Christopher J Janke
Senior R&D Staff
Mr. Janke received a B.S. in chemistry from Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina, in 1983 and an M.S. in chemistry from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in 1986. He was employed by Milliken and Company from 1986-88 as a Development Engineer responsible for the development and formulation of new adhesive systems and reinforcement fabrics. Since 1988 he has been employed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory as a Senior R&D Staff Member involved in radiation processing and grafting, polymer matrix composites and process engineering. Chris has published extensively in numerous technical areas and has formally presented his work at many national and international conferences and workshops. He has over 60 publications, three R&D 100 Awards, six patents, several pending patents and commercial licenses. He has also hosted four workshops on electron beam curing of composites, chaired several conference sessions on composites and is recognized in “Who’s Who in Polymers and Plastics.”
Since 2010 Chris has served as technical lead on the development, synthesis and testing of fiber-based adsorbents for extracting uranium from seawater that have high capacity, selectivity, durability and rapid loading and elution kinetics. In this project Chris has managed subcontracts with several fiber, textile and irradiation companies; and conducted extensive collaborations with many organizations including ORNL, PNNL, LBNL, LANL, BNL, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, numerous universities and with scientists and engineers from China and Japan including the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai's Institute of Applied Physics and Japan's Atomic Energy Research Institute. In 2012 he received an R&D 100 Award for the development of HiCap Adsorbents which demonstrated the world’s highest uranium adsorption capacity from seawater. In 2015 he also initiated a new project on developing electron beam curable binder materials for reducing the cost of manufacturing lithium-ion batteries.
During 2007-2016 Chris has conducted materials compatibility studies of many ethanol, isobutanol and bio-oil containing fuels with a wide range of plastic, elastomer and composite materials. In this project he conducted rate dependant degradation of mechanical, thermal and physical properties and worked closely with the Underwriters Laboratories (UL), NREL and Butamax to provide technical information on materials issues related to fuel dispensers, underground piping, storage tanks and fuel handling systems that operate under dynamic conditions.
During the 1990’s and 2000’s Chris served as principal investigator, project manager, and task leader on over 25 different projects on electron beam curing of polymer matrix composites and adhesives including one of the largest multi-organizational CRADA’s ever signed, a 3-year, 7-million dollar DOE-sponsored partnership entitled, “Electron Beam Curing of Polymer Matrix Composites”, involving 10 industrial companies and three DOE laboratories. For over 15 years Chris developed, formulated, and characterized hundreds of electron beam curable cationic epoxy resins systems for various composite and adhesive applications. In this work he also conducted research in the areas of processing development, low-cost tooling development, prototype manufacture, curing kinetics, fiber/matrix interface optimization, and economic studies. He also served as principal investigator on a 3-year, 3.2-million dollar DOE-sponsored CRADA entitled, “Interfacial Properties of Electron Beam Cured Composites”, involving 11 industrial companies, US Air Force, US Army, and NASA. In 1997 he received an R&D 100 Award for “Electron-Beam-Curable Cationic Epoxy Resins”, a 1997 Lockheed Martin Technical Achievement Award for “Creating Major Breakthroughs in Composites Materials Processing Using Electron Beam Energy for Curing” and a 1998 AMSE Technological Achievement Award for “Electron-Beam Curable Cationic Epoxy Resins.”
For over 20 years Chris served as project manager on many Navy and Air Force projects concerned with the residual mechanical, physical, thermal, and chemical properties characterization of heat damaged composites. These projects resulted in the successful development of the only known nondestructive inspection spectroscopic techniques that possess the unique capability of detecting and quantifying heat damage in composites. In 2008, R&D efforts culminated in the successful development, demonstration, and transition of the first-of-its-kind, commercially available, nondestructive Laser-Induced Fluorescence (LIF) Composite Heat Damage Detector that provides highly accurate and rapid heat damage assessments of fiber-reinforced composites. The LIF instrument is user-friendly, lightweight, portable, and highly reliable and is currently being used at various Navy Repair Depots in support of several aircraft platforms. In 2008 he received an R&D 100 Award for the “Laser-Induced Fluorescence Composite Heat Damage Detector.”
Chris has also worked in several other projects including:
- Long-lived polymer electrolytes for lithium-ion batteries;
- Super hard surfaced polymers produced via high energy, heavy-ion beam irradiation;
- Interfacial optimization of carbon fiber composites containing polyesters, vinyl esters and thermoplastic resin systems;
- Non-contact, non-destructive cure state measurement of adhesives, sealants and coatings using Laser-Induced Fluorescence spectroscopy;
- High performance centrifuges for uranium enrichment;
- Composite parts for the U.S. Navy’s Seawolf Submarine;
- High temperature superconductivity;
- Development of low-cost carbon fibers including radiation stabilization of polyacrylonitrile fibers;
- Laser cutting of carbon fibers;
- Fusion bonded epoxy coatings for gas and liquid pipelines;
- New and faster method for manufacturing carbon-carbon composites;
- Carbon nanomaterials;
- Rapid composite preform manufacturing methods including the programmable, powdered perform process (P4) and slurry process;
- Resin preform permeability;
- Insulation materials for Compact Ignition Tokamak Fusion Machine;
- Fabrication of composite overwrapped metal tubes;
- Durability studies of fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composites for automotive applications including carbon/polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) composites;
- Advanced power transmission composite conductors;
- Lightweight, low-noise composite housings for U.S. Army power generators;
- U.S. Army’s Fiber Optic Guided Missile program;
- Elastomeric o-ring investigations in support of the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) facility;
- Radiation shielding materials for outer space applications;
- Hydrogen storage materials;
- Composite materials investigation in support of Oak Ridge’s Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) Incinerator;
- Safety analysis reports in support of the Atomic Vapor Laser Isotope Separation (AVLIS) Program.
Chris has experience in a wide range of composite processing methods, NDE techniques and analytical methods including: oven, autoclave, electron beam, X-ray and gamma radiation processing; adhesive bonding, hand lay-up, filament winding, fiber/tape placement, RTM, VARTM, pultrusion, compression molding, honeycomb/sandwich composites, rotational molding, RIM, injection molding, and textile processing (braiding, weaving, knitting); ultrasonics, leaky-lamb waves, DMA, DSC, TGA, laser-induced fluorescence, FTIR, ATR, DRIFT and UV-Vis spectroscopy, NMR, rheometry, ICP, SEM/EDX, EPR and elemental analysis. He has also had extensive interactions and collaborations with a variety of: DOE, DoD and industrial sponsors; aerospace, automotive and marine companies; resin, fiber, prepreg and tooling manufacturers; and university researchers and international collaborators including Chinese, Japanese and Canadian scientists and engineers.
Areas of Research:
Polymer Matrix Composites; Thermoset and Thermoplastic Resins; Elastomers; Carbon Materials; Process Science & Engineering; Physical, Mechanical, Chemical and Thermal Characterization and Testing of Materials; Composite Structures; Nondestructive Evaluation & Testing; Resin Formulation; Composite Manufacturing; Fiber Converting; Prepregging; Tooling; Radiation Processing of Composites and Adhesives; Radiation Grafting; Polymeric Adsorbent Development and Testing; Lithium-Ion Batteries; Project Management.