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Archive for the ‘CBRNE’ Category

HSI Awarded $1 million DND IDEaS Contract to Develop the Citadel Respirator Prototype

Monday, September 14th, 2020

Guelph, Ontario, Canada, September 2020 – HumanSystems® Incorporated has been awarded $1,000,000 through the Department of National Defence’s (DND) Innovation For Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) program to continue its development of the CitadelTM (Pat. Pending) respirator designed to better protect soldiers in hazardous chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) environments.

This project follows a previous IDEaS contract to HumanSystems® Incorporated in 2019 to develop a proof of concept design. Working with the DND’s science and technology organization, Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC), the goal of this twelve-month project is to further develop the CitadelTM respirator design to the point where it can be tested in realistic operational environments.

“Recent changes to Canadian Armed Forces policies allow for short beards and longer hairstyles. This funding will bring the novel CitadelTM respirator concept closer to commercialization and to providing a more protective CBRN Respirator/Mask for individuals with various face/head shapes, hairstyles, and/or facial hair,” says Harry Angel, the HSI® CitadelTM project technical lead.

The proof of concept CitadelTM respirator was designed to mitigate any leakage of contaminants into the respirator mask caused by various face shapes and/or beards or facial stubble. In preliminary user testing, individuals with beards or facial stubble could not achieve an acceptable fit factor with the standard protective mask, meaning that they were susceptible to contaminants entering the mask. The CitadelTM respirator design was able to achieve an acceptable fit factor well above the minimum acceptable standard. These promising results showed that people with beards and facial stubble would be significantly less vulnerable to contaminants entering the respirator mask.

The HSI® technical team, Harry Angel and Jordan Bray-Miners, bring over 30 years of experience in human factors for personal protective equipment, biomechanics and instrumentation design.

“The HSI® team is proud to work with DRDC and to advance the HSI® CitadelTM respirator concept to better protect people in the armed forces and wherever such protection might be needed,” says Jordan Bray-Miners, Senior Consultant at HSI .

www.humansys.com

For more than 35 years, with clients in Canada, the U.S. and other countries, HSI® has been a leader in human factors and human system integration support. We work in sectors including defence, emergency responders, health care, occupational safety and utilities. Individually and for teams, HSI® helps integrate people, performance and technology so systems work effectively, efficiently and safely. HSI® services include research, design, validation and training management. We focus on user fit between the abilities of the people and the technologies that together make up any system. In this way, HSI® supports product and system developers as well as procurement decision makers to reduce risks, lower life cycle costs and benefit return on investment.

IDEaS supports the development of solutions from their conceptual stage, through prototype testing and capability development. The program includes several elements that promote collaboration between innovators, provides developmental resources and provides opportunities to interact with DND’s science and military members. Through which all innovators are on an even playing field to solve specific defence and security challenges. For more about the program, see here: www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/programs/defence-ideas

US Army Fields New Chemical Detection Technology

Wednesday, September 9th, 2020

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — Chemical weapons pose a serious threat to civilian and warfighter lives, but technology from the U.S. Army Small Business Technology Transfer program reduces those risks. Researchers developed a product to detect chemical weapons accurately at low concentration levels.

Active Army, Reserve and National Guard units started to receive the Chemical Agent Disclosure Spray and the Contamination Indicator/Decontamination Assurance System, known as CIDAS. The Army is fielding it to all units in areas where there is a threat of chemical agents.

The Chemical Agent Disclosure Spray, purchased by FLIR Systems, Inc., has transitioned into the CIDAS Program of Record within the Joint Program Executive Office for CBRN Defense. The research, which began 20 years ago with a business first spun out of the University of Pittsburgh and later acquired by FLIR, as part of a Small Business Technology Transfer contract managed by the Army Research Office.

ARO is an element of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory.

The Army funded the basic research behind this technology at the University of Pittsburgh led by Dr. Alan Russell. Russell worked to identify ways to incorporate enzymes into polymers that would be stabilized for use outside the cell and then ultimately used in realistic battlefield environments.

Typically enzymes are not stable outside the living organism, but Russell’s fundamental polymer and enzyme chemistry research identified a way to maintain high activity of the enzymes for sensing chemicals in realistic battlefield conditions. He then started a small business based on those findings, which FLIR purchased.

“Our ability to respond to chemical warfare is a national security challenge that is vital to protecting both civilian and military lives,” said Dr. Stephen Lee, senior scientist at the ARO. “This technology is highly sensitive, providing accurate results on only trace amounts of material, even at concentrations below levels that represent an immediate danger to life and health.”

The new technology uses enzymes (complex proteins naturally produced by living organisms that act as a catalyst for specific biochemical reactions) to drive rapid, color-based reactions with chemical warfare agents. Once applied to a surface as a liquid solution, a vivid color change indicates the exact location of contamination by a specific chemical warfare agent.

Because the underlying chemistry uses enzymes to drive specific biochemical reactions, the technology is highly resistant to potential forms of chemical and environmental interference that might be problematic for conventional detection equipment.

The product’s sensitivity also provides the ability to determine whether decontamination was effective.

“Our Agentase C2 spray technology offers unprecedented performance, enabling rapid detection of highly toxic substances while reducing the lifecycle cost of decontamination operations,” said David Cullin, vice president of business development-Detection for FLIR Systems.

Products previously available for the detection of nerve and blister chemical agents range from simple units that use colorimetric techniques, wherein the presence of a chemical substance is indicated by a specific color change, to more complex systems that use special equipment.

Unfortunately, most colorimetric-based products such as paper detection products or gas detection tubes, can be highly susceptible to chemical interference, which can result in false positive and false negative results, as well as poor sensitivity.

“Through the Army’s Small Business Technology Transfer program, a small business has changed our nation’s ability to respond to chemical attacks,” Lee said. “The Army is taking advantage of the latest breakthroughs in synthetic biology to field new capability and protect national security. Without that program, we’d never have the ability to field this capability.”

The STTR program funds research and technology development with small businesses working in partnership with research institutions, most often colleges or universities. In contrast to the basic research programs managed by ARO, the STTR program focuses primarily on feasibility studies leading to prototype demonstration of technology for specific applications.

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the DOD agency responsible for countering weapons of mass destruction, provided additional funding to bridge the technology from development to capability delivery.

JPEO-CBRND, the DOD entity that manages the nation’s investments in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense equipment, adopted the technology as part of the Domestic Response Capability Kit.

The kit packages the chemical components into a simple, pen-like construct, an easy-to-use point-and-touch detection as well as a spray-based formulation of the same technology. The kits have been fielded to all 57 Army National Guard Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Teams across the country.

Now, National Guard units throughout every state maintain the capability to provide for detection, personal protection, decontamination and medical monitoring against chemical agents.

Additionally, JPEO-CBRND recently awarded FLIR an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity five-year contract worth up to $21.8 million to support the Army’s Contamination Indicator/Decontamination Assurance System program.

This award initiates the full-rate production phase to field the product to units throughout the Army.

Shipments are expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2020.

By U.S. Army CCDC Army Research Laboratory Public Affairs

The Dual Nations App for HAZMAT & CBRNe Professionals

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2020

THE DUAL NATIONS App

THERE IS A DIFFERENCE OF COURSE!

Hazmat Incidents typically comprise unplanned, smaller scale accidental and non-weaponized events, whereas CBRNe missions respond to the deliberate use of warfare agents often within the context of planned operations, in a pre-determined battle-space.

BUT….

Crossover occurs in many areas; same vendors, use of equipment, methods of response, detection, decontamination and of course in a terrorist incident – mutual aid post a domestic attack scenario. It makes absolute sense then that operators, professionals, commercial organizations and interested parties share and learn from each other with this command bond and understanding.

Defense Equipment Company is proud to affiliate with the hugely successful Hazmat Nation is now joining forces with the new CBRNe Nation to provide DUAL nationality to the two disciplines! Dual nationals owe allegiance to two Nations. “They are required to obey the laws of both countries, and either country has the right to enforce its laws.”ecome a Citizen of both nations – NO Passport

For more information visit: www.hazmatnation.com

ADS Federal Range Day 20 – CBR Multi-Purpose Wipe from M2DCON

Tuesday, August 25th, 2020

Pouches of the CBR Multi-Purpose Wipe from M2DCON were everywhere during Federal Range Day. These is a commercial equivalents to the US DoD Joint Service Equipment Wipe (JSEW/M334) were used to decon a wide variety of equipment between users. Even though the wipe is safe for personal hygiene, it has also been certified to neutralize against chemical (nerve, blister and other agents of concern) and biological (bacteria, viruses and spores) contamination.

Units and agencies can procure all products shown during ADS Federal Range Day by contacting ADS Inc.

Morphix Technologies to Virtually Exhibit at 2020 International Hazardous Materials Response Teams Experience

Tuesday, July 14th, 2020

Due to COVID19, Morphix Technologies® will be virtually displaying its TraceX® Explosive Detection Kit and Chameleon® Chemical Detection Armband at the Virtual HazMat Experience, July 14 – 16, 2020.

Virginia Beach, Va. (July 2020) – Morphix Technologies®, an innovator in the science of detection devices for dangerous chemicals, will be virtually exhibiting at the 2020 Virtual International Hazardous Materials (HazMat) Response Teams Experience, July 14 – 16, 2020. Morphix Technologies will be virtually exhibiting its TraceX® Explosive Detection Kit and its Chameleon® Chemical Detection Armband.

“COVID19 has changed the business landscape. What was originally supposed to be an in-person conference has now changed to a virtual format, which will be a first for us, but we are excited by the opportunity to still be able to present our products to attendees. The Hazmat Response Teams Conference is the premier conference in the United States for hazardous materials responders, and we’re excited to see what they do with this virtual experience. We look forward to virtually exhibiting what the TraceX and Chameleon detection devices can do to aid hazmat response teams in today’s challenging and changing environment,” commented Kimberly Chapman, vice president of sales and marketing for Morphix Technologies.

The TraceX Explosive Detection Kit is an affordable and easy-to-use product that aids in the detection of major explosive material threats and their precursors in a single test without exposing the kit to contamination or the user to dangerous chemicals. It was developed by Morphix Technologies under contract from the U.S. Department of Defense and meets their demanding requirements. It is small enough to fit in a cargo pocket, lightweight, and rugged. Each kit comes in its own disposable protective plastic case, so the handler will be ready to use it when needed and is shelf-stable for 24 months. With a single swab, the TraceX Explosive Detection Kit detects all the major families of explosive materials and their precursors.

The Chameleon Chemical Detection Armband is an easy-to-use, inexpensive, wearable, reusable armband that can hold up to 10 cassettes, each of which detects a particular toxic chemical and changes color upon detection. One-color indicates the absence of toxic gas. When two colors appear in the window, the user knows it is time to take action. Designed for use in the Arctic, tropical, and desert conditions, the Chameleon Chemical Detection Armband can even be immersed in water. Morphix Technologies has prioritized its product development based on the advice of the U.S. military and law enforcement agencies, so the Chameleon Chemical Detection Armband cassettes are available for many of the high-risk Toxic Industrial Chemicals (TICs) identified by the U.S. government. It has also been approved by the U.S. SAFETY Act of the Department of Homeland Security as an anti-terrorist technology.

The Virtual HazMat Experience allows attendees to connect with solution providers to get a comprehensive look at recent advances in the HazMat industry and discuss current product enhancements and the latest innovations. Engage in the Virtual HazMat Experience from office or home through the Live Sessions. The three-day Virtual HazMat Experience gives attendees access to all sessions, networking opportunities, solution providers, and more. Spend time in the virtual exhibit hall to engage in public and private chats with exhibitors “in their booth,” download materials, explore products, and more!

If you’d like to receive more information about our products, please contact Morphix Technologies toll-free in the US at 800-808-2234 or +1-757-431-2260 internationally. You can also email [email protected].

New Research Creates Neutralizing Sponge for Dangerous Chemicals

Tuesday, June 16th, 2020

Dr Simon Holder, Reader in Organic Chemistry at the University of Kent (UK) and Dr Barry Blight, Associate Professor of Chemistry at the University of New Brunswick (Canada), have developed a new method for containing and deactivating neurotoxic chemicals like VX and sarin.

These weapons, known as nerve agents or neurotoxins, are highly potent and fast acting. Small doses can cause rapid paralysis and death, as the chemicals disrupt the connection between the body’s nerves and muscles.

These internationally banned liquids are aerosolised purposely to inflict damage on large geographical areas and are considered to be weapons of mass destruction (WMD’s).

In a project funded by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) of the UK Ministry of Defence, the Kent team investigated new methods of bulk decontamination of chemical weapons.

The result of the research was the “Metal-organic framework (MOF)-containing polymer sponge”.

This is a sponge developed to swell and absorb dangerous neurotoxins and make them safer to handle, which also contains the MOF chemical catalyst, created to accelerate the chemical’s breakdown, diminishing the neurotoxins into safer components.

To research this safely, researchers used substances to simulate the presence of neurotoxins without risking exposure to dangerous chemicals. Following this, Dstl tested the prototype material with the real nerve agent to confirm the effect.

 “Less than five kilograms of the MOF-containing polymer sponge can absorb, immobilize, and safely destroy a 55-gallon drum of these toxic chemicals. It is very exciting to consider the potential this has in combatting dangerous chemicals in the future,” said Dr. Holder, who is also director of research at Kent’s School of Physical Sciences.

The research paper has been published in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces: pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/acsami.9b18478

Swell and Destroy: A Metal–Organic Framework-Containing Polymer Sponge That Immobilizes and Catalytically Degrades Nerve Agents

Authors: Yaroslav Kalinovskyy, Alexander J. Wright, Jennifer R. Hiscock, Toby D. Watts, Rebecca L. Williams, Nicholas J. Cooper, Marcus J. Main, Simon J. Holder, Barry A. Blight

Study Shows How Microorganisms Survive in Harsh Environments

Saturday, May 9th, 2020

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — In northern Chile’s Atacama Desert, one of the driest places on Earth, microorganisms are able to eke out an existence by extracting water from the rocks they colonize.

An Army-funded project by researchers at the University of California, Irvine, Johns Hopkins University and University of California, Riverside gained an in-depth understanding of the mechanisms by which some cyanobacteria, an ancient group of photosynthetic microbes, survive in harsh environments.

The new insights, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, demonstrate how life can flourish in places without much water in evidence – including Mars – and how people living in arid regions may someday be able to procure hydration from available minerals.

“The Army has a strong interest in how microorganisms well-adapted to extreme environments can be exploited for novel applications such as material synthesis and power generation within these harsh fielded environments,” said Dr. Robert Kokoska, program manager, Army Research Office, an element of U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory. “This study provides valuable clues for uncovering the evolved design strategies used by these native desert-dwelling microbes to maintain their viability in the face of multiple environmental challenges.”

Through work in the field and laboratory experiments, the research team focused on the interactions of Chroococcidiospsis, a desiccation-resistant species of cyanobacteria that is found in deserts around the world, and gypsum, a water containing calcium sulfate-based mineral. The colonizing lifeforms exist beneath a thin layer of rock that gives them a measure of protection against the Atacama’s extreme temperature, high solar irradiance and battering winds.

Co-author Jocelyne DiRuggiero, JHU associate professor of biology, traveled to the remote desert to collect gypsum samples and brought them back to her labs in the United States. She cut small pieces, where microorganisms could be found, and sent them to UCI for materials analysis.

In one of the most striking findings of the study, the researchers learned that the microorganisms change the very nature of the rock they occupy. By extracting water, they cause a phase transformation of the material – from gypsum to anhydrite, a dehydrated mineral.

According to DiRuggiero, the impetus for the published work came when Wei Huang, a UCI post-doctoral scholar in materials science & engineering, spotted data showing an overlap in concentrations of anhydrite and cyanobacteria in the gypsum samples collected in the Atacama.

“Our analysis of the regions of rock where microbes were colonized revealed a dehydrated phase of calcium sulfate, suggesting that they extract water from the rock to survive,” said David Kisailus, lead author and UCI professor of materials science & engineering. “We wanted to do some more controlled experiments to validate that hypothesis.”

DiRuggiero’s team then allowed the organisms to colonize half-millimeter cubes of rocks, called coupons, under two different conditions, one in the presence of water, to mimic a high-humidity environment, and the other completely dry. In the midst of moisture, the gypsum did not transform to the anhydrite phase.

“They didn’t need water from the rock, they got it from their surroundings,” Kisailus said. “But when they were put under stressed conditions, the microbes had no alternative but to extract water from the gypsum, inducing this phase transformation in the material.”

Kisailus’ team used a combination of advanced microscopy and spectroscopy to examine the interactions between the biological and geological counterparts, finding that the organisms bore into the material like tiny miners by excreting a biofilm containing organic acids, Kisailus said.

Huang used a modified electron microscope equipped with a Raman spectrometer to discover that the organisms used the acid to penetrate the rock in specific crystallographic directions – only along certain planes where they could more easily access water existing between faces of calcium and sulfate ions.

Kisailus said the project was a great demonstration of interdisciplinary research between microbiologists and materials scientists that may, one day, open doors to other forms of scientific discovery.

“Scientists have suspected for a long time that microorganisms might be able to extract water from minerals, but this is the first demonstration of it,” DiRuggiero said. “This is an amazing survival strategy for microorganisms living at the dry limit for life, and it provides constraints to guide our search for life elsewhere.”

Researchers said this study can benefit the Army Research Lab’s efforts in synthetic biology.

“These findings have drawn the interest of our lab as microbial survival mechanisms can be leveraged for biomanufacturing or sensing platforms in harsh military environments,” said Dr. Matthew Perisin of the lab’s biotechnology branch.

In addition to the Army, NASA also provided funding for this project.

Ops-Core SOTR FAQ

Friday, April 10th, 2020

We’ve been talking about Ops-Core’s Special Operations Tactical Respirator for a couple of years now. While it was never intended for use in a pandemic, some have adopted it due to he lack of N95 masks for those not in the medical profession. A lot of questions have come up about the certification of the filter media. Do you slides from Ops-Core will give you some of the lowdown??.