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Sandia Labs

Military

Sandia shoots (dud) nuke out of a cannon

Earlier this year Sandia National Laboratories fired a nuclear warhead out of a cannon in New Mexico. The reason you didn't hear an earth-shattering kaboom is because it was an inactive weapon that was fired into a tank of water as part of a federal program to improve the longevity and effectiveness of the US nuclear stockpile.Read More

Science

MINER may help locate hidden nuclear devices in minutes

It’s been a common trope in films since the 1950s; a madman with an atomic bomb holds a city for ransom while the authorities race to find it in time. If such a thing ever does come about, Sandia National Laboratories is working on taking the suspense out of the situation with its Mobile Imager of Neutrons for Emergency Responders (MINER) – a nuclear device detector capable of narrowing a search to within a city block without door-to-door sweeps.Read More

Military

Sandia drops nuclear warhead ... in the name of safety

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

Military

RAZAR riflescope brings push-button zoom to the battlefied

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

Automotive

Sandia study examines potential for hydrogen fueling infrastructure

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

Environment Feature

Dodgy wind? Why "innovative" turbines are often anything but

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

Science

Sandia Labs researcher develops fertilizer without the explosive potential

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

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