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NM Tech and Sandia To Sign MOU, Dec. 10, 2001

Sandia Media Relations
Contact: Chris Burroughs, (505) 844-0948, coburro@sandia.gov

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., December 10, 2001 - In a move to accredit the Weapon Intern Program and advance the state of the art of manufacturing technologies at the Department of Energy's Sandia National Laboratories, officials from the Labs and New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology will sign two memorandums of understanding (MOU) Tuesday, Dec. 11. The signing ceremonies will be held at 9 a.m. at the Sandia Cooperative Monitoring Center located just outside the Eubank gate entrance to Kirtland Air Force Base.

One agreement will establish a master's degree program in engineering mechanics with a specialty in explosive engineering. The degree program was initiated for participants in Sandia's Weapon Intern Program. The other signing will enter an agreement with the university to do new research and development in areas related to power sources manufacturing.

Signing for the Weapon Intern Program MOU will be Joan Woodard, Sandia executive vice president, and Dr. Daniel H. López, president of New Mexico Tech.

Participating in the signing for the research and development related to power sources will be Lenny Martinez, Sandia vice president for manufacturing systems, science and technology; Robert Bickes, manager of Sandia's Power Source Components Department; John Meason, director of the New Mexico Tech's Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center; and President López.

Weapon Intern MOU

The Weapon Intern Program trains the next generation of weaponeers at Sandia in an intense two-year program that gives young scientists and engineers a broad and in-depth understanding of nuclear weapons and the entire weapons complex. As part of the MOU, New Mexico Tech gives the interns 21 hours of graduate credit for the courses they take as part of the program. In addition, Harold Walling, New Mexico Tech professor of mechanical engineering, conducts three classes - an introduction to explosive engineering, shock wave theory, and advanced explosive engineering. The university also considers the research the interns do part of the program as their independent studies.

"The three courses round out the 30 hours the interns need to obtain a masters degree," says Andy Rogulich, program manager and instructor. "This degree gives each participant something personal to take away when the program ends and the knowledge of explosives that will benefit Sandia no matter which department they are in."

The Weapon Intern Program is also working on establishing a Ph.D. program with New Mexico Tech. Roy Baty, a 2000 graduate of the program, will teach one of the six required courses. The courses, plus a dissertation, written and oral exams and completion of the masters degree, will earn participants a Ph.D. in an energetic materials disciplines.

Regional Alliance for Manufacturing Project

The MOU dealing with new research and development related to power sources manufacturing was signed with the university's Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center (EMRTC). It is part of Sandia's Regional Alliance for Manufacturing Project (RAMP), established by Vice President Martinez to advance the state of the art of manufacturing technologies that support national security strategic business units.

Under the agreement, scientific and engineering experts from EMRTC will collaborate in research with Sandia's Power Source Components, Independent Surveillance Assessments & Statistics, and Reliability Assessment & Human Factors Departments. Their initial work will focus on thermal batteries - figuring out how to process them better by developing and applying statistical methods necessary to assure high reliability and quality in small lot production; traditional techniques require sample sizes too large to be used cost effectively.

"We are really enthusiastic about this MOU because it signifies the beginning of new manufacturing research collaborations and potential new funding sources for Sandia," says Cesar Lombana, manager of Sandia's Concurrent Design and Manufacturing Program Department and RAMP Manager. "We see this as a way to really improve the manufacturing capabilities of these batteries that are high-tech, small-lot production parts and that are part of nearly every weapons system."

Sandia is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin company, for the U.S. Department of Energy. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.

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Sandia Media Relations Contact: Chris Burroughs, (505) 844-0948, coburro@sandia.gov