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Basic Research Page

Polson Enterprises Research Services

Engineering Biofilms for Corrosion Prevention

Report below is from EPRI Strategic R&D Report Fall 1997. Concept was also written up in Industry Week 5 October 1998 page 16.

Aerobic bacteria can form regenerative biofilms on mild steel that provide up to a 40-fold reduction in general corrosion rates. Such aerobic biofilms consume oxygen before it can reach the metal surface, decreasing the rate of corrosion. These findings are contrary to general experience, in which colonies of aerobic bacteria and anaerobic sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) accelerate corrosion of metal surfaces.

Though promising, results to date represent only an initial step toward biofilm-based methods for corrosion prevention. Continuing research at University of California, Irvine, focuses on development of aerobic biofilms that both consume oxygen and secrete metabolic products to inhibit SRB growth or otherwise control corrosion.

Biolfilms of a Bacillus brevis strain genetically engineered to overproduce an antimicrobial agent prevent growth of the SRB Desulfovibrio vulgaris on 304 stainless steel. Goals are to optimize performance of biofilms producing this and other SRB antimicrobials. In addition, preliminary work is under way on a novel approach -- use of the techniques developed to date to genetically engineer biofilm-forming bacteria that excrete known corrosion inhibitors. Plans are to field test the corrosion protection capabilities of the most promising biofilms at industrial or power plant sites.

RBBI Comments - Perhaps cavities or capsules in marine drives could release aerobic bacteria similar to current work being done with anti-fouling compounds in paints? The bacteria might wash off at high speed, but that is not when corrosion occurs. It occurs when boats are at rest. Maybe a system similar to the battery powered cathodic protection devices could release them?

Marinas might cultivate aerobic bacteria in the waters around "on water" boat storage facilities?

The research is currently being done by the electric power industry. We suggest the boating industry investigate becoming involved. Not only might a new industry be born, but boating could be made more trouble free as well.

New Loud Speaker Technology

The December 2, 1996 issue of Business Week pages 108-109 has an article titled, "The Cookie -Size Concert Hall". It describes a new technology that may soon replace loud speakers. The units are similar to Piezoelectric quartz crystals that keep time in watches. "This radical departure in sound reproduction, called HyperSonic Sound could be the biggest breakthrough since modern speakers were conceived in 1925. Its inventor, Elwood G. "Woody" Norris, has already filed for three patents and has an additional five applications in the works. "

While normal speakers use electronic signals to vibrate a thin diaphragm to create sound waves that ripple through the air, his crystals pulsate thousand of times faster, emitting a pair of ultrasonic waves at frequencies far beyond human - or animal - hearing. But when the ultrasound waves interact, they produce a third sonic wave - and it can be heard. The phenomena is called "Tartini tone" after Giuseppe Tartini an 18th century Italian composer who discovered that when two strong tones were struck, a third tone that was of the frequency of the difference of the two tones frequencies was also heard.

The units are very small (described as oreo cookies with crystals on them) and only one unit is required to cover the entire human range of hearing. Because ultrasonic waves travel in tight paths, the crystals can produce startling special effects by projecting sounds to a specific location. The article mentions they are already looking into active noise cancellation applications in the automobile market.

Norris is developing the technology at his, American Technology Corp in Poway CA.

RBBI Comments - potential marine applications RBBI can envision: "talking gauges" in multiple languages, horns, boat stereo speakers, active noise cancellation of engine noise, marine radio speakers, and sirens for police, rescue, and fireboats. Don't forget active noise cancellation possibilities in your factories.

Neon Glowing Plastic Fibers

The December 2, 1996 issue of Business Week page 111 has an article titled, "Cool Threads That make Cool Light." It reports that engineers at Elam Electroluminescent Industries Ltd. in Jerusalem have created plastic fibers that emit cold light, like neon, in shimmering shades of turquoise, violet, and rose. You can coil them, tie them in knots and even snip pieces off without causing a blink. The property is called electro luminescence . They coat long strands of copper wire with particles of zinc sulfide , then "sputters" a transparent conductive layer onto them. With two AA batteries applied between the coating and the core wire, the particles stay lit as long as 40 hours.

The technology is being marketed in th U.S. by Live Wire Enterprises Inc in Brooklyn and will appear in the upcoming Batman movie and on the Rockefeller Center Christmas displays. Fashion designers could weave the fiber into fabrics to add new sparkle to evening attire.

RBBI Comments - We envision applications of sewing it into PFD's for improved night visibility, a low light level light for night fishermen, maybe even glowing fishing lures, "super nifty" exhibitor party wear (jackets with glowing logos, etc), baseball caps with your logo glowing, and possibly as some sort of signaling device if you can turn it off and on. If the fibers work and are offered at a reasonable cost they will have hundreds of uses.

Body PC's

The November 18, 1996 Wall Street Journal article, "IBM Wants Your Body for a Very Personal PC" describes the developing technology of being able to send computer signals through the human body. A computer in your shoe could exchange information with other people's "shoe computer" when you shake hands. Phone numbers, business cards, and schedules and other items could be transmitted. They would be viewed on a monitor later. This obviously also opens up additional communication paths between objects and people.

There is also a brief story about the Body PC in the December 2, 1996 issue of Business Week on page 111 titled, "Tapping the 'Wet Wire' Within". It says IBM demonstrated the device at the recent Comdex show in Las Vegas. It also reports the device to be the brainchild of Thomas Zimmerman an IBM researcher at Almaden Research Center in San Jose CA and Neil Gershenfeld a professor in the Media Lab of MIT.

Reducing Effects of Gravity

One of the currently breaking studies is about reducing the effects of gravity by spinning superconducting ceramics. See our Podkletnov - Gravity Page.

Basic Properties of Water

Since boating is focused on moving through or pushing , pumping, etc water: how about doing some basic research in the elemental properties of water. It is possible that some unusual characteristic of water could lead to the next paradigm shift in boating. Water is a very unique fluid an it does have quite a few unusual properties that most people are not aware of. Here are some references in this area:

An article on page A20 of the Thursday October 31, 1996 Wall Street Journal in the Leisure and Arts section titled, "The Codex Leicester: Gates Shares Leonardo Treasure" discusses the Codex Leicester. It is a Leonardo da Vinci notebook purchased by Bill Gates in 1994 for $30.8 million. The article discusses Gates loaning the notebook to the American Museum of Natural History. The notebook is 72 pages "crammed edge to edge" with Leonardo's hydraulic sketches and little line drawings of rivers, bridges and dams. The notebook was started when da Vinci was going to write a grand treatise on the motion of water. It is his notes for the work that was never done. With all of his great ideas in other fields their might be something interesting in here. I understand the Codex has been converted to CD-Rom. Has anybody out there seen it?? It might hold 'the key"???

There have been a few more recent publications referencing the Codex. The 7 November 1996 Wall Street Journal Personal Technology Column described some new CD's and discussed it. The column says the original work is actually written "in mirror image" in Italian. The CD offers a tool called a Codescope that can be held over the text to view it in English. The December 2, 1996 issue of Business Week page 26 has an article titled, "A CD-ROM To Make Leonardo Smile" that also discusses the work and the Codescope. It says the CD will be out in December.

The Jan. 3, 1997 Wall Street Journal (special internet section) pointed out that the portions of the Codex Leicester can be viewed on the Amercian Museum of Natural History web site at The Codex itself was on display at this New York City museum in 1995.

"The Science of Water, The Foundation of Modern Hydraulics". Published by the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1995. Edit by Enzo Levi. This is a monstrous 650 page book and is available at the Oklahoma State University Library and call # 627 L664s.

"The Water Encyclopedia 2nd Edition". OSU call #551.4902 V235W 1990

"Water Shredder" a short posting in the December 1994 Popular Science , Materials column. It talks of Japanese scientists looking for a way to make dish antennas shed snow and inventing a water-repelling coating that "May ultimately be used on everything form sawn furniture to ships hulls."

The product above was developed by Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp (NTT). They described it working much like a car wax. It makes water bead up and roll off. "They also say that if applied to a ship's hull, the coating would reduce water friction - resulting in greater speed and increased fuel efficiency."

The October 1992 issue of Discover Magazine had a feature article titled, "Wet, Wild, and Weird' , by Carl Zimmer on pages 103 to 107 with some additional references on page 117 that discussed some of the more unusual properties of water. This article is a "must read" for anybody investigating this field.

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