DARPA's Radiation Decontamination (And 'Doc' Smith's Dekon)
Scientists at a number of companies have made progress in helping DARPA mitigate the effects of a Radiological Dispersal Device (RDD). If an RDD (also called a "dirty bomb" - an explosive laced with radioactive substances) goes off in an urban environment, downwind buildings will be contaminated with very fine radioactive particles. At present, the only real remedy is to tear down the structures and rebuild.
A battery of foams, gels, films and emulsions are now being developed to deal with this problem:
- Isotron has developed a polymer coating that could be added to water sprayed from fire hoses. The sprayed-on coating would dry to a blue film that would trap contaminants. This would help mitigate the airborne spread of the contaminants.
- Surfaces would then be hosed down with compounds by other developers to detach radioactive atoms bound to iron oxides, clays or other ingredients in porous building materials.
- A special gel composed primarily of polyacrylates (also used in disposable diapers) and nanoscale particles is used to coat surfaces and draw out contaminants. On concrete, the gel absorbs more than 98 percent of radioactive atoms in about a half hour.
(From Science News
The polymer gel [yellow sheet] peels away from white marble
taking most contaminant with it.)
Science fiction writers have been thinking about this problem for several generations. In his 1965 novel Subspace Explorers, author E.E. 'Doc' Smith wrote about a unique decontamination foam:
He unclamped a fire-extinguisher-like affair; opened the door of a tiny room. "In here!" He cradled the device and opened four valves. Fast as he was, she was ready for the gush of thick, creamy foam from the multiplex nozzle.
"Oh, Dekon?" she asked. "I've read about it. I rub it in good, all over me?"
"That's right. Short for 'Decontaminant, Complete; Compound, Absorbent, and Chelating; Type DCQ.' It takes care of radiation, but speed is of the essence. All over you is right."
(Read more about 'Doc' Smith's Dekon)
Read more at Science News; thanks to Winchell Chung for the story tip and quote.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/3/2005)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )
Related News Stories -
Erased Memories In A Flash Of Light
'Someone, probably at a government military-sciences lab, erased his conscious memories...'- Philip K. Dick, 1966.
'Artificial Spleen' Cleans The Blood
'The workability of wholly mechanical organs... '- Philip K. Dick, 1964.
PrintAlive Bioprinter 3D Printed Skin Grafts Video
'Over her lacerated right shoulder he sprayed art-deem...'- Philip K. Dick, 1960.
Sense.ly Virtual Nurse Will See You Soon
The virtual nurse is IN.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Physicists Build Repulsor / Tractor Beam
'Brandon swung mighty tractor beams upon the severed halves of the Jovian vessel...'
High Fidelity Produces More Expressive Avatars!
'They are the audiovisual bodies that people use to communicate with each other...'
Will You Upload Your Mind Anytime Soon?
And if so, how long will the copy last?
Students! NASA Wants To 3D Print Your Tool Design In Space!
'Mass-produced only in the orbiting factories...'
Amazing ARES Augmented Reality Sandbox
'First he showed him where the input and output of his brand-new kingdom were, and how to program wars...'
'3D Light Sculpture' Projected Directly Onto Retina
'...projects directly on the retina of the eye…'
3D Printer Vending Machine Dispenses Dreams
'Nanofax AG offers a technology that digitally reproduces objects, physically, at a distance.'
Why Not Nurse Grandma With A Robot?
'She's made of a combination of springs, levers, acoustic instruments...'
Flock Of Minisats Will Image The Earth
'We... dropped roughly a thousand eyes on Beta Hydri IV.'
Should Robots Have Civil Rights?
'I've seen things... you people wouldn't believe...'
Robert Heinlein, Your Self-Driving Car Is Almost Ready!
'Mary Risling settled back for a little nap...'
The Manned Maneuvering Unit Story
'Little spurts of red-orange flame from the reaction pistol marked his companion's trail...'
Scheherazade, An Open Story Generator
'How can you compete with an IBM heavy-duty logomatic analogue?'
Sample The In Vitro Meat Cookbook
'I grabbed two Syntho-Steaks out of the freezer...'
'Diamond Nanothreads' Now, Someday Space Elevators?
'It is a continuous pseudo-one dimensional diamond crystal'
Erased Memories In A Flash Of Light
'Someone, probably at a government military-sciences lab, erased his conscious memories...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories