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 ")

You'll Regrow That Limb, One Day
'... forcing the energy transfer which allowed him to regrow his lost fingers.' - Frank Herbert, 1972.

First 3D Printed Human Corneas From Stem Cells
Just what we need! Lots of spare parts.

Nanorobots Roam Your Bloodstream, Cleaning It
Too bad they won't have lasers, though...

MIT Ampli Blocks Build Biomedical Devices
Damn it Spock, I'm a doctor not an engineer!

 

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

Ontario Starts Guaranteed Minimum Income
'Earned by just being born.'

Is There Life In Outer Space? Will We Recognize It?
'The antennae of the Life Detector atop the OP swept back and forth...'

Space Traumapod For Surgery In Spacecraft
' It was a ... coffin, form-fitted to Nessus himself...'

Tesla Augmented Reality Hypercard
'The hypercard is an avatar of sorts.'

A Space Ship On My Back
''Darn clever, these suits,' he murmured.'

Biomind AI Doctor Mops Floor With Human Doctors
'My aim was just not to lose by too much.' - Human Physician participant.

Fuli Bad Dog Robot Is 'Auspicious Raccoon Dog' Bot
Bad dog, Fuli. Bad dog.

Las Vegas Humans Ready To Strike Over Robots
'A worker replaced by a nubot... had to be compensated.'

You'll Regrow That Limb, One Day
'... forcing the energy transfer which allowed him to regrow his lost fingers.'

Elon Musk Seeks To Create 1941 Heinlein Speedster
'The car surged and lifted, clearing its top by a negligible margin.'

Somnox Sleep Robot - Your Sleepytime Cuddlebot
Science fiction authors are serious about sleep, too.

Real-Life Macau or Ghost In The Shell
Art imitates life imitates art.

Has Climate Change Already Been Solved By Aliens?
'I had explained," said Nessus, "that our civilisation was dying in its own waste heat.'

First 3D Printed Human Corneas From Stem Cells
Just what we need! Lots of spare parts.

VirtualHome: Teaching Robots To Do Chores Around The House
'Just what did I want Flexible Frank to do? - any work a human being does around a house.'

Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI) Workshop
SF writers have thought about this since the 19th century.

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.