Story Tips from Oak Ridge National Laboratory

This month’s topics include: producing water from diesel, thwarting tax evaders, and forecasting extreme cold. Just to name a few.

oakridgeMILITARY — H2O from diesel . . .
Capillary action and graphite foam are being enlisted by researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory to solve a logistical nightmare for the military and U.S. troops deployed around the world. While soldiers require nearly seven gallons of water a day, just getting that water to them increases troop vulnerability and limits their tactical use. Using an ORNL proprietary system, however, this problem could be greatly reduced. The system uses the pores of inorganic membranes to condense water present in a diesel’s exhaust stream to produce about gallon of water from each gallon of diesel.

ELECTRONICS — Plasmonic sensors . . .
Plasmonic, or metallic, nanostructures are one step closer to fulfilling their promise as next-generation sensors and devices for high-speed communications because of research performed by scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Fudan University. Despite the potential, a big challenge has been to tune the optical response of plasmonic nanostructures in real time. By applying an external electric field and exploiting the unique electric and magnetic properties of a novel multiferroic substrate material, the researchers demonstrated the ability to achieve active control over the optical response of gold nanostructures with an unprecedented degree of tunability.

SENSORS — Thwarting tax evaders . . .
An estimated $1 billion in lost revenue each year is fueling an effort by Oak Ridge National Laboratory to prevent fuel tax evasions. The system being developed by a team led by Gary Capps will use evidential reasoning techniques, fuel markers, sensor and vehicle tracking devices to monitor, track and detect the movements of petroleum products.

CLIMATE — Extreme cold still in forecast . . .
Despite an overall warming trend, extreme cold events are still likely to persist for the next century, according to research published by Evan Kodra, Karsten Steinhaeuser and Auroop Ganguly of Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The Southeast and Northwest regions of the United States may be especially vulnerable, the researchers conclude in their paper published in Geophysical Research Letters.

ELECTRONICS — Phase transitions breakthrough . . .
A newly patented technology from Oak Ridge National Laboratory can help extend the lifetime of batteries in plug-in hybrid vehicles by optimizing the battery’s state of charge while driving. Developed by ORNL’s Robert DeVault, the computerized control uses data about recharging locations to improve the coordination of the battery and engine operation for trips beyond the vehicle’s electric range. Knowing where charging stations are located can improve how the vehicle rations its battery power for longer battery life.

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Source: Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Photo: Oak Ridge National Laboratory