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Instrument Description

The Experimental Fuels Facility (EFF) houses an extrusion line for use on uranium and uranium alloys. Extrusion is a forming process whereby a material of larger diameter is forced through a die, forming it to smaller dimensions. The process generally is applied to circular cross-sections of materials, however, other cross-sections are possible depending on the material properties and die design. It can be performed either hot or cold, although for uranium alloys, extrusion is performed hot. In addition to the extrusion press, the extrusion line includes a salt bath, tooling furnace, swager, and a draw bench to be used for further reduction or stretch straightening of the extruded product.


The extrusion line equipment can be used individually for a specific targeted test or as a complete extrusion line producing long, uniform cross-section uranium alloy forms. The extrusion press is ideally suited for production of regular cross-section uranium products with long lengths, i.e., rods. Swaging is a process where the material is deformed with repeated hammer blows from the die. It is best suited for smaller amounts of deformation and generally shorter lengths. It is often used with the drawing process, deforming the leading end of the product to allow insertion into a smaller cross-sectional die. The draw bench is much like the extrusion press, although working in the opposite direction. The deformation process occurs by pulling the material through a die of smaller cross-section. Similar to the extrusion process, drawing is best suited for applications requiring long lengths and a constant cross-section. It is often used in conjunction with the extrusion press to reach final dimensions or to straighten the final product. The final portion of the extrusion line is the salt bath. Although extrusion can be done cold for some alloys, uranium must be done heated. The salt bath provides an excellent heating media with minimal oxidation and corrosion.


  • Extrusion press: Butech-Bliss 150-ton (lbs) press 

  • Draw bench: Fenn 10-8 hydraulic draw bench, 3-meter stroke, 8,000 lb. max force

  • Salt furnace: Lithium-potassium carbonate salt, maximum operation temperature of 1,000ºC

  • Swager: Fenn 4F-4 Swager

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