This past summer, Beam Team PhD candidate Nathan Johnson worked as a graduate research assistant in the Lujan Center at the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE). He worked with the Materials Science in Radiation and Dynamics Extremes group of the Materials Science and Technology division.

Nathan used in situ X-ray synchrotron analysis to characterize thermokinetic processes involved during solidification of plasma arc spot welds, a process related to additive manufacturing. He was able to characterize phase fraction, lattice strains, thermal profile, and more in situ during solidification. The technique used for these characterizations is unique and provided high-fidelity measurements of phenomenon that are otherwise difficult to observe.

“The work I did at Los Alamos opened my eyes to the technological challenges that are associated with additive manufacturing and also invigorated my excitement to tackle them,” Johnson said of his experience. “I was very lucky to work with the world-class researchers at Los Alamos, and I look forward to continued collaboration with them.”

His team’s analysis is part of a larger effort to develop in situ process monitoring techniques for additive manufacturing (AM) processes, which will enhance the reliability and repeatability of parts produced using AM technology.