In addition, there is some promising research-related news about chlorine. MacDougall pointed to a recent study on chlorine atoms found in a novel class of antibiotic compounds that have been discovered in tiny marine organisms in North Atlantic waters near Norway. Those chlorine atoms are essential to the antibiotic activity of the compounds, which can be effective against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus , a bacterium that causes hard-to-treat infections in people and is resistant to commonly used antibiotics, he said.
For example, engineers are interested in knowing how seawater damages metals. This information is important in determining the best techniques to use in building ships. An experiment can be done by adding pieces of metal to seawater that contains radioactive chlorine-36. The sodium chloride in the seawater is changed slightly so that it contains radioactive chlorine instead of normal chlorine. As the sodium chloride attacks the metal, its actions can be followed easily. The radioactive chlorine, chlorine-36, gives off radiation. That radiation can be detected by holding an instrument near the experiment. A scientist can find out exactly what happens when the sodium chloride attacks the metal.