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Highlighted CBRNE Topics from ERDC BAA

The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) in March issued a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for various research and development topic areas.

The ERDC is responsible for conducting research broad fields of hydraulics, dredging, coastal engineering, instrumentation, oceanography, remote sensing, geotechnical engineering, earthquake engineering, soil effects, vehicle mobility, self-contained munitions, military engineering, geophysics, pavements, protective structures, aquatic plants, water quality, dredged material, treatment of hazardous waste, wetlands, frozen precipitation, infrastructure and environmental issues for installations, computer science, telecommunications management, energy, facilities maintenance, materials and structures, engineering processes, environmental processes, land and heritage conservation, and ecological processes.

Of specific interest to the Homeland Security and CBRNE community are the following topics:

Countermine/Counter Improvised Explosive Device Phenomenology

This research addresses methods and procedures to develop and demonstrate advanced technologies that support the Army’s requirements for improved detection of mines, minefields and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Additional research work is needed in the areas of geo-environmental modeling; exploiting phenomenological processes to reduce false alarm rates; and predicting sensor performance based on sensing, data analysis, display, and platform navigation.

Innovative CBRN Protection for Facilities

Proposals are sought which address the need for an improved ability to protect mission critical facilities from attacks using CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear) agents in internal and/or external agent releases. In particular, methodologies for designing, constructing, operating and commissioning CBRN protection systems in a building system are sought. Ideally, the CBRN protection systems should be integrated into the building in such a way that other building systems and functions are not negatively impacted.

Also of interest are methods of optimizing the effectiveness of CBRN systems while minimizing life cycle costs and improving reliability and confidence in the system’s required level of protection as well as cost effective means of certifying and recertifying protection levels of CBRN protection systems

Biological Decontamination of DoD Equipment and Infrastructure

Proposals are desired which address the need for an enhanced capability to protect and rehabilitate DoD equipment and infrastructure after a biological contamination event. Research proposals for the development, application, production, and validation of innovative materials and systems for self-decontaminating surfaces and decontamination sprays are of interest. Candidate decontaminant material systems should be potent, safe, and practical for the target DoD application. Target applications include building protection and remediation, wide area decontamination, and decontamination of corrosion-sensitive equipment and infrastructure.

Geophysical Phenomenology – Multi-Modal Geophysical Phenomenology, Modeling, Data Processing, and Data Management

Objectives include detecting, classifying, and locating airborne and ground military targets and buried objects using geophysical methods for homeland defense and homeland security applications. Also included are invasive and non-invasive approaches for measuring and quantifying the geophysical signatures of diverse geo-environments. This can include the development of new and/or improved analytical and numerical models, rapid data-processing techniques, and new subsurface imaging techniques that include active and passive sensor modalities in a variety of rural and urban terrains.

Of particular interest is the development of new tactics, techniques, and procedures for the employment of novel sensing methods as well as the development or verification of empirical testing and evaluation techniques. Data management and multi-mode integration techniques and platforms are also of interest.

Concrete Materials

Research in this area includes improving the performance of concrete materials and systems. Performance could include very high tensile or compressive strength, high ductility, high fracture toughness, low shrinkage, rapid hardening, very low permeability, resistance to abrasion and erosion durability, chemical resistance, shock-attenuating properties, ultra-low density, thermal insulation properties, workability, and other unique attributes.

Sensing – Unexploded Ordinance

Develop and demonstrate advanced technologies that support the Army’s requirements for improved detection and discrimination of unexploded ordnance (UXO). Additional research work is needed in the Areas of UXO sensing, data analysis, display, and platform navigation. Fundamental measurements and models that define/predict the performance of these sensing methods in various soils/UXO target conditions are also of interest. Research is also needed to develop advanced data analysis techniques that can significantly reduce the number of false alarms arising from natural and man-made sources.

Biomaterials and Self-Cleaning Surfaces and Coatings

Proposals are sought for novel basic and applied research to address the need for enhanced protection and decontamination of Army installations through interdisciplinary research solutions combining biology, chemistry, and material science. Research to develop biomaterials, surfaces, and coatings that address topics including, but not limited to, microbial induced corrosion (MIC), biofilms, pathogens, and environmental pollutants. Examples of technologies include, but are not limited to, bioinorganic materials, self-cleaning and decontaminating surfaces and coatings, foams, nanostructured surfaces, and protein based materials.

Innovative Technology for Environmental Sensors and Tools

This program is actively developing field-based tools and sensors to conduct rapid site characterization/screening for environmental contaminants. Additional research is needed in the areas of novel sensing technologies for detection of chemical and biological contaminants allowing for rapid field-based data acquisition. Also, research is needed to develop technologies and platforms allowing for rapid data analysis/interpretation/reporting. Fundamental measurements and models that define or predict the performance of new sensing methods in soil, water and air are also of interest.

Innovative Technologies for Treating Hazardous Waste and Contaminated Surface and Ground Waters

Technologies and strategies to treat complex organic- and metal-contaminated hazardous liquids, off-gases, soils sludges, sediments, and residuals from past disposal practices. Research is divided into two major categories: technologies for treating contaminated soils and sediments, and innovative technologies for treating contaminated surface and ground waters.

Design, Evaluation, Verification and Modeling of Solid and Hazardous Wastes and Contaminated Sediments

Presently, efforts are continuing to develop water balance and leachate models for solid waste disposal systems and dredged material disposal facilities. Additional work is needed to model innovative designs, nonsoil surface materials, cobbled surfaces, preferential flow through heterogeneous waste materials and other layers, and effects of complex mixtures of vegetation including trees. Similarly, additional work is needed to verify the existing models.

Environmental Hazard Identification

This is the process of showing causality (i.e., a chemical or complex mixture can cause some adverse effect). If this causality can be demonstrated, the chemical is referred to as a “hazard.” If there is no causal link, risk need not be quantified. Important target receptors are also identified by this stage (for example, humans, endangered species, ecologically or economically important species). Research is conducted to develop the technology for hazard identification and the establishment of causality.

Environmental Effects Assessment

While Hazard Identification decides if a chemical or complex mixture is toxic; Effects Assessment establishes the relationship of the toxicant dose and associated biological response. This is accomplished via experimental research in which surrogate species are exposed to gradients (spatial, concentration, etc.) of the hazard in question, and biological effects are monitored. Biologically important endpoints measured include survival, growth, reproduction and population-level parameters. These endpoints must be accompanied by technically sound interpretive guidance. Results are expressed in dose-response or exposure-response relationships.

Exposure Assessment

In Exposure Assessment, the magnitude, frequency and duration of contaminant exposure relative to the target receptor(s) are determined. This research is model-intensive, with both descriptive and quantitative models being used to evaluate pathways and routes. A pathway exists if the hazard travels between the initial source of contamination and the ultimate biological receptor. An exposure route is pathway that the chemical contacts the receptor (for example, ingestion, inhalation, dermal absorption, bioaccumulation, trophic transfer). Analysis of the uncertainty associated with these exposure assessments is also conducted.

Biodegradation of Contaminants

Studies in the biodegradation area emphasize destruction of organic contaminants for remediation purposes. Emphasis is on delineating biodegrative pathways; determining intermediate and final products and by-products; (assessing the role of environmental factors in regulating the pathways utilized and the rate and extent of destruction of the parent compound; determining the survival and activity of microorganisms added to soils, sediments, and biotreatment systems; and enhancing biodegradation to obtain the maximum destruction of organic contaminants within a soil, sediment, or treatment system.

Electro-osmotic Technology for Water and Chemical Containment

Electro-osmosis is the transport of cations due to the application of an external electric field. Because of the molecular binding nature of water molecules, water molecules are transported along with the cations. This technique has been used in civil engineering to dewater dredgings and other high-water content waste solids, consolidate clays, strengthen soft sensitive clays, and increase the capacity of pile foundations.

Critical Infrastructure Protection for Utility Systems

Utility systems provide the electricity, water, transportation fuel, heating, cooling, communications and compressed air that are required for carrying out military installation missions. The objective of this research is to develop methods, simulation tools, and models to enable installation and military planners to plan, assess, optimize, and monitor the ability of utility systems to support normal operations requirements, as well as military force projection.

Further details are available via Solicitation Number: W912HZ15BAA01. The BAA remains open until superseded.

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