James W Klett

Research Staff

Dr. James W. Klett is a U. S. Citizen and a native of south Florida.  He received his B. S. in Chemical Engineering from Clemson University in May of 1990.  He enrolled in graduate school to get his masters degree in Chemical Engineering and focused his research on developing a weavable pre-impregnated fiber tow to fabricate carbon/carbon composites for aerospace applications.  James completed his M. S. degree in December 1991 and entered the Ph. D. program in chemical engineering at Clemson and minored in applied mathematics.  His Ph. D. research focused on fabricating high thermal conductivity carbon/carbon composites, continuing the work started in his Masters’ research.  In addition, he developed a mathematical model, utilizing the finite element method, which predicts the thermal conductivity in these highly anisotropic, three phase systems. 

Dr. Klett graduated with his Ph. D. in December 1994, and joined the staff at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and in only 7 years was promoted to Senior Research Staff Member.  During this time he has studied carbon in its various forms and applications, from biomedical implants to aerospace heat shields to nuclear reactor materials.  One focus of his research has been the development of a low cost method for the fabrication of carbon/carbon composites, which has been patented and licensed to a major brake manufacturer.  The discovery of a process to produce high thermal conductivity graphite foam has led to his research focusing on thermal management materials in applications from personal computers to automobiles to military platforms.  James teamed with a company to develop a flexible heat pipe used for cooling soldiers and has field tested more than 200 units in IRAQ.  James has worked with several companies with the graphite foam to commercialize several applications ranging from satellite radiators (3 currently orbiting Earth and 2 orbiting the moon) to LED lighting.  In one application, James Teamed with Lockheed Martin to produce a full scale evaporator/condenser for a power plant (over 20 feet tall), tested in a facility in the National Energy Laboratory Hawaii Authority (NELHA) Currently, and demonstrated an increase in performance over the baseline unit.  He holds 43 US patents on carbon materials, and more than 35 foreign patents.

Brief Synopsis of Current Research Activities:

Current Programs:

  • Additive Manufacturing of Carbon-Carbon Composites
  • Novel Pitches for Densification of Carbon-Carbon Composites
  • Multiple Classified Programs
  • Development of Graphene reinforced nylon-6 based carbon fibers.
  • Development of Melt Blown carbon fiber insulations
  • Development of a novel slurry-based 3-D printer.
  • Development of high thermal conductivity carbon foam heat exchangers and heat sinks for power electronics and other electronic applications.

Research Interests:

  • To optimize the above mentioned processes for the fabrication of high thermal conductivity carbon/carbon composites for use as thermal substrates.
  • Oxidative stabilization of mesophase pitch to increase the density and mechanical properties of thick carbon/carbon composites in a single cycle processing step.
  • Development of alternative uses of coal for carbon based products such as fibrous insulations.

Awards

• 1998 Co-Engineer of the Year for Oak Ridge National Laboratory
• 1998 Development Accomplishment Award
• National Federal Laboratory Consortium Award, May 2001, for work in licensing graphite foam technology.
• National Laboratory Fuel Cell R&D Award, May 2003 for outstanding achievement in research and development of composite
bi-polar plates for fuel cells.
• DOE Outstanding Mentor Award, 2009
• Distinguished Inventor Award, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, 2004.

Patents

1. "Process for Coating Carbon Fibers with Pitch and Composites made Therefrom" U.S. Serial number 5,334,414,Clemson University.
2. "Method for rapid fabrication of fiber preforms and structural composite materials," U.S. Serial number 5,744,075, Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
3. “Method for rapid fabrication of fiber preforms and structural composite materials,” US Serial Number 5,871,838, Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
4. “Process for Making Carbon Foam,” US Serial Number 6,033,506, Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
5. “Pitch-based carbon foam heat sink with phase change material,” US Serial Number 6,037,032, Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
6. “Pitch Based Carbon Foam and Composites,” US Serial Number 6, 261,485, Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
7. “Pitch Based Foam with Particulate,” US Serial Number 6,287,375, Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
8. “Method for Extruding Pitch-based Carbon Foam,” US Serial Number 6,344,159, Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
9. “Pitch Based Carbon Foam and Composites,” US Serial Number 6,387,343, Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
10. “Method of Casting Pitch-Based Carbon Foam,” US Serial Number 6,398,994, Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
11. “Pitch-based Carbon Foam Heat Sink with Phase Change Material,” US Serial Number 6,399,149, Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
12. “Personal Cooling Air Filtering Device,” US Serial Number 6,430,935, Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
13. “Gelcasting Polymeric Precursors for Producing Net-shaped Graphites,” Oak Ridge National Laboratory, US Serial Number 6,491,891.
14. “Pitch Based Carbon Foam and Composites,” Oak Ridge National Laboratory, US Serial Number 6,656,443.
15. “Pitch Based Carbon Foam and Composites,” Oak Ridge National Laboratory, US Serial Number 6,663,842.
16. “Pitch Based Carbon Foam and Composites and Uses Thereof,” Oak Ridge National Laboratory, US Serial Number 6,673,328.
17. “Personal, closed-cycle cooling and protective apparatus and thermal battery therefor,” Oak Ridge National Laboratory, US Serial Number 6,763,671.
18. “Pitch-based carbon foam heat sink with phase change material,” Oak Ridge National Laboratory, US Serial Number 6,780,505.
19. “High efficiency, oxidation resistant radio frequency susceptor,” Oak Ridge National Laboratory, US Serial Number 6,809,304.
20. “Gelcasting Polymeric Precursors for Producing Net-shaped Graphites,” Oak Ridge National Laboratory, US Serial Number 6,855,744.
21. “Pitch-based carbon foam heat sink with phase change material,” Oak Ridge National Laboratory, US Serial Number 7,014,151.
22. “Pitch-based carbon foam and composites and use thereof,” Oak Ridge National Laboratory, US Serial Number 7,070,755.
23. “Humidifier for fuel cell using high conductivity carbon foam,” Oak Ridge National Laboratory, US Serial Number 7,147,214.
24. “Pitch-based carbon foam heat sink with phase change material,” Oak Ridge National Laboratory, US Serial Number 7,157,019.
25. “Pitch-based carbon foam heat sink with phase change material,” Oak Ridge National Laboratory, US Serial Number 7,166,237.
26. “Freeze resistant buoy system,” Oak Ridge National Laboratory, US Serial Number 7,258,836.
27. “Increased thermal conductivity monolithic zeolite structures,” Oak Ridge National Laboratory, US Serial Number 7,456,131.
28. “Method and apparatus for producing a carbon based foam article having a desired thermal-conductivity gradient,” Oak Ridge National Laboratory, US Serial Number 7,670,682.
29. “Thermal control structure and garment,” Oak Ridge National Laboratory, US Serial Number 8,133,826.
30. “Suppressor for reducing the muzzle blast and flash of a firearm,” Oak Ridge National Laboratory, US Serial Number 8,844,422.
31. “Suppressors made from intermetallic materials,” Oak Ridge National Laboratory, US Serial Number 8,875,612.
32. “Metal-bonded graphite foam composites,” Oak Ridge National Laboratory, US Serial Number 9,017,598.
33. “Heat exchanger with foam fins,” Lockheed Martin, US Serial Number 9,080,818,.
34. “Gradient porous electrode architectures for rechargeable metal-air batteries,” Oak Ridge National Laboratory, US Serial Number 9,293,772.
35. “Shell-and-tube heat exchangers with foam heat transfer units,” Lockheed Martin, US Serial Number 9,464,847.
36. “Cooling of weapons with graphite foam,” Oak Ridge National Laboratory, US Serial Number, 9,528,785.
37. “AC induction field heating of graphite foam,” Oak Ridge National Laboratory, US Serial Number 9,739,501.
38. “Infrared signal generation from AC induction field heating of graphite foam,” Oak Ridge National Laboratory, US Serial Number 9,906,078.
39. “Apparatus and method for maintaining an article at a temperature that is less than the temperature of the ambient air,” Oak Ridge National Laboratory, US Serial Number 9,933,206.
40. “Staged graphite foam heat exchangers,” Oak Ridge National Laboratory, US Serial Number 9,951,997.
41. “Cooling of weapons with graphite foam,” Oak Ridge National Laboratory, US Serial Number 10,161,700.
42. “Suppressor for a firearm,” Oak Ridge National Laboratory, US Serial Number 10,634,445.
43. “Flow through suppressor with enhanced flow dynamics,” Oak Ridge National Laboratory, US Serial Number 10,753,699.