow-release fertilizers and LED-based light recipes on the growth of baby leaf lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.), taking advantage of the Design of Experiments (DoE) methodology. The type of slow-release fertilizer, its quantity measured as the number of aggregates from 0 to 6, and the type of light recipe were considered as input factors, and their possible influence on the growth of lettuce (in terms of morphological parameters) in a controlled indoor farming system was measured. Results suggest that using higher fertilizer inputs equal to six aggregates leads to an increase of average leaf area equal to 46% (from 13.00 cm2 to 19.00 cm2), while the fresh weight of lettuce increases by 65% (from 1.79 g to 2.96 g). However, the height of plants also depends on the combination of the light recipes. In particular, the separate coupling of higher inputs of two fertilizers and light recipes leads to an increase in the height of lettuce equal to 33% (from 6.00 cm to 8.00 cm).

2023 - Polycaprolactone/Starch/Agar Coatings for Food-Packaging Paper: Statistical Correlation of the Formulations’ Effect on Diffusion, Grease Resistance, and Mechanical Properties [Articolo su rivista]
LO FARO, Emanuela; Bonofiglio, Angela; Barbi, Silvia; Montorsi, Monia; Fava, Patrizia

Paper is one of the most promising materials for food packaging and wrapping due to its low environmental impact, but surface treatments are often needed to improve its performance, e.g., the resistance to fats and oils. In this context, this research is focused on the formulation of a new paper bio-coating. Paper was coated with liquids containing poly(hexano-6-lactone) (PCL), glycerol and variable percentages of starch (5–10% w/w PCL dry weight), agar-agar (0–1.5% w/w PCL dry weight), and polyethylene glycol (PEG) (5% or 15% w/w PCL dry weight) to improve coating uniformity and diffusion. A design of experiments approach was implemented to find statistically reliable results in terms of the best coating formulation. Coated paper was characterized through mechanical and physical properties. Results showed that agar content (1.5% w/w PCL dry weight) has a beneficial effect on increasing the resistance to oil. Furthermore, the best coating composition has been calculated, and it is 10% w/w PCL dry weight of starch, 1.5% w/w PCL dry weight of agar, and 15% w/w PCL dry weight of PEG.

2023 - Quantitative Calculation of the Most Efficient LED Light Combinations at Specific Growth Stages for Basil Indoor Horticulture: Modeling through Design of Experiments [Articolo su rivista]
Barbi, Silvia; Barbieri, Francesco; Taurino, Claudia GERARDO; Bertacchini, Alessandro; Montorsi, Monia

Indoor farms are a promising way to obtain vegetables in standard quantity and quality. As opposed to previous studies, this study attempts to calculate optimized LED light conditions for different growth stages (five-days time step) of basil (Ocimum basilicum) to enhance its indoor growth through a statistical approach. Design of Experiments (DoE) was used to plan a limited number of experiments (20) and to calculate quantitatively the effect of different light recipes on four responses: the number of plants, their height, the Leaf Area Index, and the amount of water used. Different proportions (from 25% to 77%) of Hyper Red (660 nm) and Deep Blue (451 nm), intensities in terms of LEDs–plant distance (60, 70 and 80 cm), and the addition of Warm White (3000 K) LEDs were considered as independent variables. The obtained models suggest that a light recipe tailored for every growth step in the plant’s life is beneficial. Appropriate LEDs must be carefully chosen at the beginning of growth, whereas distance becomes relevant at the end. This is confirmed by the results analysis carried out at the end of an additional growth test where the optimal light recipe extracted from the DoE’s results were used.

2022 - Effects of Different LED Light Recipes and NPK Fertilizers on Basil Cultivation for Automated and Integrated Horticulture Methods [Capitolo/Saggio]
Barbi, Silvia; Barbieri, Francesco; Bertacchini, Alessandro; Barbieri, Luisa; Montorsi, Monia

2022 - Phase Change Material Evolution in Thermal Energy Storage Systems for the Building Sector, with a Focus on Ground-Coupled Heat Pumps [Articolo su rivista]
Barbi, Silvia; Barbieri, Francesco; Marinelli, Simona; Rimini, Bianca; Merchiori, Sebastiano; Bottarelli, Michele; Montorsi, Monia

The building sector is responsible for a third of the global energy consumption and a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions. Phase change materials (PCMs) have shown high potential for latent thermal energy storage (LTES) through their integration in building materials, with the aim of enhancing the efficient use of energy. Although research on PCMs began decades ago, this technology is still far from being widespread. This work analyses the main contributions to the employment of PCMs in the building sector, to better understand the motivations behind the restricted employment of PCM-based LTES technologies. The main research and review studies are critically discussed, focusing on: strategies used to regulate indoor thermal conditions, the variation of mechanical properties in PCMs-based mortars and cements, and applications with ground-coupled heat pumps. The employment of materials obtained from wastes and natural sources was also taken in account as a possible key to developing composite materials with good performance and sustainability at the same time. As a result, the integration of PCMs in LTES is still in its early stages, but reveals high potential for employment in the building sector, thanks to the continuous design improvement and optimization driven by high-performance materials and a new way of coupling with tailored envelopes.

2022 - Rare Earth and Transition Metal Containing Glasses [Capitolo/Saggio]
Du, Jincheng; Montorsi, Monia; Barbi, Silvia; Lu, Xiaonan

Transition metal (TM) and rare earth (RE) ions have been incorporated into many glass systems such as silicate, phosphate, and borosilicate-based oxide glasses, as well as in halide and chalcogenide glasses, that find applications ranging from optical, photonic, and magnetic devices, solid-state battery, to nuclear waste disposal. Understanding the structural role of RE and TM in these glasses can help to develop glass compositions for targeted applications with either high-optical emission efficiency, electrical conductivity, or chemical durability. In this chapter, we first provide a general introduction of the applications and structural features of RE and TM in glasses, then the critical aspects of molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of these glasses such as interatomic potentials, structural analysis tools to study RE and TM ions in glasses and their clustering behaviors, Quantitative Structure–Property Analysis (QSPR), diffusion and dynamic property calculations, and electronic structure calculations to understand electronic defects such as charge trapping and radiation effects are introduced. Three representative case studies are presented: the first one is on MD simulations of erbium- and europium-doped silica and silicate glasses, as well as cerium doped aluminophosphate glasses, that revealed the effect of glass composition on RE ion local structure and clustering behavior. Electronic structure calculations of cerium-doped glass show how the existence of multioxidation states help to mediate radiation-induced damages caused by excited electron–hole pairs was also discussed. The second one focuses on alkali vanadophosphate glasses where the existence of two vanadium oxidation states help to provide electronic conduction in the glasses while alkali ions provide ionic conduction. MD simulations were used to understand vanadium environments and other structural aspects in the phosphate glasses, as well as the ionic transport behaviors of alkali ions. The third case study is on zirconium-containing borosilicate and aluminosilicate glasses that find wide applications in nuclear waste disposal. MD simulations help to provide structural details of zirconium ions that are validated by diffraction and EXAFS spectra. The structural information was used to interpret changes of mechanical properties and chemical durability by using QSPR and other analyses-based MD-generated structure models.

2022 - Statistical Optimization of a Hyper Red, Deep Blue, and White LEDs Light Combination for Controlled Basil Horticulture [Capitolo/Saggio]
Barbi, Silvia; Barbieri, Francesco; Bertacchini, Alessandro; Montorsi, Monia

2022 - Statistical optimization of a sustainable fertilizer composition based on black soldier fly larvae as source of nitrogen [Articolo su rivista]
Barbi, Silvia; Montorsi, Monia; Maistrello, Lara; Caldironi, Matteo; Barbieri, Luisa

In the present work, a statistical optimization of a sustainable coating for core–shell NPK (Nitrogen–Phosphorus–Potassium) fertilizers was investigated. The environmental green coating was enriched in nitrogen using a biomass and renewable source, namely the nitrogen rich fraction of black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) (Hermetia Illucens, Diptera: Stratiomyidae) reared on vegetable waste. A rational approach was proposed with the aim of calculating the best formulation of the coating, considering both its manufacturing behavior, such as adhesion to the core, and its physical properties, such as homogeneity or plasticity. From a circular economy perspective, together with the nitrogen-rich fraction from BSFL (from 51 to 90 wt.%), water and glycerol were considered for the coating formulation in different proportion: from 10 to 32 wt.% and from 0 to 17 wt.% respectively. The Design of Experiments technique was implemented to limit the total number of tests for the coating formulation (18 tests). ANOVA was employed, with the aim of obtaining mathematical models to derive a better precise and objective formulation. The results show that the use of glycerol can be avoided, as well as only a limited amount of water (11 wt.%) is necessary to obtain an optimized coating formulation, thereafter, satisfying the more relevant technological and physical properties for the coating manufacturing

2021 - Circular design options for wearables integrated sportswear to be employed in adverse outdoor conditions [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Butturi, M. A.; Barbi, S.; Marinelli, S.; Montorsi, M.; Gamberini, R.

The fashion industry is increasingly committed in improving the sustainability and circularity of its products in a perspective strongly oriented towards technological innovation. To meet these goals, several strategies are used, mainly focusing on product design and production processes. The study of materials suitable for reuse and recycle, the “design for disassembly” of garments, the setup of reverse supply chain to recover the products, and the raising of consumers’ awareness and involvement are some of the most challenging strategies. In this perspective, smart textiles and wearable technologies put together the issues of both the fashion and electronic industry, through a wide range of possible integration strategies, increasing the complexity of the circular system to be designed. Sportswear represents an ideal context to develop wearable technologies, having a target of customers interested in technological innovations and willing to spend more efforts for increasing their performances and safety. Starting from an in-depth analysis of the available literature on the topic, this study aims at analyzing and discussing the possible design strategies for the development of circular wearable technologies, presenting a brief case study on the integration of wearables into a sport shirt, specially designed to increase cyclists and runners’ safety, including athletes with disability, in adverse environmental conditions. The various options are discussed taking into account the different stakeholders’ view, namely the technology developers, the electronic and fashion manufacturers, the fashion retailers and the end users’ needs and objectives. Lastly, an application framework to support the industrialization of the considered smart apparels is presented, providing useful hints to increase the circularity of both smart garments and wearable devices.

2021 - Effect of the rearing substrate on total protein and amino acid composition in black soldier fly [Articolo su rivista]
Fuso, A.; Barbi, S.; Macavei, L. I.; Luparelli, A. V.; Maistrello, L.; Montorsi, M.; Sforza, S.; Caligiani, A.

Insects are becoming increasingly relevant as protein sources in food and feed. The Black Soldier Fly (BSF) is one of the most utilized, thanks to its ability to live on many leftovers. Vegetable processing industries produce huge amounts of by-products, and it is important to efficiently rear BSF on different substrates to assure an economical advantage in bioconversion and to overcome the seasonality of some leftovers. This work evaluated how different substrates affect the protein and amino acid content of BSF. BSF prepupae reared on different substrates showed total protein content varying between 35% and 49% on dry matter. Significant lower protein contents were detected in BSF grown on fruit by-products, while higher contents were observed when autumnal leftovers were employed. BSF protein content was mainly correlated to fibre and protein content in the diet. Among amino acids, lysine, valine and leucine were most affected by the diet. Essential amino acids satisfied the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) requirements for human nutrition, except for lysine in few cases. BSF could be a flexible tool to bio-convert a wide range of vegetable by-products of different seasonality in a high-quality protein-rich biomass, even if significant differences in the protein fraction were observed according to the rearing substrate.

2021 - Effects of Different LED Light Recipes and NPK Fertilizers on Basil Cultivation for Automated and Integrated Horticulture Methods [Articolo su rivista]
Barbi, Silvia; Barbieri, Francesco; Bertacchini, Alessandro; Barbieri, Luisa; Montorsi, Monia

This study aims to optimize the conditions for “Genovese” basil (Ocimum Basilicum) germination and growth in an indoor environment suitable for horticulture through a synergic effect of light and fertilizers addition. In fact, several studies determined that specific light conditions are capable of enhancing basil growth, but this effect is highly dependent on the environmental conditions. In this study, the effect of different light sources was determined employing a soil with a negligible amount of fertilizer, demonstrating substantial improvement when light-emitting diode (LED) lights (hyper red and deep blue in different combinations) were applied with respect to daylight (Plants height: +30%, Total fresh mass: +50%). Thereafter, a design of experiment approach has been implemented to calculate the specific combination of LED lights and fertilizer useful to optimize the basil growth. A controlled-release fertilizer based on nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK) derived from agro-residues was compared with a soil enriched in macronutrients. The results demonstrate significant improvements for the growth parameters with the employment of the controlled-release NPK with respect to enriched soil combined with a ratio of hyper red and deep blue LED light equal to 1:3 (Total fresh mass: +100%, Leaves number: +20%).

2021 - From Food Processing Leftovers to Bioplastic: A Design of Experiments Approach in a Circular Economy Perspective [Articolo su rivista]
Barbi, Silvia; Macavei, Laura I.; Caligiani, Augusta; Maistrello, Lara; Montorsi, Monia

Aiming at reducing the environmental impact of low density polyethylene (LDPE) when employed as mulching film, this study was focused on the partial substitution of the material with proteins extracted from Hermetia illucens, also known as black soldier fly (BSF). Insects were reared on chicken manure and food leftovers in a circular economy perspective. To evaluate the effects of processing conditions and amount of BSF proteins on the properties of the final material the Design of Experiments technique was employed. Samples were obtained by hot mixing and compression molding, and their thickness, tensile stress, tensile strain, and Young modulus were measured and analyzed. According to mathematical models, the addition of BSF proteins in the mixture results in increased homogeneity and Young modulus of the material and in reduced tensile stress and strain. Results indicated that a LDPE-BSF proteins mixture of 50–50 wt%, processed at relative low temperature (130 °C) and time (3 min), ensures properties closer to pure molded LDPE (thickness = 0.8 mm, tensile stress = 6 MPa, tensile strain = 15% and Young modulus = 200 MPa) with lower environmental impact thanks to the high BSF proteins addition. Thereafter, BSF proteins can be employed as additive for LDPE for agricultural purposes, with processing methods feasible in an industrial perspective.

2021 - Mechanical and structural properties of environmental green composites based on functionalized bacterial cellulose [Articolo su rivista]
Barbi, S.; Taurino, C.; La China, S.; Anguluri, K.; Gullo, M.; Montorsi, M.

In this work TiO2 and highly inorganic ceramic clay were successfully immobilized into Bacterial Cellulose (BC), produced by Komagataeibacter xylinus K2G30 (UMCC 2756) strain, in different proportions. The morphology, structure, and mechanical properties of the composites, fabricated by wet mechanical mixing, were investigated through a multi-technique approach: density measurement, optical and electronic microscopy, FTIR spectroscopy, contact angle measurement and mechanical tensile testing, before and after aging, under UV light exposure. Results suggest completely different behavior by using TiO2 or Clay. In fact, porous fragile structures were obtained by employing Clay, whereas more compact and plastic-like specimen by using TiO2, due to different chemical bonding developed through H-bonding, as confirmed by FTIR. Enhanced tensile resistance at break was found for a content of TiO2 equal to 20 wt% and this result was not affected by aging, under UV light exposure. This study demonstrates how ceramic inorganic fillers for BC are able to act in completely different way, becoming of interests in different fields such as hydrophilic porous membranes for Clay and compact plastic-like film for textile industry with TiO2 addition.

2021 - Phase change material-sand mixtures for distributed latent heat thermal energy storage: interaction and performance analysis [Articolo su rivista]
Barbi, Silvia; Barbieri, Francesco; Marinelli, Simona; Rimini, Bianca; Merchiori, Sebastiano; Larwa, Barbara; Bottarelli, Michele; Montorsi, Monia

In this study two phase change materials (PCMs) mixed with sand were evaluated for distributed latent heat thermal energy storage (LHTES) coupled with a novel Flat-Panel ground heat exchanger (GHE) for shallow geothermal applications. N-Octadecane and a commercial paraffin-based PCM were mixed (30% v/v) separately with sand, which is commonly used as backfilling material for GHE. Both two mixtures underwent 16 thermal cycles and specimen’s temperatures and their variation over time were analyzed to evaluate phase change stability and supercooling. Grain size laser diffraction and pore analysis were performed together with optical microscopy, environmental scanning electron microscopy coupled with X-Ray spectrometry (ESEM-EDS) and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) analysis to evaluate PCMs-sand dynamic interaction over time and temperature. Results shown that sand addition halves n-Octadecane phase change time, although leading to a limited supercooling equal to 1 °C. Sand addition to commercial PCM leaded to a similar increasing in heat transfer, however in absence of supercooling phenomena. These performances were constant through 16 thermal cycles. Therefore, PCMs mixing in sand as mixture for GHEs backfilling material can be considered a strategy to enhance thermal storage of backfilling material, by increasing the underground thermal energy storage and then the exploitation carried out by shallow geothermal applications.

2021 - Statistical Optimization of a Hyper Red, Deep Blue, and White LEDs Light Combination for Controlled Basil Horticulture [Articolo su rivista]
Barbi, Silvia; Barbieri, Francesco; Bertacchini, Alessandro; Montorsi, Monia

2020 - Bioplastic Film From Black Soldier Fly Prepupae Proteins Used As Mulch: Preliminary Results [Articolo su rivista]
Setti, Leonardo; Francia, Enrico; Pulvirenti, Andrea; De Leo, Riccardo; Martinelli, Simone; Maistrello, Lara; Macavei, Laura Ioana; Montorsi, Monia; Barbi, Silvia; Ronga, Domenico

A protein‐based film (PBF), obtained from black soldier fly prepupae proteins, was assessed for its agronomic performance as mulch. PBF was investigated in a potting experiment and compared with Mater‐Bi (MB), polyethylene (PE) and bare soil. During the experiment, degraded surface area, weight and thickness of the film, water evaporated from the pot, and the soil microbiological content (SMC) were recorded. In addition, films were buried to assess their biodegradability and impact on SMC. During the mulching process, the PBF showed a significant degradation. In terms of evaporated water, the PBF performed similarly to MB and worse than PE. Regarding SMC, film of any nature caused an increase in the Clostridia spp. and a decrease of total mesophilic aerobic bacteria and fungi contents. When buried, only PBF recorded a faster biodegradability, showing a reduction of surface area, thickness and weight. PBF and MB highlighted a significant increase in contents of Clostridia spp., mesophilic aerobic bacteria and fungi. Our results reported, for the first time, the valorization of black soldier fly (BSF) prepupae proteins as a biodegradable film for mulching purposes. However, further study is needed to reduce the PBF biodegradability and allow it to be used for the most important mulched crops.

Barbi, Silvia; Barbieri, Francesco; Andreola, Nora Maria; Lancellotti, Isabella; Martínez García, Carmen; Cotes Palomino, Teresa; Montorsi, Monia; Barbieri, Luisa

The aim of this study is to design and characterize a new controlled release fertilizers category by using valorization of residues from agri-food, industrial and post consumers activities normally allocated into landfill disposal. The underlying strategy in materials research fully agreed with the circular economy perspective and the more recent European legislation about critical raw materials recovering. This study covers the development of lightweight aggregates, based on a local red clay (km 0 concept) and pores former such as coffee grounds and brewery sludge. Functionalization has been performed with vegetable biomass and cattle bone flour ashes, as received and after vitrification in a tailored fertilizer glass, containing high quantity of potassium and phosphorous. Fully characterization by means of a multidisciplinary approach, including chemical, mineralogical, thermal, physical, and plants growth in soils tests has been performed on starting and derived materials. Finally, growth test on basil’s plant have demonstrated the beneficial effect of the aggregates designed and produced in this study in comparison with standard fertilizer already on the market.

2020 - Design and Optimization of the Thermo-Mechanical Behavior in Glass Reinforced Polyamide 6 For Automotive Application [Capitolo/Saggio]
Barbi, Silvia; Cattani, Luca; Manfredini, Tiziano; Montorsi, Monia

In this work a rational approach, such as Design of Experiments, has been used to design E-glass and S2-glass reinforced polyamide 6 composites. The models, derived by the multivariate analysis of the experimental tests, allowed deriving response surfaces in which the effect of reinforce’s composi- tion, content and shape on the thermo-mechanical have been related to com- posite’s behavior during cycling loads and high temperatures. These composites find application in the developing of a sensor used in the automotive engine compartment where thermal and vibration effects must be taken in account to avoid premature failure. Thirty experiments were planned by Design of Exper- iments and analyzed through Analysis Of Variance to correlate reinforce’s properties to coefficient of thermal expansion, Young Modulus and damping over temperature/frequency variation. Statically reliable models were calculated to obtain a numerical estimation of the overall quadratic and cubic interactions among reinforce’s properties, explaining how matrix/reinforce interaction affects composite’s properties. Nevertheless, the employment of S2-glass led to restrained coefficient of thermal expansion of the composites, reinforce’s content of E-glass fibers over 30wt% is in a better agreement with the composite’s overall requirements for this tailored application, due to restrained mechanical damping.

2020 - Improved Heat Sink for Thermoelectric Energy Harvesting Systems [Capitolo/Saggio]
Bertacchini, Alessandro; Barbi, Silvia; Montorsi, Monia

Abstract. This paper is focused on the improvement of the heat sink system of a thermal energy harvester by using organic and inorganic Phase Change Materials (PCM), considering solutions with the lowest environmental im-pact, as an alternative to well-known paraffin waxes. The proposed heat sink has been applied to the real case study of a thermoelectric energy har-vester to supply a wireless sensor node placed in the engine compartment of a vehicle and used for the continuous monitoring of the engine’s vibrations. Different hydrated salts (nitrate mixtures) have been evaluated as PCM, trough design of experiments techniques, working in a restrained well-tailored temperature ranges (±5°C) depending on mixtures’ composition, and compared with acetamide as best organic alternative. The realized PCM-based heat sink shown better performance compared with a classic heat sink in both steady-state and dynamic conditions.

2020 - Life Cycle Assessment of Chemical vs Enzymatic-Assisted Extraction of Proteins from Black Soldier Fly Prepupae for the Preparation of Biomaterials for Potential Agricultural Use [Articolo su rivista]
Rosa, R.; Spinelli, R.; Neri, P.; Pini, M.; Barbi, S.; Montorsi, M.; Maistrello, L.; Marseglia, A.; Caligiani, A.; Ferrari, A. M.

The cradle-to-grave life cycle assessment (LCA) was applied to the preparation of biomaterials derived from proteins, extracted from black soldier fly (BSF) prepupae, after the larvae were reared on poultry manure-based organic waste. To obtain higher value-added biomolecules, extraction represents the fundamental step. Therefore, the environmental sustainability assessments of different extraction/fractionation procedures were compared. In this way, it is possible to consider also their environmental performances in addition to the purity, yield, and integrity of the extract. A chemical method characterized by a one-step protein extraction was compared to an enzymatic-assisted protocol, employing Bacillus licheniformis protease. Surprisingly, the enzymatic approach resulted for the 31.87% more environmentally impacting with respect to the chemical method, despite its lack of organic solvents and reduction of alkaline and acid solutions employed. Particularly, the long time necessary for the enzymatic hydrolysis significantly contributed to the environmental impact of this protocol. Therefore, improvements such as biomass pretreatment procedures or the use of different proteolytic enzymes (e.g., operating at lower temperatures and in shorter times) are needed. Moreover, to reduce the environmental load of the protein fraction, attention should also be given to increase extraction yields of lipids and chitin biomolecules obtainable from BSF prepupae, due to the biorefinery approach under which this study was considered.

2020 - Preliminary Study on Sustainable NPK Slow-Release Fertilizers Based on Byproducts and Leftovers: A Design-of-Experiment Approach [Articolo su rivista]
Barbi, Silvia; Barbieri, Francesco; Andreola, Fernanda; Lancellotti, Isabella; Barbieri, Luisa; Montorsi, Monia

In this study, an organic nitrogen-based coating was developed based on black soldier fly (BSF) prepupae reared on poultry dejections and deposited on ceramic lightweight aggregates (LWAs), containing phosphorous (P) and potassium (K) from agroresidues, leading to a complete nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK) fertilizer. To obtain a resistant coating with good adhesion to LWAs, different plasticizing agents were tested (e.g., glycerol, cellulose, and polyethylene glycol). The coating formulation was optimized through a design-of-experiment (DoE) approach to correlate the effect of each mixture component on the coating’s performance. BSF biomass was characterized through chemical and thermal routes, as well as the final coated LWAs, confirming their general agreement to fertilizer’s requirements. Release tests in static conditions highlighted the barrier action of the coating, preventing uncontrolled release of potassium and phosphorus contained in the LWAs as well as the release of nitrogen after 21 days (near to 20%). Germination and growth tests indicated a valuable increase of the growth index, whereas the germination process is limited by the coating barrier effect. This work proposes a new product in the field of slow-release fertilizers designed by rational methodologies and innovative materials based on waste valorization, fully in agreement with a circular economy perspective

2020 - Sottoprodotti agroalimentari valorizzati con le mosche soldato [Articolo su rivista]
Maistrello, L.; Macavei, L. I.; Antonelli, A.; Montevecchi, G.; Masino, F.; Barbi, S.; Montorsi, M.; Pini, M.; Ferrari, A. M.; Caligiani, A.; Sforza, S.; Pasotti, P.; Amadori, D.; Altamura, V.; Tommasini M., G

Le strategie di gestione degli scarti alimentari si sono finora concentrate principalmente sulla riduzione dei rifiuti, tuttavia la ricerca di nuove forme di valorizzazione rappresenta un’alternativa concreta che apre nuovi scenari di mercato. La capacità di alcune specie di insetti di utilizzare un’ampia gamma di substrati organici comunemente considerati come sottoprodotti e rifiuti, rappresenta una delle soluzioni più promettenti per attuare il principio fondante dell’economia circolare. Tra questi vi è la “mosca soldato nera” (Hermetia illucens, Diptera: Stratiomyidae), una mosca non infestante (gli adulti vivono pochi giorni, non si nutrono e non trasmettono patogeni), le cui larve sono in grado di svilupparsi su un’ampia varietà di substrati organici ad elevato contenuto di umidità. Per sfruttare le potenzialità delle mosche soldato nel ricavare nutrienti ad alto valore energetico utilizzabili sia in ambito alimentare/mangimistico, sia come combustibili, sia come ammendanti per l’agricoltura è stato creato, nel solco dei Gruppi Operativi per l’Innovazione (GOI) del partenariato PEI AGRI, il progetto BIOECO-FLIES, un gruppo di ricerca coordinato da CRPV (Centro Ricerche Produzioni Vegetali) e finanziato dalla Regione Emilia Romagna (PSR 2014-2020 Mis. 16.01 Focus Area 5C), che vede coinvolti diversi enti di ricerca pubblici e privati: Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia (UNIMORE), Università di Parma (UNIPR) e la società Astra Innovazione e Sviluppo. Partendo dai sottoprodotti della lavorazione di prodotti ortofrutticoli e olivicoli forniti dalle imprese agricole del GOI quali Consorzio Agribologna, C.A.B. Cooperativa agricola Brisighellese, Conserve Italia, ed altre aziende agricole del territorio Emiliano-Romagnolo, il progetto ha ottimizzato le caratteristiche quali-quantitative delle mosche soldato allevate in relazione alla stagionalità dei sottoprodotti; inoltre, sono stati valutati i processi estrattivi applicabili per ottenere una separazione efficiente delle frazioni, le possibilità di impiego di tali frazioni, e la sostenibilità ambientale ed economica dell’intero processo

2020 - Valorization of seasonal agri-food leftovers through insects [Articolo su rivista]
Barbi, Silvia; Macavei, LAURA IOANA; Fuso, Andrea; Valentina Luparelli, Anna; Caligiani, Augusta; Ferrari, Anna Maria; Maistrello, Lara; Montorsi, Monia

Most of the leftovers from agricultural productions and industrial processing of vegetables are currently discarded as waste, augmenting production costs and environmental impacts. Black soldier flies (BSF) are nonpest insects that can grow on various types of organic materials. The larvae initially act as fast and efficient bioconverters, before being further valorized as biomass rich in proteins, fats and chitin. The aim of the present studywas to exploit the potential of BSF prepupae reared on vegetable leftoverswith high seasonality, and to obtain compounds with high added value and further industrial and agronomic uses such as food/feed, soil improver or fuel. The optimization of BSF rearing substrates based on different leftovers combinations was performed through a Mixture Design approach. Initially, a database was built detailing the availability, seasonality and nutrient composition of the vegetable by-products. According to the seasonal availability of the agri-food leftovers, threemain groups were identified: annual, summer and autumnmixtures, in order to promote the exploitation of the highest quantity of leftovers. This approach allowed the obtainment of statistically reliable correlations (R2 N 0.75) between the employed leftovers and the content of lipid and nitrogen compounds (protein and chitin) of the BSF prepupae. In particular, a mixture of vegetable leftovers available in autumn that included legume (25 wt%), cereal (20 wt%) and vegetable (25 wt%) wastes proved to be the best combination in terms of insect growth (−25% development time compared to the control group) and nutritional composition. The chemical composition of the insect biomass allowed the identification of potential applicationswith high added value, such as food ingredients (protein and fats) or nutraceuticals (chitin). The identification of the optimal parameters to ensure the greatest possible efficiency would promote the scale-up of BSF rearing to an industrial level.

2019 - Bioprodotti di qualità da scarti vegetali e insetti [Articolo su rivista]
Barbi, S.; Montorsi, M.; Maistrello, L.; Tommasini, G

Finanziato nel quadro del programma di sviluppo rurale 2014-2020 della regione Emilia-Romagna, il progetto BIOECOFLIES è la naturale prosecuzione di VALORIBIO, progetto da poco con- 22 Soluzioni e tecnologie per l’ambiente cluso, incentrato sull’uso di insetti, (le mosche soldato), per valorizzare scarti dalla filiera zootenica ed altri rifiuti organici, ottenendo prodotti ad alto valore aggiunto: bioplastiche innovative per realizzare teli di pacciamatura biodegradabili che rilasciano azoto nel terreno ed un compost di elevata qualità risultante dalla crescita degli insetti su questi substrati che, addizionato di zeolititi, funge da ottimo fertilizzante per le colture.pèropdotti ad alto valore aggiunto, come bioplastiche). Il progetto di recente approvazione BIOWASTE FOCUS ON Bioprodotti di qualità da scarti vegetali e insetti Si chiama BIOECO-FLIES, il progetto che, grazie alla mosca soldato, valorizza i sottoprodotti agroalimentari in Emilia Romagna, individuando nuove soluzioni in campo alimentare, agronomico ed energetico. Aprile Giugno 2019 BIOECO-FLIES, costituisce in effetti un’estensione di VALORIBIO a un diverso substrato: sottoprodotti di filiere vegetali, per impieghi agronomici, alimentari ed energetici. L’obiettivo di BIOECO-FLIES è di sfruttare le potenzialità di insetti, (come le mosche soldato) per ricavare: Ammendanti, Combustibili e Nutrienti ad alto valore energetico per Feed&Food.

2019 - Chemical hardening of glazed porcelain tiles [Articolo su rivista]
Barbi, Silvia; Mugoni, Consuelo; Montorsi, Monia; Siligardi, Cristina

Glazed ceramic tiles are used for wall and floor covering thanks to their high resistance to chemicals attacks, although big efforts should be done to increase their surfaces resistance to mechanical stresses. This study investigates the applicability of a well‐known glass hardening process to glazed ceramic tiles following a rational design based on Design of Experiments technique. A Mixture Design has been carried out to formulate new frits compositions to enhance the ion‐exchange process, starting from a commercial product. Vickers Hardness and SEM‐EDS techniques have been employed to evaluate the frits and elaborate the model. Results suggest that frits for ceramic tiles are positively affected by ion‐exchange process only if an appropriate combination of ions in the starting composition is present, establishing a new category of frit formulations suitable for that purpose. The results have been confirmed employing the optimized frit for the glazing of porcelain stoneware.

2019 - DESIGN AND ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT OF BIOPLASTICS FROM Hermetia illucens prepupae PROTEINS [Articolo su rivista]
Barbi, Silvia; Spinelli, Rosangela; Ferrari, Anna Maria; Montorsi, Monia

formulation. This type of bioplastic can replace the actual materials employed in agriculture, avoiding the critical issues concerning the soil pollution due to conventional plastic end-life. Different plasticizing agents (glycerol and polyethylene glycol) have been tested and the ability to generate a homogenous film, through wet casting, has been evaluated. Characterizations on tensile properties and water absorbance have been performed to estimate the effect of different plasticizers employed. Bioplastic formed by proteins/glycerol ratio 50:50 has shown interesting properties, contributing to the formation of homogeneous and free-standing film with tensile stress at break near to 2.5MPa, almost constant during degradation profile test. At the same time the high degree of solubility in water has been verified for the same sample (~70%). The environmental impact of the laboratory scale production of bioplastics obtained from BSFs proteins has been evaluated through the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology. Inventory analysis has been conducted using primary data and Ecoinvent database. LCA analysis has been conducted using the SimaPro 8.3 software and the IMPACT 2002+ method of evaluation. The analysis show that the energy consumption is high (63%), but this can be mainly attributed to a laboratory-scale production process and related with the energy consumption of aspiration system (93%). Therefore, these results will help to the design of industrial production of innovative bioplastics in order to minimize these environmental issues

2019 - Rational design and characterization of bioplastics from Hermetia illucens prepupae proteins [Articolo su rivista]
Barbi, Silvia; Messori, Massimo; Manfredini, Tiziano; Pini, Martina; Montorsi, Monia

In this study proteins extracted from prepupae of Hermetia illucens, also known as black soldier fly,are investigated as promising base for a new type of bioplastics for agricultural purposes. Designof experiments techniques are employed to perform a rational study on the effects of differentcombination of glycerol as plasticizer, citric acid as cross-linking agent and distilled water as solventon the capability of proteins to form a free-standing film through casting technique, keeping asfixed the quantity of proteins. Glycerol shows interesting properties as plasticizer contributing tothe formation of homogenous and free-standing film. Moreover, mechanical and thermalcharacterizations are performed to estimate the effect of increasing amounts of proteins on thefinal properties and thickness of the specimens. Proteins derived from H. illucens can be success-fully employed as base for bioplastics to be employed for agricultural purposes.

Spinelli, Rosangela; Neri, Paolo; Pini, Martina; Barbi, Silvia; Montorsi, Monia; Ferrari, Anna Maria

The aim of this study was to enhance waste from the livestock production chain using insects to produce biomaterials that can fall within the agricultural production cycle (e.g. plastic mulch), in order to achieve sustainability throughout the technological process. After stabilization by drying, mature larvae of Hermetia illucens reared on substrate composed of poultry manure, zeolite and water were chemically separated in the laboratory to extract the proteic, lipidic and chitinic fractions. Proteins were then isolated and added to other components in order to obtain bioplastics. The environmental impacts of the bioplastic production process developed at a laboratory scale was evaluated through the LCA methodology.

2018 - Structural and optical properties of cerium oxide doped barium bismuth borate glasses [Articolo su rivista]
Barbi, Silvia; Consuelo, Mugoni; Montorsi, Monia; Affatigato, Mario; Corrado, Gatto; Siligardi, Cristina

This study focuses on the characterization of heavy metal oxide glasses containing CeO2 as dopant with the aim to enhance its density, as many optical applications of glasses (eg: heavy particles measurement in high energy physics) are heavily dependent on the density of the glass itself. Different concentrations of CeO2 were added to a barium bismuth borate base glass and the relative structural and optical properties were studied. The structure of the obtained material was analysed by means of density measurement, molar volume calculation, X-Ray diffraction, thermal analysis and Raman spectroscopy. The results show that CeO2 promotes the formation of a crystalline phase and improves the density of the base glass. Optical properties were studied, such as transmittance and luminescence, and the obtained results suggest that the crystalline formation scatters light transmittance through the sample, preventing luminescent emission. Further improvements in glass formulation have been suggested in order to enhance its optical properties together with its density

2018 - Structural and optical properties of rare-earths doped barium bismuth borate glasses [Articolo su rivista]
Barbi, Silvia; Mugoni, Consuelo; Montorsi, Monia; Affatigato, Mario; Gatto, Corrado; Siligardi, Cristina

Recently, great importance has been devoted to different glass systems doped with rare-earth ions because of their peculiar properties, in particular in the field of high-energy physics for particle energy measurement. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the optical and physical properties of Dy3 +, Er3 +, Nd3 + doped glasses belonging to the 20BaO-20Bi2O3-60B2O3 system in which several rare-earths oxide concentrations were added to encounter the requirements for particle energy measurement. High density, low refractive index, high emission intensity (or high scintillation yield) are required for this purpose. Moreover, molar volume, glass transition and melting temperatures, X-ray diffraction and Raman spectra were measured and discussed in order to characterize the glass state. All the properties measured have shown a non-linear trend moving from 1 mol% to 10 mol% of rare-earths content. At the same time comparison between the trend derived by samples with same stoichiometry but containing different rare earths highlight different behaviors. In particular the highest density has been reached with the glass where Dy2O3 is at 2,5 mol%.

2017 - Failure analysis of glazed LAS glass-ceramic containing cerium oxide [Articolo su rivista]
Barbi, Silvia; Miselli, Paola; Siligardi, Cristina

In this study a deep investigation of the correlation between microstructure and mechanical properties was performed on glass-ceramic materials containing cerium oxide. The glass-ceramic materials investigated were lithium-aluminum silicate based (LAS), obtained through different thermal cycles from the same parent glass. The mechanical properties were tested on the glass-ceramics with and without the application of a glaze. All the glass-ceramics were characterized by means of scanning electron microscopy (SEM), also in field emission guns geometry (FEG), energy-dispersive spectrometry (EDS), X-Ray diffraction (XRD), and 3-points mechanical flexural strength resistance test. This study has revealed that the microstructure of the glass-ceramic is mainly affected by the heating treatments holding times. The application of a glass coating leads to the formation of cerium oxide crystals at the glaze/glass-ceramic interface. This phenomenon is one of the main principal causes of the mechanical properties failure when a glaze is applied.

2017 - Recycling of yttria-stabilized zirconia waste powders in glazes suitable for ceramic tiles [Articolo su rivista]
Siligardi, Cristina; Barbi, Silvia; Casini, Roberto; Tagliaferri, Luca; Vito, Remigio

The aim of this work is to demonstrate the feasibility of valorizing and recycling Yttria-stabilized Zirconia thermal spray waste into high value products for industrial and residential use. Based on the powders chemistry and morphology, this work aims to realize products, like frits suitable for white glazes and ceramic tiles. The focus is on one class of powder: high-temperature and abrasion-resistant ceramics, like Yttria-stabilized zirconia. This study has revealed that the substitution of pure zirconia with waste Yttria-stabilized zirconia is possible in high percentages, up to 100% to prepare frits suitable for white glazes

2016 - Analisi LCA del recupero di zirconia da un processo di termospruzzatura [Abstract in Atti di Convegno]
Ferrari, Anna Maria; Braglia, Federica; Neri, Paolo; Barbi, Silvia; Siligardi, Cristina

La termospruzzatura è una tecnologia di rivestimento molto versatile, al momento utilizzata per depositare spessi strati di metalli e materiali ceramici per diverse applicazioni nell’industria meccanica, aeronautica ed energetica, nonché nell’industria biomedica (protesi metalliche odontoiatriche e ortopediche). All’interno del mercato della termospruzzatura un ruolo molto importante è giocato dal campo dei motori e turbine degli aerei, dove la produzione di Thermal Barrier Coatings (TBC) protegge i componenti in superlega di Ni e Co delle turbine a gas con un sistema di doppio strato solitamente composto da una lega di NiCoCrAlY resistente all’ ossidazione e un rivestimento ceramico fatto di zirconia che funge da protezione termica. Tra le problematiche ambientali associate a questo processo vi è quello delle polveri sovraspruzzate fino a oggi inviate in discarica come rifiuti speciali con conseguenti impatti ambientali e costi elevati. Durante l’operazione di spruzzatura, infatti, un’ingente percentuale di polveri non si deposita sul substrato. Per la natura imprevedibile dell’iniezione di particelle e del trattamento all’interno del flusso di gas, alcune particelle potrebbero raggiungere il substrato senza un’adeguata velocità o temperatura facendo si che non si depositino sul substrato. L’obiettivo del presente studio è la valutazione della sostenibilità ambientale, mediante metodologia LCA, di un processo di recupero di zirconia da termospruzzatura effettuato da un’azienda che produce rivestimenti protettivi per componenti utilizzati in turbine a gas industriali e motori aereonautici. In particolare viene valutato il danno ambientale dovuto al reimpiego di tali materiali secondari in materiali ceramici per uso abitativo e industriale.