Firefighting Tech Roundup: Construction Developments, Collapse Warning Technology

Polyurethane Use for Construction Industry Topic of Technical Conference

Polyurethane chemistry for the building and construction industry will be discussed at the 2013 Polyurethanes Technical Conference to be held from September 23-25 in Phoenix, Arizona.

(1) A building under construction.

According to The Center for the Polyurethanes Industry of the American Chemistry Council, sponsor of the Conference, industry members will report on advances in rigid polyurethane (PUR), polyisocyanurate (PIR) foams, and spray polyurethane foam (SPF). These products, used for many construction applications, help builders and architects to meet energy-efficiency and building quality goals. Among the products covered at the Conference will be the following:

  • Bayer Material Science and Foam Supplies Inc.: The use of methyl formate, a major component of the blowing agent Ecomate, to create PIR laminate boardstock insulation, as well as its physical properties and flammability capability.
  • Momentive: The effect of additives on a polyol blend, especially in the areas of resin appearance, foam structure, density, insulation value, compressive strength, dimensional stability, and open cell content.
  • Foam Supplies Inc.: An evaluation of different catalysts in Ecomate® spray foam formulations from the perspective of promoting a shelf life exceeding six months without compromising the physical properties of the finished product. Metal, amine, blowing, and gelling catalysts will be covered.
  • Arkema and Bayer Material Science: Investigation findings on the performance of AFA-L1 in energy-critical cold chain applications such as refrigerated trailers and continuous and discontinuous ASTM E84-rated panels.
  • Honeywell: A new high-performance blowing agent technology used for discontinuous panels and commercial appliances.
  • Evonik: The optimization of SPF, comparing systems prepared with isocyanate and containing silicone surfactants to systems prepared with isocyanate alone.
  • he Spray Foam Coalition: How to incorporate SPF into wall and roofing designs to meet the stringent 2012 building codes.
  • Mason Knowles Consulting: Identification of SPF defects and tools and techniques for removing and repairing the application.

For additional information on the conference, contact Marie Francis at (202) 249-6514 or by email at :

Tremors Precede Earthquakes Induced by ‘Fracking' Wastewater

Seismologists have discovered that some of the largest earthquakes precipitated by deep injection of wastewater from "fracking" for gas and oil are preceded by a swarm of smaller tremors, thereby providing a warning sign. The full report is at (It was published in Science 12 July 2013; 341:6142, pp 117-118. Richard A. Kerr, author.)

Firefighting Tech Roundup: Construction Developments, Collapse Warning Technology

(2) The Roebling Suspension Bridge, spanning the Ohio River from Covington to Cincinnati.

Resensys' Technology Warns of Bridge and Building Collapses

Failures of bridges such as happened in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Washington State and buildings in Philadelphia and Bangladesh can be prevented, according to Resensys LLC (

Mehdi Kalantari, Re'ensys’ president and CTO expl"ins: “In most cases, before a bridge or building collapses, measureable, meaningful changes occur on the stru"ture.” The c'mpany’s networked sensor system, he "ays, “provides a strong tool for the early and efficient detection of these ch"nges.” The technology, he continues, can detect whether some portion of the structure is overstrained or deformed or if there are irreversible shifts or transformations in sufficient time before a failure occurs and allows repairs or adjustments to be made to avoid a failure.

The system of small, networked sensors is installed strategically on a bridge or building and monitors factors that include strain, acceleration, vibration, displacement, deformation, tilt and inclination, and temperature and humidity. The data gathered by the sensors are sent wirelessly to a data center, where it is continually analyzed. Maintenance or repair engineers are alerted at the first hint of a structural problem.

Energy for the sensors can be self-sustained through ambient light and radio waves, or they can be operated by battery. The sensors are said to be maintenance"free “for de"ades.”

More than 20 companies throughout the United States, Canada, Indonesia, and Japan have deployed the sensors on a wide variety of structures. In the Mid-Atlantic region, they monitor buildings and bridges.

Resensys, a portfolio company of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute Technology Advancement Program in the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, received a $75,000 Maryland Technology Transfer Fund award from the Maryland Technology Development Corporation in 2008. In 2009, it won a $165,000 Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) grant and $25,000 through the SAIC VentureAccelerator Competition. The company has also received Small Business Innovation Research grants from the National Science Foundation--a $100,000 Phase I in 2009, $500,000 Phase II in 2010, and $230,000 Phase II-B in 2013. The company has three patents pending.

Aftermath Inc. Adopts ATP Technology for Its Biohazard Removal Services

Aftermath Inc. ( has outfitted its national remediation teams with Charm Nova-Link portable adenosine triphosphate (ATP) fluorescence testing units. The units help to ensure standards of cleanliness achieved when the company provides cleaning and remediation services in environments involving unattended deaths, violent crimes, or suicide.

Tim Reifsteck, founder of Aftermath, explains that the ATP reading shows the homeowner or property manager that the job was done correctly and that the remediation and cleaning processes sanitized surfaces to a microscopic level. Customers are given a reading before and after the cleaning service is completed to confirm biological cleanliness at the scene.

The Novalink ATP device measures cellular energy molecules that indicate the presence of organic material. Acceptable ATP readings vary by industry.

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