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DOE launches new high performance computing initiative to develop materials for severe environments: HPC4Mtls

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced a new high-performance computing (HPC) initiative to help US industry accelerate the development of new or improved materials for use in severe environments.

The High Performance Computing for Materials (HPC4Mtls) program will will initially focus on challenges facing the development of new or improved materials that can sustain extreme conditions—including extreme pressure, radiation, and temperature, corrosion, chemical environment, vibration, fatigue, or stress states. Challenges include materials and structures discovery and design; predicting behavior in specific severe environments; scaling up production from grams to kg; and better understanding detailed processes in areas such as oxidation, corrosion, other electrochemical interactions, matter-matter, matter-energy, and matter-plasma interactions, and behavior under multiple fields and loads.

The program will focus on developing improved lightweight material technologies, as well. The program aims to enable a step change in the cost, development time, and performance of materials in severe environments and save millions of dollars in fuel and maintenance across sectors.

The High Performance Computing for Materials Program will provide opportunities for our industry partners to access the high-performance computing capabilities and expertise of DOE’s national labs as they work to create and improve technologies that combat extreme conditions. This initiative combines two, crucial elements of the Administration’s mission at DOE—advances in high-performance computing and the improved transition of energy technologies to market.

—US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry

Through HPC4Mtls, industry will be able to address common materials issues, discover new or improved materials and structures, and enhance products and processes using the labs’ world-class computational resources and capabilities. These capabilities include:

  • Access to HPC systems, including five of the world’s ten fastest computers;

  • Higher-fidelity simulations to augment products or processes;

  • Prediction of material behavior in specific severe environments;

  • Modeling of missing physical phenomena to enable more realistic simulations;

  • Development of more complex models to capture interactions between physical phenomena;

  • Access to expertise in computational fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, kinetics, materials modeling, and additive manufacturing.

Companies will be selected to participate in the initiative through an open, two-stage, competitive process and will contribute at least 20% of project costs. DOE will hold a workshop on 12 October 2017 in Pittsburgh, PA to provide more information on the program and to engage US-based companies, industry, universities, and government stakeholders.

The HPC4Mtls program is expected to begin soliciting proposals in early calendar year 2018.

Sponsored by DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy, HPC4Mtls is part of the larger HPC4 Energy Innovation Initiative, a Department-wide effort comprising the Office of Fossil Energy, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, and the Office of Nuclear Energy. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the National Energy Technology Laboratory serve as the principal leads on this initiative.

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