AMO Partners Win R&D 100 Award for Outstanding Achievements in Science and Technology

November 27, 2017

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R&D Magazine announced winners of the R&D 100 Awards, which honors 100 R&D pioneers and their revolutionary ideas in science and technology. The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE) Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) provided support to four of 33 winners from the Department of Energy’s national laboratories. R&D Magazine presented the awards on November 17 in Orlando, Florida.

“The Advanced Manufacturing Office deeply appreciates the brilliance and dedication of the national laboratory teams involved in these R&D 100 Awards,” said Advanced Manufacturing Office Director Rob Ivester. “I look forward to seeing the technical and economic impacts of their innovations.”

The R&D 100 Awards have served as the most prestigious innovation awards program for the past 55 years. The R&D 100 Conference was launched in 2015 as an educational event that celebrated the historic R&D 100 Awards and provided a new, in-depth conference that brings together the unique opportunities for R&D professionals to learn, network and collaborate. Since 1962, when the annual competition began, the Energy Department’s national laboratories have received more than 800 R&D 100 awards. Entries are judged by outside experts, such as professional consultants, university faculty members, and industrial researchers.

Many of these projects were developed in collaboration with private companies or academic institutions. Below is a list of winners and project descriptions as referenced on the Department of Energy’s Office of Science website.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Other Partners: Tru-Design, LLC; Polynt Composites

Name of Project: Large-Format Additive Coating Solutions

Large-scale 3D printing can quickly produce prototypes and molds used to manufacture parts, but these pieces are often neither smooth nor vacuum tight. As a result, manufacturers can't use these molds to produce composite components, parts made of several different types of materials. As manufacturing increasingly focuses on composite parts, this challenge limits the usefulness of 3D printing. The Large-Format Additive Coating Solutions, TD Coat RT and TD Seal HT, minimize this problem. Using a nano-scale filler, they cover the rough exterior of a printed part and create an unbroken vacuum-tight seal.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Other Partners: Techmer PM; BASF

Name of Project: TEAMM- Electrafil PPS 3D; Electrafil PPSU 3D

Techmer Engineered Additive Manufacturing Materials (TEAMM) are new plastic and carbon fiber compounds that are especially designed for 3D printing. With 3D printing and an autoclave, manufacturers can use these materials to produce molds for composite panels and parts. The company offers two different types of TEAMM. Each type has different proportions of carbon fiber (25 percent and 50 percent), which provides a variety of mechanical properties for a range of applications. Using these compounds, large-scale aerospace companies can produce molds for a tenth of the cost and lead time compared to existing technology. Other applications include defense and high-end automotive markets.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Ames Laboratory

Other Partners: Eck Industries; Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; Critical Materials Institute

Name of Project: ACE: The Ageless Aluminum Revolution

Lightweight materials such as aluminum alloys can help substantially increase the efficiency of vehicles and airplanes. ACE is a new family of aluminum alloys that exhibits better performance at high temperatures and is easier to cast than previous alloys. By combining aluminum and cerium, or a similar element, with traditional alloying materials, ACE is better able to resist corrosion and be stretched into wires. ACE alloys remain stable at temperatures 300 degrees Celsius higher than leading commercial alloys. They can also withstand 30 percent more tension before they deform. Manufacturers can successfully cast ACE alloys in a wide variety of structural components without energy-intensive heat treatments. Eliminating these treatments could significantly increase production output and reduce manufacturing costs in some cases by almost 60 percent.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Ames Laboratory

Other Partners: Critical Materials Institute; Magnet Applications Inc.; Tru-Design LLC; Momentum Technologies

Name of Project: Additively Printed High Performance Magnets

For the first time, Oak Ridge National Laboratory used its Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) method to 3D print Additively Printed High Performance Magnets. In contrast to more common sintered magnets that require manufacturers to apply very high pressure to chemically reactive materials, bonded magnets are less expensive and less resource-intensive to produce. The bonded magnets made using BAAM have superior magnetic performance and tensile strength compared to bonded magnets produced by other methods. They can be fabricated into intricate shapes with no size limitations. Because the manufacturing process consumes less energy than other technologies and generates almost no rare-earth material waste, it is also more economic and sustainable.

The R&D 100 Awards have served as the most prestigious innovations awards program in research and development for the past 55 years, honoring pioneers in science and technology. In 2015, the R&D 100 Conference was launched as an educational event that both celebrates the historic R&D 100 Awards and provides an educational opportunity that is unique for the R&D community.

EERE's Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) supports early-stage applied research and development of new materials, information, and processes that improve American manufacturing's energy efficiency, as well as platform technologies for manufacturing clean energy products.