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Frontiers of Structural and Civil Engineering

ISSN 2095-2430 (Print)
ISSN 2095-2449 (Online)
CN 10-1023/X
Postal Subscription Code 80-968
2019 Impact Factor: 1.68

, Volume 14 Issue 2

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Isogeometric cohesive zone model for thin shell delamination analysis based on Kirchhoff-Love shell model
Tran Quoc THAI, Timon RABCZUK, Xiaoying ZHUANG
Front. Struct. Civ. Eng.. 2020, 14 (2): 267-279.
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We present a cohesive zone model for delamination in thin shells and composite structures. The isogeometric (IGA) thin shell model is based on Kirchhoff-Love theory. Non-Uniform Rational B-Splines (NURBS) are used to discretize the exact mid-surface of the shell geometry exploiting their C1-continuity property which avoids rotational degrees of freedom. The fracture process zone is modeled by interface elements with a cohesive law. Two numerical examples are presented to test and validate the proposed formulation in predicting the delamination behavior of composite structures.

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Investigation of Generalized SIFs of cracks in 3D piezoelectric media under various crack-face conditions
Front. Struct. Civ. Eng.. 2020, 14 (2): 280-298.
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This paper investigates the influence of crack geometry, crack-face and loading conditions, and the permittivity of a medium inside the crack gap on intensity factors of planar and non-planar cracks in linear piezoelectric media. A weakly singular boundary integral equation method together with the near-front approximation is adopted to accurately determine the intensity factors. Obtained results indicate that the non-flat crack surface, the electric field, and the permittivity of a medium inside the crack gap play a crucial role on the behavior of intensity factors. The mode-I stress intensity factors (KI) for two representative non-planar cracks under different crack-face conditions are found significantly different and they possess both upper and lower bounds. In addition, KI for impermeable and semi-permeable non-planar cracks treated depends strongly on the electric field whereas those of impermeable, permeable, and semi-permeable penny-shaped cracks are identical and independent of the electric field. The stress/electric intensity factors predicted by permeable and energetically consistent models are, respectively, independent of and dependent on the electric field for the penny-shaped crack and the two representative non-planar cracks. Also, the permittivity of a medium inside the crack gap strongly affects the intensity factors for all crack configurations considered except for KI of the semi-permeable penny-shaped crack.

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Ballistic behavior of plain and reinforced concrete slabs under high velocity impact
Chahmi OUCIF, Luthfi Muhammad MAULUDIN, Farid Abed
Front. Struct. Civ. Eng.. 2020, 14 (2): 299-310.
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This work presents a numerical simulation of ballistic penetration and high velocity impact behavior of plain and reinforced concrete slabs. In this paper, we focus on the comparison of the performance of the plain and reinforced concrete slabs of unconfined compressive strength 41 MPa under ballistic impact. The concrete slab has dimensions of 675 mm × 675 mm × 200 mm, and is meshed with 8-node hexahedron solid elements in the impact and outer zones. The ogive-nosed projectile is considered as rigid element that has a mass of 0.386 kg and a length of 152 mm. The applied velocities vary between 540 and 731 m/s. 6 mm of steel reinforcement bars were used in the reinforced concrete slabs. The constitutive material modeling of the concrete and steel reinforcement bars was performed using the Johnson-Holmquist-2 damage and the Johnson-Cook plasticity material models, respectively. The analysis was conducted using the commercial finite element package Abaqus/Explicit. Damage diameters and residual velocities obtained by the numerical model were compared with the experimental results and effect of steel reinforcement and projectile diameter were studies. The validation showed good agreement between the numerical and experimental results. The added steel reinforcements to the concrete samples were found efficient in terms of ballistic resistance comparing to the plain concrete sample.

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Data driven models for compressive strength prediction of concrete at high temperatures
Front. Struct. Civ. Eng.. 2020, 14 (2): 311-321.
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The use of data driven models has been shown to be useful for simulating complex engineering processes, when the only information available consists of the data of the process. In this study, four data-driven models, namely multiple linear regression, artificial neural network, adaptive neural fuzzy inference system, and K nearest neighbor models based on collection of 207 laboratory tests, are investigated for compressive strength prediction of concrete at high temperature. In addition for each model, two different sets of input variables are examined: a complete set and a parsimonious set of involved variables. The results obtained are compared with each other and also to the equations of NIST Technical Note standard and demonstrate the suitability of using the data driven models to predict the compressive strength at high temperature. In addition, the results show employing the parsimonious set of input variables is sufficient for the data driven models to make satisfactory results.

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Research on the influence of contact surface constraint on mechanical properties of rock-concrete composite specimens under compressive loads
Baoyun ZHAO, Yang LIU, Dongyan LIU, Wei HUANG, Xiaoping WANG, Guibao YU, Shu LIU
Front. Struct. Civ. Eng.. 2020, 14 (2): 322-330.
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The contact form of rock-concrete has a crucial influence on the failure characteristics of the stability of rock-concrete engineering. To study the influence of contact surface on the mechanical properties of rock-concrete composite specimens under compressive loads, the two different contact forms of rock-concrete composite specimens are designed, the mechanical properties of these two different specimens are analyzed under triaxial compressive condition, and analysis comparison on the stress-strain curves and failure forms of the two specimens is carried out. The influence of contact surface constraint on the mechanical properties of rock-concrete composite specimens is obtained. Results show that the stress and strain of rock-concrete composite specimens with contact surface constraint are obviously higher than those without. Averagely, compared with composite specimens without the contact surface, the existence of contact surface constraint can increase the axial peak stress of composite specimens by 24% and the axial peak strain by 16%. According to the characteristics of the fracture surface, the theory of microcrack development is used to explain the contact surface constraint of rock-concrete composite specimens, which explains the difference of mechanical properties between the two rock-concrete composite specimens in the experiment. Research results cannot only enrich the research content of the mechanics of rock contact, but also can serve as a valuable reference for the understanding of the corresponding mechanics mechanism of other similar composite specimens.

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Nonlinear numerical simulation of punching shear behavior of reinforced concrete flat slabs with shear-heads
Front. Struct. Civ. Eng.. 2020, 14 (2): 331-356.
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This paper examines the structural response of reinforced concrete flat slabs, provided with fully-embedded shear-heads, through detailed three-dimensional nonlinear numerical simulations and parametric assessments using concrete damage plasticity models. Validations of the adopted nonlinear finite element procedures are carried out against experimental results from three test series. After gaining confidence in the ability of the numerical models to predict closely the full inelastic response and failure modes, numerical investigations are carried out in order to examine the influence of key material and geometric parameters. The results of these numerical assessments enable the identification of three modes of failure as a function of the interaction between the shear-head and surrounding concrete. Based on the findings, coupled with results from previous studies, analytical models are proposed for predicting the rotational response as well as the ultimate strength of such slab systems. Practical recommendations are also provided for the design of shear-heads in RC slabs, including the embedment length and section size. The analytical expressions proposed in this paper, based on a wide-ranging parametric assessment, are shown to offer a more reliable design approach in comparison with existing methods for all types of shear-heads, and are suitable for direct practical application.

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A miniature triaxial apparatus for investigating the micromechanics of granular soils with in situ X-ray micro-tomography scanning
Zhuang CHENG, Jianfeng WANG, Matthew Richard COOP, Guanlin YE
Front. Struct. Civ. Eng.. 2020, 14 (2): 357-373.
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The development of a miniature triaxial apparatus is presented. In conjunction with an X-ray micro-tomography (termed as X-ray μCT hereafter) facility and advanced image processing techniques, this apparatus can be used for in situ investigation of the micro-scale mechanical behavior of granular soils under shear. The apparatus allows for triaxial testing of a miniature dry sample with a size of 8mm×16mm (diameter × height). In situ triaxial testing of a 0.4–0.8 mm Leighton Buzzard sand (LBS) under a constant confining pressure of 500 kPa is presented. The evolutions of local porosities (i.e., the porosities of regions associated with individual particles), particle kinematics (i.e., particle translation and particle rotation) of the sample during the shear are quantitatively studied using image processing and analysis techniques. Meanwhile, a novel method is presented to quantify the volumetric strain distribution of the sample based on the results of local porosities and particle tracking. It is found that the sample, with nearly homogenous initial local porosities, starts to exhibit obvious inhomogeneity of local porosities and localization of particle kinematics and volumetric strain around the peak of deviatoric stress. In the post-peak shear stage, large local porosities and volumetric dilation mainly occur in a localized band. The developed triaxial apparatus, in its combined use of X-ray μCT imaging techniques, is a powerful tool to investigate the micro-scale mechanical behavior of granular soils.

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Prediction of bed load sediments using different artificial neural network models
Front. Struct. Civ. Eng.. 2020, 14 (2): 374-386.
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Modeling and prediction of bed loads is an important but difficult issue in river engineering. The introduced empirical equations due to restricted applicability even in similar conditions provide different accuracies with each other and measured data. In this paper, three different artificial neural networks (ANNs) including multilayer percepterons, radial based function (RBF), and generalized feed forward neural network using five dominant parameters of bed load transport formulas for the Main Fork Red River in Idaho-USA were developed. The optimum models were found through 102 data sets of flow discharge, flow velocity, water surface slopes, flow depth, and mean grain size. The deficiency of empirical equations for this river by conducted comparison between measured and predicted values was approved where the ANN models presented more consistence and closer estimation to observed data. The coefficient of determination between measured and predicted values for empirical equations varied from 0.10 to 0.21 against the 0.93 to 0.98 in ANN models. The accuracy performance of all models was evaluated and interpreted using different statistical error criteria, analytical graphs and confusion matrixes. Although the ANN models predicted compatible outputs but the RBF with 79% correct classification rate corresponding to 0.191 network error was outperform than others.

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Uncertainty assessment in hydro-mechanical-coupled analysis of saturated porous medium applying fuzzy finite element method
Front. Struct. Civ. Eng.. 2020, 14 (2): 387-410.
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The purpose of the present study was to develop a fuzzy finite element method, for uncertainty quantification of saturated soil properties on dynamic response of porous media, and also to discrete the coupled dynamic equations known as u-p hydro-mechanical equations. Input parameters included fuzzy numbers of Poisson’s ratio, Young’s modulus, and permeability coefficient as uncertain material of soil properties. Triangular membership functions were applied to obtain the intervals of input parameters in five membership grades, followed up by a minute examination of the effects of input parameters uncertainty on dynamic behavior of porous media. Calculations were for the optimized combinations of upper and lower bounds of input parameters to reveal soil response including displacement and pore water pressure via fuzzy numbers. Fuzzy analysis procedure was verified, and several numerical examples were analyzed by the developed method, including a dynamic analysis of elastic soil column and elastic foundation under ramp loading. Results indicated that the range of calculated displacements and pore pressure were dependent upon the number of fuzzy parameters and uncertainty of parameters within equations. Moreover, it was revealed that for the input variations looser sands were more sensitive than dense ones.

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Mechanical properties characterization of different types of masonry infill walls
André FURTADO, Hugo RODRIGUES, António ARÊDE, Humberto VARUM
Front. Struct. Civ. Eng.. 2020, 14 (2): 411-434.
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It is remarkable, the recent advances concerning the development of numerical modeling frameworks to simulate the infill panels’ seismic behavior. However, there is a lack of experimental data of their mechanical properties, which are of full importance to calibrate the numerical models. The primary objective of this paper is to present an extensive experimental campaign of mechanical characterization tests of infill masonry walls made with three different types of masonry units: lightweight vertical hollow concrete blocks and hollow clay bricks. Four different types of experimental tests were carried out, namely: compression strength tests, diagonal tensile strength tests, and flexural strength tests parallel and perpendicular to the horizontal bed joints. A total amount of 80 tests were carried out and are reported in the present paper. The second objective of this study was to compare the mechanical properties of as-built and existing infill walls. The results presented and discussed herein, will be in terms of strain-stress curves and damages observed within the tests. It was observed a fragile behavior in the panels made with hollow clay horizontal bricks, without propagation of cracks. The plaster increased the flexural strength by 57%.

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Evaluation of the compatibility between rubber and asphalt based on molecular dynamics simulation
Fucheng GUO, Jiupeng ZHANG, Jianzhong PEI, Weisi MA, Zhuang HU, Yongsheng GUAN
Front. Struct. Civ. Eng.. 2020, 14 (2): 435-445.
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Using of rubber asphalt can both promote the recycling of waste tires and improve the performance of asphalt pavement. However, the segregation of rubber asphalt caused by the poor storage stability always appears during its application. Storage stability of asphalt and rubber is related to the compatibility and also influenced by rubber content. In this study, molecular models of different rubbers and chemical fractions of asphalt were built to perform the molecular dynamics simulation. The solubility parameter and binding energy between rubber and asphalt were obtained to evaluate the compatibility between rubber and asphalt as well as the influence of rubber content on compatibility. Results show that all three kinds of rubber are commendably compatible with asphalt, where the compatibility between asphalt and cis-polybutadiene rubber (BR) is the best, followed by styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR), and natural rubber (NR) is the worst. The optimum rubber contents for BR asphalt, SBR asphalt, and NR asphalt were determined as 15%, 15%, and 20%, respectively. In addition, the upper limits of rubber contents were found as between 25% and 30%, between 20% and 25%, and between 25% and 30%, respectively.

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Wavelet-based iterative data enhancement for implementation in purification of modal frequency for extremely noisy ambient vibration tests in Shiraz-Iran
Front. Struct. Civ. Eng.. 2020, 14 (2): 446-472.
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The main purpose of the present study is to enhance high-level noisy data by a wavelet-based iterative filtering algorithm for identification of natural frequencies during ambient wind vibrational tests on a petrochemical process tower. Most of denoising methods fail to filter such noise properly. Both the signal-to-noise ratio and the peak signal-to-noise ratio are small. Multiresolution-based one-step and variational-based filtering methods fail to denoise properly with thresholds obtained by theoretical or empirical method. Due to the fact that it is impossible to completely denoise such high-level noisy data, the enhancing approach is used to improve the data quality, which is the main novelty from the application point of view here. For this iterative method, a simple computational approach is proposed to estimate the dynamic threshold values. Hence, different thresholds can be obtained for different recorded signals in one ambient test. This is in contrast to commonly used approaches recommending one global threshold estimated mainly by an empirical method. After the enhancements, modal frequencies are directly detected by the cross wavelet transform (XWT), the spectral power density and autocorrelation of wavelet coefficients. Estimated frequencies are then compared with those of an undamaged-model, simulated by the finite element method.

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Impacts of climate change on optimal mixture design of blended concrete considering carbonation and chloride ingress
Xiao-Yong WANG
Front. Struct. Civ. Eng.. 2020, 14 (2): 473-486.
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Many studies on the mixture design of fly ash and slag ternary blended concrete have been conducted. However, these previous studies did not consider the effects of climate change, such as acceleration in the deterioration of durability, on mixture design. This study presents a procedure for the optimal mixture design of ternary blended concrete considering climate change and durability. First, the costs of CO2 emissions and material are calculated based on the concrete mixture and unit prices. Total cost is equal to the sum of material cost and CO2 emissions cost, and is set as the objective function of the optimization. Second, strength, slump, carbonation, and chloride ingress models are used to evaluate concrete properties. The effect of different climate change scenarios on carbonation and chloride ingress is considered. A genetic algorithm is used to find the optimal mixture considering various constraints. Third, illustrative examples are shown for mixture design of ternary blended concrete. The analysis results show that for ternary blended concrete exposed to an atmospheric environment, a rich mix is necessary to meet the challenge of climate change, and for ternary blended concrete exposed to a marine environment, the impact of climate change on mixture design is marginal.

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Assessing artificial neural network performance for predicting interlayer conditions and layer modulus of multi-layered flexible pavement
Lingyun YOU, Kezhen YAN, Nengyuan LIU
Front. Struct. Civ. Eng.. 2020, 14 (2): 487-500.
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The objective of this study is to evaluate the performance of the artificial neural network (ANN) approach for predicting interlayer conditions and layer modulus of a multi-layered flexible pavement structure. To achieve this goal, two ANN based back-calculation models were proposed to predict the interlayer conditions and layer modulus of the pavement structure. The corresponding database built with ANSYS based finite element method computations for four types of a structure subjected to falling weight deflectometer load. In addition, two proposed ANN models were verified by comparing the results of ANN models with the results of PADAL and double multiple regression models. The measured pavement deflection basin data was used for the verifications. The comparing results concluded that there are no significant differences between the results estimated by ANN and double multiple regression models. PADAL modeling results were not accurate due to the inability to reflect the real pavement structure because pavement structure was not completely continuous. The prediction and verification results concluded that the proposed back-calculation model developed with ANN could be used to accurately predict layer modulus and interlayer conditions. In addition, the back-calculation model avoided the back-calculation errors by considering the interlayer condition, which was barely considered by former models reported in the published studies.

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Geotechnical forensic investigation of a slope failure on silty clay soil—A case study
Mohammad Abubakar NAVEED, Zulfiqar ALI, Abdul QADIR, Umar Naveed LATIF, Saad HAMID, Umar SARWAR
Front. Struct. Civ. Eng.. 2020, 14 (2): 501-517.
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Qila Bala Hisar is one of the noteworthy places of Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The fort was constructed on a filled ground during the 18th century and it was renovated several times by the occupants ever since. Recently, due to an earthquake of magnitude 7.3, the upper part of the south-western wall of the fort collapsed. The collapse of the wall was attributed to the failure of the retained slope. This research was undertaken to characterize the slope material, study causal factors of failure and evaluate remedial strategy. The investigation involved conventional field and laboratory testing and geophysical investigation using electrical resistivity technique to evaluate the nature of stratum. Also, X-ray Diffraction and Scanning Electron Microscopy was used to study the slope material at a molecular level to evaluate the existence of swelling potential. The analysis has shown that excessive seepage of water caused by the poor maintenance of runoff and sewage drains is the causal factor triggered by the seismic event. A remedial strategy involving soil nails, micro piles and improvement of the surface drainage is recommended.

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Soil spatial variability impact on the behavior of a reinforced earth wall
Adam HAMROUNI, Daniel DIAS, Badreddine SBARTAI
Front. Struct. Civ. Eng.. 2020, 14 (2): 518-531.
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This article presents the soil spatial variability effect on the performance of a reinforced earth wall. The serviceability limit state is considered in the analysis. Both cases of isotropic and anisotropic non-normal random fields are implemented for the soil properties. The Karhunen-Loève expansion method is used for the discretization of the random field. Numerical finite difference models are considered as deterministic models. The Monte Carlo simulation technique is used to obtain the deformation response variability of the reinforced soil retaining wall. The influences of the spatial variability response of the geotechnical system in terms of horizontal facing displacement is presented and discussed. The results obtained show that the spatial variability has an important influence on the facing horizontal displacement as well as on the failure probability.

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Large deflection behavior effect in reinforced concrete columns exposed to extreme dynamic loads
Masoud ABEDINI, Azrul A. MUTALIB, Chunwei ZHANG, Javad MEHRMASHHADI, Sudharshan Naidu RAMAN, Roozbeh ALIPOUR, Tohid MOMENI, Mohamed H. MUSSA
Front. Struct. Civ. Eng.. 2020, 14 (2): 532-553.
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Reinforced concretes (RC) have been widely used in constructions. In construction, one of the critical elements carrying a high percentage of the weight is columns which were not used to design to absorb large dynamic load like surface bursts. This study focuses on investigating blast load parameters to design of RC columns to withstand blast detonation. The numerical model is based on finite element analysis using LS-DYNA. Numerical results are validated against blast field tests available in the literature. Couples of simulations are performed with changing blast parameters to study effects of various scaled distances on the nonlinear behavior of RC columns. According to simulation results, the scaled distance has a substantial influence on the blast response of RC columns. With lower scaled distance, higher peak pressure and larger pressure impulse are applied on the RC column. Eventually, keeping the scaled distance unchanged, increasing the charge weight or shorter standoff distance cause more damage to the RC column. Intensive studies are carried out to investigate the effects of scaled distance and charge weight on the damage degree and residual axial load carrying capacity of RC columns with various column width, longitudinal reinforcement ratio and concrete strength. Results of this research will be used to assessment the effect of an explosion on the dynamic behavior of RC columns.

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Seismic retrofitting of severely damaged RC connections made with recycled concrete using CFRP sheets
Front. Struct. Civ. Eng.. 2020, 14 (2): 554-568.
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An experimental and numerical program is carried out in this research to investigate the influence of CFRP sheets on the cyclic behavior of unconfined connections made with recycled concrete. Cement is partially replaced by silica fume, iron filling and pulverised fuel ash using two different percentages: 15% and 20%. Each specimen is partially loaded at the first stage and then specimens are repaired using CFRP sheets. The repaired specimens are then laterally loaded until failure. In addition, a finite element model is built in ABAQUS and verified using the experimental results. The experimental results have shown that the repaired specimens have regained almost double the capacity of the un-repaired specimens and hence the adopted repair configuration is recommended for retrofitting seismically vulnerable RC connections. Increasing cement replacement percentage by silica fume, fuel ash or iron filling from 15% to 20% has reduced joint carrying capacity and weakened the joint. It is recommended using 15% pulverised fuel ash or silica fume as cement partial replacement to enhance the strength and ultimate drift of beam-column joints under cyclic loading. Iron filling concrete is also recommended but the enhancement is relatively less than that found with pulverised fuel ash concrete and silica fume concrete.

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18 articles