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Argonne National Laboratory


Argonne Impacts State by State

Argonne’s collaborations in Minnesota and across the United States have led to groundbreaking discoveries and development of new technologies that help meet the nation’s needs for sustainable energy, economic prosperity, and security.

University of Minnesota researchers study jet noise with Argonne supercomputers

Concise models obtained from simulations performed on Argonne supercomputers provide not only improved scientific understanding of jet noise, but also fast, yet accurate means for engineers to evaluate new designs. (Image by Shutterstock / JetKat.)

Researchers from the University of Minnesota are exploring a path to reducing jet engine noise, using the power of supercomputers at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF), a DOE Office of Science User Facility. Led by Joseph Nichols, a professor in the university’s Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics department, the team performed complex computational fluid dynamics simulations in collaboration with ALCF computational scientist Ramesh Balakrishnan to determine whether jet noise can be lowered by changing the turbulent structures in the exhaust streams of large jet engines. 

Argonne’s supercomputers allowed the researchers to simulate fluid motions that would be impossible to see with less powerful computers. The Minnesota team leveraged their simulations to create a novel data-driven method that can be used to predict and understand the aeroacoustics of high-speed jets, which could lead to new engineering designs to reduce the noise produced by jet engines.

University of Minnesota biofuels team wins patent for novel ethanol separation process

Ethanol production plant. (Image by Shutterstock / Terrance Emerson.)

An Argonne Director’s Discretionary Award was the catalyst University of Minnesota researchers needed to bring their biofuel idea to fruition and win a patent for it. Department of Chemistry Professor J. Ilja Siepmann was awarded supercomputing time at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility to learn more about which zeolites work best to chemically extract ethanol from water, an essential step in biofuel production.

Zeolites are porous materials containing various combinations of mainly silicon, aluminum and oxygen and are widely used as chemical sieves and catalysts. The power of Argonne’s supercomputers allowed Dr. Siepmann and his team to test the separation performances of 400 different zeolites over ethanol-water compositions ranging from 0.1 to 40 percent ethanol by weight. The new ethanol extraction process permits significant energy savings over traditional distillation-based separation, saving in production costs and increasing the net gain in the environmental benefits of biofuels.