Advanced Materials


Additive Manufacturing

Oak Ridge National Laboratory works with additive manufacturing equipment manufacturers and end users to revolutionize the way products are designed and built. Our research and development in this crucial field are enabling a wealth of opportunities for product customization, improved performance, multi-functionality, and lower overall manufacturing costs. Not only does additive manufacturing remove the traditional limits on part geometry, but highly-complex components can also be fabricated faster while consuming less material and using less energy. Additive manufacturing also eliminates the need for expensive part tooling and detailed drawing packages, causing a paradigm shift for the design-to-manufacturing process.

Through collaboration with every aspect of the manufacturing supply chain, ORNL identifies critical equipment and materials advancements required to establish additive manufacturing as a mainstream manufacturing process.  Research and development projects focus on advanced material development for both metal and polymer-based systems. Specifically, ORNL is exploring the manufacture and integration of carbon nanofibers into thermoplastic materials for fused deposition modeling. We are also developing process conditions for lightweight and refractive metal alloys for electron beam powder bed deposition systems, as well as using neutron characterization techniques to analyze geometric tolerances and mapping residual stress in complex components. These efforts are leading to novel, lightweight, and high-strength materials that have the potential to significantly impact a variety of application areas, including aerospace, automotive, biomedical, and nuclear.

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