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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 8 Materials Science and Engineering Laboratory PANEL MEMBERS Bernard H. Kear, Rutgers University, Chair John D. Axe, Brookhaven National Laboratory Lance A. Davis, Allied-Signal, Inc. Thomas W. Eagar, Massachusetts Institute of Technology William W. Graessley, Princeton University John A. S. Green, Martin Marietta Laboratories Robert E. Green, Jr., Johns Hopkins University Victoria F. Haynes, The B.F. Goodrich Company D. Lynn Johnson, Northwestern University Ronald M. Latanision, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Frank A. McClintock, Massachusetts Institute of Technology James E. Nottke, E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, Inc. Richard A. Page, Southwest Research Institute Harvey W. Schadler, General Electric Corporate Research and Development Bernhard R. Tittmann, Pennsylvania State University Submitted for the panel by its Chair, Bernard H. Kear, this assessment of the fiscal year 1993 activities of the Materials Science and Engineering Laboratory programs is based on a site visit by and meeting of the panel on May 13-14, 1993, and on the annual report of the laboratory. LABORATORY OVERVIEW Mission The Materials Science and Engineering Laboratory (MSEL) stimulates increasingly effective production and use of materials by working with industry in the development and application of materials metrology, technology, standards, and critically evaluated data. MSEL generates and disseminates technical information on the fundamental aspects of processing, structure, properties, and performance of materials. MSEL serves U.S. industry, government, academia, and the scientific and engineering communities. Strategies MSEL endeavors to maintain recognition as a leading laboratory for materials science and engineering technology in the United States and to provide U.S. industry and the broader science and engineering communities with access to unique research and metrology capabilities.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 MSEL's programs and projects selectively focus on economically important products and industries through collaboration with materials producers and users. MSEL seeks to maximize the dissemination and use of the results of materials science and engineering research through close collaboration with those in the United States who could benefit from MSEL's services. MSEL collaborates in performing fundamental research, makes unique research facilities readily accessible to qualified engineers and scientists, validates materials measurement data, certifies reference materials, participates in national and international standards-making activities, actively transfers its technology developments, and pursues the joint development of technology through Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) and consortia. MSEL provides technical assistance to NIST's Advanced Technology Program (ATP) and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership to increase the reach and leverage of MSEL-industry interactions. MSEL collaborates with other NIST laboratories to optimize research and measurement services to industry. Resources MSEL's fiscal year 1992 budget was approximately $54 million, including capital equipment acquisitions. MSEL had a total staff of 390, of whom 88 percent were in scientific or technical support positions. In addition, MSEL attracted 521 visiting scientists and engineers during fiscal year 1992 for collaborative research in MSEL's laboratories or to utilize MSEL's special facilities (e.g., research reactor, national Cold Neutron Research Facility). These guest collaborators were from U.S. industry, academia, other federal agencies, and foreign institutions. Their stays at MSEL ranged from weeks to years. These non-NIST researchers leverage MSEL staff and resources significantly and serve as an effective channel for two-way technology transfer. PROGRESS Cold Neutron Research Facility, a National Facility The laboratory has continued to expand its facilities and research opportunities, especially in the Cold Neutron Research Facility (CNRF). In the CNRF, 10 experimental stations have been developed and installed, and the remaining stations (for a total of 15) are at various stages of design, construction, and installation. The 10 stations include an 8-m small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) instrument, a spectrometer, a cold neutron depth-profiling facility, a neutron optics test bench, a prompt
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 gamma activation analysis station, a medium-resolution time-of-flight spectrometer, a fundamental neutron physics station, two high-resolution 39-m SANS high-resolution cold neutron reflectometers, and a spin-polarized inelastic neutron scattering (SPINS) station. A liquid hydrogen cold neutron source design has been under development to replace the current deuterium oxide (D2O) ice moderator for providing substantial gains in cold neutron fluxes. The combination of new geometry, lower operating temperature (21 K rather than 40 K), and further gains in neutron fluxes from the use of hydrogen should increase the yield of long-wavelength (cold) neutrons by a factor of at least 2 over the D2O moderator. The new hydrogen cold source and the remaining three neutron guide tubes are scheduled for installation by the end of 1993. The formal user program for access to the CNRF, successfully launched in late 1991, has completed a third call for proposals for research projects using the CNRF. This most recent announcement was directed toward the use of three additional instruments: the cold neutron reflectometers, the medium-resolution time-of-flight spectrometer, and the SPINS spectrometer. The number of non-NIST research participants using facilities for both thermal and cold neutron research has grown rapidly in recent years, especially since the start of the commissioning of CNRF's instruments, and has exceeded 750 since the panel's fiscal year 1992 meeting. Intelligent Processing of Materials Since receiving initial funding in fiscal year 1991, MSEL has expanded its leadership role in the development of the concept of intelligent processing of materials based on the integration of in situ sensing, process modeling, and computer-based systems to control the evolution of materials microstructures. The overall program focuses on the dual goals of developing the generic scientific and technological underpinning for the intelligent processing of materials and, by means of selected pilot projects, encouraging industry to pursue, adopt, and adapt this powerful new approach to materials processing. Building on a successful 2-year (1987-1990) NIST-U.S. industry consortium research program on intelligent processing of rapidly solidified metal powder by inert gas atomization, a phase 2 consortium of five companies and the Department of Energy has focused on process modeling, real-time particle size sensing, and on-line control. The consortium is attaining its goal of developing subsystems and methodologies for implementation by its members. Examples of currently available technologies are an expert control system shell running on Macintosh computers, a particle sizing computer code, and a computational fluid dynamics code portable to most computer systems. Workshops are now being
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 used to transfer these technologies. The first of a series of single-topic tutorial workshops for consortium members was held in 1992 and covered powder safety and the use of off-line and in situ particle sizing hardware and software. In addition, planning efforts were completed with the American Iron and Steel Institute for a major research program on steel processing. NIST proposals in two of the six program components have been approved by the American Iron and Steel Institute and the Department of Energy for fiscal year 1993 funding. The two NIST proposals involve developing process models for the thermomechanical processing of steel and developing magnetic sensors for on-line determination of the mechanical properties of sheet steel. Federal Advisory Service Since 1991, MSEL has played a leadership role in the development of federal materials research and development strategy through the Federal Coordinating Council for Science, Engineering, and Technology (FCCSET). MSEL's director, as chair of FCCSET's Committee on Materials (COMAT), led an agency-wide program and budget assessment that was the basis for the 1993 federal Advanced Materials and Processing initiative. COMAT increased federal agency awareness of materials issues, increased interagency planning and coordination, provided an inventory of all federal research and development in materials science and technology, and generated a plan for increased private-sector involvement in federal planning. To coordinate further program planning, COMAT established task groups as focal points for interagency planning and interfacing with the private sector. ASSESSMENT OF DIVISION PROGRAMS The Materials Science and Engineering Laboratory consists of the Metallurgy, Polymers, Ceramics, and Reactor Radiation divisions located in Gaithersburg, Maryland; the Materials Reliability Division located at the Boulder, Colorado, laboratories; and the Office of Intelligent Processing of Materials, located in Gaithersburg, Maryland, which sponsors cross-cutting research throughout NIST (Figure 8.1). The panel's review of MSEL core programs carried out by these units includes the observations of progress made since the panel's 1992 program review and its findings and recommendations based on the fiscal year 1993 assessment.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 FIGURE 8.1 Organization and structure of the Materials Science and Engineering Laboratory.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 Metallurgy Division Activities Overview. Materials processing is firmly established as the central thrust of the Metallurgy Division's programs, with a clear focus on process control via sensing and modeling. The division effectively assists U.S. industry through collaborations with industry and maintains its traditional strengths in materials, metrology, and characterization. The division's research, often fundamental in nature, strongly supports materials processing. The several strong data and reference materials projects maintained by the division are only a small fraction of the division's total effort. The division emphasizes liquid-solid metal processing (powder atomization, casting/solidification), electroforming, thin-film vapor deposition, processing of steel strip, and materials characterization. Liquid-Solid Metal Processing. Powder atomization research, supported in part by a consortium of five industrial partners and the Department of Energy, has completed almost 5 years of its 6-year schedule and is nearing successful completion of its main objective, i.e., measuring and controlling particle size in real time. An important spin-off in fiscal year 1992 was a separate program established with Crucible Materials Corporation, a consortium member, to pursue an approach patented by NIST for producing high-nitrogen-content stainless steels by the powder method. After completion of the consortium program, the Metallurgy Division plans to shift the main thrust of its research in liquid-solid metal processing to the Osprey process, an emerging technology that has great potential as a means of producing advanced metallurgical materials. Important contributions of the division to liquid-solid metal processing were the novel phase-field modeling of dendritic growth and the establishment of a major new consortium on the casting of aerospace alloys. The consortium affords an excellent opportunity for transferring the division's considerable expertise in solidification modeling to U.S. industry. Electroforming. The Metallurgy Division continued to apply its innovative approach for electroforming to the manufacture of high-performance metal matrix composites, namely, electrodeposition of matrix material directly onto continuous ceramic fibers that could then be consolidated to form a metal matrix composite. The division's current effort, which focuses on titanium-aluminum intermetallic alloys that have great potential for high-temperature structural applications, is aimed ultimately at forming the highest-melting-point alloy to date,
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 TiAl. So far, only TiAl3 coatings have been formed, a useful achievement that falls short of producing an equiatomic alloy; however, the concentration of titanium in the ion flux at the surface is now sufficient to produce TiAl. The subtlety of this problem illustrates the lack of basic understanding of the nucleation process. In fiscal year 1992, the division began to systematically study the alloy deposition process by involving appropriate expertise from other parts of the division in the research, an approach that is likely to pay dividends. Thin-Film Vapor Deposition. It was noted in the fiscal year 1992 assessment report (p. 190) that the program on thin-film vapor deposition, while being conducted by competent staff using state-of-the-art equipment, would benefit from direct interaction with industrial partners. Subsequently, the division initiated interactions with the Du Pont Company to study the deposition of superconducting and ferroelectric thin films by both laser ablation and sputtering, and with U.S. Thin Film Products, Inc., a leading manufacturer of sputtering guns. The additional funding obtained in fiscal year 1992 for building additional competence in thin-film vapor-deposition will help to consolidate the research in this important but poorly understood area of technology. Processing of Steel Strip. Research on processing of steel strip is aimed at the development of sensors for in situ monitoring of physical properties during cold rolling. Studies of the use of magnetic techniques to sense mechanical properties made satisfactory progress in fiscal year 1992. Thus, laboratory tests on cold- and hot-rolled samples demonstrated good correlation between mechanical properties and Barkhausen data, the latter arising from the pinning of domain walls by dislocations and other defects. In fiscal year 1993, this work will become part of a major American Iron and Steel Institute-Department of Energy program on improving process control in the steel industry. In related studies, the division's Metallurgical Sensing and Modeling Group is investigating the use of ultrasonic sensors to monitor laser-generated sound waves in sheet metal. The objective is to detect defects in the sheet metal and flaws in its galvanized coatings. Industrial collaboration is being sought through an upcoming NIST workshop on the electroplating of sheet steel. The current research is conducted in collaboration with the Electrodeposition Group, and progress is being made in integrating the sensor research with that of other processing programs in the division.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 Materials Characterization. The panel suggested in the fiscal year 1992 assessment report (p. 190) that the research on the solderability of electronic components might be extended to lead-free solders. Such an extension was undertaken in collaboration with a large industrial consortium organized by the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences. Significant progress was made in determining the potential for refrigeration from magnetic phenomena. The theoretically predicted enhancement of the magnetocaloric effect associated with nanoscale magnetic clusters was demonstrated experimentally. Research on the magnetocaloric effect was conducted as part of a CRADA with General Motors Corporation, and the phenomenon was featured at NIST's Workshop on Nanostructured Materials, held in May 1992. The impact of the extramural programs on the intramural, laboratory-based programs appears small but positive. The solderability program has benefited from ATP funding. Also, ATP recently funded a project to develop a sensing system for the melt spinning process. Both ATP projects fit the division's programmatic interests and have led to increased industrial collaborations. Recommendation for the Metallurgy Division--Fiscal Year 1993 The Metallurgy Division should promptly acquire equipment for Osprey process research. Polymers Division Overview and Activities Mission. The Polymers Division provides standards for physical measurements, measurement methods, generic technology, and fundamental concepts of polymer science for use by U.S. industries, other agencies of government, standardization bodies, and relevant technical communities. Strategy. Priorities are based on user needs and an evaluation of potential payoff. Users include resin producers, resin processors, and end product users. A principal means of technology transfer, an integral part of the Polymers Division's program, is through collaboration with users in project specification, planning, and implementation. The division has 14 CRADAs with U.S. corporations. Topical workshops are used as a cost-effective way to obtain industrial input and as a channel for the two-way transfer of technology.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 Resources Staff. The technical staff totals 48, of whom 41 hold PhDs, 12 percent are postdoctoral research associates, and 25 percent are fellows of the American Physical society. An additional 52 staff-years of effort are provided by the 54 research associates and 86 guest scientists who collaborate with division staff in joint research. The diversity of backgrounds is an asset, and group and division leaders are outstanding; however, principal investigators are spending an increasing proportion of their time on reviewing proposals, participating in workshops, and interacting with industry and academia rather than in research. The division has increasingly involved graduate students in its research, thereby improving its recruiting, leveraging resources, and managing a variable labor supply and skill base; however, nearly all graduate students attracted to date are from local institutions. Equipment. The Polymers Division has a wide range of special equipment for measuring small-angle x-ray scattering, solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance, charge distribution from forced Rayleigh scattering, fluorescence lifetimes, and dielectric spectra. In addition, the division manages the 8-m small-angle neutron scattering instrument at NIST's CNRF. Facilities are shared with qualified external scientists and engineers and in some cases have been used by industry for proprietary measurements. The upgrading of the x-ray facility and the arrangement of access to state-of-the-art electron microscope facilities by cross-division partnering should move the division toward a better position with respect to key facilities. Specialty Polymers. The Specialty Polymers Group characterizes and evaluates the properties of polymers to be used in special applications. Examples include microelectronic packaging, high energy density capacitors, cable insulation, piezoelectricity, pyroelectricity, and photonics. This group is making good progress with limited resources in a technically complex metrology. Chemical Performance. The Chemical Performance Group develops measurement methods, data, and models for the control of polymer processing and for the development of highly functional polymers for use in sensors and fiber-optic “smart” structures. This group has developed excellent technology that could be better related to industrial needs; i.e., the group needs additional interaction with industry.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 Mechanical Performance. The Mechanical Performance Group performs research into the factors affecting the lifetime and durability of polymers and polymer-based composites. This group identifies good technical problems, and its modus operandi fits the group's skills well. The group is well appreciated outside NIST; however, the group does not project enough cohesiveness and sense of long-term mission. Polymer Composites. The Polymer Composites Group develops measurement methods, data, and models to improve speed, reliability, and cost-effectiveness in the manufacture of polymer composites. This group has focused on an appropriate area of polymer technology and has made significant progress. The mix of external interactions and internal staffing (permanent and term appointments) is well balanced. Polymer Blends and Solutions. The Polymer Blends and Solutions Group develops fundamental understanding, measurement techniques, and characterization methods for the phase behavior of polymer blends and polymer solutions and produces molecular-weight polymer standard reference materials. The group is technically strong, is well organized, and has good external relations. The timely thrust being built around ring opening polymerization is supported by close industrial collaboration. This thrust should serve the group well for several years. Dental and Medical Materials. The Dental and Medical Materials Group provides basic materials science, engineering, and test methods that may be used by sectors of the health care industry or profession for the development of new or improved materials, delivery systems, and standards. This group does not get the attention and credit that it deserves, probably because dental applications are not perceived to be “mainstream” materials research; however, the group's practical objectives, good programs, novel approaches to “nonshrinking” dental polymers, and ability to manage complex cross-organization issues deserve commendation. Recommendations for the Polymers Division--Fiscal Year 1993 The Polymers Division should periodically review the possible gain in cost-effectiveness from adding more technicians to the staff. The division should make sure that the practice of recruiting graduate students from local universities does not lead to a staff with a narrow background.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 The division should attempt to recruit industrial co-chairs for its workshops to ensure full industrial participation. The division should move away from the practice of listing in publications only those workshops that are initiated and led by the Polymers Division. Publications should also indicate the Polymers Division's participation in cross-divisional workshops. The division should continue to emphasize the need for active participation by industrial members in consortia and include in-kind resources by industry as an adequate price for admission. The Specialty Polymers Group should conduct more workshops that publicize such progress as depth profiling in polyimide films, continually revisit rapidly changing industrial needs, and broaden industrial participation in the formulation and implementation of projects. Office of Intelligent Processing of Materials Mission The office of Intelligent Processing of Materials (OIPM) plans, organizes, and leads interdisciplinary research programs in intelligent processing of materials; conducts fundamental and applied research in the areas of nondestructive evaluation of materials, materials process modeling, and expert control system theory; develops standards and methodologies that enhance the transferability of nondestructive evaluation of materials theory, techniques, instrumentation, process modeling, and expert system theory to industrial applications; serves as a national focus to advance the science of intelligent processing of materials through horizontal integration of research activities throughout NIST coupled with broad industry participation and contacts; serves as a NIST focal point for developing industrial support for research in nondestructive evaluation of materials, process modeling, and control systems through individual contracts and consortia; and provides active program management for nondestructive evaluation of materials and intelligent processing of materials research consortia. Strategy The Office of Intelligent Processing of Materials operates under a matrix structure that relies on the support of many of the functional divisions at NIST, such as metallurgy and ceramics. The OIPM is very active in national societies and meetings, has sponsored numerous workshops and forums, and has demonstrated leadership in developing national metrology standards and in interlaboratory planning. The OIPM's criteria for selecting projects to support are responsiveness to national
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 In microstructural engineering, the division's development of a sensor system for hot rolling of steel strip, an extremely challenging task, has made considerable progress and promises a major industrial impact. The process control system is focused on real-time measurements of (1) nearly isotropic austenitic grain size (immediately after hot rolling) and (2) constitutive relations involving strain, strain rate, and temperature of the lower-temperature final metallurgical condition. The study will lead to a formulation of the interrelationships among the constituent parameters. The division's on-line texture determination of rolled sheet metal and welding should be extended into other industrially important areas, e.g., coatings formed by thermal spray deposition. Concerning elastic properties of materials, the division has developed an impressive technique for automatically determining the tensor of elastic constants from single tests on simple shapes of arbitrary orientation. The paradoxical x-ray measurements of residual stress in particulate compositions are recognized by the research community as being in need of resolution. The division's measurements of the elastic moduli of various materials are first-class. The project on micromechanical measurement techniques, soon to be augmented by the newly acquired scanning transmission electron microscope, is well on the way to providing new insights about materials on a microscopic scale. Tensile measurements of aluminum strips that connect chips in integrated circuits have been developed that promise insight into failure mechanisms and performance of integrated circuits under service conditions. The division's design and development of a noncontact, air-coupled, C-band ultrasonic system gas-coupled acoustic microscope are unique. The microscope developed can reveal flaws in conventional electronic chips that cannot be immersed in a liquid because of contamination and that appeared perfect under x-ray examination. Fatigue and compression tests have been carried out on various fiberglass tubes simulating critical components of the superconducting magnetic energy storage system. The results showed only a moderate-sized effect and, more importantly, indicated that even with visual macroscopic damage, there was negligible loss in overall stiffness during the expected lifetime. Part of the division's success in measuring the physical properties of materials under extreme temperature conditions derives from the competence and extensive prior experience of the Materials Reliability Division in handling materials at cryogenic temperatures. This experience would also relate to tribology measurements. The panel believes that the division's materials characterization research is among the best in the world. The development of waveform-based ultrasonic techniques promises improved characterization of complex, inhomogeneous, anisotropic materials.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 The Materials Reliability Division has made thoughtful and deliberate, step-wise progress in positioning the division to address the materials reliability problems of the 1990s and to respond to NIST's expanded mission. Projects are well defined and selected to best utilize the staff in research at the state of the art. Laboratory equipment is generally adequate and sometimes on the leading edge. The division's collaboration with other government agencies and industry not only assures the relevance of the work, but also facilitates technology transfer. The recent loss of nearly $1 million in external support is a matter of serious concern to the division and to the panel. Finally, NIST's recently approved building addition will provide the division with needed additional laboratory space. Recommendations for the Materials Reliability Division--Fiscal Year 1993 The Materials Reliability Division should consider the use of embedded sensors for the prediction and monitoring of the fatigue of thick composites. The division should explore the applicability of its metrology experience at cryogenic temperatures to tribology measurements, e.g., to the tribology metrology for ceramics engines. The improvements anticipated from the division's novel waveform-based ultrasonic techniques based on the use of broad-band receiver arrays for characterizing complex, anisotropic materials should be calculated. Reactor Radiation Division Submitted for the Subpanel on Assessment of the Reactor Radiation Division by its Chair, John D. Axe, this assessment of the fiscal year 1993 activities of the Reactor Radiation Division, a part of the Materials Science and Engineering Laboratory, is based on a site visit by and meeting of the subpanel on February 3-4, 1993, and on “NIST Reactor: Summary of Activities, July 1991 through June 1992, ” which was prepared by the Reactor Radiation Division to aid in the assessment. Members of the subpanel for the Reactor Radiation Division included John D. Axe, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Chair; Walter L. Brown, AT&T Bell Laboratories; Michael E. Fisher, University of Maryland; Michael K. Wilkinson, Oak Ridge National Laboratory; and Max L. Yeater, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 Mission The mission of the Reactor Radiation Division is to: Operate the NIST research reactor in a safe, cost-effective manner in order to meet critical national needs while protecting the safety of the general public and NIST staff. Develop and use powerful measurement technologies based on the NIST research reactor to conduct a diverse, world-class program of basic and applied research relevant to NIST mission goals in the broad areas of materials science and engineering, physics, chemistry, and biological science. Manage the facilities of the NIST research reactor, including the CNRF, as a major national resource to serve the needs of NIST, industry, universities, and other government agencies. Strategy, Activities, and the Subpanel's Comments The Reactor Radiation Division (RRD) maintains a strongly proactive safety program, with a staff and management dedicated to meeting relevant Nuclear Regulatory Commission and other regulations, as well as ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) standards with respect to all radiation exposure. The division maintains a standing Safety Evaluation Committee and an external Safety Audit Committee and is inspected regularly by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Radiation and industrial safety training is given to both staff and outside researchers. Planning is carried out continually for reactor maintenance and upgrade for the short term (annually), intermediate term (2 to 15 years), and long term (extension of the current license that expires in 2002). Upgrades of the reactor and its facilities are carried out continuously, primarily by in-house operating staff. The subpanel believes that the present success of the CNRF owes much to the quality of long-range planning of the staff over the years. The RRD is in the process of completing a major expansion of its capabilities--the CNRF. When completed the CNRF will provide an array of cold neutron measurement techniques unique in the United States. In order to remain at the forefront in both cold and thermal neutron research capability, all staff members are required to participate in instrument and software development and other upgrade activities. The RRD's professional staff consists of permanent appointees, term (typically 2- to 4-year) appointees, and a large number of long-term guest researchers. The division seeks to maintain a balance of experience and youth to ensure the long-term vitality and quality of the program. Virtually all of the division's research involves collaboration with researchers within other organizations at NIST and/or outside organizations within the United States and worldwide. The division regularly
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 compares its research quality nationally and internationally. The subpanel finds the age distribution of the research staff and the distribution of their scientific interests to be well balanced, and their research quality high. The subpanel endorses the staff's dedication to the development of new neutron instrumentation and techniques, an area in which the United States often has lagged behind Europe. The reactor facilities are operated as a national resource, serving the research, development, and engineering communities outside as well as inside NIST. The addition of the CNRF, which offers capabilities unique in the United States, significantly expands the national facility role of the division. In order to successfully fulfill this role, the division intends to maintain a continuing flow of temporary staff to directly assist outside researchers at the CNRF, while permanent staff members develop methods, initiate and carry out research programs, oversee instrument development and operation, provide technical guidance, and collaborate with outside researchers. Outside researchers are brought into the facility through a variety of mechanisms, including cooperative research programs, collaboration with RRD staff, independent research programs (long-term agreements with other NIST divisions and outside organizations), proprietary research agreements, and formal, externally reviewed research proposals approved by an external Program Advisory Committee (only for CNRF experiments). The division maintains an ongoing outreach program to inform the outside community of opportunities and capabilities, through workshops, annual reports, newsletters, lectures by division staff, and participation in national and international meetings and organizations. Resources The fiscal year 1993 budget of the RRD, its breakdown by source, and the size of the staff are shown in Table 8.1. The numbers given in Table 8.1 for full-time-equivalent staff of the RRD include both permanent and term appointments. In addition, there are many guest researchers and visitors to the division at any given time, including participants in long-term cooperative programs (e.g., with the U.S. Army), long-term guest researchers (e.g., from Exxon Research and Development, the University of Maryland, and Johns Hopkins University), and short-term outside researchers (e.g., CNRF users). At the present time there are approximately 300 active guest researcher agreements in force from over 150 outside organizations; 30 of these fall into either the first or second category. Researchers at NIST for very short terms are not reflected in the numbers. Also, other NIST divisions and offices make use of the reactor facilities and sponsor researchers at the facility.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 TABLE 8.1 Resources of the Reactor Radiation Division Funding Source Reactor Operation Research CNRF Base $3,210,000 $2,429,000 $5,161,000 Nonbase 760,000 Other agency 163,000 147,000 1,086,000 Fuel cyclea 2,058,000 TOTAL $5,431,000 $3,336,000 $6,247,000 Full-time-equivalent employees 27 22 36 a Fuel cycle funds are provided in a separate account to cover recurring costs, which must be averaged over different fiscal years (e.g., fuel fabrication, fuel burnup, reprocessing, heavy water losses, and reprocessing). NIST Responses to Fiscal Year 1992 Recommendations Recommendation. That financial support be provided, starting in fiscal year 1993, to operate the CNRF as a national user facility. NIST has provided the necessary funding and appears inclined to continue its support in future years. Recommendation. That restrictions be eased on foreign nationals with regard to off-hours access. Restrictions have been largely eliminated. Recommendation. That the charge of the Program Advisory Committee be expanded to include a periodic review of the research performance of the participating research teams at the CNRF. The PAC now performs such reviews annually. Recommendation. That scientists with potential to evolve into top management slots within the RRD be identified and developed. RRD has hired an additional senior scientist, is providing appropriate training to the scientific staff, and is planning to create more supervisory positions for its younger scientific
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 staff. Similar steps should be taken to develop and recruit future managers in the Reactor Operations and Engineering Group. Recommendation. That efforts be continued to inform potential users of the CNRF. The RRD has made a conscientious effort to publicize the CNRF through increasing its user database, through articles and news items in professional journals, and through the hosting of and participation in user workshops. The RRD should continue to promote the use of the CNRF by all interested, qualified scientists and to make the CNRF user friendly. The subpanel endorses the RRD's efforts to obtain travel support for graduate students and academic scientists without grants. Status and Progress Since Fiscal Year 1992 Subpanel Meeting The Reactor Radiation Division continues to function at a commendably high level. During a year that saw safety or regulatory interruption in other research reactor operations nationally and worldwide, there were no major unanticipated interruptions in RRD reactor operations (95 percent overall reliability). The number of scientists who participated in experiments at the RRD has grown since the fiscal year 1992 subpanel meeting and now exceeds 750, considerably more than at any other major neutron facility in the United States. These participants represent 47 U.S. industrial laboratories, 67 universities, 28 other government institutions, and 65 foreign laboratories. A formal user proposal system was successfully introduced for the CNRF program, and more than 80 proposals were received. Progress has continued in the commissioning of instruments in the CNRF guide hall, and new scientific and technical staff have been added to work with these instruments and the guests who use them. During the year the National Science Foundation (NSF) -NIST 30-m small-angle neutron scattering instrument, a medium-resolution time-of-flight spectrometer, and another cold neutron reflectometer were installed, and fabrication was completed on the NSF-NIST triple-axis spectrometer. Procurement for the CNRF will be completed in 1993, and the CNRF project is expected to be completed at the time of reactor restart in 1994. Additionally, progress has been made in the development of capillary neutron optics, and important advances have been made in the techniques of obtaining and interpreting neutron reflectometer data. Awards. One staff member received a Presidential Award during the past year, and another was promoted to the position of Senior NIST Fellow. Both awards were richly deserved.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 Subpanel's Findings--Fiscal Year 1993 For many years an important element in the U.S. neutron research complex, the NIST research reactor is now widely recognized as the premier national facility in many areas of neutron-related research. This is attested to by the steady increase in the number of guest scientists who visit the RRD annually. A high level of esprit de corps is evident at all levels of the organization. Both MSEL and NIST management are aware of the importance and excellence of the RRD program and have been very supportive. Reactor operations during fiscal year 1992 were routine and uneventful. In spite of extended shutdowns for repair and installation of guide tubes and recertification of operators, the reactor was on-line 70 percent of the time (corresponding to 95 percent of the scheduled operating time). Through good management and planning, and aided by a stable regulatory environment, the RRD has been able to keep its staffing requirements and operating costs at a level well below those of the comparable Department of Energy reactor facilities. Improved fuel elements allowing increased fuel utilization were introduced. At the same time the RRD is continuing to upgrade components of the reactor control system to ensure continued safe and trouble-free performance. Three new instruments were added to the CNRF since the last subpanel meeting, bringing the total to 11, and more than 80 proposals were received for their use. No additional instruments will be added in fiscal year 1993, but design and construction will continue. The design of a new liquid hydrogen cold source has been finished using Monte Carlo calculations. Scale model tests confirming its thermal-hydraulic properties have been carried out. When installed, it will increase the yield of long-wavelength neutrons by a factor of 2 to 3 over the present cold source, further increasing the capabilities of the facility. The quality of the research of the scientific staff continues to be high. Examples of forefront basic research reviewed by the subpanel for fiscal year 1993 include studies of the dynamics of fullerene compounds (e.g., C60 and C70) and their superconducting alkali metal adducts, and the study of the role of reduced spatial dimensionality in the dynamical spin correlations in quasi-one-dimensional antiferromagnets. Subpanel's Conclusions and Recommendations --Fiscal Year 1993 The fiscal year 1993 budget has included funding to operate the Cold Neutron Research Facility as a national facility. It is essential that these funds be built into future budgets. It is also necessary to continue support of the in-house research of the Reactor Radiation Division, since a strong
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 in-house research staff is the key to a successful user program of this type. Reactor operations will soon be interrupted to replace the main heat exchangers, to replace the cold source, and to install the last three neutron guides. These complex tasks will require an extended (6-to 9-month) shutdown. The subpanel recommends that careful planning be done for the integration of these tasks in order to minimize the downtime, and to keep users of RRD facilities adequately informed as to timing so that they can make alternate plans whenever possible. NIST management should assure that appropriate NIST resources are available when needed. The subpanel recommends that chairpersons of both the Reactor Radiation Division Program Advisory Committee (PAC) and the Cold Neutron Research Facility Researchers' Group (or a designated member of these organizations) be asked to meet with the subpanel during future subpanel site visits. At the fiscal year 1992 meeting, the subpanel met with the PAC chairman and past chairman and found their perspectives on the RRD operation both pertinent and informative; however, the PAC's well-written report was no substitute for the free-ranging discussions possible in face-to-face meetings. The subpanel believes that similar benefits would result from a meeting with the CNRF Researchers' Group. It would also be helpful if the subpanel's meeting with NIST management could be arranged as late as possible in the second day, to allow time for subpanel deliberations. The Reactor Radiation Division is undergoing major growth. As the Cold Neutron Research Facility program continues to expand, the types of arrangements for accommodating the users have diversified, as have the procedures developed for access to the various RRD facilities. Proposal review procedures are in place, and plans for reorganizing RRD scientific staff responsibilities are under discussion. It will be necessary to monitor these procedures and arrangements in the coming years, to ensure their effectiveness while preserving the traditional scientific strengths of the division. Additional Observations and Recommendations Crystal and Electron Diffraction Data Center. In an attempt to respond to the NIST director's request for an assessment of data programs (see Appendix D), the Subpanel for Reactor Radiation arranged for a briefing from the Crystal and Electron Diffraction Data Center, which is attached administratively to the RRD. The center maintains a crystal structure database of more than 180,000 entries and an electron diffraction database of more than 80,000 entries. These databases are disseminated through CD-ROM and magnetic tape and are increasingly being packaged with new commercial x-ray diffractometers and electron microscopes. In addition, the staff have developed data evaluation methods for
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 identification of space group symmetries and lattice relationships for the data entries. The subpanel believes that crystal structure data banks are of considerable importance in materials research and that their support falls within the traditional and ongoing mission of NIST. The subpanel requests a more in-depth review of the Crystal and Electron Diffraction Data Center during the fiscal year 1994 assessment cycle that includes (1) the scope of the program in a national and international context, together with discussions of the goals, resources, and planning necessary to reach those goals, and (2) the management of the center in the context of other data programs at NIST. Research Balance. The subpanel believes that the current balance between fundamental research, standards work, and generic technology research is appropriate for the RRD. The RRD supports a very broad range of research from the very fundamental (e.g., determination of the lifetime of the neutron) to the very applied (e.g., examination of the stress distribution in railway tank-car welds). This diversity derives largely from the versatility of the neutron as a unique probe of matter and the very successful efforts of the RRD to develop the instrumentation and programs that allow this versatility to be exploited. The RRD has perhaps a larger fraction of fundamental research than any other organization within MSEL. This includes the research that originates with RRD and other NIST scientific staff, as well as the research from outside guests who use the facility, often with assistance from the RRD staff. The RRD undertakes standards work only when it is consistent with its unique capabilities. Important examples are the development of American National Standards Institute standards for use in nuclear facilities, improvements in neutron metrology, characterization of standard reference materials, and development of standards for residual stress measurements and of calibration standards for devices for personnel dosimetry. Generic technology development is carried out by guest research teams, often with the help of the RRD and other divisions within NIST. Recent examples include structural studies of new catalysts (with Mobil Oil Company, Amoco Corporation, and the University of California) and the small-angle scattering studies of nanoparticle ceramic processing (with the NIST Ceramics Division of MSEL). The subpanel believes that continued vigilance is necessary to ensure that the fundamental research programs continue to receive the support that they deserve but sees no reason for concern in this regard at present. The subpanel commends the RRD for seeking out strong industrial partnerships within the outside community. Intramural and Extramural Programs. The impact of the extramural Advanced Technology Program (ATP) on the intramural laboratory-
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 based programs is minimal at present, and in fact the RRD has been successful in writing proposals for ATP and the Director's Reserve funding. However, if the discretionary generic research funds derived from ATP continue to increase, NIST may wish to review on a laboratory-wide basis the possible advantage of reducing the fraction of funding held in the Director's Reserve. This would reduce the time spent generating proposals and allow division managers more flexibility to pursue new opportunities.
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Representative terms from entire chapter: