Chapter 6

Materials Science and Engineering Laboratory



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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 Chapter 6 Materials Science and Engineering Laboratory

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 PANEL MEMBERS Harvey W. Schadler, General Electric Corporate Research and Development, Chair John D. Axe, Brookhaven National Laboratory Robert L. Brown, Gillette Company Lance A. Davis, Defense Research and Engineering, The Pentagon Thomas W. Eagar, Massachusetts Institute of Technology John A.S. Green, Martin Marietta Laboratories Robert E. Green, Jr., Johns Hopkins University Victoria F. Haynes, B.F. Goodrich Company D. Lynn Johnson, Northwestern University Frank A. McClintock, Massachusetts Institute of Technology James E. Nottke, E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., Inc. Ruzica Petkovic, Exxon Research and Engineering Co. Dennis W. Readey, Colorado School of Mines Submitted for the panel by its Chair, Harvey W. Schadler, this assessment of the fiscal year 1994 activities of the Materials Science and Engineering Laboratory is based on site visits by, and a meeting of, the panel on April 21-22, 1994, and on the annual report of the laboratory.

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 LABORATORY OVERVIEW Mission The mission of the Materials Science and Engineering Laboratory (MSEL), as presented to the panel by its director, is to stimulate the more effective production and use of materials by working with industry in the development and implementation of technology, measurements, and standards. This mission complements the MSEL vision of being the central resource within the federal government in support of technology development in advanced materials and advanced processing of materials for application in the civilian economy, with the laboratory exercising leadership through coordinated participation with other federal laboratories, industrial laboratories, and universities in national materials technology programs. (Within this context, advanced materials are man-made materials designed to meet specific needs and are the most recent evolutionary developments within a materials class or an applications category.) Strategy As presented to the panel in the MSEL director's strategic planning document, the strategy of MSEL consists of the following elements: (1) maintain recognition as a leading laboratory for materials science and technology in the United States, and provide U.S. industry and the broader science community with access to unique capabilities; (2) selectively focus on economically important products and industries through collaboration with materials producers and users; (3) maximize the impact of dissemination of the results of science and engineering research programs to the users of this information; (4) provide technical assistance to the Advanced Technology Program (ATP) and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership to increase the reach and leverage of MSEL-industry interactions; (5) collaborate with other NIST laboratories to optimize research and measurement services provided to industry; (6) stimulate coordinated federal research efforts and the leveraging of resources with industry by joint program planning and by providing research and measurement services to other government agencies and laboratories; and (7) develop and maintain a world-class technical staff. Resources The estimated 1994 budget for MSEL is $60.9 million, with $46 million from Scientific and Technical Research and Services (STRS). The total full-time-equivalent (FTE) staff for 1994 is estimated to be 363, of whom 254 are technical professionals and 197 are PhDs. The modest increases in staffing noted in division assessments below appear consistent with the growth of NIST budgets. Assessment of Strategy The panel endorses MSEL's strategy. It is noteworthy that MSEL emphasizes cooperation with other NIST laboratories and with other government agencies and laboratories,

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 thus avoiding duplication of effort and encouraging achievement of common goals. The panel enthusiastically endorses MSEL's acquisition, development, and retention of a world-class technical staff. Recommendations below include suggestions on further facilitating this strategic thrust. The panel endorses the role of the Office of Intelligent Processing of Materials (IPM) in defining and creating program opportunities and managing resulting consortia. Assessment of Technical Programs MSEL is divided into five divisions (Metallurgy, Polymers, Ceramics, Materials Reliability, and Reactor Radiation) and one office (Intelligent Processing of Materials). The panel consensus is that the technical effort increased both in form and relevance since the fiscal year 1993 assessment. Reduced emphasis on cryogenic materials, increased collaboration with industry (particularly in the Materials Reliability, Ceramics, and Polymers Divisions), redesign of dental materials synthesis, and efforts in microelectronics packaging are but a few examples of MSEL's progress. Several panelists expressed concern that MSEL's standards programs need additional emphasis and resources. MSEL upper management participation in international standards panels and committees keeps the United States involved in this critical activity and will help MSEL to define national needs and MSEL opportunities. Emphasis by management is required to keep good talent engaged. MSEL 's excitement over the ATP and the opportunities for new internal programs must not be allowed to lead to a neglect of standards programs because standards are a key competitive tool when properly designed and implemented. Also assessed in this chapter are the activities of the Reactor Radiation Division, which includes the NIST research reactor and Cold Neutron Research Facility. The panel believes that this well-managed facility, with its attendant materials characterization instruments, is a national asset that makes critical contributions to NIST programs and the progress of U.S. science. Recommendations The following are the panel's recommendations for MSEL as a whole. MSEL should make wider use of economic evaluation tools in addition to the industrial assessments and workshops currently employed when fruitful areas for future investment are being explored. Greater research staff awareness of these tools may have benefits in day-to-day operational decisions as well as in investment decisions. MSEL could increase its value to industry if more of its staff and frontline management had industrial experience. As financial resources increase, a staff development program should be initiated in which staff compete for 6-month or longer assignments in industry to learn how industrial organizations develop and execute research and development projects, work across functional boundaries, and make business decisions. MSEL should plan for 5 percent or more of its staff to be on such sabbatical assignments.

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 DIVISIONAL ASSESSMENTS Materials Reliability Division Mission The Materials Reliability Division conducts materials research to improve the quality, reliability, and safety of advanced materials and the advanced processing of materials for application in the civilian economy. Strategy The Materials Reliability Division develops measurement technology for process control, nondestructive evaluation, fitness-for-purpose standards, and materials evaluation. For near-term impact, the division is focusing its resources on ultrasonic characterization, micrometer-scale measurements, intelligent processing, and infrastructure materials. Resources The estimated 1994 budget for the Materials Reliability Division is $4.6 million, with $2.8 million from STRS. Total FTEs for 1994 are estimated at 34, of whom 29 are technical professionals and 20 are PhDs. Assessment of Strategy The panel endorses the Materials Reliability Division's strategy for making a transition from cryogenics to a materials reliability emphasis. The progress over the past 6 years has been excellent. The stepwise process has been thoughtful and deliberate, starting with establishment of an identity (1989), followed by positioning of the division (1990), development of a vision (1991), focusing of resources (1992), and program implementation (1993). Joint technology development is currently the division's emphasis. Assessment of Technical Programs The Materials Reliability Division's combined ultrasonic characterization spectroscopy effort is productive and prolific. This group has published extensively in refereed journals and has collaborated well with other institutions. In micrometer-scale measurements, work on the mechanical testing of thin integrated circuit conductor materials has been augmented by application of x-ray diffraction, electron microscopy, and infrared microscopy. The division has obtained considerable insight into the tensile behavior of thin aluminum and copper strips. The addition of two investigators and the refurbishing of the electron microscope facility have strengthened this program. The mechanical

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 testing technique, coupled with the electron microscope analytical facility, is applicable to fundamental research on thickness measurements and environmental effects and should be useful in basic stress corrosion and embrittlement studies. In the area of intelligent processing, the panel commends work on welding technology, which has won the International Institute of Welding's Welding Award. The group is also involved in extensive technology transfer. Additional emphasis should be placed on procedures to successfully start and stop the weld process and on the difficult problem of weld repair. In infrastructure materials, the initiation of work on bridge structures is an obvious extension of prior work on railroad wheels and texture measurements during processing of metal sheets. Since many of the nation's civil structures are rapidly aging, the Materials Reliability Division should concentrate expertise in this area. Potential failure sites, including joints and support points, need attention. The division's transition away from cryogenic materials work is apparently proceeding as planned. Concerning the plasma-sprayed coatings program jointly conducted by NIST in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and Sandia National Laboratories, part of this transition, the panel strongly urges adoption of a practical system and concentration on a few clearly defined variables. The program could rapidly become complicated by too many feed material and spray parameters. Attention to adherence and multiple bond coats is critical. Recommendations The following are the panel's recommendations for the Materials Reliability Division. The panel supports the transfer of all nondestructive evaluation activity to the Materials Reliability Division in Boulder, Colorado, where the nondestructive evaluation application effort is currently located. The Materials Reliability Division should continue its strong cooperative research with other organizations. In intelligent processing, the division should place emphasis on automation procedures to start and stop weld process and on weld repair. The division's efforts in infrastructure materials should be expanded. The division should continue to reorient work away from cryogenic materials and should adopt a practical spray coating system with a few clearly defined, well-calibrated parameters. Materials Reliability Division Responses to Fiscal Year 1993 Recommendations Given below are the panel's fiscal year 1993 recommendations for the Materials Reliability Division (quoted from the fiscal year 1993 assessment), with the division's responses.

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 “The Materials Reliability Division should consider the use of embedded sensors for the prediction and monitoring of the fatigue of thick composites” (p. 169). The division is investigating this approach as one method of predicting fatigue and plans to implement it where appropriate. “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” (p. 169). The division plans to use its general expertise in cryogenic measurements in this and other appropriate new fields. “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” (p. 169). The division initiated a computational effort with NIST's Computing and Applied Mathematics Laboratory to model the waveforms being measured with a NIST-designed, broad-band, high-fidelity transducer. The results agree and demonstrate that waveform signatures can improve source location by acoustic emission. Ceramics Division Mission The Ceramics Division provides measurement methods, standard reference materials (SRMs), and standard reference data for materials producers and users; assists U.S. industry with the development and implementation of the cost-effective design and manufacturing of reliable ceramic materials; and performs research that leads to basic understanding and predictive models relevant to the processing and performance of advanced ceramic materials. Strategy The Ceramics Division considers itself a facilitator of technology transfer rather than a solver of short-term problems or an inventor of materials. The division seeks increased emphasis on industrial interactions and increased collaborations with other federal laboratories. Although it is one of the largest ceramics research groups in the country, the division realizes that it cannot perform forefront research in all aspects of ceramic materials. The division has wisely chosen to continue its preeminent research on mechanical behavior and phase equilibria. In addition, it is emphasizing machining and surface behavior, fine powder preparation and characterization, thin films and nanophase materials, photonics, and theory and modeling. Resources The estimated 1994 budget for the Ceramics Division is $11.3 million, with $6.7 million from STRS. Total FTEs for 1994 are estimated at 66, of whom 53 are technical professionals and 44 are PhDs. The division leadership is taking a reasoned approach to the projected growth of NIST. It is planning for an increase of about one FTE employee per year for the immediate future. The

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 division is well managed, has a very high quality staff, and is making effective use of this talent and its other resources. Assessment of Strategy The panel endorses the Ceramics Division's strategy and encourages the division's strengthening of its ceramic powder forming, sintering, and microstructure programs. The division should continue to identify generic industrial needs in ceramic processing and property characterization and to focus its technical effort on solving problems thus identified. The division has enlisted the national laboratories in developing its programs and in structuring consortia. The panel endorses the division 's use of workshops and consortia to disseminate information, design programs, and develop program focus. The division is cooperating with industry through informal collaboration, joint workshops, Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs), and consortia. The workshops are effective in promoting exchange of ideas between NIST and industry and serve to focus NIST 's attention on the industrial needs that match division strengths; these workshops also result in cooperative programs. Also, a number of projects are under way that explore new technologies of interest to industry. Assessment of Technical Programs Technical groups within the Ceramics Division have joint projects with industry, do in-house research, and develop SRMs, databases and software, and test procedures. For example, in collaboration with Itek Optical Systems, the division assessed the reliability of large glass aircraft windows using state-of-the-art fracture mechanics and statistical techniques. The windows were of nonlaminated glass of high optical quality to be operated under high-stress conditions. The windows tested were the first nonlaminated glass windows approved for aircraft use by the Federal Aviation Administration. This achievement was made possible by the pioneering work on fracture behavior within the division and indicates the division's continuing world leadership in the characterization of the mechanical behavior of ceramics and glass. The Ceramics Machining Consortium is an example of the flexibility of the division and laboratory in their approach to cooperation with industry. Seventeen industrial partners currently participate in and contribute to this consortium, each according to its ability and the need of the consortium. Such arrangements involve differing financial arrangements, information-generation and -sharing mechanisms, and extents of data generation and analysis. Joint research with the members of the consortium has demonstrated that under certain conditions, grinding rates for silicon nitride ceramics can be increased by a factor of 60 over techniques currently used. This program is also supported by the Department of Energy and industry, the latter providing funds, materials, and services in kind. In related work, the Surface Properties Group made significant progress in lubrication of ceramics, supported in part by the Department of Energy heat engine program. The group is working with Caterpillar, Inc., to test silicon nitride and SiAlON (silicon-aluminum oxy-nitride)

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 valve inserts for gas-powered diesel engines. As in many ceramic techniques, key issues include cost-effectiveness and durability, both of which will govern market penetration. A consortium involving NIST and six industrial partners has been initiated to explore intelligent processing of powders and slurries. This consortium will develop an electro-acoustic technique for potential on-line measurement of powder dispersion during aqueous processing and nuclear magnetic resonance techniques to improve understanding of homogeneity and green (i.e., uncured) ceramics. The results should provide the scientific and technical understanding required for improvements in the quality of articles manufactured from ceramic powders. One collaborator, Norton Company, has shown that the consistency of mechanical properties of silicon nitride can be increased substantially by using powder processing techniques developed at NIST. The Ceramic Powders Characterization and Processing Group is also actively involved in developing SRMs for powder processing. The Ceramics Coatings Program has focused on thermal spray technology, which has a large and growing market with many applications. The group is addressing the key issues of reproducibility and enhancement of final properties in the deposit and has excellent collaborations with industry. The group has wisely avoided undertaking thermal spraying per se but may have missed the opportunity to focus efforts on characterization of feedstocks and coatings produced by collaborators. By such work, NIST could help industry. The Data Technologies Group serves as a unique resource to the materials community by determining key phase diagrams (of which the high-temperature superconductors deserve particular mention), compiling and distributing phase diagram literature, and developing software for educational purposes. The group is also developing database systems that are of great potential value for structural ceramics and other materials. The Ceramics Division is making effective use of the NIST neutron facilities. It has commissioned a unique furnace that fits into the small-angle neutron scattering system, permitting in situ measurements of the microstructure of materials during heat treatment. This equipment enabled the direct determination of the effects of sintering parameters on microstructure during densification of ceramics. In a collaborative program with industry, small-angle neutron scattering has also been used to reveal how microstructure development in nanophase ceramics can be engineered by control of processing parameters. Using a high-resolution magneto-optical imaging system, the Ceramics Division quantitatively determined for the first time the flow of magnetic flux in high-temperature superconductors. The measurements show the effect of microstructure on flux pinning in these materials. Far from being comprehensive, these selected examples are presented to provide evidence of the accomplishments of the Ceramics Division and emphasize its prominent status in ceramic processing and property characterization research. Recommendation The following is the panel's recommendation for the Ceramics Division. Although the Ceramics Division does not have the resources to be involved in all aspects of ceramic processing and property characterization, it should consider expanding its research on

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 ceramic powder forming, sintering and microstructure development, and electronic properties of bulk ceramics. Ceramics Division Response to Fiscal Year 1993 Recommendation Given below is the panel's fiscal year 1993 recommendation for the Ceramics Division (quoted from the fiscal year 1993 assessment), with the division's response. “Formal division-level procedures should be instituted to ensure the transfer of the Ceramics Division's research results to industry and to monitor the division's impact on U.S. industry” (p. 167). MSEL is working on methods of improving information dissemination, including plans to use the Manufacturing Extension Partnership to transfer research results. The panel acknowledges the division's increased emphasis in, for example, the industrial partners' effort of ceramic powder characterization, the ceramic coatings thermal spray effort, and ceramic valves for diesels. At its fiscal year 1993 panel meeting, panel members verbally expressed their concern about the Ceramics Division's excessive dependence on funding from other agencies. Changes in funding since that time have shifted the balance toward STRS funding. Furthermore, there is increased cooperative effort with industry and between laboratories in NIST. Polymers Division Mission The Polymers Division provides standards, measurement methods, and fundamental concepts of polymer science to assist U.S. industries that produce or use synthetic polymers in essential parts of their business. Strategy The Polymers Division focuses on specific industrial sectors selected on the basis of perceived payoff to individual companies, the industry sector, and the economy as a whole. Selections are determined through frequent interaction and collaboration with industry. The division now devotes a majority of its resources to four industrial sectors: automotive structures, electronic packaging and interconnect, producers and processors of polymer blends, and dental materials. Resources The estimated 1994 budget for the Polymers Division is $8.4 million, with $6.4 million from STRS. Total FTEs for 1994 are estimated at 58, of whom 53 are technical professionals, including 46 PhDs.

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 To improve mission focus, cohesiveness of activities, and emphasis on SRM development, the division has realigned into groups concentrating on four specific industrial sectors, on polymer characterization, and on structure and mechanics. Laboratories to house the new efforts have been generated from existing space by eliminating unused equipment and consolidating equipment control, data acquisition, and analysis through procurement of modern data systems for the equipment. Assessment of Strategy Because polymers are ubiquitous in the world of commerce, the Polymers Division's strategy for selecting certain industries and opportunities within those industrial sectors is crucial. The panel endorses the current program focus (automotive, electronics, polymer manufacturing) and encourages initiation of programs supporting other industrial sectors. The role of the Polymers Division in the development of sensors and monitoring technology for the chemical industry has failed to reach the customer because there has been no input from sensor producers on design for manufacturablility, maintenance, or cost. Division management now recognizes that partnerships with an integrated consortium that includes users and manufacturers are essential. Involvement with industrial partners is providing important feedback to NIST and is the vehicle for technology transfer. Oversubscription to workshops and the numerous visits by industrial personnel are relevant metrics of the division's industrial relevance. Assessment of Technical Programs The Polymers Division has built a competency in polymer physics and specifically in measurement and fundamental understanding of physical processes, including a growing capability in modeling. In the panel 's opinion, these capabilities are unique and valued by industry. The panel supports the Electronics Applications Group's strategy and technical approach. Addressing problems of electronics packaging materials properties through specific measurement approaches (metrology), such as photoacoustic spectroscopy to assess cure and anisotropy in thin polyimide layers on opaque substrates and neutron and x-ray reflectivity to study moisture and adhesion of polymer interfaces, has immediate relevance to the electronics industry. Understanding and controlling blend morphology are important areas for polymer materials manufacturers and suppliers, where a great deal of fundamental information relating to the formation and control of blend morphology is still lacking. The Polymer Blends and Processing Group's laser light scattering approach is elegant and should yield critical information on polymer blend systems. The Polymers Division has assembled major U.S. producers in this program. The panel encourages the division to involve other organizations that might benefit by participation. The research of the Polymer Composites Group emphasizes a single processing method, liquid molding of composites for automotive applications, chosen following the recommendations of a series of industrial workshops. The workshops coordinated by this group are oversubscribed, indicating the importance of the improved processing techniques it seeks to develop. The group's work involves materials characterization, process simulation models, on-line process monitoring,

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 and application through cooperative industrial programs. Key elements in this work are identification and quantification of degradation mechanisms, particularly in the fiber-matrix interface, which is a weak point for many composites. The Polymers Division's role in this effort is important and its targets are aggressively chosen; the division appears to be pushing the envelope in technology for modeling and permeability measurements. The program could be accelerated if industrial partners carried out their experiments more quickly to provide data for model verification. The panel endorses the Structures and Mechanics Group's selection and use of complementary characterization tools to examine how polymers respond to their environment and how processing influences those responses. The panel encourages the group to expand the base of its industrial partners. The strategy and selection of research targets within the Polymer Characterization Group are very good. The panel remains concerned, however, that although the SRM development and certification effort is a unique core function of NIST, the resources allocated to this area border on inadequate. The panel commends the group for its progress on new molecular weight characterization techniques and sensors and its response to other agency requests, despite limited resources. The panel strongly supports the strategy and goals of the Dental and Medical Materials Group and its close connections with the dental material industry. The group's progress on nonshrinking polymers and routes to improved filler/matrix adhesion is commendable. Its polymer synthesis effort and work to understand and defeat failure mechanisms in dental materials are well designed and are being pursued with an admirable persistence. Recommendations The following are the panel's recommendations for the Polymers Division. The Polymers Division should continue to use its evaluation process to determine the appropriateness of programs that support industrial sectors other than bulk polymer producers. Because of the close industrial contacts developed in this process, the division is in a unique position to influence the competitiveness of important user industries. The division needs to consider how it will monitor technologies that will compete with those NIST is developing. This competitive assessment is a responsibility that accompanies the commitment to work closely with industry. The use of sensors for real-time process characterization should be considered for future efforts. Development of specific sensors for process control, however, should be undertaken only in partnership with vertically integrated industrial consortia that include sensor producers. The panel recommends continuation of the Electronics Applications Group's overall program effort and encourages increased interaction with university centers and industrial consortia. NIST could provide a national focus for this area.

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 The panel recommends continuation of the Polymer Blends and Processing Group's program, with specific focus on measuring dynamics and phase formation. The chemistry of compatibilization should be left to industrial partners and universities, who are dealing well with this aspect of polymer blends. A well-coordinated program with selected partners is encouraged, with the Polymers Division concentrating on polymer physics and associated measurements. The panel encourages the Polymer Blends and Processing Group to continue to seek collaborations with industrial and academic groups that can focus on the chemistry of the polymers, while the Structure and Mechanics Group emphasizes the development and application of sophisticated characterization tools and development of fundamental understanding that can be applied to a large number of commercial polymer systems. The panel recommends that the Polymer Composites Group find ways to accelerate its program. Collaboration with Department of Energy laboratories pursuing advanced automotive projects is encouraged. The panel recommends that the division concentrate on understanding and modeling processes as its industrial partners emphasize monitoring and control. The panel recommends that the Polymers Division continue to be creative in augmenting the Polymer Characterization Group with term appointments and partnerships with industry and academia. The panel suggests that the Dental and Medical Materials Group disseminate its results on nonshrinking polymers outside the dental area, as there may be a number of nonmedical applications. Polymers Division Responses to Fiscal Year 1993 Recommendations Given below are the panel's fiscal year 1993 recommendations for the Polymers Division (quoted from the fiscal year 1993 assessment), with the division's responses. “The Polymers Division should periodically review the possible gain in cost-effectiveness from adding more technicians to the staff” (p. 162). The NIST laboratories are under a hiring freeze. The MSEL management has been concerned about the balance of technical support to professional staff for a number of years. In recognition that principal investigators are spending more time reviewing proposals, planning and attending workshops, and interacting with industry, a concerted effort has been made to provide research assistance through increased use of term appointments, graduate students (by means of contracts to universities), guest scientists, and summer students. The panel agrees that NIST has responded appropriately. “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” (p. 162). MSEL uses nationwide recruiting in its National Research Council postdoctoral program and in its general

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 student and postdoctoral programs. Efforts to increase staff diversity have led to even more widespread recruiting efforts. “The division should attempt to recruit industrial co-chairs for its workshops to ensure full industrial participation” (p. 163). MSEL management agreed with this recommendation and is increasing its use of industrial co-chairs. “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” (p. 163). MSEL management agreed with the recommendation, and the panel acknowledges its progress. “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” (p. 163). MSEL accepts in-kind resources in most cases, specifically where there is mutual benefit from the research output. In those cases where NIST personnel are conducting the “The Specialty Polymers Group should conduct more workshops that publicize such dominant share of the research, fund transfers are required. progress as depth profiling in polyimide films, continually revisit rapidly changing industrial needs, and broaden industrial participation in the formulation and implementation of projects” (p. 163). At the time of this assessment, workshops and other means to highlight the group's work and obtain industry input to the group's programs are planned. The panel acknowledges the increased activity. Metallurgy Division Mission The mission of the Metallurgy Division is to stimulate the more effective production and use of metals by working with industry in the development of technology, measurements, and standards. Strategy The strategy adopted by the Metallurgy Division to accomplish its mission consists of the following primary elements: (1) identify technologies in which the division's technical strengths can make significant contributions; (2) consult industries that use these technologies through workshops and personal contacts to define specific problem areas; (3) establish joint programs with partners in these industries through consortia, CRADAs, and other mechanisms to attack these problems; and (4) determine through consultation with industry and the American Society for Testing and Materials important areas for data and standards development.

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 Resources The estimated 1994 budget for the Metallurgy Division is $11.3 million, with $7.5 million from STRS. Total FTEs for 1994 are estimated at 76, of whom 53 are technical professionals and 38 are PhDs. The division hosted 55 guest scientists and 3 postdoctoral associates in fiscal year 1993. Its research facilities include an inert gas metal atomizer, a hot isostatic press, an advanced electrodeposition facility, and a unique millisecond thermophysical properties laboratory. The division is well equipped to characterize the microstructure and magnetic properties of materials. The division obtained about 30 percent of its funds from other (government) agencies (OA) in fiscal year 1993. The panel considers this level of OA funding too large a proportion of the budget for the effective conduct of the Metallurgy Division's mission. Assessment of Strategy The panel considers the strategy outlined above to be an effective means of carrying out the Metallurgy Division's mission. It is being successfully pursued, as evidenced by CRADAs with 4 consortia and 18 individual companies, all well chosen to mesh with the division 's technical strengths of solidification, interface science, and electrodeposition. The division's strong focus on processing, which continues to represent approximately 50 percent of the division's programs, seems appropriate and has led to an impressive number of industrial interactions. A good balance is being maintained between processing and materials characterization and with NIST's traditional areas of measurement science. However, the fourth element of the strategy, which involves data and standards development, has not been as successfully pursued as the other elements. The panel finds the amount of standards work unacceptably low, constituting only about 8 percent of current effort. Informal discussions led the panel to the impression that this level of attention to standards work was typical for NIST as a whole. The division has a clear need for a cadre of mid-level managers who can combine scientific understanding with a realistic knowledge of industry. Given the limitation on FTEs imposed NIST-wide, it seems unlikely that this need will be met by significant hiring from industry and, indeed, such hiring might have the negative effect of creating a “two-class society” within the division. The required leadership must emerge largely from existing staff. The panel suggests that potential candidates be identified and provided with appropriate training, including courses and periods of work in industry. The division should develop mechanisms for encouraging and rewarding development of such leadership. Assessment of Technical Programs In the panel's opinion, the quality of the Metallurgy Division's scientific program is unquestionably high, as evidenced by its technical outputs. Several programs can be singled out for special mention. The microelectronic packaging work on solder represents a model for collaboration. It is a large-scale project involving a number of companies; NIST and Sandia National Laboratories provide the science base, and the industrial partners set the broad programmatic directions. A good working relationship and the necessary trust appear to have

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 developed between the partners, and progress seems excellent. The Consortium on Aerospace Alloys has made a good start and also has the potential for direct interaction with a large number of companies. A different but equally encouraging relationship exists in the program for the development of new mercury-free dental alloys. In this instance, an idea arising from science at NIST attracted an industrial partner and financial support from a federal agency, the National Institute of Dental Research. The panel is impressed with the science, the potential for immediate applicability of these materials, and the environmental significance. The solidification modeling being conducted at NIST is unquestionably first rate, but the absence of a significant complementary bench-scale experiment is surprising. In addition to testing the model, such experiments would allow preliminary sensing work before it is applied on an industrial scale. The successful final phase of the powder processing study should be noted. With major milestones approaching completion and with the industrial partners expressing satisfaction, it is fair to say that MSEL's first major entry into the arena of intelligent processing of materials has been a success. It is troubling to note, however, that this program will end early in 1994 and that no firm plans exist for the team's transition to another comparable area. The spin-off of a CRADA on nitrogenated alloys with one of the consortium members, Crucible Compaction Metals, is a worthwhile activity but is not comparable in scale to the present effort. A new high-risk program on melt spinning was started in 1993, in support of an ATP contract with Allied Signal. This program is one of the few instances in which the division's sensing expertise is being integrated into one of its in-house processing projects. The failure to integrate the Metallurgical Sensing Modeling Group into more processing projects limits its impact, and the situation has become more critical with the recent departure of two senior group members. The downsizing of sensing capability on NIST's Gaithersburg, Maryland, campus has coincided with strengthening of the sensing activity at NIST's Boulder, Colorado, site. The panel is concerned with this trend and believes that it is not feasible to support MSEL 's processing programs from a distance. Given the focus on process control at Gaithersburg, it is essential to maintain a strong sensing capability at that site. Perhaps expertise in sensing technology should be centered at Boulder, but specific applications to processing should continue to reside at Gaithersburg, with the expertise distributed among the appropriate groups. Although the Corrosion Group has also undergone significant downsizing in recent years, the panel believes strongly that it is important to maintain a presence in this area. In addition to the Corrosion Data Program, the panel suggests a second focus on mechanical aspects of corrosion, such as stress corrosion cracking. The latter set of phenomena remains poorly understood and continues to be a serious problem for industry, particularly in relation to prediction of material lifetime. Recommendations The following are the panel's recommendations for the Metallurgy Division. The panel strongly recommends that the Metallurgy Division strengthen its standards programs. Industry looks to NIST to provide this important function, without which the United States risks being kept out of international markets.

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 The panel again recommends that the Metallurgy Division implement its plan, proposed for several years, to use its expertise in atomization in the area of spray forming. The panel understands that suitable industrial partners are still available, but this window of opportunity will not remain open indefinitely. The division should maintain a strong sensing capability at the Gaithersburg, Maryland, site. The division must maintain a presence in corrosion research. The division should develop mechanisms for encouraging and rewarding development of management leadership from within its own ranks. Metallurgy Division Response to Fiscal Year 1993 Recommendation Given below is the panel's fiscal year 1993 recommendation for the Metallurgy Division (quoted from the fiscal year 1993 assessment), with the division's response. “The Metallurgy Division should promptly acquire equipment for Osprey process research” (p. 160). MSEL management remains uncertain whether focus on a commercial process such as Osprey is the best approach for broad impact in the intelligent processing of metal forming. The panel recognizes and notes above the broader nature of spray forming and its growing impact. Reactor Radiation Division The following annual assessment of the activities of the Reactor Radiation Division (RRD) of the Materials Science and Engineering Laboratory is based on a meeting of the subpanel at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, March 14-15, 1994, and on the RRD Summary of Activities document for 1993, which was prepared by the RRD to aid in the assessment. Members of the subpanel for the Reactor Radiation Division included John D. Axe, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Chair; Alice P. Gast, Stanford University; Walter Kohn, University of California, Santa Barbara; Ralph M. Moon, Oak Ridge National Laboratory; and Theodore R. Schmidt, Sandia National Laboratories. Mission The mission of the Reactor Radiation Division has three major components: To operate the NIST research reactor in a safe, cost-effective manner to meet critical national needs while protecting the safety of the general public and NIST staff; To develop and use powerful measurement methods based on the NIST research reactor to conduct a diverse, world-class program of basic and applied research relevant to NIST

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 mission goals in the broad areas of materials science and engineering, physics, chemistry, and biological science; and To manage the facilities of the NIST research reactor, including the Cold Neutron Research Facility (CNRF) as a major national resource to serve the needs of NIST, industry, universities, and other government agencies. Strategy RRD is in the final stages of development of the CNRF as a national resource for cold neutron research. To best serve its customers in the U.S. research and development community, the staff develops new instrumentation for and applications of neutron scattering techniques. All professional scientific staff members are required to contribute to this effort in varying proportions, as well as to conduct independent research in materials science, chemistry, physics, and biology. The scientific staff comprises both permanent and term appointments in order to maintain a proper balance of experience and fresh outlook, with a significant number of visiting appointments as well. The division seeks out new interaction mechanisms and partners to best meet the needs of the community. Division management assumes a proactive role in safety and regulatory matters and in all aspects of the program is actively committed to ALARA (as low as reasonably achievable) guidelines concerning exposure of personnel to radiation. At all stages, cost-effectiveness is the guiding principle, subject to an absolute commitment to protection of the public, employees, and environment. Planning at all time scales (1 year, 10 years, 30 years) is a ongoing in order to ensure that the reactor and its associated experimental facilities remain a national resource. Resources The staff of the Reactor Radiation Division consists of 31 scientific professionals (PhDs), 13 professional engineers, 37 technical support staff, and 8 administrative and clerical staff (all given in FTE units). This unusually high percentage of technical support staff results from the requirements of the reactor and user facility operation. The total division budget was $15.5 million in fiscal year 1993, divided into $5.5 million for reactor operation, $3.5 million for science programs, and $6.5 million for operation of the CNRF as a user facility. Of the fiscal year 1993 funds, approximately 10 percent came from non-NIST sources. The budget has been increased by $4 million in fiscal year 1994 to allow purchase of heavy water for the reactor. Assessment of Strategy The RRD has a very forward-looking strategic plan, which nicely complements and is an essential and increasingly strong component of the larger plan for neutron-based research in the United States. The CNRF is the most recent and impressive evidence of the success of the RRD and NIST in planning and implementing important elements of this strategic vision. The subpanel

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 believes that the RRD management has articulated important and achievable future goals (see recommendations below) and that it has, and deserves to have, the support of NIST management in achieving them. In fiscal years 1992 and 1993, the assessment subpanel encouraged the RRD management in its efforts to identify and develop candidates with a potential to grow into future management positions. Since the fiscal year 1993 assessment, in accordance with these recommendations, the Neutron Condensed Matter Science Group was organized along disciplinary lines into five teams, with team leaders given increased responsibility in such areas as planning of future equipment upgrades. The subpanel supports this development and further suggests that the one remaining unappointed team leader be identified and that the team leaders be given additional responsibilities commensurate with the growth in their leadership talents. The subpanel also supports similar efforts to ensure development of second-line management within the Reactor Operations and Engineering Group. Assessment of Technical Programs The subpanel heard presentations about all key areas of research being carried out by the research staff of RRD. The work is of high caliber and well suited to the growing capabilities of the facility. For example, the development of the new neutron reflectometer has expanded the research on thin polymer films and polymer brushes. Another strong element of the recent research is the study of coupling of epitaxial magnetic films and of the structure of flux line lattices in superconductors. The division's studies of the structure and low-frequency dynamics of fullerene compounds (e.g., C60 and C70) and their superconducting adducts are at the forefront of this very active field. The study of the structural nature of water in portland cement is yet another illustrative example of the application of neutron scattering to important practical materials. The effort to refine the half-life of the neutron is an excellent example of work that responds to the need for precise standards (in this case, accurate neutron flux measurement) while providing important fundamental knowledge in the area of nuclear physics. In addition to carrying out first-rate research programs, the RRD scientific staff must support a diverse group of outside users of this facility. Discussions with the chair of the CNRF User Group indicate that the RRD staff carries out this task in an efficient and friendly manner. The scientific staff will come under increasing pressure as a result of enhanced capabilities stemming from the new cold source. The subpanel encourages the RRD management to continue to search for innovative ways to support and express appreciation to the scientific staff performing this service function. Recommendations The following are the subpanel's recommendations for the Reactor Radiation Division. A large number of key personnel in the Reactor Operations and Engineering Group will likely be retiring between Spring 1994 and 1997, including the group chief, the operations chief, and the engineering chief. Also, the 6 most senior of the 17 licensed senior reactor operators will

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 be eligible for retirement in this time frame, and most are expected to retire. These personnel represent a wealth of experience and knowledge that has served NIST in an exemplary manner for many years. The subpanel recommends that replacements be obtained sufficiently early in order to prepare them adequately and to ensure that the experience and knowledge of the retirees be adequately documented and transferred. The subpanel recommends that the plan to relicense the NIST research reactor be endorsed by NIST management and that resources necessary to develop relicensing plans and to continually maintain and upgrade the entire reactor facility be made available. The CNRF has the most modern and advanced neutron scattering instruments in the United States. With the new cold source, it will be the nation's major center for cold neutron research until the Advanced Neutron Source (ANS) is constructed. After construction of the ANS, the NIST reactor will still fulfill a crucial role. In the unfortunate event that the ANS construction is postponed or canceled, it is absolutely imperative that the NIST facility continue to operate for as long as possible. The subpanel has been assured that the present NIST management is strongly supportive of the relicensing plan, but the subpanel includes this recommendation to emphasize the importance of long-term continuity in this planning process. When the ANS is constructed, it will be the premier neutron source in the world. The task of ensuring the state-of-the-art instruments at this facility will require the cooperation of the entire neutron community. The subpanel recommends that RRD scientists take an active role in designing, constructing, and using instruments to be installed at the ANS, thereby strengthening both the national and NIST programs in neutron scattering. Reactor Radiation Division Responses to Fiscal Year 1993 Recommendations On the whole, the subpanel is pleased with the actions taken by the Reactor Radiation Division in response to its fiscal year 1993 recommendations (quoted from the fiscal year 1993 assessment). The division's responses to each recommendation are given below. “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 in-house research staff is the key to a successful user program of this type” (pp. 174-175). The fiscal year 1994 budget provides the base funds required to operate the CNRF program, and NIST has committed to this operation by setting up a separate budget category for both research reactor and CNRF operating funds, starting in fiscal year 1994. The in-house science program has benefited from two separate fiscal year 1994 budget initiatives (ceramic coatings and nanostructured materials) that received start-up funding. Further funds should become available in fiscal year 1995 if the President's budget is funded at the requested level. In addition, RRD is participating in other fiscal year 1995 and fiscal year 1996 budget initiatives to ensure the future health of the program.

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 “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 wherever possible. NIST management should assure that appropriate NIST resources are available when needed” (p. 175). Detailed planning for this shutdown started over 1 year ago. Procedures have been written for many tasks, and project management software is being used for complete task integration. NIST users have been advised of the shutdown date and have also been informed of facilities available at other neutron sources (Brookhaven National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, University of Missouri, Argonne National Laboratory, and Los Alamos National Laboratory) to minimize interruption to their ongoing programs. NIST management has provided all requested support for this complex task and has established it as a high priority. The shutdown began in May 1994. “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. . . . 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” (p. 175). The chairs (or representatives) of both the PAC and the Researcher's Group attended the subpanel meeting on March 14-15, 1994, as requested. The meeting with NIST management was scheduled as late as possible on March 15. The subpanel found its meeting with the PAC and User Group representatives very satisfactory. “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” (p. 175). The NIST response was in complete agreement with the recommendation, and the RRD is continuing to monitor its procedures and its staff organization to preserve traditional strengths. This is an integral part of the division's short-, intermediate-, and long-term planning, especially now when several key staff members are approaching retirement age. With every staff change, current reactor management attempts to provide for the future leadership of the division and to increase diversity, consistent with the highest standards of excellence. The subpanel found the organization of the scientific staff into disciplinary teams to be a positive step in addressing the above recommendation.

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