Advanced Manufacturing

A thriving manufacturing sector is vital to the nation's economic health and global security, yet few companies possess the research and development (R&D) capacity essential to staying competitive. Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) draws upon unmatched capabilities in materials, neutrons, and computational science to develop innovative manufacturing technologies, helping large and small companies alike. These e orts are directed toward solutions that will drive US economic competitiveness and energy productivity.

Research and Development

Through exploration of new energy-efficient next-generation materials and innovative processes, ORNL has introduced a variety of technologies, including strong lightweight materials for more efficient transportation and other energy applications. Priorities include additive manufacturing or 3D printing, carbon fiber and composites, materials for harsh conditions, rare-earth metals, sensors and controls, modeling and data analysis for manufacturing, and roll-to-roll processing.

Using ORNL's world-class resources for scientific discovery, researchers can examine microstructures to better design new materials and fabrication methods, leverage multidisciplinary expertise for the development of new biobased materials, and measure residual stress to certify printed components.

An Innovation Campus 

At ORNL, the US Department of Energy's (DOE's) Manufacturing Demonstration Facility and Carbon Fiber Technology Facility provide platforms for bringing together diverse capabilities and talent in computational modeling, data analytics, characterization, materials, and manufacturing science. These facilities provide access to tools for fundamental R&D in additive manufacturing, carbon fiber, and composites technologies at an industrially relevant scale.

Manufacturing Demonstration Facility

MDF is the nation's only large-scale open-access facility for rapidly demonstrating early stage R&D manufacturing technologies and optimizing critical processes.



Carbon Fiber Technology Facility

CFTF is developing methods using low-cost feedstocks to assist industry in overcoming the barriers of carbon fiber production cost, scalability
of processes, and development of fiber-reinforced polymer composites for end use.



Public-Private Partnerships

Among DOE's national labs, ORNL is a leader in public-private partnerships, linking benefits across the manufacturing sector to integrate existing public and private resources into a national innovation ecosystem. The Lab addresses reliance on rare-earth metals and other materials for energy manufacturing through its role in the Critical Materials Institute (CMI). Through its membership in the Institute for Advanced Composite Manufacturing Innovation, ORNL works with other national labs; universities; and federal, state, and local governments to accelerate development and commercial deployment of new products in the growing advanced composites industry.


Research Highlights

Method to grow large single-crystal graphene could advance scalable 2D materials

A new method to produce large, monolayer single-crystal-like graphene films more than a foot long relies on harnessing a “survival of the fittest” competition among crystals. The novel technique, developed by a team led by the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, may...

At the MDF: Printed tools hold promise for appliance manufacturing

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Manufacturing Demonstration Facility (MDF) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) recently worked with Whirlpool Corporation to print and machine a mold used to make refrigerator doors. The process took a single day, unlike the...

ORNL, Molex to develop and provide market access to low-cost wireless sensors

Efforts to bring ORNL’s wireless sensor platform to market are on target and proceeding as planned. In April 2015, ORNL formed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with Molex, a premier international electronics manufacturer, to make the low-cost wireless sensors...