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

MATERIALS -- Ready, aim . . .

As the new hunting season begins, an Ohio-based company is introducing a high performance bullet based on technology developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The new bullet promises more precision and superior terminal ballistics and is lead-free and safe for the environment. Recently licensed to WolfTech of Wakeman, Ohio, the technology is first being made available to muzzle-loading hunters as part of a high performance system sold by MDM in Vermont. The bullets compositionmixtures of tungsten and other metals or alloysmake them ideal for high performance hunting and target applications. The products will also help answer demand for greener ammunition as lead bullets are being banned in some states. [Contact: Larisa Brass, (865) 574-4163;]

MEDICAL -- Back pain modeling . . .

Diagnosing back problems and predicting the outcome of surgery could become a lot more accurate because of a project awarded to Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the University of Tennessee and Vanderbilt. With an estimated 80 percent to 90 percent of people in the United States experiencing lower back pain at some point in their lives, the orthopedic community is increasingly interested in predictive assessments of treatments. The National Institutes of Health and National Institute for Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases asked the team to develop a computational model that could eventually be used to predict in vivo contact stresses at the bearing surface interfaces, ligament forces that provide constraint and muscle forces of the vertebral bodies of the lower back. The clinical and computational data will be correlated and validated with the physicians and patients at Vanderbilt. [Contact: Ron Walli, (865) 576-0226;]

ENERGY -- Supercharged solar panels . . .

Inexpensive aluminum reflectors are helping to make a 700-watt solar system designed by JX Crystals far more efficient and less expensive than conventional solar panels. The four 175-watt panels concentrate the sun up to three times its normal strength, which reduces by two-thirds the amount of expensive silicon solar cells required to produce the same amount of electricity. To further enhance the efficiency of the system, an inexpensive solar tracker keeps the panels pointed toward the sun throughout the day. This increases the energy output as much as 35 percent in some regions. A system installed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory is producing electrical performance and efficiency data that was presented by ORNL's Curt Maxey at a recent international conference in Germany. The panel was purchased by the lab's Facilities Management Division for evaluation purposes. [Contact: Ron Walli, (865) 576-0226;]


Contact: Ron Walli
DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory

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