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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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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. 

Beneficial microbes, shown in red, aid Sphagnum mosses in using nitrogen from the air to fuel plant growth. ORNL scientists have shown this nitrogen fixing activity declines with warming temperatures. Credit: David Weston/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

A team of scientists found that critical interactions between microbes and peat moss break down under warming temperatures, impacting moss health and ultimately carbon stored in soil.

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.

Elizabeth Herndon takes a soil sample at a field site outside Abisko, Sweden in July 2019.

Elizabeth Herndon believes in going the distance whether she is preparing to compete in the 2020 Olympic marathon trials or examining how metals move through the environment as a geochemist at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Ethan Coon uses math and computational science to model the flow of above and belowground water in watersheds.

As a computational hydrologist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Ethan Coon combines his talent for math with his love of coding to solve big science questions about water quality, water availability for energy production, climate change, and the movement of contaminants through watersheds.

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.