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Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory February 2003

NANOTECHNOLOGY -- The shape of tomorrow . . .

Carbon nanotubes hold great promise for applications ranging from miniaturized drug delivery systems to lightweight structural material for aircraft, spacecraft and suspension bridges. The hollow, spaghetti-like tubes promise to replace steel with structural materials that are 100 times stronger and weigh six times less. Carbon nanotubes conduct electricity like perfect metals or can act as tiny semiconductor devices. They already have found their way into today's new field-emission flat-panel displays and promise to replace silicon chips in tomorrow's computers. Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Dave Geohegan, Alex Puretzky and Ilia Ivanov are using laser ablation and vapor deposition techniques to grow nanotubes up to millimeters long. They also are developing ways to align them in polymers for new generations of materials. The challenge now is to gain a better understanding of the tubes' chemistry and how they grow so scientists can optimize the process. [Contact: Ron Walli, 865-576-0226; wallira@ornl.gov]

MATERIALS -- A smashing success . . .

A new machine at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory's National Transportation Center user facility could help the auto industry make cars that are safer and sustain less damage in collisions. The one-of-a-kind Intermediate Strain Rate Machine enables engineers working with the automotive industry to provide more accurate performance data to improve the crash simulations used in the design process. The ISRM also can assist the military and NASA with structural material testing needs. [Contact: Fred Strohl, 865-574-4165; strohlhf@ornl.gov]

ECOLOGY -- Where roads and nature meet . . .

Ecological models and other tools available to decision makers can vastly reduce the environmental impacts of new roads, according to Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Virginia Dale, one of
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Contact: Ron Walli
wallira@ornl.gov
865-576-0226
DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory
13-Feb-2003


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