October 2005 Story Tips
Story ideas from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory. To arrange for an interview with a researcher, please contact the Communications and External Relations staff member identified at the end of each tip.
By applying mathematical techniques and electrical circuit basics to CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Vladimir Protopopescu and Suzanne Lenhart believe they can help save lives. "Rates of success with lay or professional rescuer CPR are amazingly low," said Protopopescu, who noted that the way CPR is applied has not changed fundamentally since it was introduced. With that in mind, Protopopescu, Lenhart, Eunok Jung, now at Konkuk University in South Korea, and Charles Babbs, a physician/Ph.D. at Purdue University, have developed optimal control techniques on a system of discrete blood flow equations tailored to each part of the body. Each equation describes the pressure changes in systemic vascular compartments caused by chest compression. Ultimately, they see their research leading to a portable customized machine that would optimize the CPR procedure by applying principles of optimal control theory. DOE's Office of Basic Energy Sciences and the Laboratory Directed Research and Development program have funded this research. [Contact: Ron Walli; 865.576.0226; firstname.lastname@example.org]
Soldiers encountering potentially toxic compounds in Iraq will soon be able to identify the substance in mere minutes because of a probe developed by researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The proprietary device consists of a stainless steel rod and extractor with a tip attached to the end. The soldier simply touches the tip to the liquid surface and the liquid is drawn by capillary action into the porous tip, where it is held until it is vaporized near the ground probe head. The liquid vapor then travels through the ground probe membrane and is analyzed by the mass spectrometer (MM1) aboard the FOX vehicles. The probe controls the amount of sample offered to the MM1, preventing sample overloading and resulting in a much more confident identification. When the analysis is complete, the operator merely ejects the tip into the sample, thereby minimizing exposure and waste. The toxic industrial compounds application probe, dubbed TAP, was developed by Rob Smith and Cyril Thompson of ORNL's Chemical Sciences Division. The project is funded by the Department of Defense. [Contact: Ron Walli; 865.576.0226; email@example.com]
Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, the first of the DOE Office of Science's nanoscience centers, is now open. October 1 marked the first day of the new fiscal year and the nanoscience center's first day with operating funds. Although the first research proposals are just entering the final stage of the review and approval process, the nanoscience center's bank of computers--the theory cluster--is up and running. The theory cluster will provide nanoscience center researchers and users with computing resources for modeling the theoretical simulations developed in the nanoscience center's Nanomaterials Theory Institute. The close collaboration among nano theorists and computational scientists is indicative of the role theory, modeling and simulation will play in the development of nanoscience. [Contact: Bill Cabage; 865.574.4399; firstname.lastname@example.org]
Research into gaining better understanding of the characteristics of heavy trucks operating on Interstate highways, and how those characteristics may be improved in future engineering of trucks is the focus of a program involving Oak Ridge and Argonne national laboratories. ORNL transportation researcher Bill Knee is leading a laboratory effort that involves placing 90 special monitoring instruments at various locations on the tractor and trailer. Characteristics such as engine parameters, emissions and the driving environment will be addressed. The two-year program will collect data on long-haul truck performance as the test trucks are driven on Interstate highways between Chicago and Portland, and between Miami and Bangor, Maine. The data will support modeling efforts and will be made available to automotive engineers in the trucking industry to support development of more energy efficient and safer trucks of the future. The data will also be useful to the Department of Energy to support making future investments in energy efficiency technologies. The program is funded by DOE's Office of FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technologies. [Contact: Fred Strohl; 865.574.4165; email@example.com]