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 |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Medical ")

First Biolimb Grown In Lab
A brand-new forelimb for some lucky rat.

Robot Swarm Performs Colonoscopy And Biopsy
'There was ... the Seven Minute Special...'- Neal Stephenson, 1995.

L'Oreal To 3D Print Human Skin
'...She helped the doctor spray on surrogate skin.'- Robert Heinlein, 1951.

NASA FINDER To The Rescue In Nepal
'The antennae of the Life Detector atop the OP swept back and forth...'- Frank Herbert, 1958.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Storing 1 Zettabyte In 10 Grams
'It is theoretically possible to have a matrix in which each individual molecule has a meaning...'

Laser-Powered Spacecraft To Explore The Solar System
'Whoever launched it fired a laser cannon... for about forty-five years, so the intruder would have a beam to travel on...'

Skin Chair For That 'Sitting On A Fat Guy' Feeling
'The semi-sentient artifact glided to a position behind McKie...'

Pneumatic Micro-Tentacles Kidnapping Ants
'Long, flexible, glittering tentacles...'

Bee Narcs To Perform Drug 'Stings'
'Time for a replacement of both Behren and his dipterous insect...'

3D Printed Spherical Flying Machine
'Gold dots against blue, basketball-sized, twelve feet up....'

Airbus E-Fan All-Electric Plane Now Ready
I couldn't believe it, either.

Robot Swarms Improve Culture By Forgetting
'My mind was filled to the splitting point...'

Melomics Avant Garde Computer Musician
'Rollo sat at the keyboard, prim, inhuman, rigid, twin lenses focused somewhere off into the shadows...'

Samsung's Transparent Display Finally As Big As HG Wells'
Wells also figured out that 16x9 is the shape to have.

Nanotech Used To Create Custom Water Filters In Tanzania
'People started out squeamish about Clearsacs...'

This Robot Swordmaster: Yaskawa Bushido Project
'The instrument of prisms and target could not think, feel caution or remorse. And it carried a real blade.'

Thync Mood-Changing Wearable Device
'Very gently, hypnotically, the electronic pulses throbbed in the frontal lobes of his brain.'

What Science Fiction Inspires Russia's New Robot?
Russian science fiction fans had their own inspirations.

LightSail Solar Sail Deploys
'This was the first time any solar yacht had ever attained it...'

Living Concrete Repairs Itself
Science fiction fans were given this idea in 1951.

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.