Tag: John & Virginia Towers Lecture Series

In-situ Structural Study of Energy Materials Using Synchrotron High-Energy X-rays

MSE Seminar
Friday, August 3, 2012
10:00 am – 11:00 am
Room 610, M&M Building

Yang Ren
X-ray Science Division
Advanced Photon Source
Argonne National Laboratory


The Advanced Photons Source (APS) is a national synchrotron x-ray user facility for the cutting-edge research in the fields of both fundamental and applied science and technology. The availability of high-brilliance high-energy x-rays generated at the APS has significantly advanced the field of materials research, especially for in-situ studies in real-conditions. In this talk, we will give a general introduction of the APS and then focus on applications of synchrotron high-energy x-rays for in-situ structural characterization of energy materials in bulk forms or nanoscale phases under complex sample environments (e.g., low/high temperature, pressure/stress and magnetic/electric fields). Technical details and scientific research opportunities with synchrotron high-energy x-rays will be presented, together with some recent results in different research areas, ranging from correlated electron systems to advanced battery materials to functional alloys. (Use of the Advanced Photon Source was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, under Contract No. DE-AC02-06CH11357.)

Bio: Dr. Yang Ren is a physicist at Argonne National Laboratory. He received his M.S. in condensed matter physics from the Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Science in 1988, and his Ph.D. in chemical physics from the University of Groningen, The Netherlands in 1996. He is currently a beamline scientist for a high-energy x-rays beamline at the Advanced Photon Source.

Mechanism of Humins Formation during Catalytic Conversion of Cellulose-Derived Carbohydrates

Friday, April 20, 2012
11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Room 610, M&M Building
Carl R. F. Lund
Dept. of Chemical and Biological Engineering
University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY

John & Virginia Towers Distinguished Lecture Series


Cellulosic biomass represents a potential resource for sustainable production of fuels and chemicals. When cellulose is hydrolyzed using mineral acids as catalysts, dark-colored, tarry solids known as humins form as undesirable by-products. The formation and growth of humins have been investigated using small batch reactors, and the resulting humins have been characterized, primarily using scanning electron microscopy and infrared spectroscopy. The aqueous phase free energies of proposed reaction intermediates have been computed using quantum chemistry. The experimental and computational results are consistent with a sequential pathway for the formation of humins. The primary reaction proceeds through the sequential conversions of cellulose to glucose (perhaps) to fructose to HMF to levulinic acid. The predominant pathway for the formation of humins involves the conversion to HMF to 2,5-dioxo- 6-hydroxyhexanal (DHH). DHH rapidly undergoes aldol addition/condensation with available aldehydes or ketones. The resulting adduct then polymerizes to form humins. The experimental studies have shown that humin morphology, size and size distribution are affected by solvent choice. It has also been established that chemical functional groups can be added to the humins during or after their formation. These finding might lead to ways to convert humins from a waste byproduct to a more valuable commodity.

Bio: Dr. Lund is a SUNY Distinguished Professor. He was a department chair from 1997 to 2006. He obtained his B. S. from Purdue University in 1976 and Ph. D. from University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1981. His research interests include heterogeneous catalysis for energy and environmental applications, reaction engineering of membrane reactors, and biomass conversion. He received many awards, including NSF Presidential Young Investigator, SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, and Lilly Teaching Fellow. He published more than 70 peer-reviewed papers.

Materials Characterization using Scattering Techniques

Monday, February 27, 2012 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Room 610, M&M Building

Heinz Nakotte
Gardiner Professor, Chair of the Engineering Physics Committee, Department of Physics, New Mexico State University
Instrument Scientist, Single Crystal Diffractometer (SCD), Los Alamos Neutron Science Center, Los Alamos National Laboratory


In many cases, materials properties of interest for applications are determined by the structuralfeatures at atomic, nano and/or micron level. While diffraction typically only provides a measureof the volume-averaged structure of the material of interest, the local structure is accessiblethrough total-scattering studies in combination with pair-distribution function analysis. In mylecture, I intend to discuss and compare the opportunities and limitations of total-scatteringstudies using neutrons and synchroton X-rays. I will present some recent results of two of myresearch projects, i.e. local structure of a non-platinum catalyst and evidence for resonant unitmodes in a framework structure that exhibit negative-thermal-expansion behavior. If time permits,I will also provide a brief summary of my other research projects.

Mesoscale Anisotropic Deformation and Damage Nucleation In Polycrystalline Ti Alloy

Friday, February 24, 2012 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Room 610, M&M Building

M. A. Crimp
Chemical Engineering and Materials Science
Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI


A combination of experimental characterization and crystal plasticity finite element modeling(CPFEM) has been used to study the anisotropic deformation of a number of titanium alloys.Studies have been carried out in the near surface region of 4-point bend specimens, where theglobal stress can be approximated as uniaxial tension.  Specific microstructural patches havebeen characterized prior to deformation using electron backscattered electron diffractionorientation imaging microscopy (OIM).  Specimens have been deformed both in-situ in scanningelectron microscopy (SEM) and ex-situ, facilitating a range of experimental characterizationmethods including optical microscopy, atomic force microscopy, SEM based backscatteredelectron imaging, OIM, and channeling contrast imaging, as well as 3-D X-ray diffraction.  Thesestudies have allowed a comprehensive experimental characterization of the nature of plasticdeformation and damage nucleation in the microstructural patches.  To complement thesestudies, quasi 3-D FEM meshes, developed based the experimentally characterizedmicrostructural patches, have been computationally deformed.  While the simulations accuratelyreproduce significant aspects of the experimental studies, including some crystal rotations andsurface topography development, further work to include grain boundary behavior in thesimulations is needed.

More information: Mesoscale Anisotropic Deformation and Damage Nucleation In Polycrystalline Ti Alloy

BaTiO3 Glass-Ceramics Composites For High Energy Storage Capacitors

Thursday, February 23 2012 2:00 p.m.
Room 610, M&M Building

Douglas B. Chrisey
Department of Material Science and Engineering, Department of Biomedical Engineering
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, 12180


Renewable energy sources require large-scale power storage so that their inherently intermittent supply of power can meet demand.  For capacitive energy to have the necessary high volumetric and gravimetric energy storage density this will require the dielectric layer to simultaneously possess a high dielectric constant and a high breakdown strength, e.g., in excess of 10,000 and 1 MV/cm, respectively.  To be a realistic solution for renewable energy storage, it must also be low cost and scalable, i.e., no roadblocks from the laboratory prototype to large scale production, and to achieve the all of the aforementioned requirements we have exploited a glass-ceramic phase.  It is expected that glass-ceramics composites will have higher breakdown strength than that of a sintered ceramic alone, because the glass would displace the air-filled voids.  Due to the dielectric mixing rule, the dielectric constant of the composite mixture will then be limited by the low permittivity of the glass phase in comparison to the ceramic phase.  In our work, we use a glass phase that can undergo a phase transformation into BaTiO3-precipitating glass-ceramic by controlled crystallization (annealing temperature).  The benefit of doing this is that we achieve a higher dielectric constant of composite mixture, due to the additional high dielectric constant BaTiO3 phase, while also improving the high breakdown strength. It was demonstrated that this BaTiO3-precipitaing glass-ceramic and BaTiO3 ceramic composite are promising for improved dielectric properties for high-density energy storage capacitors.

Design, Analysis, Testing, Filling and Sealing HIP Cans for the Calcine Disposition Project at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory

Friday, February 3, 2012 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Room 610, M&M Building

Dr. Delwin C. Mecham
CWI (Idaho National Engineering Laboratory)


The Calcine Disposition Project (CDP) of the Idaho Cleanup Project (ICP) hasthe responsibility to retrieve, treat, and dispose of the calcine stored at theIdaho Nuclear Technology and Engineering Center (INTEC) located at theIdaho National Laboratory in Southeast Idaho.  Calcine is the product ofthermally treating, or “calcining”, liquid high-level or sodium-bearing nuclearwaste produced at INTEC from 1963 to 1998 during the reprocessing of spentnuclear fuel (SNF).  The CDP is currently completing the design of the HotIsostatic Pressure (HIP) treatment process for the calcine to produce a volumereduced, monolithic, glass-ceramic waste form suitable for transport anddisposition.Conceptual design for the CDP requires the design of a large scale HIP canwhich maintains containment of calcine during the HIP treatment cycle. The HIPcan must be filled with calcine and additives and sealed remotely. The HIP cans will undergo approximately 50%volume reduction at a temperature of 1000-1250°C and a pressure of 50-100MPa.  The HIP can’s main function isto provide primary containment of the radioactive calcine material during and after the HIP treatment process.Development of a virtual testing program using high fidelity modeling techniques is required due to the prohibitivecost of full-scale testing using actual HLW calcine.This presentation will  describe current design, analysis, and testing of HIP cans and the design for filling andsealing HIP Cans.  The basic HIP technology is summarized and the remote HIP can fill and seal design ispresented.  Simulation models are developed to establish a virtual testing program using Finite Element Analysis(FEA).   Software packages COMSOL and ABAQUS are being used to analyze the thermal and structural responseof HIP cans during the HIPing process.  The software packages increase the understanding of can deformation andallow for virtual testing before large scale testing of the HIP cans.  This decreases the number of physical HIP cantests needed during the development of a HIP can design.  The models utilize a macroscopic representation of thegranular material “constitutive model” for the material inside the can and a non-linear representation of the stainlesssteel. Initial small scale testing of HIP cans has been performed to benchmark the FEA analysis and providevalidation of the constitutive models used.  Analytic results, test data, and comparisons between them are presented.


Dr. Del Mecham has forty years of experience in the planning and management of large-scale thermal-hydraulicexperiments including the development and application of thermal-hydraulic computer codes for nuclear reactor safety analysis.Dr. Mecham has developed and managed irradiation testing programs and has participated on national and internationalresearch technical advisory boards.  Del received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Utah State University and is aRegistered Professional Engineer in the State of Idaho.  Dr. Mecham serves on the Industrial Advisory Committee forMechanical Engineering at Utah State and holds an Adjunct Professor position at the University of Idaho.