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  • Mars 'Curiosity' has ORNL tech
    OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Aug. 6, 2012 — Editor's note: With the successful landing of the Mars Curiosity probe, we are reprising and updating from last November this feature on ORNL's role in the U.S. space exploration mission.

Recent Honors & Awards

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  • 2012 Secretary’s Achievement Award
    The 2012 “Secretary’s Achievement Award” was presented by Secretary Chu at DOE Headquarters.  The award was a team award for DOE employees and contractors who together accomplished significant achievements  on behalf of the Department.  Team members were from ORNL, LANL, INL, and DOE who played a significant role in the development and production of the Multi Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG).  This generator is providing electrical power for the Mars Science Laboratory rover, “Curiosity”.  The ORNL recipients of this award were MSTD’s George Ulrich, Evan Ohriner, Glenn Romanoski, and Jim King.   The Honor Awards are the Department’s highest form of nonmonetary employee recognition.

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Evan K. Ohriner

Iridium Alloy Blank and Foil Task Manager
Radioisotope Power Systems Program
Materials Science & Technology Division
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
P.O. Box 2008
Oak Ridge, TN 37831-6083
Phone: (865) 574-8519
Fax: (865) 574-4357



  • Ph.D., Metallurgy, University of Connecticut, 1980
  • M. S., Metallurgy, University of Connecticut, 1977
  • S. B., Materials Science, M.I.T.,  1973


  • 1987 - present, Distinguished Development Staff, Materials Science and Technology Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge TN 37831
  • 1985 - 1987, Research Metallurgist, Pfizer Specialty Metals, Wallingford CT
  • 1980 - 1985, Senior Research Metallurgist, AMAX Materials Research Center, Ann Arbor, MI

Areas of Interest:

  • Processing of refractory metals and alloys and high temperature and wear-resistant alloys
  • Chair of the Refractory Metals and Materials Committee of TMS 2000-2002.


  • Successfully led the iridium alloy processing effort at Oak Ridge National Laboratory for 25 years with substantial improvement in process yields.  Iridium alloys are used as primary fuel containment for power generation in all NASA deep space probes.  These have included the Cassini mission to the Saturn system, Mars Science Laboratory, and the Pluto New Horizon Mission. This included supervising the acquisition, installation, and qualification for production use of electron beam, vacuum arc melting furnaces, and other equipment. It has also included assistance to commercial iridium material producers, award of a patent for processing of small quantities of stable iridium isotope powder into wire for medical applications, research on iridium alloys, primary editorship of the symposium proceedings of the first and only international symposium on Iridium.
  • Developed a tungsten alloy tool material for friction stir welding of ferrous and high temperature materials
  • Primary inventor of NOREMTM alloy hardfacing alloy, now widely used in nuclear valve applications (U. S. Patent 4,803,045).  The alloy, trademarked by Electric Power Research Institute, has very high resistance to galling and wear and is cobalt-free. Valves with NOREM hardfacing have been purchased or installed by some 25 nuclear utilities.
  • Contributed to Development of Improved Conductor Cable for Electric Transmission Lines.  Collaborated on the alloy development and led the effort in process development for the refractory metal alloy fabrication. Outdoor high voltage transmission line field-testing of the composite conductor was conducted in Oak Ridge.
  • Developed processing and provided arc-melted molybdenum-rhenium alloy for use in AMTEC energy conversion cells.  The use of these cells offers up to a three-fold improvement in efficiency of thermal to electric energy conversion as compared to the existing thermocouple technology employed for space exploration. 
  • Contributed to the development of weldable molybdenum alloy with improved ductility in the recrystallized condition at room temperature.  This work, which is in progress, has the potential to be very beneficial to efforts for space-based reactor development. 
  • Performed evaluation of rhenium metal processing for Navy SM-3 program.


  1. Fellow ASM International – 2005
  2. R&D 100 Awards - 3.
  3. Inventors Clubs of America's Hall of Fame Award


  1. 9 US Patents