USA flag logo/image

An Official Website of the United States Government

Manufacture of Fine-Grained Niobium Bar

Award Information

Department of Energy
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2009 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Shear Form, Inc
207 Dellwood St. Bryan, TX 77801-2520
View profile »
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 2
Fiscal Year: 2009
Title: Manufacture of Fine-Grained Niobium Bar
Agency: DOE
Contract: DE-FG02-08ER85026
Award Amount: $649,970.00


For advanced magnets used in high energy physics research, commercially available NB3Sn superconductor wire needs to have smaller superconducting filament regions, while retaining a high critical current density (Jc). However, the currently available Nb bars used in such conductors have a large grain structure, which cause poor deformation behavior as the Nb is worked into fine filaments in Nb-Sn-Cu composite wire. When isolated Nb filaments deform irregularly, they can break or contact other nearby filaments, which decreases conductor performance. In this project, the problem of large grains in the starting Nb will be addressed by breaking up the original coarse and nonuniform microstructure with carefully applied plastic deformation and annealing. These procedures can be applied via Equal channel angular extrusion (ECAE) at high efficiency and reasonable cost. The approach demonstrated in Phase I included (1) processing bulk Nb to a fine-grained microstructure, (2) observing improved deformation behavior of grain-refined Nb in Cu-Nb composite wire, and (3) demonstrating a high yield of fully-worked material for multipass ECAE processing of single bars. In Phase II, the equipment for ECAE processing will be scaled up, tested, and evaluated for economic viability. The larger equipment will be used to produce large fine-grained Nb bars for prototype Nb3Sn conductor experiments. Commercial Applications and other Benefits as described by the awardee: The technology should be suitable for the commercial production of advanced high Jc, fine-filament Nb3Sn wire for high energy physics and fusion energy applications. In addition, the ECAE approach should be applicable to the fabrication of Ta, Ti, interstitial free steel, and superalloys, with improved mechanical properties for a host of applications.

Principal Investigator:

Robert E. Barber

Business Contact:

Karl T. Hartwig
Small Business Information at Submission:

Shear Form, Inc
207 Dellwood Bryan, TX 77801

EIN/Tax ID: 550812265
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No