Nav: Home

Research highlights from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

January 18, 2000

Device sounds off on cracks

A cracked bolt may not faze Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor as he does home improvements, but it can debilitate an industrial or nuclear plant if undetected. A new inspection device developed at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory detects cracks in bolts more easily and less expensively than alternatives.

Pacific Northwest's device relies on ultrasonic electronics to retrieve more accurate readings by limiting background noise. Also, the device allows fasteners to be inspected while in place, thereby reducing inspection time and allowing periodic monitoring. Inspectors have a greater opportunity to interpret the data and make repair decisions with a complementary computer tool that gives a visual representation of the fastener and any fractures or degradation.

'Doctored up' cotton for improved healing

Innovative methods of altering cotton gauze to enhance the healing of chronic wounds are being developed by researchers at Pacific Northwest, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Virginia Commonwealth University's Medical College of Virginia Hospitals. Approximately two million Americans, including diabetics and those confined to beds and wheelchairs, suffer from non-healing wounds.

Studies show a link between chronic wounds and elevated levels of the enzyme elastase, which is known to degrade proteins such as fibronectin required for tissue repair. This association has prompted research into methods to alter cotton to remove elastase without sacrificing the material's valuable properties, such as absorbency and air permeability.

In one approach, researchers synthesized a peptide "recognition site" for elastase on the cotton surface that absorbs the degradative enzyme away from the wound.

The modified dressings are scheduled to enter clinical trials at Medical College of Virginia Hospitals in spring 2000.

Marine ecological assessment in Hong Kong waters

A new type of census is being conducted beneath the waters near Hong Kong. Marine biologists at Pacific Northwest are evaluating the return of aquatic species near confined aquatic disposal sites - areas where contaminated dredge material is buried in the ocean bed.

In conjunction with ERM Group, an international environmental consultancy, Pacific Northwest scientists are helping Hong Kong resource agencies document the impact or lack of impact of confined aquatic disposal on species living on the sea bottom. Pacific Northwest scientists are helping ERM interpret data on the number of species living near the disposal area and the return of those species after disposal operations.

The present research at East Sha Chau's contaminated mud disposal site began in 1998 and will continue through 2001. The results of this program will help organizations determine the value and potential use of contaminated mud burial in confined aquatic disposal sites.

Chemical management made easier

A chemical tracking system that saves Pacific Northwest more than $7,000 each month now can help private companies save money. Until recently, it was common for chemical inventories to be tracked by several staff members in a variety of locations and forms - from spreadsheets to hard copies - making them difficult to track or share.

The software, called CMS, is available commercially through Enabling Technologies Inc. It helps companies comply with regulatory requirements, reduce data entry time and reduce waste through sharing and exchanging of materials. ETI offers CMS as part of an integrated laboratory management system.

DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Related Cotton Articles:

Cotton candy capillaries lead to circuit boards that dissolve when cooled
The silver nanowires are held together in the polymer so that they touch, and as long as the polymer doesn't dissolve, the nanowires will form a path to conduct electricity similar to the traces on a circuit board.
First step taken toward epigenetically modified cotton
Scientists have produced a 'methylome' for domesticated cotton and its wild ancestors, a powerful new tool to guide breeders in creating cotton with better traits based on epigenetic changes.
Secret weapon of smart bacteria tracked to 'sweet tooth'
Researchers have figured out how a once-defeated bacterium has re-emerged to infect cotton in a battle that could sour much of the Texas and US crop.
Cotton tip applicators are sending 34 kids to the emergency department each day
A study conducted by Nationwide Children's Hospital researchers found that over a 21-year period from 1990 through 2010, an estimated 263,000 children younger than 18 years of age were treated in US hospital emergency departments for cotton tip applicator related ear injuries -- that's about 12,500 annually, or about 34 injuries every day.
UT student wins competition at Beltwide Cotton Conference
Shawn Butler, a doctoral candidate at UT CASNR, recently won first place in a student oral paper competition at the 2017 Beltwide Cotton Conference.
More Cotton News and Cotton Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#534 Bacteria are Coming for Your OJ
What makes breakfast, breakfast? Well, according to every movie and TV show we've ever seen, a big glass of orange juice is basically required. But our morning grapefruit might be in danger. Why? Citrus greening, a bacteria carried by a bug, has infected 90% of the citrus groves in Florida. It's coming for your OJ. We'll talk with University of Maryland plant virologist Anne Simon about ways to stop the citrus killer, and with science writer and journalist Maryn McKenna about why throwing antibiotics at the problem is probably not the solution. Related links: A Review of the Citrus Greening...