Colorado School of Mines is combining its strengths in nuclear engineering and additive manufacturing in a research project to determine how 3D-printed metals perform in a reactor. Metallurgical and Materials Engineering Associate Professor Jeffrey King, a core faculty member of Mines’ Nuclear Science and Engineering Program, is the principal investigator on the $2.5 million project, funded through several Department of Energy nuclear programs.

The project recently reached a critical point, with 288 samples of stainless steel and Inconel alloys, manufactured using five different 3D printing methods, inserted into the Advanced Test Reactor at Idaho National Laboratory at the end of May.

“It’s the first major reactor experiment that Mines has performed,” King said. “It’s a big deal for both the Nuclear Science and Engineering Center (NuSEC) and the Alliance for the Development of Additive Processing Technologies (ADAPT).”