Advanced Materials


Materials Under Extremes

Materials that can withstand extreme conditions such as stresses close to their theoretical strengths, temperatures close to their melting points, highly oxidizing or corrosive environments, and high radiation fluxes are central to improving the performance, safety, and efficiencies of existing energy conversion and utilization systems as well as enabling next-generation ones. When materials are pushed to their limits, microstructural and environmental extremes can have unforeseen consequences, so detailed characterization of defect distributions combined with a deep understanding how they affect materials behavior, is critical to the development of advanced materials of the future. Materials Under Extremes represents the coordination of technical expertise necessary for the development of materials and systems capable of accessing performance regimes beyond their current levels. Our combined fundamental and applied materials science approach draws heavily upon relevant ORNL assets such as first principles modeling and advanced computational materials science resources, cutting-edge analytical equipment in our laboratories, centers and user facilities, and our advanced processing and materials testing infrastructure.  As the next-generation technologies envisioned require materials and components to perform under extraordinary conditions, understanding how to engineer materials for superior performance is the focus of our current research. 

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1-5 of 5 Results

Electronic Excitations Transform Structure of Ceramics
Ab initio molecular dynamics calculations reveal that electronic excitations induce a structural instability that transforms Y2Ti2O7, Gd2Ti2O7 and Sm2Ti2O7 with the pyrochlore crystal structure to an amorphous state.

Rig designed to study effect of vibration on spent nuclear fuel
— Researchers have developed an innovative system, called Cyclic Integrated Reversible-bending Fatigue Tester (CIRFT), to test and evaluate the mechanical behavior of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) under normal transportation conditions. The SNF fatigue data generated by CIRFT technology are essential in assisting back end fuel cycle reliability investigation.

Characterizing Performance of Nanostructured Alloys for Extreme Environments
In situ neutron diffraction characterization of strains in nanostructured materials reveals, for the first time, a large temperature-sensitive elastic anisotropy and a deformation crossover upon extensive straining. The novel approach utilized to determine single-crystal elastic constants provides a new strategy for characterizing anisotropic elasticity of complex materials.

Metallic Glasses: Different Deformation Properties Underpinned by the Same Trigger
— A novel simulation approach demonstrates that a universal deformation trigger exists in metallic glasses and that the spatial organization of these triggers is closely related to the dynamics and stabilities of the system. This work demonstrates that a universal trigger initiates deformation and the organization of such triggers significantly affects bulk behavior.

Mapping solute excesses and curvature of grain boundaries
— A novel characterization method has been developed that enables complete characteriza­tions of grain boundaries by atom probe tomography (APT) in terms of the orientation relationship of the adjacent grains, local variations of the habit plane, surface curvature, and the solute excesses over the surface of a grain boundary.


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