CAES Collaboration Fund: Recipients selected

Fourteen collaborative projects involving INL researchers and their counterparts at the CAES universities were awarded CAES Collaboration Funds in April. CAES Collaboration Funds are awarded once a year to projects led by INL researchers in collaboration with faculty members from the CAES universities. The goal of this program, which is in its sixth year, is to not only help advance promising research but also to build strategic relationships that enhance the vision and mission of INL and CAES within the CAES strategic focus areas and INL mission areas. Awards typically range from $30K to $40K. Thirteen projects were awarded funding in 2022. This year’s recipients:
• Joshua Daw, Nuclear Science & Technology (NS&T) directorate, and Dan Deng, assistant professor in the Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering Department at Boise State University
Title: Magnetostrictive Acoustic Transducers for Guided Wave Structural Health Monitoring
The goal of this project is to develop a prototype of a structural health monitoring (SHM) system to reduce the operation costs and technical uncertainties of nuclear reactors. The project’s intended outcome is to create a high-temperature- and radiation-tolerant SHM system that would enable damage prognosis for traditional pressurized water reactors and most advanced reactors.
• Gabriel Ilevbare, INL’s Energy and Environment Science & Technology (EES&T) directorate, and Brian Jaques, assistant professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Boise State University
Title: Electric Field Assisted Sintering of Lightweight, High Temperature Structural Materials
The goal of this project is to develop a proposal to efficiently fabricate high-value, high-temperature, lightweight materials for the nuclear and aerospace industries using electric field-assisted sintering.
• Men Ling, EES&T; Yu Lu, senior research associate at Boise State University/CAES’ Microscopy and Characterization Suite; and Qian Zhang, EES&T
Title: Crossing the “Valley of Death” in Energy Storage Systems by Machine Learning Assisted Multiscale Simulation and Advanced Characterization
This project aims to utilize the characterization capabilities at CAES and the computational abilities at INL to accelerate the transition from discovery to commercialization of energy conversion and storage technologies.
• Takanori Kajihara, NS&T, and Ching-Heng Shiau, postdoctoral researcher with Boise State University
Title: 4D STEM Applications for Radiation Damage
This project will explore the utilization of data generated by CAES’ new scanning transmission electron microscope data and its compatibility with other techniques for characterizing radiation-induced defects.
• S.M. Shafiul Alam, EES&T, and Eklas Hossain, associate professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Boise State University
Title: Overcoming Barriers to Marine and Hydrokinetic (MHK) Energy Harvesting in Offshore Environments
This project will identify the challenges and potential for the rapid and affordable deployment of MHK energy systems to benefit rural and coastal communities while investigating the potential and limitations of current MHK energy harvesters, identifying the technical and economic barriers to rapid deployment of MHK harvesting technologies and recognizing the challenges associated with integrating MHK energy harvesting technologies with existing and future offshore wind infrastructure.
• Elmar Eidelpes, NS&T; Ahmed Ibrahim, associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at University of Idaho; and Gabriel Ilevbare, EES&T
Title: Ultra-High Performance Concrete Implementation in Spent Nuclear Fuel Dry Storage System Design
This project calls for designing a low-cost mixture of Ultra-High Performance Concrete (UHPC) designed for use in spent nuclear fuel dry storage systems (SNF-DSS). The work entails research of new additive manufacturing capabilities such as UHPC three-dimensional printing and a cost comparison of SNF-DSS inspection, maintenance and repair.
• Cheng Sun, INL’s Materials & Fuels Complex (MFC), and Min Xian, assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science at University of Idaho
Title: Quantitative determination of atomic structures and chemistry of irradiated materials using deep learning
This project will initiate collaboration between scientists in materials science and artificial intelligence/machine learning to facilitate the development of accurate, fully automated, quantitative electron microscopy capabilities for the characterization of materials used in nuclear reactors.
• Wencheng Jin, EES&T; Audrey Fu, associate professor in the Mathematics and Statistics Department at University of Idaho; and Min Xian, assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science at University of Idaho
Title: Towards Digital Twin of Geothermal Engineering using Multiphysics Informed Neural Networks
This project will initiate collaboration between the researchers at INL and UI while accelerating research in modeling geothermal systems using Multiphysics-informed neural networks.
• Mukesh Bachhav, MFC, and Krishnan Raja, professor of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Idaho
Title: Understanding Interfacial Morphogenesis of Structural Materials in Extreme Environments by High-Resolution Microscopy
This project will consist of research to better understand how external stimuli and corrosive environments such as stress, temperature, radiation and aggressive chemicals impact materials. The goal is to identify novel materials with highly stable interfacial structures with enhanced corrosion protection.
• Nathan Woods, NS&T, and Haiyan Zhao, associate professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at University of Idaho
Title: Visualization of Phase Diagrams for Multicomponent Mixtures
The goal of this project is to develop a white paper describing state-of-the-art visualization of phase diagrams of multicomponent salt mixtures used in energy transfer systems, as well as proposals to fund the development of new visualizations.
• Xinchang Zhang, EES&T; Aleksandar Vakanski, assistant professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering and Industrial Management at University of Idaho; and Fei Xu, MFC
Title: A Theoretically Guided Machine Learning Framework for Design and Fabrication of Functionally Graded Materials with Additive Manufacturing
This project calls for research to gain a better understanding of the existing approaches and challenges of additive manufacturing of functionally graded materials.
• Tiankai Yao, MFC, and Indrajit Charit, professor and chair of the Department of Nuclear Engineering and Industrial Management at University of Idaho
Title: Pressure Resistance Welding as an Enabling Joining Technology Nitinol Shape Memory Alloys
This project calls for the development of a white paper on the use of pressure resistance welding technique as an enabling technology for joining shape memory alloys, with a focus on nitinol (Ni-Ti) alloys, with applications in several industries including biomedical, electronics, aerospace, automotive and energy. Currently, the weldability of shape memory alloys is considered poor. This has diminished the use of this promising material class in applications such as nuclear reactors. The research on this project could provide an advanced manufacturing technique that would widen the usage of shape memory alloys.
• Donna Guillen, EES&T, and Amir Ali, assistant professor in the Nuclear Engineering Department at Idaho State University
Title: Trifecta of Advanced Sensing, Modeling and Artificial Intelligence to Avoid the Formation of Defects in Additively Manufactured Parts
This project calls for the development of a white paper on the mechanisms and parameters that contribute to defect formation and propagation in Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF) Additive Manufacturing (AM) of metal parts. The proposal will seek external funding opportunities for using the Open Additive PANDA LPBF printer that was recently installed in CAES. The project’s overall goal is to advance the understanding of defect formation and propagation in LPBF metal parts and improve the quality of 3D-printed parts by leveraging the capabilities of the PANDA LPBF printer at CAES.
• Krzysztof Gofryk, NS&T, and John Russell, CAES Associate Director for University of Idaho
Title: Advancement in quantum sciences in support of nuclear research
This project initiates collaboration between INL’s Center for Quantum Actinide Science and Technology (C-QAST), which Gofryk leads, and the computational group at UI. As the researchers from different fields work together, the goal is to advance quantum information sciences in support of basic actinide research and INL and UI.