Working with Industry

CHESS believes that science can be a driving force for economic growth.  Partnering with industry in the pursuit of expanding the country's advanced manufacturing is a primary goal of CHESS's industrial relations. This process will not only strengthen its present research collaborations but promote a much-expanded research capability in the future. 

Heavy equipment maker Caterpillar Inc. partnered with CHESS to test Caterpillar’s computer modeling and improve the firm’s welding technique.

The Illinois-based corporation is the first industry user for one of CHESS’s newest initiatives: InSitµ@CHESS, a center that provides user support for structural-materials analysis using CHESS’s high-energy X-ray beamline.

To assist all of its users, the center forms Industrial Project Teams, composed of faculty, students, postdocs and synchrotron experts from CHESS, and scientists and engineers from industry.

“The invitation was particularly good timing for an advanced fatigue analysis project we were already working on at Caterpillar,” said Justin Mach, an engineering specialist at Caterpillar. Mach came to Cornell for the testing.

Imaging stress in Caterpillar components
Using a white beam and Energy Dispersive Diffraction (EDD) a specimen developed by Caterpillar Inc.  was examined for validating a lap welding model. Understanding where stress lives has allowed Caterpillar to change their welding techniques for stronger materials. 

“Measuring residual stresses in welded fabrications is challenging with a lab-based X-ray source, and even more so when you’re trying to validate predictions from simulations,” Mach said. “CHESS’s invitation gave us an opportunity to collaborate with some of the best in the business and leverage their tools to more efficiently obtain high-quality data to validate our models.”

That collaboration with Caterpillar and Argonne National Laboratory produced a paperpublished in the Journal of The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society, offering examples of the value CHESS can bring to the table.

The core value of InSitµ@CHESS comes from its hardware and software technology and its people, who provide a bridge between the industry and the synchrotron. With the depths of the science and engineering that are possible at CHESS, industry has an opportunity to address challenges and explore opportunities for future growth.