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Bits and Pieces

Enviro Mechanical Sales Moves Headquarters 16 Mar 2004
Enviro Mechanical Sales, Inc. recently announced they moved their Portsmouth corporate headquarters to: 1500 Breezeport Way, Suite 200, Suffolk, VA, 23435. Website address is The phones and fax lines have remained the same. The Midlothian branch will continue in its present location.

SAE International Announces CAD Automotive Certification 16 Mar 2004
The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) announced recently the industry’s first CAD Automotive Certification. Aimed specifically at engineers and designers in the automotive industry, this certification provides a way to ensure quality in design resources around the globe. Representatives from the big 3 OEMs and major suppliers have been invited to serve on an Executive Steering Committee and a Curriculum Oversight Committee. These committees will define the training and final examination. In addition, SAE has partnered with Cadpo, a PLM training provider with extensive automotive expertise. Cadpo will assist the Curriculum Oversight Committee in the development of training content and final examination. The certification is not just an online exam but a comprehensive online and classroom learning path to ensure students can apply automotive standards. The exam will be administered by an independent industry recognized testing company with 3,500 centers in 145 countries. Certification will also be localized to meet worldwide needs. The Certification curriculum and test will be available by September 2004. Certification tests will be administrated at an independent international testing center. Certification will be offered in two specific CAD software programs – Unigraphics and CATIA – that represent approximately 60 percent of the automotive CAD/PLM industry. For more info visit

Clark • Nexsen Completes UNC at Greensboro Project 16 Mar 2004
Clark•Nexsen has successfully completed the Assessment of the Needs of the Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS), Air-Conditioning, and Generators in the Campus (or Combined) Distribution Frames (CDFs) for The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Based on the Assessment Report, Clark•Nexsen also completed upgrades to the Bryan Building School of Business and Economics. During Phase I of this project, Clark•Nexsen provided an Assessment based upon the needs of the four primary facilities: the Bryan Building (School of Business and Economics), Forney Building (Office of Institutional Research), Walter Clinton Jackson Library, and McNutt Classroom Building. The Assessment involved upgrading Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS), emergency generator capability, dedicated air-conditioning units, and other incidental upgrades that were desired by the University. Phase II involved the preparation of construction documents, bidding, and construction administration for the Bryan Building only. The Bryan Building telecommunications room is one of the most important computing rooms on the UNC-Greensboro campus, but it had never been upgraded from the original building construction. Also included in the project were new heating and air-conditioning systems and an emergency generator that allows the computing systems to continue to operate in the event of a building power outage.

Students Study Building Safety, Refrigeration With ASHRAE Grants 16 Mar 2004
Twelve students have been approved to receive a total of $100,000 through ASHRAE’s grants-in-aid program, which is designed to encourage students to continue their education in preparation for service in the HVAC&R industry. The grants are awarded to full-time graduate students of ASHRAE-related technologies. Among them is an evaluation of HVAC system resistance to airborne chemical and biological agent releases, conducted by Joseph Firrantello, Penn State University. Developing low-cost, energy efficient refrigerators for use in tropical climates is the goal of recipient Seth Kassels, University of Colorado. In another project, Jinsong Zhang, Purdue University, will focus on increasing the overall efficiency of fuel cell systems to make them more competitive in energy efficiency and cost as compared to traditional systems. Promoting comfortable residential buildings that reduce energy use through appropriate building design strategies will be studied by Sopa Visitsak, Texas A&M University. The project will focus on improving the Givoni-Milne bioclimatic chart, used by many architects in developing energy efficient design strategies. Results from the projects may be incorporated in the ASHRAE Handbook, which is the most widely used reference book in the HVAC&R industry.

AMEC and Echota Win Air Force Contract 16 Mar 2004
AMEC Earth & Environmental, a major provider of environmental engineering services, recently signed a “mentor-protege” contract with the U.S. Air Force for the developmental assistance of a small Native American firm–Echota Technologies. Under the Department of Defense’s Mentor-Protege Program, large companies such as AMEC with well developed technical and business capabilities are selected to help small, disadvantaged companies enhance their ability to provide quality products and services to branches of the armed forces. AMEC’s contract is with the Air Force Mentor-Protege Center of Excellence at Brooks City-Base in San Antonio. It is a three year agreement to assist Cherokee-Indian-owned Echota Technologies which operates a main office in Maryland, TN. Echota provides technical support services and products in the security, nuclear and environmental areas to government and commercial clients. For more info visit

NACE Press Launches Two New Titles 16 Mar 2004
NACE International - The Corrosion Society, is offering two new titles now available. These titles may be purchased by contacting NACE Membership Services at 1+281-228-6223, or may be purchased online at
THE PROTECTIVE COATING USER’S HANDBOOK, By Dr. Louis D. Vincent. This new coatings title by expert Dr. Louis D. Vincent presents a practical approach to coatings. Written for coatings engineers and personnel, the handbook provides a chapter-by-chapter walkthrough of the proper use of protective coatings on a generic basis. This is a perfect source for practical information on getting a coatings project done properly from start to finish! Chapters clearly address options, systems, service, environments, and resources. Item #: 37584
CORROSION TESTING MADE EASY: EROSION-CORROSION By Pierre Roberge. This is the eighth and final installment of the Corrosion Testing Made Easy series, which has been in development for more than 12 years. This new volume of the Corrosion Testing Made Easy series introduces concepts of electrochemistry and fluid dynamics in the context of erosion-corrosion and flow-assisted corrosion (FAC). The book reviews test methods that can provide means to qualify materials for usage in flow intense situations. The principle of mass transfer equivalence is explained to correlate results obtained between test methods and field situations. Specific test methods described in the book have been arranged into rotating systems (disk, cylinder, and cage) and flow systems (flow loop, nozzle or orifice, and impinging jet). Item #: 37583

ISA Show 2004 01 Mar 2004
Instrumentation-Systems-Automation-Process Equipment seminar and exhibit on March 24, at the Greater Richmond Convention Center Exhibit Hall D, 300 N. Fifth St, Richmond, VA. Admission is free. For more info contact Lateef Baruwa at (202)488-9740.

Energy Too Cheap to Monitor Is A Step Closer To The Real World 01 Mar 2004
It cost a family of four living in a next-generation Habitat for Humanity house just 82 cents a day in total energy bills, and the project continues to gain momentum.
The house boasts impressive air tightness in addition to an advanced ventilation system that controls mold, mildew and moisture. A main feature of the house, located in Lenoir City, TN, is a second-generation heat pump water heater integrated with the refrigerator and insulated crawlspace.
Three houses have been built and another three are being designed as part of the Department of Energy Building America Zero Energy Habitat for Humanity project. The three existing houses are also part of Tennessee Valley Authority’s Green Power Generation program.
The photovoltaic system on the first house to sell solar power to TVA generated 1,940 kilowatt hours for the year, earning a credit of $291 from TVA.

Navy Enlists Microbes In Search 01 Mar 2004
Microbes have been exploited for thousands of years to help us make bread and alcohol, and more recently, to make antibiotics and clean up toxic spills. Now the Office of Naval Research is hoping the one-celled organisms will reduce the costs of producing a missile propellant, and in the process, lead to a new age of “bioproduction.”
With funding from ONR’s Green Synthesis of Energetic Materials program, microbiologist John Frost and his team at Michigan State University created strains of microbes that convert certain types of sugars into a non-natural synthetic material, called butanetriol. The Navy depends on the slightly yellow liquid to produce the propellant BTTN (butanetriol trinitrate), which is used in some missiles, including the Hellfire.
Biologist and ONR program officer Harold Bright initiated the green project three years ago when he learned that chemists at the Navy Surface Warfare Center in Indian Head, MD, couldn’t afford adequate supplies of chemically-produced butanetriol. To fill the gap they use nitroglycerin, which is less expensive but more sensitive to physical shocks and temperature changes.
Currently, butanetriol costs $30 to $40 per pound, and together the Navy and Army purchase about 15,000 pounds per year. If the costs could be reduced to $10 or $15 per pound, Indian Head estimates the services’ demand could rise to 180,000 pounds per year, replacing nitroglycerin in a number of current and new applications.
Mr. Bright notes, “This is a biology-unique process that in terms of environmental cleanliness and costs, chemists cannot match. Eventually, this ‘green’ production method will be applied to other materials, as we move away from petroleum-based processes that are environmentally ‘dirty’ and therefore expensive.”
The researchers manipulated the DNA of Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas fragi so that the bacteria would act like minifactories, spewing out butanetriol as they go about their normal life functions. This process is “at the cutting edge of both civilian and military science,” explains Mr. Bright.
In contrast to the high-pressure, high-temperature chemical process to produce butanetriol, the microbes require only air, sugar, and salts in a warm-water environment. Once they’ve produced the butanetriol and lived out their lives, they are killed and then disposed of in a standard municipal sewage treatment facility.
As an added bonus, butanetriol is also a precursor to two cholesterol-lowering drugs. Says Mr. Frost, “This is a classic example of dual use for molecules between pharmaceutical and defense applications.”

Free NIST CD Demystifies Complex Standards System 01 Mar 2004
A new compact disk from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) can help steer engineers, novice trade-association representatives and new government staffers through the thicket of organizations, activities, policies and laws related to standards and measurement in the United States.
With an easily digested helping of technical detail, the free electronic primer provides an integrated view of major public and private-sector components of the nation’s measurement and standards system. These elements are sized up from several key perspectives, including global trade and regulatory affairs.
Capsulized descriptions are supplemented by pointers to copies of trade agreements, federal laws and other background documents. Links to relevant internet resources, such as websites of standards development organizations and regional measurement alliances, are found throughout.
For example, the section on conformity assessment (the umbrella term for testing and other means of assessing whether a product meets regulatory and customer requirements) contains pointers to copies of international agreements and other efforts to harmonize such formal requirements. It also features links to multinational organizations working to eliminate duplication or needless variation in the standards and regulations of trading partners.
Five major sections survey relevant topics and activities in the areas of measurements, standards, conformity assessment, regulations and global activities. An additional section describes NIST, its programs, and its supporting technical roles and services.
To get a copy of the compendium-like CD, contact the editor, Elisabeth Parker, at 301-975-3089; or

DOE and NASA Collaborate 01 Mar 2004
The Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and NASA’s Glenn Research Center have agreed to collaborate in solving one of the toughest technical challenges to the development of advanced solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs). The two research organizations have signed a Space Act Agreement to team in the development of sealing technologies for the stacks of solid oxide fuel cells.
SOFC stacks consist of a group of thin ceramic cells separated by gas seals between which electricity is generated through a combustion-free electrochemical process.
PNNL Fuel Cell Development Director Prabhakar Singh explained, “The gas separation seals used between the individual cells prevent fuels and oxidants from intermixing. Robust seal materials and engineered architectures are essential to ensure the long term stable operation of SOFCs.”
“Our objective is to develop composite materials and designs that will improve the strength and fracture toughness of composite glass and glass-ceramic-based seals,” said Ajay Misra, chief of the NASA Glenn Ceramics Branch. “The seals must stand up to the extremes of pressure, temperature and other environmental conditions that occur during extended operation.”
“The arrangement complements PNNL’s work in glass seals and NASA’s expertise in glass and glass-ceramic composites,” Mr. Singh said. “While each organization will continue to maintain its own research program, participants will jointly identify, prioritize, develop and test new fuel cell seal technologies.”
PNNL provides technical leadership for the DOE’s Solid State Energy Conversion Alliance, a collaborative effort by industry, academia and other research organizations to develop and commercialize an SOFC power generation system within the next 10 years. The system is intended to be modular and capable of using a variety of liquid and gaseous fuels.
NASA is investigating solid oxide fuel cell technology to meet the need for high-efficiency, low emission power capabilities for aviation and space applications.
Located in Cleveland, OH, the Glenn Research Center leads NASA research and development in aeropropulsion. The center also plays a significant role in NASA’s promotion of economic growth and national security through safe, superior and environmentally compatible U.S. civil and military aircraft propulsion systems.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is a DOE Office of Science facility that is gaining new knowledge through fundamental research and providing science-based solutions to some of the nation’s most pressing challenges in national security, energy and environmental quality. The laboratory employs more than 3,800 scientists, engineers, technicians and support staff, and has an annual budget of nearly $600 million. Battelle, based in Columbus, OH, has operated PNNL since its inception in 1965 for the federal government.

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