INL has a rich history researching and developing strong, reliable materials for the nuclear energy industry, but advanced materials also will be needed for fossil energy, renewable energy and modern manufacturing endeavors. Advanced modeling and simulation capabilities at the lab also foster discoveries about how a material’s structure, properties and performance are linked.
Unlocking the mechanisms leading to optimized performance requires a detailed understanding of internal microstructures. The crucial relationships between structure, properties and performance depend on observations at the nano scale. Such information builds knowledge on the complex contributions of composition, structure and inherent defects such as precipitate populations, grain boundaries and interstitial/substitutional atoms, pores, voids and vacancies.
INL resources include specialized capabilities for specimen preparation, electron microscopy and atomic structure analysis.