Los Alamos National Laboratory
Polymers and Coatings (MST-7)

Applied Polymer Research

The applied polymer research team performs research on polymeric materials that are used in nuclear weapons systems. Our core missions are in directed stockpile work, enhanced surveillance research, and in special problems for the weapons program. Our team of scientists and engineers provide creative approaches to solving problems for a several customers in the weapons program

Polymer Aging

Because nuclear weapons are expected to last for several decades, it is important to understand how materials age within these systems. Our team studies the aging of a variety of polymer materials. Our methods include accelerated aging (thermal and radiative) of polymer materials. Once a material has been artificially aged, they are studied using a variety of techniques such as compression set, mechanical properties (compression and tensile), chemical properties (NMR, FTIR, MS, EPR, etc). These properties are compared at different times and under different accelerated aging conditions to produce a time-temperature superposition analysis to determine the properties that can be expected at different times in the component lifetime. These results can be used to determine if a component will have the required performance over a long period of time, therefore predicting a lifetime for the material.

Polymer and Adhesive Production

Our team also maintains the ability to produce small-scale parts and adhesives for a variety of applications for the weapons program. This includes not only small-lot production of these specialized materials, but also the expertise to make recommendations on polymer/adhesive use for specialized uses.

Team Leader, Dominic S. Peterson (Dom)

  • Steve Birdsell
  • Manny Chavez
  • Andre Gillan
  • Vaughn Hartung
  • Doug Hemphill
  • Andrea Labouriau
  • Robin Montoya
  • Jung Rim
  • Cindy Sandoval
  • Zach Smith
  • Stephanie Tornga
polymer sample
Polymer sample aging fixture showing uncompressed sample on the top

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