Elements of the MTL
The MTL’s Certification objective is to certify process materials that contact War Reserve Material Compatibility Board (WRMCB) components during manufacturing processes. Process materials are purchased as commercial products. Examples are cleaning solvent, cutting fluids, and cleaning swipes. Subsequent to qualification (compatibility testing), process materials undergo acceptance testing to assure that they meet P-Spec criteria and that vendor formulations have not changed.
Certification includes, but is not limited to, inspections, physical testing, chemical characterization, and impurity testing. We develop test methods for each material that detail the inspections and tests to be performed, based on a material's specification. Process materials include gases such as Nitrogen, Helium, and welding gas mixtures; C-CDE maintains a capability to mix gases. C-CDE also prepares non-commercial mixtures (i.e. Trichloroethylene (TCE) stabilized w/ 200ppm Triethylamine (TEA)), and re-packages products prior to certification for use by WR Manufacturing.
The MTL’s Compatibility objective is to conduct compatibility studies on process materials. Process materials are commercial products that contact WR components during manufacturing. In general, process materials do not become part of the WR component. Examples are cutting fluids, cleaning solvents, and cleaning rags. The process materials compatibility team is also tasked with conducting studies supporting process material certification and process improvement as well as method development.
The War Reserve Materials Compatibility Board (WRMCB) is tasked with developing the War Reserve process Materials List (WRPML). This is a list of process materials approved for use in WR manufacturing. Before a material is placed on the WRPML, it must be shown to be compatible with WR components. Compatibility is demonstrated with either historical documentation (studies conducted by Rocky Flats Plant) or testing, or both. Materials must be tested if it is new to a process, therefore not tested at Rocky Flats, or if the formulation was changed after testing.
Compatibility testing includes contact (corrosion) studies with WR materials, cleaning studies, off-gas studies, material characterization, surface analysis, process improvement evaluations and other tests considered necessary for determining potential risks associated with a process material. Compatibility studies are conducted on plutonium, plutonium surrogate materials, and other WR materials such as metals, plastics or rubber. All work is conducted within the bounds of the MTL’s QC-1 compliant quality assurance program.
Process material compatibility issues are resolved through a formal evaluation process. Requests are brought before the War Reserve Material Compatibility Board (WRMCB), which is comprised of product engineers and subject matter experts from many groups and divisions throughout the Laboratory.
The first step in the evaluation process is to review historical data associated with the candidate material. The MTL maintains a large database of material compatibility reports from The Rocky Flats Plant (RFP) and other sites. These reports are invaluable resources for determining historical corrosion problems, product reformulation and cleaning difficulties. If sufficient information is not available in the literature, the WRMCB commissions the MTL to perform compatibility studies on the candidate material. This may be comprised of corrosion studies, cleaning studies and/or material characterizations.
Leisa Davenhall (505) 665-2943
Mindy Blandford (505) 665-0475
The Materials Testing Laboratory (MTL) has a unique, inert atmosphere hot glovebox where we can conduct compatibility and materials studies on actinide metals and materials.
This glovebox is equipped with a temperature controlled incubator, imaging microscope, manipulative devices and several other solid state/surface analytical tools providing the ability to work with carefully selected chemicals and solvents in contact/reacting with the actinide materials.
We can undertake a wide variety of materials and instrumental development for both classified and unclassified research, experimentation, projects and studies with this capability.
MTL also has cold glovebox elements.
Contact: Dan Kelly (505) 665-7388
The MTL maintains an extensive list of analytical elements, and to further diversify those elements, MTL partners with other teams here at LANL.
Documentation is a key element in the research and development process. The MTL has developed a controlled document program that captures all the key components. Protocols are written and approved before work starts. There is also a quality assurance process called "The In-Life Audit". This audit assures that the protocol is being followed during the research and development process. As listed in the table below, the MTL has modern analytical equipment to carry out its tasks. Our staff is well trained and diverse in their knowledge of experimental design.
- Headspace Gas
- Specular Reflectance
- Karl Fischer
- Quadrapole MS RGA
- Ion Chromatography
- OSEE Surface Quality Monitor
- Pyrolysis/Thermal Desorption
- Automated Viscometer
- Particle Size
- SOC-400 Surface Analysis System
Contact: Dan Kelly (505) 665-7388