Lab Partnering Service Discovery
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For more than two decades, Y-12 has been developing microwave metal and ceramic processing technologies related to melting, casting, heat treating, sintering and bonding. Recent developments include vast improvements in ceramic systems that provide ways to heat materials not readily amenable to microwave processing.
With one basic system, it is possible to melt, cast and heat-treat. Because some metals cast with microwaves do not produce an alpha case, resulting parts can be used with minimal postprocessing. Microwave-assisted chemical synthesis also is possible and is routinely used to process difficult or sensitive chemical compounds.
Features & Benefits:
- Safe — Heating is limited to specified area, increasing worker safety
- Clean — Heating creates no solid residues
- Versatile — Methods can heat disparate materials simultaneously, creating products having qualities superior to those of individual components
- Economical — Higher throughput and improved energy efficiency result in reduced manufacturing costs
- U.S. Patent Nos. 6,554,924; 6,562,418; 7,011,136; 7,161,126; 7,358,469; 7,601,294; 7,603,963; 7,621,672; 7,622,189; 7,767,943; 7,857,193; 7,909,907; 7,939,787; 8,028,654; 8,061,580; 8,701,970; 8,183,507; 8,716,637 and 10,079,135
Technology Readiness Level:
- TRL 7: Actual prototype demonstration in an operational environment.
Computers and automated systems have accelerated productivity and improved quality and reliability for nearly everything in our modern world, and are destined to take on increasing roles as time moves on. One major limiting factor for automated systems is their inability to categorize and recognize objects, particularly under changing lighting or other conditions. Examples of how this could be useful include automatically detecting manufacturing defects, analyzing changes between two images (e.g. medical scans), noise filtering in radio frequency communications, and extracting weak signals or images from various sources.
Current approaches to making “smart” systems generally build custom solutions for every problem with very specific outcomes. Examples include self-driving car systems and facial recognition software, which have very specific features and approaches built in that usually do not translate to other applications very well. Other examples, such as automatic defect detection, require tightly controlled lighting and often require the object being inspected to be in the same position to be able to identify problems. Generally, these automated systems can, when conditions match the programmed expectations, identify that there is a problem, but have very limited ability when measurement conditions are dynamic or the situation changes in unanticipated ways.
Researchers at INL have developed an analysis system known as MorphoHawk for automatic feature detection and classification across a host of applications in changing environmental conditions. In general, MorphoHawk can be trained to identify features of interest, and will then group features in a scene (e.g. image, signal, etc) and categorize them according to the rules it was conditioned with. After it has categorized an image or other multi-dimentional data set, it can compare the features it has identified with subsequent data sets, allowing it to detect changes (e.g. manufacturing quality control) or detect the introduction of new features (e.g. a tumor in medical scans or a person entering a scene monitored by a camera). It has shown that it can discern between an object and its shadow, meaning it can handle differences in registration and light conditions in dynamic environments. This is possible because MorphoHawk algorithms characterize and compare morphological features, rather than conducting a binary analysis (e.g. light vs. dark).
MorphoHawk has shown utility as a signal filtering tool to differentiate between noise and meaningful data in analysis of digital images and electronic signals, resulting in sharp, cleaned images and clearly extracting the message of the signals while removing the noise. MorphoHawk can be applied to analyze images for manufacturing defects, enhancing the capability of existing inspection systems. Feature extraction is another unique capability of MorphoHawk. For example, metal surface topology can be separated into effects of rolling and grinding, allowing discrepancies to be assigned to the appropriate process. It has even been used to identify a facture path in materials and examine structural changes in battery electrodes to predict battery lifetime.INL Technology ID: BA-481
Insuring a constant supply of radioisotopes is of great importance to healthcare around the world. With the increase need for a stable US supply of medical isotopes, this technology can help alleviate this problem.
Sandia’s patented method and design is a new apparatus for the transmutation of isotopes which enables swift and flexible production on demand by using repetitive high energy pulsed power to achieve transmutation. This invention is based on a combination of high repetition rate high energy pulsed power supply and a magnetically-injected anode plasma source diode. This is used to provide pulsed particle beams having intermediate energy and average power levels of hundreds of kilowatts to megawatts. This will increase the rate of isotopic production by 2-3 orders of magnitude over processes based on conventional accelerators.
Samples are available for testing, and ISU is seeking commercialization partners for this technology.
Superconductors are materials which carry electrical current without dissipation. However, feeding electrical current into a superconductor generates heat dissipation in the contacts and degrades maximum attainable current value. The degradation in contacts is also different depending on the different chemical nature of the superconducting materials. Iron-pnictide based superconductors have a number of superior properties as compared to other known high temperature superconductors, and due to their high critical magnetic fields, can be competitive alternatives for generating high magnetic fields without loss of resistance. In order to take advantage of these properties, Iowa State University and Ames laboratory researchers have discovered a contact material and developed a method for its application which provides the necessary low electrical resistivity for iron-pcnitide superconductors. This new technology is easily adaptable to current solder methods used for creating electrical contacts and has the advantage of being very economical.
Iowa State University and Ames Laboratory researchers have developed a high strength, lightweight aluminum wire for high-voltage power transmission with reduced electrical resistance for overhead electrical lines.
The Al/Ca composite has demonstrated promising corrosion resistance and elevated temperature performance properties while creep and fatigue strengths are being investigated. High-voltage electric power transmission cables based on pure aluminum strands with a stranded steel core (ACSR) or stranded aluminum alloy (ACAR) core have the disadvantages of mediocre tensile strength, high density, and poor strength and conductivity retention at elevated temperatures. This combination of properties causes excessive sag in overload situations and limits the mechanical tension the cables can bear in icing and high wind situations. Alternative materials that increase cable strength generally have poor conductivity and/or high cost. Iowa State University and Ames Laboratory researchers have discovered a method to produce an aluminum matrix wire composite with reduced density that adds strength while retaining maximum ampacity.
Microgrids are localized energy grids that provide flexibility through their ability to operate independently from the bulk power grid. Well-designed microgrids support resiliency, security, efficiency, local control, and increased access to renewable resources. Sandia’s Microgrid Design Toolkit (MDT) is a decision support software toolkit that aids designers in creating optimal microgrids.
Employing powerful algorithms and simulation capabilities, MDT searches the trade space of alternative microgrid designs based on user-defined objectives (e.g., cost, performance, and reliability) and produces a set of efficient microgrid solutions. MDT allows designers to investigate the simultaneous impacts of several design decisions and gain a quantitative understanding of the relationships between design objectives and trade-offs associated with alternative technological design decisions. MDT can account for grid-connected and islanded performance, power and component reliability in islanded mode, and dozens of parameters as part of the trade space search, and presents designers with an entire trade space of information from which to base final design decisions. Without MDT, designers rely on engineering judgment and perhaps a quantitative analysis of relatively few candidate designs. MDT allows designers to explore a larger field of options and provides defensible, quantitative evidence for design decisions.
A new method of growing high-temperature superconductors controls hydrogen fluoride gas pressure and creates larger, more uniform crystal structures in these versatile materials. Superconductors offer extreme efficiency by transmitting electric current without any dc resistive loss, and high-temperature versions further reduce cost by requiring less extreme cooling. This process of growing the crystalline structures in cuprate superconductors promises higher quality fabrication for a broad range of applications.
Accumulation of hydrogen fluoride (HF) gas creates a significant obstacle in the uniform growth of high-temperature superconductors, which operate at temperatures higher than the boiling point of liquid nitrogen. HF restricts the growth area of crystalline structures and can be dangerous if uncontrolled. Precisely controlling the HF vapor pressure during growth produces crystalline superconductors with highly-oriented atomic structures. The barium ?uoride or “ex situ process” is being applied to the growth of YBa2Cu3O7 (YBCO) layers on flexible metallic substrates. But HF, a product of the conversion of the YBCO ?uorinated precursor to crystalline YBCO, can quickly accumulate in an ex situ reactor and stop the growth of YBCO. This solution to the problem of HF build-up and subsequent nonuniformity relies on the removal of HF by chemical absorption using a solid absorber. A solid HF absorber allows for the implementation of a one-dimensional solution to the hydrodynamic problem of achieving HF partial pressure uniformity.
One of the ongoing challenges to improving performance in capacitors and other high-voltage electrical structures is to identify and reduce the factors that cause failure. High-voltage devices typically fail following excessive partial discharge activity, which is a localized dielectric breakdown that does not transcend the main electrode gap spacing. One type of failure is anticipated to start at a triple junction, the point at which an electrode and two different dielectric materials intersect.
This invention seeks to reduce failures related to high-voltage structures, particularly to capacitors, bushings, connectors, and cables. It also offers manufacturing solutions that reduce electrical field stress in the identified weak areas. In so doing, it also offers a very compact high-voltage switch with robust reliability.
Innovative research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has developed a specific set of technologies to address several areas of high-performance electrical component concern: 1) multi-layer film capacitors that must operate with a high degree of reliability; 2) feed-through bushings and coaxial connectors; and 3) methods for manufacturing these high-performance components, by which electrical field stresses are eliminated or sufficiently reduced in the weak areas.
The innovations include metalizing the surfaces of solid dielectric materials where contact is made with metal electrodes. Electric fields are thereby eliminated in the void regions, preventing the electrical discharge (corona) activity that degrades bulk dialectic materials and reduces performance. The result is similar to conventional solid-dialectic designs, in which fields across gaps are removed by metalizing a dielectric surface. In the novel LLNL application, significant improvements to the high-performance bushings, connectors, and film-capacitors add robust protection to existing systems.
LLNL's technology is useful in fields such as power systems engineering, security monitoring, and vehicle tracking to identify, locate and monitor a particular source of electromagnetic radiation in a noisy broadband environment. Conventional broadband filtering techniques are often inefficient in reducing unwanted electromagnetic noise, and this inefficiency results in higher energy and processing costs along with imprecise location, monitoring and tracking capabilities. The invention described here creates a method for identifying the bearing and/or location of noise sources by exploiting a novel Poynting-vector filtering method. Once the Poynting vector has been identified, the source of the signal can be readily located.
Innovative research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has developed a novel filtering technology for determining the frequency components associated with a particular bearing and/or location of a source emitting the electromagnetic noise for which a Poynting vector can be defined. The frequency components related to that specific source can be isolated from the other components of the power spectrum, and their Poynting vectors can be used to characterize the source.
By grouping the undesired frequency components according to the characteristics of their observed Poynting vectors, a common source can be identified. This is a significant improvement over conventional methods that require the input of detailed information about the location, bearing, or source characteristics. Experimental results and numerical simulations have established the validity of this technique.Alternatively, this method may be used to isolate the Poynting vector for the signal of interest so that extraneous signals can be identified and eliminated from the broadband spectrum. Broadband frequency components thus isolated can be tagged as not associated with the signal of interest.
VERDE is a software application utilizing the Google Earth(c) platform to provide real time visualization of the electric power grid. NOTE: This is no longer available for licensing.
VERDE is capable of layering different types of information on top of one another in order to provide the user with visualization of a complex situation. VERDE is also capable of modeling future conditions and could be used to predict outcomes resulting from specific inputs. VERDE will primarily be used to provide wide-area, real-time electric grid situational awareness. It may also be used for predictive analysis, status awareness, and information sharing. NOTE: This is no longer available for licensing.
A new computational search method developed by an ORNL researcher detects patterns in digital data by adapting unique information processing properties of the human brain to computational knowledge discovery. The ORNL method follows a new paradigm, the neocortex of the human brain, which has superior speed and insight in processing text, images, audio, and sensory data simultaneously for real-time situational understanding. The technology can be used in situations as diverse as inferring terrorists’ plans from disparate e-mail exchanges, analyzing existing scientific literature to infer new relationships, scanning satellite data to infer the effects of global change, and forewarning of adverse events from complex, time-serial data.
The technology is different from other search methods by modeling itself on four unique properties of the human brain: 1. an irreducible representation of each item; 2. auto-associative memory of the information for robust recall; 3. hierarchical processing of the information for rapid understanding; and 4. feed-forward, plus feedback to enable the hierarchical processing and to ensure consistency. The new method simultaneously processes different sources of test data into informational data and then processes different categories of informational data into knowledgebased data. The knowledge-based data can then be communicated between nodes in a system of multiple computers according to rules for complex, hierarchical system modeled on the human brain.
The system includes a memory for storing source data sets; a first tier program to process the sets of source data to produce informational data; and a second-tier computer program on either the first computer or another computer to process the informational data to produce knowledge data. The invention further requires a network communication device to transmit any or all of the above to a second computer that has other source, informational, or knowledge-based data for evaluation of the first computer’s data.
A variety of investigative settings, from medicine to law enforcement, rely on the clarity
of wide-angle images in order to make accurate interpretations. At ORNL, researchers
developed a computerized video imaging process that maps the coordinates of a
moving image to computer-based reference coordinates. This helps to stabilize and
align images for review.
The ORNL invention addresses several current imaging problems. Medical images
usually have low contrast features. The borders of organs are not sharp and are difficult
to locate using standard imaging techniques. Another problem is that movement
occurs due to respiration, cardiac motion, and blood flow, resulting in poor alignment
through the image sequence and making diagnostic temperature measurements
impossible. Glare caused by lights reflecting off wet tissue surfaces, evaporative
cooling, and random noise also affect clear visualization. Similar challenges exist in law
enforcement, where images from traffic lights are affected by movement and moisture
from adverse weather.
Fisheye lens imagery is a wide-angle lens technology for taking wide, hemispherical
images by a mapping technique that evades rectilinear constraints. The ORNL
invention anchors the moving images captured by the fisheye lens during surgery,
making it possible to increase the clarity of organs in areas of low contrast and to
minimize the effects of random motion. This enhances diagnostic accuracy. The
invention registers an image by first segmenting a region and then repeating this
process on multiple images in the same region. From this plurality of segments a
reference image is made. The computer then maps the reference image with the
individual image segments and their subpixel data is then interpolated.
ORNL researchers computed coordinate system maps for each individual image taken
with the reference image. The method uses these coordinates to resample each image,
aligning the reference image directly into the fisheye imaging space. The method also
solves for traffic flow monitoring, vehicle counting, queue detection, and intersection