Accelerated Alloy Development using High-throughput Bulk Combinatorial Technique

National Laboratory: 
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Processing/Manufacturing Class: 
Fabrication and synthesis

PNNL's high-throughput combinatorial arc melting system is a unique capability that was created in-house for accelerated alloy development. The systems consists of an argon-filled chamber, a set of copper crucibles, and a tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding system that allow rapid bulk sample manufacturing of alloys with different compositions. The system has been successfully benchmarked with Cu-Al-Ni system, and it also has manufactured Fe-Si alloys of multiple compositions. Starting material can be in the form of powder, chips, pellets, etc.

Capability Bounds: 

The production capacity is approximately 50 samples per day. Bulk sample sizes can range from 200 mg up to 5 g (for the Cu-Al-Ni system).

Unique Aspects: 

The high-throughput combinatorial arc melting system is particularly suited for fast screening of small quantities of multiple compositions. The test samples produced by this technique are representative of bulk (as opposed to combinatorial thin-film approach). When this technique is combined with a fast characterization protocol suited for the sample geometry produced (for example, thermal analysis via differential scanning calorimetry [DSC], mechanical testing via compression tests, etc.), it becomes an especially powerful tool to identify property trends as a function of composition quickly and inexpensively. This system has a short setup time, unlike traditional bulk casting methods, enabling fast turn-around.


Use coordinated with capability expert and via collaborative funding proposals or contract.

Single Point of Contact: 

Name: Darrell Herling
Phone: 509-375-6913

Supporting Document(s):