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ChemSecure System Monitors Sensitive and Hazardous Materials
December 15, 2010

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For safer and more secure shipment, tracking, storage, and use

NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center invites the chemical, transportation, security, and even the health care industries to license an innovative software program for monitoring shipments of hazardous or other sensitive materials. Armstrong's ChemSecure program utilizes radio frequency identification (RFID) tags and other sensor-based networks, combined with the Department of Defense's Web-based Hazardous Materials Management System (HMMS) database, to provide real-time management of hazardous materials. ChemSecure ensures that hazardous materials are being handled safely and securely, all while lowering supply chain costs. In the event of a hazardous materials incident, the system notifies first responders and provides critical information about the chemicals involved, enabling a fast, efficient response.


  • Enhanced public safety: ChemSecure supplies critical, real-time information to first responders so they are equipped to make timely decisions for the safety, security, and protection of the public in the event of a hazardous materials emergency.
  • Fast response time: Automatic alerts, including text messaging, voice alerts, and e-mails, warn of any changes to the hazardous materials and alert appropriate personnel of possible spills.
  • Increased security: RFID tags track personnel who handle hazardous containers to ensure they are licensed, trained, and authorized and to ensure that the chemicals are placed in safe, appropriate locations.
  • Greater accountability: ChemSecure correlates personnel information with container information to reduce theft, error, and fraud.
  • Reduced supply chain costs: Automated management of transportation and storage allows for more efficient tracking of inventory, longer storage life for chemicals, and improved decision making and auditing.


  • Homeland security (e.g., high-threat materials management)
  • Transportation management
  • Logistics management
  • Health care (Although prescription drugs are not hazardous, their security-particularly in the case of narcotics-requires tracking and monitoring similar to that needed in HAZMAT situations.)

Technology Details

ChemSecure filters huge amounts of data to track the inventory, status, location, and movement of hazardous materials. The system allows stored chemicals to be managed more effectively and tracked as they move through the community to ensure safe and secure transport.


How It Works

Armstrong Flight Research Center demonstrated this technology in partnership with the Department of Defense and two commercial companies: Oracle Corporation and Intermec Technologies. The ChemSecure system combines multiple databases and sensor technologies to provide information management services applicable to a variety of commercial industries. The system demonstration was comprised of three major components:

  • The HMMS database, an environmental management information software suite
  • RFID tags and readers, which track hazardous materials and personnel
  • Sophisticated software capable of collecting and filtering data from the readers and sensors

The sensors track all changes or movement to hazardous chemicals and provide automated alerts and warnings via text messaging, voicemail, and e-mail to first responders (i.e., police, firefighters, emergency HAZMAT units). State-of-the-art data filters pull critical information from multiple databases, keeping authorities informed and prepared to respond quickly with real-time information.


Why It Is Better

ChemSecure dramatically improves the safety and security of first responders and the public by providing precise, accurate, real-time information in the event of a chemical spill. Wireless, hand-held devices alert fire, police, and HAZMAT units of the exact chemicals involved and their hazardous properties. First responders can use this information to expedite evacuations and clean-up. ChemSecure's highly advanced data filters also provide the information business leaders need to manage assets, track shipments, increase safety, and make better business decisions.

The system eliminates paper-based reporting, instead relying upon RFID tags, readers, and sensors to track the movement of containers and help prevent unauthorized use of hazardous materials. By providing a centralized, Web-based database that captures and shares all information related to the storage, movement, tracking, and use of hazardous materials, ChemSecure increases safety and security for the entire HAZMAT community and the public. Though the technology was originally developed to manage hazardous materials, it could be adapted for use in the medical community to manage and track prescription medications, particularly controlled substances.



Armstrong Flight Research Center is seeking patent protection for the ChemSecure technology.

Commercial Opportunity

ChemSecure is part of NASA's Innovative Partnerships Program, which seeks to transfer technology into and out of NASA to benefit the space program and U.S. industry. NASA invites companies to consider licensing ChemSecure (DRC-006-006) for commercial applications.

Contact Information

Technology Transfer Office
NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center
PO Box 273, M/S 1100
Edwards, CA 93523-0273
Phone: (661) 276-3368
E-mail: DFRC-TTO@mail.nasa.gov

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Page Editor: NASA Administrator