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Xunxiang Hu, a Eugene P. Wigner Fellow in ORNL’s Materials Science and Technology Division, designed this machine to produce large, crack-free pieces of yttrium hydride to be used as a moderator in the core of ORNL’s Transformational Challenge Reactor and other microreactors. Credit: Xunxiang Hu/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

About 60 years ago, scientists discovered that a certain rare earth metal-hydrogen mixture, yttrium, could be the ideal moderator to go inside small, gas-cooled nuclear reactors.

Simulation of short polymer chains

Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists have discovered a cost-effective way to significantly improve the mechanical performance of common polymer nanocomposite materials.

3D printed EMPOWER wall drawing

Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers used additive manufacturing to build a first-of-its kind smart wall called EMPOWER.

Joe Hagerman is expanding connected neighborhood research at ORNL and envisions buildings of the future as resources capable of managing the flow and exchange of energy based on economic and market signals – a concept known as transactive energy. Credit: Carlos Jones/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy

Joe Hagerman, ORNL research lead for buildings integration and controls, understands the impact building technology innovations can have during times of crisis. Over a decade ago, he found himself in the middle of one of the most devastating natural disasters of the century, Hurricane Katrina.

The CrossVis application includes a parallel coordinates plot (left), a tiled image view (right) and other interactive data views. Credit: Chad Steed/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

From materials science and earth system modeling to quantum information science and cybersecurity, experts in many fields run simulations and conduct experiments to collect the abundance of data necessary for scientific progress.

Colorized micrograph of lily pollen

Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers have built a novel microscope that provides a “chemical lens” for viewing biological systems including cell membranes and biofilms.

At the U.S. Department of Energy Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at ORNL, this part for a scaled-down prototype of a reactor was produced for industry partner Kairos Power.

Scientists at the Department of Energy Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at ORNL have their eyes on the prize: the Transformational Challenge Reactor, or TCR, a microreactor built using 3D printing and other new approaches that will be up and running by 2023.

Batteries - The 3D connection

Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers have developed a thin film, highly conductive solid-state electrolyte made of a polymer and ceramic-based composite for lithium metal batteries.

Researchers at DOE’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at ORNL developed a reusable face mask prototype with injection molding that will enable industry to rapidly manufacture. Credit: Carlos Jones/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

In the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s a race against the clock not only to find a vaccine but also to supply healthcare workers with life-saving equipment such as face shields, masks and test kits.

Coronavirus graphic

In the race to identify solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory are joining the fight by applying expertise in computational science, advanced manufacturing, data science and neutron science.