Professor Shang wins DOE/NNSA grant to study dynamics of high energy density materials

August 20, 2019

An ongoing challenge in high energy density science is obtaining detailed descriptions of the complex flows of liquids and plasmas at extreme temperatures and pressures, including small-scale hydrodynamic instabilities and turbulence that occur at scales of hundreds of microns or less.

Jessica Shang, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, has received a $520,000 grant from DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration to adapt particle image velocimetry (PIV)—a standard laboratory technique in fluid dynamics—for observing the dynamics of high energy density materials. PIV, introduced in the late 1980s, measures the displacement of small, brightly illuminated tracer particles that follow local streamlines.  Shang and co-PI Hussein Aluie, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, will use x-rays as the light source, which has the potential to “interrogate HED flows at finer temporal and spatial resolutions than ever obtained with PIV, down to the smallest of turbulent eddies.”

This will not only help develop better computational models of HED flows but attract scientists and engineers from other fields to use DOE/NNSA facilities to answer relevant research questions. Riccardo Betti, chief scientist at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics and the Robert L. McCrory Professor of mechanical engineering; Douglas Kelley,associate professor of mechanical engineering; Ryan Rygg, senior scientist at LLE; and Arianna Gleason, staff scientist at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, are also collaborating on this project.