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Transportation Beamline at Argonne's Advanced Photon Source

TTRDC's new beamline

Argonne engine research scientist Christopher Powell, Ph.D., fits a specially designed X-ray pressure window to a high-pressure chamber used in diesel spray research. These windows allow Argonne researchers to use X-rays to probe diesel sprays under the high-density conditions found in diesel engines.

Engineers at Argonne’s Transportation Technology Research & Development Center (TTRDC) now have another invaluable research tool at their disposal – regular access to the brightest X-ray beams in the Western Hemisphere.

In March 2009, TTRDC researchers began conducting research at their new permanent beamline at Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source (APS), a national synchrotron X-ray research facility funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The TTRDC was able to secure this research space with funding from the DOE’s Office of Vehicle Technologies and Office of Basic Energy Sciences.

The powerful X-ray beams created by the APS can penetrate materials to reveal details that cannot otherwise be seen. Currently, Argonne transportation researchers are using this tool to peer inside liquid sprays from fuel injectors for diesel engines.

“The physics of sprays are still not very well understood,” said Christopher Powell, an engine research scientist at Argonne. “With the X-ray beam, you can measure exactly how much fuel is in the spray at any given time.”

With a greater understanding of fuel spray composition, researchers have the ability to manipulate sprays to improve fuel efficiency and reduce harmful emissions.

TTRDC researchers have been using the APS to study fuel injectors and sprays for the past decade. However, their research time was limited to about six weeks per year. Now they can perform X-ray studies year-round.

“The biggest advantage of having a permanent space here is that it gives us easy access to this unique tool and allows us to expand our collaborations with industrial partners,” Powell said.



Christopher Powell

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