From the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center:
ECBC Ignites Interest in STEM During TNT Event
Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD ? Illustrating the chemistry behind smoke and pyrotechnics, engineers from the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) presented “What Color is Exothermicity” — a series of more than 20 smoke and pyrotechnics demonstrations — during the third annual Technology Needs Teens (TNT) event held recently.
TNT, a Harford County Public Schools and Harford Community College (HCC) educational outreach program supported by local businesses, academia and federal government agencies, is designed to promote science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education among students.
And by lighting up one of HCC’s laboratories with an array of bright explosions, colored flames and smoke flashes, ECBC Chief of the Pyrotechnics and Explosives Branch Joe Domanico and Chemical Engineer Giancarlo Diviacchi accomplished the TNT mission.
“As a chemical engineer you can have fun without getting in trouble,” Domanico told Edgewood Middle School students. “The benefit of this field is that you get to blow things up and make some noise. Ultimately, you can support the Army with a background in chemistry and knowledge of chemistry safety.”
With funding from the National Defense Education Program, ECBC employees were able to demonstrate a stimulating STEM-related career path to nearly 200 eighth-graders from Harford County’s nine middle schools.
“Mr. Domanico’s exothermicity presentation exactly delivers what the day intends to do, which is to excite kids about the wonders of science,” said Marlene Lieb, associate vice president of Continuing Education and Training. “We look forward to having Joe [Domanico] back each year, as he is a critical component of TNT’s success.”
After explaining how working with smoke, flames and explosives complements the Center’s core capabilities of chemical and biological protection, detection and monitoring, Domanico and Diviacchi showed students how to create the boom effect of fireworks and manipulate their brightness by controlling energy release and temperature. Enhancing flames, explosions and smoke with a rainbow of color effects, they added compounds like calcium chloride or sodium nitrate to the fuel and black powder.
“White smoke on the battlefield camouflages the warfighter, whereas colorful smoke is used as an effective means of communication,” Domanico said.
Domanico shared some of his most memorable Pyro Club experiences with the students, comparing one of them to the end of a “Star Wars” movie and emphasizing the team spirit among his fellow pyrotechnicians.
“But, you have to understand the chemistry before you get to the fun part,” Diviacchi reminded. “In the pyro world, everything is done in teams and we always check one another.”
According to the final student evaluation, ECBC’s pyrotechnics workshop received the best student response at this year’s TNT event, leaving students from Havre de Grace, Aberdeen, Fallston, Bel Air, Magnolia, Patterson Mill, Southampton, Edgewood and North Harford middle schools inspired and awestruck.
“I knew ECBC would be a hit again,” Lieb said.
Joseph Wienand Appointed Technical Director Of Edgewood Chemical Biological Center
Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD ? Joseph D. Wienand was officially appointed technical director of the U. S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC), the premier national resource for chemical and biological defense, June 20. He served as acting technical director after serving as the organization’s Director of Program Integration since May.
As technical director, Wienand is responsible for more than 1,800 Department of the Army civilians, soldiers and on-site contractors located at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Pine Bluff Arsenal, Ark; and Rock Island, Ill. Those employees conduct research, engineering and field operations in support of the Department of Defense and other government agencies by integrating life-cycle science, engineering and operations solutions to counter CBRNE threats to U.S. forces and the nation.
In addition to the other roles at ECBC, Wienand previously held positions at the U.S. Department of Energy, and the Chemical Research Development & Engineering Center. He has also served as a director with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and as an active duty chemical officer with the U.S. Army. Career awards include “On the Spot” Reinventing Government Hammer Award from the Vice President’s Office and the Federal Executive Institute Director’s Award.
Wienand holds a master’s degree in systems management from the Florida Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from New Mexico State University. Originally from New Mexico, he currently lives with his wife and children in Baltimore, Md.
For more information about ECBC, visit http://www.ecbc.army.mil/.