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Sandia Labs

The W88 ALT 370 warhead was dropped from a crane to simulate a loading accident

Dropping a nuclear warhead may not seem like a particularly bright idea, but earlier this year Sandia National Laboratories did just that. As part of the US government’s Life Extension Program (LEP) for its nuclear arsenal, the inert W88 ALT 370 warhead was dropped from a crane in New Mexico onto a slab of concrete to test the updated design’s safety.  Read More

The RAZAR riflescope allows shooters to change focus without distraction

In combat, seconds count and a moment’s hesitation or distraction can mean the difference between life and death. So it's no small problem that modern riflescopes often require soldiers to look away from their targets or take their hands off their rifles in order to change magnification. Sandia National Laboratories’ Rapid Adaptive Zoom for Assault Rifles (RAZAR) riflescope is capable of switching between high and low zoom magnifications at the touch of a button, allowing soldiers to concentrate on the battle rather than their scopes.  Read More

Sandia’s Daniel Dedrick visits a station in Oakland,  California, as part of a study into ...

Hydrogen fueled vehicles, such as Toyota's FCV and Hyundai's Tuscon Fuel Cell, face a chicken or egg predicament: consumers are rightfully hesitant to invest in such vehicles if they don't have a convenient way to refuel them, and energy companies don't want to cough up dollars for costly infrastructure without significant numbers of such vehicles on the road. But a study by researchers at Sandia National Laboratories says that more existing gas stations in California could readily integrate hydrogen fuel than previously thought.  Read More

The unit will fit inside a shipping container, and could be towed around the port on a bar...

Shipping ports are major sources of air and water pollution, due in part to anchored or docked ships using diesel generators to keep their onboard systems powered up. A year from now, however, the Port of Honolulu will be trying out a mobile hydrogen fuel cell unit, as a more eco-friendly and fuel-saving alternative.  Read More

Are 'innovative' wind technologies ever a match for three-blade turbines?

Virtually every week there are articles about new and innovative methods for harvesting wind energy. And every week more megawatts of capacity from three-blade horizontal-axis wind turbines (HAWT) becomes operational, despite all of the contenders. Why aren't these innovative new products knocking the iconic HAWT off its perch? Is it possible to tell which are likely to be viable? These eight points are a useful way to assess which technology has potential, and which are likely just hot air.  Read More

Sandia National Laboratories chemical engineer Vicki Chavez worked with Kevin Fleming to p...

Ammonium nitrate is a commonly used fertilizer, but when mixed with a fuel such as diesel, it makes a powerful explosive – as seen in last week’s fertilizer plant explosion in Texas. But it's the deliberate use of the compound in improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and acts of terror such as the Oklahoma City bombing that gives rise to even greater cause for concern. This is why Kevin Fleming, an optical engineer at Sandia National Laboratories, developed a fertilizer alternative that isn’t detonable and therefore can’t be used in a bomb.  Read More

Sandia's David Fritz is part of the MegaDroid project

More and more people rely on their smartphones for most of their computing needs. However, the ubiquity of mobile devices and their communications networks opens up new opportunities for rogue cyber behavior. In order to better understand security risks associated with smartphones, Sandia National Laboratories in the U.S. has created a simulated network of 300,000 Android smartphones.  Read More

Three Sandia neutrister neutron generators mounted in a test box under vacuum

Neutron generators provide materials analysis and non-destructive testing tools to many industries, including oilfield operations, heavy mechanical construction, art conservancy, detective work, and medicine. Many of these applications have been limited by the rather large size of current industrial and medical neutron sources. Now Sandia National Laboratories, the lab that develops and supports the non-nuclear parts (including neutron generators) of nuclear weapons, has developed a new approach toward building tiny neutron generators.  Read More

The Sandia Hand combines high dexterity with very low production costs (Photo: Sandia Labo...

Robots have been used routinely in bomb disposal for over forty years. Unfortunately, the standard way that robots deal with bombs is to blow them up. This removes the threat, but it also destroys valuable evidence that could lead to catching the bomb makers. Sandia National Laboratories has developed a new robot hand that is not only delicate enough to disarm a bomb rather than detonating it, but is relatively inexpensive and can even mend itself.  Read More

When it comes to large-scale applications, vertical axis wind turbines are traditionally c...

Albuquerque-based Sandia National Laboratories is conducting comprehensive research into the viability of vertical axis wind turbines (VAWTs) for offshore use. The design, previously considered impractical for large-scale applications, has the potential to transform offshore wind technology, making it a more economically viable energy source.  Read More

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