Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Delivering science and technology to protect our nation and promote world stability

Additive Manufacturing

A method allowing unparalleled manufacturing control, data visualization, and high-value parts repair.
  • Through additive manufacturing, Los Alamos is developing materials for the future.

  • Taking complex manufacturing challenges from design to fabrication.

  • A science and engineering approach for additive manufacturing solutions.

Get Expertise  

  • John Carpenter
  • Technical Staff Member Metallurgy
  • Email
  • Division Leader Materials Science and Technology
  • Dave Teter
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Additive manufacturing and national security

To realize additive manufacturing’s potential as a disruptive technology for Los Alamos National Laboratory’s national security missions, significant progress must be made in

  • Understanding processing-microstructure-property-performance relationships
  • Predicting materials properties at the macroscale to nanoscale
  • Modeling materials properties and chemistry
  • Improving in situ materials and process characterization
  • Enhancing engineering design
  • Optimizing process and automation
  • Accelerating feedstock design and manufacture

Our scientifically broad, collaboration-intense environment is enabling us to solve these challenges through a science and engineering basis.

The outcome: production and repair of process-aware materials with unique functional properties able to withstand extreme environments.

CAD

Additive manufacturing uses computer-aided designs (CAD) to build 3D parts. For a stainless steel component of a portable gamma-ray imaging system Los Alamos reduced the customary 10 components and 6 welds to 4 and 2 —in a single build cycle. Top left: CAD rendering; Top right: as deposited components with support structure attached. Below: final assembly.

A science-based additive manufacturing capability

Los Alamos manufacturing missions are adapting to this method of creating functional objects from a computer model because of such potential advantages as

  • Smaller manufacturing footprint
  • Reduced tooling need
  • Embedded sensing
  • High-value parts repair
  • Multi-material lay-ups
  • Complex geometries
  • Light-weighting

Additive manufacturing is being applied to primary Los Alamos mission areas:

  • Global security
  • Nuclear energy
  • Renewable energy
additive manufacturing

Computer modeling identified the ideal coil to maximize the efficiency of a heat exchanger. Computer-aided design mapped a component with the optimized coils. Los Alamos additively manufactured the complex shape that was impossible with traditional machining techniques.

Resources and expertise to solve additive manufacturing challenges

Los Alamos has a unique collection of resources and people-driven capabilities including

  • Facilities for nuclear materials handing, secure manufacturing (including sensitive compartmented information facility), high-performance computing, specialized characterization
  • Expertise in multiscale materials modeling, nanomaterials synthesis, integrated process modeling, and hazardous/radiological materials handling
  • In situ capabilities and vast experience in integrating diagnostics into existing systems
  • Capability in feedstock to finished parts

Los Alamos is equipped with a significant number of specialized characterization tools that are used to

  • Identify stresses in parts and optimize design
  • Track a part’s small, individual features as a function of load, using current computer software
  • Employ beam measurements such as proton radiography and neutron radiography, as well as neutron and x-ray diffraction
  • Map spatial and temporal strains
  • Measure thermal properties with infrared imaging and calorimetry

Future facilities, such as MaRIE (Matter-Radiation Interactions in Extremes), will take this technique even further, linking process-aware materials behavior to performance, qualification, certification, and assessment.

Key capabilities

Los Alamos’s rapidly growing additive manufacturing program employs the latest technology:

Metal additive manufacturing

  • EOS M280 (direct metal laser-sintering)
  • Optomec LENS MR-7
  • Sciaky EBAM 68 

Binder jet

  • ExOne Innovent
  • ExOne M-Flex

Non-metal additive manufacturing

Powder bed

  • FORMIGA P 110

Binder jet

  • ExOne Innovent
  • ExOne M-Flex

Vat Polymerization

  • Nanoscribe Photonic Professional GT

PolyJet 3D printing

  • Objet Eden 260, 260V, 333, 500
  • Objet Connex350
  • ProJet 3510 HD

Fused deposition modeling print technology

  • MakerBot Replicators (x5)
  • Stratasys Dimension 1200es (x2)
  • Stratasys Fortus 400mc (x2)

Powder bind

  • Z-Corp Spectrum 510
  • Zprinter 650
Key personnel

Metal additive manufacturing

  • Powdered technology: Don Bucholz, John Bernardin
  • Directed energy (powder feedstock): Tom Lienert, Cameron Knapp
  • Directed energy (wire feedstock): Matt Dvornak, Pat Hochanadel
  • Metallurgy: Carl Cross, Pat Hochanadel, Tom Lienert

Non-metal additive manufacturing: John Bernardin, Larry Bronisz, Alex Mueller, Dominic Peterson, Eric Weis

Data visualization: Chris Mitchell, Jonathan Woodring

Design for additive manufacturing: John Bernardin, Steve Black, Don Quintana

Modeling in additive manufacturing: Curt Bronkhorst, Neil Carlson, Chris Chen, Marianne Francois, Jack Shlachter

Characterization in additive manufacturing

  • Neutrons, x-rays: Don Brown
  • Electron microscopy: Terry Holesinger
  • Electron microscopy: Veronica Livescu
  • X-rays: Brian Patterson
  • Neutrons: Sven Vogel

Feedstock

  • Wire: Dave Alexander, Kester Clarke
  • Powder: Dave Dombrowski, Jim Foley
  • Chemical vapor deposition: Igor Usov
Technologies and applications: emerging, developed, or potential
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory is additively manufacturing stainless steel parts for a portable gamma-ray imaging system.
  • Toward a new quantification and certification paradigm for additively manufactured materials: characterization of additively manufactured 316L SS, 304L SS, and Ti-6Al-4V.
Sponsors, funding sources, or agencies
  • National Nuclear Security Administration, Cooperative Research and Development Agreements with private companies
External collaborations and memberships
  • America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute
  • The Center for Innovative Materials Processing through Direct Digital Deposition (CIMP-3D)
  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
  • National Security Campus (formerly Kansas City Plant)
  • Optomec Inc.
  • Pantex Plant
  • Sandia National Laboratories
  • Y-12 National Security Complex
  • The Center for Advanced Non-Ferrous Structural Alloys

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