Argonne National Laboratory Nuclear Engineering Division

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U.S. Department of Energy

Advanced Computation & Visualization

Transportation Technologies Studies



Transportation plays an essential role in the U.S. economy, and helping to improve the transportation safety and energy efficiency is an important objective of the Argonne Center for Transportation Research. Researchers in the NE Division are using advanced computer modeling and high performance computing technologies to simulate and analyze various accident scenarios which can challenge the vehicle integrity and the safety of passengers. They are also studying the underhood thermal management and its impact on advanced vehicle fuel efficiency.

Computational Crashworthiness

Simulation of a car crash

Simulation of a car crash. Click on image to view larger image.

Vehicle crashworthiness is an active research area within the NE Division. The focus has been on the development of numerical tools, such as the IMPACT21 finite element structural analysis code for the simulation of the crash event. We have also developed virtual reality (VR) tools to dynamically display these simulations. A collaborative project between the National Crash Analysis Center (NCAC) at George Washington University (GWU) and the NE Division involved displaying the results of vehicle crash simulations performed by GWU in the NE's VR environment. The model of the vehicle used in simulations included an airbag and driver. The corresponding finite element model consisted of 47856 elements and 49574 nodes.

Underhood Thermal Management

Virtual wind-tunnel

Virtual wind-tunnel. Click on image to view larger image.

Next-generation automobiles need to meet stringent government standards for emissions and fuel economy. Increased attention has been turned towards high performance computing and simulation as tools to enable engine designers to reach these goals. In addition, these future vehicles will have expensive electronics modules for controlling vehicle behavior in response to road conditions and driving style. A novel issue in the design of these vehicles will be locating these modules away from extreme heat. Using advanced computational fluid dynamics tools, Argonne scientists created a virtual wind-tunnel simulating the complex interactions between exterior aerodynamics and underhood thermal-hydrodynamic phenomena. The underhood model shown is from a 3 million-cell computation using STAR-CD on the IBM SP computer system. The results of these calculations were visualized by using color coding of the temperature fields and three-dimensional particle tracking for the air velocity field.

Engine Block Temperature SolutionEngine Block Temperature Solution. Temperature fields identified by different color codes help to visualize the calculations results.
Click on photo to view a larger image.

Last Modified: Mon, September 13, 2010 5:05 PM


For more information:

Roger N. Blomquist
Information Technology Section
Fax: +1 630-252-4500


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