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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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Argon pellet injection text

As scientists study approaches to best sustain a fusion reactor, a team led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory investigated injecting shattered argon pellets into a super-hot plasma, when needed, to protect the reactor’s interior wall from high-energy runaway electrons.

Lightning strike test

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory demonstrated that an additively manufactured polymer layer, when applied to carbon fiber reinforced plastic, or CFRP, can serve as an effective protector against aircraft lightning strikes.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists have developed an experiment for testing potential materials for use in interplanetary travel. The experiment exposes prototype materials to temperatures over 2,400 degrees Celsius with only 300 watts of input electrical power. Credit: Carlos Jones, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

If humankind reaches Mars this century, an Oak Ridge National Laboratory-developed experiment testing advanced materials for spacecraft may play a key role. 

New wireless charging coil designs, created and tested by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, include a three-phase system that features rotating magnetic fields between layers of coils. The layered coils transfer power in a more uniform way, allowing for an increase in power density. Credit: Jason Pries/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

ORNL researchers created and tested new wireless charging designs that may double the power density, resulting in a lighter weight system compared with existing technologies.

Shown here is a computer-aided design of the hot stamping die with visible cooling channels. Credit: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Researchers demonstrated that an additively manufactured hot stamping die can withstand up to 25,000 usage cycles, proving that this technique is a viable solution for production.

Fusion—Heating the core

In a recent study, researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory performed experiments in a prototype fusion reactor materials testing facility to develop a method that uses microwaves to raise the plasma’s temperature closer to the extreme values reached in a fusion energy reactor’s exhaust system.

Tyler Gerczak, a materials scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, is focused on post-irradiation examination and separate effects testing of current fuels for light water reactors and advanced fuel types that could be used in future nuclear systems. Credit: Carlos Jones/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Ask Tyler Gerczak to find a negative in working at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and his only complaint is the summer weather. It is not as forgiving as the summers in Pulaski, Wisconsin, his hometown.

Layering on the strength

A team including Oak Ridge National Laboratory and University of Tennessee researchers demonstrated a novel 3D printing approach called Z-pinning that can increase the material’s strength and toughness by more than three and a half times compared to conventional additive manufacturing processes.

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.

Isabelle Snyder’s modeling and simulation work is supporting ORNL research for a more secure, resilient power grid.

Isabelle Snyder calls faults as she sees them, whether it’s modeling operations for the nation’s power grid or officiating at the US Open Tennis Championships.