DARPA's Radiation Decontamination (And 'Doc' Smith's Dekon)

Scientists at a number of companies have made progress in helping DARPA mitigate the effects of a Radiological Dispersal Device (RDD). If an RDD (also called a "dirty bomb" - an explosive laced with radioactive substances) goes off in an urban environment, downwind buildings will be contaminated with very fine radioactive particles. At present, the only real remedy is to tear down the structures and rebuild.

A battery of foams, gels, films and emulsions are now being developed to deal with this problem:

  • Isotron has developed a polymer coating that could be added to water sprayed from fire hoses. The sprayed-on coating would dry to a blue film that would trap contaminants. This would help mitigate the airborne spread of the contaminants.
  • Surfaces would then be hosed down with compounds by other developers to detach radioactive atoms bound to iron oxides, clays or other ingredients in porous building materials.
  • A special gel composed primarily of polyacrylates (also used in disposable diapers) and nanoscale particles is used to coat surfaces and draw out contaminants. On concrete, the gel absorbs more than 98 percent of radioactive atoms in about a half hour.

(From Science News
The polymer gel [yellow sheet] peels away from white marble
taking most contaminant with it.)

Science fiction writers have been thinking about this problem for several generations. In his 1965 novel Subspace Explorers, author E.E. 'Doc' Smith wrote about a unique decontamination foam:

He unclamped a fire-extinguisher-like affair; opened the door of a tiny room. "In here!" He cradled the device and opened four valves. Fast as he was, she was ready for the gush of thick, creamy foam from the multiplex nozzle.

"Oh, Dekon?" she asked. "I've read about it. I rub it in good, all over me?"

"That's right. Short for 'Decontaminant, Complete; Compound, Absorbent, and Chelating; Type DCQ.' It takes care of radiation, but speed is of the essence. All over you is right."
(Read more about 'Doc' Smith's Dekon)

Read more at Science News; thanks to Winchell Chung for the story tip and quote.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/3/2005)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Medical ")

Skin Electronics Can Show Electrocardiogram
'... the young men in the streets who applied polyimde OLED body film to their bared shoulders.' - Chen Qiufan, 2019.

Neurodevices For Consumers? Neuroethicists (And Philip K Dick) Say 'Caveat Emptor'
'They tried to use it today and it wouldn't work. No colors and no ceph patterns, neither one...' - Philip K. Dick, 1977.

BrainEx Restores Some Activity To Severed Pig Head
'... they placed the brain in a special solution, having all the properties of Nursing the brain cells.' - Edmond Hamilton, 1929.

Purdue Pharma Ready To Profit From OxyContin Use Or Addiction Recovery
'It may be organic damage. It may be permanent. Time'll tell, and only after you are off Substance D for a long while.' - Philip K. Dick, 1977.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

China Deploys Robot Traffic Police
'The robot came up smooth and fast as a rocket...'

Better Than Dune Chromoplastic? This Guy Might Have Done It
'But when Old Father Sun departs, the chromoplastic reverts to transparency in the dark.'

Gather, An AI Warehouse Inventory Drone Startup
'It extended three of its tiny arms sideways to lock onto the registration pins...'

China's Artificial Intelligence-Enhanced Education
'The grey gas not only cut off his vision, but also his other senses...'

Orbital Manufacturer 'Made in Space' Gets $73 Million NASA Contract
'Mass-produced in the orbiting factories...'

Soli Gesture Tech Will Be In Google Pixel 4
'I enjoy watching this way, but - He waved his hand and the circuit switched abruptly.'

Uber Eats Pairs Cars With Drones
Fresh grub? Let's hope they aren't delivering grubs.

Space-Based Solar Power Roundup
SF writers popularized and elaborated on this idea a generation before the first patents were filed.

Lost Language Meanings Found By Machine Learning
'The autopilot would need data before it could begin a translation...'

'Aerogel' Sheets For Martian Gardens
'Sealed to the ground along all the sides, Honey, he growled...'

France's 'Red Team' Of Science Fiction Authors
'They're the only experts we have.'

Dim The Sun With Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment
'Those twin volcanoes; d'ye see them, Mr. Renner?'

Mashambas Skyscraper Farm Design Wins
'...a towering eighty-story structure like the office In-and Out baskets stacked up to the sky.'

Self-Driving Tractors From China Plan Ahead
'Machines that seemingly with full consciousness walked out into the fields to do their daily work.'

Jet-Powered Hoverboard Works!
L'audace, l'audace, toujours l'audace!

Nobe 3-Wheel Electric Vehicle Parking Like I, Robot
Spidercar, Spidercar, does whatever a spidercar does.

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.