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Piezonucleic Lining Project

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Piezonucleic Lining Project was a pre-War research project of Cambridge Polymer Labs, LLC.

Overview

Initial studies led the research team under Jon's wife, D.Eng Ericka Elwood-Woolum, to hypothesize that by taking a known piezoelectric material, Lead Zirconium Titanite (PZT), and properly applying a polymer of Gold and Lithium Hydride might produce the desired effect.[1] Initial tests proved the method is sound. Radioactive energy harvest was 15x higher than contemporary automotive fusion engines. Unfortunately, the ionic excitation in the gold that produced the harvestable electrons also created a build up of thermal waste. The heat was not substantial from a macro perspective, but due to the low shear modulus, the gold suspension in the nano weave started to break down quickly under extended use. In short, the weave destroyed itself rapidly, making it unsuitable for extended deployment. The team changed the dosing pattern on the gold to produce thinner strands through the material. The increased surface area would help dissipate the thermal energy, much like a heat sink.[2]

This approach successfully created an efficient material with a lifetime of years, rather than days, at a negligible cost to harvest rate. Unfortunately, the new material was only technically successful: Colonel George Kemp, the military liaison for the project, rejected it out of hand, as the new material shredded under intense use. It was unsuitable for use as power armor lining and the Colonel threatened to pull funding. The team returned to the drawing board.[3] The Great War interrupted progress on the project, as while Elwood locked the team in the laboratory to force them to complete it (thus securing a military extraction team for everyone associated with the project), it was eventually destroyed by a combination of factors, most importantly Wilfred Bergman's deteriorating mental state. The true irony lies in the fact that Wilfred's musings about an taking a more oblique angle in getting out inspired Ericka: In order to solve the thermal dissipation problem, the team could attempt to change the dosing pattern so that it would produce nanoholes angled towards the surface. That way, the material might be able to reflect the most direct radioactive particles and trap only those coming in at an oblique angle to the material. It would achieve a lower energy harvest, but the heat dissipation issues would likely be solved.[4]

Unfortunately, it came too late to save the research team. During the struggle for control over the facility's system, Bergman locked the team out of the only source of U-238 needed to complete the project. The entire team soon perished as a result of a misguided attempt to force an exit.[5]

References

  1. Cambridge Polymer Labs terminals; Ericka's Terminal, Project Thesis Initial studies have lead us to hypothosize that by taking a known piezoelectric material, Lead Zirconium Titanite (PZT), and properly applying a polymer of Gold and Lithium Hydride that a localized conversion of ionizing radiation to electrical energy might be achieved. This method of compact energy harvest may prove suitable for application to preexisting Power Armor currently in use by US armed forces. -Dr. Ericka Elwood-Woolum D.Eng"
  2. Cambridge Polymer Labs terminals; Ericka's Terminal, Thermal dissipation Initial tests have proved that the methodology is sound. Radioactive energy harvest is 15x higher than current automotive fusion engines. Unfortunately, there are still problems that we need to overcome. The ionic excitation in the gold that produces the harvestable electrons also create a build up of thermal waste. The heat is not substantial, from a macro perspective, but due to the low shear modulus, the gold suspension in the nano weave starts to break down quickly under extended use. We are going to attempt to change the dosing pattern on the gold to produce thinner strands through the material. The increased surface area should help dissipate the thermal energy, much like a heat sink."
  3. Thermal dissipation; Ericka's Terminal, Tensile strain The newer dosing patterns have been successful at dissipating the heat generated by the reaction. We've taken a slight hit to the harvest efficiency, but extended the static material lifetime from a matter of days to a several years. While this is, from our perspective, already a successful experiment, the project parameters require a flexible lining that can be applied to power armor. It seems we understimated the tensile strain the armor produces and the thinner gold weave in the material ends up shredding, so to speak, under the heavy use. Col. Kemp was less than pleased, and threatened to pull the funding if we can't produce the promised results. So we need to go back to the thicker weave and find a different way to solve the thermal dissipation issue."
  4. Cambridge Polymer Labs terminals; Ericka's Terminal: Trapped We've been trapped in the lab for days now and tensions are running high. The team is fractured and falling apart. They don't know what is going on outside and have started making attempts to escape the lab. While I was sleeping they managed to cut a hole through the thinner interior wall of the clean room, but have been unable to break through the hardened outer wall. Wil started talking with some of the others about going at the problem from "a more oblique angle", which got me to thinking about the thermal dissipation problem when it dawned on me. If we change dosing pattern so it isn't producing nanoholes perpendicular to the surface but instead at an angle, we might be able to reflect the most direct radioactive particles and trapping only those coming in at an oblique angle to the material. We would achieve a lower energy harvest, but the heat dissipation issues might be solved. Tom, Mary, and I are going to gather the samples needed to try it."
  5. Cambridge Polymer Labs terminals; Bergman's Terminal, [J.Elwood] - Hacking Admin Sender: [J.Elwood] >> Hacking Admin Wilfred, do you think I wouldn't catch on to what you're doing? I got a network alert the moment you took control of the Isotope Containment. You may have been the best hacker on campus back at CIT, but that was years ago and while you were busy up in Alaska, pretending to be a soldier, we had the best programmers working on our security system. I told you weeks ago that I'll let you all out of the lab once the research is completed. Locking Ericka and the rest of the team out of the Isotope Containment just to spite me doesn't accomplish anything. - Director Elwood"