ShAPE: Shear-Assisted Processing and Extrusion

NREL supports Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's Shear-Assisted Processing and Extrusion (ShAPE™) project by providing detailed techno-economic analysis and manufacturing analysis to better understand the cost and energy reduction potential of ShAPE manufacturing.

A person wearing a mask holds two long tubes standing in front of ShAPE-labeled processing machinery

NREL provides Pacific Northwest National Laboratory with critical techno-economic analysis of ShAPE technology. Photo from Scott Whalen, PNNL

NREL conducts techno-economic analysis modeling and analysis to compare the ShAPE manufacturing process with conventional extrusion of high performance aluminum alloys. This work is done in collaboration with the Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis Clean Energy Manufacturing Analysis Center. ShAPE has the potential to create high performance parts, potentially cheaper and with reduced energy and emissions intensity than today's extrusion technologies.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's newly patented ShAPE technology is an innovative advanced manufacturing process. This innovation, which received a 2020 R&D 100 Award in the Processing/Prototyping category, uses solid-phase processing to produce rods and tubes directly from high-performance aluminum alloy billets or powders. Solid-phase processing uses high-speed shearing rather than melting the material, allowing the microproperties to be enhanced as the part is being extruded. NREL supports this work by comprehensively examining the manufacturing costs, factoring in not only the innovative process, but the computing materials, labor, electricity, equipment, and facility costs associated with each manufacturing step.


By employing clean energy manufacturing analysis modeling to compare the typical extrusion process of aluminum alloy billets and powders with the ShAPE manufacturing process, NREL helps inform Pacific Northwest National Lab with insights related to the cost potential of producing high performance parts with reduced energy, and potential research and development paths for this new technology.


NREL offers a variety of techno-economic capabilities for advanced manufacturing, including:


Pacific Northwest National Laboratory submitted two abstracts to the TMS 2021 Annual Meeting and Exhibition, which is hosted by the Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society. NREL will help work on the final report from this project.


Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis, Clean Energy Manufacturing Analysis Center


Parthiv Kurup

Concentrating Solar Power Cost and Systems Analyst