Containers of unknown and possibly hazardous materials are often found at laboratories, industrial buildings, dump sites, and other locations. Labeled containers may have been refilled or their contents chemically changed over time. In addition, corrosion can render containers fragile and prone to rupture when moved. A researcher at the Los Alamos National Laboratory has invented two devices that can open unknown containers--without endangering the operator or the environment. The devices use a remote-controlled, air-powered piston to puncture and vent containers and draw samples. They can contain escaping substances and neutralize or pump out the container's contents. One version straps directly to large containers, such as 55-gal drums, while the second is an adjustable device that holds containers ranging from small milk bottles to 30-gal drums. According to the researcher, the sampling devices are environmentally friendly, inexpensive to produce, and compatible with breathing equipment frequently used by hazardous material teams. E-mail email@example.com.
During a teardown of the iPad Air and Microsoft Surface Pro 3 at the Medical Design & Manufacturing Show in Schaumburg, Ill., an engineer showed this "inflammatory" video about the dangers of maliciously mishandling lithium-ion batteries.
Science fiction author Isaac Asimov may have the best rules for effective brainstorming and creativity. His never-before-published essay, "On Creativity," recently made it to the Web pages of MIT Technology Review.
Much has been made over the potentially dangerous flammability of lithium-ion batteries after major companies like Boeing, Sony, and Tesla have grappled with well-publicized battery fires. Researchers at Stanford University may have come up with a solution to this problem with a smart sensor for lithium-ion batteries that provides a warning if the battery is about to overheat or catch fire.
In this new Design News feature, "How it Works," we’re starting off by examining the inner workings of the electronic cigarette. While e-cigarettes seemed like a gimmick just two or three years ago, they’re catching fire -- so to speak. Sales topped $1 billion last year and are set to hit $10 billion by 2017. Cigarette companies are fighting back by buying up e-cigarette manufacturers.
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