Friday, August 31, 2007

The Finite Element Method: A Four-Article Series - Part 2

Author: Steve Roensch

The following four-article series was published in a newsletter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) . It serves as an introduction to the recent analysis discipline known as the finite element method . The author is an engineering consultant and expert witness specializing in finite element analysis.


by Steve Roensch, President, Roensch & Associates

Second in a four-part series

As discussed last month, finite element analysis is comprised of pre-processing, solution and post-processing phases. The goals of pre-processing are to develop an appropriate finite element mesh, assign suitable material properties, and apply boundary conditions in the form of restraints and loads.

The finite element mesh subdivides the geometry into elements , upon which are found nodes . The nodes, which are really just point locations in space, are generally located at the element corners and perhaps near each midside. For a two-dimensional (2D) analysis, or a three-dimensional (3D) thin shell analysis, the elements are essentially 2D, but may be ""warped"" slightly to conform to a 3D surface. An example is the thin shell linear quadrilateral; thin shell implies essentially classical shell theory, linear defines the interpolation of mathematical quantities across the element, and quadrilateral describes the geometry. For a 3D solid analysis, the elements have physical thickness in all three dimensions. Common examples include solid linear brick and solid parabolic tetrahedral elements. In addition, there are many special elements, such as axisymmetric elements for situations in which the geometry, material and boundary conditions are all symmetric about an axis.

The model's degrees of freedom (dof) are assigned at the nodes. Solid elements generally have three translational dof per node. Rotations are accomplished through translations of groups of nodes relative to other nodes. Thin shell elements, on the other hand, have six dof per node: three translations and three rotations. The addition of rotational dof allows for evaluation of quantities through the shell, such as bending stresses due to rotation of one node relative to another. Thus, for structures in which classical thin shell theory is a valid approximation, carrying extra dof at each node bypasses the necessity of modeling the physical thickness. The assignment of nodal dof also depends on the class of analysis. For a thermal analysis, for example, only one temperature dof exists at each node.

Developing the mesh is usually the most time-consuming task in FEA. In the past, node locations were keyed in manually to approximate the geometry. The more modern approach is to develop the mesh directly on the CAD geometry, which will be (1) wireframe , with points and curves representing edges, (2) surfaced , with surfaces defining boundaries, or (3) solid , defining where the material is. Solid geometry is preferred, but often a surfacing package can create a complex blend that a solids package will not handle. As far as geometric detail, an underlying rule of FEA is to ""model what is there"", and yet simplifying assumptions simply must be applied to avoid huge models. Analyst experience is of the essence.

The geometry is meshed with a mapping algorithm or an automatic free-meshing algorithm. The first maps a rectangular grid onto a geometric region, which must therefore have the correct number of sides. Mapped meshes can use the accurate and cheap solid linear brick 3D element, but can be very time-consuming, if not impossible, to apply to complex geometries. Free-meshing automatically subdivides meshing regions into elements, with the advantages of fast meshing, easy mesh-size transitioning (for a denser mesh in regions of large gradient), and adaptive capabilities. Disadvantages include generation of huge models, generation of distorted elements, and, in 3D, the use of the rather expensive solid parabolic tetrahedral element. It is always important to check elemental distortion prior to solution. A badly distorted element will cause a matrix singularity, killing the solution. A less distorted element may solve, but can deliver very poor answers. Acceptable levels of distortion are dependent upon the solver being used.

Material properties required vary with the type of solution. A linear statics analysis, for example, will require an elastic modulus, Poisson's ratio and perhaps a density for each material. Thermal properties are required for a thermal analysis. Examples of restraints are declaring a nodal translation or temperature. Loads include forces, pressures and heat flux. It is preferable to apply boundary conditions to the CAD geometry, with the FEA package transferring them to the underlying model, to allow for simpler application of adaptive and optimization algorithms. It is worth noting that the largest error in the entire process is often in the boundary conditions. Running multiple cases as a sensitivity analysis may be required.

Next month's article will discuss the solution phase of the finite element method.

© 1996-2005 Roensch & Associates. All rights reserved.

About the author: Steve Roensch is an expert witness and mechanical engineer with more than 20 years of professional experience. He has analyzed hundreds of product designs and has served as an expert witness across many industries, including giving depositions and court testimony. Learn more about mechanical engineer expert witness services at

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Silver: Timeless Elegance

Author: James Monahan

Silver ranks up in the top metal list, right next to gold. For those who value simplicity and elegance, and have more practical matters to consider, silver is a popular choice. And this is not even just for those who love jewelry.

Silver, through the years, has been fashioned into countless items that have proven to be indispensable to man. From utensils, accessories, gadgets, frames, and structures, silver is considered reliable because it is malleable and is even a good conductor.

If you're considering buying items made of silver, it's best to first acquaint yourself with its types:

The first type is fine silver, which is silver's natural state. Its purity is at a ratio of 99/100. At this state, silver becomes too malleable, and items tend to be too soft.

Silver has to be mixed, or alloyed, with other metallic components first to make it hard enough. At that state, it would be durable to be fashioned into desired products.

The second type is the more popular one, sterling silver. This is a result of a mixture of 92.5% fine silver with other metal components.

Buyers who wish to purchase products made of sterling silver must look for the engraved ""925"" as proof. Sterling silver is meant to be durable and shiny. Anything less would be fakes.

The third type is silver-plated. This happens when a base metal is layered with fine silver. It is also has its own sheen and durability, but buyers have often found that the items have to be coated with silver periodically, as the silver on the base metal tends to come off with wear and tear.

The fourth type has more to do with silver jewelry, called vermeil. This is sterling silver jewelry mixed with a minimum of 100 millionths of an inch of karat gold through electroplating. This gives the piece an exquisite look and a slightly different sheen.

History tells that silver has been widely used, even during centuries past. From battle weapons, flatmore, armors and jewelry, silver has been considered second only to gold by different races.

Various empires have fashioned this metal into the most intricate jewelry designs, utensils, treasures, and even foundations. Being a good conductor, it has also been a major part of scientific and technological evolutions.

There are currently many mines that produce silver. This is partially due to its popularity, and partially to its presence all over the world. Among metals, it is also the most reflective, and this means that polishing it frequently adds to its sheen.

This is not possible with other metals. Buyers only have to take proper care of their silver items, as silver is prone to scratches and tarnishing as the years go by. But its maintenance is inexpensive, and taking care of it is hardly tedious at all.

Take care of your silver by making sure that it is kept in a cool, dry storage. Divide it into separate containers to avoid contact with other environmental elements. If your silver becomes tarnished, have it polished using dry cloth and a polishing solution. Treat your silver as you would your other pieces of treasured items.

Silver, when preserved properly, can be as much an heirloom and legacy to the next generation as items made out of gold. Whatever the occasion, whether gifting others or yourself, silver is a top choice when it comes to durability and aesthetics.

About the author: James Monahan is the owner and Senior Editor of and writes expert articles about silver .

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

How To Use Diamond Tool To Cut Steel In Micro Machining?

Author: Ken Yap

The diamond tool is commonly used in micro-machining as it can withstand the micro hardening of the workpiece surface during micro-machining. This micro-hardening creates enough resistance to break the tool bit easily in micro milling, but not a diamond tool. Micro-machining using diamond tool could be performed at high speeds and generally fine speeds to produce good surface finish such as mirror surfaces and high dimensional accuracy in non-ferrous alloys and abrasive non-metallic materials.

However, if a diamond tool were to be used to cut steel, one of the most common engineering materials used in industries, the diamond tool will face severe tool wear. While diamond only softens at 1350 degree Celsius and melts at 3027 degree Celsius, and is also the hardest material in the world, it has a weakness. Diamond succumbs to graphitization, which means that it will change its crystal structure to graphite crystal structure at 200 degree Celsius in the presence of a catalyst metal such as carbon steel and alloys with titanium, nickel and cobalt.

There have been various attempts to improve the tool life of the diamond tool while cutting steel so as to improve the efficiency and profitability of this operation. Such processes include micro-cutting the steel workpiece in a carbon-rich gas chamber as well as a cryongenically cooled chamber. However, these methods require costly equipment modification and restrict direct supervision of the micro-cutting process.

The latest breakthrough came when the diamond tool was subject to ultrasonic vibration during micro-cutting. It has been shown that a diamond tool subject to ultrasonic vibration can cut the steel well enough to produce a mirror surface finish with acceptable tool life. The ultrasonic vibration at the diamond tool tip allows the tool face to cool down considerably during the cutting process and delays the chemical reaction between the diamond tool and the steel workpiece. As a result, the diamond tool life is increased by a few hundred times.

For example, a single crystal diamond tool with feedrate 5 micron/revolution, cutting speed zero to 5m/min and depth of cut 10 micron was attached to a ultrasonic vibration generator so that the diamond tool tip vibrated about 4 microns while it was used to cut stainless steel. The mirror surface finish of the cut steel surface was measured at 8 nm Ra!

With more and more machining companies moving into the niche micro machining field, such ultrasonic vibration assisted cutting can only help the progressive company to achieve process leadership and innovative differentiation.

Author Ken Yap is a director of Suwa Precision Engineering Pte Ltd in Singapore and represents metal stamping, precision machining, miniature precision balls and PCB manufacturers from Suwa , also called ""The Oriental Switzerland"" in Japan due to its Swiss resemblance for rich watch-making industry, its mountainous terrain and its precision component making industry.

About the author: Ken Yap is a director of Suwa Precision Engineering in Singapore, and represents precision component manufacturers from Suwa, Japan. He is also a partner in Attisse Pte Ltd providing business consultancy and research services to Japanese investors.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Creative Evolution

Author: Keith Riffle

Creative Evolution

It is a common misconception that the Wright Brothers were the first in flight. They were not. Birds (and humans in hot air balloons) beat them to it by who knows how many years. There are also insects, bats, and extinct reptiles which have also accomplished the same feat. Perhaps the idea of flight would never have been fathomed if it had not been observed in nature. The question is, how did the birds, bats, insects, and extinct reptiles figure out how to fly in the first place?

The truth of the matter is that birds, insects, bats, and extinct reptiles didn't need to figure it out, because the assumption is that nature figured it out for them. If this is the case, how did nature figure it out? There is often a very contradictory answer to this question, because the answer supports two forms of reasoning, and these two forms of reasoning don't exactly get along, so to speak. Before getting into what this contradiction is, it is first necessary to ask another question, did nature intend to figure this out?

Technically speaking, it would not be scientifically correct to say that nature intended birds, insects, and bats to fly. If the theory of evolution is true, random mutations are a big reason why birds can fly. These mutations are not called intentional mutations for a reason, because they are believed to have happened randomly. While it could be argued that there are reasons these random non intentional mutations occurred, the important thing to realize is this: if scientific reasoning is correct, flight was not a planned thing. It was unintentional. It just happened. If flight did indeed just happen, the question of why it happened can almost completely be thrown out of the equation because it is irrelevant. The more important question is, how did it happen?

Getting back to the Wright Brothers, both the how and why questions can be answered very easily, although the why question might be a little more difficult to answer because the answer depends on what was going on inside the minds of the Wright Brothers to compel them to build a flying machine in the first place. However, the why question goes deeper than that, because it goes beyond the reasons why the Wright Brothers built their ""flying machine"" and explains why they designed it the way they did.

The Wright Brother's plane could not fly if it was not made with light weight materials. Nor could it maintain speed or altitude, let alone get off the ground without an engine to pull it through the air. The engine would be useless without its propeller, and both the engine and propeller could not work without gasoline. The plane could not stay level without the front rudder, nor could it turn without cables to flex the wings. All of these factors explain how the plane functioned in the earth's atmosphere, yet they also explain why the Wright Brothers built the plane the way they did.

The Wright Brothers studied birds in flight and paid very close attention to how the birds flexed their wings when turning in the air, but had a very difficult time figuring out how they could make their plane turn in the air. One of the brothers was holding a rectangular cardboard inner tube box when he looked at it and began flexing it back and forth, twisting each end in the opposite direction the other end was moving. It occurred to him that he could make the plane turn by designing the plane's wing structure according to what he observed by twisting the box. This discovery of his was accidental, but it is important to note that he was able to take what he learned by accident and apply it to something practical. In other words, he was able to intentionally do something with this idea.

Physics can explain why birds can fly, but what physics cannot explain is how nature could figure out how to make birds fly. Physics can explain why birds can get off the ground, maintain level flight, make turns in the air, but it cannot explain why nature chose specific aerodynamic details to make it possible for birds to accomplish the amazing things they do in the air. This is where the contradiction described earlier becomes apparent, because it is often difficult for scientists to describe why birds are designed the way they are without explaining why nature made them this way (if you watch nature shows on TV about plants, animals, or dinosaurs, listen very closely to what the narrator says, and you'll see what I mean). For example, the statement, ""birds are able to fly because they have wings"" is a huge contradiction to the idea that random mutations could produce flight because of the, BECAUSE statement, which implies that nature intended to give birds wings so they could fly. This would make random mutations intentional, which would imply that nature has a mind.

When the Wright Brothers started to build their plane, they had an end goal in mind. They didn't wear blindfolds and just fumble around with wood, wire, metal, and gasoline with the hopes of flying one day, and even if they did try to design a plane wearing blindfolds and failed miserably at it, this would have been an intentional act with a specific end goal in mind. One more important factor that weighed heavily on how the Wright Brothers built their plane is that in order for it to fly, they had operate within certain laws of physics, and they had to understand how these laws would prevent or allow them to get off the ground.

Having said all of this, it is very ironic to think that a series of random unintentional mutations could produce flight in birds, bats, or even terradactyls. One is faced to admit that birds could not fly if they did not have wings, because without them, they would never be able to get off the ground, and if they could get off the ground without them, it wouldn't be pretty or graceful. Of course, their is much more to flight than a set of wings, but one could argue that in short, birds can fly because they have wings, and they have wings because they were meant to fly. The only alternative is that nature did not intend birds to fly and that this phenomena of flight just happened. Of course, this means that nature was able to accomplish something that the Wright Brothers would not have been able to accomplish without an understanding of physics, engineering, aerodynamics, and last but not least...birds.

Some will say that it is foolish to believe in God, and that Christians are even more foolish to believe that Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world, was more than just a man, and rose from the grave. I think I'll take my chances on being a fool, rather than rolling the dice to see if nature can unknowingly design birds to fly, without any concept of engineering, the laws of physics, aerodynamics, or a brain.

About the author: I'm just a regular guy living in Nebraska who likes to think outside of the box...

Oh yeah, one more thing....

...this article is dedicated to ""Tuber"", an old fart who lives on the East coast and hates cats...

Please note that no cats were harmed while I wrote this article...

Monday, August 27, 2007

Prototypes, The Granddaddy Of All Products

Author: James Monahan

No company goes out and starts mass production of a new product before creating first an example of this product. This example is called a prototype.

Prototypes are a working example of a new design. And before moving towards creating multiple copies of this prototype, the company will generally use the prototype to test its viability and quality.

For example, before a new car is built, it must be designed, researched, and developed into a working product. Researchers consumer surveys, analyze market trends, and buying patterns to determine what consumers want, and then suggest what kinds of cars to make.

Designers work to turn these new ideas into tangible products. Engineers then adapt what existing parts they have and implement them into the new model. They then proceed to produce the prototype. Manufacturers usually start by building a few prototypes before they set up a factory to build the new car.


Prototypes can also be referred to as test machines. They are usually developed to demonstrate the qualities of a new product to stakeholders and clients. The prototype, of course, is understood by these people to be yet an incomplete model of the final product. Its purpose is to show the potential attributes of the final product.

Prototypes are also used for test purposes. By subjecting these prototypes to numerous tests, the designers of the product get to see the strengths, weaknesses, limitations, and mistakes in a project. From the information they glean, the designers may proceed to reworking the design until the product reaches the objectives of the designers.

Prototypes can even be used as the 'Adam' version of a particular product. By 'Adam' we mean the basis of design for all products that will follow the line of the prototype. Engineers and designers refer to this 'Adam' model for reference as to how to develop, and evolve certain product lines.


Automobile Racing

In some circles, all the participating cars in a race are called prototypes. This is because these machines are not mass produced.

The cars produced for racing are specialized machines that are supposed to showcase new innovations and designs a car manufacturer carry. Therefore, these cars can be considered models. These cars also function as models for future mass produced cars the car manufacturer will create.

Food Industry/Clothing Industry

Designers in this field of industry do not make decisions on what products make it to the production line. They must pitch their designs to their bosses to see which ones make the cut.

They must then show them what their pet projects may look like. These designers proceed to create prototypes of their work to present their bosses with something tangible to decide on.


Often researchers and designers of computers build powerful supercomputers to perform the myriad of complex computations needed for applications such as mathematical computations, artificial intelligence research, and military applications. The power these machines pack is something everyday users salivate over.

These prototypes however, are just that - prototypes. And as models, they find their way into being mass produced for the masses.

That is the reason why today's desktop computers are so powerful: a few years ago the power of your computer was used for critical, complex math intensive applications.

Use It Now

The use of prototypes has become a industry-accepted means of product development. It allows the designer to tinker around with a given design to further evolve its quality and to show others a model of the product. Such practice truly makes the evolution of everyday products efficient.

About the author: James Monahan is the owner and Senior Editor of and writes expert articles about prototypes .

Sunday, August 26, 2007

What is a Water Softener?

Author: James Hunt

It seems a little strange that water is soft or hard. However, these are two recognized types of water. A water softener is a machine that removes certain elements from hard water, thus softening it and making it a little better to use.

Hard water is water that has high amounts of calcium and magnesium. These elements can create stains on sinks and in tubs. It can also damage hair and leave skin feeling dried out and itchy. Not only can hard water be inconvenient in small ways, the buildup as a result of the calcium and magnesium deposits can actually clog pipes. A water softener can reduce the problems associated with hard water.

A water softener removes the calcium and magnesium from water. Some water softeners also remove iron. The water softener is a machine that, when connected to the water supply, actually ""softens"" hard water. Most water softeners require an amount of salt for their proper functioning. Because elements are removed from the water, they build up in the softener rather than pipes. This means that the water softener requires regular maintenance.

There are different sizes and types of water softeners. The more water used by a household, the bigger the water softener needs to be. There are also three different types of water softener: manual, semi-automatic and automatic. The automatic merely requires regular maintenance. The other two types require a more active role in the removal of calcium and magnesium from the household water supply.

While soft water is great for washing and bathing, hard water is more pleasant to the taste. As a result, many people find that it is nice to have one faucet in the home that provides hard water for drinking and cooking.

A water softener decreases the overall need for strenuous pipe maintenance due to buildup. It can also provide a more pleasant way to use water to bathe, as well as preserve the quality of clothes washed in a washing machine.

About the author: James Hunt has spent 15 years as a professional writer and researcher covering stories that cover a whole spectrum of interest. Read more at www.water-softener-

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Capacitor: An Overview

Author: James Monahan

Anybody in the field of electronics would doubtless be familiar with a capacitor, but what exactly is it?

A capacitor is, simply, a gadget that is capable of storing energy in an electric field between two conductors on which equal but opposite electric charges have been placed.

It is sometimes also called a condenser. Every multi-conductor geometry has capacitance, even though intentional capacitors have thin metal plates that are placed one on top of the other to form a compact device. But that is getting ahead of the story. Let us first start with the capacitor's history.

The ancient Greeks were ingenious not only in the arts and culture but also in the sciences. They also knew how to create sparks by rubbing amber balls on spindles. This was chronicled by Thales of Miletus around the year 600 B.C.

They were however, unaware that by placing the insulator in between the two metal plates, the charge density would be increased exponentially. It wasn't until the 18th century that this potential was exploited.

Ewald Georg von Kleist of Pomerania was credited for inventing the world's first capacitor in October 1745. His capacitor could be described as a glass jar coated with metal both on the inside and on the outside. The coating on the inside was connected to a rod that passed through the lid and ended in a metal ball.

Several years later, Benjamin Franklin investigated the Leyden jar created by Pieter van Musschenbroek, a Dutch physicist of the University of Leyden and discovered that the charge was stored in the glass, and not in the water as others had previously assumed.

This was the reason why the original unit of capacitance was in ""jars"". A jar is equivalent to 1nF.

As mentioned earlier, a capacitor is also known as a condenser. This term was coined by Volta in 1782, and referred to the device's ability to store a much larger density of electric charge than a usual isolated conductor.

You can compare a capacitor like a battery, in that they both store electrical energy, although the former is a much simpler device. It cannot produce new electrons; it only stores them.

A capacitor has two terminals connected to two metal plates sandwiching a dielectric. Working on this premise, a rough version of a capacitor can be created with the use of just two pieces of aluminum foil and a piece of paper.

A natural example of a capacitor is lightning in the sky. The plates are the cloud and the ground, and the lightning is the charge. You can just imagine the amount of charge released by the two plates.

Someone once made an accurate way of visualizing how a capacitor works. One can pretend it is a cistern that is hooked to a pipe.

A cistern, which naturally has water pressure, stores excess water pumped from the water system. This excess water then flows out of the cistern when needed, and keeps the pressure up in the process. In much the same way, a capacitor can be likened to the cistern.

An important thing to remember is the unit of capacitance, which is a farad. A 1-farad capacitor can store one coulomb of charge at 1 volt. An amp is the rate of electron flow of 1 coulomb of electrons per second, so a 1-farad capacitor can hold 1 amp-second of electrons at 1 volt.

An interesting thing to know is that 1-farad capacitor can actually be pretty hefty, depending on the voltage it is required to handle.

About the author: James Monahan is the owner and Senior Editor of and writes expert articles about capacitors .

Friday, August 24, 2007

Bioluminescence Detection Program by AgroMicron

Author: AgroMicron

AgroMicron's Nano Bioluminescence Detection spray will prove to add a great amount of controls within the shipping industry and possibly even prevent forms of bioterrorism. ""We like the idea not only do we have a commercially viable product, we might actually be saving lives"" said AgroMicron's CEO Richard Venturini a recent interview with the press, and yes saving lives is the focus of what we see this product doing.

Not only does this Nano Bioluminescence spay detect contamination in food to help ensure that the goods are ready for consumer consumption it also makes it possible to detect possible bioterrorist attacks. These extra feature of the Nano Bioluminescence spay was realized when researchers in Taiwan understood the gowning need to not only monitor for commercial reasons but to monitor food and water for possible bioterrorism.

""The team of researchers and scientist actually didn't start out trying to prevent bioterrorism, but since September 11 the need for such products has surfaced and we've been working to meet those needs ever since."" says Gary Lloyd Senior Corporate Advisor for AgroMicron. I myself would love to be able to use a spray to tell if my leftover have gone bad or not, and I personally believe the consumer level support of such a product will be the next thing AgroMicron looks to develop.

The Nano Bioluminescence spay development was made possible by researchers and scientist in Taiwan and the United States and further made possible thanks to the US Technology Transfer Act., which means AgroMicron's team can fully utilize all these resources.

""We expect our current 3 product lines to be ready within the 3 quarter and expect the first quarter to be used both for pilot testing and further research"" said Gary Lloyd in a private interview conducted my a group of private investors. I was very amazed at the level of interest by outside individuals in the AgroMicron products and company, its not often that a company can have this much interest within its early days. When I asked the CFO Michael Leiferman about the interest AgroMicron has had in recent months his reply was ""our products are so good and so valuable that people don't come to our company for us, they come to our company for the products we offer"", which I translated into meaning if you build it they will come.

If you would like to learn more about the Nano Bioluminescence spay from AgroMicron you can visit and if you are interested in learning more about the company in general please visit their website at

About the author: New process of Detecting E. Coli and Salmonella and other Pathogens in Food and Water for use in the shipping industry.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The New Old Wonders of Electrodes

Author: James Monahan

Unless you are paid attention during science class or are mainstay of science fairs, the term electrode will seem fairly faraway to you. Some people even think that electrodes belong only in science fiction as some sort of name for a weapon or an engine.

But in reality, electrodes are an everyday reality. It is so common that when you hold anything with a battery, you are in effect holding electrodes too.

The term electrode was coined by the great English scientist Michael Faraday. Faraday conducted early experiments on electricity and conductivity. His discoveries opened the path for the study of this branch of science.

Faraday called the positively charged electrode the anode and the negatively charged electrode the cathode.

Electrodes are components in an electrical circuitry that connects that circuitry to a conducting material. That material could be liquid chemical, gas or any other conductive medium.

You will find electrodes in the most common electronic devices - batteries, television, and even lamps.

Batteries have carbon anodes and zinc cathodes. These electrodes connect to a chemical solution that produces electricity.

Televisions, radios and radars make use of electron tubes. Electron tubes have electrodes within a glass tube that usually contains mercury gas. These tubes are used to manipulate electric current and electric signals.

In televisions, electrodes are present in the CRT, or cathode ray tube. CRT's have a cathode that is heated to release electrons.

An electron gun shoots these electrons into phosphor dots that line the television screen. These dots glow as they come in contact with the electrons therefore creating an image.

Electrodes prove to be very useful in medical applications.

Diathermy, for example, makes use of electrodes. Diathermy is the generation of heat in the tissues of a body through the use of electrode that conduct electrical currents to the skin.

This treatment is used to treat pain due to arthritis. Diathermy is also used in surgery to cut tissues, coagulate, or kill cells without inducing much bleeding.

Pacemakers also make use of electrodes. These electrodes are connected to heart muscles to deliver electrical pulses when the heart rate falls below a specified value. This forces the heart muscles to contract and maintain the proper heart rate.

EEGs or Electroencephalograms, and EKGs or Electrocardiograms make use of electrodes connected to a patient's body to monitor their respective vital signs.

EEGs record a patient's brain activity. It represents it using wave patterns on a roll of paper. In EEGs, the electrodes are connected to skin over the skull. The information it records is used to diagnose neurological disorders and determine whether a person is already brain dead.

EKGs on the other hand have electrodes that are attached to various parts of the body. It records the heart activity and is instrumental in diagnosing heart ailments.

Electrodes even find their place in the welding industry. Arc welding involves the use of electrodes to generate intense heat to weld metals together. This type of welding is very effective due to the high concentration of heat generated between the electrodes of the welding machines.

In every industry, there is a use for electrodes. It is one of the earliest yet most used inventions in the history of mankind. Man is forever looking for way to take advantage of it, and will continue to do so for a long time to come.

About the author: James Monahan is the owner and Senior Editor of and writes expert articles about electrodes .

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Glitters of Gold

Author: James Monahan

As they say, not all that glitters is gold. But what is it in gold that makes it glitters? Is it because of its chemical components, its unique characteristics, or simply because it is just the way it is?

Scientifically, gold is a metal and at the same time a chemical element with the symbol Au, which stands for aurum, in the periodic table. Of all the different kinds of metals, gold is deemed as the most malleable and is ductile or one that can be flexed.

That is why it is the most popular metal being used for jewelries, trinkets, and charms.

In many instances, the gold's color is yellow, but it can also have other colors such as ruby, black, or even purple depending on the ""plasmon frequency"" placed in the observable scope.

In this instance, plasmon frequency is the one responsible in reflecting the yellow and red light and the blue light to be sucked up.

For so many years now, gold has been a part of our human history. In fact, it was even used by the early human populace as an apparatus in their primitive way of living. It has captivated man's desire for existence and superiority with its unique traits and functions.

In 4000 BC, the Europeans were said to be the first people who used gold in their daily living. They crafted it into different kinds of jewelry and extremely classy pieces of artistic objects.

In Egypt, gold was reportedly used as an element in King Tutankamen's mask. Several historical reports asserted that the golden mask of the king had preserved its radiance and luster even after so many years of civilization that had passed.

Even in the past events, gold has long been a symbol of royalty and superiority. According to the Old Testament, gold was a symbol of King Solomon's riches. It was also a symbol of thanksgiving and appreciation just like what the Queen of Sheba had done when she gave King Solomon large amount of gold as a sign of gratitude.

However, it was only during the fifth century when the Chinese, Greek, and Arabic civilization had introduced its new concept, which eventually resulted to the introduction of the science of chemistry. Here, gold is now considered as a chemical element, one that has more stable and practical function and not just any symbolic matter.

It was after the introduction of chemistry that it gained more popularity. From then on, gold has been considered by the people as one of the most prized metals. They have used it in making different icons, statues, and jewelries.

In today's contemporary society, the most malleable metal of all has surpassed its usual traditional functions. Nowadays, it is being used in the new technology where man is no longer simply fascinated by its luster and shine but also by its capability of producing quality products like computers, home appliances, and mobile phones.

This wonderful metal is also used in embroidery, dentistry, ceramics, and even photography. In fact, cancer patients have found more of its feasible uses. There are many instances wherein it is being used when treating cancer patients and other diseases.

These are just a few of the many uses of gold. It serves as a viable element not just for jewelries and art objects but to all aspects that give humanity the reason to live life to its fullest.

So, now we know that this remarkable metal is not just considered pure and rare because of its characteristics but to the many functions and uses, as well, that it has served mankind throughout the years.

About the author: James Monahan is the owner and Senior Editor of and writes expert articles about gold .

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Would You Care To Be Digitized?

Author: James Monahan

How is it to be digitized?

Gibberish speaking, digitize, as explained in the field of computer science, is the conversion of any continuously different source of input, i.e., lines in a drawing, or a signal of sound, into a series of hidden units embodied in a computer through binary digits 0 and 1.

As an example, the scanning of a drawing or a picture means digitizing it because of the conversion of lines and shading into combinations of 0s and 1s with the sensing of various light and dark intensities.

It is a matter of translating commonly through the use of analogue-to-digital converters. Sampling sounds and the conversion of text that is on paper into computer files text are also ways of digitization.

In simpler terms, to digitize is to turn an analog signal into a digital symbol of that signal. It is the translation of data into digital form. It is executed by reading an analog signal (often related to electrical)

A, and, at regular sequence, representing A's value at that point by a digital value. Each of these readings is known as a sample.

Examples of digitization

Digital cameras

A digital camera is an instrument of digitization. It's because it samples the original light that bounces off a thing to produce a digital image. This is one benefit given by digitization.

It produce devices that are very useful and fun to manipulate. Not only do digital cameras eliminate the need for a film, subsequently getting rid of the fuss of processing, the picture could also be seen immediately after the photographer takes it.


One more common example of digitization is transferring VHS to DVD. This process involves accepting the signal of the video with the use of professional specialized hardware and writing to the hard drive of computers.

Digitization permits the content to be corrected on its color, sound and its remastering. Thus, the output video from a VHS, which is converted to a DVD, is a lot more top quality because of digitization.

Digital TV's

Images seen on television screens especially on digital TV's are also products of digitization. Digital TV's convey clearer, sharper images than those produced by common analog televisions.

Through digitizing the images they become more realistic looking with the help of a wide screen. Brands like Philips, Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, Toshiba, Zenith and Sharp are currently profiting well from this innovation brought by digitization.

Cellular Phones

The new type of wireless communication from personal communication service phones is also created by digitization.

Transmission and reception has never been a breeze without digitizing. Digital bytes are what handle calls, which results in clearer and less-prone to interference signal. Nokia, Samsung, Panasonic, and Sanyo are presently the top players of this field brainchilded through digitizing.

With almost every information resorted to being digitized, soon enough personal, social, educational, and commercial goals will be much easier to to achieve.

Competition becomes much harsher but a lot friendlier to consumers that are ever thirsty for more innovative ways of communicating and retrieving information from various sources.

Devices have never been this so capable to multi-task without the help of digitization. With this technology, geographic boundaries are no longer considered as what limits communication and other interactive endeavors.

About the author: James Monahan is the owner and Senior Editor of and writes expert articles about digitize .

Monday, August 20, 2007

Magnets Are a Very Important Part of Our Lives

Author: James Hunt

Do you remember as a child ever being fascinated by magnets? Such a simple thing yet complicated. They were fun to play with but, you couldn't help but wonder how and why they worked.

The first magnet compass was discovered by the Chinese around 200B.C. Fortune tellers enjoyed using it at first, but eventually people realized it was a means of direction. The first magnets were made of iron. The magnets of today are made from alloy. These contain metals such as nickel, iron, copper, and cobalt aluminum.

Materials such as iron, steel and nickel are attracted to magnets. Theses materials are attracted to the poles of the magnet. One pole is the north seeking pole, the other is the South Pole. Opposite poles attract, and like poles repel. Magnetism is the push and pull force you feel or see when using a magnet. This force can even work over a distance without coming in contact with an object. The most interesting of all might be the earth's magnetic field; it is as if there were a huge bar magnet thru the center of the earth. This is the reason a compass needle points north.

There is even such a thing as induced magnetism. This happens when a piece of unmagnetized magnetic material comes in contact with the pole of a permanent magnet. When this happens, the material becomes magnetized and you have a new magnet.

Actually magnets are a very important part of our lives. Many items that we use everyday would not exist without them. Items such as radios, television, speakers, toys, and quite a variety of games are made with magnets. They are all around us and used in so many different ways. Magnets come in a variety of different shapes and sizes. It is interesting to think that something that may have fascinated you as a child could be even more exciting as you learn more about them.

About the author: James Hunt has spent 15 years as a professional writer and researcher covering stories that cover a whole spectrum of interest. Read more at

Sunday, August 19, 2007

How to Make a Thermometer

Author: James Hunt

A thermometer is an instrument that measures the temperature. Depending on what country you live in, temperature is measured either in a scale called Fahrenheit or Celsius (sometimes called Centigrade). There are thermometers for food, humans, and the weather. You can even make a thermometer yourself, it's simple.

Here's what you'll need: - Water (plain old tap water will do just fine for this experiment.) - Rubbing alcohol - 1 clear plastic bottle with a narrow neck - Food coloring in your choice of color - See-through plastic drinking straw - Modeling clay.

Pour equal parts of the water and alcohol and a couple of drops of food coloring into the bottle (the liquid should only fill up about a quarter of the bottle.) and give it a shake to mix. Drop the straw into the bottle (it should touch the bottom) and plug the opening with the clay. That's all there is to it. Now it's time to make sure your thermometer works. What happens when you place it in direct sunlight and the liquid becomes warmer? If your thermometer works properly, the colored liquid will rise up through the straw. In fact, if the liquid were to become extremely hot, the liquid would most likely come out the top of the straw.

Bring your thermometer outside with you, how does the colored water react inside the straw? Does it go up or down? Run it under warm water and then cold, the colored water will react accordingly. Of course this isn't an accurate measure of water temperature, and there's no way of telling how hot or cold the water actually is, but this should give you some idea of how a thermometer works.

Making a thermometer is a great rainy day craft for kids. It's easy, quick and in most cases involves items found around the house. Why not make it your next project?

About the author: James Hunt has spent 15 years as a professional writer and researcher covering stories that cover a whole spectrum of interest. Read more at www.thermometers-cent

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Need To Cool Down? Use A Dehumidifier!

Author: James Monahan

A dehumidifier is a device which removes excess moisture in the air. This device performs this process by condensing the moisture on a cool surface. A dehumidifier is simply an air conditioner. The air conditioner cools the temperature of a humid room by condensing the air in its cold coils.

A dehumidifier has hot and cold coils that are built in the same box. The unit's fan draws the air in the room through the cold coils of the dehumidifier to condense its moisture. When this happens, as in the case of window type air conditioning units, water drips out of the unit. Dry air then goes through the dehumidifier's hot coils so it can we heated up again back to its previous temperature.

An example of a dehumidifier is an air conditioning (AC) unit. It is a device that was designed to remove heat out of an area using the principles of refrigeration. An AC is a good example of a dehumidifier because it is designed to lower the humidity in the air which goes through it.

Human bodies have natural dehumidifiers in form of sweat. When we sweat, our bodies cool because of the evaporating perspiration from our skin. Dry air, then coming from an AC unit creates provides comfort as it creates 40-60% relative humidity in an area.

As a dehumidifier, an AC unit is basically another form of refrigerator without an insulated box. It uses a refrigerant like Freon for its evaporation to cool an area. Freon is one of the many non-flammable fluorocarbons which are in use today as refrigerants.

In an AC unit, the evaporation cycle works in this manner: 1) cool Freon gas is compressed, making it high-pressure, hot gas; 2) the hot gas then goes through the set of coils in the AC unit so it can disperse its heat and then condenses into liquid form; 3) Freon goes through a valve, and through this process it becomes low-pressure, cold gas; and 4) the cold Freon gas then goes through a set of coils in the AC unit that will allow the gas to take in heat and chill the air within the area. A special type of oil is mixed with the Freon gas to lubricate the AC unit's compressor.

The coldness that a dehumidifier can provide depends on the air's relative humidity and the barometric pressure (this is sea level normal pressure). When there is 50% humidity in the air, water temperature will drop at about 6 degrees to 89F.

Change that to 20% air humidity and the temperature drops to 28 degrees to 67F. These small temperature drops affect energy consumption because the use of these AC units places a large demand on electricity especially on warm months when more units are operated.

During these peak times, more power plants must be online to cater to the large demand for energy. Studies of residential air conditioning showed that AC units wasted 40% of energy. This energy gets wasted in the form of heat waiting to be pumped out.

When you see large quantities of water running through plastic hoses at the backs of big buildings, you'll know that there are dehumidifier units inside. Many apartment and office complexes now use centralized AC units and the chilled water coming out of these systems is directed to underground pipes.

About the author: James Monahan is the owner and Senior Editor of and writes expert articles about dehumidifier .

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Characteristics of Soul

Author: Sam Oliver

At the dawn of spring, I am reminded by my children the joy of anticipating new life.

They will usually see a flower or two that has made its way through the soil to a world beyond itself. What starts out as a seedling or bulb is transformed by nature's capacity to evolve.

Inside each of us lies dormant an awareness, an identity, an ability to grow beyond what we appear to be. Every moment, we are being challenged by others and by circumstances to create a life that exceeds our present state of living.

To move toward our highest good takes a willingness on our part to let go of what we know to what can be known in and through us. You and I are part of the Created Order we see around us, and we are participants in Creating Order out of what we have been given to care for.

With this in mind, let us turn to ways our soul can be described in the characteristics that make up a flower:

1. The Ground.

The ground nurtures, protects, and gives birth to a flower. Inside the womb of the ground, life is taking root long before we can see it. Because we cannot see a flower that has been planted in the earth, does not mean life is not being created. To be full participants in our world means to be fully connected and rooted in the world we have been given.

2. The Stem.

The stem begins its growth in the earth below and into the sky above. This part of the flower is the connecting characteristic of the plant. Much like humanity, we are in this world without being fully of it. This creates a sacredness to our lives. It is our unique ability to live and grow in a way no one ever has, is, or ever will.

3. The Flower.

In full bloom, a flower is the illumination of all the life that has preceded it. The radiance and color that pour out of it create life. Notice the next time you look at a flower how you are affected by it. You may notice your heart open and be filled with joy. Or, you may notice more energy and clarity in your vision for being blessed with great beauty.

4. The Spirit of a Flower.

The spirit of a flower is the life force moving in and through it. It is the essence of a flower that identifies with your spirit. This part of you opens from the inside out and becomes ONE with the spirit of a flower. It is the same energy that runs in and through you. Like a flower, you begin to radiate your own soul from the essence of your own being.

Each spring, take the time to notice the part of you opening up to new life. Just like flowers, we grow from the inside out. What illuminates in our life began inside us. We nurture these inner qualities of attention until they eventually take root and grow into our daily lives. The growth that follows is created from what we attend to or hold our attention on within us.

Like the pedals of a flower opening to the world around it, we create a presence of awareness. In full bloom, the beauty or the lack thereof touches the lives of everyone around us. As our inner patterns of attention move through us, the world illuminates the seeds of awareness contained within us for so long. Here, a life is created. It is the life of our soul.

Samuel Oliver, author of, ""What the Dying Teach Us: Lessons on Living"" For more on this author;

About the author: Sam Oliver worked with the dying for over 15 years. During that time, he wrote 4 books on grief. Website URL;

Thursday, August 16, 2007

How the Meter Came To Be

Author: James Monahan

One can know where one is in the world by the systems of measurement that specific place uses. There is the English system used by the United States, which uses pounds and feet for measurement, and then there is the metric system which is more accepted in other parts of the so-called civilized world.

While there are three types of systems of units of use today, the most popular one by far is the International System of Units (or the SI Systeme International d'Unites).

A measurement in this particular system with regards to length is in meter/metre. Variations in the meter are prefixes such as kilometer and millimeter. The word has Greek roots, its origin being metron, which means ""a measure"".

The meter follows a timeline dating back to the eighteenth century, when two approaches to the definition of the standard unit of length were broached.

The first approach defined the meter as the length of a pendulum with a half-period of one second. The other approach suggested that the meter was one-fourth the polar circumference of the earth.

On May 8, 1790, the French National Assembly approved of the first approach: its length would be equal to the length of a pendulum with a half-period of one second.

Barely a year later, in March 30, 1791, has this same assembly accepted the new proposal of the French Academy of Sciences which adhered to the second approach: that the new definition of the meter would be equal to one-fourth the polar circumference of the world.

It must be noted that the circumference of the Earth, if measured through the poles, is about forty million meters.

In December 10, 1799, the French National Assembly then specified that the final standards would be according to the platinum meter bar constructed on June 23rd 1799 and currently deposited in the National Archives.

In the 1870's a series of international conferences were held to devise new metric standards. It was the Meter Convention of 1875 that mandated the establishment of an enduring International Bureau of Weights and Measures (or BIPM, for Bureau International des Poids et Mesures) to be based in France.

It was this organization that was tasked to uphold the new prototype kilogram and meter when it would be constructed. It would also retain comparisons between the distributed metric prototypes and the non-metric measurement standards.

Almost a decade later, in September 28, 1889 the CGPM defined the length as the exact distance between two lines on a standard bar of an alloy of platinum with ten percent iridium. This distance was to be measured at the melting point of ice.

This definition would be adjusted over the years. It was in 1893 when Albert A. Michelson, the inventor of the interferometer, measured the standard meter using his device. It won't be until 1925 when interferometry would be in regular use at the BIPM.

On October 21st, 1983 the seventeenth CGPM definition of a meter equaled the length traveled by light in vacuum during 1/299, 2972, 458 of a second.

Scientists agree that if a definition is based on the physical properties of light, then it is infinitely more precise and reproducible. This is because the properties associated with light are considered to be universally constant.

About the author: James Monahan is the owner and Senior Editor of and writes expert articles about meters .

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Secrets of Thermoforming

Author: James Monahan

Are you aware that some of the things we use in our everyday lives are plastics? When we talk about convenience, durability, efficiency, stability, usefulness and practicality now days, we use plastics.

One example of it Zip-lock plastic bags for storing left over foods and use for packing foods when going outdoors. Another one is, Coleman or Rubbermaid coolers use to keep preserve foods while camping outside or going out of town and water jugs to keep our beverages cool and a handy gadget outdoors.

And a lot more of plastics used for everyone's convenience. But these are not just ordinary plastics! We make sure its durable; reliable, tough, helpful, easy to use and it costs less than other products out in the market and Thermoforming has been a part of it. Want to know the BIG SECRET behind it?

Thermoforming is one of the procedures being done to manufacture plastic. A plastic sheet or film is used that can be easily soften up when heated and becomes hard again when it cools down.

The kind of plastic used in Thermoforming can undergo through melting and freezing without changing its chemical state and it can be re-used again. The plastic sheet or film is heated between specialized heaters in order to form the product with its usual temperature range.

Then it is placed in a temperature regulated metal table or molder until it is cooled down. The plastic formed from the molder will be taken out of the sheet. Used or excess plastic sheets are being recycled in order to form new plastic products out of it.

This special procedure is being processed to form plastic used for computers, machines, and other special equipments for medical, electronics, and industrial products.

It is a technological breakthrough for its: 1. Reliability 2. Convenience 3. Easier to produce 4. Ability to form small and large objects for that specific product 5. Lower costs of production 6. Great and unique design 7. Firmly and nicely furnished 8. Shorter time for production 9. Can work on any type of weather conditions, high and low temperatures.

In the history, it is stated that Thermoforming is one of the oldest plastic manufacturing procedure. In the year 1890's, Baby rattles and Teething rings are formed out of plastics using Thermoforming procedure, which the industries had a hard time developing its new products.

The year 1930 came when some developments are made in its plastic materials; until it grow and went successful in the late 1930's in Europe.

Thermoforming has two general process categories called the thin gauge and the so called heavy or thick gauge. Thin gauge is used for thin sheets of plastics and can be directly processed with regulated temperature.

Unlike the heavy or thick gauge, the plastic used there is thicker than the thin plastic sheets and it still need to cut into pieces before being processed.

Instead of using the regulated temperature for thin plastics sheets in order to form a product, the temperature is higher than the regulated temperature in heavy or thick gauge.

Heavy or thick gauge was formed during the World War II on aircraft windscreens and machine gun turret windows in aircrafts.

Now a days, Heavy or thick gauge parts are used in permanent structures as additional parts in cars, trucks, refrigerating units, bathroom accessories such as showers, plastic faucets, plastic doors and toilet seats, electronic and electrical equipment.

It is a big benefit for companies who use these kind of procedure for their plastic products it's lower costs, durability, usefulness, and productivity. It also weighs less than other ordinary and special types of plastics. Of course, it's also helpful for the consumers and users of this kind of plastic.

A lot of Industries, big and small companies indulge and gain on to this kind of procedure. Their clients prefer more of this kind of procedure for its unique design, stability, efficiency and value. Their aim:

Lower material and production costs, plus Mass production of products, equals BIG MONEY, in order to be successful in this kind of business.

About the author: James Monahan is the owner and Senior Editor of and writes expert articles about thermoforming .

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A History of Elasticity

Author: James Monahan

Man has, since the early times, found out how useful elastic materials are. And today's man has improved on this idea and constantly finds ways to make more elastic materials to suit his everyday needs.

Elasticity refers to the property of an object to deform when load is applied to it, and to return to its natural form when the load is relieved. Many of the everyday things you see around you are elastic materials: rubber bands, sports balls, slingshots, bows, and even bungees!

From the earliest days, man found out that certain objects would 'spring' back to its original shape if pressure to deform the object was removed.

At first, this sort of annoyed him since the most common things that showed this property were animal parts which he ate. Somewhere between inventing fire and creating the wheel, he thought, ""Hmm, maybe I could use this for something.""

Thus was born the first elastic strings made of animal gut to hold stuff together. As time passed by, man found out that these elastic strings made from animal gut could be used as a weapon. When a projectile was loaded in to these elastic strings, they were propelled through the air at great speeds. Thus was born the bow and arrow.

Rubber is one of the more popular elastic materials around. Many products derived from rubber are bounced around, stretched, and pounded - and they come back to shape.

Because of this property, many people find diversified reasons to love rubber. If people were to use rigid materials, those objects would break, or get deformed. And for some objects deformity equates to unusability.

Rubber was used by the Early American Indians before Columbus even set foot on the Americas. They called the substance Caoutchouc, which comes from the word cahuhchu - meaning weeping wood. This substance came from the sap of the rubber tree.

At first the westerners found out that this substance could be used to rub out pencil stains. Therefore, it was called rubber - to commemorate its glorious ability to rub.

Other elastic materials have varied uses in today's world. Rubber is used for tires, elastic bands, and other 'bouncy' objects. Coiled spring is used for suspensions, and spring-loaded applications. They are even used in variable sized sheathings.

The most common example of this is the condom. Elastic materials are commonly used on clothing to provide a comfortable fit on people. They are also useful in cases where you need watertight equipment.

Elastic materials are also handy in creating cushioning materials: tires, soles for shoes, for cars, for beddings and other uses. These applications require materials that will protect the user from sudden shock. Elastic materials absorb the energy and disperse them in a non-traumatic manner for cushions.

These materials are also used in sports. Insulated, elastic balls are integral to many sports because non-elastic balls would deform when used. Basketballs, volleyballs, and soccer balls have to be elastic to allow them to return to their normal shape after being subject to load and trauma.

There seems to be no sure hint that the use of elastic materials will abate. There will constantly be use for these sort of materials. As man steadily finds ways to make use of these wonders, he also steadily finds better ways to create more elastic materials.

About the author: James Monahan is the owner and Senior Editor of and writes expert articles about elastic .

Monday, August 13, 2007

Commotion with Corrosion

Author: James Monahan

This is not another boring science topic that will put you off to sleep. Trust me, I'll make this as simple and as interesting read as possible.

Corrosion's dictionary meaning is synonymous to a list of words like rusting, corroding, erosion, a chemical process, a chemical change, a chemical action a natural activity, deterioration of metals through the process of oxidation or chemical action.


To explain it further, corrosion is defined as the wearing away of materials in a slow blow by blow process. It does not literally pertain to the destruction of metals and other related materials.

Corrosion is then followed by reversion to a more subtle and balanced pairs or combination where metals are known as the most popular examples. Corrosion, in short, is the opposite of metallurgy.

Because while metallurgy is the molding and making of metals, corrosion on the other hand, is the rusting, corroding and unmaking of metals caused by a chemical reaction between the metal and its external faculties which makes up its environment.

Corrosion, in its broadest studies are subdivided into a number of categories with each type processing a different characteristic from the other.

But for a more comprehensive study and understanding of corrosion, scientist have specifically classified corrosion into 2 general and most known types and methods in which the process of unmaking the metals can take place.

The first of which is ""typified corrosion"" whereby metal iron is exposed to its external agencies during which the temperature is high or eleveated. During typified corrosion, the corroding and rusting of the metal begins as soon as the oxygen in the atmosphere to produce 'mill scale', a common product formed whenever oxygen reacts with its surroundings.

Mill scale and magnetite, which plays a vital role in the method of typified corrosion, contains the same chemical composition called iron ores.

Other forms of metals behave in the same way when associated to its external environment, they also produce varieties of oxides and may have the tendency to behave in the similar manner to come up with other compounds.

All of these chemical reaction and activity points to summarize that the result of direct combination between the given reacting elements results to products of corrosion, and does not plainly embody the end product formed through the substitution of or displacement of an element for or by another element.

However, the second type and method of corrosion is referred to as ""galvanic"" corrosion or ""electrochemical corrosion"".

This method is characterized by the process of displacement of one given element in one phase (usually in the form of alloy or metal). And since electric current is the focal point of the variable displacement of one given element by the other given element, literally defining the very meaning of galvanic or electrochemical corrosion.

Furthermore, electrochemical corrosion generally refers to cases of corrosion in which metal or alloy being rusted is continuously associated and linked with the corrosion-causing solution, or another given element that is a dissimilar metal or may also be some different conducting or solid material.

The term electrochemical corrosion may also be used in cases when either pure metal, impure metals, or other forms of metal or alloys are exposed to pure water, aqueous solution of water soluble materials, or different mixtures of water with other elements which is both not soluble nor a solvent of water.

Corrosion will not take place in the absence of corrosion cells. In a more simplified situation, it's like a cheeseburger without cheese. Before such corrosion cells do their function, some pre-requisites must be met.

First requirement is for cells to have doors to connect two points, the metal and the solution, to allow the flow of electric current to and from each other in the metal surface.

Second, the cell must be capable of electric conductivity. And lastly, there must be a motivating force or 'push' that will enable the initiation (first step), and maintenance (second step) of flow of current all throughout the system.

About the author: James Monahan is the owner and Senior Editor of and writes expert articles about corrosion

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Pump It Up!

Author: James Monahan

Pumps are pump in anyway you put it. The word alone can give you an idea what it is. Its main purpose is to pump liquid in and out of a vessel or vessels.

Pumps are employed to every imaginable job that is detailed with liquid or water. Basically, pumps have been in use for as long as the good Lord has allowed man to invent it. Its use ranged from medical mileages to outer space. And the versatility of this tool has since been renowned.

How a pump works is quite simple, but that depends on what kind of pump. There manual pumps and motorized pumps. Manual pumps are those used for small amounts of liquids that don't really require much effort to pump in or out.

These are the aspirators for manually forcing air into a vessel or liquid into a vessel. These are commonly used pumping out milk from a mother's breast to preserve them for later use.

But there is also a motorized version of this that is used mainly for cows and pump out their milk for commercial consumption. And there's the medicine dropper, which is also a kind of manual pump used to take small amounts of liquid from a bottle or vial.

This is used to administer medicine to children and infants that have yet to develop swallowing. This is also used to prevent over dose in little children. A syringe can also be considered as a manual pump, since it it's used to pump out blood sample from people or to administer medicine to them.

Besides being used for administering medicine or taking blood samples, pumps are mainly designed to get water or to dump water to and from a source. Deep wells used this primarily. Places were tap water isn't available out of a faucet; people use pumps to get it out of the ground.

These are called deep well pumps. Over the years, because of the shortage of the supply of water in some countries, the developments of motorized pumps have gone into consideration. It's more of putting a good thing and making it better for people.

Motorized motor pumps were first introduced to areas where the water pressure is low. They used this to add pressure to their water lines and provide them with more water.

These pumps still work the same way as other pumps, the only difference is that instead of manually doing all the pumping, a motor is hooked up into the pump to make the pumping faster and at a steadier phase. These are the residential motor pumps or jet pumps.

Its main job description is to aid the low water pressure that's being pumped out of the city's main line.

Speaking of cities, every major city has a massive network of pumps and plumbing that deliver the water throughout its borders. But this time, instead of just pumping out water to an outgoing line they have a specialized central pump that pumps the water back into the city's water treatment facility to cure the water and the water waste.

It all starts with the water reservoir of the city, which also contains the water treatment facility. They pump the water out to the main line to the connecting pipes all over the city.

After distribution process, the water wastes are pumped back into the treatment facility to have cured and be ready for distribution again. But besides all of these commercial usage pumps are also used in agriculture, construction, and even aeronautics.

So the list goes on and on for the pump but still, one thing is for sure when there's water or liquid that needs to be moved in or out, go grab a pump apparatus.

About the author: James Monahan is the owner and Senior Editor of and writes expert articles about pumps .

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Copper Makes the World Go Round Too

Author: James Monahan

I'm pretty sure you know what copper is. After all, it's found in a lot of the things we come across in our day-to-day experiences.

Copper wires. Copper plumbing. Doorknobs. Sterling silver. Flatware (dining utensils). Electromagnets; electromagnetic motors; the steam engine; spare change (coins); brass musical instruments; ceramic glazes; electrical relays, busbars, and switches; mildew killer; vacuum tubes; cathode ray tubes; spare change; and tons more.

Copper is also used as a biostatic liner in hospitals and ships. Bacteria and living things will not grow on biostatic surfaces. Doorknobs are made of copper in hospitals to help prevent disease transfer. Ships are lined with copper so that barnacles and mussels will not cling to its outside surfaces.

Fun fact of the day: The Statue of Liberty contains 179,000 pounds of copper.

Rumor even has it that sucking on a copper penny will let the breathalyzer test read 0.

In fact, I bet copper has been ingrained in each of our minds because of the existence of Chemistry class in our high school curriculum.

Copper isn't always that red element with a bright lustre and shine you see almost everywhere. Sometimes it comes in a blue solution of copper ions. Sometimes it's mixed in with other metals, such as otherwise pure bricks of gold, because gold is much too soft to keep in brick forms all by themselves.

Copper has been used since the dawn of the most ancient civilizations. It may well be the oldest metal in use, being utilized by the people for over ten thousand years. In fact, for five millenia ancient civilizations did not know any other metal.

Because of its malleability they simply hammered out the native ore into the shapes they desired, usually containers. It was called ""chalkos"" in Greek times. In Roman times the term was ""Cyprium,"" from which copper's symbol in the periodic table of elements is derived.

So how is copper extracted from the earth's crust? Native copper is mineral form, and they are found in ores, being extracted from open-pit mines. The ores are extracted from a hard, igneous rock containing crystals called porphyry. Even then, the amount of copper you can extract is as little as 0.4 to 1 percent.

While copper is necessary for all higher plants and animals, it can be toxic if found in exceedingly high amounts. It can lead to schizophrenia.

There is an inherited illness that retains copper called Wilson's disease, which prevents copper from being excreted into bile by the liver. If left untreated, the excess copper found in the body can lead to brain and liver damage.

Copper is surely a valuable metal to all. In fact, there was even a group that was formed, with an aim to try and regulate copper export, trying to gain the same power that OPEC has.

It did not succeed because America was never a member, it being the second largest producer of copper in the world today. It's largest copper mine can be found in the state of Utah.

So look around you for a while. Chances are, you can find a hint of copper. In fact, there might be a copper wire poking through from your CPU right now. Never underestimate it, as surely the world wouldn't be what it is today without copper. Copper makes the world go round too.

About the author: James Monahan is the owner and Senior Editor of and writes expert articles about copper .

Friday, August 10, 2007

Many Uses of Metal Detectors

Author: James Hunt

Have you ever lost something at the beach or at a park and wondered for weeks what happened to it? Chances are that someone was walking with the ingenious invention, the metal detector, and found it.

How it works and what it does:

It simply does what the name suggests. It finds anything with any metal in it up to a certain length beneath the earth's surface. Many fancy metal detectors will even tell you how deep down the metal object is so you can find it easier.

What Can I Find With a Metal Detector?

You could find rings, bracelets, necklaces, coins or anything metal. Depending on the brand of metal detector you buy and model it is you will get different results. Just ask or research to find out what kind would best suit you.

Other Uses

Schools everywhere are using metal detectors to help filter out violence. The metal detectors can very easily (for this is why they are used) detect a knife or gun. Police stations and Airports use them as well. Even some amusement parks such as ""Six Flags Fiesta Texas"" use them, you buy your ticket then proceed to the park being stopped momentarily so the patrolmen can search any bags and have you walk through a metal detector.

As you can probably tell metal detectors are very useful not only to find that cherished earring but for our everyday safety and well being. This is a great invention that will be here for years to come.

So next time you loose that ring at the beach or you dime at the park remember there are ways to find you beloved object. Have Fun.

About the author: James Hunt has spent 15 years as a professional writer and researcher covering stories that cover a whole spectrum of interest. Read more at

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Glass We Know

Author: James Monahan

It's a such common everyday material, I'm so sure that you'll be able to see it everywhere you turn. Glass. Yup, that amorphous liquid made out of sand.

If you've seen ""Sweet Home Alabama"" before, than you know what I'm talking about. Glass is naturally made out of sand when it is striked by lightning, morphing into brilliant shapes and objects.

I don't think glass will ever cease to be useful, but even as it is highly utilized in this world, glass can also be turned into highly-valued works of art.

In fact, here's a tip for you: search the beaches to see if you've found pieces of sea glass (not naturally occuring but the kind that was thrown into the sea and molded by it after many years into smooth, round shapes) because they have lately become valuable and highly sought-after.

It was naturally occuring glass, like obsidian (glass naturally created from volcaninc magma), that has been in use since the stone age.

It was then used as a glaze for pottery until the method of glass-blowing was developed in the first century b.c., making glass more available. Its name is derived from the Latin word for ice, ""glacies.""

Glass can be made out of pure silica, but to make the glassmaking process easier, ash and lime is added. From these basic ingredients, a variety of glass can be formed.

There is the float or annealed glass. Most of the world's flat glass is annealed glass, since the process for making this was invented in the 1950s by Sir Alastair Pilkington.

Molten glass is poured onto a tin bath and levels out to dry in parallel, flat surfaces. Annealed glass is not suitable for building as it breaks into shards.

Before annealed glass, there was plate glass, where it was formed by rolling it flat.

There is such a kind of glass that is a bit tougher and safer from breakage, called tempered glass. It is said to be six times stronger than annealed glass, but it does have a few drawbacks.

If it does get broken, the whole glass panel will fall apart into small bits. Also, since the portions of the tempered glass are formed differently, the outer portion of the panel is more susceptible to scratches.

Laminated glass was invented by Edouard Benedictus, after discovering that a glass flask coated with cellulose nitrate was dropped to the ground, shattered, but did not break.

This type of glass is more commonly used for windshields and security purposes, as it is bulletproof. Laminated glass is formed from typical annealed glass and a generous coating of polyvinyl butyral.

Recently innovated is self-cleaning glass, which may just put window-cleaners out of business. It is coated with titanium dioxide. It enables ultraviolet rays to break down organic compounds on the surface.

Water is also attracted to the surface of the glass, leaving a thin coat that washes away these compounds.

Low-emmisivity glass has metallic-based coatings that hinder the glass from transferring thermal energy, making it more energy-efficient.

So whenever you're drinking a glass of water or marvelling at a glass sculpture or modern glass architecture, think of what you've just learned and how glass can change the world you live in.

About the author: James Monahan is the owner and Senior Editor of and writes expert articles about glass .

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Coordination and Biotech Research

Author: James Wachai

One of the reasons why Africa and other poor regions of the world trail in crop biotechnology is lack of collaboration and coordination among scientists. There are millions of well-trained crop biotechnologists in poor countries. But due to resource constraints and other challenges, hardly do they work together. So, we have a situation where so many scientists, working in different parts of the continent, are engaged in identical biotech projects. It's like a case of one hand not knowing what the other is doing.

At a time when Africa desperately needs crop biotechnology to alleviate hunger and malnutrition, its scientists should be moving towards collaborative research. Scientists who pull in different directions can't make any meaningful impact in the scientific world. Cooperation, not competition, is the bane of science. With regard to crop biotechnology, collaboration is urgently needed if Africa dreams of solving its endemic food problems.

Currently, Africa is playing host to top-notch research in crop biotechnology. Dr. Florence Wambugu of Africa Harvest Biotech Foundation International is busy developing a new strain of wheat resistant to drought and common fungal diseases. Dr. Wambugu is an authority in genetic engineering and has been leading the campaign to persuade Africa to embrace genetically modified crops. Dr. Monty Jones of the Africa Rice Centre (WARDA), in a groundbreaking research, has developed New Rice for Africa (Nerica), resistant to drought and pests, which is bound to enhance food security in many West African countries. Dr. Jones' expertise in genetic engineering can be a big asset to Africa is shared.

Organizations like International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT), Insect Resistant Maize for Africa (IRMA) and International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA), too, are engaged in high-tech crop biotechnology research. Their work deserve praise, but they stand to achieve more if there is more sharing.

Perhaps, a recently mooted idea by South African scientists is worth considering.They have formed an umbrella organization, which seeks to consolidate the gains already made in modern biotechnology. Called the African Centre for Gene Technology (ACGT), the body will act as a centre of excellence for all African scientists involved in biotech research. In Kenya, the African Biotechnology Stakeholders Forum is promoting partnerships and education. African scientists should embrace these projects and see them as opportunities for self-growth. Investors in North America, Europe and elsewhere should be investing and partnering with these organizations and scientists. After all, they have a common goal - to alleviate hunger and malnutrition.

About the author: James Wachai is a communication specialist who uses his expertise to increase public understanding of science and technology, specifically biotechnology. Read more from James at

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

UFO Spotted Over Overland Park in 2004

Author: Mark Fisher

It started out as a tiny star, barely a speck in the sky, at 10:37 p.m. approximately. A reddish colored dot, hardly noticeable until it began to change color as it get bigger, or closer, changing from red to blue to a bright red and finally to a true gold, not yellow, not orange, but a true gold as it became incredibly bright and huge. It was bright enough to cast a shadow, not like a ray or beam of light, but rather from an overall gold glow. Hovering... Quietly... Not making a sound, not rustling the leaves or making any breeze. It just got bigger, closer, brighter, ""golder"". Much bigger than an airplane. Then, suddenly, it began to dart across the sky, rapidly, like on a straight line. Then, just as rapidly, without stopping, it changed direction and darted back towards its once previous position. Closer. Then it would begin rising and moving further away, only to suddenly become bigger again as it would quickly begin coming closer once again. Two witnesses noticed the red light from their windows and followed it, getting interested enough to go downstairs and outside to gain a better look. Two witnesses, one a woman, one a man, told matching tales of the object, agreeing on every last detail. Twice I tried to trick them by mentioning yellow or green lights but instead they would correct me saying it was red, then blue, then bright red, then an extremely bright glowing gold color, NOT yellow they would insist. No matter how hard I tried to sway them from their statements, they remained consistent and adamant.

This writer knows both witnesses well, and knows they are not the type or types to fashion some hairbrained scheme or story. The woman is a teacher of children, dedicated to bettering the life of young children. The man is a responsible businessperson, the manager of a successful business. Neither take drugs. Neither were drinking, not even so much as a thimbleful of cough medicine between them. No, it was not in their heads - it was real. Actual visions of something mysterious, frightening, and, perhaps, menacing. Both got spooked and sought shelter. Both continued to watch it behind locked doors. For over twenty minutes it would come, go, dart one direction for several seconds then dart back. Changing colors as it got closer or farther away. Finally, it moved ""mostly North, slightly West"", perhaps NNW as it became only a reddish spark in the sky, until finally it had moved so far that it could no longer be seen, hidden by trees and the many miles with which it was traveling away.

Zach F. saw it first. He frequently watches planes come and go at the nearby municipal airport. He knows an airplane or a helicopter when he sees one. He knows where planes land and take off from and the basic locations of all the small airports, and major ones, in the area. Zach knows planes and helicopters. He does not know of objects that can change speed and direction so abruptly and change colors so totally. Certainly not an object as large as this. Trisha M. knows what she saw, the whole experience indelibly imprinted into her memory banks by the importance and significance she felt as she witnessed it. ""This is not right"", was an everpresent thought, so she watched carefully and noted each and every detail, not knowing what might be important.

An eerie thirty minute experience that will require some answers for two quite shaken witnesses and this inquisitive writer, who fully believes their identical, corroborated stories, but neither authorities, nor the media are interested in hearing their story. One can only wonder ""Why?"" Surely there cannot be some vast comspiracy could exist regarding UFOs, can there? More likely is that they saw some new hush-hush experimental military vehicle. Perhaps in ten or twenty years, classified documents can be declassified and made public about a highly maneuverable, extremely fast military vehicle that can change color and direction at will. Only then might we learn the truth.

About the author: Mark Robert Fisher is a freelance writer/journalist and entrepreneur, a member of the International Press Association and the National Writer's Union. Mark has been published in the US, UK, and Europe. He is available via his website:

Monday, August 06, 2007

Bird Flu Facts Can Save Lives

Author: Ben Franklin

Doctors and scientists around the world fear it may well become the next pandemic. People have died and many are concerned it's just a matter of time before the crafty bird flu manages to spread not only from bird to human but also from human to human.

The scare level is high as scientists race to create a vaccine and reports of deaths slowly rack up. But what is the bird flu and what can be done to prevent its spread, and more importantly, protect people?

The bird flu is a strain of influenza occurs naturally in birds. Much like humans, wild birds all over the world carry viruses in their intestines, but generally don't become sick from them. Avian influenza, however, is different and can make some birds, including chickens, ducks and turkeys quite sick and can even result in death.

While most bird viruses don't effect humans, the latest strains have been creating problems in the human world, thus the concerns. Since 1997 there have been 100 confirmed cases of human infection with bird flu viruses.

People can become infected with bird flu through close contact with infected birds and most especially their excretions and secretions. Although the spread of the illness from one person to the next has been reported only rarely, and even then not beyond one additional person, there are many concerns in the scientific and medical communities that this will not continue. Viruses such as the flu are well known for their abilities to mutate and there's no reason to believe that won't be the case with this quite deadly strain of flu.

Avian flu symptoms in humans are very much like those of run-of-the-mill flu - with a wide variety found. These can include cough, sore throat, fever, eye infections, respiratory issues and other life-threatening complications.

While it's believed the medications that can help ease the symptoms of human flu viruses might help in the case of the avian flu, there are concerns the bird virus will become resistant to these drugs, creating a bigger issue. At this time there is no vaccine for the bird flu either.

At this point, it is not believed a person can become infected with the bird flu by eating poultry or eggs. As long as safe cooking practices are followed, there should be little concern. To avoid exposure, make sure chicken and eggs are properly cooked and take care to clean up well following preparation. Washing hands and kitchen surfaces is an absolute must. Sanitary practices are a must in avoiding the bird flu and lots of other viruses and bacterial conditions as well.

Will the avian flu become the next pandemic, striking and perhaps killing thousands and thousands the world over?

Unfortunately, only time will tell. The potential, scientists fear, is absolutely there. The only way at this point for people to protect themselves is to use common sense when handling birds - either domestic or wild. Don't eat, drink or smoke while handling birds, live or dead. Wash hands thoroughly and use caution while cooking.

As it is with so many other illnesses, the simple act of hand washing frequently and correctly can go a long way toward minimizing exposure.

About the author: #1 Resource

Bird flu update and safety precautions.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

The Hidden Truth Behind an Emblem

Author: James Monahan

An emblem is a visual representation that defines an idea, thought, or an entity. It's synonymous with the words symbol and sign.

They are written everywhere in our daily lives. Around the world, it is universally accepted that the symbol of a heart represents love; or that a peace sign tattooed on an arm or posted on a wall is a visual reminder of the pronouncement of peace.

An emblem crosses boundaries and cultural barriers. It speaks without speaking. It is probably the first mode of visual communication known to man. Its more popular use dates back to the time of the conception of the Egyptian hieroglyphics.

Now let us take a look back at the history of the emblem and try to decipher what lies behind the surface of these symbols. Later we'll take a look at the more renowned emblems that have now become a part of the visual landscape of our culture.

To have a better understanding of their more profound meaning, let us trace back their origin and study the ideas that were rooted behind these colorful signs.

The word emblem first began to surface within the confines of the argot of architecture during the 15th century. They meant a sculptural illustration of an idea or concept pertaining to the structure of houses.

Emblems also became identified with the esoteric and iconic language of the Egyptian hieroglyphics.

The first emblem book was published in 1531 in Augsburg. The book was entitled the Emblata. It was authored by Andrea Alciato, who was an Italian jurist who came from the city of Milan, but resided in France during the early 16th century.

In our century arguably the most notorious of all emblems is the swastika, whose most renowned identification lies with the affiliation with the Nazi movement. Interesting to note that originally the swastika was a holy symbol in Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism.

Its earliest use can be traced back with the early dwellers of Eurasia. This emblem was also adopted in the culture of Native Americans with a seemingly independent usage.

In India the swastika is universally used in celebrations, festivals and weddings. Many Indian temples are decorated with swastikas. During the early 20th century, it gained the recognition of an emblem that stands for good luck and prosperity.

Other notable emblems are: the red cross on a white flag. This symbol is identified with the American red cross. The red cross is a symbol that stands for the spirit of humanity.

The star of David, is most commonly recognized as the symbol for Judaism. It is also referred to as Magen David, or shield of David. The skull, the symbol of death and the transient state of the human life.

A skull and crossbones, this emblem stands for poison. Whenever this appears on a product, it warns us that we are in the presence of a potentially harmful, or even deadly substance. This appears often on cleaning solution and insecticide sprays.

That is why it is very important to know what certain emblems mean because in our society emblems have become permanent fixtures, and not knowing what they stand for could be detrimental to our daily lives.

Just go to any mall and you will see that these symbols are everywhere. Whether it takes shape in the form of a man or a woman posted on the lavatory to indicate if it is a male or female bathroom.

You will also see them while travelling on the highways. Multi-directional arrows that are posted on billboards alongside the names of the place they are pointing towards. This tells you which direction you are heading. It functions as a guide so you will not get lost. It also keeps road transportation organized.

They are inescapable these emblems that decorate our everyday lives. It is part of our human consciousness, a part of our history, a part of our mode of communication. That is why it is best if each and everyone of us get better acquainted with the more vital symbols that are now in use in our society.

After all, to know more about the things around you enhances your consciousness and experience of life. Plus, these symbols will also warn us against the hazards that are part of our environment.

Remember that emblems are not just a visual display. They are part of a more serious, profound, and bigger truth. You just have to learn to look beyond the surface to know the message they are trying to convey. Emblems exist for a reason, it is up to you to read the signs.

About the author: James Monahan is the owner and Senior Editor of and writes expert articles about emblems .

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Kenya Inches Close to Food Sustainability

Author: James Wachai

Kenya has begun a countdown to commercializing genetically modified maize(corn). Scientists at the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) and Insect Resistant Maize for Africa (IRMA) have already developed a new maize seed, resistant to the stem borer. Stem borer destroys 400,000 tonnes of Maize in Kenya, alone. In Sub-Saharan Africa, chronic cases of stem borer infestation account for 10-70 per cent of yield losses. This has had devastating effects on Africa's efforts to feed its ever soaring population. Maize is the primary staple food and an occasional cash crop in many parts of Africa.

The first case of stem borer was discovered in Malawi in 1932. Since then, a raft of methods, pointedly, biological control, habitat management and use of natural pesticides, have been used to deal with the stem borer menace. Unfortunately, very little has been achieved. Bounty yields, a common occurrence in countries such as US, Canada, Argentina, India and China, which have embraced biotechnology, have not been forthcoming. For instance, Niger, one of the poorest countries in Africa is currently facing acute food shortage due to crop failure and drought. About 3.6 million people are on the verge of death due to hunger. Horrifying is news that 800,000 children are chronically malnourished.

Niger is a semi-desert country where lack of rain can result to massive crop failures. This situation and others in Africa can be avoided. Dishing emergency food aid, as is happening at the moment, will help in the short run. But long-term measures need to be explored.

The development of seeds with tolerance to drought and low soil fertility through modern biotechnology could benefit Niger and other countries in similar situations.

Maize varieties with improved nutritional content will be a boon to malnourished children who strand the African continent.

It is worth noting that the development of maize seed resistant to pests such as stem borer not only heralds a new chapter in Kenya but Africa as a whole. Other African countries should now borrow a leaf from these two countries. They should swim by the waves rest they continue to be perpetual beneficiaries of relief food.

Kenyan scientists have demonstrated determination to seek homegrown solutions to Africa's food problems. It would be interesting to hear the views of critics of modern biotechnology about this latest development.In the past, they have accused rich countries of foisting novel technologies such as biotechnology on ""hapless"" Africa, in total disregard of their environmental impact or health complications associated with consumption of genetically modified food.

The jury is now out. To quote Dr Stephen Mugo, a plant breeder with CIMMYT, ""The converted seeds have been studied, multiplied and tested in laboratories and greenhouse conditions.""

About the author: James Wachai is a communication specialist who uses his expertise to increase public understanding of science and technology, specifically biotechnology. Read more from James at