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Category: Chemical Engineering

Beyond X-rays — the new inspection tools to thwart smugglers

Once they’re ready, electronic sniffer dogs and neutron-emitting machines will quickly be able to check containers for illegal substances. Credit: Flickr/GlynLowe.com Criminals who want to smuggle dangerous or illegal substances into Europe could soon find themselves foiled by a new set of high-tech anti-smuggling tools including an electronic sniffer dog and a machine that fires part of an atom at shipping containers. The shipping industry is key to Europe’s economy, with 3.8 billion tonnes of cargo loaded and unloaded at…

We are Not Us Without The Microbes Within Us » Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog

We are Not Us Without The Microbes Within Us Posted on April 16, 2017  Comments (1) I Contain Multitudes is a wonderful book by Ed Young on the microbes within us. Time and again, bacteria and other microbes have allowed animals to transcend their basic animalness and wheedle their way into ecological nooks and crannies that would be otherwise inaccessible; to settle into lifestyles that would be otherwise intolerable; to eat what they could not otherwise stomach; to succeed against…

Hazardous reactions database launched | The Safety Zone

A nonprofit group today released a database tool chemists can use to share information about hazardous chemical reactions. Called the Chemical Safety Library, the tool was developed by a group that included representatives from pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions. “We feel this will be a valuable and unique set of data that is currently not available and should advance safety for all researchers,” says Carmen Nitsche, executive director for business development in North America at the Pistoia Alliance, which brings…

The Amazing Reality of Genes and The History of Scientific Inquiry » Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog

The Amazing Reality of Genes and The History of Scientific Inquiry Posted on March 4, 2017  Comments (2) The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee is a wonderful book. He does a great job of explaining the history of scientists learning about genes as well as providing understandable explanations for the current scientific understanding of genes and how they impact our lives. As I have mentioned before, I find biology fascinating even though I found biology classes utterly boring and painful. I…

From the archives: UC Berkeley lab demolished when molten salt bath explodes

More from last week’s trip into the C&EN archives. From Oct. 11, 1982: Molten salt baths cited as lab hazards Caption from 1982: Berkeley lab was demolished when a heated nitrite/thiocyanate mixture exploded A University of California, Berkeley, lab has been rebuilt and is ready for use again after being demolished in late July by the explosion of a molten salt bath. Berkeley chemistry and chemical engineering faculty members are concerned that many researchers are unaware of the potential dangers…

Safety workshops before #ACSSanFran

The American Chemical Society’s Division of Chemical Health & Safety is running workshops on the Friday and Saturday before the society’s National Meeting in San Francisco in April  Friday, March 31: Laboratory Waste Management Lab Safety – Beyond the Fundamentals Saturday, April 1: How to be a More Effective Chemical Hygiene Officer Reactive Chemical Management for Laboratories & Pilot Plants Using ACS Lab Safety Resources in the Classroom Cannabis Chemistry Extraction & Analysis Cost and registration information is here. The…

From the archives: Chemists move wall with hydrogen peroxide explosion

Posted By Jyllian Kemsley on Feb 22, 2017 in Academia, Accidents, Featured | More from my trip into the archives earlier this week. From Nov. 20, 1978: Explosive peroxidesSIR: We would like to alert persons to possible hazards involved with the rather common laboratory procedure of dissolving electrophoresis polyacrylamide gels with hydrogen peroxide, in order to measure radioactive species by scintillation counting. Recently a very violent explosion occurred in one of our laboratories which caused complete destruction…

No Airbags for Takata’s Crash

The story of Takata Corporation’s defective air-bag inflators is one we’ve been following for the last couple of years.  Last Friday, Jan. 13, Takata itself received what amounts to a corporate deathblow by admitting guilt in a single criminal charge brought by a Federal grand jury in Detroit.  In the agreement, Takata will pay a total of $1 billion which will go to fines, to compensation for individuals who were killed or injured by defective inflators, and mostly to car…

The only rambling I have for 2015…

Time flies. Flies so fast. I did not noticed that I have not posted anything in this Chemical Engineering World blog this year of 2015. My bad. I have been really fully occupied with numerous on-going tasks, projects and responsibilities. Fortunately, I still have time to muse a word or two in 2015. Well, nothing much to write here but just wanted to highlight few things of 2015. 2015 Grand Opening What a great way to open up 2015 with…

Stickers or Lasers? The Change in Tracking Produce

Recently, I reread a story discussing a technology in which lasers are used to mark produce with the goal of eliminating those little labels on everything from apples to zucchini.  As with most disruptive technologies, there are often unforeseen hurdles; consumer acceptance, immature technology, integration into business processes, etc. The laser marking technology was getting a lot of press a few years ago and it was projected to replace the produce stickers; aka Price Look-Up code (PLU) labels.   The…