The Flash Center is capitalizing on the opportunities made possible by high-power lasers and the unique capabilities of the FLASH code, using laboratory experiments to make major advances in our understanding of fundamental physical processes that are essential to understanding a wide range of objects and phenomena in astrophysics. Our recent achievements in demonstrating the turbulent dynamo in the laboratory using high-intensity laser experiments has led to the advancement of our goals into new and exciting territories within High Energy Density Plasma and Laboratory Plasma Astrophysics: To demonstrate supersonic turbulent dynamo and the characterization of compressible, radiative, magnetized turbulence; and investigate transport and acceleration of cosmic rays and their interplay with magnetized turbulence. The work has also enbled several ongoing projects on HED plasma physics, Fusion Energy, Inertial Confinement Fusion, Z-pinches & Gas Puffs, as well as Department of Defense applications.
In support of the science objectives of the Flash Center as well as the needs of the broader user community the FLASH Code is under continuous development to improve the physics and numerical capabilities of the code. These include extending the generalized Ohm's Law to include effects of extended MHD physics such as resistivity, Biermann Battery, Hall MHD and the Nernst effect; development of a volume of fluid interface capturing method to maintain material interfaces; implementation and development of higher-order finite volume methods, such as the ADER-CG method, to achieve high order of accuracy (>2nd order) in space and time; and other high energy density physics capabilities like Braginskii viscosity, circuit models for Z-pinches and a native reader for SESAME equation of state tables.
High-Energy Density Physics: The Flash Center's HEDP Initiative added capabilities to the FLASH code to make it a highly capable toolset for the academic HEDP community. The initiative was jointly funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Simulation and Computing Program in the National Nuclear Security Administration and the (DOE) Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research in the Office of Science.
Thermonuclear-Powered Supernovae: Thermonuclear-powered (Type Ia) supernovae are among the most powerful explosions in the universe. They are the source of many of the chemical elements that make up planets and life on Earth. These events are also among the most accurate “cosmic yardsticks.” Observations using them revealed that the expansion rate of the universe is accelerating and led to the discovery of dark energy. Recent observations and extraordinary large-scale computer simulations have provided new insights into the nature of these explosions. The goal of the Flash Center's Type Ia supernova project is to understand these explosions better, and by doing so, help observers use them to determine the properties of dark energy. This project is funded by the National Science Foundation.
Fluid-Structure Interaction: The object of this project was to develop petascale tools applicable to multi-body, fluid-structure interactions in laminar and turbulent flows. In particular the project targeted applications in dense suspensions of deformable particles, such as whole-blood simulations from first principles. It was an NSF-funded collaborative project involving a multidisciplinary team from the University of Maryland and the University of Chicago with expertise in computational mechanics, multiscale modeling and parallel computing.
Implicit Solvers: The aim of this NSF-funded project was to implement a fully implicit solver in FLASH for stiff hyperbolic and parabolic systems. Such "stiff" systems arise in many nonlinear physics involving wide ranges of both length and time scales that are challenging to simulate.