Sandia Labs FY21 LDRD Annual Report


LDRD IMPACT STORY: Z machine: The world’s most powerful and efficient laboratory radiation source Sandia’s Z machine uses high magnetic fields associated with high electrical currents to produce high temperatures, high pressures, and powerful X-rays for research in high energy density (HED) science. The Z machine, a part of Sandia’s Pulsed Power program, creates conditions found nowhere else on Earth. Having a laboratory-based high-yield fusion capability within the nuclear

weapons complex creates an experimental platform for assuring the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile will perform far into the future. Sandia’s Z machine creates HED conditions, or radiation/neutron outputs, that provide data and experience to the modeling and design community in dynamic material properties, nuclear survivability and radiation effects, and inertial confinement fusion. Since the yield from the majority of the nation’s nuclear weapons is generated when conditions within the explosive package are in the HED state, proficiency in HED science must remain a core technical competency for the foreseeable future. Since 2005, LDRD investments have helped advance new HED platforms, which subsequently impacted DOE programs and enabled NNSA milestones. LDRD-funded HED research spanned topics such as advanced fusion concepts, hostile environments, dynamic temperature measurements, high pressure/pre-compression cells for planetary and stellar science, stochastic shock in advanced materials, and certifiable additive manufacturing techniques. LDRD continues to play a key role in looking towards the next generation of pulsed power. The Assured Survivability and Agility with Pulsed Power (ASAP) LDRD Mission Campaign is a set of targeted investments spanning FY20-FY26 focused on enabling critical testing capabilities, providing validation data for national security threats, and qualification assessments for conventional and nuclear systems in hostile environments. ASAP R&D is expected to help inform the design for a next generation pulsed power facility providing ten times the energy of the current Z machine. This new facility, when realized, could address several key issues in weapon science, dynamic materials, effects modeling, and fusion research not possible at existing NNSA facilities.



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