- Number 409 |
- March 17, 2014
What do some high-end golf clubs and your living room window have in common? The answer is glass, but in the golf clubs' case it's a specialized glass product, called metallic glass, with the ability to be bent considerably and spring back into its original form. Your windows, as you know, aren¹t quite as forgiving of a sudden impact, and they shatter they are brittle, as opposed to ductile, or more flexible products. For the golf clubs, however, a new generation of flexible metallic glass puts more bounce back into a golf ball, from the metallic glass' high elasticity. They're not unbreakable, but close. And scientists are working toward even stronger and more elastic glass types which would fail in a ductile fashion instead of shattering.
Molecular dynamics simulations often take too long to be practical for simulating chemical processes that occur on long timescales. Scientists DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the University of Chicago, and the University of California at San Diego showed that time integration algorithms working in parallel can significantly speed up computationally demanding molecular dynamics simulations, opening new avenues for studying complex, long-lasting processes as diverse as carbon sequestration and energy production and storage.
Molecular dynamics simulations provide valuable data about the physical movements and interactions of atoms and molecules over time. Unlike classical approaches, ab initio molecular dynamics (AIMD) simulations accurately calculate the movements of electrons, enabling scientists to study chemical reactions that involve breaking or forming covalent bonds. Although AIMD simulations are useful in areas such as industrial and biological catalysis, their use is limited because they are computationally costly.
DOE's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is developing a new and more powerful version of its world-leading Magnetic Reconnection Experiment (MRX), which recreates one of the most common but least understood phenomena in the universe. This phenomenon, in which the magnetic field lines in plasma snap apart and violently reconnect, occurs throughout the cosmos and gives rise to the northern lights, solar flares and geomagnetic storms that can disrupt cell-phone service and black out power grids.
The new $4.3 million device will probe facets of magnetic reconnection never before accessible to laboratory experiments, said Hantao Ji, a PPPL physicist and Princeton professor of astrophysical sciences who will serve as principal investigator for research on the new machine. Ji headed a Princeton-led consortium that won a $3 million National Science Foundation (NSF) construction grant in a nationwide competition with entries from all areas of science. The University will contribute an additional $1.3 million of funds for construction of the device, to be called the Facility for Laboratory Reconnection Experiment (FLARE).
The sensors team at DOE's National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) is working on sensor technologies to enable embedded gas sensing at high temperature. The team’s goal is to develop novel materials with large optical responses and high-temperature stability for integration with optical sensor platforms. High-temperature harsh environment conditions are relevant for a diverse range of advanced fossil energy applications, including solid oxide fuel cells, gas turbines, and advanced combustion systems.
An inspection technique developed by two Savannah River National Laboratory researchers is ready for commercial use, via a license agreement signed with a Texas company.
SoundAnchor is a testing method developed at SRNL that uses ultrasonic technology to assess the structural integrity and safety of anchor rods that are used to stabilize large guyed towers. Metallurgical Engineering Services, Inc., a Richardson, Texas company, has signed an exclusive license to utilize SoundAnchorTM as an inspection tool.
Anchor rods are subject to below ground degradation that can lead to failure over time. Typically, anchor rods, if and when they are inspected, must be unearthed to allow for visual inspection. This can be costly, time consuming and can potentially destabilize the structure being anchored. Additionally, the excavation and reburial process is inherently damaging to the protective coatings on the rods.