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Journal Cover Engineer : Journal of the Institution of Engineers, Sri Lanka
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  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
   ISSN (Print) 1800-1122
   Published by Sri Lanka Journals Online Homepage  [48 journals]
  • From the Editor Vol.41 (3)

    • Abstract: Phasing out of Railways by default has put too much emphasis on road transport, or vise-versa, as one could also say too much emphasis on road transport is phasing out Railways by default. What ever way one might put it, the fact is that presently in Sri Lanka, Rail transport is playing the proverbial second fiddle to Road transport. This could well be the reason why road users have become impatient to further allow the priority right-of-way granted for rail over generations. Sri Lanka ventured into the era of 'flyovers' with the construction of the Ragama overpass. From then onwards all over-passes constructed had been over railway lines. The main reason for construction was to redvice road traffic congestion. Though this clearly indicates the newly invested priority for road users, by not resorting to eliminate railways totally, it seems that we are still clinging on to the vestiges of technical rationalities which placed railways on a higher stead for mass transport. Being a poorer country in a world dependent on non-renewable energy sources, faced with an energy crisis coupled with severe environmental degradation emanating from the same cause, we can not and should not ignore the possibilities of getting maximum productivity out of energy expenditure. In this context wouldn't it be more prudent to divert the substantial sums of money spent on road congestion alleviation exercises to railway improvement' This is a crucial issvie to be taken up by all Engineers concerned at appropriate forums. Published on 2016-09-30 00:00:00
  • Application of Cost Effective Solutions for Improving Voltage Sag Immunity
           of an Automated Cement Manufacturing Plant

    • Abstract: Quality of the power supply becomes a key issue in factory automation. Especially voltage sags appearing on the electricity supply cause voltage sensitive equipment to shutdown and incurr heavy financial losses by interrupting the manufacturing process. However, effects of voltage sags can be minimized considerably if both the utility and the factory are working with good cooperation. This paper presents a Sri Lankan experience of finding out sag minimization or mitigation techniques through a study jointly carried out by the power supply utility and a customer. By analyzing the plant disturbance reordered for a five a year period and measurements taken with a sophisticated power quality disturbance recorder it has been observed that voltage sags appearing on the factory supply are mainly caused by faults and subsequent switching operations taking place on the transmission and distribution network of the power utility. In addition to that switching operations carried out in the factory owned distribution network also result in voltage sags. In this study, investigations were carried out for estimating the severity of voltage sags associated with different types of faults in the utility network and their effect on the equipment installed in the factory. Especially the effects of voltage sags on the equipment vulnerable for production process like large induction motors and vector controlled Variable Speed Drives (VSD) were investigated to find out the possibilities for improving their voltage sag immunity. Simulations are extensively used to describe field observations. Adequate theoretical descriptions are given to justify field observations and simulation results. Even though well proven sophisticated equipment is available for voltage sag mitigation these are not taken into consideration here due to their high cost. Instead, simple solutions such as distribution network rearrangement, reviewing protection settings and activating already embedded control algorithms in sensitive equipment are considered. Most of the solutions discussed here do not incur additional cost. Remarkablygood results have been gained by applying these techniques. Published on 2016-09-30 00:00:00
  • Issues in Implementing Broadband Powerline Communication Technology to
           Provide Internet Service - Case of LECO

    • Abstract: Today internet is considered as the largest network of networks which provides various services to the people such as a mammoth source of information, source of entertainment etc. But most of the people don't get the opportunity to access internet due to a number of reasons. The lack of viable technologies to provide internet at lower cost is one of the main reasons faced by many countries in the world. BPL is a widely discussed technology among world power distribution companies as a way of delivering broadband services to each and every home connected to power grid. Numerous field trials and limited deployments are underway in different parts of the world .Mass scale commercial role outs are yet to be initiated and many scholars have predicted, in future BPL will be preferred most as a 'last mile" solution to provide internet services to homes. In this research it is examined the issues pertaining to technology, infrastructure and standards in implementing BPL in Sri Lanka. This research also presents recommendations, which may help to solve most of the identified issues. Published on 2016-09-30 00:00:00
  • Churn Management in Sri Lankan Mobile Market

    • Abstract: Churn is a measure of the number of subscribers who leave or switch to another carrier's service. The frequent migration of customers is in a way a threat to mobile operators as the expense on customer acquisition is greater than retention. On the other hand, for any operator it is difficult to maintain a steady growth in the market without maintaining the existing customers. Due to profound competition, controlling churn rate is becoming a challenge to Mobile Operators and identifying reasons for Churn is an even greater challenge as it is highly dependent on the values, culture, attitudes and perception of the different segments. The main causes for retention or churn from one network in Sri Lankan context (for different segments) are identified by a questionnaire evaluated across various demographic factors (Age, Education level, Monthly Income, Gender). The questionnaire was distributed among 400 mobile subscribers and received 305 responses which were used in the analysis set out in the paper to follow. Strategies that can be used to minimize churn rate is identified based on the feed back received in the questionnaire and by looking at best practices available in the region. Finally, Researchers developed a model to prioritize the influencing factors (Tariff, Coverage, Brand, VAS, and QOS) for overall customer satisfaction of Sri Lankan Mobile customers and checked whether there is any relationship with demographic factors and influencing factors for churn. In addition to that, researchers have suggested strategies that should be adopted by Sri Lankan mobile operators to minimize churn. Published on 2016-09-30 00:00:00
  • Decision Support Tool for Colombo Canal System Water Quality Monitoring

    • Abstract: Pollution of the Colombo Canal System, which is a complex network of open canals and marshes catering to the storm drainage needs of Greater Colombo, has been recognized as a major environmental issue. A Water Quality Monitoring Program is being carried out by SLLR&DC since 1997, where monthly measurements are recorded at 20 locations for 10 parameters. An attempt was made to integrate the raw data, an analysis of the water quality regime of each location, and a study of its relationship with canal water level and average monthly rainfall, by developing a simple, userfriendly computer package called the Water Quality Monitor (WQM). It will assist the user in decisionmaking, regarding the attainable level of quality for a particular site, and whether that quality level could be reached by varying the canal water level. It also provides a general idea on how much of the target quality is attainable with the dilution and flushing effect of rainfall. A special feature of WQM is the facility provided to analyse the user's own data sets, apart from the built-in Colombo data. This paper describes the rationale, methodology of development and the application of the software package of the 'Water Quality Monitor'. Published on 2016-09-30 00:00:00
  • Rehabilitation Programmes of Large Scale Irrigation Projects - An
           Opportunity to Alter the Farmers' Role in Irrigation Water Management

    • Abstract: Past experience in Sri Lanka shows that a need for a major rehabilitation of irrigation systems arises at 20 to 25 Years cycle. Usually these rehabilitation programs are implemented by borrowing funds form international donors such as World Bank, EU, JBIC etc. However in time to come, the dependency on such outside funding sources is questionable in view of the trends in lending criteria for countries such as Sri Lanka. Therefore it is very essential to plan such rehabilitation programs guarant long term self-sustainability beyond the rehabilitation phase. One way to address this challenge is to introduce management tactics which would facilitate harnessing of human resources available within the farming community for the operation and maintenance of the irrigation infrastructure. If properly planned, the rehabilitation phase provide a good opportunity to initiate such a program. This paper describes a Water Management Programme (Water Quota system) which was implemented in System H of the Mahaweli Project with the objective of tapping the human resources available within the Farming Community strategically to address the challenge. This program was implemented during 1998-2003 as a parallel activity with a rehabilitation program under Mahaweli Restructuring and Rehabilitation Project (MRRP) in System H of Mahaweli Project As a result of this program water duty drops down with time after the year 2000 (Year of introducing the Water Quota System). Within 4 Years period from 2000, average water duty came down to 0.85 Meters from 1.2 Meters. Published on 2016-09-30 00:00:00
  • Service Life Prediction of Masonry Arch Bridges Using Artificial Neural

    • Abstract: This paper presents a methodology to predict reliability based remaining service lives and estimation of serviceability conditions of masonry arch bridges using Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs). In this ANNs analysis, training was processed by Back-Propagation (BP) Algorithm with corresponding parameters. The critical failure mode of the masonry arch bridge is based on axle loads. The parameters for Back-Propagation are mean value ( UM) and standard deviation (o~M) of proposed safety margin of the masonry arch bridge. Those parameters were used to predict the serviceability condition of the masonry arch bridges. Finally, the remaining service life of the masonry arch bridge was determined using a target failure probability, while assuming that the current rate of loading magnitude and frequency are constant for future prediction. Proposed methodology is illustrated with a case study bridge selected from the national road network of Sri Lanka.
  • Bed Shear Stress in Unsteady Open Channel Flow Over Rough Beds

    • Abstract: Very few studies have been carried out in the past in estimating bed shear stress in unsteady flows over rough channel beds. The shear velocity derived from de Saint Venant equations was compared with the steady state formulation using experimental data. The difference in shear velocities predicted by steady and unsteady formulations increases with unsteadiness of the flow. In addition, the shear velocity in accelerating flows are generally higher than that in decelerating flows and this information is very useful for sediment transport studies in unsteady flows. The error in computing shear velocity in unsteady flows using steady state formula was also quantified. Published on 2016-09-30 00:00:00
  • From the Editor Vol.41 (1)

    • Abstract: Energy, in the form of electrical power is an essential requirement of modern society. Be it for industrial production or day-to-day domestic use, economy of electrical power is a crucial factor in the national development and quality of life of people in a country. Though two to three decades ago national electrical energy requirement of Sri Lanka was predominantly supplied by hydropower, present day scenario shows a strong dependency on fossil fuels for power generation. Apart from obvious environmental impacts, this has resulted in high economic rates for electrical power in the country as compared to neighbouring nations. Stifling of national development is an invariable outcome of such a scenario. However, high electrical energy prices have transformed hydropower options previously categorized as non-viable due to high capital expenditure or low capacity, into alternatives worthy of consideration. It is in this light that tapping of residual hydropower potential in the country has gained its present status. Coupled with the liberalization of the power generation statutes in the country, mini-hydropower projects have gained considerable popularity in the past few years. If related environmental concerns are adequately addressed, miru-hydropower generation is an eco-friendly, sustainable and economical option for localized power requirements, rural electrification as well as feeding the national grid. Published on 2016-09-30 00:00:00
  • Policy Framework for Mobile Telecommunication Access Infrastructure

    • Abstract: This study focuses on the issues of policy and procedures related to Cellular Towers and Antenna structures and their construction in Sri Lanka. In the Telecommunication Act of Sri Lanka, there is neither adequate provision nor concrete policy for tower and antenna structure construction. This has caused all stakeholders to suffer and face numerous problems in the process of telecommunication infrastructure construction. The purpose of this research is to provide procedural guidelines and recommendations (Based on research analysis) for respective authorities to function smoothly. The broader objectives of the research are: to improve tower sitting consultation process and identify the most appropriate time frames for the processes of approving and resolving specific tower placements, to develop the plan to promote tower sharing in Sri Lanka, to encourage the operators to build suitable cellular tower installations ensuring public safety (Aesthetic, Lightening, RF issues, etc.) and to Determining the most useful and helpful information and the best means of providing it to concerned members of the public. The development of this dissertation was mainly based on the information gathered through various groups such as General Public, Operators (Service providers), Telecommunications Regulatory Commission including other Government Authorities and other international best practices adopted by various regulatory authorities. A qualitative method known as content analysis was used to analyze the text provided in response to the open-ended questions. The empirical research comprised three strands: an online public consultation through web site and e-mails, a questionnaire survey for operators and regulator including other stakeholders, who were involved in tower approval process. Following noteworthy findings were observed from the analysis: a) The industry lacks an integrated policy for tower and antenna structure building process.b) Tower approval process consumes extraordinary time due to too many stakeholder involvement (It delays the operator network rollouts) and needs improvement.The lack of information to general public as observed today leads to enormous protests to installations owing to their concerns about common safety, aesthetic beauty and environmental impact Published on 2016-09-30 00:00:00
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Heriot-Watt University
Edinburgh, EH14 4AS, UK
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