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How a Single Chemical Bond Balances Cells Between Life and Death

With SLAC's X-ray laser and synchrotron, scientists measured exactly how much energy goes into keeping a crucial chemical bond from triggering a cell's death spiral.

New Efficient, Low-Temperature Catalyst for Converting Water and CO to Hydrogen Gas and CO2

Scientists have developed a new low-temperature catalyst for producing high-purity hydrogen gas while simultaneously using up carbon monoxide (CO). The discovery could improve the performance of fuel cells that run on hydrogen fuel but can be poisoned by CO.

Study Sheds Light on How Bacterial Organelles Assemble

Scientists at Berkeley Lab and Michigan State University are providing the clearest view yet of an intact bacterial microcompartment, revealing at atomic-level resolution the structure and assembly of the organelle's protein shell. This work can help provide important information for research in bioenergy, pathogenesis, and biotechnology.

A Single Electron's Tiny Leap Sets Off 'Molecular Sunscreen' Response

In experiments at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, scientists were able to see the first step of a process that protects a DNA building block called thymine from sun damage: When it's hit with ultraviolet light, a single electron jumps into a slightly higher orbit around the nucleus of a single oxygen atom.

Researchers Find New Mechanism for Genome Regulation

The same mechanisms that separate mixtures of oil and water may also help the organization of an unusual part of our DNA called heterochromatin, according to a new study by Berkeley Lab researchers. They found that liquid-liquid phase separation helps heterochromatin organize large parts of the genome into specific regions of the nucleus. The work addresses a long-standing question about how DNA functions are organized in space and time, including how genes are silenced or expressed.

The Rise of Giant Viruses

Research reveals that giant viruses acquire genes piecemeal from others, with implications for bioenergy production and environmental cleanup.

Grasses: The Secrets Behind Their Success

Researchers find a grass gene affecting how plants manage water and carbon dioxide that could be useful to growing biofuel crops on marginal land.

SLAC Experiment is First to Decipher Atomic Structure of an Intact Virus with an X-ray Laser

An international team of scientists has for the first time used an X-ray free-electron laser to unravel the structure of an intact virus particle on the atomic level. The method dramatically reduces the amount of virus material required, while also allowing the investigations to be carried out several times faster than before. This opens up entirely new research opportunities.

New Perspectives Into Arctic Cloud Phases

Teamwork provides insight into complicated cloud processes that are important to potential environmental changes in the Arctic.

Illuminating a Better Way to Calculate Excitation Energy

In a new study appearing this week in The Journal of Chemical Physics, researchers demonstrate a new method to calculate excitation energies. They used a new approach based on density functional methods, which use an atom-by-atom approach to calculate electronic interactions. By analyzing a benchmark set of small molecules and oligomers, their functional produced more accurate estimates of excitation energy compared to other commonly used density functionals, while requiring less computing power.


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Chicago Quantum Exchange to Create Technologically Transformative Ecosystem

The University of Chicago is collaborating with the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory to launch an intellectual hub for advancing academic, industrial and governmental efforts in the science and engineering of quantum information.

Department of Energy Awards Six Research Contracts Totaling $258 Million to Accelerate U.S. Supercomputing Technology

Today U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry announced that six leading U.S. technology companies will receive funding from the Department of Energy's Exascale Computing Project (ECP) as part of its new PathForward program, accelerating the research necessary to deploy the nation's first exascale supercomputers.

Cynthia Jenks Named Director of Argonne's Chemical Sciences and Engineering Division

Argonne has named Cynthia Jenks the next director of the laboratory's Chemical Sciences and Engineering Division. Jenks currently serves as the assistant director for scientific planning and the director of the Chemical and Biological Sciences Division at Ames Laboratory.

Argonne-Developed Technology for Producing Graphene Wins TechConnect National Innovation Award

A method that significantly cuts the time and cost needed to grow graphene has won a 2017 TechConnect National Innovation Award. This is the second year in a row that a team at Argonne's Center for Nanoscale Materials has received this award.

Honeywell UOP and Argonne Seek Research Collaborations in Catalysis Under Technologist in Residence Program

Researchers at Argonne are collaborating with Honeywell UOP scientists to explore innovative energy and chemicals production.

Follow the Fantastic Voyage of the ICARUS Neutrino Detector

The ICARUS neutrino detector, born at Gran Sasso National Lab in Italy and refurbished at CERN, will make its way across the sea to Fermilab this summer. Follow along using an interactive map online.

JSA Awards Graduate Fellowships for Research at Jefferson Lab

Jefferson Sciences Associates announced today the award of eight JSA/Jefferson Lab graduate fellowships. The doctoral students will use the fellowships to support their advanced studies at their universities and conduct research at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab) - a U.S. Department of Energy nuclear physics laboratory managed and operated by JSA, a joint venture between SURA and PAE Applied Technologies.

Muon Magnet's Moment Has Arrived

On May 31, the 50-foot-wide superconducting electromagnet at the center of the Muon g-2 experiment saw its first beam of muon particles from Fermilab's accelerators, kicking off a three-year effort to measure just what happens to those particles when placed in a stunningly precise magnetic field. The answer could rewrite scientists' picture of the universe and how it works.

Seven Small Businesses to Collaborate with Argonne to Solve Technical Challenges

Seven small businesses have been selected to collaborate with researchers at Argonne to address technical challenges as part of DOE's Small Business Vouchers Program.

JSA Names Charles Perdrisat and Charles Sinclair as Co-Recipients of its 2017 Outstanding Nuclear Physicist Prize

Jefferson Science Associates, LLC, announced today that Charles Perdrisat and Charles Sinclair are the recipients of the 2017 Outstanding Nuclear Physicist Prize. The 2017 JSA Outstanding Nuclear Physicist Award is jointly awarded to Charles Perdrisat for his pioneering implementation of the polarization transfer technique to determine proton elastic form factors, and to Charles Sinclair for his crucial development of polarized electron beam technology, which made such measurements, and many others, possible.


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Oxygen: The Jekyll and Hyde of Biofuels

Scientists are devising ways to protect plants, biofuels and, ultimately, the atmosphere itself from damage caused by an element that sustains life on earth.

The Rise of Giant Viruses

Research reveals that giant viruses acquire genes piecemeal from others, with implications for bioenergy production and environmental cleanup.

Grasses: The Secrets Behind Their Success

Researchers find a grass gene affecting how plants manage water and carbon dioxide that could be useful to growing biofuel crops on marginal land.

New Perspectives Into Arctic Cloud Phases

Teamwork provides insight into complicated cloud processes that are important to potential environmental changes in the Arctic.

Mountaintop Plants and Soils to Become Out of Sync

Plants and soil microbes may be altered by climate warming at different rates and in different ways, meaning vital nutrient patterns could be misaligned.

If a Tree Falls in the Amazon

For the first time, scientists pinpointed how often storms topple trees, helping to predict how changes in Amazonia affect the world.

Turning Waste into Fuels, Microbial Style

A newly discovered metabolic process linking different bacteria in a community could enhance bioenergy production.

Department of Energy Awards Six Research Contracts Totaling $258 Million to Accelerate U.S. Supercomputing Technology

Today U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry announced that six leading U.S. technology companies will receive funding from the Department of Energy's Exascale Computing Project (ECP) as part of its new PathForward program, accelerating the research necessary to deploy the nation's first exascale supercomputers.

Electrifying Magnetism

Researchers create materials with controllable electrical and magnetic properties, even at room temperature.

One Step Closer to Practical Fast Charging Batteries

Novel electrode materials have designed pathways for electrons and ions during the charge/discharge cycle.


Eck Industries Exclusively Licenses Cerium-Aluminum Alloy Co-Developed by ORNL

Article ID: 676067

Released: 2017-06-07 15:05:20

Source Newsroom: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

  • Credit: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

    A cylinder head cast by Eck Industries using the Ce-Al alloy and tested at ORNL. Photo courtesy, ORNL.

  • Credit: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

    ORNL Director of Technology Transfer Michael Paulus, Eck Industries President Kiley Eck Hayon, at the licensing ceremony.

June 7, 2017 – OAK RIDGE, Tenn., and MANITOWOC, Wis., June 7, 2017—Wisconsin’s Eck Industries has signed an exclusive license for the commercialization of a cerium-aluminum (Ce-Al) alloy co-developed by the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory that is ideal for creating lightweight, strong components for advanced vehicles and airplanes.

The patent-pending alloy was developed as part of DOE’s Critical Materials Institute (CMI) and makes use of cerium, the most abundant rare earth element. Cerium makes up as much as half of mined rare earths, yet has less value than co-mined elements like neodymium and dysprosium that are in high demand for advanced energy technology applications. Creating new uses for cerium supports both domestic rare earth mining operations and the US manufacturing sector.

Scientists at ORNL, working with Eck Industries and researchers at DOE’s Ames and Lawrence Livermore national laboratories, developed the Ce-Al alloy that is easy to work with, lightweight, corrosion-resistant, and exceptionally stable at high temperatures—making it ideal for automotive, aerospace, power generation, and other applications.

Testing has shown the Ce-Al alloy is stable at 500 degrees Celsius. Withstanding higher temperatures means, for instance, that engines made using the alloy can run hotter with more complete fuel combustion while being lighter in weight, which advances fuel efficiency.

Ce-Al does not require additional thermal processing during the casting process and takes advantage of abundant, low-cost cerium, said ORNL scientist Orlando Rios. Casting with the alloy can be accomplished using standard aluminum foundry practices and without a protective atmosphere.

“The alloy is thermodynamically stable,” Rios said. The cost of heat treatment and the additional machining required due to thermal distortion can make up some 50-60 percent of the cost of casting traditional alloys. Energy costs could potentially be reduced by 30-60 percent compared with traditional casting processes, he noted. The Ce-Al alloy’s potential marks a significant departure from post-casting heat treatment and age-hardening approaches developed over some 100 years and can significantly advance manufacturing competitiveness as result, Rios added.

Alan Liby, director of ORNL’s Advanced Manufacturing Program, said, “The breakthrough properties observed in this innovative alloy will enable greater manufacturing energy efficiency and new energy-efficient products.”

Eck, a privately-owned business based in Manitowoc, Wis., was involved in developing and testing of the alloy under a separate agreement. The company has been producing aluminum castings for customers in the military, automotive, aerospace, energy, medical, and industrial markets since 1948.

“There has been tremendous interest from industry due to the unique material properties and low cost of this alloy,” said David Weiss, vice president of Engineering/R&D at Eck. “This project is a template for rapid development and commercialization. Not only did we bridge the research ‘valley of death,’ we also developed a highway for communication from our customers to us to help guide the project.”

The involvement of multiple national laboratories and industry via CMI’s interest in leveraging scientific knowledge to help solve critical materials issues was essential to fast development of the alloy. ORNL researchers led the development team while focusing on casting and microstructure property stability. Ames ran experiments on thermo-mechanical processing and examined the thermo-physical properties of the Ce-Al alloy. Lawrence Livermore performed characterization work using advanced microscopy and other methods. Eck was involved in pilot-scale experiments and provided manufacturing insight and expertise.

CMI’s strategy is to bring together industrial, academic, and national lab expertise to address US reliance on critical materials like rare earth elements that are essential to energy, defense, and other manufacturing sectors.

“It’s tough for a mine to survive if half of its output has no market. This alloy creates a use for the cerium that accompanies scarce and critical rare earths like neodymium and dysprosium,” said CMI Director Alex King.

ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for DOE’s Office of Science, the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. DOE’s Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.

About the Critical Materials Institute:

The Critical Materials Institute is a Department of Energy Innovation Hub led by DOE’s Ames Laboratory and supported by DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office. CMI seeks ways to eliminate and reduce the risks associated with using rare earth metals and other materials critical to the success of clean energy technologies.