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Vol. 55, Special Issue        February 2003
[Sandia National Laboratories]

Albuquerque, New Mexico 87185-0165    ||   Livermore, California 94550-0969
Tonopah, Nevada; Nevada Test Site; Amarillo, Texas

Back to Lab News Sandia Labs Accomplishments 2003 index

Engineering science, manufacturing, and production

The closure of 177 high-level waste tanks at Hanford has become a top priority for DOE and an extremely aggressive schedule has been established for the contractor. Sandia developed and demonstrated in lab-scale experiments a sorbent material to irreversibly immobilize Tc-99, which is one of the more mobile radionuclides and presents one of the highest risk elements to site closure. Based on the proof of principle demonstration, Sandia is now working with Hanford to develop a sorbent grout for deployment in the very first tank closure, which will occur in FY04. Over the next 48 months, some 40 tanks will be closed and it is expected that the Sandia technology will be deployed in each of these closures. (6800) Joe Jones, jojones@sandia.gov

Direct-injection diesel engines offer significant fuel economy and greenhouse gas advantages but suffer from higher soot and NOX emissions than spark-ignition engines. Enhanced in-cylinder turbulence can reduce these emissions. Flow measurements in an optical diesel engine have provided new insight into turbulence generation and control via the interaction of the fuel sprays with the swirling flow. Current engine turbulence models do not accurately capture this phenomenon, and collaborative efforts with the University of Wisconsin and Wayne State University are now focused on developing a predictive capability. (8300) Paul Miles, pcmiles@sandia.gov

Breathing conditions in underground mines took a step toward clean air when the fuel-cell-powered locomotive outperformed its battery-powered predecessor. The project goal is to replace diesel fuel with hydrogen in underground mining operations. The 3-ton, 8.5KW (usable power) hydrogen-fuel-cell-powered locomotive, developed by Sandia and Vehicle Project partners (primarily funded by DOE), ran on rails hauling ore in Canada in October and demonstrated operation and refueling from a electrolysis reformer in November 2002. (8100, 8200, 8300, 8700) Bill Replogle, wcreplo@sandia.gov

Sandia's massively parallel structural dynamics simulation code, SALINAS, is the 2002 winner of the prestigious Gordon Bell Award for innovative techniques to produce new levels of performance on a real application. The code development team demonstrated sustained aggregate performance of 1.16 teraflops on 3375 processors on the ASCI White platform, with unprecedented scalability for an implicit simulation code. SALINAS played a key role in the FY01 ASCI Level 1 Milestone and is being used for design and qualification activities for the W76 and W80 programs. (9100, 9200, 8900, University of Colorado at Boulder) Kenneth Alvin, kfalvin@sandia.gov

Corporate Training and Development, in partnership with the Manufacturing Science and Technology Center, identified and benchmarked occupational and technical skill standards for the Advanced Manufacturing Trades Training Program (AMTTP). The AMTTP ensures that Sandia's R&D organizations will remain viable and have world-class capacity to address mission success by providing an external pipeline of skilled workers. The AMTTP recruits and trains students in crucial trades disciplines of electronic fabrication, machining, and materials science. Phases consist of Mutual Education of Skills Training (MEST) and Specific Trades Training. (3500, 14100) Carla Forrest, cmforre@sandia.gov

A Lean/Six Sigma kaizen [continuous improvement] event focused on the MC4277 internal product acceptance process was held, with NNSA participation, by Neutron Generator Production Center 14400. The event resulted in reducing cycle time by 94 percent (29,310 to 1,766 minutes), touch time by 93 percent (5,305 to 385 minutes), pages of paper by 96 percent (578 to 26), and number of process steps by 70 percent (87 to 26). The estimated annual savings is $203,000 per year. The process analyses and information from this event was also used to successfully request NNSA to discontinue their formal product acceptance process for the MC4277. (14400) Ruben Muniz, munizrb@sandia.gov

A one-year Production Staging Project was undertaken to demonstrate the benefits of high-speed machining in encapsulation mold fabrication. This technique maximizes metal removal rate and avoids tool chatter by taking advantage of the vibrational characteristics of standard machining tools. The molds were machined in 38 percent less time with 50 percent better surface finishes on average than called for without the use of hand polishing. Tolerances were within their design specifications. The decrease in machining time alone accounts for a 20 percent decrease in mold cost. (14100, 14400) Bernhard Jokiel, Jr., bjokie@sandia.gov

The Neutron Generator Production Center hosted the first annual Neutron Generator Supplier Conference last October. Conference objectives were to increase awareness of the nuclear weapons mission at Sandia, give suppliers a history of neutron generator production, and emphasize the importance of suppliers in this important national mission. The conference communicated performance expectations in the areas of quality and delivery. Nineteen commercial suppliers in the NG supply chain representing more than 80 percent of purchase dollars attended the conference, organized by the Purchase Material Team with the assistance of Supplier Relations. (14400, 10200) Lorraine Sena-Rondeau, lsenar@sandia.gov

Fundamental understanding of electrically induced strain development during the hot poling process has solved a cracking problem in current stack production. Results have led to a no-cost process change that improved hot poling yields from the low 60 percentile to greater than 95 percent, eliminated potential design changes to current stacks, and significantly reduced overall production costs. A high level of sustained effort from the current stack team, combined with the above improvement, has helped reverse our inventory position, so that we are now significantly ahead of neutron generator production demand. (14100, 1800, 2500) Pin Yang, pyang@sandia.gov

Last modified: March 14 , 2003

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