October 2008 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.
Burnt bacon could become a thing of the past with new cookware that uses a patented graphite foam developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The lightweight material distributes heat much faster and more uniformly than conventional materials, allowing food to be cooked in a fraction of the time. Conversely, pots and pans cool in just minutes. "We see many advantages for cooks of all skill levels," said James Klett of the Materials Science and Technology Division. By cooking faster, this cookware would also help conserve energy required not only to cook but also to cool the kitchen during summer months. The material, an R&D 100 Award winner in 2000, is also being used to help cool oil on at least one make of motorcycle and has dozens of other potential applications. The project was funded through the division's technology maturation program. [Contact: Ron Walli; 865.576.0226; email@example.com]
Stronger stainless steel castings are critical to the regeneration of ceramic honeycomb filters used to produce cleaner exhaust systems and upgraded turbocharger housings for diesel engines. Improvements to these castings could result from test projects now under way at Oak Ridge National Laboratory's High Temperature Materials Laboratory. A research team led by ORNL's Phil Maziasz is using an R&D 100 steel alloys technology developed by ORNL and Caterpillar to determine durability of exhaust components that must sustain higher temperatures and severe thermal cycling to meet upgraded and stringent EPA air quality standards. Caterpillar and Honeywell are partnering with ORNL on the collaborative testing for the turbocharger application. The funding source is DOE's FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technologies program, sponsored by DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. [Contact: Fred Strohl; 865.574.4165; firstname.lastname@example.org]
Radiation detection monitors at more than a dozen weigh stations in the Southeast will be put to the test this month as part of an exercise to be conducted by the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office. The goal is to move toward widespread use of radiation detection devices to thwart efforts of terrorists attempting to transport dirty bombs or weapons of mass destruction, said Rob Records, program manager and a member of Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Computational Sciences and Engineering Division. "We are in the process of completing design, installation, testing and deployment of detection systems," said Records, who noted that not impeding commerce is a key aspect. Training weigh station personnel, establishing operations procedures and enhancing communication infrastructures at the regional level are also major focuses. Funding is provided by the Department of Homeland Security. [Contact: Ron Walli; 865.576.0226; email@example.com]
The Department of Energy's Spallation Neutron Source has completed installation of another eagerly awaited analytical tool. SEQUOIA will be a star performer in the SNS's bevy of instruments for materials research, providing unprecedented, high-resolution neutron scattering studies of the dynamics of atoms and molecules in materials. Researchers in the condensed matter and materials sciences will have with SEQUOIA unprecedented ability to analyze and understand the dynamics behind high-temperature superconductors, quantum and molecular magnetism and ferroelectric, piezoelectric and thermoelectric materials. "SEQUOIA, like all of the SNS's advanced instruments, will stay on the cutting edge of neutron instrumentation for years to come, providing a huge leap in our ability to understand fundamental interactions in the advanced materials of today and of tomorrow," said Dean Myles, who directs Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Neutron Scattering Science Division and Center for Structural Molecular Biology. The work is funded by DOE's Office of Basic Energy Sciences. [Contact: Bill Cabage; 865.574.4399; firstname.lastname@example.org]