Patents Represented by Attorney Brian R. Tumm
  • Patent number: 5463377
    Abstract: An apparatus for detecting the presence of a liquid in a region, including an electrically passive sensor adapted for contacting the liquid, and an electrically active detector. The sensor is a circuit with a pair of spaced-apart terminals connected to a switch that closes in the presence of the liquid. The detector carries an alternating current with a resonant frequency. When the sensor is placed in a region and liquid is present in the region, the circuit of the sensor is closed. By bringing the detector close to the sensor, an alternating current is induced in the sensor that will, in turn, alter the resonant frequency of the detector. The change in the resonant frequency is signaled by a transducer. The switch can operate by a change in conductivity of a material between the terminals of the sensor or by expansion of a liquid absorber that pushes the two terminals together, or by a change in the conductivity of the space between the terminals as a result of the presence of the liquid.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 8, 1993
    Date of Patent: October 31, 1995
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the United States Department of Energy
    Inventor: James W. Kronberg
  • Patent number: 5460745
    Abstract: A composition for use in storing hydrogen, and a method for making the composition. The composition comprises a mixture of two or more hydrides, each hydride having a different series of hydrogen sorption isotherms that contribute to the overall isotherms of the mixture. The hydrides are chosen so that the isotherms of the mixture have regions wherein the hydrogen equilibrium pressure increases with increasing hydrogen, preferably linearly. The isotherms of the mixture can be adjusted by selecting hydrides with different isotherms and by varying the amounts of the individual hydrides, or both. Preferably, the mixture is made up of hydrides that have isotherms with substantially flat plateaus and in nearly equimolar amounts. The composition is activated by degassing, exposing to hydrogen and then heating at a temperature below the softening temperature of any of the. constituents so that their chemical and structural integrity is preserved.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 7, 1994
    Date of Patent: October 24, 1995
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the United States Department of Energy
    Inventor: Myung W. Lee
  • Patent number: 5457313
    Abstract: An optical sensing device for uranyl and other substances, a method for making an optical sensing device and a method for chemically binding uranyl and other indicators to glass, quartz, cellulose and similar substrates. The indicator, such as arsenazo III, is immobilized on the substrate using a chemical binding process. The immobilized arsenazo III causes uranyl from a fluid sample to bind irreversibly to the substrate at its active sites, thus causing absorption of a portion of light transmitted through the substrate. Determination of the amount of light absorbed, using conventional means, yields the concentration of uranyl present in the sample fluid. The binding of uranyl on the substrate can be reversed by subsequent exposure of the substrate to a solution of 2,6-pyridinedicarboxylic acid. The chemical binding process is suitable for similarly binding other indicators, such as bromocresol green.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 1, 1994
    Date of Patent: October 10, 1995
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the United States Department of Energy.
    Inventors: Lewis C. Baylor, Bruce R. Buchanan
  • Patent number: 5443604
    Abstract: A polishing compound for plastic surfaces. The compound contains by weight approximately 4 to 17 parts at least one petroleum distillate lubricant, 1 to 6 parts mineral spirits, 2.5 to 15 parts abrasive particles, and 2.5 to 10 parts water. The abrasive is tripoli or a similar material that contains fine particles silica. Preferably, most of the abrasive particles are less than approximately 10 microns, more preferably less than approximately 5 microns in size. The compound is used on PLEXIGLAS.TM., LEXAN.TM., LUCITE.TM., polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and similar plastic materials whenever a smooth, clear polished surface is desired.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 13, 1993
    Date of Patent: August 22, 1995
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the United States Department of Energy
    Inventor: Michael S. Stowell
  • Patent number: 5443616
    Abstract: A dimensionally stable hydride composition and a method for making such a composition. The composition is made by forming particles of a metal hydride into porous granules, mixing the granules with a matrix material, forming the mixture into pellets, and sintering the pellets in the absence of oxygen. The ratio of matrix material to hydride is preferably between approximately 2:1 and 4:1 by volume. The porous structure of the granules accommodates the expansion that occurs when the metal hydride particles absorb hydrogen. The porous matrix allows the flow of hydrogen therethrough to contact the hydride particles, yet supports the granules and contains the hydride fines that result from repeated absorption/desorption cycles.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 14, 1993
    Date of Patent: August 22, 1995
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the United States Department of Energy
    Inventor: James W. Congdon
  • Patent number: 5441991
    Abstract: A phenolic, cesium-specific, cation exchange resin is prepared by neutralizing resorcinol with potassium hydroxide, condensing/polymerizing the resulting intermediate with formaldehyde, heat-curing the resulting polymer to effect cross-linking and grinding it to desired particle size for use. This resin will selectively and efficiently adsorb cesium ions in the presence of a high concentration of sodium ions with a low carbon to cesium ratio.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 21, 1992
    Date of Patent: August 15, 1995
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the United States Department of Energy
    Inventors: Jane P. Bibler, Richard M. Wallace
  • Patent number: 5435942
    Abstract: A process for treating alkaline wastes for vitrification. The process involves acidifying the wastes with an oxidizing agent such as nitric acid, then adding formic acid as a reducing agent, and then mixing with glass formers to produce a melter feed. The nitric acid contributes nitrates that act as an oxidant to balance the redox of the melter feed, prevent reduction of certain species to produce conducting metals, and lower the pH of the wastes to a suitable level for melter operation. The formic acid reduces mercury compounds to elemental mercury for removal by steam stripping, and MnO.sub.2 to the Mn(II) ion to prevent foaming of the glass melt. The optimum amounts of nitric acid and formic acid are determined in relation to the composition of the wastes, including the concentrations of mercury (II) and MnO.sub.2, noble metal compounds, nitrates, formates and so forth.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 28, 1994
    Date of Patent: July 25, 1995
    Assignee: United States Department of Energy
    Inventor: Chia-lin W. Hsu
  • Patent number: 5434333
    Abstract: A method for treating materials such as wastes for solidification to form a solid, substantially nonleachable product. Addition of reactive silica rather than ordinary silica to the material when bringing the initial molar ratio of its silica constituent to a desired ratio within a preselected range increases the solubility and retention of the materials in the solidified matrix. Materials include hazardous, radioactive, mixed, and heavy metal species. Amounts of other constituents of the material, in addition to its silica content are also added so that the molar ratio of each of these constituents is within the preselected ranges for the final solidified product. The mixture is then solidified by cement solidification or vitrification.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 18, 1992
    Date of Patent: July 18, 1995
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the United States Department of Energy
    Inventors: Carol M. Jantzen, John B. Pickett, Hollis L. Martin
  • Patent number: 5433236
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for controllably moving devices for cleaning or inspection through piping systems, including piping systems with numerous piping bends therein, by using hydrostatic pressure of a working fluid introduced into the piping system. The apparatus comprises a reservoir or other source for supplying the working fluid to the piping system, a launch tube for admitting the device into the launcher and a reversible, positive displacement pump for controlling the direction and flow rate of the working fluid. The device introduced into the piping system moves with the flow of the working fluid through the piping system. The launcher attaches to the valved ends of a piping system so that fluids in the piping system can recirculate in a closed loop.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 12, 1993
    Date of Patent: July 18, 1995
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the United States Department of Energy
    Inventors: W. Thor Zollinger, D. Keith Appel, Gregory W. Lewis
  • Patent number: 5432595
    Abstract: A method for measuring residual stress in a material comprising the steps of establishing a speckle pattern on the surface with a first laser then heating a portion of that pattern with an infrared laser until the surface plastically deforms. Comparing the speckle patterns before and after deformation by subtracting one pattern from the other will produce a fringe pattern that serves as a visual and quantitative indication of the degree to which the plasticized surface responded to the stress dung heating and enables calculation of the stress.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 13, 1993
    Date of Patent: July 11, 1995
    Inventor: Martin J. Pechersky
  • Patent number: 5431148
    Abstract: An immersible solar heater comprising a light-absorbing panel attached to a frame for absorbing heat energy from the light and transferring the absorbed heat energy directly to the fluid in which the heater is immersed. The heater can be used to heat a swimming pool, for example, and is held in position and at a preselected angle by a system of floats, weights and tethers so that the panel can operate efficiently. A skid can be used in one embodiment to prevent lateral movement of the heater along the bottom of the pool. Alternative embodiments include different arrangements of the weights, floats and tethers and methods for making the heater.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 10, 1994
    Date of Patent: July 11, 1995
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the United States Department of Energy
    Inventor: James W. Kronberg
  • Patent number: 5424211
    Abstract: A composition for detecting the presence and concentration of a substance such as uranyl, comprising an organohalide covalently bonded to an indicator for said substance. The composition has at least one active OH site for forming a complex with the substance to be detected. The composition is made by reacting equimolar amounts of the indicator and the organohalide in a polar organic solvent. The absorbance spectrum of the composition-uranyl complex is shifted with respect to the absorbance spectrum of the indicator-uranyl complex, to provide better spectral resolution for detecting uranyl.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 16, 1994
    Date of Patent: June 13, 1995
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the United States Department of Energy
    Inventors: Lewis C. Baylor, Susan M. Stephens
  • Patent number: 5424731
    Abstract: A device for detecting switch closure such as in a keypad for entering data comprising a matrix of conductor pairs and switches, each pair of conductors shorted by the pressing of a particular switch, and current-regulating devices on each conductor for limiting current in one direction and passing it without limit in the other direction. The device is driven by alternating current. The ends of the conductors in a conductor pair limit current of opposing polarities with respect to each other so that the signal on a shorted pair is an alternating current signal with a unique combination of a positive and a negative peak, which, when analyzed, allows the determination of which key was pressed. The binary identification of the pressed key is passed to the input port of a host device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 24, 1991
    Date of Patent: June 13, 1995
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the United States Department of Energy
    Inventor: James W. Kronberg
  • Patent number: 5414199
    Abstract: An apparatus and method for oxidizing wastes in a two-stage process. The apparatus includes an oxidation device, a gas-liquid contacting column and an electrocell. In the first stage of the process, wastes are heated in the presence of air to partially oxidize the wastes. The heated wastes produce an off-gas stream containing oxidizable materials. In the second stage, the off-gas stream is cooled and flowed through the contacting column, where the off-gas stream is contacted with an aqueous acid stream containing an oxidizing agent having at least two positive valence states. At least a portion of the oxidizable materials are transferred to the acid stream and destroyed by the oxidizing agent. During oxidation, the valence of the oxidizing agent is decreased from its higher state to its lower state. The acid stream is flowed to the electrocell, where an electric current is applied to the stream to restore the oxidizing agent to its higher valence state.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 28, 1993
    Date of Patent: May 9, 1995
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the United States Department of Energy
    Inventor: Scott D. Fleischman
  • Patent number: 5413973
    Abstract: A process for age-hardening alumina-rich magnesium aluminum spinel to obtain the desired combination of characteristics of hardness, clarity, flexural strength and toughness comprises selection of the time-temperature pair for isothermal heating followed by quenching. The time-temperature pair is selected from the region wherein the precipitate groups have the characteristics sought. The single crystal spinel is isothermally heated and will, if heated long enough pass from its single phase through two pre-precipitates and two metastable precipitates to a stable secondary phase precipitate within the spinel matrix. Quenching is done slowly at first to avoid thermal shock, then rapidly.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 3, 1994
    Date of Patent: May 9, 1995
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the United States Department of Energy
    Inventor: Carol M. Jantzen
  • Patent number: 5413596
    Abstract: A device for stimulating bone tissue by applying a low level alternating current signal directly to the patient's skin. A crystal oscillator, a binary divider chain and digital logic gates are used to generate the desired waveforms that reproduce the natural electrical characteristics found in bone tissue needed for stimulating bone growth and treating osteoporosis. The device, powered by a battery, contains a switch allowing selection of the correct waveform for bone growth stimulation or osteoporosis treatment so that, when attached to the skin of the patient using standard skin contact electrodes, the correct signal is communicated to the underlying bone structures.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 29, 1993
    Date of Patent: May 9, 1995
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the United States Department of Energy
    Inventor: James W. Kronberg
  • Patent number: 5412465
    Abstract: A method for validating a process stream for the presence or absence of a substance of interest such as a chemical warfare agent; that is, for verifying that a chemical warfare agent is present in an input line for feeding the agent into a reaction vessel for destruction, or, in a facility for producing commercial chemical products, that a constituent of the chemical warfare agent has not been substituted for the proper chemical compound. The method includes the steps of transmitting light through a sensor positioned in the feed line just before the chemical constituent in the input line enters the reaction vessel, measuring an optical spectrum of the chemical constituent from the light beam transmitted through it, and comparing the measured spectrum to a reference spectrum of the chemical agent and preferably also reference spectra of surrogates.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 2, 1993
    Date of Patent: May 2, 1995
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the United States Department of Energy
    Inventors: Lewis C. Baylor, Bruce R. Buchanan, Patrick E. O'Rourke
  • Patent number: 5411928
    Abstract: A hydrogen absorbing composition. The composition comprises a porous glass matrix, made by a sol-gel process, having a hydrogen-absorbing material dispersed throughout the matrix. A sol, made from tetraethyl orthosilicate, is mixed with a hydrogen-absorbing material and solidified to form a porous glass matrix with the hydrogen-absorbing material dispersed uniformly throughout the matrix. The glass matrix has pores large enough to allow gases having hydrogen to pass through the matrix, yet small enough to hold the particles dispersed within the matrix so that the hydrogen-absorbing particles are not released during repeated hydrogen absorption/desorption cycles.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 24, 1993
    Date of Patent: May 2, 1995
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the United States Department of Energy
    Inventors: Leung K. Heung, George G. Wicks, Glenn L. Enz
  • Patent number: 5408356
    Abstract: A remote fiber optic signal amplifier for use as a repeater/amplifier, such as in transoceanic communications, powered by a Pu.sub.238 or Sr.sub.90 thermoelectric generator. The amplifier comprises a unit with connections on the receiving and sending sides of the communications system, and an erbium-doped fiber amplifier connecting each sending fiber to each receiving fiber. The thermoelectric generator, preferably a Pu.sub.238 or Sr.sub.90 thermoelectric generator delivers power to the amplifiers through a regulator. The heat exchange surfaces of the thermoelectric generator are made of materials resistant to corrosion and biological growth and are directly exposed to the outside, such as the ocean water in transoceanic communications.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 2, 1993
    Date of Patent: April 18, 1995
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the United States Department of Energy
    Inventor: Mark M. Hart
  • Patent number: 5405231
    Abstract: An apparatus for transferring objects from a first region to a second reg, the first and second regions having differing atmospheric environments. The apparatus includes a shell having an entrance and an exit, a conveyor belt running through the shell from the entrance to the exit, and a horizontally mounted "revolving door" with at least four vanes revolving about its axis. The inner surface of the shell and the top surface of the conveyor belt act as opposing walls of the "revolving door." The conveyor belt dips as it passes under but against the revolving vanes so as not to interfere with them but to engage at least two of the vanes and define thereby a moving chamber. Preferably, the conveyor belt has ridges or grooves on its surface that engage the edges of the vanes and act to rotate the vane assembly.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 2, 1993
    Date of Patent: April 11, 1995
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Department of Energy
    Inventor: James W. Kronberg