High Flux Isotope Reactor

National Laboratory: 
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Characterization Class: 
Extreme Environment Testing
Mechanical Behavior of Materials
Non-destructive examination

The High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) is an 85-MW research reactor that features 12 neutron beamlines accessible via a competitive "user proposal" process.

Capability Bounds: 

The IMAGING beamline enables detailed neutron radiography and 3D computed tomography on bulk components with a spatial resolution of tens of microns. This technique is complementary to x-ray computer tomography, and the great depth of penetration in many metal alloys leads to a wide range of applications across materials science and engineering. [1]

The GPSANS beamline enables small angle neutron scattering studies on solid samples for characterization of features such as porosity, radiation damage, or precipitates over size ranges from 1-200 nanometers. [2,3]

The engineering beamline NRSF2 enables neutron diffraction based mapping of bulk solid samples primarily for studies of residual stresses in many metal alloys, particularly high-strength steel and aluminum. It has been used to quantify residual stress and structure-property relationships of a friction stir spot welded magnesium alloy. [4]

Unique Aspects: 

Presently, the HFIR is the only reactor-based neutron source at a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) laboratory (the National Institute of Standards and Technology Center for Neutron Research 20MW reactor is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce).


The HFIR runs seven, 24-day cycles of neutron production annually (>150 days/yr). Access to the HFIR instruments is provided through a DOE Office of Basic Energy Sciences-sponsored user program. For most instruments, 75 percent of the instrument time is awarded through a semi-annual peer-review evaluation process. The remaining discretionary time includes the potential for "rapid access" and "proof-of-concept" experiments, which can be submitted at any time. Proprietary work can be considered as Work For Others on a full cost recovery basis. Most projects are non-proprietary. Contact the facility staff for more information.

Single Point of Contact: 

Name: Andrew Payzant, Engineering Materials Group Leader
Email: payzanta@ornl.gov
Phone: 865-235-4980

  1. Watkins T.R., Bilheux H.Z., An K., Payzant E.A., Dehoff R.R., Duty C.E., Peter W.H., Blue C.A., Brice C.A., "Neutron characterization for additive manufacturing," Advanced Materials & Processes, 171, 3, 23-27 (2013).
  2. Brady M.P., Rother G., Anovitz L.M., Littrell K.C., Unocic K.A., Elsentriecy H.H., Song G.L., Thomson J.K., Gallego N., Davis B., "Film Breakdown and Nano-Porous Mg(OH)2 Formation from Corrosion of Magnesium Alloys in Salt Solutions," Journal of the Electrochemical Society, 162, 4, C140-C149 (2015).
  3. Coakley J., Vorontsov V., Jones N.G., Radecka A., Bagot P.A., Littrell K.C., Heenan R.K., Hu F., Magyar A.P., Bell D.C., Dye D., "Precipitation processes in the Beta-Titanium alloy Ti-5Al-5Mo-5V-3Cr," Journal of Alloys and Compounds, 646, 946-953 (2015).
  4. Solanki K.N., Jordon J.B., Whittington W., Rao H., Hubbard C., "Structure-property relationships and residual stress quantification of a friction stir spot welded magnesium alloy," Scripta Materialia, 66, 10, 797-800 (2012).
Supporting Document(s): 

This capability is a user facility managed by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science. Each user facility has established processes for submitting a proposal and gaining access. Visit http://science.energy.gov/user-facilities/user-resources/getting-started for more information.