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Vol. 56, No. 6           March 19, 2004
[Sandia National Laboratories]

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

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Labs' tools to help NASA get shuttles space-bound again Test Capabilities Revitalization project to modernize Sandia weapon test complex Test capabilities: Looking toward future Test Capabilities Revitalization: Unique facilities, unique challenges TCR Phase 2 to begin next year with Area 1 complex Clean air high on TCR priority list Sandians T.Y. Chu and Tony Chen named Asian American Engineers of the Year



Labs' tools to help NASA get shuttles space-bound again

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By John German

The multicolored printouts Dennis Roach (6252) rips off an extra-wide printer in his lab could be some sort of abstract art. Soft blues and greens cover most of the page, but in several areas there are spots of red surrounded by rings of orange and yellow.

To the people at NASA responsible for resurrecting the space shuttle program from last January's Columbia tragedy, the images are a sight for sore eyes -- laboratory science applied to one of the space agency's most pressing problems: how to certify that key orbiter components are spaceworthy before allowing the remainin

shuttles to fly again.

Last month, NASA funded Sandia to develop nondestructive inspection hardware, techniques, and standards that will lead to a scientifically rigorous shuttle certification process. The process would be applied prior to the shuttle program's return-to-flight mission and before each

successive mission after that.

"This could be a defect, perhaps a degradation of the wing composite resulting from an impact or abrasion of the coating," says Dennis, pointing to one of the red spots.

Phil Walkington (6252) locates the corresponding spot on a shuttle wing section sitting on a nearby table, a part salvaged from the shuttle Discovery.

"It tells us that we need to look more closely for other evidence of a defect, either on the surface or inside the composite material," Phil says.

Echoes of vibrations

The 2-D images are created using data from an ultrasonic scanner. The scanner uses beams of high-frequency sound waves to detect surface and subsurface flaws as the sound waves travel through the material and are reflected at interfaces and flaws in the orbiter's wings. The wings are made of quarter-inch-thick reinforced carbon-carbon material with a thin silicon-carbide coating.

The wings' leading edges are important flight safety features because they must survive the incredibly harsh environment of atmospheric reentry, during which leading-edge temperatures can reach 3,000 degrees F.

NASA scientists now believe, with Sandia's help (Lab News, Sept. 5, 2003), that a piece of foam insulation from the shuttle's external fuel tank fell off during launch and damaged the underside of Columbia's right wing, which caused the wing's internal structure to overheat, melt, and disintegrate during reentry.

Certifying for reentry

The Sandia team's work began last May when NASA's Shuttle Safety Advisory Board asked DOE and NASA labs to investigate and propose ways to improve nondestructive inspection (NDI) methods for certifying the flightworthiness of orbiter wing leading edges.

NASA's goal was to obtain a turnkey inspection system that could be used in a Kennedy Space Center hangar to certify the safety of shuttle wings prior to NASA's first return-to-flight

mission, now scheduled for spring 2005. The NDI device had to be deployed without removing the leading-edge panels from the wing. It also needed to be quickly deployable following each successive orbiter mission.

Previously, orbiter wings were inspected between missions by technicians looking at the wings carefully and perhaps running their fingers over their surfaces to feel for anomalies, says Dennis. Following the Columbia accident, NASA wanted a more rigorous inspection and certification process, one backed by hard scientific documentation.

Combination of techniques

The agency envisioned a combination of nondestructive inspection methods -- including ultrasonics, eddy current, thermography, and radiography techniques -- that together would lead to flight certification.

Impact damage, microcracks in the exterior coating, oxidation in the carbon-carbon layer, subsurface gaps between layers, and adhesive disbonds all need to be discovered and corrected prior to launch, Dennis says.

In addition, the advancing age of the two-decade-old orbiters gives rise to a need for more advanced monitoring techniques, he says.

"Orbiters are similar to aging commercial airliners in that way," he says. "This is an area where we think we can help NASA."

Sandia's Airworthiness Assurance Center (AANC), funded by the FAA, develops and evaluates NDI techniques as part of its work to improve methods for certifying aging commercial airliners for continued service.

The center, managed by Airworthiness Assurance Dept. 6252, was established in 1991 as an extension of Sandia's nondestructive testing (NDT) capabilities. Advanced Diagnostics and Testing Dept. 9122 continues to provide NDT support to Sandia projects and various external customers.

Looking for the same thing

In seven short months the Sandia team selected and assembled hardware and designed and tested a tripod mount for the ultrasonic scanner that could reach all surfaces of a shuttle wing.

NASA selected Sandia in December to lead the development of the ultrasonic inspection system and funded the project in February. NASA Langley is leading development of the eddy current and thermography systems, and NASA Marshall is leading the development of the radiography system, with Sandia as a team member.

Kyle Thompson (9122) heads Sandia's work to support NASA Marshall's development of radiographic (X-ray) techniques to find flaws.

"My role has been to investigate the current radiographic technologies and determine what's the best technique to use, and also determine if it's feasible to do an on-wing inspection and what kind of trade-offs you have to make," he says.

Dennis describes the different technical approaches as complementary. Ultrasonics, for instance, has the advantage of deeper penetration into materials, whereas other techniques might find surface cracks with more fidelity.

"For the most part, we're all looking for the same thing," he says. "One method might find something and the others would be used to support those findings."

Return to flight

The Sandia team initially evaluated and refined their inspection methods and hardware using carbon-composite samples with known defects created by the Sandia team. Later, as part of the selection process, a NASA engineer hand-carried orbiter wing samples to all the labs involved in the project and asked that each lab try to find defects known only to NASA scientists.

"Our ultrasonic scanning method performed very well," says Phil.

The Sandia team now is developing the revised inspection and certification protocols and standards that can be readily integrated into NASA's Shuttle Orbiter Processing Facility at Kennedy Space Center for routine inspections after each orbiter flight.

"We are hopeful that by this fall NASA will be using Sandia's tools and approaches to safely and reliably certify an orbiter for NASA's first return-to-flight mission and for each successive orbiter reentry exposure after that," says Dennis.

Team members include Phil, Dennis, Kyle, Kirk Rackow (6252), Dick Perry (6252 Manager), Michael Hassard (9122), Steve Younghouse (9122), Mark Garrett (9122 Manager), and Jose Hernandez (NASA). -- John German

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Test Capabilities Revitalization project to modernize Sandia weapon test complex

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By Will Keener

They call it "TCR" for Test Capabilities Revitalization. Second only in construction scope to the giant Microsystems and Engineering Sciences Applications (MESA) project, it is a $110-million push toward Sandia's future as a world-class engineering laboratory. TCR will eventually reach from the Lurance Canyon Test Area to Area 3 to Area 1 and will bring the Labs' large-scale testing and associated science capabilities into the 21st century, its planners say.

The project, which broke ground last month and will continue through 2009, sets the stage for continuing Sandia leadership in stockpile stewardship, new weapon design, and cutting-edge science for the Labs' modeling and simulation strategy.

"Engineering science is a balance between modeling and simulation work and having tests to confirm your predictions and develop an understanding of the processes," said Tom Hunter, Senior VP for Defense Programs (9000) at the groundbreaking ceremony in mid-February. "This enables us to move forward and demonstrate what engineering will be like in the future."

"Sandia's modeling and simulation strategy demands test and experimental data across a spectrum from the subscale to full-scale systems," said Tom Bickel, Director of Engineering Sciences (9100). "The TCR investment -- moving from test-based understanding of our systems to greater reliance on validated numerical models -- represents a paradigm shift," says Tom. "The combination of computer simulation and full-scale testing is what makes engineering exciting."

Two-phase project

Phase 1 of TCR involves revitalization of the Aerial Cable Facility in Sol Se Mete Canyon and construction of a new Thermal Test Complex in Area 3. Work is under way at both sites with total construction costs estimated at $36.45 million. TCR Phase 2 will move into design next year, with an estimated $55.6 million in construction costs through the project's end.

Facilities to be addressed in Phase 2 include the Labs' 29-foot and 35-foot centrifuges, the 10,000-foot sled track, mechanical shock facility, vibration and acoustics testing facility, and a central service support facility, all in Area 3. In addition a proposed 67,000-square-foot Experimental Sciences Complex would be constructed in Area 1. (For more information, see "TCR Phase 2 . . . " on page 7.)

Phase 1 plans call for a complete renovation of the aerial cable site to increase capabilities for pull-down tests (using rocket motors), gravity drop tests, and simulated flight along a cable, says Mike Valley, project manager for Sandia's test organization and staff member in Mechanical Environments Dept. 9134. Four new cable systems will be installed, with new anchors, pulleys, sheaves, control winches, and a rocket sled catch box.

Down the hill from the cable site, a new 5,000-square-foot building will house a control room with capability to observe six camera stations at the site, plus storage and assembly areas. The building (Bldg. 9838) will be linked by dual laser communication systems with the test organization's newly revamped Validation and Qualification Sciences Experimental Complex (Bldg. 6584) in Area 3.

"Inherent in what we are doing is the creation of an infrastructure to support our new instrumentation and data demands," says Steve Heffelfinger, Manager of Mechanical Environments Dept. 9134. "We are working to achieve a higher design philosophy. If you drop something and it doesn't break, that's one thing. But understanding why it responded using a lot of advanced diagnostic tools and having the infrastructure to support them is another."

Construction of this $8 million project has been awarded to Summit Construction Inc., an Albuquerque-based general contractor. The new control building, cable improvements, and infrastructure upgrades will be done by the end of the year.

"Safety, security, and data acquisition and control will all be improved in the new design," says Mike. "The improved quality of the data enhances confidence in the tests. It makes for a win-win situation for the test organization and its customers."

Thermal Test Complex

The other major thrust in Phase 1 will be a new Thermal Test Complex, designed to help support Sandia's ongoing fire science research. The project will replace Area 3's Radiant Heat Facility (Bldg. 636, which will be demolished) and some functions at the remote Lurance Canyon Burn Site.

An essential consideration in planning the Thermal Test Complex was protection of the environment, while assuring that Sandia could continue to support its nuclear weapons mission. (See "Clean Air" on next page.)

"The primary mission driver is to be able to understand fire environments for weapons qualification," says Lou Gritzo, Manager of Fire Science and Technology Dept. 9132. "We write some of the most sophisticated computer models in the world and we need to validate those models with high-quality data. We can get the scientific investigation data to provide the knowledge we need, which is called discovery data, and get data to validate computational models. Then at the end of the day, we want to be able to test real systems in real environments."

Sandia will be able to test full-scale weapon systems, without the special nuclear materials, to determine that the non-nuclear safety systems will keep the weapon safe. "You always want to do that reality check. You don't want to believe the model alone. You want to assure yourself that there are no hidden subtleties that you may have missed," says Lou.

The new complex, says Lou, will offer advanced capabilities in three distinct areas -- fires under calm conditions, fires under cross-wind conditions, and radiant heating to determine how an object reacts to the heat of fire. The complex will have three primary parts: the FLAME Test Cell, the Thermal Test Facility, and the Cross-Flow Test Fire Facility, or XTF.

FLAME Test Cell

The FLAME Test Cell is a 50-foot-high, 60-foot-diameter cylinder offering the ability to conduct liquid- or gas-fuel fire and radiant heat testing. FLAME offers the potential to use liquid fuels, like JP-8 and methanol, burned in a pan beneath a test object. Beneath the movable pan will be gas burners for use with hydrogen, methane, or other gases. Radiant heat testing will be possible with use of a 5.2-megawatt quartz lamp array.

In all cases, water-cooled walls and airflow equipment will help control the boundary conditions for the fire environment. Scientists will use laser diagnostic equipment to study the fire physics. An adjustable 150,000-cubic-feet-per-minute airflow system will allow experimenters to accurately control the combination of radiant heat and convective heat much better than in the past. Fires will reach 20 megawatts of energy, with temperatures up to 1,100 degrees C.

"It's hard to get repeatable fire data suitable for high-quality science, so we can understand the physics of fire and compare our measurements with predictions from models," says Lou. The FLAME facility is an important step up from the smaller facility currently available in Lurance Canyon. "We're interested in big fires that are fully turbulent where the physics mirror high-consequence events. To study big fires you need an enclosure large enough so that the walls don't strongly affect the fire."

FLAME and XTF will be controlled from the Thermal Test Facility, which will house a control room, office space, shop and assembly areas for test setups, a smaller radiant heat test cell, and an abnormal-thermal-science lab for tabletop-scale fire physics studies. It will also be home for environmental chambers, large enough to support weapon systems tests with humidity and heat controls, a diagnostics development lab, and laser measurement rooms for the FLAME Test Cell.

Fires under wind conditions

The Cross Flow Test Fire Facility (XTF) rounds out the complex. It includes a low-speed wind tunnel for fire testing articles that may include hazardous materials, including explosives. XTF will be a 25-by-25-foot tunnel, 80 feet long, designed to survive unplanned explosions. It will be constructed with 30-inch reinforced concrete walls, combined with a six-inch covering of refractory concrete, a material used in rocket pad construction. XTF will also offer radiant test capabilities, to allow for maximum flexibility in testing.

"We know cross-wind fires are significantly different with much higher heat transfer and higher temperatures. XTF gives us capabilities to study these effects," says Lou.

In addition to fire research tied directly to weapons, the field has increased in importance in recent years because of the threat of terrorism, Lou notes. "We've been very busy doing work related to fire vulnerabilities from terrorist threats. These facilities will allow us to do the research we need to improve homeland security."

Hensel Phelps Construction Co., a national general contractor with Albuquerque offices, won the thermal complex contract for this $28 million project, with an expected completion date of spring 2005. -- Will Keener

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Test capabilities: Looking toward future

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By Will Keener

To make the Test Capabilities Revitalization (TCR) project work, planners looked to the future, not the past. "It wouldn't be enough merely to restore our test capabilities to the way they were in the 1980s," says Jaime Moya, Manager of Validation and Qualification Sciences Group 9130. "Our philosophy is to focus on our new missions."

Sandia's Cold War test equipment is now 50 years old in some cases. In shifting emphasis away from large-scale testing in the early 1990s, decision-makers knew that some of the test equipment would necessarily fall into disuse. (The last full-scale weapons development activities at Sandia were completed in 1989.)

"There was a change in the culture and funding structure for Sandia's experimental capabilities," says Jaime. "We went through a decade of decline . . . it was a difficult 10 years." The period saw little investment in infrastructure or staff until Sandia's Nuclear Weapons Strategic Management Unit realized capabilities had slipped below an acceptable threshold.

A white paper in 2000 outlined problems for the leadership, leading to a decision to proceed with TCR.

Jaime cites support from a variety of sources for making TCR a reality, including Tom Hunter, Senior VP for Defense Programs (9000), Tom Bickel, Director of Engineering Sciences (9100), and Kathleen McCaughey, now Director for the Neutron Generator Production Center 14400. "Kathleen and Paul Hommert (formerly 9100) had a lot of foresight back in the time when we merged test and computational activities into one center. Kathleen, Paul, and Tom have always been advocates for us. They had a vision of what we could do and set us on a vector for success. Sometimes that took a lot of leadership courage."

Time of transformation

New demands on Sandia's test facilities -- from the microscopic scale to the scale of a complete weapon system -- require planners to create spaces and tools needed for future generations of testing and development activities. This means designing new kinds of laboratories for bench-scale work and new, building-sized experimental equipment for understanding problems at full-scale.

"Revitalization is exactly the right word," says Jaime. "We are looking forward to meeting the needs of this very dynamic mission environment."

The revitalization project is coming at a time when "a major transformation in the stockpile is in progress," notes Tom Hunter. "TCR will allow us to test in environments we haven't been able to test in the past," he says. Life extension programs, including W76 Mod 1, W80 Mod 3, and B61 Alt 357, will require development and qualification testing at the new facilities.

"TCR is an important investment in meeting the mission of the stockpile stewardship program," says Dr. Kevin Greenaugh, Director of the National Nuclear Security Administration's Office of Stockpile Assessments and Certification. "Modern testing and experiments enabled by TCR, integrated with advance computing supported by computers like Red Storm now under development at Sandia, will inject vigor into the engineering sciences capabilities of Sandia and give new life to the stockpile."

(Seattle-based supercomputer manufacturer Cray is teaming with Sandia on Red Storm, which is expected to be up and running this year at a beginning peak speed of 40 trillion calculations per second.)

Invisible infrastructure

To achieve that integration between testing and computer simulation, the largely invisible testing infrastructure must be significantly upgraded, says Steve Heffelfinger, Manager of Mechanical Environments Dept. 9134.

"The character of the work has changed substantially over the past 10 years as we moved from a trial-and-error approach toward a simulation-based design," says Steve, who helped to write the pivotal 2000 white paper. "The character of the experiments is different, the character of the instrumentation is different, and the quantity and quality of the data is different. We need a new infrastructure to support these different demands."

One example is photometric data. "Historically, photometrics has been the key data element. Now to couple those images to advanced modeling, we need more quantitative data," explains Mike Valley, co-project manager (9134). "With faster computers and digital cameras we are taking advantage of precision data that was unimaginable a few years ago."

Fiber optic transmission lines, in parallel with traditional copper lines, will provide much higher data densities than in the past.

Another example is power requirements. "If you want to use advanced diagnostic tools you must have reliable clean power," says Jaime. In the case of the aerial cable site, power is being routed to sites where generators were used in the past. "This will make the quality of the data much more robust," says Jaime.

TCR planners have also looked to the future with: upgrades in security features to support classified information; resolution of safety and environmental compliance issues; and consolidation of capabilities that were spread across the site in the past. -- Will Keener

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Test Capabilities Revitalization: Unique facilities, unique challenges

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By Will Keener

There is a common thought among the team members working on TCR. "This is exciting work," they say. "There's a lot of pride of ownership in our facilities and our capabilities and we are eager to engage in support of all our missions," says Jaime Moya, Manager of Sandia's Validation and Qualification Group 9130.

"It's exciting to be developing new capabilities for new science," says Mike Valley, TCR project manager for the test organization (9134). But it's also tough work for the entire team, he and his counterpart Paul Schlavin concede. Paul is the facilities project manager for TCR and a staff member in the Labs' Corporate Projects Dept. 10824.

Paul estimates that up to 150 people have been involved in the planning and execution of TCR to date.

"This is clearly not a typical office or light lab project," says Paul. Although every project has its unique aspects, TCR is essentially about "creating process equipment on a building scale. We're talking about 20-megawatt fires in a seven-story oven," Paul says, referring to the new FLAME Test Cell. Other parts of the project push the limits in mechanical, radiant heat, environmental protection, and blast technology.

The two project managers teamed with Bob Paulsen, Manager of New Mexico Stockpile Issues and Planning Dept. 2134, to determine what kinds of testing are needed and what facilities can provide them. "I bring the high-level requirements from the weapons community and I also help set priorities on what needs to be completed when," says Bob.

"Historically, we've had to depend on burn facilities in the Canyon Area for full-scale thermal testing," says Bob. "We were concerned that in the future, environmental restrictions might not allow that. We started by looking at the modification of an existing igloo in the Canyon Area, but Paul and Mike suggested we move some capabilities together indoors into Area 3. When we looked at the budget, it seemed possible.

"The Thermal Test Complex will allow us to test a full-scale weapon, minus the nuclear materials, indoors with a very controlled fire. With tests to validate the modeling, engineers will be able to computationally adjust conditions of the fire and orientations of the weapon and begin to understand how the weapon will respond in great detail," Bob explains. "That knowledge becomes critical in the event that a weapon might be involved in a transportation accident, for example."

"Everyone on the project has been faced with designing new solutions to meet issues. Every element has been carefully engineered to meet the system need," Paul says. In the case of the one-of-a-kind Thermal Test Complex facilities, staff members Alex Brown, Jill Suo-Anttila, Tom Blanchat, Walt Gill, and Jim Nakos (all 9132) worked hard doing analyses to support the design for FLAME, XTF, and the Electro-static Precipitator. Sheldon Tieszen (also 9132) assembled a team of thermal specialists to provide design input as well.

Another unique aspect of the TCR project has been the close working relationship among weapons customers, the test organization, and the construction team. "We have worked closely with the construction plans for the cable site and we actually have tests planned there before the project is complete," says Bob. At the aerial cable site, construction contract language calls for work to stop during specified blocks of time later this year so that weapon-related drop tests can be conducted at the site.

In addition to their liaison with Bob and the technical line, Mike and Paul are linked in an organizational chart with boxes reaching to DOE for oversight and funding; support teams in architecture and a variety of engineering disciplines; and support staff in security, safety, environment, finance, purchasing, land use, and other areas.

"We have a team approach with some good players involved," says Mike. "The key to success for our aggressive schedule has been strong support from senior management, strong buy-in from the organizations involved, and timely responses from the people."

"The strong support by Dr. Kevin Greenaugh at DOE headquarters and the shared vision between DOE and Sandia have been very

helpful. To make a huge investment like this, you need a strong, integrated team to move forward," says Jaime -- Will Keener

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TCR Phase 2 to begin next year with Area 1 complex

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By Will Keener

Design efforts will begin next year on Phase 2 of Sandia's Test Capabilities Revitalization (TCR) project, which will overlap the Phase 1 work now under way. Phase 2 will involve improvements to the Labs' thermal, vibration, acoustic, shock, centrifuge, structural mechanics, and rocket sled test facilities.

Perhaps the most visible part of Phase 2 will be the construction of the Experimental Sciences Complex (ESC) in Area 1. Current plans call for a 67,000-square-foot structure that will bring together workspaces, some 15 labs including characterization and specialty labs, radiographic diagnostic tools equipment, wind tunnels, and supporting shops. The ESC will consolidate research, development, and testing to develop tools to move from test-based certification to validated modeling and simulation certification, planners say.

The functions of these labs include model and simulation development, characterizing material properties and performance, measuring structural or system response to a test environment, development of diagnostics, and other research and science-based engineering activities. New diagnostics will be needed to study the test environments that weapons are subjected to and for quantifying weapon system performance.

Some of the ESC labs will play an important role in weapons component certification. The ESC staff will include new employees, visiting researchers, students, and Labs researchers to be relocated from Bldgs. 860, 865, and 880.

Among the plans for Phase 2:

An upgraded central services facility for Area 3 is also in the second phase of the proposal. This facility would involve renovations of Bldgs. 6710, 6711, and 6712 for long-term storage, a central machine shop, and a light-assembly area. Currently these functions are provided independently at each test facility. A number of older temporary buildings and storage/transportation containers will be removed as a part of this plan. -- Will Keener

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Clean air high on TCR priority list

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By Will Keener

An important aspect of the Thermal Test Complex -- obvious to all who see the drawing of the proposed facility -- is the state-of-the-art electrostatic precipitation system.

This high-efficiency air filtration system -- connected to the test complex with an elaborate ducting system -- uses electrically charged plates to trap particles from the fire emissions. The particles are diverted to a special collection tank, explains Mike Valley, co-project manager (9134). "Sandia is taking this extra step to make sure any materials coming out of the fire are filtered prior to the air being discharged."

Sandia's plans to keep the environment clean and minimize the impact of testing garnered praise from Patty Wagner, Sandia Site Office Manager for the NNSA. "Installation of this system shows that Sandia is conscious of working in this community and protective of the environment," she says.

Sandia examined a number of possibilities and selected the one with the lowest life-cycle cost and highest efficiency, says Mike. The system will cost about $3 million. Because the system uses no

liquids, it significantly minimizes and simplifies waste handling for the Labs' Hazardous Waste Management employees. -- Will Keener

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hr>
TCR Phase 2 to begin next year with Area 1 complex

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By Will Keener

Design efforts will begin next year on Phase 2 of Sandia's Test Capabilities Revitalization (TCR) project, which will overlap the Phase 1 work now under way. Phase 2 will involve improvements to the Labs' thermal, vibration, acoustic, shock, centrifuge, structural mechanics, and rocket sled test facilities.

Perhaps the most visible part of Phase 2 will be the construction of the Experimental Sciences Complex (ESC) in Area 1. Current plans call for a 67,000-square-foot structure that will bring together workspaces, some 15 labs including characterization and specialty labs, radiographic diagnostic tools equipment, wind tunnels, and supporting shops. The ESC will consolidate research, development, and testing to develop tools to move from test-based certification to validated modeling and simulation certification, planners say.

The functions of these labs include model and simulation development, characterizing material properties and performance, measuring structural or system response to a test environment, development of diagnostics, and other research and science-based engineering activities. New diagnostics will be needed to study the test environments that weapons are subjected to and for quantifying weapon system performance.

Some of the ESC labs will play an important role in weapons component certification. The ESC staff will include new employees, visiting researchers, students, and Labs researchers to be relocated from Bldgs. 860, 865, and 880.

Among the plans for Phase 2:

An upgraded central services facility for Area 3 is also in the second phase of the proposal. This facility would involve renovations of Bldgs. 6710, 6711, and 6712 for long-term storage, a central machine shop, and a light-assembly area. Currently these functions are provided independently at each test facility. A number of older temporary buildings and storage/transportation containers will be removed as a part of this plan. -- Will Keener

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Sandians T.Y. Chu and Tony Chen among Asian American Engineers of the Year

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By Nancy Garcia

"Xie xie" (thank you), T.Y. Chu (9100) concluded as he accepted an Asian American Engineer of the Year award at an event hosted by the Chinese Institute of Engineers/USA (CIE/USA) at the end of National Engineers Week.

He and Tony Chen (8763) were among 14 awardees this year and shared the unusual distinction of representing the same institution. Both Sandians were acknowledged, said Tony's director, Jill Hruby (8700), due to the strength of their applications.

Labs President C. Paul Robinson attended the Santa Clara, Calif., event to introduce both Sandia winners. He pointed to T.Y.'s international recognition for nuclear reactor safety research during his 27-year career, and said both winners are "two folks trying to create a new world."

Tony, a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), has worked 25 years at Sandia, the last seven at the California site, where he manages Science-Based Materials Modeling Dept. 8763. An expert in fracture mechanics, he had taught at his alma mater, Lehigh University, and transitioned to Sandia to do something practical, he said. Here he built a national reputation for his department, hiring 14 students in the last five years, joining a new nano- and biosciences section, and applying his expertise to problems as broad as rock fracture in the Yucca Mountain high-level nuclear waste repository, oil shale blasting, and aerospace materials.

A senior scientist at Sandia and also an ASME fellow, T.Y. currently serves as adviser for the director of the Office of Stockpile Assessments and Certification at the National Nuclear Security Administration in Washington D.C., where his wife Margaret, Sandia's former director of Nuclear Waste Management, directs DOE's Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management. His doctoral research on turbulent thermal convection has become a classic reference. His work has spanned electronics packaging and manufacturing, nuclear reactor safety, geothermal, and, most recently, science-based nuclear weapon stewardship. He has made key contributions in the validation of computational tools and their integration with testing and experiments for weapon assessment and qualification.

T.Y. called himself "honored and humbled to be in the company of giants in our profession."

Both he and Tony thanked their management for fostering their success. Sandia, Tony said, "provides a stable environment to grow and mature."

The award is based largely on achievement and impact, but also on service. Both researchers have been active in local affiliates of CIE/USA (Tony was founding president of the New Mexico chapter, and T.Y. is a past president) and Sandia outreach groups. Tony still takes a professorial interest in his staff, having lunch with them almost daily and helping newer members acclimate to the culture as well as guiding technical work -- Nancy Garcia

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