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Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, January 2007

rasslm@ornl.gov">brasslm@ornl.gov]

FORENSICS -- Dead giveaway . . .

Decompositional odors released from corpses in clandestine graves are providing a chemical fingerprint that could help law enforcement officials find these burial sites and provide evidence that ultimately points to the victim's killer. A team led by Arpad Vass, a forensics expert in Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Biosciences Division, started by identifying 478 specific volatile compounds associated with burial decomposition and narrowed these down to the top 30 in order of perceived importance for finding buried bodies. The project, begun four years ago, identifies the "odor signature" unique to human burial decomposition and could lead to improved cadaver dog training and possibly to a portable instrument that could help locate human remains. The research, performed with assistance from the University of Tennessee's Department of Anthropology and the Anthropological Research Facility, is funded by the FBI's Counterterrorism and Forensic Science Research Unit.

[Contact: Ron Walli, (865) 576-0226; wallira@ornl.gov]

ENERGY -- Hot savings . . .

Homeowners could see their electric bills reduced considerably with Oak Ridge National Laboratory's integrated heat pump. The unit, which combines water heating with heating and cooling, dehumidification and ventilation functions, can use 50 percent less energy than standard heat pumps and water heaters. The unit's energy savings come primarily from hot water provided at heat pump efficiencies, said Richard Murphy, a researcher in ORNL's Building Technologies Program. The unit also benefits from the use of variable speed components that have operating rates that can be adjusted to meet current loads efficiently. A number of other factors, including the availability of mass-produced products such as brushless permanent magnet motors for compressors and fans, are
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Contact: Ron Walli
wallira@ornl.gov
865-576-0226
DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory
18-Jan-2007


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