ORNL: ORNL’s Muralidharan elected fellow of the National Academy of Inventors

Govindarajan Muralidharan, a scientist and inventor at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has been elected a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, or NAI.

The NAI was established to recognize inventors with U.S. patents and to promote academic technology and innovation that globally benefits society. NAI fellows have achieved the highest professional distinction accorded solely to academic inventors.

Muralidharan was recognized for “a highly prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on the quality of life, economic development and welfare of society.”

Muralidharan is a distinguished staff member in the Metals and Composites Processing group for ORNL’s Materials Science and Technology Division, where his research focuses on structural materials, functional materials and sensors.

He has made significant contributions to the research, development and commercialization of high-temperature alloys for use in harsh environments prevalent in many industrial processes, nuclear systems and combustion engines. As an example, Muralidharan and his team have patented several alumina-forming alloys that combine high-temperature creep properties with exemplary oxidation resistance at temperatures up to 1150 degrees Celsius. These novel materials offer improved efficiency for industrial processes and longer operational lifetimes for components. Selected alloys have already been licensed to an industrial partner and are being considered for various industrial applications including furnace components and chemical reaction vessels where resistance to harsh environments determines component lifetimes.

“These impacts can raise the competitiveness of U.S. companies, as well as create savings down the line for consumers,” said Muralidharan. “Moreover, new alloys are key to achieving national priorities in industrial, energy and automotive sectors.”

Muralidharan is currently working with industry partners to develop and commercialize alloys to enable the next generation of molten salt reactors, which offer the potential for ultra-low carbon energy production. Muralidharan and his team have patented and licensed a series of alloys with long creep rupture life and good corrosion resistance to molten salts. These materials enable higher temperature operations and will improve the efficiency of future molten-salt-cooled reactors. Muralidharan and his team are also investigating novel materials to support new fuel-efficient combustion engines that can help the nation meet energy goals to reduce carbon emissions.

His inventions have resulted in 22 U.S. patents and won four R&D 100 Awards.

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