Technologies developed in the laboratory to destroy wastes without hazardous emissions are being applied in a pilot-scale plant under construction at the Army's Pine Bluff Arsenal in Arkansas. There, up to 80 pounds per hour of obsolete munitions, some of which date from World War II, are slurried in water to be destroyed in a supercritical water oxidation (SCWO) system. The SCWO system pressurizes and heats the slurry, which fuels an oxidation reaction. The wastes are destroyed within seconds, producing such innocuous end products as carbon dioxide, water, and salts. At the heart of the new system is a novel reactor design intended to overcome a potential complication. Treating smoke and dye munitions can create effluent of up to 35% salt. The salt is insoluble under these conditions (700C and 4,000 psi) and can plug the reactor. Sandia demonstrated a design that inhibits salt deposits by injecting pure water through small pores in an inner liner to form a protective boundary. Known as the transpiring wall reactor, this design was developed by Aerojet GenCorp for cooling and fluid management in missile and rocket applications. For more information, e-mail Nancy Garcia at email@example.com.
The engineers and inventors of the post WWII period turned their attention to advancements in electronics, communication, and entertainment. Breakthrough inventions range from LEGOs and computer gaming to the integrated circuit and Ethernet -- a range of advancements that have little in common except they changed our lives.
Neil Fromer is the executive director of the Resnick Institute, a program for energy and sustainability at the California Institute of Technology, working to develop new ideas and research technologies related to providing a sustainable future. He spoke to us about the severity of the current drought in California and how solar energy can help prevent such situations in the future.
From home enthusiasts to workers on the manufacturing floor, everyone's imagination is captured by the potential of 3D printing. Prototyping, spare parts creation, art delivery, human organ creation, and even mass product production are all being targeted as current and potential uses for the technology.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.