Transmission - Grains of insight into the grid

Aug 13, 2004

The way growing piles of sand behave -- with bursts of energy that result in large and small avalanches -- has served as a model for fusion researchers seeking insight into the way magnetically confined plasmas behave in fusion reactors. The same research into self-organizing systems has also lent itself to predicting the reaction of electric power grids to increasing power demand or system anomalies.

One year after the northeastern blackout drew attention to their work, Oak Ridge National Laboratory fusion researcher Ben Carreras, David Newman of the University of Alaska and Ian Dobson of Wisconsin University are continuing their power grid modeling research. Instead of being strictly an engineering challenge, the researchers now see the nation's electric power grid infrastructure driven by a complex combination of variables as diverse as rising demand, conflicting subsystems and societal pressures. Without a broader understanding of the interaction of those forces, a sandcastle power grid will be hard pressed to accommodate the rising tide of power demand.

Source: DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Explore further: Physicists unlock nature of high-temperature superconductivity

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Physicists discuss quantum pigeonhole principle

11 hours ago

The pigeonhole principle: "If you put three pigeons in two pigeonholes at least two of the pigeons end up in the same hole." So where's the argument? Physicists say there is an important argument. While the ...

Giant crater in Russia's far north sparks mystery

13 hours ago

A vast crater discovered in a remote region of Siberia known to locals as "the end of the world" is causing a sensation in Russia, with a group of scientists being sent to investigate.

NASA Mars spacecraft prepare for close comet flyby

14 hours ago

NASA is taking steps to protect its Mars orbiters, while preserving opportunities to gather valuable scientific data, as Comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring heads toward a close flyby of Mars on Oct. 19.

Recommended for you

Timely arrival of Pharao space clock

11 hours ago

ESA has welcomed the arrival of Pharao, an important part of ESA's atomic clock experiment that will be attached to the International Space Station in 2016.

User comments : 0