U.S. Department of Energy

New tool will give large concrete structures what amounts to an ultrasound, finding tiny cracks before they grow

A researcher measures the width of a crack in a reinforced concrete column after testing the strength of the column. A new project funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency will develop a field-deployable tool to detect cracks far smaller than this — and inside rather than outside — thick reinforced concrete structures. (Photo: Chris Kiser)

Imagine giving large concrete structures something similar to an ultrasound and getting images so detailed you can see cracks just a tenth of a millimeter long. That level of detail just isn’t possible now. Yet such capability could revolutionize how engineers assess the health of thick reinforced concrete infrastructure like dams and power plants and bridges.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Suryanarayana leads new $3M project to unlock the power of tomorrow’s supercomputers for understanding chemical phenomena

An illustration depicting chemical catalysis on surfaces and nanostructures. A new $2.8 million study led by School of Civil and Environmental Engineering Associate Professor Phanish Suryanarayana will harness the power of future supercomputers to understand the interactions that take place in these kinds of chemical reactions. (Image Courtesy: Andrew Medford)

Early in the next decade, the first computers capable of at least one quintillion calculations per second will come online at Argonne National Laboratory. Phanish Suryanarayana in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering is leading a team on a new project to make use of all those processors to study the interactions of atoms using quantum mechanics, building on computer code his team has developed in recent years. Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, the four-year, $2.8 million study — if everything goes well, as Suryanarayana puts it — will mean scientists can study and understand chemical systems that include up to 10 million atoms.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

The next frontier in renewable energy: Dai aims to generate clean power from the earth’s heat

Geothermal plant. The Next Frontier in Renewable Energy: Hot rocks combine with water to create power. (Graphic: Sarah Collins)

In the next two decades, the world faces a yawning gap in the energy we produce and the energy we consume. The School of Civil and Environmental Engineering’s Sheng Dai is working with the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy on one of the renewable sources that could help us make up ground: geothermal energy.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Yellow Jacket loyalty: 5 questions with student-turned-professor Sheng Dai

Assistant Professor Sheng Dai in his lab.

Sheng Dai arrived in Atlanta just a week before classes began for the fall 2015 semester, and it was really a homecoming of sorts. Dai is the newest faculty member in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, arriving after two years at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory. But before that, he spent half a decade in the School, earning his doctorate in civil engineering. He finished in 2013.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015
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