December 4, 2008

New Dry Wipe Can Clean Up Battlefield Chemical Agents

Researchers at Texas Tech University in Lubbock said Wednesday that they have developed a new type of dry wipe that can clean up chemical agents such as mustard gas and other toxins.

The wipes may provide soldiers on the battlefield a more convenient way to handle toxic materials.

"This is the first time this kind of wipe has been developed and it has been tested against a real chemical agent," Seshadri Ramkumar of Texas Tech, who developed the wipe, told Reuters.

The researchers developed the new product in response to a call by the U.S. military for better ways to decontaminate military personnel and equipment.  It is intended to replace the loose particle cleaners the military currently employs.  

The university has licensed the dry wipe, called Fibertect, to Hobbs Bonded Fibers in Waco, Texas.

It was tested at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California against mustard gas and other toxic chemicals, where the wipe outperformed 30 different materials, including some used today in military decontamination kits.

Ramkumar said the wipe has an activated carbon core encased in an absorbent layer on the top and bottom.  

"When a soldier is fighting and there are open wounds, he will not be able to put loose particles on the skin," Ramkumar said.

"They needed something which is not loose particles and they also needed something which can be used both on human skin and on sensitive
equipment. This is a tremendous improvement."


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