July 2000


ORNL adds trio of R&D 100s to record

Researchers and engineers at ORNL have won three R&D 100 Awards, pushing their national lab-leading total to 107 since the awards began in 1963.

The awards are presented annually by R&D Magazine in recognition of the year’s most significant technological innovations. ORNL’s 107 R&D 100 awards place it first among DOE laboratories and second only to General Electric.

The Differentially Deposited X-ray Microfocusing Mirrors, developed and submitted jointly by Gene Ice of the Metals and Ceramics Division and Beamline Technology Corp. of Tuscon, Ariz., give scientists a powerful new tool for studying interconnects and other materials made up of small disoriented crystal blocks called grains. The new X-ray crystal microscope provides an exciting capability that didn’t exist before. Ice says it allows researchers to see the three-dimensional crystal structure of most materials for the first time.

ORNL’s High-Thermal-Conductivity Graphite Foam, developed by M&C’s James Klett and Tim Burchell and Ashok Choudhury of Tech Transfer, is a joint winner with Poco Graphite of Decatur, Texas.

Ice
Klett
Roosevelt Meriweather
and Rob Smith of
the Block II team
The carbon foam has a thermal conductivity equivalent to aluminum at one-fifth its weight. Because of its superior heat transfer characteristics, the material could allow auto designers to place the radiator somewhere other than at the car’s front end. The foam could also displace heavy cooling fans, metallic fins and heat sinks in electronics. Graphite foam, which is nearly 100 percent graphite, features an open cell structure that improves heat transfer to a working fluid, like the coolant in a radiator. Unlike other carbon foam products, which act as insulators, the ORNL-developed material conducts—or removes—heat.

The Block II Chemical Biological Mass Spectrometer is a joint ORNL winner with Orbital Sciences Corp. of Pomona, Calif.; MSP Corp. of Minneapolis; Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colo.; and the U.S. Army Soldier and Biological Chemical Command, Arberdeen Proving Ground, Md.

This is the first integrated instrument capable of detecting and identifying both chemical and biological warfare agents in the field. It combines the detection speed, sensitivity and specificity necessary for environmental detection of highly diverse classes of materials.

It was developed by Wayne Griest, William Andrews Jr., Don Bible, Eric Breeding, Michael Burnett, Kim Castleberry, Dwight Clayton, Richard Crutcher, Kevin Hart, Mike Hileman, Ralph Ilgner, Bruce Jatko, Roger Jenkins, Stephen Lammert, David McMillan, Randy McPherson, Roosevelt Merriweather, Richard Reid, Irene Robbins, David Smith, Robert Smith, Carl Sohns, Ann Stewart, Cynthia Terry, Cyril Thompson, Arpad Vass, Robert Whitaker, Marcus Wise, Dennis Wolf, Wes Wysor and Judy Zager of ORNL.—Ron Walli