ORNL Invention Alert

ORNL Invention Alert
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ORNL technology transfer activities net five Federal Laboratory Consortium awards

Researchers, staff members and licensees from ORNL received top honors in the Federal Laboratory Consortium’s annual awards competition for excellence in technology transfer, excellence in technology transfer innovation, outstanding researcher and regional technology transfer.

Building on $180 million in joint energy-related research, EPB and ORNL marked 10 years of collaboration with the announcement of the new Collaborative for Energy Resilience and Quantum Science. The new joint research effort will focus on utilizing Chattanooga’s highly advanced and integrated energy and communications infrastructure to develop technologies and best practices for enhancing the resilience and security of the national power grid while accelerating the commercialization of quantum technologies. Read more
New ORNL inventions

Innovative Sinusoidal Deposition Polymer Additive Manufacturing Technology
202205056 // Manufacturing
In additive manufacturing, also called 3D printing or AM, failure of the printed item due to warpage caused by residual stress build-up from deposited layers of material due to thermal expansion and contraction is a big problem. A new ORNL technology uses a different pattern of material deposition, adding sinusoidal waves in addition to the traditional X-Y axis of the bead head, that allows for uniform deposition of extra polymer to the printed part. The technology drastically reduces or eliminates one of the biggest problems in AM, reducing failures and allowing printing of high coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) materials that are not printable otherwise. 

Novel Efficient Refrigerator with Cold Energy Storage Enabling Demand Flexibility
202205159 // Energy and Utilities
Household refrigerators typically consume 1.5–2 kilowatt-hour of electricity per day, and more than 100 million refrigerators are used in US homes, which results in significant primary energy consumption and carbon emissions. This technology is a novel household refrigerator that uses advanced evaporators with phase change material (PCM)–based long-duration cold energy storage, PCM heat conduction enhancement using a metal foam material, direct-contact defrosting technology, and a low global warming potential alternative refrigerant, enabling efficiency improvement in excess of 20% and peak load shifting. 

Optical Aerosol Transport Sensor
202205182 // Manufacturing
Aerosol-jet printing (AJP) is an important emerging additive manufacturing technology for constructing electronic devices and systems, such as circuit boards. But there are key challenges: resolution and feature density limitations; lower yield predictability; reliability; and device performance. This technology provides controls for stabilizing or manipulating the AJP outcomes in real time. The invention provides a method to infer physical properties of aerosolized ink before it has been deposited on a target substrate. Properties include aerosol refractive index and particle distribution parameters including number density and diameter distribution.

Periodic Encapsulation of Phase Change Material Fibers
202305371 // Materials
Phase change materials store and release thermal energy from and into their surrounding environment when undergoing a phase change such as a solid to liquid or liquid to gas transition. In this way, the material stores energy for when it is needed. When incorporated into building materials, these materials can be leveraged to reduce energy consumption during heating and cooling. But the technology presents challenges, as phase change materials must be encapsulated efficiently to maximize energy transfer, minimize leakage, and ensure reliable performance for extended periods of time. The primary goal of this technology is to provide a resilient thermal energy storage system which optimizes energy transfer while preventing leakage of phase change material even if regions are damaged. This is achieved by periodically encapsulating phase change materials within a polymer sheath in a continuous method.

Vehicle Attack Framework for Penetration Testing and Analyzing Vehicle's Controller Area Network
202305432 // Security and Defense // Transportation
Vehicle cybersecurity professionals rely on techniques such as network penetration testing and simulation of malicious cyberattacks to gather data to create robust security tools designed to protect a vehicle from real-world malicious attacks. However, current attack simulations and penetration testing technologies focus on individual computers or systems instead of the entire vehicle as an insecure platform. This technology is a software package, called Vehicle Attack Analysis Framework, that researchers can use to perform attacks without prior knowledge of complex code, configurations, or executions. It allows for simple data collection either while attacking or during regular operations without attacks, and can automate the data parsing process.

Dispersed Nickel on Beta Zeolite as Stable Catalyst for Dry Reforming of Methane
202305487 // Chemicals
Syngas is a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide that is used for the production of a variety of chemicals of mass consumption; however, the current industrial process to produce syngas is polluting and requires the use of water as co-reactant. Dry reforming of methane (DRM) is an alternative route for producing syngas, where no water co-feed is required, instead the reactants are methane and carbon dioxide — two greenhouse gases. However, catalysts that enable DRM suffer from deactivation. This technology is a novel catalyst that outperforms the state-of-the-art DRM, and deactivates extremely slowly — saving energy and eliminating greenhouse gases.

High Dielectric Constant CCTO/PI Composites Enabled by Dispersants
202305516 // Transportation
New demands in electric vehicles have resulted in design changes for the power electronic components such as the capacitor to incur lower volume, higher operating temperatures, and dielectric properties (high dielectric permittivity and high electrical breakdown strengths). Current commercial capacitors are limited by their low dielectric breakdown strength, low capacitance density, and low operating temperatures. To address future needs this novel material inherits the benefits of both ceramic and polymer material systems. The composite dielectric material is realized through unique formulation to overcome the shortcomings of the standard technologies, utilizing roll to roll, scalable fabrication processes, and decreasing the overall volume needed for the capacitor. 

To learn more about these technologies, email partnerships@ornl.gov or call