High Density Thermoplastics Improve Outdoor Water Safety Gear

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Kids and water. Two things that simply cannot be separated during those hot summer months. Splashing around the bathroom and creating a mess sounds like a headache, but it’s entirely safe.

You also want them to go out and enjoy the great outdoors. You want them to bodysurf in the ocean. Dive into the swimming pool. Splash around the lake. Enjoy all kinds of water sports at the beach. However, their safety is a constant issue that keeps nagging you every moment they’re out there in the water.

High density thermoplastics could finally make life easier for parents. These composite materials are now being used to create all kinds of water safety gear and they really give you a peace of mind as you know they can go a long way in improving response time during emergencies and also prevent accidents.

Thanks to the advent of high density thermoplastics, water safety gear has really gone to the next level in the past decade. Durable, water-resistant and lightweight, these safety equipments are now the common norm for swimming, boating and all kinds of fun in the water.

The following are just some of the ways you can keep your kids safe.

Backyard Swimming Pools

A fence is great, but it doesn’t exactly offer the kind of safety a plastic cover made out of high gravity compounds tends to offer. And no matter how old your kids are, keeping PFDs and lifejackets around is always a must.

Protecting Your Feet at the Beach

Those lapping waves are simply irresistible, but prickly sea creatures and sharp rocks are a constant worry. Plastic water shoes can save your kids from cut feet while high quality goggles can protect their eyes from stinging. What’s more, special snug-fitting goggles can even be worn by lens wearers longing for an underwater swim.

Safety Above Water

Whether you’re fishing, cruising or simply water skiing, wearing personal floatation devices, also known as life jackets, are a must. Life jackets have really come out on their own in recent years. Today, they feature foam panels, plastic zippers, buckles and straps and offer great comfort and easy fits. There are a number of jackets that are designed for pets as well.

Plastic Shoes for Cruising

Whether you’re on a cruise or out boating, boat shoes made using high density thermoplastics are a must. They go a long way in preventing slipping and accidents. You can even protect your cell phones using sealable plastic bags.

Shatterproof Water Bottles for Hydration

Last, but certainly not the least, shatter-resistant plastic bottles and cups high gravity compounds also help you stay hydrated whether you’re boating or just spending some time at the beach.

Water sports, swimming and lounging on the beach is fun and exciting. All you need is some preventive planning and the right safety equipment. High density thermoplastics have helped enhance lifestyles and the economy and you’re sure to find safety gear which ensures that the outdoors are always fun and exciting.

New Research Could Allow Frangible Projectiles to Disintegrate After Designated Distance

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Frangible ammunition is pretty much the same than any other ammunition, with the key difference being that it uses a copper jacket instead of a lead core. The bullet is designed in such a way that when it hits a target harder than itself at full speed, it crumbles into pieces.

While this type of ammunition is expected to reduce the risk of collateral damage as the fragments are too small to cause any major harm, one of the biggest issues with frangible projectiles, and all other types of bullets for that matter, is that stray shots can often pose serious collateral damage, severe injury, and in some cases, even death.

Turns out a new research could soon be changing how the world looks at frangible bullets. Ernesto Marinero, professor of materials engineering, recently led a research group that has come up with a new range of frangible bullets which become non-lethal and completely disintegrate after traveling a particular distance, whether or not they hit an object.

The technology combines a limitation of range to the shrapnel-eliminating features of Frangible bullets and the stopping power of normal ammunition to limit the bullet’s range.

These frangible projectiles could drastically reduce the risk of injury and collateral damage, making such bullets even more preferable in sectors such as range shooting, law enforcement and military. The bullets have been patented by the Office of Technology Commercialization at the Purdue Research Foundation and can be licensed by companies.

Lead Aprons Could Be Block Radiation Exposure at the Cost of Lead Poisoning

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Radiation refers to cancer-causing energy that is transmitted in the form of high-speed particles or waves by the sun. Humans make use of man-made radiation in nuclear power plants, cancer treatments and x-ray devices, and have traditionally depended on radiation shielding materials such as lead aprons to protect them from radiation exposure.

While lead aprons might be a great way of protecting against radiation exposure, it turns out that they also increase the chances of lead poisoning for those who use and work with these aprons. And considering that even low level exposure to lead can be toxic for both children and adults, it might finally be the time to permanently switch to lead-free shielding materials.

The Study

A study published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology seems to confirm this line of thought. Jamie Shoag, MD at NYU Langone Medical Center and Kevin Burns, MD at Montefiore Medical Center, tested 172 lead shields that were used for fluoroscopy and x-ray at an academic medical center in NYC. They found that more than 50% of the shields had lead dust on the surface.

The Testing Method

Each shield was tested for external lead dust via the Flame Atomic Absorption Spectrometry (FAAS), a quantitative dust wipe analysis conducted in the lab and a qualitative on-site test. Researchers also used the chi-squared test to determine the association of lead present on the surface of the shield with factors such as sheet thickness, the type of shield, age, radiographic appearance and storage method.

The Results

The presence of lead was detected to be around 63% using the FAAS method and around 50% using the qualitative method. The dust detected ranged between untraceable quantities to 998 micrograms per sq. foot.

Limitations

Having chosen the right upper quadrant area for qualitative analysis and the middle area for quantitative analysis, the authors conceded that these areas might not represent the exact level of lead dust on the entire surface of the shield. “We did attempt to mitigate this limitation by performing a four-quadrant analysis on a subset of shields, which showed consistent results in all locations,” they state.

Even so, these findings prompted authors to urge all imaging centers and departments to switch to lead-free shielding materials as soon as possible. While it has been acknowledged that a single-site sample might have posed limitations to the study’s results, this was the first study of its kind and a standardized protocol for testing these shields is yet to be developed.

What Lies Ahead?

The authors have already called for more research to determine the clinical impact of these findings and further studies might shine some light on the limitations and dangers posed by existing x-ray and radiation shielding materials.

Blood levels could also be monitored to determine whether lead was transferred into the body while hand wipes could be a great way of determining if lead dust was transferred from lead aprons to the hands and bodies of technicians, physicians and nurses.

Floor Vibration Control Could Help Design Quiet Nano-Tech Facilities

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Reducing floor vibration is essential for patterning and imaging industries that work at the sub-nanometre level. As experts move towards smaller scales for pin-point accuracy and more sophisticated solutions, the need for vibration damping and acoustic dampening solutions is now more than ever.

A number of instruments need to achieve extremely precise measurements and the highest of resolutions. For example, electron microscopes need resolutions that range from the sub-nanometer to the tens of nanometres. Yet other microscopes work with resolutions in the sub-Angstrom levels. Floor vibration often causes a hindrance for these tools as it prevents them from achieving their design specifications.

The Quiet Building Concept and its Limitations

To overcome such issues, architects bank on the concept of ‘quiet buildings’, where Vibration dampening and acoustic dampening materials are used to reduce vibration levels without causing too many complexities in design. However, while these buildings offer moderate vibration damping solutions, nano-tech facilities generally need to meet extremely low vibration specification levels, and this significantly increases the cost of constructing the facility.

Another hindrance to the concept of ‘quiet buildings’ is that even though the floors are made using Vibration damping material, the moment you add other machinery and people into the building, vibration negates any benefit that the quiet building design has to offer.

The Quiet Island Concept

New data shows that creating quiet islands at several locations within the facility can truly help the facility achieve the low vibration requirement of nano-tech facilities. The concept focuses on placing a damped, rigid platform that matches the footprint left by the instrument and is ably supported by active acoustic dampening and vibration cancelling systems at locations where precision instruments are located and in locations where experiments and research is expected to be conducted. To do so, architects replace a section of the access floor with an isolated foundation that has been mounted to the sub-floor in order to prevent sub-floor vibrations from reaching the devices.

Benefits of Creating a Quiet Island

One of the main benefits of creating quiet islands is that the technique offers an extremely quiet surface, thereby creating a mini-environment, oases within the facility that are free of vibration. It becomes easier to make these quiet islands meet the cleanliness requirement of nano-tech facilities and rather on focusing on clean rooms and vibration proof rooms, the focus soon turned to clean islands and vibration proof islands, thereby reducing costs and increasing efficiency.

The quiet island concept also helps overcome the vibration caused when people and machinery are introduced into the facility. The approach is to arrange low frequency inertial vibration sensors in 3 axes in order to determine the level of vibration. The signals pass through advanced controllers and high capacity piezoelectric actuators to prevent any floor motion from reaching the isolated surfaces of the quiet island.

The quiet island concept comes as a boon to advanced semiconductor factories and chip-makers. Researchers at advanced electron microscope and imaging centres and nanotechnology research centres can also benefit from the quiet island concept.

The Benefits of Frangible Bullets

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Frangible bullets is coming up as the modern-day bullet, the bullet of choice for personal defence and shooting. But what exactly does this bullet has to offer? To start with, it is made with a compressed material, usually copper, tungsten or zinc, and is therefore completely free of lead.

Testing the Frangible

From shots on paper targets to steel plates to live hunting action, frangible bullets have been tested on everything, and excelled at everything. Hunters have ably dropped game with frangible bullet, confessing their love for its ability to offer clean kills and devastating wounds. Better yet, using frangible bullets saves the environment from lead poisoning, and most hunters and bald eagle lovers are now beginning to realize that we’ve had enough of that. Another benefit of a frangible bullet is the absence of an exit wound, which drastically reduces the chances of unintentional injuries due to over penetration.

Steel plate shooting is considered to be the best use of Frangible ammunition. There is that distinct ‘ping’ when the bullet hits home, but the sound is more subdued than non-frangibles hitting steel. Better yet, there isn’t the slightest backsplash nor any chance of a ricochet.

Reducing Accidents

Frangible bullets are designed to shatter into tiny pieces upon impact, offering greater penetration and reducing the chances of accident or unintended injury. The ability to shatter upon impact prevents ricochets and also stops the bullet from penetrating through a soft target with significant force. And while these are some excellent benefits that frangible projectiles have to offer, there are some other benefits of using frangible bullets as well.

Accuracy

Most shooters would like to believe that since frangible projectiles are lightweight, they cannot be as accurate as ordinary bullets. However, when tested at distances ranging from 7 to 25 yards, frangibles offered the same, if not better, levels of accuracy. Moreover, frangible bullets even offered great results when it came to precision, i.e., that tight group right where you want it to be.

Multi-Purpose Use

And while frangible bullets are ideal for steel plates, they offer a far greater variety of uses. Their ability to penetrate the body and cause permanent would cavities means that they’re equally useful for self defence or hunting. They’re entirely capable of devastating internals and shattering bones, and they often tend to drop the target quickly and painlessly.

Frangible bullets are sure to drop and drift differently when compared to non-frangibles, but don’t let that stop you. There’s nothing that a little bit of practice can’t correct. As with any ammunition, spending some time at the range helps you determine the right aim.

Lead-Free Plastics to Help with X-Ray Shielding

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Lead has commonly been used in x-ray devices to limit the amount of radiation exposure for patients and operators. This low-cost and high-gravity compound is among the most effective shields, but we also need to remember that its toxicity makes it very difficult and dangerous to handle.

The Need for a Change

Lead poisoning cases came into the spotlight after the Flint fiasco, and the world soon realized that it needed a substitute for lead, as quickly as possible. A number of governments are also moving away from the use of lead. The EU RoHS directive restricts the use of solders made out of lead in electronics. Medical devices are currently exempted from this list, but only because viable alternate solutions are yet to be available in commercial applications.

Investigating Replacements

A number of high gravity compounds such as tungsten and tungsten alloys are currently being researched. High density plastics have truly begun to take over a number of industries and applications, and it is believed that with additional research, they might even have lead’s manufacturability and convenience. LNP Thermocomp HSG PH1100B, a thermoplastic composite material is currently being projected as that alternative. This compound is believed to offer effective X-ray shielding capabilities and it can also be injection melded into complex designs easily.

LNP Thermocomp HSG PH1100B Vs Lead

Researchers conducted several tests to compare the material to lead in an x-ray shield. Results show that at an equivalent thickness, the HSG PH1100B performed the same, or better, than lead at different voltages. A specific gravity of 11, however, causes high viscosity in the HSG PH1100B when compared to other high density materials used in injection melding applications.

Managing the Viscosity

Researchers recommended the following guidelines to help manufacturers process and manufacture the material.

1. Mold simulations could be inconsistent as the HSG material has special formulations. Therefore, it is essential for an experienced engineer to review the designs. Apart from using standard tool-making practices, standard tool steels can also be chosen for glass fibber applications in order to extend the tool life. Designers also need to use basic plastic-design principles considering anisotropic material properties.

2. Pin gates are recommended to be avoided as they can cause material separation during the first-stage injection. Fans and edge gates offer much better alternatives as they produce lower peak pressure, and this can lead to better aesthetics and over all properties. This also causes lesser shear heating, thereby reducing the chances of separation of the resin and the filler.

3. The wall thickness is recommended to be 3 mm at a minimum. Gate design, vent depth and runner lengths also need special attention to boost performance.

Vast advancements improvements in the field of high density materials and thermoplastic composite materials can encourage designers around the world to choose injection melding solutions in all kinds of applications, including x-ray shielding. The HSG material has already shown that it can offer the same benefits of lead, yet avoid the risks and extra machining that is typically involved while using lead.

With the help of these materials, it is entirely possible for manufacturers around the world to come up with new technologies and better equipment. It might be early days in the x-ray shielding department, but the results do look incredibly promising!

Reducing Noisemakers from Your Bow for a Better Hunting Experience

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Eliminating noise and reducing footprint is extremely essential for bow hunters. We use the quietest hunting clothes to reduce noise and choose scent control products to hide our scent. But what about the bow itself? While most modern-day bows come with vibration dampening mechanisms, there are so many things you can do to make your bow as silent as possible.

Reduce Creaks

Regular use forces the bow to undergo intense amounts of pressure, and this can cause some of the components to shift and creak while taking a shot. Limb pockets are often found to be culprits of giving away your presence after a long season of being dragged through the dirt and set down repeatedly. If you’re experiencing similar sounds or creak, your bow needs to be placed in a press to remove tension from its limbs. Applying grease to the bearings and limb rockers can also work wonders.

Use Rubber String Dampeners

Strings are one of the main sources of vibration and one of the most effective focus areas for vibration dampening. When the string is released, stored energy from the cams and limbs are transferred to the string, propelling the arrow forward. The remaining energy is sent back to the string in the form of sound and vibration. Using a rubber string dampener reduces the amount of time the vibration or sound lasts, while reducing the volume of the shot as well. Adding dampeners to cables can further reduce noise without causing a reduction in overall speed.

Tighten Screws

Another commonly overlooked area is the screw. Bows use a number of screws and these screws begin to lighten their hold, causing creaks when the bow is in use. Remember to check string stops, cable rods, cams and limb pockets and tighten any loose screws.

Use Limb Dampeners

It’s common for the limb to make some noise as it is one of the key factors responsible for your bow’s energy. The parallel limb bow led to a huge drop in the sound being produced during a shot, but vibration dampening materials can also be placed on the limb itself or between limbs (depending on the type of bow) to reduce and eliminate noise.

Work on Your Accessories

Sights, quivers, rests – just about everything can cause noise. When your bow’s making unusual clunking noises, the first thing you should check is whether your accessories are fitted properly. In most cases, a loose accessory is usually the culprit behind that unusual noise. The simplest way to catch the noisemaker is to remove one accessory at a time and shoot the bow to determine the problem maker.

When the bow is at full draw, the increased pressure causes flex, which makes the accessories shift on the bow, thereby causing noise. Always make sure you look for areas where a metal comes in contact with another metal and apply a layer of athletic tape to work as a vibration dampening material. Some of the most common areas you need to look at include stabilizers, rest, sight and quiver mount.

Once you’re used vibration dampening materials to reduce noise as much as possible, it’s time to visit the range to practice your shot. Remember, it is impossible to eliminate certain sounds. Moreover, the bow also sounds louder to the shooter. To truly determine the amount of noise your bow is making, have someone shoot your bow, while you stand on the side, determining just how much of a difference your actions made. Remember, every action that reduces or limits unwanted sounds or vibrations can present a more successful and consistent hunting experience.

Want to Reach Mars? Deal with Radiation First

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For the first time in history, human exploration of Mars has been declared of NASA’s official goal. President Trump even signed a bill to increase the space agency’s spending budget to $19.5 billion for a 12 month period starting October 1, 2017. For years, NASA inspired millions to imagine a better future on planet worth and civilizations in distant worlds, and it might just be time to work on making that dream a reality.

Colonizing Space

NASA hopes to send people to Mars by the 2030s as it continues to work with private companies to come up with new technologies that can help with this goal. The Elon Musk owned SpaceX has plans of its own to get to the red planet, and his company is planning to send an unmanned spaceship to Mars as early as 2018.

Can it be Done?

One of the biggest hindrances to the Mars program has been the issue of radiation. Present day radiation shielding materials aren’t capable of securing a trip to Mars. Moreover, the entire spacecraft needs to be built with materials that can protect the body from the effects of radiation as exposure could cause cancer, and even death.

Let’s take the example of earth. It would take several meters of thick concrete or lead to keep the body safe from a nuclear disaster. And having to fall back on lead, one of the most dangerous metals that the human body can be exposed to, is saying something. It’s pretty much the same in deep space.

Since the thin atmosphere of Mars won’t be able to offer protection to people who live there, offering lead free shielding and radiation shielding materials is one of the most critical aspects of colonizing space.

Working on a Solution

Experts have been working on several radiation shielding methods to protect astronauts in deep space. One of the proposed solutions is to wear the AstroRad Radiation Shield, a vest designed to offer the best possible radiation protection in deep space or in the event of a nuclear disaster. The vest protects vital human tissue and stem cells from radiation and might get its first test in 2018 when the Orian spacecraft makes its test journey to the moon.

Based on simulations, it is expected that the vest shall offer the same protection as a “shielded safe room” in the Orion. The vest has many small cells that are grouped together so that the device resembles a honeycomb. It is also known to be incredibly lightweight and flexible.

Other Proposals

NASA has also been exploring other radiation shielding material concepts. One idea proposes to build a storm shelter inside the floor of the Orion spacecraft. Astronauts can hide in this shelter in the event of a solar flare, sudden bursts of energy from the sun’s surface. The agency is also working on drugs to work like antioxidants and fight the effects of radiation. The medicine could even work in reversing effects of radiation exposure from flares.

Finding the right radiation shielding materials might take some time and research, but Mission Mars now looks like a future reality, not a distant dream.

Lead is Back in America’s Federal Wetlands

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The use of lead bullets for waterfowl hunting on federal wetlands was banned by the Fish and Wildlife Service in the year 1991. Lead bullets were also banned on lands within the range of Californian condors in the year 2008. On January 19, 2017, the Obama administration extended the 1991 ban to account for all hunting on all federal wildlife refuges, national parks and lands.

The problem isn’t with the lead bullet itself. It occurs when hunters clean the animal and leave its remains, including the expended lead bullet, on the field. The problem occurs when a shot animal escapes the hunter and dies later. Birds and scavengers then feed on these remains, and often end up eating parts of the lead bullets. Once ingested, the lead hinders their ability to fly, causes starvation and blindness and also leads to seizures and death.

In a complete turn of events, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke rescinded the order as one of his first acts after taking office. Jamie Rappaport Clarke, the CEO of Defenders of Wildlife states that the use of lead ammunition in an age when alternate measures such as lead free ammunition and frangible projectiles are readily available is unacceptable. “We know the incredible harm that lead poses to people and to wildlife,” says Clarke.

Secretary Zinke argues that the law was a step banning hunting on public lands. “It worries me to think about hunting and fishing becoming activities for the land-owning elite,” says Zinke.

Whether or not hunting and fishing are becoming activities for the elite, we do know that the lead bullets that are used by hunters to hunt deer can find its way into venison. So can anyone guess what’s going to be served on dinner plates soon?

It’s never too late though. Some might believe that rescinding the ban was the right thing to do, but common sense dictates that we get rid of lead as soon as possible. With alternatives such as frangible projectiles and lead free ammunition readily available, it seems unimaginable that hunters would make their families and their beloved hunting environment go through the dangers that lead poses.

Activities like hunting and fishing hold a special place in America’s heart, and it is our responsibility to make sure that they’re available for future generations to come. And while the environment around us is already suffering from the dangers of lead poisoning, it still isn’t too late, provided we act now as a society and do something about this issue that affects our children and their future once and for all.

Lead Poisoning Becomes Worse in America

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We’ve recently become conscious about lead and have actually made an effort to look at lead replacements and clean up lead from our streets and pipelines. We’ve long known that lead poisoning is a serious issue among America’s children. We’ve worked on the issue, and thought that we’re comfortably moving towards a better future.

Lead in Numbers

Unfortunately, it seems that the case of lead poisoning is even worse than before. According to researchers from the California Environmental Health Tracking Program, the number of children with high levels of lead in their blood was 1.2 million as of 1999-2010. And since testing rates have declined after 2000 and kids who aren’t tested don’t get reported to the CDC, this number is likely to be much higher today.

Researchers state that about 11 states, including Florida and Arizona, aren’t testing more than 80% of their children for lead poisoning. About 40 to 60% of the children in 28 other states aren’t tested for lead poisoning either. And this is not even counting the 12 states who don’t share their data with the CDC.

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The numbers are quite alarming to pose a serious health concern. How is it that so many children aren’t being tested for lead poisoning? How is it that lead replacement strategies aren’t as effective as we’d want them to be? Since testing for lead isn’t required in the country, doctors usually miss children with high levels of lead in their blood. Many cases go undetected and countless children don’t get the treatment they really need.

Lead Isn’t Safe

No level of lead is safe. Studies show that minute concentrations of 2 micrograms per decilitre are enough to lower a child’s IQ. Once this level reaches 5 micrograms, children can also suffer from serious mental and neurological damage. The CDC found that as many as 0.5 million kids had elevated levels of 5 micrograms or higher in the year 2014. These kids accounted for 4.2 percent of the total number of kids tested at the time.

However, according to Eric Roberts, the lead author of a paper published in the Paediatrics Journal, this number isn’t consistent or complete. To calculate the number of cases that might have gone unreported, Roberts and his team used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted by the CDC. They combined this data with the census data on poverty, race, housing and other risk factors of lead exposure.

When the results were compared to CDC’s reported cases, it was found that more than 600,000 children with lead levels of more than 10 micrograms weren’t counted in CDC’s reporting. “People talk about the great public health victory over lead, which is true, but I think it kind of blinded us,” says Roberts.

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How Did Things Go from Bad to Worse?

One of the biggest hindrances to fighting lead poisoning is that it isn’t legally required to test kids for lead in the US. In New Mexico, Washington, Colorado, Oregon and Nevada, only one out of 10 kids were treated for lead poisoning. Studies also focus on lead poisoning cases from houses built before 1950, but this has been inconsistent as well. Most of these houses can be found in the Midwest and Northeast regions, but Roberts says that the greatest number of lead poisoning cases can actually be found down South. The West isn’t doing great either.

America’s deteriorating infrastructure also poses a serious problem. Unlike Flint, water isn’t a huge problem in most states. The pipes are the main culprits. Prior to 1980, most drinking water systems used lead service lines, and as many as 6 million lead pipes are still in operation. That’s at least 10 million American households!

The Solution

Using lead substitutes to overhaul the drinking water system could cost as much as $1 trillion over the next 25 years. However, if an investment is not made now, we continue to risk poisoning children and ignore kids with high levels of lead in their blood. As seen in Flint, grassroots activism and advocating testing of lead is one of the only ways of throwing lead poisoning into the national spotlight.

Sure the fiasco was the worst infrastructure disaster the country has seen in decades. But it also showed us that homes and water systems across the country are at risk, and the issue is far worse than most suspected.