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Lab Leads New Effort in Materials Development

LLNL will be part of a multi-lab effort to apply high-performance computing to U.S.-based industry's discovery, design, and development of materials for severe environments

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The new High Performance Computing for Materials (HPC4Mtls) Program aims to reduce the cost and time spent on development, as well as increase performance of materials in severe environments, potentially saving industry millions of dollars.Image courtesy of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) will be part of a multi-lab effort to apply high-performance computing to U.S.-based industry's discovery, design, and development of materials for severe environments under a new initiative announced Sept. 19 by the Department of Energy (DOE).

The High Performance Computing for Materials Program (HPC4Mtls) will connect industry with the world-class computational resources and assets of the DOE national laboratories. It is sponsored by the DOE Office of Fossil Energy (FE), and is borne out of the department-wide HPC4Energy Innovation Initiative to advance energy technologies through high-performance computing. LLNL is the lead laboratory for the HPC4Mtls program, which includes Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, and the National Energy Technology Laboratory. Other DOE national labs will be added as the program grows.

"This forward-looking initiative builds on our efforts with other national labs to apply the Department of Energy's unique leadership computing capabilities to advance forefront science and technology," said LLNL Director Bill Goldstein. "Through the HPC4Manufacturing and HPC4Energy programs, we've shown that high performance computing can have broad, real-world impact."

The HPC4Mtls program is synergistic with the HPC4Manufacturing (HPC4Mfg) program and aims to reduce the cost and time spent on development, as well as increase performance of materials in severe environments, potentially saving industry millions of dollars. Initially, the program will focus on challenges facing industry in developing such materials—including extreme pressure, radiation and temperature, corrosion, chemical environment, vibration, fatigue, or stress states. Researchers also will explore development of lightweight materials.

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"The DOE national labs have cutting-edge capabilities in this topic that are ready to be applied to challenging industry problems," said Jeff Roberts, LLNL's deputy director for Energy and Climate Security. "Subject matter experts using modeling and simulation will accelerate innovation, and the value is already evident. I have talked to the leadership and technologists from several companies who are excited about the program and how it can make a difference for them."

Through the program, industry will benefit from higher-fidelity simulations, the ability to fill in existing gaps in modeling and the development of more complex models to capture interactions between physical phenomena. In addition to connecting industry with the national laboratories' HPC systems, companies will have access to the labs' expertise in computational fluid dynamics, materials modeling, additive manufacture, and other material-focused problems.

"We have seen how successful this model can be for HPC4Manufacturing in improving a company's ability to leverage HPC resources to solve some of their most challenging problems," said LLNL's Lori Diachin, director for the HPC4Mfg program. "Applying this proven model to the HPC4Materials program should lead to similar advances for materials in severe environments."

The HPC4Mtls program pays labs up to $300,000 for industry access to HPC resources and expertise while industry pays at least 20 percent of project costs (cash or in-kind). It is expected to begin soliciting proposals in early 2018, during which companies may submit concept papers describing ideas for projects of up to a one-year duration.

LLNL has published a Notice of Intent for a Funding Opportunity Announcement for HPC4Mtls, entitled "High Performance Computing for Materials."

The HPC4Energy Innovation Initiative is comprised of the DOE Office of Fossil Energy, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, and the Office of Nuclear Energy.

DOE will explain the program and engage U.S.-based companies, universities, and government stakeholders at a workshop planned for Oct. 12 at the Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh.

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