Advanced Materials

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Light-Weight Metals


Light-weight metals provide an important opportunity to lower energy use for transportation and for other applications, including energy storage, water purification, and energy generation. At ORNL we target the key barriers to deployment: cost, joinability, formability and survivability in service. Materials under investigation include aluminum, titanium, magnesium, and advanced steel alloys. For example, the consolidation of titanium powder via powder metallurgy and/or additive manufacturing represents an emerging opportunity to dramatically lower manufacturing costs for Ti parts, while simultaneously improving part functionality. New powder processes fabricate close-to-final geometry components with yields approaching 50-90%. Various efforts in magnesium are targeting corrosion resistance, alloys with improved mechanical properties, and novel roll processing to increase formability of sheet and plate. Novel aluminum alloys and advanced processing of aluminum alloys are being investigated to demonstrate new applications that exploit aluminum's low density. Efforts associated with aluminum alloys include extrusion, forging, isothermal rolling, infrared heating, and magnetic field processing.

Moreover, ORNL has substantial experience in the development and processing of advanced high-strength steels. New alloys are being developed that increase strength for both room-temperature and high-temperature applications. For example, glassy and nanocomposite steels are being evaluated for wear and corrosion resistance in aggressive environments, and self-passivating alloys have been developed to handle high temperature corrosive environments. Magnetic field processing of steels and other materials is improving the solution treatment and aging heat treatment times, while also being used to adjust desired phase fractions and texture.

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