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​NEWRI-R3C Sharing Session​ (​NRSS) Season 7

Published on: 08-Jul-2019


  1. To improve skills on public​ speaking, questions handling and preparation of presentation aids (contents/formats/illustrations) for all R3Cians.
  2. To update research progress, increase awareness of R3Cians as ambassadors representing NTU-NEWRI-R3C and promote bonding as a cohesive research group.
  3. To promote interdisciplinary learning, discover opportunity in the interfaces between disciplines/projects and encourage cooperation in research proposals + TD/patents development.



Session 12​: 25 October 2019, 11.00am to 12.00​p​​m,  NEWRI Meeting Room 1, CTO-06-08​

Speaker 1: Ms Pi Xiaoqing (Research Scholar)

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Title: Measurements and Modeling of Geophysical Properties of Landfilled Municipal Solid Waste


A significant portion of the existing MSW is disposed of in landfills, resulting in tens of thousands of landfills worldwide. The stability of MSW landfills is of great interest to engineers and researchers. The small-strain shear modulus (Gmax) is an important engineering property of landfilled MSW. The value of Gmax can be calculated from the shear wave velocity (Vs) measurement, which is a non-intrusive survey method for subsurface characterization of geo-materials. Through in situ Vs measurements and data inversion, the Gmax of MSW at different depths can be obtained without drilling into the landfills. One prerequisite for the calculation of depth-dependent Vs for MSW is the knowledge of the influential factors in the landfills. The Vs values of 152 reconstituted MSW specimens measured in the laboratory are interpreted.


Speaker 2: Mr Ashiq Ahamed (Research Associate)

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Title: Waste-derived CNTs as an Environment-friendly Alternative for Use in Sensors


Electrochemical sensors are increasingly used in portable single-use clinical, process and environmental quality monitoring systems. Commercially viable and scientifically reliable analyses require sensors that are easy to use and low cost, require limited maintenance, possess high selectivity and sensitivity towards the analyte, and have potential to be mass-produced. Thus, the current research focuses on sensors development to address all of the above mentioned requirements. On the other hand, owing to the increasing number of sensor applications, the spent sensors are identified as an emerging type of waste. The materials used for manufacturing of sensors are in most cases derived from fossil, often scarce sources, e.g. transition metals and carbon. Moreover, these materials are expensive and bear high carbon footprint. In this work, we explore the use of waste-derived carbon material, such as CNTs, in order to decrease the environmental burden associated with the application of fossil derived carbon. The CNTs were produced from residues, e.g. waste plastics, which are abundant, inexpensive, and bear low or negative carbon footprint. This study identifies the waste-derived CNTs as an environment-friendly alternative for use in sensors as they exhibited comparable performance to commercial carbon nanotubes and metal-based electrodes. The proposed alternative material provides valuable insights to the research and development of environmentally friendly alternatives for the sensor design and application.



Session 11​: 11 October 2019, 11.00am to 12.00​p​​m,  NEWRI Meeting Room 1, CTO-06-08​

Speaker 1: Mr Syed Saqline (Research Scholar)

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Title: Opportunities for Chemical Looping Combustion (CLC) in Future Design of Coal Power Plants


There is an ever increasing need to reduce the carbon footprint and mitigate the global temperature rise to 1.5°C. Around half of the global emissions of CO2 are from the electricity and heat generation sector with coal-fired power generation alone contributing to 30% of the global emissions in 2018. This study attempts to model coal power plants equipped with CLC technology and ascertain the value added in terms of emissions and net efficiency. The conventional IGCC (integrated gasification combined cycle) base case without CO2 capture is compared with sub-critical, supercritical and ultra-supercritical coal fired power generation (iG-CLC) case configurations. All flowsheets are developed using ASPEN Plus simulation package.


Speaker 2: Dr Wu Yan (Research Fellow)

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Title: Mechanisms for Photocatalytic Degradation of Pollutants on Synthetic Nanocomposites


Recent years, much attention has been focused on the photocatalytic strategy for environment purification, as solar energy is an inexhaustible and environmentally friendly energy resource. However, development of excellent photocatalysts with high efficiency and durability is still remains a challenge currently. In this work, novel composite photocatalysts consisting of petal-like cadmium sulphide (CdS) nanoparticles and varying amounts of exfoliated sulfur-doped carbon nitride (SCN) were successfully prepared. Two typical pollutants like rhodamine B (RhB) and colorless bisphenol A (BPA) were used for the evaluation of photocatalytic activity. The best-performing CdS/SCN composite (i.e., CS5) synthesized exhibited enhanced visible light-driven photocatalytic RhB efficiency of about 8.71 and 4.06 times higher than those of pure exfoliated SCN and CdS, respectively. As for BPA degradation, the CS5 composite was 9.00 and 3.61 times more efficient than that of exfoliated SCN and CdS, respectively. These excellent performances were found to be attributable to the remarkable charge carrier separation between CdS and exfoliated SCN with the aid of heterojunction interfacial structures. More importantly, the exfoliated SCN substantially reinforced the photostability of the CdS nanoparticles. This study provides new insights into the preparation of highly efficient and stable sulfide-based composite photocatalysts, which are promising for implementation in wideranging environmental applications.



Session 10​: 27 September 2019, 11.00am to 12.00​p​​m,  NEWRI Meeting Room 1, CTO-06-08​

Speaker 1: Ms Lu Xuhong (Research Scholar)

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Title: The Evolution and Fate of Plastics in Nature Subject to Physical, Mechanical and Biochemical Processes – Implications for Microplastics


Microplastic pollution receives increased attention due to its omnipresence in the environment, including oceans, inland water bodies, and soil. We aim to set up experiments to study the breakage process of selected types of plastic wastes into microplastics under simulated natural conditions(sand,soil and landfills). The effect of photo-oxidative degradation is facilitated by radiant energy such as UV or artificial light. This process is the most significant factor in weathering of plastics. We will also conduct experiments to accelerate the breakage process under harsh conditions. The evolution of the plastic samples will be monitored closely.


Speaker 2: Dr He Hongping (Research Fellow)

He Hongping.JPG

Title: Attempt to Selectively Separate Four Metals from Spent LiNi0.5Mn0.3Co0.2O2 Batteries


The recovery of waste lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) is an intensively studied worldwide because of environmental pollution and the risk of undersupply of a strategic raw material. Traditional technologies, based on inorganic acid extraction, have poor selectivity for lithium recovery from waste LIBs. While the selective separation has been achieved in binary LIBs, eg., LiCoO2, LiMn2O4, ternary LIBs requires more investigation. This study presents our recent attempt to selectively separate four metals from typical LiNi0.5Mn0.3Co0.2O2 by the combination of hydrometallurgy and pyrometallurgy. With oxalic acid (HAc), Li can be effectively separated from other three metals, for LiAc has a high solubility, but NiAc, MnAc and CoAc are hardly soluble and precipitate. Then after calcination at high temperature under air atmosphere, NiAc, MnAc and CoAc are oxidized to NiO, Mn3O4 and Co3O4. Dilute nitric acid extraction under 60 ℃ dissolves NiO, and transforms Mn3O4 and Co3O4 to MnO2 and Co2O3, respectively. Microscopic scanning electron microscope coupled energy dispersive X-ray spectrometer show that MnO2 and Co2O3 are presented separately and in different shapes. Moreover, MnO2 particles are obviously larger, it is thereby possible to separate Co2O3 from MnO2.



Session 9​: 13 September 2019, 11.00am to 12.00​p​​m,  NEWRI Meeting Room 1, CTO-06-08​

Speaker 1: Mr Wang Mengjing (Research Scholar)

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Title: Low-dose Exposure to Environmental Chemicals Mitigate LPS Protection Against Asthma Development


The lipopolysaccharide (LPS) of Gram-negative bacteria, a potent innate immune activator, is highly prevalent in our gut and environment and can trigger inflammation and metabolic diseases. However, early and gestational exposure to LPS is beneficial to the establishment of the immune system and confers protection against immune diseases. Meanwhile, human beings are increasingly exposed to various environmental chemicals. The links between their exposure and the development of immune-diseases have been reported in many human cohort and animal studies. LPS usually co-exists with environmental chemicals in indoor dust, as well as in human gastrointestinal fluid and serum. In spite of the postulation that the interplay between microbes and environmental chemicals may play a critical role in educating the immune system, there is little evidence that can substantiate this hypothesis. Here we demonstrated for the first time that many ubiquitous and autoimmunity-relevant environmental chemicals at low micromolar or nanomolar level effectively neutralize LPS derived from either house dust or gut microbiota, thereby inhibiting the immune stimulatory activity of LPS both in vitro and in vivo. LPS neutralization of bisphenol A is discovered through the concomitant binding with its antigen and lipid A moiety. Most importantly, a chemical cocktail, either isolated from dust or artificially mixed at human serum level, also significantly affects LPS immunostimulatory activity, strongly substantiating the natural existence of such a relationship. Furthermore, BPA inhibits LPS early immune protection in mouse asthma model, suggesting the physiological relevance of this neutralization mechanism towards disease. In summary, our findings expand the “hygiene hypothesis” that immunity is mediated through both microbial exposure and a complex interplay between environmental chemicals and microbes.


Speaker 2: Ms Dou Xiaomin (Research Associate)

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Title: Ba-Al Modified Iron Ore for the Chemical Looping Combustion of Municipal Solid Waste Syngas


The chemical looping combustion (CLC) of simulated municipal solid waste syngas by using iron-based catalyst loaded with Ba-Al was investigated in a batch fluidized bed reactor. The oxygen carriers (OCs) before and after multiple CLC reaction cycles were characterized by TPR, BET, XRD, XPS and SEM-EDS to study the chemical looping behavior of the OC particles and the possible mechanisms of Ba-Al modification. It is found that the surface decoration of Ba-Al significantly improved the CLC performance of iron ore in the studied temperature range (700-900 °C). Almost complete combustion of the syngas was achieved after 30 redox cycles for iron ore modified with 10% of Ba-Al (IO-10BA), comparing to the efficiency of only ~70% for the unprocessed iron ore. The oxygen transport ability of iron ore was improved by 34.4% after modification. More oxygen vacancies were formed in the modified catalyst, which facilitated the migration of the lattice oxygen in the bulk thus enhanced the reactivity of the OCs during the redox cycles. The interactions between Ba-Al and iron ore greatly reshaped the OC particles and made the IO-10BA much more porous when compared to iron ore.



Session 8​: 30 August 2019, 11.00am to 12.00​p​​m,  NEWRI Meeting Room 1, CTO-06-08​

Speaker 1: Mr Zhang Junming (Research Scholar)

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Title: Real-time Probing Few Pd Overlayers on Au for Boosting Oxygen Reduction Catalysis


Tuning position of d-band-center offers a powerful strategy to tailor the reactivity of metal catalysts. Here we report an simple ingenious potential sweeping method to grow Pd layer-by-layer on Au with the capability to real-time measure adsorption energy of OH* (a key intermediate in oxygen electrochemistry). Each Pd overlayer growth gives a quantitative decrease in adsorption energy of OH* on Pd with a maximum of 40 meV per Pd layer, which is consistent with theoretical predictions. Spectroscopic characterizations reveal charge transfer and valence band restructuring during Pd overlayer growth on Au, which shorten the distance between induce a decrease in the d-band center and Fermi level of surface Pd. Precise overlayer control gives the optimal bimetallic surface of two monolayer Pd on Au, which exhibits more than 100-fold specific activity enhancement in oxygen reduction reaction compared to the state-of-the-art Pt/C.


Speaker 2: Dr Naziah Binte Mohamad Latiff (Research Fellow)

Naziah binte Mohamad Latiff.JPG

Title: My Journey Working on Electrochemical CO2 Reduction Reaction


Electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide is an exciting field as it provides a green pathway to the utilization of CO2 to form useful products. However, it has many challenges. In this presentation, I will share my experience and progress working in this research area.



Session 7​: 16 August 2019, 11.00am to 12.00​p​​m,  NEWRI Meeting Room 1, CTO-06-08​

Speaker 1: Ms Ding Ruiyu (Research Scholar)

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Title: Paper Based Reference Electrode


A new type of paper based reference electrode was investigate to be an alternative of conventional KCl / AgCl reference electrode. The different concentration of KCl and layer was investigated on paper substrates. The effects of different ions on the response were tested. This kind of reference electrode was integrated with K, Na and Cl ISEs to determine the ion concentration in real samples.


Speaker 2: Dr Vida Krikstolaityte (Research Fellow)

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Title: Biofouling Studies of Ion Selective Electrodes by Combining Simultaneous Potentiometric-Quartz Crystal Microbalance with Dissipation Measurements


The aim of this work was to investigate the impact of biofouling on the performance of a potassium ion selective electrode (K+-ISE), which represents a relevant analytical tool for clinical sample analysis of potassium levels in various body fluids such as blood, urine, and tears. Specifically, bovine serum albumin (BSA) was employed as a model protein to investigate protein adsorption on the electrode surface in real-time, in terms of its adsorbed amount and structural conformation, and how protein adsorption affects the potentiometric signal of the K+-ISE. Moreover, the K+-ISE building up process itself was monitored when simultaneously measuring changes in separate compartment mass/thickness and viscoelastic properties. For these complex studies, combined potentiometric-quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation (QCM-D) measurements were performed to simultaneously monitor the potential changes at the solution/electrode interface and the mass/viscoelasticity of the adsorbed/deposited material on the electrode surface during the K+-ISE preparation and BSA adsorption.



Session 6​: 2 August 2019, 11.00am to 12.00​p​​m,  NEWRI Meeting Room 1, CTO-06-08​

Speaker 1: Ms Dara Khairunnisa Binte Mohamed (Research Scholar)

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Title: HBr poisoning on Nickel-based Catalysts During Steam and Dry Reforming of Naphthalene


With the use of organobromides as flame retardants in consumer products such as plastics, textiles, electronics, and furniture, the gasification of bromide-containing MSW would likely generate HBr as a syngas impurity. It is unknown whether the HBr present has an effect on the activity of Nickel catalysts used in the removal of tar from syngas. In this study, the effect of HBr on the catalytic activity of a commercial Ni-alumina catalyst used in the steam and dry reforming of tar, using naphthalene as a model tar compound, was investigated. HBr of different concentrations were used to determine the poisoning effect and deactivation of the catalyst. The deactivation of the Ni-alumina catalyst due to HBr poisoning was also compared to that of HCl.


Speaker 2: Dr Jia Jingbo (Visiting Scientist)

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Title: In Situ Exsolved Metallic Nickel from X―Ni (X=La, Sr, Mg) Oxides for Upcycling Real Plastics into Carbon Nanotubes: Influence of Metal-support Interaction


The dramatic proliferation of waste plastics threaten environment and human health. The upcycling process of pyrolysis and in-line catalytic reaction was employed for conversion of waste plastics into value-added carbon nanotubes. The metallic nickel was prepared through in situ exsolution from parent X–Ni (X=La, Sr, Mg) oxide and the nature of metallic nickel was tailored through manipulating metal–support interaction. The resulting Ni/La catalyst with suitable metal–support interaction provided the most active sites for the growth of carbon nanotubes and exhibited the highest carbon yield (114%/110% for low density polyethylene/polypropylene) and solid carbon recovery rate (26.8%/25.7% for low density polyethylene/polypropylene) at 700°C. The Ni/Sr catalyst with too weak metal–support interaction is not favorable for the formation of tubular structure, whereas the Ni/Mg catalyst with too strong metal–support interaction is not favorable for the growth of large amounts of carbon nanotubes. This proves an effective and delicate approach to tailor the metal nanoparticles, leading to enhanced catalytic activity.



Session 5​: 19 July 2019, 11.00am to 12.00​p​​m,  NEWRI Meeting Room 1, CTO-06-08​

Speaker 1: Mr Stephan Heberlein (Research Assistant)

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Title: WtE Research Facility: First Experience in Municipal Solid Waste Gasification in Singapore


The WtE Research Facility in Tuas is a gasification plant for municipal solid waste. Initially operated with coal coke as auxiliary fuel, the plant now operates with 100% sustainable biomass charcoal as auxiliary fuel. In this presentation the operational data during conversion from coal coke to biomass charcoal as well as the subsequent optimization period for minimization of biomass charcoal consumption is presented.


Speaker 2: Dr Wu Duo (Research Fellow)

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Title: Ashes to Ashes? Ashes Never Go Away


This presentation is to show the monitoring results of the slag quality, including the leaching behaviours and the preliminary mechanical characteristics with concrete. The data shows the feasibility for recycling of the ash components in the form of slag, and stay with people for a very long period.



Session 4​: 5 July 2019, 11.00am to 12.00​p​​m,  NEWRI Meeting Room 1, CTO-06-08​

Speaker 1: Ms Piyarat Weerachanchai (Research Fellow)

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Title: Experimental Studies on Oxygen-Enriched Gas (OEG) Gasification of Residue Derived Fuel (RDF): Effect of Gasification Condition


Oxygen-Enriched Gas (OEG) has been applied in thermal decomposition of solid fuels/wastes (Coal combustion, Biomass gasification, etc). It shows superiority compared to conventional air blowing decomposition process in term of improvements of higher waste destruction efficiency, increased reaction rates, concentrated pollutants and reduced volume of produced gases which facilitate the removal rate and less downtime for maintenance, etc. OEG gasification has been known as a promising process to provide higher heating value of syngas as the gas product contains lower N2 content compared with that of air gasification. This study conducted the laboratory experiments of OEG updraft gasification of RDF to examine the effect of gasification conditions (temperatures and Equivalence Ratio (ER)) on gas compositions. Pros/Cons of OEG gasification will be discussed. Moreover, CO2 which is a greenhouse gas was also utilized in OEG gasification to explore their possibility in applying to OEG gasification.


Speaker 2: Ms Chen Wen Qian (Research Scholar)

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Title: Graphene Materials from Wastes


Graphene materials has attracted great attention due to its outstanding properties currently. Chemical vapor deposition is one of most efficient ways to produce graphene materials where carbon source plays an important role. As a big portion of food waste, leftover rice requires proper management. Utilization of left-over rice to obtain rice wine for ethanol is one efficient recycling option. The derived ethanol can be a promising carbon source for graphene materials production which helps realize carbon cycle and sustainable economy.



Session 3​: 21 June 2019, 11.00am to 12.00​p​​m,  NEWRI Meeting Room 1, CTO-06-08​

Speaker 1: Ms Jayadana R. Supuli Jayaweera (Research Scholar)

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Title: Production of Carbon Dots from Hydrothermal Carbonisation of Durian Shell Waste


Introduction to CDs and their applications in environmental, energy and biological fields will be discussed along with the results of metal -nitrogen-doped carbon dots from DSW and its application in the biosensing.


Speaker 2: Ms Jia Shenglan (Research Fellow)

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Title: Chemical Isotope Labeling Exposome (CIL-EXPOSOME): One High-Throughput Platform for Human Urinary Global Exposome Characterization


Human exposure to hundreds of chemicals, a primary component of the exposome, has been associated with many diseases. Urinary biomarkers of these chemicals are commonly monitored to quantify their exposure. However, because of low concentrations and the great variability in physicochemical properties of exposure biomarkers, exposome research has been limited by low-throughput and costly methods. Here, we developed a sensitive and high-throughput exposome analytical platform (CIL-EXPOSOME) by isotopi- cally labeling urinary biomarkers with common functional groups (hydroxyl/carboxyl/primary amine). After a simple cleanup, we used mass spectrometry to perform a screening for both targeted and untargeted biomarkers, which was further processed by an automatic computational pipeline method for qualification and quantification. This platform has effectively introduced an isotope tag for the absolute quantification of biomarkers and has improved sensitivity of 2−1184 fold compared to existing methods. For putative identification, we built a database of 818 urinary biomarkers with MS/MS fragmentation information from either standards or in silico predictions. Using this platform, we have found 671 urinary exposure biomarker candidates from a 2 mL pooled urine sample. The exposome data acquisition and analysis time has also been greatly shortened. The results showed that CIL-EXPOSOME is a useful tool for global exposome analysis of complex samples.



Session 2​: 7 June 2019, 11.00am to 12.00​p​​m,  NEWRI Meeting Room 1, CTO-06-08​

Speaker 1: Asst Prof Fei Xunchang (Deputy Director)

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Title: The Influence of the Sewage Sludge Constituents on Properties of Pyrolysis Products


The influence of the sewage sludge constituents on properties of pyrolysis products was examined using humic acid (HA) as an organic model compound, and kaolin and CaO as inorganic model compounds. Presence of HA in sludge increased the non-condensable gas yield compared to that from raw sludge pyrolysis. Kaolin in sludge catalysed the thermal decomposition of organic compounds in the sludge. In addition, evolved water during decomposition of kaolinite advanced the water-gas shift reaction resulting in more H2 and less CO in the gas phase. The presence of CaO in sludge had a major influence for CO2 sequestration while increased the CO content to 35% of total non-condensable gas volume. Furthermore, CaO acted as a reforming catalyst since the concurrent occurrence of deoxygenation and ring opening reactions lead to an increment of aliphatic compounds in the organic phase of tar. Regarding heavy metals fate, the addition of HA and CaO to sludge effectively immobilised heavy metal in the derived char while kaolin appeared to be less effective.; Proper management and disposal of municipal solid waste (MSW) remains an unresolved global problem. The amount of MSW generated and disposed of in the past decades is staggering, while the generation rate of MSW is expected to keep increasing due to steady increase of population and prosperity worldwide. One solution to handle the existing and future MSW is to move away from modern “dry tomb” landfills emphasizing containment to next generation bioreactor landfills to promote degradation of MSW and enhance CH4 generation and its collection as alternative energy. The technology is still immature and based largely on empiricism, but my and others research indicate that it has the ability to transform waste to innocuous state, generate significant amount of sustainable energy, reduce greenhouse gas emission, and gradually eliminate the unsustainable “legacy” of landfills.



Session 1​: 24 May 2019, 11.00am to 12.00​p​​m,  NEWRI Meeting Room 1, CTO-06-08​

Speaker 1: Mr Severin Deplazes (Visiting Research Scholar)


Title: Removal of Hydrogen Chloride from Municipal Solid Waste Syngas at High Temperature


Waste-to-Energy plants have generally low electrical energy efficiency of 20 % because they keep their steam parameters relatively low at 400 °C and 40 bar in order to reduce the high temperature corrosion (mainly caused by HCl). The overall project aims for a Waste-to-Energy gasification process with chemical looping combustion. A new material, which delivers the oxygen for the combustion process and purifys the syngas from HCl at high temperature has to be developed, in order to increase the steam parameters and therfore increase the efficiency. Barium carbonate has been evaluated to be a suitable HCl sorbent regarding the thermodynamical feasability. Iron ore (wich is the oxgen carrier) has been coated with aluminium-barium in different ratio's and by varying the synthesis procedure. The material has been characterised with SEM and BET. The HCl adsorption capacity is being tested in a lab scale reactor.

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