You are here
Professor Fotis Sotiropoulos, MSI Fellow and Director of St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, uses MSI's supercomputers to perform numerical simulations of wind and hydrokinetic turbine flows. These models show the interaction of the wind between turbines and the ground and between two or more turbines. The image above shows results from one of the models: it shows simulations of air currents in the wake of a two-blade wind turbine rotor. This research will directly affect the way that wind farms are designed.
MSI celebrated its 25th anniversary on April 30 with a Research Exhibition. Over 40 MSI research groups presented posters about their work using MSI resources. A panel of distinguished MSI PIs judged the posters and selected four First Prize winners and one Grand Prize winner. The Grand Prize went to Pierre Carrier of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering for his poster, "Optical Response and Curvature Effects in Si Nanocrystals Embedded in SiO2 Using PARSEC." You can see pictures of all the finalists here. The image is from Dr. Carrier's winning poster.
Understanding the mechanics of nanomaterials is important both fundamentally and practically because, by capitalizing on the science emerging from the newly accessible size range, engineers can develop electromechanical devices, machines, and electronics on the nano scale. Professor Traian Dumitrica (Mechanical Engineering, MSI Associate Fellow) and his research group and collaborators use advanced computational microscopic methods to obtain accurate nanomechanical responses and to understand the fascinating properties of nanostructures directly from the interatomic interactions and the quantum mechanics of the electrons. The figure above shows how nanotubes break in one of two ways: the bonds either snap in a brittle fashion or they stretch and deform. An article about this research appears in the Spring 2010 MSI Research Bulletin.
The field of Terramechanics deals with the mechanical behavior of the earth’s surface subjected to vehicle and machinery loads. In most cases the natural surface is soil, although vehicle movement over snow cover or ice also falls into this area. Professor Andrew Drescher (Civil Engineering, MSI Associate Fellow) and Ph.D. student Jim Hambleton use MSI to perform extensive simulations to investigate how wheel-induced soil deformation is influenced by material type, layering, wheel geometry, loading, and interface friction at the soil-wheel interface. The image above shows a graphical representation of a wheel rolling over soft soil. An article about this research will appear in the Spring 2010 issue of the MSI Research Bulletin.
The quest for potential new drugs and molecules that can serve as probes of biochemical processes is a major effort at the University of Minnesota. At the Institute for Therapeutics Discovery and Development (ITDD), directed by internationally known medicinal chemist Professor Gunda I. Georg, researchers conduct highly interdisciplinary research in drug discovery and development and provide scientific services to research and business communities. The discovery and development of new therapeutics requires specialized software not normally found in an academic setting. Researchers at the ITDD employ MSI-hosted resources to (1) design and model new compounds to help medicinal chemists select compounds to prepare and test, (2) track information on the over 200,000 compounds currently in the GPHR compound screening collection, and (3) safely and securely record and manage the enormous amount of biological data that is generated during the drug discovery process.