Open AccessArticle
About the Purification Route of Ionic Liquid Precursors
Challenges 2017, 8(1), 11; doi:10.3390/challe8010011 -
Abstract
In this work a purification route of precursors for ionic liquids tailored to electrochemical energy storage systems is reported and described. The study was carried out on the N-butyl-N-methylpyrrolidinium bromide (PYR14Br) precursor, which represents the intermediate product of
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In this work a purification route of precursors for ionic liquids tailored to electrochemical energy storage systems is reported and described. The study was carried out on the N-butyl-N-methylpyrrolidinium bromide (PYR14Br) precursor, which represents the intermediate product of the synthesis process of the N-butyl-N-methylpyrrolidinium bis(trifluoromethanesulfonyl)imide (PYR14TFSI) hydrophobic ionic liquid. The target is to develop an easy and cost-effective approach for efficiently purifying several kinds of ionic liquid precursors and determining their purity content. The PYR14Br precursor was synthesized through an eco-friendly preparation procedure, which requires water as the only processing solvent, and purified through sorbent materials, such as activated charcoal and alumina. The effect of the treatment/nature/content of sorbents and processing temperature/time was investigated. The impurity content was detected by UV-VIS spectrophotometry measurements. Additionally, a correlation between the measured absorbance and the content of impurities within the precursor was obtained. The purity level of the precursor was seen to play a key role in the electrochemical performance of the ionic liquids. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Electrochemical Sensor for Explosives Precursors’ Detection in Water
Challenges 2017, 8(1), 10; doi:10.3390/challe8010010 -
Abstract
Although all countries are intensifying their efforts against terrorism and increasing their mutual cooperation, terrorist bombing is still one of the greatest threats to society. The discovery of hidden bomb factories is of primary importance in the prevention of terrorism activities. Criminals preparing
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Although all countries are intensifying their efforts against terrorism and increasing their mutual cooperation, terrorist bombing is still one of the greatest threats to society. The discovery of hidden bomb factories is of primary importance in the prevention of terrorism activities. Criminals preparing improvised explosives (IE) use chemical substances called precursors. These compounds are released in the air and in the waste water during IE production. Tracking sources of precursors by analyzing air or wastewater can then be an important clue for bomb factories’ localization. We are reporting here a new multiplex electrochemical sensor dedicated to the on-site simultaneous detection of three explosive precursors, potentially used for improvised explosive device preparation (hereafter referenced as B01, B08, and B15, for security disclosure reasons and to avoid being detrimental to the security of the counter-explosive EU action). The electrochemical sensors were designed to be disposable and to combine ease of use and portability in a screen-printed eight-electrochemical cell array format. The working electrodes were modified with different electrodeposited metals: gold, palladium, and platinum. These different coatings giving selectivity to the multi-sensor through a “fingerprint”-like signal subsequently analyzed using partial least squares-discriminant analysis (PLS-DA). Results are given regarding the detection of the three compounds in a real environment and in the presence of potentially interfering species. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Case Studies of Energy Storage with Fuel Cells and Batteries for Stationary and Mobile Applications
Challenges 2017, 8(1), 9; doi:10.3390/challe8010009 -
Abstract
In this paper, hydrogen coupled with fuel cells and lithium-ion batteries are considered as alternative energy storage methods. Their application on a stationary system (i.e., energy storage for a family house) and a mobile system (i.e., an unmanned aerial vehicle) will be investigated.
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In this paper, hydrogen coupled with fuel cells and lithium-ion batteries are considered as alternative energy storage methods. Their application on a stationary system (i.e., energy storage for a family house) and a mobile system (i.e., an unmanned aerial vehicle) will be investigated. The stationary systems, designed for off-grid applications, were sized for photovoltaic energy production in the area of Turin, Italy, to provide daily energy of 10.25 kWh. The mobile systems, to be used for high crane inspection, were sized to have a flying range of 120 min, one being equipped with a Li-ion battery and the other with a proton-exchange membrane fuel cell. The systems were compared from an economical point of view and a life cycle assessment was performed to identify the main contributors to the environmental impact. From a commercial point of view, the fuel cell and the electrolyzer, being niche products, result in being more expensive with respect to the Li-ion batteries. On the other hand, the life cycle assessment (LCA) results show the lower burdens of both technologies. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Hydrides as High Capacity Anodes in Lithium Cells: An Italian “Futuro in Ricerca di Base FIRB-2010” Project
Challenges 2017, 8(1), 8; doi:10.3390/challe8010008 -
Abstract
Automotive and stationary energy storage are among the most recently-proposed and still unfulfilled applications for lithium ion devices. Higher energy, power and superior safety standards, well beyond the present state of the art, are actually required to extend the Li-ion battery market to
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Automotive and stationary energy storage are among the most recently-proposed and still unfulfilled applications for lithium ion devices. Higher energy, power and superior safety standards, well beyond the present state of the art, are actually required to extend the Li-ion battery market to these challenging fields, but such a goal can only be achieved by the development of new materials with improved performances. Focusing on the negative electrode materials, alloying and conversion chemistries have been widely explored in the last decade to circumvent the main weakness of the intercalation processes: the limitation in capacity to one or at most two lithium atoms per host formula unit. Among all of the many proposed conversion chemistries, hydrides have been proposed and investigated since 2008. In lithium cells, these materials undergo a conversion reaction that gives metallic nanoparticles surrounded by an amorphous matrix of LiH. Among all of the reported conversion materials, hydrides have outstanding theoretical properties and have been only marginally explored, thus making this class of materials an interesting playground for both fundamental and applied research. In this review, we illustrate the most relevant results achieved in the frame of the Italian National Research Project FIRB 2010 Futuro in Ricerca “Hydrides as high capacity anodes in lithium cells” and possible future perspectives of research for this class of materials in electrochemical energy storage devices. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Study of the Conformers of the (Nonafluorobutanesulfonyl)imide Ion by Means of Infrared Spectroscopy and Density Functional Theory (DFT) Calculations
Challenges 2017, 8(1), 7; doi:10.3390/challe8010007 -
Abstract
Pyrrolidinium-based ionic liquids with anions of the per(fluoroalkylsulfonyl)imide family are particularly interesting for their use as electrolytes in lithium batteries. These ions have several geometric isomers and the presence of different ion conformers and their distribution affects the ILs (Ionic liquids) physical and
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Pyrrolidinium-based ionic liquids with anions of the per(fluoroalkylsulfonyl)imide family are particularly interesting for their use as electrolytes in lithium batteries. These ions have several geometric isomers and the presence of different ion conformers and their distribution affects the ILs (Ionic liquids) physical and chemical properties. In the present work, we report the temperature dependence of the infrared spectra of the N-butyl-N-methyl-pyrrolidinium(trifluoromethanesulfonyl)(nonafluorobutanesulfonyl)imide (PYR14IM14) ionic liquid; DFT (Density Functional Theory) calculations performed with different models provides indications about the IM14 conformers and their vibrational spectra. Moreover the temperature dependence of the intensity of the lines identified as markers of different conformers provide indications about the conformers’ distribution and the difference of their enthalpy in the liquid phase. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Tie-Up Cycles in Long-Term Mating. Part II: Fictional Narratives and the Social Cognition of Mating
Challenges 2017, 8(1), 6; doi:10.3390/challe8010006 -
Abstract
In the first part of this paper, we have introduced a novel theoretical approach to mating dynamics, known as Tie-Up Theory (TU). In this second part, in the context of the bio-cultural approach to literature, that assigns to fictional narratives an important valence
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In the first part of this paper, we have introduced a novel theoretical approach to mating dynamics, known as Tie-Up Theory (TU). In this second part, in the context of the bio-cultural approach to literature, that assigns to fictional narratives an important valence of social cognition, we apply the conceptual tools presented in the first part to the analysis of mating-related interaction dynamics in some blockbuster Hollywood movies from WWII to today. The interaction dynamics envisioned by our theory accurately reflect, to a significant level of detail, the narrative development of the movies under exam from the viewpoint of the mating dynamics of the couple of main characters, accounting for the specific reasons that lead them to react to certain situations via certain behaviors, and for the reasons why such behaviors lead to certain outcomes. Our analysis seems thus to bring some further legitimacy to the bio-cultural foundation of the narrative structure of the movies that we analyze, and moreover to the idea that it is possible to ‘inquire’ characters about their choices according to the narratological-experimental lines suggested by some proponents of the bio-cultural approach. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Ionic Mobility and Phase Transitions in Perovskite Oxides for Energy Application
Challenges 2017, 8(1), 5; doi:10.3390/challe8010005 -
Abstract
Perovskite oxides find applications or are studied in many fields related to energy production, accumulation and saving. The most obvious application is oxygen or proton conductors in fuel cells (SOFCs), but the (anti)ferroelectric compositions may find application in high energy capacitors for energy
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Perovskite oxides find applications or are studied in many fields related to energy production, accumulation and saving. The most obvious application is oxygen or proton conductors in fuel cells (SOFCs), but the (anti)ferroelectric compositions may find application in high energy capacitors for energy storage, efficient electrocaloric cooling, and electromechanical energy harvesting. In SOFCs, the diffusion of O vacancies and other mobile ionic species, such as H+, are at the base of the functioning of the device, while in the other cases they constitute unwanted defects that reduce the performance and life-time of the device. Similarly, the (anti)ferroelectric phase transitions are a requisite for the use of some types of devices, but the accompanying domain walls can generate extended defects detrimental to the life of the material, and structural phase transformations should be avoided in SOFCs. All these phenomena can be studied by mechanical spectroscopy, the measurement of the complex elastic compliance as a function of temperature and frequency, which is the mechanical analogue of the dielectric susceptibility, but probes the elastic response and elastic dipoles instead of the dielectric response and electric dipoles. The two techniques can be combined to provide a comprehensive picture of the material properties. Examples are shown of the study of structural transitions and hopping and tunnelling processes of O vacancies and H in the ion conductor BaCe1-xYxO3-x and in SrTiO3-x, and of the aging and fatigue effects found in PZT at compositions where the ferro- and antiferroelectric states coexist. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
New Studies of the Physical Properties of Metallic Amorphous Membranes for Hydrogen Purification
Challenges 2017, 8(1), 4; doi:10.3390/challe8010004 -
Abstract
Amorphous metallic membranes display promising properties for hydrogen purification up to an ultrapure grade (purity > 99.999%). The hydrogen permeability through amorphous membranes has been widely studied in the literature. In this work we focus on two additional properties, which should be considered
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Amorphous metallic membranes display promising properties for hydrogen purification up to an ultrapure grade (purity > 99.999%). The hydrogen permeability through amorphous membranes has been widely studied in the literature. In this work we focus on two additional properties, which should be considered before possible application of such materials: the propensity to crystallize at high temperatures should be avoided, as the crystallized membranes can become brittle; the hydrogen solubility should be high, as solubility and permeability are proportional. We investigate the crystallization process and the hydrogen solubility of some membranes based on Ni, Nb, and Zr metals, as a function of Zr content, and with the addition of Ta or B. The boron doping does not significantly affect the crystallization temperature and the thermal stability of the membrane. However, the hydrogen solubility for p ~7 bar is as high as H/M ~0.31 at T = 440 °C and H/M ~0.27 at T = 485 °C. Moreover, the membrane does not pulverize even after repeated thermal cycles and hydrogenation processes up to 485 °C and 7 bar, and it retains its initial shape. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Ice XVII as a Novel Material for Hydrogen Storage
Challenges 2017, 8(1), 3; doi:10.3390/challe8010003 -
Abstract
Hydrogen storage is one of the most addressed issues in the green-economy field. The latest-discovered form of ice (XVII), obtained by application of an annealing treatment to a H2-filled ice sample in the C0-phase, could be inserted in the
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Hydrogen storage is one of the most addressed issues in the green-economy field. The latest-discovered form of ice (XVII), obtained by application of an annealing treatment to a H2-filled ice sample in the C0-phase, could be inserted in the energy-storage context due to its surprising capacity of hydrogen physisorption, when exposed to even modest pressure (few mbars at temperature below 40 K), and desorption, when a thermal treatment is applied. In this work, we investigate quantitatively the adsorption properties of this simple material by means of spectroscopic and volumetric data, deriving its gravimetric and volumetric capacities as a function of the thermodynamic parameters, and calculating the usable capacity in isothermal conditions. The comparison of ice XVII with materials with a similar mechanism of hydrogen adsorption like metal-organic frameworks shows interesting performances of ice XVII in terms of hydrogen content, operating temperature and kinetics of adsorption-desorption. Any application of this material to realistic hydrogen tanks should take into account the thermodynamic limit of metastability of ice XVII, i.e., temperatures below about 130 K. Full article
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Open AccessEditorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Challenges in 2016
Challenges 2017, 8(1), 2; doi:10.3390/challe8010002 -
Open AccessArticle
Expert System for Bomb Factory Detection by Networks of Advance Sensors
Challenges 2017, 8(1), 1; doi:10.3390/challe8010001 -
Abstract
(1) Background: Police forces and security administrations are nowadays considering Improvised explosives (IEs) as a major threat. The chemical substances used to prepare IEs are called precursors, and their presence could allow police forces to locate a bomb factory where the on-going manufacturing
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(1) Background: Police forces and security administrations are nowadays considering Improvised explosives (IEs) as a major threat. The chemical substances used to prepare IEs are called precursors, and their presence could allow police forces to locate a bomb factory where the on-going manufacturing of IEs is carried out. (2) Methods: An expert system was developed and tested in handling signals from a network of sensors, allowing an early warning. The expert system allows the detection of one precursor based on the signal provided by a single sensor, the detection of one precursor based on the signal provided by more than one sensor, and the production of a global alarm level based on data fusion from all the sensors of the network. (3) Results: The expert system was tested in the Italian Air Force base of Pratica di Mare (Italy) and in the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI) in Grindsjön (Sweden). (4) Conclusion: The performance of the expert system was successfully evaluated under relevant environmental conditions. The approach used in the development of the expert system allows maximum flexibility in terms of integration of the response provided by any sensor, allowing to easily include in the network all possible new sensors. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Early Warning of Biological Threats via Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy: A Case Study of Bacillus Spores
Challenges 2016, 7(2), 24; doi:10.3390/challe7020024 -
Abstract
A study on the application of surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) in detecting biological threats is here reported. Simulants of deadly Bacillus anthracis endospores were used. This study proposes an automated device where SERS is used as a fast, pre-alarm technique of a two-stage
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A study on the application of surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) in detecting biological threats is here reported. Simulants of deadly Bacillus anthracis endospores were used. This study proposes an automated device where SERS is used as a fast, pre-alarm technique of a two-stage sensor equipped with a real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). In order to check the potentialities of SERS in terms of sensitivity and specificity for on-site, real-time, automatic detection and identification of biological agents, two strains of genetically and harmless closely B. anthracis-related spores, Bacillus thuringiensis and Bacillus atrophaeus, were used as simulants. In order to assure the selectivity of the SERS substrate against B. thuringiensis spores, the substrate was functionalized by specific peptides. The obtained SERS measurements are classified as positive or negative hits by applying a special data evaluation based on the Euclidian distance between each spectrum and a reference spectrum of blank measurement. Principal component analysis (PCA) was applied for discriminating between different strains representing dangerous and harmless spores. The results show that the SERS sensor is capable of detecting a few tenths of spores in a few minutes, and is particularly sensitive and fast for this purpose. Post-process analysis of the spectra allowed for discrimination between the contaminated and uncontaminated SERS sensors and even between different strains of spores, although not as clearly. For this purpose, the use of a non-functionalized SERS substrate is suggested. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Stand-Off Device for Plastic Debris Recognition in Post-Blast Scenarios
Challenges 2016, 7(2), 23; doi:10.3390/challe7020023 -
Abstract
The fast analysis of crime scenes is a very critical issue for investigators that should collect, as much as possible, all and only meaningful evidence, and rapidly bring back to normality the involved area. With the scope to respond to the end user’s
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The fast analysis of crime scenes is a very critical issue for investigators that should collect, as much as possible, all and only meaningful evidence, and rapidly bring back to normality the involved area. With the scope to respond to the end user’s requirements, the project FORLAB (Forensic Laboratory for in-situ evidence analysis in a post blast scenario) has set, as its main goal, to develop a system of sensors for fast screening of post-blast scenes. In this frame, a new sensor based on laser induced fluorescence has been developed for standoff individuation and localization of plastic debris in post-blast scenarios. The system can scan large areas in short times (in some cases, minutes) providing real-time images of the scene where material discrimination is highlighted. In fact, the combined use of a laser source with a high repetition rate and of a signal collection setup based on a fixed intensified charged coupled device (ICCD) with a large field of view has allowed for the brief duration of the scanning process. In addition, dedicated software elaborates the fluorescence data obtained from the targets and retrieves a chemical characterization useful for material recognition. Full article
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Open AccessEditorial
Innovations in Detection of Deliberate or Accidental Contamination with Biological Agents in Environment and Foods
Challenges 2016, 7(2), 22; doi:10.3390/challe7020022 -
Open AccessArticle
A Linear Bayesian Updating Model for Probabilistic Spatial Classification
Challenges 2016, 7(2), 21; doi:10.3390/challe7020021 -
Abstract
Categorical variables are common in spatial data analysis. Traditional analytical methods for deriving probabilities of class occurrence, such as kriging-family algorithms, have been hindered by the discrete characteristics of categorical fields. To solve the challenge, this study introduces the theoretical backgrounds of the
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Categorical variables are common in spatial data analysis. Traditional analytical methods for deriving probabilities of class occurrence, such as kriging-family algorithms, have been hindered by the discrete characteristics of categorical fields. To solve the challenge, this study introduces the theoretical backgrounds of the linear Bayesian updating (LBU) model for spatial classification through an expert system. The main purpose of this paper is to present the solid theoretical foundations of the LBU approach. Since the LBU idea is originated from aggregating expert opinions and is not restricted to conditional independent assumption (CIA), it may prove to be reasonably adequate for analyzing complex geospatial data sets, such as remote sensing images or area-class maps. Full article
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Open AccessOpinion
Technical Problem Identification for the Failures of the Liberty Ships
Challenges 2016, 7(2), 20; doi:10.3390/challe7020020 -
Abstract
The U.S. Liberty Ship Building Program in World War II set a record—a total of 2700 Liberty Ships were built in 6 years, in order to support the battle against Nazi-Germany. However, numerous vessels suffered sudden fracture, some of them being split in
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The U.S. Liberty Ship Building Program in World War II set a record—a total of 2700 Liberty Ships were built in 6 years, in order to support the battle against Nazi-Germany. However, numerous vessels suffered sudden fracture, some of them being split in half. This paper demonstrates and investigation of the Liberty Ships failure and problems, which reveals that the failures are caused by a combination of three factors. The welds produced by largely unskilled work force contain crack type flaws. Beyond these cracks, another important reason for failure associated with welding is the hydrogen embitterment; most of the fractures initiate at deck square hatch corners where there is a stress concentration; and the ship steel has fairly poor Charpy-Impact tested fracture toughness. It has been admitted that, although the numerous catastrophic failures were a painful experience, the failures of the Liberty Ships caused significant progress in the study of fracture mechanics. Considering their effect, the Liberty Ships are still a success. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Challenges in Specialty Coffee Processing and Quality Assurance
Challenges 2016, 7(2), 19; doi:10.3390/challe7020019 -
Abstract
Coffee is an important crop that assures a sustainable economy to farmers in tropical regions. A dramatic concern for coffee production is currently represented by climate change, which threatens the survival of Coffea arabica cultivation worldwide and imposes modifications of the agronomic practices
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Coffee is an important crop that assures a sustainable economy to farmers in tropical regions. A dramatic concern for coffee production is currently represented by climate change, which threatens the survival of Coffea arabica cultivation worldwide and imposes modifications of the agronomic practices to prevent this risk. The quality of coffee beans depends on optimized protocols of cultivation, ripe berries collection, and removal of the outer fruit layers by dry or wet processes and moisture reduction. Storage and shipment represent two steps where bean quality needs to be preserved by preventing fungal contamination that may impact the final product and form mycotoxins, mainly ochratoxin A. In this review, we describe the challenges faced by the coffee industry to guarantee quality from production to roasting and brewing. An overview of novel technologies, such as the application of starter cultures in fermentation and the exploitation of industrial enzymes in accelerating the process of flavour development in coffee beans, is given. Moreover, the results of studies on microbial populations on coffee and the differences found in fungi, yeasts and bacteria composition among the investigations, are summarized. In particular, this review describes new attempts to contain the development of mycotoxigenic fungi, through the application of antagonistic microorganisms such as S. cerevisiae. The new wave of specialty coffees, i.e., those with a cupping score higher than 85/100, is also presented. It is shown how, through careful coffee production methods and controlled fermentation processes, coffee producers may increase their income by assuring high standards of quality and high added value for the coffee experience sector. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Optimization of Plating Conditions for the Determination of Polonium Using Copper Foils
Challenges 2016, 7(2), 18; doi:10.3390/challe7020018 -
Abstract
The technique of adsorption of polonium onto metal surfaces by spontaneous deposition has found applications in the analysis of environmental samples such as marine sediments, foodstuff, water, and tobacco since the 1960s. Silver foil has been preferred by many scientists but can become
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The technique of adsorption of polonium onto metal surfaces by spontaneous deposition has found applications in the analysis of environmental samples such as marine sediments, foodstuff, water, and tobacco since the 1960s. Silver foil has been preferred by many scientists but can become quite expensive for routine analysis. Deposition onto copper was first proposed in the 1970s, but has remained poorly studied. In the present study, the cost-effective and rapid optimum conditions necessary for the optimal recovery of Po from aqueous solutions during spontaneous deposition onto copper foils was evaluated while minimizing the deposition of Bi and Pb, which may interfere with subsequent analyses. A series of experiments was performed to determine adsorption yields for Po, Bi, and Pb to copper foils for a range of pH values from 1.0 to 5.5, with and without stable Bi and Pb carriers. Different methods for cleaning the copper foils were also compared. After initial measurements, Po, Bi, and Pb were desorbed from the disc in plating solutions without added activity. At higher pH values (3.0 and 5.5), less Bi was adsorbed to the copper foils, and subsequent desorption removed up to 99.1% of the plated Bi. The polonium yield remained fairly constant at all pH values and was unaffected by the desorption process. There was also no measureable increase in the polonium activity after 33 days, suggesting that Bi and Pb were not significantly co-deposited. All three cleaning methods performed well, whereas uncleaned foils in the same solution showed limited uptake. The use of copper foil under the optimum conditions described here could provide a valuable alternative to the use of silver in 210Po analyses. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Field Prototype of the ENEA Neutron Active Interrogation Device for the Detection of Dirty Bombs
Challenges 2016, 7(2), 17; doi:10.3390/challe7020017 -
Abstract
The Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy, and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA) Neutron Active Interrogation (NAI) device is a tool designed to improve CBRNE defense. It is designed to uncover radioactive and nuclear threats including those in the form of Improvised Explosive
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The Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy, and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA) Neutron Active Interrogation (NAI) device is a tool designed to improve CBRNE defense. It is designed to uncover radioactive and nuclear threats including those in the form of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), the so-called “dirty bombs”. The NAI device, at its current development stage, allows to detect 6 g of 235U hidden in a package. It is easily transportable, light in weight, and with a real-time response. Its working principle is based on two stages: (1) an “active” stage in which neutrons are emitted by a neutron generator to interact with the item under inspection, and (2) a “passive” stage in which secondary neutrons are detected originating a signal that, once processed, allows recognition of the offence. In particular, a clear indication of the potential threat is obtained by a dedicated software based on the Differential Die-Away Time Analysis method. Full article
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Open AccessConcept Paper
Soft Energy Paths Revisited: Politics and Practice in Energy Technology Transitions
Challenges 2016, 7(2), 16; doi:10.3390/challe7020016 -
Abstract
This paper argues that current efforts to study and advocate for a change in energy technologies to reduce their climate and other environmental impacts often ignore the political, social, and bodily implications of energy technology choices. Framing renewable energy technologies exclusively in terms
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This paper argues that current efforts to study and advocate for a change in energy technologies to reduce their climate and other environmental impacts often ignore the political, social, and bodily implications of energy technology choices. Framing renewable energy technologies exclusively in terms of their environmental benefits dismisses important questions about how energy infrastructures can be designed to correspond to democratic forms of socio-politics, forms of social organization that involve independence in terms of meeting energy needs, resilience in terms of adapting to change, participatory decision making and control, equitable distribution of knowledge and efficacy, and just distribution of ownership. Recognizing technological choices as political choices brings explicit attention to the kinds of socio-political restructuring that could be precipitated through a renewable energy technology transition. This paper argues that research on energy transitions should consider the political implications of technological choices, not just the environmental consequences. Further, emerging scholarship on energy practices suggests that social habits of energy usage are themselves political, in that they correspond to and reinforce particular arrangements of power. Acknowledging the embedded politics of technology, as the decades’ old concept of soft path technologies encourages, and integrating insights on the politics of technology with insights on technological practices, can improve future research on energy policy and public perceptions of energy systems. This paper extends insights regarding the socio-political implications of energy paths to consider how understandings of energy technologies as constellations of embedded bodily practices can help further develop our understanding of the consequences of energy technologies, consequences that move beyond environmental implications to the very habits and behaviors of patterned energy usage, which are themselves arguably political. This paper calls for future research that involves explicit examination of the relationship between technologies, socio-political distributions of power and access to energy resources, the social organization of energy practices, and options for energy transitions not just in terms of energy source, but also in terms of scale, design, and modes of ownership and control. Full article