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— Aircraft

Additive could keep jet fuel from exploding in crashes

Living through an airliner crash involves more than just surviving the initial impact – many people are also killed by the flames and smoke that follow when the jet fuel ignites. Researchers at Caltech, however, are trying to minimize the chances of that second part happening. They've developed an additive that helps reduce the intensity of postimpact fuel fires.

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— Good Thinking

Cleaner-burning cookstove creates its own flame-fanning electricity

While many of us may enjoy grilling food over an open fire, the fact is that cooking fires are a major source of health problems for millions of people in developing nations, who use them on a daily basis. The main problem is the smoke, which causes respiratory problems – not to mention air pollution. In an effort to address the problem, research group RTI International has developed a cook stove that burns cleaner … and that powers gadgets.

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— Outdoors

Ethanol-based Fire Dragon biofuel starts fires in dire conditions

Even if you've never been in a situation rougher and more life-threatening than a KOA campground, there's something comforting about knowing that you're prepared to start a fire in the wettest, nastiest conditions that Earth can hurl at you. Perhaps that's why we're always fascinated with versatile, new fire-starting materials, especially when they have awesome names. Fire Dragon from BCB International is a new, ultra-versatile, purportedly eco-friendly way of getting a roaring blaze sparked or meal cooked. Read More
— Military

SAFFiR, the US Navy’s prototype firefighting robot gets baptism of fire

If there's one job that a person would probably prefer to lose to a robot, it would be fighting fires aboard ships. To help make such a vision a reality, the US Navy and the Office of Naval Research (ONR) released details of demonstration exercises conducted by their Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot (SAFFiR) aboard the fire training ship USS Shadwell last November. Read More
— Science

Kevlar-reinforced lithium-ion batteries shouldn't catch fire

While lithium-ion batteries may outperform their older, lower-tech counterparts, they do have one drawback – occasionally, they catch fire. This can happen when fern-like metal structures known as dendrites form between the battery's two electrodes, causing a short circuit. Now, however, researchers at the University of Michigan have used Kevlar nanofibers to create a barrier between the electrodes, which is impervious to those nasty dendrites. Read More