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Extreme Environment Materials Process

Developing materials and manufacturing techniques for use in extreme and harsh environments.

The Extreme Environment Materials Process Group has a dual mission of delivering energy efficiency and national security solutions for the U.S. Research focuses on carbon-carbon and ceramic composite materials manufacturing techniques for use in extreme environments or applications such as space travel or nuclear power generation. Developing and testing these materials is critical to understanding how to shield users or critical components from extreme heat, radiation, or plasma.

Additionally, using these materials is helping realize higher efficiencies in heat exchangers and other devices for use in power generation, which can contribute to decarbonizing the grid and industry. The research and demonstrations performed by the group also work to enhance U.S. competitiveness through less reliance on foreign materials for manufacturing processes.

 

Sponsorship

Research is supported by the Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office, Vehicle Technologies Office, Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management, and the Office of Nuclear Energy. Project support is also provided by the Department of Defense.

Research Highlights

This 3D-printed heat shield was sent on a NASA mission to resupply the International Space Station. When it returns to Earth, data will be analyzed to determine performance characteristics for future use.

Researchers manufactured a nose cone and fins (pictured) that are embedded with temperature sensors for a rocket launch in fall 2021.The experiment is designed to expose the material to the harsh environment of high-speed flight.