The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) has developed CT-Analyst, a tool that provides accurate, instantaneous, 3D predictions of chemical, biological, and radiological (CBR) agent transport in urban settings. In the past, more accuracy has always meant more computing and therefore, delay. For timely situation assessment, fractions of a minute count. CT-Analyst uses the best computations possible prepared well ahead of time and captures their salient results in a highly compressed database to be manipulated and displayed instantly. A detailed, citywide model of dynamic urban airflow supplies a cutting-edge 3D database of agent airflow to power CT-Analyst. The accuracy of full 3D fluid dynamics simulations with meter-scale resolution is placed at the fingertips of first-responders and emergency managers, in a visual, easy-to-comprehend form with zero time delay.
Evaluating Protective Head Gear with Live Neuronal Cultures
In order to examine effects of blasts and impacts directly on cells, the Naval Research Laboratory has designed methods for exposing cell cultures to real and simulated blasts/impacts. Key to the methods is a "cell pack" containing cell cultures outside of the incubator while still allowing the cells to experience pressure waves, accelerations, and other forces associated with blasts or impacts. A cell pack instrumented version containing pressure and acceleration sensors ascertains the forces that the neurons are subjected to under a given set of conditions. A full scale head model incorporating cell packs is designed for live blast tests and a variety of impact testing. A flat panel system performs small scale laboratory testing of cell response to forces or simple material testing.
Purification of Coal Ash or Mineral Ores Using Ionic Liquids
The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) has developed a process utilizing ionic liquids for extracting rare earth elements (REEs) from both coal ash and mineral ores. The NRL process reaches beyond generating REEs for critical components by reducing the risk of coal ash slurry spills, reducing contamination clean-up and 90% reduction of the radioactivity of coal ash. The principal accomplishments of NRL’s process include 90% reduction in waste water generation for mineral ore and coal ash processing, cost effective production of heavy metals and REEs from coal ash, and conversion of coal ash to non-hazardous materials. The NRL process has the potential to generate 300,000 metric tons of REEs for critical components in various electronics from cell phones to solar panels.
Three-Dimensional Zinc Electrode Architectures for High-Performance Batteries
Zinc-based batteries offer a safe, inexpensive alternative to fire-prone lithium-based batteries, yet have been historically limited by poor rechargeability. NRL has developed a 3D zinc (Zn) sponge electrode architecture comprising interpenetrating networks of Zn scaffolding and void space. The 3D Zn sponge yield superior electrochemical properties when cycled in alkaline electrolytes compared to conventional Zn powder-composite electrodes. To overcome dendrite formation upon cycling current is distributed more homogeneously in 3D throughout the electrode volume, while the void structure constrains dissolution/precipitation processes within the electrode.