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An artist rendering of the SKA’s low-frequency, cone-shaped antennas in Western Australia. Credit: SKA Project Office.

For nearly three decades, scientists and engineers across the globe have worked on the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), a project focused on designing and building the world’s largest radio telescope. Although the SKA will collect enormous amounts of precise astronomical data in record time, scientific breakthroughs will only be possible with systems able to efficiently process that data.

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.

Snapshot of total temperature distribution at supersonic speed of mach 2.4. Total temperature allows the team to visualize the extent of the exhaust plumes as the temperature of the plumes is much greater than that of the surrounding atmosphere. Credit: NASA

The type of vehicle that will carry people to the Red Planet is shaping up to be “like a two-story house you’re trying to land on another planet. 

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.

Project bridges compute staff, resources at ORNL and VA health data to speed suicide risk screening for US veterans. Image Credit: Carlos Jones, ORNL

More than 6,000 veterans died by suicide in 2016, and from 2005 to 2016, the rate of veteran suicides in the United States increased by more than 25 percent.

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. 

Materials—Soft drink science

Oak Ridge National Laboratory has teamed with Cornell College and the University of Tennessee to study ways to repurpose waste soft drinks for carbon capture that could help cut carbon dioxide emissions.

Batteries—Polymers that bind

A team of researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have demonstrated that designed synthetic polymers can serve as a high-performance binding material for next-generation lithium-ion batteries.

The core of a wind turbine blade by XZERES Corporation was produced at the MDF using Cincinnati Incorporated equipment for large-scale 3D printing with foam.

In the shifting landscape of global manufacturing, American ingenuity is once again giving U.S companies an edge with radical productivity improvements as a result of advanced materials and robotic systems developed at the Department of Energy’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility (MDF) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.