HRL Laboratories Wins R&D 100 Award

Award-Winning High-Temperature Ceramics 3D-Printing Technology Available Through New Center for Additive Materials

Zak Eckel and Tobias Schaedler receive HRL Laboratories’ award for 3D ceramics on stage at the 2017 R&D 100 Conference.

A team from HRL Laboratories, LLC, was among the winners of the 2017 R&D 100 Award, announced at a gala event during the fourth annual R&D 100 Conference held November 16-17 at the Disney Swan Hotel in Orlando, FL. The winning research, Additively Manufactured High-Temperature Polymer-Derived Ceramics, which was a breakthrough in 3D printing was originally published in the January 1, 2016 issue of the journal Science.

For the past 55 years, the prestigious R&D 100 Awards program has honored research and development pioneers and revolutionary ideas in science and technology. The R&D 100 Conference was launched in 2015 as an educational event to celebrate the prestigious award and provide a new, in-depth conference to bring together unique opportunities for innovative professionals to learn, network, and collaborate.

The HRL technology is a new preceramic polymer resin for additive manufacturing of ceramics that overcomes the limitations of traditional ceramic processing. HRL’s preceramic polymers can be cured in a layer-wise fashion on off-the-shelf desktop stereolithography systems.  The cured preceramic polymer is then heated to 1000°C in an inert atmosphere furnace, converting the material into a high-strength, fully dense ceramic that retains the geometric complexity of the original polymer part. This process enables the HRL team to harness the design freedom of additive manufacturing in creating components of virtually any shape and size that can withstand temperatures in excess of 1700°C and are ten times stronger than similar materials.

“This award is a great honor and validation of our research,” said HRL’s Program Manager Zak Eckel. “We have received a great deal of attention for our 3D printing technology, and have begun making it available for potential applications such as, biomedical devices, industrial processing, microelectronics, and high-temperature aerospace components.”

HRL Senior Scientist Dr. Tobias Schaedler said, “Our ceramic additive manufacturing technology is a big part of HRL Laboratories’ new Center for Additive Materials. This center aims to accelerate development of a broader portfolio of metals, ceramics, and polymers available for 3D printing, and increase the property space accessible via additive manufacturing.”

More information on HRL’s Center for Additive Manufacturing is available online at

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HRL Laboratories, LLC, Malibu, California ( is a corporate research-and-development laboratory owned by The Boeing Company and General Motors specializing in research into sensors and materials, information and systems sciences, applied electromagnetics, and microelectronics. HRL provides custom research and development and performs additional R&D contract services for its LLC member companies, the U.S. government, and other commercial companies.

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