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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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