HRL Laboratories Team Wins 2019 R&D 100 Award

Microlattice structure of 3D-printed high-strength aluminum shows the intricate detail possible with additive manufacturing using HRL Laboratories’ aluminum powder. © 2019 HRL Laboratories.

The Additive Metals Team from HRL’s Materials and Microsystems Lab Wins R&D 100 Award in the Mechanical/Materials Category

The HRL Additive team from HRL Laboratories, LLC, has won an R&D 100 award in the Mechanical/Materials category for its 7A77 aluminum alloy powder project Functionalized Alloys for Additive Manufacturing. High-strength aluminum alloy can be printed from the powder using standard additive manufacturing equipment, the first time that high-strength wrought alloys have been 3D printable. The powder is also the first registrant in the “purple pages,” the Aluminum Association’s newest registration system for additively manufactured alloys.

“We’re very excited to be honored by the R&D 100 Awards. We’re proud of our 3D printing breakthrough with high-strength aluminum and this award has come at a very opportune time for us. We just began commercializing the powder over the summer with NASA as our first customer,” said HRL’s Zak Eckel.

HRL’s aluminum powders enable previously unweldable high-strength aluminum alloys to be welded. This in turn allows alloys of the 2000, 6000, and 7000 series—commonly employed in aircraft and automobile structures—to be 3D printed using standard off-the-shelf, fusion-based additive manufacturing equipment without any modifications.

The researchers announced this historic 3D printing breakthrough in their 2017 Nature article 3D printing of high-strength aluminum alloys. More information about HRL’s high-strength alloys is available through

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 awards and provide a new, in-depth conference to bring together unique opportunities for innovative professionals to learn, network, and collaborate.

HRL Laboratories researchers will be on hand to accept their award at the R&D 100 annual black-tie awards dinner on December 5th at the San Mateo, California Marriott. The awards gala closes out the two-day R&D 100 conference held December 4th and 5th, 2019, featuring an impressive lineup of educational sessions and keynote speakers.

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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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