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ORNL's Communications team works with news media seeking information about the laboratory. Media may use the resources listed below or send questions to news@ornl.gov.

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low-cost material can be used as an additive to increase thermal insulation performance

Quanex Building Products has signed a non-exclusive agreement to license a method to produce insulating material from ORNL. The low-cost material can be used as an additive to increase thermal insulation performance and improve energy efficiency when applied to a variety of building products.

As part of DOE’s HPC4Mobility initiative ORNL researchers developed machine learning algorithms that can control smart traffic lights at intersections to facilitate the smooth flow of traffic and increase fuel efficiency.

A modern, healthy transportation system is vital to the nation’s economic security and the American standard of living. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is engaged in a broad portfolio of scientific research for improved mobility

Salting the gears

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory proved that a certain class of ionic liquids, when mixed with commercially available oils, can make gears run more efficiently with less noise and better durability.

Weiju Ren’s knowledgebase is making the nuclear world safer. Called DOE’s Gen IV Materials Handbook, it manages data about structural materials for the Very High Temperature Reactor. Credit: Carlos Jones/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Six new nuclear reactor technologies are set to deploy for commercial use between 2030 and 2040. Called Generation IV nuclear reactors, they will operate with improved performance at dramatically higher temperatures than today’s reactors.

ORNL scientist Nina Balke uses scanning probe microscopy to explore materials’ nanoscale properties and push boundaries in nanomaterials for energy applications. Credit: Genevieve Martin/Oak Ridge National Laboratory; U.S. Dept. of Energy

When Nina Balke came to the United States on a Feodor Lynen Fellowship for German scholars, her original plan was to complete a year abroad and return home to native opportunities in materials sciences. 

Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Ramesh Bhave co-invented a process to recover high-purity rare earth elements from scrapped magnets of computer hard drives (shown here) and other post-consumer wastes. Credit: Carlos Jones/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Rare earth elements are the “secret sauce” of numerous advanced materials for energy, transportation, defense and communications applications.

Tungsten tiles for fusion

Using additive manufacturing, scientists experimenting with tungsten at Oak Ridge National Laboratory hope to unlock new potential of the high-performance heat-transferring material used to protect components from the plasma inside a fusion reactor. Fusion requires hydrogen isotopes to reach millions of degrees.

Desalination process

A new method developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory improves the energy efficiency of a desalination process known as solar-thermal evaporation. 

Athena Safa Sefat

Athena Safa Sefat, a researcher at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has been awarded the Fellowship of the Institute of Physics (IOP).

Researchers explore the surface chemistry of a copper-chromium-iron oxide catalyst used to generate and purify hydrogen for industrial applications. Credit: Michelle Lehman and Adam Malin/Oak Ridge National Laboratory; U.S. Dept. of Energy.

Collaborators at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory and U.S. universities used neutron scattering and other advanced characterization techniques to study how a prominent catalyst enables the “water-gas shift” reaction to purify and generate hydrogen at industrial scale.