By Ashley C. Huff, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
In a first-of-a-kind experiment, researchers used neutrons to investigate the performance of a new aluminum alloy in a gasoline-powered engine—while the engine was running.
A team from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory worked with industry partners to perform the test, which looked at whether a high-performance alloy that is promising for automotive applications held up under the heat and stress of an internal combustion engine.
Researchers used neutrons to probe a running engine at ORNL’s Spallation Neutron Source, giving them the opportunity to test an aluminum-cerium alloy under operating conditions.
The feat was a first for the Spallation Neutron Source, said Ke An, lead instrument scientist for the facility’s VULCAN instrument.
“This was the first time an internal combustion engine has been run on our diffractometer, and, as far as we know, on any other,” he said. [Read more…]