Public Release: 

Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, March 2015

DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory

BUILDINGS -- Shielding against energy loss ...

Air seeping from buildings is responsible for a large amount of wasted energy each year. To combat the problem, researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory collaborated with the Dow Chemical Company to develop a sprayable liquid flashing that is more cost-effective than traditional sealing materials such as peel-and-stick tapes. The new technology can be used in residential and commercial construction, and its ease of use results in increased energy savings and decreased labor and installation costs. Additionally, the liquid sealing performs well on substrates that are difficult for tapes to adhere to such as masonry blocks and exterior grade drywall. Dow introduced the LIQUIDARMOR technology to the U.S. market in September. [Contact: Morgan McCorkle, (865) 574-7308; mccorkleml@ornl.gov]

TECH TRANSFER - Innovations showcase ...

Business leaders, entrepreneurs and community members will get a chance March 25 to see emerging technologies available for licensing from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee. The Fifth Annual Spark! Technology Forum will feature innovations in biotechnology, computational and cyber security, materials and materials processing, and sensor and detector systems. One innovation is a seed-coating treatment shown to increase soybean and snap bean yields while reducing seedling diseases in snap beans. On the cyber security front, researchers will demonstrate a technology that can recognize malicious software even if the specific program has not been previously identified as a threat. Other technologies to be showcased include a new process for separating and purifying rare earth elements needed for electronics and an off-axis iris recognition system with potential uses for identification and verification. Registration information is available at http://www.ornl.gov/connect-with-ornl/for-industry/partnerships/events-and-conferences/spark-2015. [Contact: Ron Walli, (865) 576-0226; wallira@ornl.gov]

MANUFACTURING - GE Appliances, ORNL sign agreement ...

GE Appliances will be working with Oak Ridge National Laboratory to test the waters for innovative products before making multi-million dollar investments. GE's FirstBuild business model takes advantage of advanced technologies and manufacturing techniques to perform rapid prototyping and low-volume production and validation of concepts through low-volume sales. Success at these volumes -- 20 to 30 units -- will enable GE Appliances to justify the significant investment needed to move graduates of the FirstBuild process to full production. The arrangement, which will take advantage of ORNL's Building Technologies Research and Integration Center and the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility, was finalized with the recent signing of a memorandum of understanding. [Contact: Ron Walli, (865) 576-0226; wallira@ornl.gov]

CYBER - Security focus of conference ...

Hundreds of the nation's premier cyberspace researchers will gather at Oak Ridge National Laboratory April 7-9 to participate in the 10th Annual Cyber and Information Security Research Conference. The event will bring together cyber security researchers, program managers, decision makers, security vendors and practitioners to discuss challenges and novel solutions related to cyber security. "Cyberspace is fundamental to our national prosperity as it has become critical to commerce, research, education and government," said Joe Trien, co-general chair. Additional information is available at http://www.cisr.ornl.gov/cisrc15/. [Contact: Ron Walli, (865) 576-0226; wallira@ornl.gov]

MATERIALS - Better innovation through imaging ...

Researchers should not have to rely on mere trial and error to create materials for energy applications. To accelerate discoveries that underpin economically important innovations, an Oak Ridge National Laboratory institute takes a new approach by bringing together atomic-scale imaging and computation to find a needle of new knowledge in a haystack of data. "Microscopy gives us eyes to peer into matter more closely than ever before to gain unprecedented insight. Big data allows us to comprehend what we are seeing and use that new knowledge to predict the properties of materials we design," said Sergei Kalinin, director of ORNL's Institute for Functional Imaging of Materials. Since the institute's launch in June, its researchers have submitted several reports of accomplishments to journals, and its first publication has just been issued in Nature Communications. [Contact: Dawn Levy, (865) 576-6448; levyd@ornl.gov]

CLIMATE -- Monitoring changes in Alaskan permafrost ...

An Oak Ridge National Laboratory-led team is observing how thawing of permafrost, or frozen soil, affects the carbon cycle in the Alaskan Seward Peninsula. Trees, shrubs and grasses are creeping northward, and new lakes are appearing as permafrost thaws due to warming. Team members traveled to the peninsula several times in 2014 as part of the Next-Generation Ecosystem Experiments Arctic project to corroborate satellite and sensing data with field observations. They are using the information to improve the representation of ecological processes that drive the carbon cycle in climate models. In particular, they are developing specialized parameters for different types of Arctic vegetation to avoid "green sponges" in climate models, or the uniform modeling of diverse plant processes and their unique contributions to the carbon cycle, which can lead to over- or underestimating future greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. [Contact: Morgan McCorkle, (865) 574-7308; mccorkleml@ornl.gov]

MATERIALS - Pinpointing discoveries for predicting materials ...

Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists developed a novel technique for microscopy and used it to unveil the full depth of materials properties on the nanoscale. They report their findings (http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2015/150313/ncomms7550/full/ncomms7550.html) in this month's Nature Communications. By improving the imaging transfer to the computational models, G-mode microscopy at the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences isolates characteristics of material interfaces without sacrificing relevant data. This design provides a foundation for "smart" filters - an adaptive, rapid "Google" for data. "Oak Ridge is one of the best places - if not the best place - in the world for Big Data processing," said ORNL's Alexei Belianinov. "Here, we provide a method that can take advantage of high-performance computational experts and facilities and solve realistic problems." - written by Ashanti Washington [Contact: Dawn Levy, (865) 576-6448; levyd@ornl.gov]

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