Skip to main content
Argonne National Laboratory


Argonne Impacts State by State

Argonne’s collaborations in Oklahoma 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.

Oklahoma State University partners with Princeton, Argonne to drill down on cement

Cement bridgework in progress. Cement is the world’s most commonly used building material. (Image by Photos SS/Shutterstock.)

Oklahoma State University, Princeton University, and the X-Ray Science Division and Center for Nanoscale Materials of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory collaborated to study the hardening mechanisms of cement, the world’s most versatile and commonly used building material. The powerful beamlines of the Advanced Photon Source (APS), a U.S. Department of Energy user facility located at Argonne, allowed researchers to continuously monitor microscopic changes in cement as it dried.

The highly penetrating APS X-ray beam provided 3-D images of more than 60,000 cement particles in an approximately 0.1-square-millimeter sample every 10 minutes, allowing scientists to observe in minute detail the physical and chemical processes involved. The insights gained will advance industry knowledge about which ingredients and production processes provide the most durable and cost-effective cements for different applications. Because cement production is energy-consuming and releases high levels of carbon dioxide, knowing the ideal combinations of factors for most efficiently producing cement will lessen the environmental footprint of this second most consumed commodity in the world after water.

Argonne, DOE labs, NOAA collaborate on climate studies

A 60-meter tower rises from a canola field at the ARM Southern Great Plains site’s central facility to document and monitor precipitation, clouds, wind and moisture. (Image courtesy of the Scott Collis U.S. Department of Energy Atmospheric Radiation Measurement User Facility.)

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and similar organizations worldwide rely on the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) User Facility to provide long-term observations of the atmosphere — whether in Oklahoma or Alaska. ARM’s mission is to advance our understanding of cloud, aerosol, precipitation and radiation processes and provide the data to better represent these phenomena in global-scale models. Argonne National Laboratory researchers support ARM instrument operations remotely and on-site to ensure instrument calibration, appropriate operation, and quality of the data available to researchers around the world.

ARM serves as an exemplary illustration of DOE collaboration. Nine DOE National Laboratories, including Argonne, are involved in the operation or management of three fixed and three mobile atmospheric observatories, as well as the operation and maintenance of 400 meteorological instruments, and an aerial facility that includes a plane and unmanned aerial systems. In addition to its scientists conducting climate research using ARM data, Argonne manages the oldest and largest of the fixed ARM sites in Lamont, Oklahoma, and its 17 extended facilities across north-central Oklahoma and southern Kansas. This site hosts critical collaborations with the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University.