The Many Uses of a Biochemistry Analyser

A biochemistry analyser is a term which can refer to any number of different instruments used to analyze and measure the characteristics of various samples from biological sources. All types of biochemistry analyser are commonly used in life sciences laboratories and medical settings, where they provide data which is essential for a wide range of research, diagnostic and even product development applications (such as in the pharmaceutical industry).

The study of the chemical processes which go on inside of living organisms encompasses a wide range of different disciplines and an even wider range of uses, all of which fall under the broader umbrella of biochemistry. Among the most common uses for a biochemistry analyzer are to determine the structure and function of biomolecules including nucleic acids, lipids, proteins and enzymes.

It is in fact in the study of the chemistry of reactions catalyzed by enzymes in which a biochemistry analyser is particularly useful. These applications include applications involving study of genetics, protein synthesis, metabolism on the cellular level, signal transduction and other biochemistry applications with a bearing on the development of new and improved medical care and pharmaceuticals to treat diseases with a genetic component.

Automation has made changes in the way that many laboratory work is carried out, allowing for many traditionally time consuming tasks to be streamlined to permit higher throughput. There are now a variety of different automated biochemistry analyzer instruments which are available. These instruments are designed for a wide range of different applications in the life sciences laboratory or for diagnostic purposes in medical settings. These automated biochemistry analyser devices can measure the concentration and/or determine the characteristics of specific substances in a sample very quickly and with a minimal amount of operator intervention.

With an automated analyzer, there are usually dedicated autosamplers in use along with the instrument or in many cases, even an integrated autosampler. These further simplify the task of biochemistry analysis and since the safety of laboratory personnel when working with biological samples is often a concern, also make the modern, automated biochemistry analyzer much easier and safer to use.

In larger medical laboratories, such as those at hospitals, there are dedicated biochemistry analyser systems in use, often multiple ones designed to perform different common tests needed at healthcare facilities. These often include tests for levels of albumin, glucose, enzymes and creatine levels in the blood or serum. These tests may be performed by measuring conductivity, colorimetry, turbidity and any number of other methods.

There are also many other specialized types of biochemistry analyzer used in laboratories and clinics. Laboratories which perform immunology applications in particular use analyzers in immunoassays as they look for antibody-antigen reactions in biological samples. Other specialized types of biochemistry analyser include those designed for the measurement of osmolarity and osmolality, DNA /RNA detection and labeling and almost too many other important medical research, life sciences and drug development applications to list. Everywhere that the qualitative or quantitative analysis of biomolecules in samples from living organisms is critical, you will always find some sort of biochemistry analyzer at use as an indispensable tool to laboratory personnel.

Different Types of Insulation

Insulation helps in energy conservation, which keeps your house warm during winters and cool during summers. This helps in saving money on energy bill as there the place is airtight and needs less power to keep it cool or warm. Apart from offering heat insulation, these also offer sound insulation which helps in reducing the sound transmission from one room to another or from outside to inside and vice versa. There are different types of insulation available in the market, such as fiber glass, cellulose and foam insulation, which have different R-value. Moreover, these insulation material also differs in thickness and density. The most commonly used insulation, found in residential and commercial buildings, are blanket insulation, loose-fill insulation, rigid board insulation and spray foam insulation.

The loose fill insulation is made up of loose fibers and fiber pellets, which fill in the cavities or attics using special machines. Although these are expensive, it is also efficient as it completely insulates the thing and makes it airtight. There are two types of loose-fill insulation, namely cellulose as well as fiberglass and rockwool mixture. Green insulation, cellulose is composed of recycled newspaper which can be chemically treated to make it fire resistant. In contrast, the fiberglass and rockwool mixture uses the blow-in blanket system which offers full coverage and better insulation.

On the other hand, the blanket insulation is made from mineral fibers and are available in blank rolls of varying widths. These are generally used to insulate floor, ceilings as well as walls, and are installed between wooden frames and rafters. These are most affordable type of insulation, however it requires utmost precision and care, while installing, for it to be effective.

In contrast, the high quality rigid board insulation is made from fiber glass, polystyrene or polyurethane and is available in varying thickness. It is generally used in cathedral ceilings, concrete slab ceilings and for reproofing of the basement walls and flat roofs. The only precaution that needs to be considered while installing it internally, is that should be covered in accordance with the building codes and fire safety measures. In case you install it externally, then it must be covered with weatherproof facing.

The spray foam is composed of two liquids, namely a polymer agent and a foam agent, which are sprayed into cavities to make things airtight. On application, the liquid form expands and turn into solid plastic, accounting countless air-filled cells. These are expensive than other forms of insulation, but it is also easy to install and can be done without professional help.

Here, depending upon your home's requirement you may use Foam Insulation, fiberglass insulation or any other type of insulation, which not only preserves energy but also offers Sound Insulation. As a responsible citizen, it is advisable that you use Green Insulation , such as cellulose which is environment friendly.

Google Chrome Crash Fix – Complete Repair Tutorial

Although Google Chrome is one of the most popular and also advanced Internet Browsers that is available today, it does not come without some drawbacks. Because Google Chrome is such a highly sophisticated developed piece of software, which has been designed to make your Internet browsing experience the best and nothing else, the problems that come with it are sophisticated as well. Users of Chrome have reported various errors and issues with the browser, such as Crashing, Stalling, Error messages. Other users have claimed that they have had issues with Flash Player not functioning properly, this leaves many people stranded and unable to view certain web pages. All of this evidence put forward Google Chrome's issues has been led to believe that the browser is easily susceptible to damage and corruption.

Many of the reasons why users have encountered these sort of problems while using the browser are things such as:

  • Vital Chrome files have been badly damaged and corrupted
  • Many files have been deleted or misplaced
  • Windows settings have been changed
  • Parts of the registry have become damaged or corrupt

In order to fix the issues that many of you are seeing, you should follow these simple steps that are outlined below.

  1. The first thing you should do is to restart your computer, it could be that your computer has just encountered a slight glitch that is causing Google Chrome to continue crash and display various error messages. If this is the first time you have encountered this then restarting your computer to refresh the settings. If you continue to experience this then proceed to step 2.
  2. If you continue to experience issues with Google Chrome then it is recommended that you re-install the Google Chrome application. In doing so you are allowing your computer to read the files better, and also repair any damaged or corrupt settings that may have been causing the issues. To do this, follow these steps: Click "Start> Control Panel> Add / Remove Programs" Locate "Google Chrome" Click UNINSTALL next to it When the application loads, select "REMOVE" (not repair) Follow the uninstall process Restart your PC .
  3. Step 3 is to remove any add-ons and plugins. Add-ons and plugins are a great way for people to customize their Internet browsing that will benefit them, however many of these add-ons and plugins can cause Google Chrome to crash. To remove any add-ons and plugins follow these steps: Open up Google Chrome. In the address bar type chrome: // extensions. Click Uninstall, or Click Disable if you think you may use the addon in the future. Restart your browser.
  4. The next step is to carry out a scan of your registry. This step is extremely important as many vital files that are needed for Chrome are kept in this delicate database, which is easily susceptible to damage and corruption. The registry is not just for storing important files for Chrome, it houses many different important files that are needed by other applications. Often your computer will try to read files that are located inside the registry however sometimes it can not do this because it is confused, so leading to the corruption of many files.

How To Install Laminate Countertops

So you've found the laminate that your looking for, the pattern, design, color and price have come together and your now ready to begin your home improvement project. The project will be lengthy but the end result will be rewarding. Whatever your goal is to improve the aesthetic of you home or to increase the value home by enhancing your kitchen the project will leave you with a feeling of accomplishment.

The first step is to prepare the surface area for the laminate sheets.

  • Remove the old countertop surface
  • Sand the surface area
  • Clean the surface area
  • Use course sandpaper on surface area to prepare for contact cement
  • Apply any back laminating as needed, this will reduce moisture that will get into the countertop

Note *

Removing adhesives, paint and varnishes is key to getting the professional result your looking for.

The second step is to prepare the laminate sheets.

  • Measure the surface area to determine the size and shape needed.
  • We recommend using a utility knife or fine-tooth backsaw to cut out your laminate sheets. (You can also use a circular saw, backsaw or saber saw.)

a. Give yourself room for error a few centimeters to ensure the laminate fits, you can trim the sheets later to ensure you get the right fit.

b. Technique for cutting the sheets is to cut on the design side and at a low angle.

The third step is to set up the surface area and laminate sheets for placement.

Experts recommend using contact cement to bond laminate to your surface. (Epoxy adhesives will also work as a bonding agent.)

  • Using a paintbrush apply a coat of contact cement to the surface you wish to apply the laminate to.
  • Apply a smooth coat of contact cement onto the back of the laminate sheets.
  • Read the directions on the contact cement for drying allow it to dry for the recommended time.

a. Be careful not to allow the cement to dry to long this can decrease the bonding strength.

b. A good rule of thumb is just that if the contact feels dry to the touch it is probably ready.
Note *
You may need an additional contact cement coat for the trim to the countertop edges.

The fourth step is placement of the laminate sheets onto the surface area.

This must be done very carefully. The bonding strength of contact cement is between 50-70% at first contact. So positioning the laminate sheets perfectly before they do contact is a must. You can do this by using strips of wood, dowel rods or wrapping paper.

  • Place strips of wood or dowel rods roughly a foot apart adjust if laying a larger laminate sheet. Or place wrapping paper over the surface area. (This step is not needed when placing laminate sheets onto vertical surface.)
  • Place laminate sheets onto surface area, once the placement is perfect then remove strips of wood, dowel rod or wrapping paper.
  • Use a roller to go over the entire surface, make sure that the plastic laminate is sealed tightly to the surface area this will also help ensure any air pockets are removed. For this task you can also use a wooden block or mallet, it's recommended to start from the center and work out using these tools.
  • If you need to make a seam place the larger laminate sheet over the smaller sheet. Cut through the sheets cleanly at the exact point that they overlap then remove the excess laminate.

The fifth step is placement of laminate sheets onto the edges.

  • Measure edges and cut out laminate sheets accordingly. Remember to cut sheets out with a few extra centimeters to ensure they cover the surface you can trim and customize the sheets later.
  • Apply two coats of contact cement onto surface edge.
  • Apply one coat of contact cement on to plastic laminate strips.
  • Allow the contact cement to dry for the recommended time provided by product instructions.
  • Carefully place laminate sheets aligning the sheet perfectly to the top of the counters edge.

Go slowly and press firmly to ensure the sheet is sealed to the surface at all points.

The sixth and last step touch up and clean your new countertop.

  • Allow the contact cement to fully dry.
  • Trim off any excess laminate on the edges using a router with a special blade for laminate, you can use a file if the excess is small. Be careful and go slowly when cutting the excess laminate, a slight miscalculation could crack the laminate sheets.
  • Clean any excess contact cement using a special solvent, if you do not have the solvent you can also use nail polish to remove it.

Meaning of a Tribal Dragon Tattoo

For years we have seen the popularity of a tribal dragon tattoo grow and it does not look like slowing down either. Dragons are mythical creatures that can have many different meanings, depending on which dragon you decide for your tattoo. Being a mythical creature gives the tattoo artists a wide range to work with when designing your tattoo and it also gives people the opportunity to have a unique tattoo, increasing their popularity dramatically. A tribal dragon tattoo is very often associated with strength and power, which has made it very dominant in the art of tribal tattoos.

The more common tribal dragon tattoos are of the eastern, the western and the imperial dragons. The meaning of an eastern dragon is the nicest of all, they represent kindheartedness, good fortune and they are believed to be a protector. While the meaning of a western dragon is quite the opposite, being seen as an evil, greedy, fire breathing creature. Neither the western nor the eastern dragon have wings, the only one believed to have had wings is the imperial dragon or lung. The meaning of an imperial dragon is quite unique, it believed to have unrivaled wisdom and power which has made it the primary of the four benevolent spiritual animals in Chinese culture. The other 3 of the 4 benevolent creatures are the phoenix, the unicorn and the tortoise.

So, if you're thinking about getting a tribal dragon tattoo, it's a good idea to take these meanings into consideration. Whatever you see yourself as being kindhearted and a protector, as wise and powerful or a little more on the evil side, there are tribal dragon tattoo ideas and meanings for everyone.

Using Landscaping Timber to Create Flowerbeds

You can create terraced flowerbeds simply by using landscaping timber. Terraces are great because if you raise a flowerbed the soil will be able to grow plants sooner and they will not need as much water. What is more, raised flowerbeds make it easier to maintain and care for, while they will also save space if you have a small yard.

There are several uses for raised flowerbeds made out of timber. You can use them to give your landscaping design a warm look. You can also use them to make a ready made garden. Use some compost and topsoil, plant some carrots, taproot, radishes, parsnips and anything you can think of. In fact, you can even create a wheelchair friendly garden if you put the beds high enough.

Plan your design

You can use landscaping timbers in every way you can imagine. There's a large variety of timbers nowdays, and you can even buy some pieces in the shape of small logs but with a flat bottom, making it easier to place it. Although they look very natural, in fact, they are made of plywood, so they are a recycled product. However, there are people who prefer to cut the timber themselves, or to buy real landscaping timbers.

Real wood landscaping timber is not chemically treated, while plywood is. Therefore, real wood timber can last just for seven or eight years but they are safer and healthier, especially if there are children at home. Plywood logs are treated with more chemicals to last longer.

Planning is essential for creating raised flowerbeds with landscaping timber. First, see how high you want it, and then calculate how much timber you'll need. Remember you'll need four timbers per level, two long and two short, to make a frame. You will need another layer of timber to sink into the ground, especially if it's too high. After you have planned and sketched your timber flowerbed, calculate if the timbers at your store are the size you need or if you'll need to cut them to the size you have calculated.

Building your timber flowerbed

After you buy the landscaping timbers, remove the grass and level the ground. A good idea is to dig a surrounding trench, so it's easier for you to install the first layer of wood. You'll need landscaping nails to fix the timber so it will not move. As you go up, do not forget to put more nails every two or three layers. If you plan to build more than one you can do it in just one day.

Laminated Flooring – Easy to Install Stylish Home Floors

Laminated flooring is a popular option that many home owners use to spruce up the appearance of their house. It offers several benefits to those who choose to install it with minimal drawbacks. If you are considering home flooring renovations, here are a few things to think about when it comes to your floors.

Affordability

While hardwood flooring is still incredibly popular, laminate floor coverings give the same look as hardwood, without the price. Wood floors are the most expensive on the market so many people can not afford them, but laminate can be purchased and installed for a fraction of the cost. On top of being cost effective, the installation process is simple as well. Many people have found that installing laminate flooring is simple enough for them to do it themselves, but if you have any doubts, professionals can be hired to do the job for you.

When purchasing your laminate, take the time to check on warranties. Some manufacturers offer a 5 or even a 10 year warranty for replacement which can be a real money saver if something unexpected happens to your home.

Variety

Laminated flooring is also available in a wide variety of colors, styles and installation types. Laminate can be purchased that looks like wood, stone or tile which allows you to get the look of any type of flooring without the hefty price of real wood or the hassle of laying individual tiles or cleaning grout. Wood laminate styles can be found in a variety of colors from oak to cherry, while tile and stone styles can be found in almost any imaginable color.

There are also several different types of installation methods available including floating laminate installation. This method will allow you to reserve your original flooring without damaging it with nails, glue or staples because the laminate planks connect to each other instead of to the floor benefit them.

Drawbacks

While there are several benefits to laminated flooring there are also a few drawbacks to consider before committing to laminate. One concern is that some laminates may contain chemicals that can be released into the air in your home over time and cause illness like formaldehyde.

Another thing to consider is that laminate can be easily damaged or stained so it requires a decent amount of attention and cleaning. Areas that get a lot of traffic should be cleaned often to avoid scrapes from dirt and dust. Spills should be cleaned immediately to avoid stains and may require steam cleaning for full removal. Most people with pets or children often choose to cover their laminate floor coverings with area rugs to help avoid damage.

Although laminate floors do have some drawbacks, they certainly offer many benefits that make them worth while. If you have ever wanted to redo your flooring, but decided against it because of the cost or long and drawn out installation processes, then laminate may be the answer to your prayers. Whether you want your floors to look like wood, stone or tile, there are plenty of affordable laminated flooring options available.

Gymnasts Require More Knee Protection Than Most To Avoid Injuries

Although some people like to say that gymnastics is just glorified dancing, those who have had any involvement in the sport know that it requires stamina and strength, and there is a lot more to it than just dancing. Not only must gymnasts have the strength to perform their routines, they also must possess great flexibility, agility, balance and coordination. Gymnasts need to be graceful and fluid in their movements, and it is a sport that has both female and male participants. In men's gymnastics, the events are pommel horse, rings, floor exercise, high bar and parallel bar. Women compete in uneven parlors bars, floor exercise, vault and balance beam. In addition to the style of gymnastics that we see in most competitions, there are other forms of gymnastics, including aerobic gymnastics, acrobatic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics and even trampoline gymnastics.

Gymnasts Need to Protect Their Knees

Gymnastics is not a sport for those who can not take a bit of pain. After all, even the world's top gymnasts have been known to take some pretty bad tumbles (no pun intended). Because gymnastics involves plenty of running and jumping, as well as the chances for a number of falls, gymnasts are known for getting plenty of knee injuries. To continue competing in this sport, it is important that gymnasts take steps to protect their knees, and you will often see many wearing lightweight knee braces. This is the ideal way for them to get the protection they need, while still retaining a full range of movement so they are able to perform their routines as flawlessly as possible.

The DonJoy Elastic Knee Sleeve is Ideal for Gymnasts on the Move

When gymnasts decide to protect their knees with knee braces that tie knee pain , they need to know that the braces they wear will not constrict them in any way. Gymnastics is a sport that requires much movement and flexibility, so knee braces need to be accommodating to this. The DonJoy Elastic Knee Sleeve is the ideal knee brace for gymnasts and others who need to wear a brace but still want to have non-restricted movements. Available in sizes ranging from small to extra large, this is a knee brace that can easily fit most people.

The DonJoy Elastic Knee Sleeve is lightweight and breathable, so knees remain cool and dry, and wearers have full movement. The lightweight cotton elastic material is a wonderful alternative to those who are allergic to traditional Neoprene knee braces. This brace also offers wearers a silicone donut, so the patella is always stabilized. And it is white in color, so it will not draw in heat from the sun when wearers are out on hot days. At less than $ 40, the DonJoy Elastic Knee Sleeve is a great deal for something that will protect the knee so well.

Can I Save the Planet?

Ideas to save the planet include grand schemes that only Governments could attempt, down to the small but incrementally effective actions of individuals.

The 'every little helps' approach has a lot to commend it. Everyone can take a unique part, guided by his or her own preference, yet collectively there is great effect. And there are so many options.

We could save water by putting a bucket in the shower, fixing leaky taps, only running the washing machine when it is full, and taking shorter showers.

We could conserve energy by switching off the lights, installing energy saving globes, lagging the roof or only opening the fridge door when we have to.

We could travel less. Between us we made 2.5 billion aircraft journeys in 2009, the result of an ongoing surge in wandering the globe helped by growing affluence and a 60% drop in ticket prices over the last 40 years. Projections are for 3.3 billion journeys by 2014, but we could choose to move around less often.

We could eat less meat. The 'mean American diet' (often referred to by the killer acronym MAD) requires 71% more land and 340% more active nitrogen (the key nutrient for plant growth) to produce than an average vegetarian diet. Being a vegetarian massively reduces your environmental footprint.

All these personal choices are mitigation actions. Ideas for changes to behavior that reduce demand on energy and natural resources and also reduce pollution. Even if only half of us acted on these suggestions we would lower global energy demand, reduce water use and ease the pressure on a host of natural resources. If we all did it, then we might save the planet.

And this is where these articles usually finish. Yes we can! Go turn off the light or even run for office and get some big schemes cooking.

What if the planet does not need saving? Suppose that the trajectory of human exploitation and appropriation of resources is just part of the rich journey of life on earth. Then, by definition, I can not save it.

Convention says that a catastrophic meteorite strike killed off the dinosaurs. What if they had already become so numerous as to have ate themselves out of all available cycads and the dark clouds from all the dust simply tipped a balance that was already teetering?

There is always an alternative explanation to convention. One alternative to saving the planet is that it's not up for being saved. Sure it is changing, and much of that change is a result of human activity from land clearing to pollution. But the earth has changed before and will again.

Perhaps a better question is 'can I save myself?' Not in the selfish sense of pushing to be the first into the lifeboat of a sinking ship, but to save a sense of self and a personal relationship with the earth. This has more depth than conserving electricity and, in time, answers all the questions.

The Difference Between Industrial, Retail and Commercial Real Estate

Before we answer this question, it might be helpful to actually define each term first.

Retail and industrial are both considered ‘commercial real estate’ (as opposed to ‘residential real estate’). Commercial real estate refers to buildings or land intended to generate profit; industrial and retail are simply sub-categories of commercial real estate.

Firstly an industrial property is defined as a property used for the actual manufacturing of something, and can be considered either a factory or plant. This is usually zoned for light, medium or heavy industry. This includes things such as warehouses, garages and distribution centers etc.

Retail property is a commercially zoned property used solely for business purposes, the actual selling of the product, rather than its manufacture – retail stores, malls, shopping centers and shops all huddling nicely under the retail umbrella.

Generally, businesses that occupy commercial real estate often lease the space. An investor usually owns the building and collects rent from each business that operates there.

There are four primary types of commercial real estate leases, each requiring different levels of responsibility from the landlord and the tenant.

Single net lease – tenant is responsible for paying rent and property taxes.

Double net lease – tenant is responsible for paying rent, property taxes and insurance.

Triple net lease – tenant is responsible for paying rent, property taxes, insurance and maintenance.

Gross lease – tenant is responsible only for rent; the Landlord pays property taxes, insurance and maintenance.

If you find yourself considering Commercial property ownership, there are a few things that you would do well to keep in mind:

1) Attractive appearance – the last thing you need is a vacant commercial property in Sydney for any length of time. Think how prospective tenants think: what will their customers want to see?

2) Aesthetic entrance – first impressions count, simple, simple stuff. This is a great tool for putting your prospective clients in a great frame of mind… and their clients.

3) Natural Light – in especially high demand nowadays

4) Location – close to other offices, public amenities, transportation etc.

Since 1980, retail property has returned an average of 9%, though is currently returning around 6%. Industrial real estate tends to be the most volatile, and is currently returning around 7% (as opposed to its peak of around 12% during the 1990’s recession).

And obviously, no matter which form of commercial property you’re considering, read the lease carefully. Sounds like a silly thing to say, but you’d be very surprised at the issues that can become issues simply because things weren’t read properly!

Environmentally Friendly Fireplaces

If you have ever sat in front of a burning fire, you know that it can be a very pleasant experience. It is a great way to warm your home and it does reduce your electric bill. However, all fireplaces are not created equal and depending on what you want to use the fireplace for will determine what type of fireplace you need to have. You do want to use the most environmentally friendly fireplace that will suit your needs. Here are some of the more eco-friendly fireplaces you may want to consider:

Pellet Stoves

Pellet stoves use pellets made from waste materials and therefore are very environmentally friendly. They burn very clean and they are very low maintenance. The pellets can be loaded into an auger and can be automatically fed into the stove. Another added feature is that you do not need to install a chimney for the pellet fireplace.

There are however, some disadvantages to the pellet stove. They may not be allowed in mobile homes in your area so you will have to check with your particular county to see if you can install one in a mobile or modular home. They do require electricity to run and they can be very expensive. You will have to purchase pellets for your pellet stove. So, you should price the pellets and the unit, before you decide to go with this type of fireplace.

Wood-burning Fireplaces

Wood-burning fireplaces have a wonderful appeal. The fuel is renewable and if you have wood s on your property or know someone that does, you may be able to get your wood free. There is no electricity needed to burn wood except if you elect to put an electric blower on your unit. Putting one of these units on your wood-burning fireplace greatly increases the fireplace's heating capacity.

One thing about wood-burning fireplaces, and that happens to be one of the things that I do not like about them, is that they are messy. You do need to keep the ash cleaned out of the fireplace so it will work efficiently. Another thing about burning wood is the smoke that is produced which can be irritating to some people. Heat also escapes if you use an open fireplace versus a wood-burning insert. These are all things you should take into consideration when deciding which fireplace you want to use.

Electric Fireplaces

Electric fireplaces are not very expensive and they are convenient and portable. They do not produce real flames which makes them safer than a wood-burning fireplace. Actually, they are just a fancy space heater. They do, however, use electricity to run. They do not use as much as a central heating system does, but they still consume more than some of the other types of fireplaces.

Gas or Propane Fireplaces

These fireplaces are great. I have a propane fireplace because we do not have natural gas in our area. The gas or propane fireplace has a real flame but without the mess and the work of a wood-burning fireplace. Some of these models do not even require a chimney. No chimney means that you do not lose much of the heat as with a real wood-burning fireplace. And, if you have a blower on the unit, it will warm a large room rather quickly. When deciding on a gas or propane fireplace, check with the manufacturer regarding any carbon monoxide concerns. Carbon monoxide can be an issue with an unwanted or fireplace with no chimney. You will also need natural gas or propane to run the fireplace. Both of these are not inexpensive.

When deciding on one of these environmentally friendly fireplaces, check with the manufacturer or a knowledgeable person in the store where you will purchase it for information regarding the best type of fireplace for your needs.

Foundation Wall Cracks, Cause, Effect and Solution

There are no perfect houses and that would include its foundation. Whether you have a new home or one that’s a hundred years old, house foundations crack. Houses shift and settle after construction. Houses will have cracks in either the cosmetic finishes or structural components. Most of these cracks have no structural significance. The common types of cracks in foundation walls will include;

Vertical (or near vertical) cracks; Just because a wall has cracked doesn’t mean that it has failed or that corrective action is required. If the crack is narrow (1/8 inch or less), is nearly vertical, has no lateral separation between the adjacent portions of the wall, and no water is leaking through the crack, no action generally is required. This is a shrinkage crack and occurs as moisture in the wall evaporates causing the wall to shrink into the voids created by the escaping water. This type of crack is controlled, or minimized but not eliminated by, using horizontal reinforcement steel, which helps distribute the stresses in the wall. If horizontal steel is present, you are more likely to get several very small cracks instead of one or two much wider cracks. Another method of limiting shrinkage cracks is to control the amount of water used in the concrete mix.

Reentrant Cracks; Whenever a concrete element has a sharp angle, there is a concentration of stress. This almost always results in a crack called a reentrant crack that emanates from the inside corner. It may be vertical, horizontal, or diagonal as it exits the corner. This phenomenon exists in nearly all materials. Round openings can dissipate the stress but this is not practical in concrete wall construction. The typical remedy to reduce this type of crack is the placement of steel reinforcement in the corners. It will not eliminate these crack but keep they tight and controlled.

Horizontal cracks; Horizontal cracks require greater scrutiny. Most residential foundation walls are designed to span from the footing or floor slab to the connection of the floor structure above. An 8-inch concrete wall in normal soil conditions usually is strong enough to withstand the forces exerted on the wall with no vertical reinforcement. Exceptions include areas with high ground water conditions or in expansive soil conditions. If there is vertical reinforcement in the wall, a horizontal crack is probably not a concern. An expert should be consulted when a horizontal crack appears to evaluate whether there is a structural risk.

These cracks typically result from one or more of the following;

1. Soil settlement beneath the footing resulting in downward movement of the footing, and shifting is common to most newly constructed homes.

2. Alteration of the local water table whenever a new home is built. Specifically, the soil beneath the home dries; the resultant soil shrinkage causes minor settlement of the footing which can result in hairline cracking in the foundation walls.

3. A new home, without of furniture and effects, does not impose a significant load on the foundation. Once all of your furniture and appliances are moved in, the weight borne by the foundation, and the structure in general, increases and causes some flexing (or movement) of structural members throughout the building. This increased load can cause hairline cracks in the foundation.

4. Drying shrinkage. While poured concrete is dries and hardens, it will shrink. The major factor influencing drying shrinkage is the total water content of the concrete. As the water content in poured concrete increases, the amount of shrinkage increases. Significant increases in the sand content and significant reductions in the size of the coarse aggregate used in poured concrete increase shrinkage because total water content is increased and smaller size coarse aggregate provide less internal resistance to shrinkage.

5. Thermal expansion and contraction of concrete. Concrete poured during high daytime temperatures will contract as it cools during the night, this can be sufficient enough to cause cracking if the concrete is restrained.

6. Restraint; The restriction of free movement of fresh or hardened concrete subsequent to the completion of placing (pouring of concrete) in formwork or within an otherwise confined space; restraint can be internal or external and may act in one or more directions.

7. Subgrade settlement or movement. The dropping of soil or the footing due to their mass, the loads imposed on them, or shrinkage or displacement of the underlying support.

Most foundation cracks are minor and insignificant; they are common to both poured concrete and block foundations. Structural cracks (horizontal) in residential foundations are usually the result of settlement and/or horizontal loading. They can be the result of hydrostatic pressure or the use of heavy equipment next to the foundation. The possible implication of cracks in your foundation is moisture penetration, moisture that can ruin finished wall coverings, floor coverings and furniture.

Water will leak through a foundation crack if there is enough hydrostatic pressure to force water through the crack. If a waterproofing system was installed during construction, the basement may not leak even if there is a large crack. Keep in mind that waterproofing is not the same as damp-proofing. Installing an exterior waterproofing system after the wall has been backfilled can be cost prohibitive. The best solution is the use of an epoxy injection system. It will adhere to the side of the cracks and actually may strengthen the wall. These systems can be DIY but is it highly recommended that they be applied by a professional.

If you take anything away from this article…take this. All foundations crack, your foundation, my foundation and most of these cracks are insignificant and have no structural implications. If you do have a concern about the size and type of crack call a professional to evaluate.

Structural Analysis – Effective Way to Study Building's Behavior

Structural analysis is considered as a base of any construction project. It is a process that examines the physical integrity of any building structure. It is wise to analyze everything about your building structure before you actually start building it. This will make future construction activities a lot easier.

How your building structure will be, how it will react to certain external factors are the most common questions for any professional. Structural analysis – a calculation about behavior of any building with respect to certain laws and methods gives the perfect answer to such questions. It gives general information such as:

o Calculation of deformations
o Internal forces – how your building will react against heavy internal forces between various building components like beams, windows, stairs etc
o Stresses – How much capable is your building to deal with stresses
o Loads – Predicting about how well any building will withstand internal loads as well as external loads
o External forces – Structural analysis will give you detailed information about how your building will face external forces

This information is based on set of physical laws and mathematics required to study and predict the behavior of structures. Builders, contractors and engineers depend on structure analysis to render structurally sound plans and models. To implement an accurate structural analysis a user must determine information regarding structural loads, geometry, support conditions, and materials properties. In this way, one can easily build a behavior.

Also structural analysis has many applications to offer to construction industry such as:
• Use in structural steel plate girder, truss girder, gantries, industrial sheds etc.
• Wooden structures like fish repair centers, sheds, residential structures etc.
• Pre-stressed and Post-tensioned structures like parking structures
• Deteriorated structures
• Composite structures

Above mentioned applications of structural analysis reduce work load of builders, contractors and engineers. They become more familiar with their proposed building structure's behavior.

An Introduction to Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring is becoming increasingly popular due to its appearance and
durability. The heavy duty construction and ease of installation make laminate a
wise choice for any home or business.

Every individual who has watched a home improvement show or considered
replacing his matted carpet has heard of laminate flooring. Laminate is the
latest entrant into the flooring industry, and arrived by way of Europe.
Europeans developed the original laminate products, and use of the flooring has
been widespread throughout the continent. Now, as is customary with European
innovations, the United States has done on to the idea and is quickly making
laminate a staple in most flooring stores.

Appearance

There is a great deal more to laminate than what meets the eye – literally.
The surface of laminate flooring is designed to appear like hardwood, and
recently some laminates are designed to appear as stone or tile, complete with
the presence of grout. Laminate is designed to imitate almost every wood grain
from maple to mahogany. High quality laminates, at first glance, appear almost
identical to hardwood as they are designed in planks complete with the grains
characteristic of real wood.

But what the eye sees as it sweeps the broad expande of smooth laminate
flooring is actually only the top two layers of laminate – the decorative layer
which contains the desired appearance, and the prefinished top coat which
offers the outstanding durability laminate is known for.

Manufacture

Laminate flooring is comprised of four layers. As previously discussed, the
top two layers offer the desired appearance and the protective coating. The
center, or core, of each plank or section is comprated of high or medium density
fiberboard. This center layer offers the support necessary for high volumes of
foot traffic. The final layer, or backing, binds the laminate together and
provides additional strength and durability.

When examining a section of laminate flooring for quality, take notice of these
layers. High quality laminates will have thicker individual layers than its less
desirable counterparts.

Benefits

The most touted benefits of laminate flooring are ease of installation and
durability.

Installation is simple with most brands of laminate flooring. Unlike
hardwoods which typically require glue or nails, laminate
is assembled by fitting sections together in a snap lock. This means the
laminate is designed to fit together like a large puzzle and sits directly on
the sub floor. These factors make it simple to install and a great home
improvement project for any individual with basic carpentry skills.

Durability is the key selling point of laminate flooring worldwide. The
unique construction and tough top layer make laminate almost indestructible.
High quality laminates are almost impossible to scratch or stain. Most can
withstand burns, and they are water resistant. The prefinishing of laminate makes
it tough enough to withstand extensive amounts of foot traffic,
and does not warp or fade with age. Laminate is quickly becoming a timeless
addition to any home.

Hardwood and Softwood – Lumber Wood for Furniture

Solid lumber wood has always been, and will always be the preference of serious woodworkers when it comes time to construct furniture. It is durable, resists shock and is a very sound investment, increasing the value of what you build, as well as increasing in value over the course of years.

Various parts of the world offer different kinds of lumber wood, with each having its own properties and characteristics. Because each tree offer different patterns, grains and markings, every wood, every tree, has a unique look and feel to the furniture that you create with it.

Solid lumber wood may have one of two classifications. They are termed hardwood or softwood. Hardwood is a tree that has broad leaves when it is alive, while softwood is a tree that is a needle-bearing tree such as spruce or pine, cedar or redwood. Hardwoods are, as the name implies, much harder and more resistant to damage.

Some of the most common building woods are listed below for your convenience.

Mahogany – hardwood, more aptly classed as medium hard. It is a red-brown or tan color and possesses a unique grain structure as well as poorly defined growth rings, but is durable and will hold its shape very well. It is perfect for furniture and very high quality cabinets because it is stable and will resist decay very well.

Superior and knotty alder wood is a good choice for cabinets, doors and custom mill work around the home. The fine, even texture of alder wood makes it similar to cherry although when applying stain you will get a few blotches that will provide additional character to the finished product. Its appearance and high quality make it a popular choice doors, cabinets, mill work and furniture. Once considered to be a poor boys maple, superior and knotty alder has come into its own as a hardwood for cabinetry and furniture. It even supports a market for using the knotty alder wood, for once stained the finished product can create something old world or brand new. It finishes beautifully with a light color and tight grain structure. Red alder is often used as a substitute to achieve the look of expensive cherry hardwood at a more affordable price.

Pine is a softer wood, a needled tree that grows in a wide range of areas of the world. There are pines in almost every country and where they grow may dictate some of the properties of the wood. There are White Pine, Eastern White Pine, Ponderosa pine, and Sugar Pine. The knotted characteristics of pine make it a popular choice for furniture even though it is less hard and easier to mar. It is paler yellow in color and is perfect to add warmth to your house. Pine will hold a stain very well.

Maple- a very hardwood is light in color, near blond and is a popular choice as a furniture wood. It is highly shock resistant and has even pores that make the wood look very even. It is durable and will take a stain very well, and as it is lighter in color, may be stained to resemble almost any other wood that you might like to emulate.

Beechwood-another hardwood with a very fine grain, beech is able to be used for nearly anything that you might like. Strong and stable, it is difficult to warp or bend beech. It takes a stain very well with smaller pores and a very visible grain and growth rings that create a warm and wonderful look.

With so many lumber choices available take the time to select what choice may be best for you. From alder wood to mahogany, the choices are endless.