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Researcher Brittany Rodriguez works with an ORNL-developed Additive Manufacturing/Compression Molding system that 3D prints large-scale, high-volume parts made from lightweight composites. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Brittany Rodriguez never imagined she would pursue a science career at a Department of Energy national laboratory. However, after some encouraging words from her mother, input from key mentors at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, or UTRGV, and a lot of hard work, Rodriguez landed at DOE’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility, or MDF, at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Rectangular box being lifted by a red pully system up the left side of the building

Researchers at ORNL and the University of Maine have designed and 3D-printed a single-piece, recyclable natural-material floor panel tested to be strong enough to replace construction materials like steel. 

ORNL’s Erin Webb is co-leading a new Circular Bioeconomy Systems Convergent Research Initiative focused on advancing production and use of renewable carbon from Tennessee to meet societal needs. Credit: Genevieve Martin/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

ORNL’s Erin Webb is co-leading a new Circular Bioeconomy Systems Convergent Research Initiative focused on advancing production and use of renewable carbon from Tennessee to meet societal needs. 

In a win for chemistry, inventors at ORNL have designed a closed-loop path for synthesizing an exceptionally tough carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer, or CFRP, and later recovering all of its starting materials.

In a win for chemistry, inventors at ORNL have designed a closed-loop path for synthesizing an exceptionally tough carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer, or CFRP, and later recovering all of its starting materials.

Caption: Jaswinder Sharma makes battery coin cells with a lightweight current collector made of thin layers of aligned carbon fibers in a polymer with carbon nanotubes. Credit: Genevieve Martin/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Electric vehicles can drive longer distances if their lithium-ion batteries deliver more energy in a lighter package. A prime weight-loss candidate is the current collector, a component that often adds 10% to the weight of a battery cell without contributing energy.

2023 Battelle Distinguished Inventors

Four scientists affiliated with ORNL were named Battelle Distinguished Inventors during the lab’s annual Innovation Awards on Dec. 1 in recognition of being granted 14 or more United States patents.

SM2ART team members receive the CAMX Combined Strength Award at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. Pictured here are, from left, ORNL’s Dan Coughlin, Sana Elyas, Halil Tekinalp, Amber Hubbard, Soydan Ozcan; University of Maine’s Susan MacKay, Angelina Buzzelli, Scott Tomlinson, Wesley Bisson; and ORNL’s Matt Korey and Vlastimil Kunc. Credit: University of Maine

The Hub & Spoke Sustainable Materials & Manufacturing Alliance for Renewable Technologies, or SM2ART, program has been honored with the composites industry’s Combined Strength Award at the Composites and Advanced Materials Expo, or CAMX, 2023 in Atlanta. This distinction goes to the team that applies their knowledge, resources and talent to solve a problem by making the best use of composites materials.

ORNL Composites Innovation staff members David Nuttall, left, and Vipin Kumar use additive manufacturing compression molding to produce a composite-based finished part in minutes. AMCM technology could accelerate decarbonization of the automobile and aerospace industries. Credit: ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Researchers at ORNL are extending the boundaries of composite-based materials used in additive manufacturing, or AM. ORNL is working with industrial partners who are exploring AM, also known as 3D printing, as a path to higher production levels and fewer supply chain interruptions.

The sun sets behind the ORNL Visitor Center in this aerial photo from April 2023. Credit: Kase Clapp/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

In fiscal year 2023 — Oct. 1–Sept. 30, 2023 — Oak Ridge National Laboratory was awarded more than $8 million in technology maturation funding through the Department of Energy’s Technology Commercialization Fund, or TCF.

The OpeN-AM experimental platform, installed at the VULCAN instrument, features a robotic arm that prints layers of molten metal to create complex shapes. Credit: Jill Hemman/ORNL, U.S Dept. of Energy

Technologies developed by researchers at ORNL have received six 2023 R&D 100 Awards.