SBIR Phase I: Ultrahigh-Pressure Flash Abrasive-Waterjets for Presicion Machining
This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project will develop ultrahigh-pressure (UHP) flash abrasive waterjets (FAWJs) to mitigate limitations of non-flashing AWJs on precision machining. AWJs, a cold process and largely material independent, are superior to other tools for drilling large-aspect-ratio small-diameter holes, precision machining, milling, and near-net shaping, particularly for composite, laminates, and alloys such as titanium and inconel. UHP technology has been recognized as one of the mainstream industrial machining tools. However, the nearly incompressibility of water in AWJs, induces anomalies such as microcracking of composites, delamination of laminates, and enlargement of entry-hole diameters. This project will develop FAWJs, through hardware and process development and integration, emulating the phase changing feature of ACJs for reducing material damage and enhancing process precision. The FAWJs would be up to 2 orders of magnitude more cost effective and portable, as well as safer to operate than ACJs. An FAWJ laboratory model will be designed, fabricated and tested to demonstrate the feasibility of performance improvement over AWJs for precision machining. The broader (commercial) impacts from this project will be a novel process to take advantage of the inherent superiority of AWJ machining over other manufacturing processes (e.g., environmentally friendly, ability to handle a wide range of materials, and no added heat in the cutting zone) while mitigating its limitations. The proposed FAWJ will be most suitable for machining complex geometry (e.g., long-aspect-ratio small-diameter and shaped holes) on composites, laminates, and other advanced materials. The FAWJ would meet the urgent demand for high quality and cost-effective machining processes for these materials whose usage has grown rapidly in the aerospace, electronics, and defense industries. Note that the FAWJ can be toggled back and forth to operate in both the flashing and non-flashing modes. Such versatility would further elevate UHP technology to yet another level for precision machining, broadening the basis for the U.S. employment capacity.
Small Business Information at Submission:
21409 - 72nd Avenue South Kent, WA 98032
Number of Employees: