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Art and science: A winning combination

Winners named in PNNL's 2017 Science as Art contest

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October 23, 2017 Share This!

  • A battery electrode surface with only the most desirable molecules can be custom built from a complex mixture of raw components with the help of a separation and ion deposition tool called Ion Soft Landing. PNNL scientists are studying electrochemical processes at the molecular level, like how the clusters on the electrode in this image formed, so they can use the tool to design interfaces for sustainable energy generation, conversion, and storage.

  • Custom-made carbon materials for transportation, energy storage or cooling applications are being built right into commercially available carbon fiber felt at PNNL. Researchers are using a technique called "ice templating," to synthesize new materials within the pores of the carbon felt, creating smaller and smaller pores to increase surface area.

  • PNNL researchers are developing a zeolite material that could be used to treat harmful emissions from flue gases at power plants or before they pass through the exhaust pipes of vehicles. A snapshot in time, this image captures the amorphous gel that results during the formation of a chabazite zeolite — as it transforms from a liquid to a stable nanoparticle solid.

  • While taking a closer look at ancient glass to better understand how it changed over time, PNNL scientists made an unexpected discovery — the remains of bacteria that once lived on the surface. PNNL researchers and collaborators are delving into the past to further their knowledge about the stability of glass that will be used to safely store low-activity nuclear waste at the Hanford Site.

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RICHLAND, Wash. — Not one, but two images took top honors in Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's 2017 Science as Art contest.  Online voting by staff and the public resulted in a tie this year.  The Science as Art contest has been a regular fixture at the Department of Energy laboratory since 2010. The winners of the Popular Choice Award were selected from a group of 94 images on PNNL's Facebook page.   

One, submitted by scientist Venkateshkumar Prabhakaran, is part of research that will contribute to the design of new energy generation, conversion and storage technologies. The second, submitted by researcher Luis Estevez, is part of an initiative to develop new carbon-fiber based materials with wide-ranging applications from catalyst supports to electrodes for flow batteries.

The Director's Choice Award winner, selected by PNNL Director Steven Ashby, represents research that will contribute to the development of materials to treat and reduce vehicle exhaust or power plant emissions. It was submitted by materials scientist Radha Kishan Motkuri.  

Additionally, one submission from this year was selected as a finalist in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology's BioArt contest. The image of a microbial community living on the surface of ancient glass will deepen our understanding of how nuclear waste glass disposed of in shallow soil will change over time.

To view all of the entries received in this year's contest, visit PNNL's Facebook page.

Tags: Energy, Fundamental Science, Materials

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