Tagged: DOE’s Sandia National Laboratories Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • richardmitnick 11:20 am on February 17, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Airplanes to cellphones- New equipment finds the flaws in everything", , DOE's Sandia National Laboratories, Fracture testing hangers for traditional interlaminar fracture testing of cocured composites; advanced cobonded hybrid laminates; as well as metal-to-metal secondary bonded configurations., In every industry and consumer product things break., , Mode I Fracture Testing Fixture, Sometimes the fracturing happens because a design is engineered without a full understanding of how the materials perform in certain conditions., The device is a small set of two hangers no larger than a hand which fits into a precisely drilled hole through the middle of two structural materials bonded together., The fracture specimens are pulled apart in a very controlled manner., The patent-pending device allows for a much quicker and inexpensive turnaround to obtain critical-fracture properties., Think about critical applications like a pressurized aircraft at 30000 feet.   

    From DOE’s Sandia National Laboratories: “Airplanes to cellphones- New equipment finds the flaws in everything” 

    From DOE’s Sandia National Laboratories

    February 17, 2021
    Michael Langley
    mlangle@sandia.gov
    925-294-1482

    1
    Sandia National Laboratories researchers in the Mechanics of Materials department utilize the new fracture testing hangers for traditional interlaminar fracture testing of cocured composites, advanced cobonded hybrid laminates, as well as metal-to-metal secondary bonded configurations as shown here. Credit: Brian Werner.

    Tim Briggs has built a career at Sandia National Laboratories tearing and breaking things apart with his team of collaborators. Now, he’s developed a fracture-testing tool that could help make everything from aircraft structural frames to cellphones stronger.

    Briggs has filed a patent for a device associated with bonded structural composite materials with the deceptively mundane title “Mode I Fracture Testing Fixture.”

    The device, a small set of two hangers no larger than a hand, fits into a precisely drilled hole through the middle of two structural materials bonded together. The hangers then attach to a traditional testing machine designed to pull the bonded sample apart to measure how tough it is. Before Briggs’s innovation, sample preparation and conducting a series of such fracture tests might take days or even weeks longer.

    “We pull the fracture specimens apart in a very controlled manner,” Briggs, who works in Sandia’s Lightweight Structures Lab, said. “Then, we’re able to measure the response of the material and quantify the relevant fracture properties, which informs us how cracks might actually grow when used in finished products under various loading conditions.”

    In every industry and consumer product, things break. This can lead to property loss, litigation, injuries and loss of life. Sometimes the fracturing happens because a design is engineered without a full understanding of how the materials perform in certain conditions.

    “Think about critical applications like a pressurized aircraft at 30,000 feet with 300 or more souls on board relying on bonded surfaces as part of a critical load path,” Briggs explained. “That can never fail. But people also don’t want their very benign carbon-fiber hockey stick or mountain bike that they paid hundreds or even thousands of dollars for to break.”

    The device and methodology can be applied “to everything in between — medical devices, aerospace, automotive crash worthiness, civil structures, pressure vessels, recreation and sporting. Every structure is likely affected by fracture-based failure mechanisms, and testing is difficult. This new device and approach aim to make it a bit simpler,” he said.

    Before he developed his hangers, Briggs and his team would have to align and bond hinges to the specimens, which added significant time and cost to the process before you could even set up and perform the experiment.

    2
    Sandia National Laboratories researcher Tim Briggs invented a set of fracture testing hangers to help his team perform fracture tests, rapidly accelerating the speed of such testing. Credit: Tim Briggs.

    “As simple as it is,” he said of the new approach using the free-rotation hanger system, “this is kind of the novelty of this device. There’s a beauty and simplicity here. Now you can completely abandon the old, laborious process of bonding hinges to the surfaces of the specimen. I can’t tell you how much work it was for us to cut hinges, abrade and clean all the bonded surfaces, mix adhesives, precisely align the hinge to the specimen face, glue the hinge to one side of the specimen, allow it to cure, clean up the mess, then do it all again to the other side. Now it’s literally just drill a hole and go.”

    Briggs’ patent-pending device allows for a much quicker and inexpensive turnaround for his team to obtain these critical-fracture properties, which allows for much greater insight into the conditions that could cause materials to fracture and fail.

    Because the time for testing is significantly reduced, engineers will have an opportunity to make things better by subjecting samples to wider array of environmental and loading conditions, ensuring more predictable performance to improve reliability and safety while reducing research and development costs.

    Businesses can not only make their products safer and more reliable with this new approach, but the cost savings realized in more efficient research and development as well as reductions in liability litigation could be passed on to the consumer.

    Briggs said, “I hope this new approach, and the work it could enable for others, can have a broad reach and impact beyond Sandia’s national security mission, touching people’s everyday lives more visibly in their day-to-day activities.”

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Sandia Campus.


    Sandia National Laboratory

    Sandia National Laboratories is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation, for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.



     
  • richardmitnick 10:28 am on February 9, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Super-Earth atmospheres probed at Sandia’s Z machine", , , , , , DOE's Sandia National Laboratories   

    From DOE’s Sandia National Laboratories: “Super-Earth atmospheres probed at Sandia’s Z machine” 

    From DOE’s Sandia National Laboratories

    February 9, 2021
    Neal Singer
    nsinger@sandia.gov
    505-977-7255

    Sandia Z machine.

    A step in the search for life elsewhere in the galaxy.

    1
    An artist’s conception of the magnetic fields of selected super-Earths as the Z machine, pictured at bottom, mimics the gravitational conditions on other planets. Planetary magnetic fields deter cosmic rays from destroying planetary atmospheres, making life more likely to survive. Credits: Artist image by Eric Lundin; Z photo by Randy Montoya.

    The huge forces generated by the Z machine at Sandia National Laboratories are being used to replicate the gravitational pressures on so-called “super-Earths” to determine which might maintain atmospheres that could support life.

    Astronomers believe that super-Earths — collections of rocks up to eight times larger than Earth — exist in the millions in our galaxy. “The question before us is whether any of these super planets are actually Earthlike, with active geological processes, atmospheres and magnetic fields,” said Sandia physicist Joshua Townsend.

    The current work at Z is described in today’s Nature Communications. Researchers in Sandia’s Fundamental Science Program, working with colleagues at the Earth and Planets Laboratory of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C., use the forces available at Sandia’s uniquely powerful Z facility to near-instantly apply the equivalent of huge gravitational pressures to bridgmanite, also known as magnesium-silicate, the most abundant material in solid planets.

    The experiments, said Townsend, gave birth to a data-supported table that shows when a planet’s interior would be solid, liquid or gaseous under various pressures, temperatures and densities, and in what predicted time spans. Only a liquid core — with its metals shifting over each other in conditions resembling that of an earthly dynamo — produces the magnetic fields that can shunt destructive solar winds and cosmic rays away from a planet’s atmosphere, allowing life to survive. This critical information about magnetic field strengths produced by the core states of different-sized super-Earths was formerly unavailable: cores are well-hidden by the bulk of the planets surrounding them, and thus not visible by remote viewing. For researchers who preferred earthly experiments rather than long-distance imaging, sufficient pressures weren’t available until Z’s capabilities were enlisted.

    Yingwei Fei, the corresponding author of the current study and senior staff scientist at Carnegie’s Earth and Planets Laboratory, is known for his skill in synthesizing large-diameter bridgmanite using multiton presses with sintered diamond anvils.

    “Z has provided our collaboration a unique tool that no other technique can match, for us to explore the extreme conditions of super-Earths’ interiors,” he said. “The machine’s unprecedented high-quality data have been critical for advancing our knowledge of super-Earths.”

    The Magnificent Seven

    Further analysis of the state of gaseous and dense materials on specific super-Earths produced a list of seven planets possibly worthy of further study: 55 Cancri e; Kepler 10b, 36b, 80e, and 93b; CoRoT-7b; and HD-219134b.

    Sandia manager Christopher Seagle, who with Fei initially proposed these experiments, said, “These planets, which we found most likely to support life, were selected for further study because they have similar ratios to Earth in their iron, silicates and volatile gasses, in addition to interior temperatures conducive to maintaining magnetic fields for protection against solar wind.”

    The focus on supersized, rather than small, planets came about because large gravitational pressures mean atmospheres are more likely to survive over the long haul, said Townsend.

    For example, he said, “Because Mars was smaller, it had a weaker gravitational field to begin with. Then as its core quickly cooled, it lost its magnetic field and its atmosphere was subsequently stripped away.”

    Z in action

    For these experiments, the Z machine, with operating conditions of up to 26 million amps and hundreds of thousands of volts, creates magnetic pulses of enormous power that accelerate credit card-sized pieces of copper and aluminum called flyer-plates. These were propelled much faster than a rifle bullet into samples of bridgmanite, the Earth’s most common mineral. The near-instantaneous pressure of the forceful interaction created longitudinal and transverse sound waves in the material that reveal whether the material remains solid or changes to a liquid or gas, said Sandia researcher and paper author Chad McCoy. With these new results, researchers were supplied with solid data on which to anchor otherwise theoretical planetary models.

    The technical paper concludes that the high-precision density data and unprecedently high melting temperatures achieved at the Z machine “provide benchmarks for theoretical calculations under extreme conditions.”

    Concluded Fei, “Our collaboration with Sandia scientists has led to results that will encourage more academic exploration of exoplanets, whose discovery has captured the public imagination.”

    “This work identifies interesting exoplanet candidates to explore further,” said Seagle. “Z shock compression plus Fei’s unusual capability to synthesize large-diameter bridgmanite lead to an opportunity to obtain data relevant to exoplanets that would not be possible anywhere else.”

    The work was supported by the National Science Foundation, the Z Fundamental Science Program and a Carnegie Venture grant.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Sandia Campus.


    Sandia National Laboratory

    Sandia National Laboratories is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation, for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.



     
  • richardmitnick 9:34 am on February 8, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "International research team begins uncovering Arctic mystery", , DOE's Sandia National Laboratories, , Frozen land beneath rising sea levels currently traps 60 billion tons of methane and 560 billion tons of organic carbon., New study on submarine permafrost suggests locked greenhouse gases are emerging., Submarine permafrost   

    From DOE’s Sandia National Laboratories: “International research team begins uncovering Arctic mystery” 

    From DOE’s Sandia National Laboratories

    February 8, 2021
    Manette Fisher
    mfisher@sandia.gov
    505-238-5832

    1
    This artistic diagram of the subsea and coastal permafrost ecosystems emphasizes greenhouse gas production and release. Sandia National Laboratories geosciences engineer Jennifer Frederick is one of the authors in a recent study regarding the release of such gases from submarine permafrost. Credit: Victor O. Leshyk, Center for Ecosystem Science and Society, Northern Arizona University.

    New study on submarine permafrost suggests locked greenhouse gases are emerging.

    Something lurks beneath the Arctic Ocean. While it’s not a monster, it has largely remained a mystery.

    According to 25 international researchers who collaborated on a first-of-its-kind study, frozen land beneath rising sea levels currently traps 60 billion tons of methane and 560 billion tons of organic carbon. Little is known about the frozen sediment and soil — called submarine permafrost — even as it slowly thaws and releases methane and carbon that could have significant impacts on climate.

    To put into perspective the amount of greenhouse gases in submarine permafrost, humans have released about 500 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution, said Sandia National Laboratories geosciences engineer Jennifer Frederick, one of the authors on the study published in IOP Publishing journal Environmental Research Letters.

    While researchers predict that submarine permafrost is not a ticking time bomb and could take hundreds of years to emit its greenhouse gases, Frederick said submarine permafrost carbon stock represents a potential giant ecosystem feedback to climate change not yet included in climate projections and agreements.

    “It’s expected to be released over a long period of time, but it’s still a significant amount,” she said. “This expert assessment is bringing to light that we can’t just ignore it because it’s underwater, and we can’t see it. It’s lurking there, and it’s a potentially large source of carbon, particularly methane.”

    Researchers combine expert analysis on known data

    The team of researchers led by Brigham Young University graduate student Sara Sayedi and senior researcher Ben Abbott compiled available articles and reports on the subject to create a base analysis of submarine permafrost’s potential to affect climate change. The study was coordinated through the Permafrost Carbon Network, which has more than 400 members from 130 research institutions in 21 countries.

    The study was conducted through an expert assessment that sought answers to several central questions: What is the current extent of submarine permafrost? How much carbon is locked in submarine permafrost? How much has been and will be released? What is the rate of release into the atmosphere?

    The participating experts answered questions using their scientific skills, which could include modeling, data analysis or literature synthesis. Frederick, one of the original advocates of the study, has been modeling submarine permafrost for almost 10 years and answered the questions through the lens of her research, which is primarily in numerical modeling. She said she uses published material for model inputs or works directly with researchers who visit the Arctic and provide datasets.

    Her work on the study was funded by the Laboratory Directed Research and Development program that enables Sandia scientists and engineers to explore innovative solutions to national security issues.

    Frederick’s work aligned with Sandia’s Arctic Science and Security Initiative. For more than 20 years, the Labs have had a presence in northern Alaska, said Sandia atmospheric sciences manager Lori Parrott.

    Working for the Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research, Sandia manages the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement user facility that collects atmospheric data continuously. Researchers measure and predict the speed of de-icing at the North Slope to help federal leaders make decisions on climate change and national security. In addition, Sandia creates accurate models for both sea and land ice and develops technologies for greenhouse gas monitoring. With more than 20 years of data, researchers can begin to decipher trends, Parrott said.

    Permafrost study a reason to unite

    3
    Figure A shows the extent and carbon dynamics of the subsea permafrost domain versus the Last Glacial Maximum. Drawings B-D depict the thermal, physical and biogeochemical changes initiated in the subsea permafrost domain by deglaciation and sea level rise. Sandia National Laboratories geosciences engineer Jennifer Frederick is one of the authors in a recent study on submarine permafrost. Credit: Anna Wright, Brigham Young University.

    “I hope this study begins to unite the research community in submarine permafrost,” said Frederick. “Historically, it’s not only been a challenging location to do field work and make observations, but language barriers and other obstacles in accessibility to the existing observations and literature has challenged international scientific progress in this area.”

    The team estimates that submarine permafrost has been thawing since the end of the last glacial period 14,000 years ago, and currently releases about 140 million tons of carbon dioxide and 5.3 million tons of methane into the atmosphere each year. This represents a small fraction of total human-caused greenhouse gas emissions per year, about the same yearly footprint as Spain, Sayedi said.

    However, modern greenhouse gas releases are predominantly a result of the natural response to deglaciation, according to the study. Expert estimates from this study suggest human-caused global warming may accelerate greenhouse gas release, but due to lack of research and uncertainties in this area, determining causes and rates of the release will remain unknown until better empirical and modeling estimates are available.

    “I’m optimistic that this study will shed light on the fact that submarine permafrost exists, and that people are studying its role in climate,” Frederick said. “The size of the research community doesn’t necessarily reflect its importance in the climate system.”

    Almost every expert involved in the study mentioned the permafrost knowledge gap, which makes it harder for scientists to anticipate changes and reduces the reliability of estimates of carbon pools and fluxes, as well as the thermal and hydrological conditions of permafrost. Frederick said that while there is a wealth of ongoing research on terrestrial permafrost, submarine permafrost hasn’t been taken on like this before, and hasn’t been the subject of nearly as much international collaboration.

    The amount of carbon sequestered or associated with submarine permafrost is relevant when compared to the numbers of carbon in terrestrial permafrost and what’s in the atmosphere today, Frederick said.

    “This is an example of a very large source of carbon that hasn’t been considered in climate predictions or agreements,” she said. “While it’s not a ticking time bomb, what is certain is that submarine permafrost carbon stocks cannot continue to be ignored, and we need to know more about how they will affect the Earth’s future.”

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Sandia Campus.


    Sandia National Laboratory

    Sandia National Laboratories is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation, for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.



     
  • richardmitnick 11:36 am on February 2, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "New tool at Sandia brings some West Texas wind to the Duke City — virtually", A new custom-built wind turbine emulator has been installed at Sandia’s Distributed Energy Technologies Laboratory., , , DOE's Sandia National Laboratories, , Faster research through innovation., New wind turbine motor, Sandia’s Distributed Energy Technologies Laboratory, Sandia’s Renewable Energy and Distributed Systems Integration program., The emulator consists of a scaled-down wind turbine motor and uses much of the same hardware and software that control actual turbines.   

    From DOE’s Sandia National Laboratories: “New tool at Sandia brings some West Texas wind to the Duke City — virtually” 

    From DOE’s Sandia National Laboratories

    February 2, 2021
    Dan Ware and Mollie Rappe
    mrappe@sandia.gov
    505-844-4902

    1
    Rachid Darbali-Zamora examines Sandia National Laboratories’ new wind turbine motor, which will allow the distributed energy team to study how wind farms will behave under a variety of conditions and in different locations. Credit: Bret Latter.

    Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have a new tool that allows them to study wind power and see whether it can be efficiently used to provide power to people living in remote and rural places or even off the grid, through distributed energy.

    A new, custom-built wind turbine emulator has been installed at Sandia’s Distributed Energy Technologies Laboratory. The emulator, which mimics actual wind turbines at Sandia’s Scaled Wind Farm Technology Site near Lubbock Texas, will be used to study how wind farms behave under multiple weather conditions and load demands, and if they can be efficiently used as a source of distributed energy for consumers who live near the farms, according to Brian Naughton, a researcher with Sandia’s Wind Energy Technologies program.

    2
    Scaled Wind Farm Technology (SWiFT) facility, located at Texas Tech University’s National Wind Institute Research Center in Lubbock, Texas.

    Unlike traditional wind farms that feed energy to grid-connected transmission lines, wind turbines used for distributed energy are close to or even directly connected to the end user or customer, said Naughton. This is especially important for users who are in remote areas or who are off the main electrical grid.

    “Right now, most wind generated power is just sent out on transmission lines to customers hundreds of miles away and can be affected by a wide variety of disruptions,” said Naughton. “Being able to test how wind turbines react to different and varying wind and weather conditions, we can help determine the viability of having generation take place closer to homes, schools and businesses.”

    Determining the viability of using wind turbines as a source of distributed energy is important due to the potential impact it could have on providing electricity to remote, island communities that exist largely off the main electric grid, said Rachid Darbali-Zamora, a researcher with Sandia’s Renewable Energy and Distributed Systems Integration program.

    “We’re looking at finding solutions to challenges faced by parts of the country that cannot be consistently powered by a traditional electric grid, such as remote communities in Alaska or islands that have experienced crippling devastation due to hurricanes,” said Darbali-Zamora. “Adding wind as a distributed energy source, we are potentially solving some big challenges that are faced regarding the utilization of microgrid technology.”

    Faster research through innovation

    By using the resources available at the Distributed Energy Technologies Laboratory, researchers will be able to exactly replicate wind, weather and load demand conditions at the Texas site, according to Naughton.

    3
    The scaled down turbine motor is connected to software that will allow the Sandia National Laboratories team to emulate a variety of conditions and tackle the challenges of using wind power as part of a microgrid for remote communities. Credit: Bret Latter.

    “Because the Distributed Energy Technologies Lab is so configurable, we’re able to conduct tests and simulations that are not feasible or safe to do on the actual electric grid or that we might have to wait days or weeks for conditions to be right at the wind farm site,” said Naughton. “Just like the lab can simulate weather and load conditions for solar photovoltaics and battery testing, we can now do the same thing for wind generation.”

    The emulator consists of a scaled-down wind turbine motor and uses much of the same hardware and software that control actual turbines. The motor is connected to the lab’s emulator system, allowing researchers to operate the “virtual” turbine under different conditions, Naughton said.

    “Because we’ve created an emulator that is as close to the real thing as possible, we can rapidly and cost-effectively go from concept to a solution to the challenges communities and utilities face regarding distributed energy generation,” said Naughton. “We also believe that the research we’re going to be conducting will have an overall benefit to grid resilience and stability, which affects everyone.”

    Replicating West Texas wind in real-time simulations

    In the laboratory setting, a model mimicking the Texas wind farm site’s electrical distribution system is run in real-time, generating approximately 15 kilowatts of electricity. Power from the wind turbine emulator is introduced to the simulated wind farm, influencing its behavior. In turn, responses, such as voltage variations, affect the wind turbine emulator behavior. This also allows the emulator to interact with other physical devices inside the Distributed Energy Technologies Lab such as solar photovoltaic inverters and protection systems, said Sandia’s Jon Berg, with the Wind Energy Technology’s program.

    “Wind as strong as 25 meters per second interacting with the rotor blades is represented by a motor drive that we can program to duplicate how the rotor speed would respond,” said Berg. “The torque being created then causes the emulator to produce electricity, just like the actual turbine does, as the turbine control system commands the power converter and generator to resist the input torque.”

    Naughton, Darbali-Zamora and Berg all believe that the ability to apply different control schemes to the emulator and simulated environments in real time, will help identify obstacles that can arise during deployment in the field such as system communications latencies or other configuration challenges. Being able to address these in a real-time test environment will save time and money and increase efficiency of field deployment.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Sandia Campus.


    Sandia National Laboratory

    Sandia National Laboratories is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation, for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.



     
  • richardmitnick 12:25 pm on January 6, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Advanced materials in a snap", , DOE's Sandia National Laboratories, ,   

    From DOE’s Sandia National Laboratories: “Advanced materials in a snap” 

    From DOE’s Sandia National Laboratories

    January 5, 2021
    Troy Rummler
    trummle@sandia.gov
    505-249-3632

    1
    Sandia National Laboratories has developed a machine learning algorithm capable of performing simulations for materials scientists nearly 40,000 times faster than normal. Credit: Image by Eric Lundin.

    If everything moved 40,000 times faster, you could eat a fresh tomato three minutes after planting a seed. You could fly from New York to L.A. in half a second. And you’d have waited in line at airport security for that flight for 30 milliseconds.

    A research team at Sandia National Laboratories has successfully used machine learning — computer algorithms that improve themselves by learning patterns in data — to complete cumbersome materials science calculations more than 40,000 times faster than normal.

    Their results, published Jan. 4 in npj Computational Materials, could herald a dramatic acceleration in the creation of new technologies for optics, aerospace, energy storage and potentially medicine while simultaneously saving laboratories money on computing costs.

    “We’re shortening the design cycle,” said David Montes de Oca Zapiain, a computational materials scientist at Sandia who helped lead the research. “The design of components grossly outpaces the design of the materials you need to build them. We want to change that. Once you design a component, we’d like to be able to design a compatible material for that component without needing to wait for years, as it happens with the current process.”

    The research, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Basic Energy Sciences program, was conducted at the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies, a DOE user research facility jointly operated by Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    Machine learning speeds up computationally expensive simulations.

    Sandia researchers used machine learning to accelerate a computer simulation that predicts how changing a design or fabrication process, such as tweaking the amounts of metals in an alloy, will affect a material. A project might require thousands of simulations, which can take weeks, months or even years to run.

    The team clocked a single, unaided simulation on a high-performance computing cluster with 128 processing cores (a typical home computer has two to six processing cores) at 12 minutes. With machine learning, the same simulation took 60 milliseconds using only 36 cores–equivalent to 42,000 times faster on equal computers. This means researchers can now learn in under 15 minutes what would normally take a year.

    Sandia’s new algorithm arrived at an answer that was 5% different from the standard simulation’s result, a very accurate prediction for the team’s purposes. Machine learning trades some accuracy for speed because it makes approximations to shortcut calculations.

    “Our machine-learning framework achieves essentially the same accuracy as the high-fidelity model but at a fraction of the computational cost,” said Sandia materials scientist Rémi Dingreville, who also worked on the project.

    Benefits could extend beyond materials

    Dingreville and Montes de Oca Zapiain are going to use their algorithm first to research ultrathin optical technologies for next-generation monitors and screens. Their research, though, could prove widely useful because the simulation they accelerated describes a common event — the change, or evolution, of a material’s microscopic building blocks over time.

    Machine learning previously has been used to shortcut simulations that calculate how interactions between atoms and molecules change over time. The published results, however, demonstrate the first use of machine learning to accelerate simulations of materials at relatively large, microscopic scales, which the Sandia team expects will be of greater practical value to scientists and engineers.

    For instance, scientists can now quickly simulate how miniscule droplets of melted metal will glob together when they cool and solidify, or conversely, how a mixture will separate into layers of its constituent parts when it melts. Many other natural phenomena, including the formation of proteins, follow similar patterns. And while the Sandia team has not tested the machine-learning algorithm on simulations of proteins, they are interested in exploring the possibility in the future.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Sandia Campus.


    Sandia National Laboratory

    Sandia National Laboratories is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation, for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.



     
  • richardmitnick 11:30 am on November 10, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "A quantum bridge", , DOE's Sandia National Laboratories, IBM quantum computing, Intel quantum computing, , , Sandia National Laboratories researchers seek to connect quantum and classical calculations in a drive for a new supercomputer paradigm.   

    From DOE’s Sandia National Laboratories via DEIXIS: “A quantum bridge” 

    From DOE’s Sandia National Laboratories

    via

    DEIXIS

    November 2020
    Monte Basgall

    1
    An ion trap designed and fabricated at Sandia National Laboratories. This trap features two junctions and a long linear region with a slot. Credit: Sandia.

    Sandia National Laboratories researchers seek to connect quantum and classical calculations in a drive for a new supercomputer paradigm.

    Note: Sandia National Laboratories is presenting a workshop on quantum computing software this month at SC20, the international supercomputing conference.

    Two Sandia National Laboratories software teams face big challenges in the quest to make quantum computers – ones relying on the strange rules governing the sub-microscopic world – that are as reliable and controllable as the ubiquitous devices of our classical-computing world.

    “It’s one of the deep mysteries of the past century that the whole universe is quantum mechanical,” says Robin Blume-Kohout, who leads Sandia’s Quantum Performance Laboratory.

    “But we and everything we touch and see obeys these classical rules that are much more limiting,” he says. The “quantum rules are fragile” so “quantum computing is about finding a very protected place” – a kind of software glove box through which we can access their world only indirectly.

    Mohan Sarovar, who heads another Sandia-based project called Optimization, Verification and Engineered Reliability of Quantum Computers, says the field’s goal is a universal quantum computer that operates as reliably “as the laptop I have now. We know that will require a lot more development.” Sarovar estimates that an error-resistant quantum computer is “probably decades away at least.”

    Given the successes of normal devices, why even try?

    Classical computers’ integrated circuit dimensions have dramatically shrunk over the years, becoming consistently more powerful in the process. The building blocks, based on complementary metal oxide semiconductors, have, in turn, remained error resistant during this evolution, Sarovar notes.

    Classical computers’ integrated circuit dimensions have dramatically shrunk over the years, becoming consistently more powerful in the process. The building blocks, based on complementary metal oxide semiconductors, have, in turn, remained error resistant during this evolution, Sarovar notes.

    Today’s everyday machines harbor billions of microscopic transistors that act as switches. Those create hordes of calculating bits representing either a 0 or a 1, depending on whether a transistor was off or on when activated. Within each microprocessor, potentially millions of electronic circuits called logic gates then determine which calculations, guided by codes, to perform.

    Despite classical computing’s stellar track record, such giants as IBM and Intel have joined newcomers to dabble in quantum computing. The potential payoff is enormous.

    IBM iconic image of Quantum computer.

    3
    The inside of a quantum computing refrigerator in Intel´s Quantum Computing Lab in Hillsboro, Oregon. Credit: Intel Corporation.

    Residents of the quantum world, such as electrons and photons, are permitted to behave weirdly. They can, for instance, act as waves as well as particles. They also can seemingly be in different places at the same time. If computing bits behaved like that, the 0s and 1s in a calculation could be joined by mixtures of both. They could also simultaneously represent all conceivable alternatives. They could even lock themselves into entangled interactions in which one partner’s value instantly reveals the other’s, even when widely separated.

    2
    An ion trap mounted in a high vacuum chamber built at Sandia National Laboratories, visible through one of the chamber’s windows. Credit: Sandia.

    Such strange properties would, theoretically, allow quantum computers to vastly outperform classical ones. But there’s a big hitch: To avoid violating well-established mathematical principles, exotic behaviors must be confined to the quantum world. Manufacturers must create special hardware that can operate in quantum environments. The most popular designs tap either superconducting circuits or laser-trapped ions. Such ensembles switch and manipulate quantum-bit equivalents called qubits to perform what Sandia’s Blume-Kohout describes as “free and uninhibited” quantum calculations using special versions of logic gates.

    But information must remain isolated from the classical world “because if we touched it, we would destroy it,” he says. Programmers must communicate indirectly with quantum computers by “sending in classical messages and getting back classical answers, never having touched the quantum part of it.”

    The classical program tells the quantum computer how to encode instructions into temporary memory registers for quantum manipulations. During output, the quantum computer is shut off and opened to learn how the program has been altered. “At the end of the computation,” Blume-Kohout says, “the quantum computer’s operator reads off its result by sending in electronic pulses that reveal what bits were encoded in the memory registers after all those manipulations.”

    Unfortunately, hardware imperfections lead to noise and errors in the final answers, especially when the quantum computers work via logic gates. “We’ve known for 25 years that those errors were going to be absolutely an obstacle.”

    Sandia is addressing such problems with $42 million in support from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) program.

    With its current grant of $3.7 million over five years, Blume-Kohout’s team has focused on “detecting, quantifying and measuring these errors and providing debugging information to hardware designers,” he says. The group will “test and assess the performance of quantum computers and components by asking these devices to do their jobs.”

    To help out, researchers have created numerous software programs called test suites to rate how well devices process small numbers of qubits. Those programs are run within special diagnostic testbed quantum computers that industrial and academic researchers rely on.

    Sandia recently finished building its own Quantum Scientific Computing Open User Testbed (QSCOUT) using trapped ions. That project will receive $25.1 million in ASCR support over five years. Blume-Kohout says his team is excited about techniques they recently developed that “can tell anybody at a glance what programs you could reasonably expect such a testbed to be able to run.”

    Sarovar leads a team at Sandia plus Los Alamos National Laboratory, Dartmouth College and the University of New Mexico that is receiving $7.8 million in ASCR support over four years. He likens his group’s challenges to those high-energy physicists face in interpreting data from colliding subatomic particles. The results will be “noisy,” he says – imperfect.

    “Given that we know about this noise in a device, how do we rewrite a quantum program in a way that is least sensitive to that noise?” he asks. He says his group is working to develop middleware – “a connecting glue of classical software that will try to make sense out of the noisy data.”

    That middleware will treat any near-term quantum computer as a kind of co-processor, operating akin to how today’s graphic processing units accelerate certain calculations in modern classical computer architectures.

    “Developing error correction and fault tolerance will require a lot of qubits and very high-quality gates,” Sarovar says. “And the machines we have currently and will probably have for the near future won’t meet these requirements.”

    Blume-Kohout agrees. “The whole field of quantum computing can succeed only if both hardware and algorithms improve dramatically. We are counting on it.”

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Sandia Campus.


    Sandia National Laboratory

    Sandia National Laboratories is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation, for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.



     
  • richardmitnick 12:43 pm on October 27, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Record neutron numbers at Sandia Labs’ Z machine fusion experiments", DOE's Sandia National Laboratories, , MagLIF output increases by order of magnitude.,   

    From DOE’s Sandia National Laboratories: “Record neutron numbers at Sandia Labs’ Z machine fusion experiments” 

    From DOE’s Sandia National Laboratories

    October 27, 2020

    Neal Singer
    nsinger@sandia.gov
    505-977-7255

    MagLIF output increases by order of magnitude.

    A relatively new method to control nuclear fusion that combines a massive jolt of electricity with strong magnetic fields and a powerful laser beam has achieved its own record output of neutrons — a key standard by which fusion efforts are judged — at Sandia National Laboratories’ Z pulsed power facility, the most powerful producer of X-rays on Earth.

    Sandia Z machine.

    The achievement, from a project called MagLIF, for magnetized liner inertial fusion, was reported in a paper published Oct. 9 in the journal Physical Review Letters.

    “The output in neutrons in the past two years increased by more than an order of magnitude,” said Sandia physicist and lead investigator Matt Gomez. “We’re not only pleased that the improvements we implemented led to this increase in output, but that the increase was accurately predicted by theory.”

    2
    Sandia National Laboratories researcher Matt Gomez stands under the Z-beamlet laser transport tube at Sandia’s Z facility. Credit: Randy Montoya.

    MagLIF neutron production increased to 10 to the 13th using deuterium fuel (10 to the 15th would represent the hundred-fold output increase generally accepted by scientists, if an equal mixture of deuterium and tritium, DT, had been used) and the average ion temperature doubled. This was achieved through a simultaneous 50 percent increase in the applied magnetic field, a tripling of laser energy and an increase in Z’s power input from 16 to 20 mega-amps, Gomez said.

    “The output was only 2 kilojoules DT, a relatively small amount of energy,” he said. A kilojoule is defined as the heat energy dissipated by a current of 1,000 amperes passing through a 1-ohm resistor for one second. “But based on the experiments that we have done so far, which show a factor of 30 improvement in five years and simulations consistent with those experiments, we think that a 30 to 50 kilojoule yield is possible, bringing us near the state known as scientific break-even.”

    The rise in output, predicted from changes in input, indicates that a proposal to build a machine even larger than Z and better equipped to exceed break-even, now has a stronger basis from which to make that request, said Gomez.

    “Results at MagLIF have stirred a tremendous interest in fusion research that —by combining magnetism, lasers and electrical energy — spans the plasma states between traditional inertial confinement fusion, like the lasers at Lawrence Livermore National Lab’s National Ignition Facility, and traditional magnetic confinement fusion like the international ITER project in southern France,” said Dan Sinars, director of Sandia’s Pulsed Power Sciences Center. “MagLIF’s success has led to new programs and several fusion start-ups, and has helped build interest in this broader approach.”

    Because performance and plasma conditions varied predictably with changes in input parameters, Sandia fusion experiments manager David Ampleford said, “We have additional confidence we can scale MagLIF to higher currents.”

    Break-even is the intermediate goal

    Break-even occurs when the amount of energy invested in the fuel is equal to the amount of energy it emits, a milepost achievement to those in the field. When more energy is emitted than is needed to maintain the experiment — a condition known as “high yield” — the world’s dream of clean energy from seawater, the most accessible material on Earth, will take a giant step forward.

    Seawater contains a variant of hydrogen called deuterium, which contains an extra neutron, and tritium, which has two extra neutrons. These extra neutrons are fusable, which means they release fusion energy when they can combine. Deuterium, easier to work with, is the current material of choice in almost every fusion experiment at Z, with tritium’s more energetic presence sometimes simulated.

    Even prior to reaching break-even, the work is useful: Data from increasingly powerful fusion reactions fed into supercomputers informs Sandia’s stockpile stewardship work that ensures the nation’s nuclear weapons are safe, secure and reliable.

    The story of MagLIF begins with a theory

    The theory behind Sandia’s MagLIF fusion method was originated a decade ago at Sandia by a team led by theoretical physicist Steve Slutz. The method combines a massive electrical pulse from Z with a laser burst that pre-heats a sometimes-icy pencil-eraser-sized deuterium target, bringing it closer to an appropriate starting temperature from which to climb to fusion. The method then employs a magnetic field to keep charged particles within the cylindrical operational area so they fuse in greater numbers. Then, still informed by theory, came a wave of improvements, most recently led by Gomez’s Sandia team.

    The team decreased the thickness of a clear plastic window that restrained the room-temperature fusion gas but also partially obscured an entry port for the laser beam.

    Initially, the team conservatively chose a very thick window to ensure that it would not burst prior to the experiment and ruin the target, Gomez said. Subsequently, the team rigorously tested window materials in a variety of thicknesses to identify the pressure at which each would fail.

    “We determined that we could roughly halve the thickness and still robustly contain the fusion fuel,” Gomez said.

    The little window that disappeared

    The fuel preserved, the researchers turned to computer simulations that showed how much improvement could be expected in the energy coupling of the laser beam with the target, given that the window thickness had been decreased.

    “The laser doesn’t pass through the window in the way we might traditionally think it would,” Gomez said. “The laser is so intense that it actually ionizes the window, converting it into a plasma, heating it up until it becomes more or less transparent to the laser. The process of heating the window to these extreme temperatures accounts for a decent fraction of the laser energy lost. We removed about half the of the window material mass, so we don’t need to heat as much up, so we lose less energy.

    “Our simulations were subsequently confirmed with experiments,” Gomez said.

    Sandia also increased the power of the magnetic fields that restrained charged particles from leaving the playing field, making it more likely they would stay to interact and fuse.

    Another problem overcome was how to increase the strength of two magnetic coils while maintaining a window between them for diagnostic access, Gomez said. “Previously, we needed to decide between a larger magnetic field without diagnostic access, which we were reluctant to even try, and a smaller magnetic field with diagnostic access,” Gomez said. “We now have the larger field and the diagnostic access, which we achieved through internal reinforcement of the coils.”

    The stability of the reactions remains an issue as powerful operating forces increase. The fusion implosion, rocked by increased input, can spin out into nothingness. But simulations show that higher pressure in the fuel area should act to stabilize against increased incoming forces.

    “Break-even is still two orders of magnitude away, but simulations that capture our experimental trends indicate another order of magnitude increase in yield is possible with additional increases of input parameters,” Gomez said.

    He mentions more fuel, more powerful laser bursts, magnetic fields and electrical pulses as controllable contributing factors leading to higher outputs he considers inevitable.

    This work was supported by the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers and the National Nuclear Security Administration.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Sandia Campus.


    Sandia National Laboratory

    Sandia National Laboratories is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation, for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.



     
c
Compose new post
j
Next post/Next comment
k
Previous post/Previous comment
r
Reply
e
Edit
o
Show/Hide comments
t
Go to top
l
Go to login
h
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
Cancel
%d bloggers like this: