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Ames Laboratory scientists are contributing their expertise to assist DOE Headquarters to develop and transfer new technologies needed to solve specific environmental cleanup problems.
The CMST Group provides technical expertise and administrative assistance to DOE's Characterization, Monitoring, and Sensor Technology - Crosscutting Program (CMST-CP), a national effort to provide improved technologies for specific characterization, monitoring, and sensing problems.
"Striving to meet DOE's environmental management needs, we're working to complete the development of innovative technologies and to deploy those technologies with customers at DOE sites," says Ames Laboratory's Martin Edelson about CMST Group's work to support DOE technology development and transfer efforts.
Ames Laboratory scientists assist by helping analyze DOE CMST needs, by assessing research progress, and by facilitating the field testing and ultimate deployment of innovative technologies. Guiding technology development to deployment, they provide information to researchers on performance needs and publicize new technology performance specifications to customers throughout the DOE, other federal agencies, and the general public.
In related activities, Ames scientists work with technology developers and personnel from other federal agencies to demonstrate and validate the developer's technology performance specifications under well- controlled field test conditions. This technology validation process often is required to obtain user, regulator, and customer acceptance of innovative technologies.
- More Focused Technology Development -- Research and development is targeted on clearly defined needs.
- Prioritized Delivery of Technologies -- Clear prioritizing helps deliver timely technology solutions for DOE's most urgent needs.
- Technology Transfer Encouraged -- Promoting communication and collaboration among technology developers and users helps developers better understand DOE needs and helps users become more aware and accepting of emerging technologies.
- Duplication Minimized -- Effective coordination reduces replication of work within DOE.
- Efficient Technologies Emphasized --This coordination encourages techniques that save time and money, such as field-deployable technologies offering immediate results and reduced lab analysis costs.
By focusing on user needs and emphasizing collaboration between technology developers and customers, the CMST Group facilitates deployment of innovative technologies. DOE Headquarters and Ames Laboratory work together to speed development and transfer of technologies for faster, safer, better and cheaper characterization, monitoring, and sensing work.
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For additional information concerning the CMST-Crosscutting Program and the Monthly Progress Reports produced by its principal investigators, which was active from November 1989 to September 2002, please contact the EPSCI program director, David P. Baldwin.
The worldwide search for an effective lead-free solder may be over as Ames Lab's new environmentally friendly option begins reaching the marketplace.
For centuries, tin-lead solders have been the standard for low-temperature bonding of metals, but now industry needs another choice. Hazardous to human health, lead in solder presents risks in the workplace and at the landfill where soldered electronic boards routinely end up. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has identified lead in discarded electronics as a groundwater contaminate, legislation has been proposed to eliminate lead from solder, and industry experts predict regulation of lead solder is on its way.
"While our solder is lead-free and reduces the environmental hazard, that's not its only advantage," says Ames Lab's Iver Anderson, co-inventor of a new solder from tin, silver and copper. "We worked with different alloy combinations and solidification processes to find a unique composition that retains many qualities of tin-lead solders but offers improvements too, such as greater strength and heat resistance," explains Anderson.
Testing solderability and strength, collaborators on the project at Sandia National Laboratory have confirmed that the new solder will apply easily like traditional solders yet offer increased strength important for withstanding the rugged environments of today's high-tech applications. A slightly higher melting point, within the operating range of current soldering equipment, is another advantage of the new solder -- making it less likely to fail in high-temperature settings like under the hood of an automobile.
While other lead-free solders are under development, the availability and cost of the metals in this new solder coupled with its outstanding properties make it a particularly attractive replacement for tin-lead. Commercial solder manufacturers seem to agree. One company is already producing this new solder for use in heavy-equipment radiators while another is finalizing the licensing process to produce the solder for a different application.
- Environmentally Friendly - Unlike traditional solder, Ames Lab's new solder contains no lead. It also contains no by-products of lead mining as some other lead-free options do.
- Increased Strength - A finer microstructure allows this solder to withstand greater stress and more rugged settings, than traditional solders.
- More Temperature-Resistant - Unlike traditional solders, this can withstand higher-temperature environments and the thermomechanical fatigue of dramatic temperature changes, both common in today's high-tech machinery.
- Resists Corrosion - Unlike tin-lead, this solder is not sensitive to corrosion, which can weaken a soldered connection.
- Easy to Work With - Like traditional solder, but unlike many other lead-free options, this applies to metals easily and can be formed into sheets or wires for accurate placement.
- Inexpensive and Available - While slightly more expensive than tin-lead, the metals of this solder (tin, silver and copper) are abundant and less expensive than most other lead-free solders under development.
The strength, heat resistance, workability and cost-effectiveness of Ames Lab's new lead-free solder make it an attractive alternative for getting environmentally hazardous lead out of commonly used solders.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Iver Anderson, e-mail: email@example.com, phone: (515) 294-9791
Finding out where heavy metals are and where they aren't is getting easier with a new detector developed in a collaboration between Ames Laboratory and Iowa State University's Center for Non-Destructive Evaluation.
"Our first application is pinpointing the exact location of contamination in facilities that DOE is dismantling," says Joe Gray, co-developer of the K-edge heavy metal detector. "But quickly identifying heavy metals without contact will be helpful in many cleanup tasks and because of that, our detector is generating lots of interest."
Gray and Terry Jensen, the project's other co-investigator, have developed, designed, assembled and demonstrated a new portable detector that combines an x-ray source and spectrometry for quick identification and quantification of heavy metal contaminants in even large volumes of a wide variety of materials. It not only indicates which contaminants are present, but how much of a contaminant is where.
Successfully demonstrated for detecting contamination in facilities being decommissioned at DOE's Oak Ridge complex in Tennesse and at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina, the technology offers more rapid, sensitive and accurate measurement of facility contamination than other available detection methods. It works by using K-edge spectrometry to analyze x-rays that have been shined through a contaminated material, for instance a facility's structures. Scientists can determine the heavy metals present from that spectral analysis.
Already on the brink of making facility dismantling safer, quicker and more efficient by providing critical information, this technology holds promise for improving a host of other contaminant evaluations as well. Examples of other applications include rapid identification of soil contaminants, monitoring of new waste processing techniques and characterization of stored waste needing to be sorted for proper disposal.
- Highly Sensitive Detection - The K-edge detector offers more sensitive and accurate measurement of heavy metal contaminants than techniques already available.
- Resists Interference - Demonstrated on uranium samples in steel as thick as one and one-half inches, this detector is not hindered by the presence of materials other than the heavy metals it is designed to locate, as long as the thickness of the material being tested is appropriate for the X-rays to pass through.
- Safe, Rapid Technique - Remote, in-situ analysis minimizes hazardous sample handling and transport as well as worker exposure to contamination. It also makes assessment of large facilities or areas more feasible.
- Excellent Spatial Resolution - This technology can show exactly where heavy metal contaminants are, mapping them out for instance in a facility, in contaminated soils, or in stored or vitrified waste when sufficient time is available for making a series of measurements.
- Multiple Applications - Already being applied to the assessment of components from contaminated facilities, this rapid, non-contact and nondestructive analytical technique with the ability to assess large areas can be adapted for other cleanup needs, including the surveying of soils for heavy metals, the monitoring of waste processing streams and the characterization of stored wastes.
Rapidly identifying heavy metals even in large volumes of a wide variety of materials, Ames Lab's portable K-edge detector promises to improve a multitude of cleanup tasks, initially making the dismantling of contaminated facilities easier, safer and more efficient.
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