X-ray Diffraction (Residual Stress and Phase Identification, Room and High Temperature, and Texture)

National Laboratory: 
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Characterization Class: 
Extreme Environment Testing

Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s x-ray diffraction (XRD) provides information about the arrangement of atoms in top surfaces (typically <50 μm) of materials/samples. These samples can be polycrystalline or single crystal. XRD is a versatile technique that can be used for a multitude of studies: battery charge-discharge, residual stress mapping, crystallographic texture determinations, crystal orientation, process simulation, thermal expansion coefficients, oxidation/reduction kinetics, phase equilibria studies, order/disorder transformations, Rietveld/quantitative analysis, grazing incidence x-ray diffraction for very near surface/coating/thin film interrogations, and/or macro and micro residual stresses in multiphase/composite samples. Materials studied include metals, ceramics, some crystalline polymers, geologic/soils, ceramic composites, metal matrix composites, and thick and thin films.

Capability Bounds: 

Samples must be crystalline, solid or powder. Sample size can vary widely depending upon the instrument and information desired. For example, a portable x-ray stress analyzer can examine the surfaces of 1-mm samples up to automobiles and beyond.

Unique Aspects: 

ORNL has more than 10 XRD units dedicated to phase identification, residual stress, and crystallographic texture determinations. Varied x-ray sources accommodate different sample requirements for polycrystalline and single-crystal samples. In situ studies can be conducted under varied conditions, including high temperature, mechanical load, electrical load, or gas atmospheres. Parallel-beam optics are available for rough samples, as well as a residual stress mapping capability.


Access to ORNL’s XRDs is available to industry through cooperative research and development agreements (CRADAs), Work For Others, or by U.S. Department of Energy funding.

Single Point of Contact: 

Name: Thomas R. Watkins
Email: watkinstr@ornl.gov
Phone: 865-387-6472

  1. D.Mohanty et al., “Correlating cation ordering and voltage fade in a lithium-manganese- rich lithium-ion battery cathode oxide: a joint magnetic susceptibility and TEM study,” Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 15 [44] 19496-509 (2013).
  2. J.B.Williams et al., “Enhanced thermoelectric performance driven by high-temperature phase transition in the phase change material Ge4SbTe5,” J. Mater. Res. 30 [17] 2605-10 (2015).
  3. P.B.Kadolkar et al., “State of Residual Stress in Laser-Deposited Ceramic Composite Coatings on Aluminum Alloys,” Acta Mat. 55 1203-14 (2007).
Supporting Document(s):