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CAS Connect September 2016

Vital new support for U.S. security, energy

A first-of-its-kind-worldwide research capability will help researchers at WSU and elsewhere work to unravel the mysteries of material behavior at extreme conditions and short time scales in support of vital national security missions by the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).

Yogendra GuptaThe new Dynamic Compression Sector (DCS), located at Argonne National Laboratory’s Advanced Photon Source (APS) near Chicago, supports “a broad range of multidisciplinary research and will allow scientists to observe material behaviors and the underlying microscopic mechanisms using techniques that have not been possible before,” said Yogendra Gupta, director of the WSU Institute for Shock Physics (ISP) at WSU.

DCS will help researchers address challenges related to the nation’s energy and national security needs, understand the structure of planetary interiors, and make new, lightweight materials for industrial, aerospace, and automotive applications.

Gupta and CAS dean Daryll DeWald joined officials of NNSA and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to dedicate the new facility, which is funded by NNSA and managed as a partnership between WSU and APS, part of DOE.

DCS dedication
At left, DeWald and Gupta participate in the Dynamic Compression Sector dedication ceremony.

The facility enables new observation by making movies of the behavior of materials subjected to extreme conditions through tunable, high-energy X-ray pulses for viewing condensed matter changes at the microscopic level during a shock compression event.

“DCS is an exciting and visionary undertaking that adds a national security capability to an existing DOE laboratory,” said Phil Calbos, acting deputy administrator for NNSA’s defense programs. “Work at DCS will lead to discovery-class science and address important materials issues for the Stockpile Stewardship Program.”

The fundamental dynamic compression science enabled by DCS will support NNSA’s mission to ensure the U.S. nuclear stockpile is safe, secure, and effective, with the added benefit of a relatively rapid turnaround time per experiment. The expanded experimental capabilities will also support U.S. Department of Defense national security research.

A world leader in shock wave and high pressure research

NNSA’s Office of Defense Programs selected WSU to assist in developing and managing the facility. WSU has a long history of working successfully with the NNSA and doing world-leading research in dynamic compression science.

Using state-of-the-art experimental and computational capabilities, ISP faculty, graduate students, and associated scientists conduct interdisciplinary research spanning the fields of physics, chemistry, materials science, solid mechanics, planetary sciences, and applied mathematics.

The project reflects WSU’s 60-year leadership in dynamic compression science and will provide countless new research opportunities and unique resources to train a highly skilled workforce for the future.

It aligns with WSU’s Grand Challenges, a suite of research initiatives aimed at large societal issues. It is particularly relevant to the challenge of advancing national security and producing sustainable energy.

Washington State University