Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Delivering science and technology to protect our nation and promote world stability

Additive Manufacturing

A method allowing unparalleled manufacturing control, data visualization, and high-value parts repair.
  • additive manufacturing

    Through additive manufacturing, Los Alamos is developing materials for the future.

  • fabrication

    Taking complex manufacturing challenges from design to fabrication.

  • additive manufacturing solutions

    A science and engineering approach for additive manufacturing solutions.

Get Expertise  

  • John Carpenter
  • Technical Staff Member Metallurgy
  • Email
  • Division Leader Materials Science and Technology
  • Dave Teter
  • Email

Additive manufacturing and national security

To realize additive manufacturing’s potential as a disruptive technology for Los Alamos National Laboratory’s national security missions, significant progress must be made in

  • Understanding processing-microstructure-property-performance relationships
  • Predicting materials properties at the macroscale to nanoscale
  • Modeling materials properties and chemistry
  • Improving in situ materials and process characterization
  • Enhancing engineering design
  • Optimizing process and automation
  • Accelerating feedstock design and manufacture

Our scientifically broad, collaboration-intense environment is enabling us to solve these challenges through a science and engineering basis.

The outcome: production and repair of process-aware materials with unique functional properties able to withstand extreme environments.


Additive manufacturing uses computer-aided designs (CAD) to build 3D parts. For a stainless steel component of a portable gamma-ray imaging system Los Alamos reduced the customary 10 components and 6 welds to 4 and 2 —in a single build cycle. Top left: CAD rendering; Top right: as deposited components with support structure attached. Below: final assembly.

A science-based additive manufacturing capability

Los Alamos manufacturing missions are adapting to this method of creating functional objects from a computer model because of such potential advantages as

  • Smaller manufacturing footprint
  • Reduced tooling need
  • Embedded sensing
  • High-value parts repair
  • Multi-material lay-ups
  • Complex geometries
  • Light-weighting

Additive manufacturing is being applied to primary Los Alamos mission areas:

  • Global security
  • Nuclear energy
  • Renewable energy
additive manufacturing

Computer modeling identified the ideal coil to maximize the efficiency of a heat exchanger. Computer-aided design mapped a component with the optimized coils. Los Alamos additively manufactured the complex shape that was impossible with traditional machining techniques.

Resources and expertise to solve additive manufacturing challenges

Los Alamos has a unique collection of resources and people-driven capabilities including

  • Facilities for nuclear materials handing, secure manufacturing (including sensitive compartmented information facility), high-performance computing, specialized characterization
  • Expertise in multiscale materials modeling, nanomaterials synthesis, integrated process modeling, and hazardous/radiological materials handling
  • In situ capabilities and vast experience in integrating diagnostics into existing systems
  • Capability in feedstock to finished parts

Los Alamos is equipped with a significant number of specialized characterization tools that are used to

  • Identify stresses in parts and optimize design
  • Track a part’s small, individual features as a function of load, using current computer software
  • Employ beam measurements such as proton radiography and neutron radiography, as well as neutron and x-ray diffraction
  • Map spatial and temporal strains
  • Measure thermal properties with infrared imaging and calorimetry

Future facilities, such as MaRIE (Matter-Radiation Interactions in Extremes), will take this technique even further, linking process-aware materials behavior to performance, qualification, certification, and assessment.

Key capabilities

Los Alamos’s rapidly growing additive manufacturing program employs the latest technology:

Metal additive manufacturing

  • EOS M280 (direct metal laser-sintering)
  • Optomec LENS MR-7
  • Sciaky EBAM 68 

Binder jet

  • ExOne Innovent
  • ExOne M-Flex

Non-metal additive manufacturing

Powder bed

  • FORMIGA P 110

Binder jet

  • ExOne Innovent
  • ExOne M-Flex

Vat Polymerization

  • Nanoscribe Photonic Professional GT

PolyJet 3D printing

  • Objet Eden 260, 260V, 333, 500
  • Objet Connex350
  • ProJet 3510 HD

Fused deposition modeling print technology

  • MakerBot Replicators (x5)
  • Stratasys Dimension 1200es (x2)
  • Stratasys Fortus 400mc (x2)

Powder bind

  • Z-Corp Spectrum 510
  • Zprinter 650
Key personnel

Metal additive manufacturing

  • Powdered technology: Don Bucholz, John Bernardin
  • Directed energy (powder feedstock): Tom Lienert, Cameron Knapp
  • Directed energy (wire feedstock): Matt Dvornak, Pat Hochanadel
  • Metallurgy: Carl Cross, Pat Hochanadel, Tom Lienert

Non-metal additive manufacturing: John Bernardin, Larry Bronisz, Alex Mueller, Dominic Peterson, Eric Weis

Data visualization: Chris Mitchell, Jonathan Woodring

Design for additive manufacturing: John Bernardin, Steve Black, Don Quintana

Modeling in additive manufacturing: Curt Bronkhorst, Neil Carlson, Chris Chen, Marianne Francois, Jack Shlachter

Characterization in additive manufacturing

  • Neutrons, x-rays: Don Brown
  • Electron microscopy: Terry Holesinger
  • Electron microscopy: Veronica Livescu
  • X-rays: Brian Patterson
  • Neutrons: Sven Vogel


  • Wire: Dave Alexander, Kester Clarke
  • Powder: Dave Dombrowski, Jim Foley
  • Chemical vapor deposition: Igor Usov
Technologies and applications: emerging, developed, or potential
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory is additively manufacturing stainless steel parts for a portable gamma-ray imaging system.
  • Toward a new quantification and certification paradigm for additively manufactured materials: characterization of additively manufactured 316L SS, 304L SS, and Ti-6Al-4V.
Sponsors, funding sources, or agencies
  • National Nuclear Security Administration, Cooperative Research and Development Agreements with private companies
External collaborations and memberships
  • America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute
  • The Center for Innovative Materials Processing through Direct Digital Deposition (CIMP-3D)
  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
  • National Security Campus (formerly Kansas City Plant)
  • Optomec Inc.
  • Pantex Plant
  • Sandia National Laboratories
  • Y-12 National Security Complex
  • The Center for Advanced Non-Ferrous Structural Alloys

Visit Blogger Join Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter See our Flickr Photos Watch Our YouTube Videos Find Us on LinkedIn Find Us on iTunesFind Us on GooglePlayFind Us on Instagram