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R&D Projects

This page is included to give visitors to the web site a sample of the R&D work that this Center undertakes. The Manufacturing Science & Technology Center works mainly in the Development-to-Application part of the Research-to-Development-to-Application cycle.Staff in the Center, however, do perform work in the research-to-development area with the aim of providing our customers with more robust, quicker, and/or less expensive processes to meet Sandia’s manufacturing needs. We also do R&D to develop processes required for the manufacture of specialized materials and components that can no longer be obtained either in the commercial market or at one of the DOE’s production facilities.

Within Sandia, most manufacturing R&D is carried out by the Manufacturing Science & Technology Center, 2400, the Materials and Process Sciences Center, 1800, the Integrated Manufacturing Systems Center, 8200, and the Intelligent Systems and Robotics Center, 6600.Much of the R&D involves cooperative programs among these Centers, and all of the examples below involve multiple organizations. Resources for the research and development activities come from one of four sources: laboratory directed research and development, Defense Programs, funds-in from industrial partners, and the DOE Technology Partnership Program. Representative examples of each of these activities are given below.

Laboratory Directed Research and Development

Advanced Machine Processes for Microfabrication:

  25x25 micron trench in AI   25 micron diameter end mill

25x25 micron trench in AI


25 micron diameter end mill

This three-year R&D project’s objective is to fabricate subminiature parts with non-planar surfaces from engineering materials such as steels, kovar, plastics, and ceramics. Focused ion beam and ion accelerators are being used to produce micron-sized features and tools in a variety of metals. An excimer laser is being investigated as a means to fabricate micron-sized features in ceramics, magnetic materials, and polymers.

  Metal Cutting of 6061-T6 Aluminum   Micro-end mill machining PMMA

Metal cutting of 6061-T6 aluminum alloy


Micro-end mill machining PMMA

Defense Programs Sponsored R&D:

A solution-derived ferroelectric ceramic is being developed for use as a compact electrical power source.  This unique "chem prep" process gives greater compositional and microstructure control and, thus, a more predictable output when compared to the traditional mixed oxide, powder process.  This effort was initiated to secure a supply of material which is now unavailable.

  LENS(TM) fabricated housing

LENS(TM) fabricated housing

Cooperative R&D Agreements (CRADAs) with Industry:

Laser Engineered Net Shaping (LENSTM):
This technology development effort was an outgrowth of a previous CRADA. This effort uses computer-controlled lasers that, in hours, weld air-blown streams of metallic powders into custom parts and manufacturing molds. Ten companies are teaming with Sandia to bring this technology to market in a two-year effort. This project receives funds from industry and the Technology Partnership Program.