Navigation Links
Brewing a blast-less fertilizer
Date:9/5/2007

Down in the green, rolling hills and farmlands around Lexington, Kentucky, Darrell Taulbee can be found mixing up a batch of his homegrown fertilizer. But hes not looking to grow a better Big Boy or distill a smoother bourbon, he tells us. Funded by the University of Kentucky and the Homeland Securitys Science & Technology Directorate (S&T), Taulbee sets his sights on something far more sinister.

Darrell Taulbee putters with this stuff to make sure another Oklahoma bombing never happens again.

It was common fertilizer that Timothy McVeigh used to build the ferocious bomb that ripped into the Murrah Building, killing 167 innocent men, women, and especially children. Mixing ammonium nitrate with hate and fuel oil, McVeigh brought us a homegrown brand of terrorism and a raw grief from which we still reel.

Ammonium nitrate (AN) is a fertilizer used to create bumper crops. But, when combined with fuel oil (FO) it becomes ANFO, an explosive mixture of terrifying potential. The United States produces and imports millions of tons of it every year.

Taulbee is looking for ways to to reduce the destructive power of AN. He is eyeing coal combustion by-productsfly ash from electric power plants (120 million tons are produced yearly at coal-burning power plants)to make AN less deadly. He coats AN pellets with fly-ash, packs them into metal canisters, and takes them deep into the Kentucky hills. There he blows them up.

Taulbee is methodical. With Tom Thurman, a retired bomb-scene investigator for the FBI now at Eastern Kentucky University, he learned that a mix of 20 percent coal ash to 80 percent AN keeps an explosion from burning all its fuel. This renders a blast far less violent.

There are no commercially available options totally effective in preventing ammonium nitrate from being used as an explosive, Taulbee points out, Coal ash wont stop the blast from initiating, but it will stop it from propagating. Whats more, he adds, the ash is classified as non-toxic by the EPA and may have some beneficial effects for crops. Its inexpensive and coats easily onto AN particles, forming a hard outer layer difficult to remove.

Future research will include confirmation of Taulbees results by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the New Mexico Institute of Technology and/or the FBI. There will also be more extensive evaluations of the potential impacts on agriculture.

Mike Matthews oversees Taulbees research for S&T. He says, If Taulbee can eliminate much of the McVeigh factor in ammonium nitrate fertilizers, hell go a long way in helping to contain the threat of these homegrown fertilizer bombs.


'/>"/>

Contact: Gail Cleere
gail.cleere@dhs.gov
202-254-5691
US Department of Homeland Security - Science and Technology
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. New research indicates a troubled greenhouse is brewing
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/29/2017)... , March 29, 2017  higi, the health IT ... North America , today announced a ... the acquisition of EveryMove. The new investment and acquisition ... of tools to transform population health activities through the ... data. higi collects and secures data today ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... -- The report "Gesture Recognition and Touchless Sensing Market by Technology ... Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected to be worth ... and 2022. Continue Reading ... ... ...
(Date:3/20/2017)... -- At this year,s CeBIT Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel ... Chancellor came to the DERMALOG stand together with the Japanese Prime Minster ... country. At the largest German biometrics company the two government leaders could ... recognition as well as DERMALOG´s multi-biometrics system.   ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/28/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... April 28, 2017 , ... ... research organization (CRO) has validated a 0.2 ng/mL lower limit (LLOQ) assay for ... a 0.5 ng/mL LLOQ assay, the ultra-low trace nicotine assay meets additional needs ...
(Date:4/27/2017)... ... April 27, 2017 , ... This month Quorum Review ... that simplifies research studies, accelerates study startup, and improves participant engagement. Developed by ... the first and only IRB-integrated eConsent solution . , “Our mission at ...
(Date:4/27/2017)... ... April 27, 2017 , ... Volunteers supported by ... researchers, engineers, and industry professionals in visiting U.S. Congressional offices in Washington, D.C., ... the world photonics industry. , This year, National Photonics Initiative (NPI) ...
(Date:4/26/2017)... SC (PRWEB) , ... April 26, 2017 , ... ... mind, has teamed up with NASA to showcase the future of deep space ... Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft and includes a guest appearance by ...
Breaking Biology Technology: