Kettering Agent Fate

The Chemical Agent Fate Research Program is a project funded through an initial $2.9 million research contract from a federal contracting corporation. The thrust of this effort is to develop computer models that predict the dispersion and persistence of a chemical in the air and ground after it is deposited, and determine how long a chemical compound remains active after its release. The mathematical analyses associated with this project will greatly enhance the capability to computationally simulate possible scenarios and aid officials in taking preventative actions.

These mathematical models are currently undergoing validation with calibrated data, thus increasing "our confidence in their prediction capabilities." The idea is to protect human life by converting highly technical science and experimentally validated mathematical modeling information into a usable tool for military organizations and the general population. The computer models will aid military forces to better protect themselves and operate in contaminated environments.

The models predict such things as the dispersion of elements through a porous substrate and the simultaneous phenomenon of a chemical reaction of an agent. The ultimate objective of this project is to help predict the fate of a chemical agent after it is deposited on the ground and on other surfaces, and offer an engineering tool to present temporal and spatial information about an agent's fate.

Currently we are working on two types of modeling: Continuum and Discrete. Both models examine how chemical elements sink into certain surfaces and the time required for this diffusion. "We've validated the model with running tests on household tile using oil and water, depending on the viscosity and surface tension of the liquid." These models will also undergo validation with actual data taken in certified labs from around the world.

This is the first time that researchers are using a mathematical and numerical algorithm to solve such a problem. "The success of these modules relies on their robustness and the fact that they are modular." "As more advanced modules become available, they will easily undergo incorporation into the program without the need to modify the solver (or engine)." The nice thing about this particular model is that it allows researchers to input any kind of fluid properties, thus making it more flexible in terms of predicting how other liquids, such as pesticides and oil, might penetrate surfaces.

Currently, work is developing the Continuum Model and the mathematical equations based on a discreet approach. Together, these models provide "a parallel approach for comparisons to yield comprehensive results. The idea is to give the contractor a model that is as useful and flexible as possible at the present time and for future needs. In the long run, this will help tremendously, especially since these models are user-friendly."