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TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER OPPORTUNITY: Metal-carbon composition and composites manufacturing (CABLE)


a.      TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER OPPORTUNITY: Metal-carbon composition and composites manufacturing (CABLE)

This subtopic is the only one in this topic to focus on the conductivity enhanced materials part of the CABLE effort. This subtopic seeks proposals to commercialize the innovation in CABLE materials manufacturing presented in the May 2020 patent and related patent applications from Argonne National Laboratory listed below.


The patent solves one of the technical problems for manufacturing high purity, oxygen-free metal-carbon composites with an electric current. These carbon-infused “covetic” metal alloys might lead to significant energy savings and performance improvements in various applications (e.g., high-voltage electrical transmission, electrical motors and generators, advanced heat exchangers, electrodes for fuel cells, batteries, supercapacitors, and for thermal management in micro- and power electronics). This fabrication method allows precise control of the composition of the covetic material to be produced. The method described herein also can be applied to produce multi-element-carbon composites within a metal or alloy matrix, including high melting temperature materials such as ceramic particles or prefabricated nano- or micro-structures, such as carbon nanotubes or graphene compounds. The covetic reaction between metal and carbon takes place under the influence of flowing electrons through the melted metal-carbon precursor. This process posited to create strong bonding between nanocarbon structure and the metal elements in the melt.


The 2019 patent application is for the initial version of the method to make covetic metal-nanostructured carbon composites or compositions. The method comprises the introduction of carbon into a molten metal in a heated reactor under low oxygen partial pressure, and the passing of an electric current through the molten metal. After heating the covetic material is recovered from the reactor.


The 2020 patent application is for a method for preparing a covetic, nanocarbon-infused, metal composite material by heating a stirring molten mixture of a conducting metal (e.g., Cu, Al, Ag, Au, Fe, Ni, Pt, Sn, Pb, Zn, Si) and carbon (e.g., graphite) at a temperature sufficient to maintain the mixture in the molten state in a reactor vessel, while passing an electric current through the molten mixture via at least two spaced electrodes submerged or partially submerged in the molten metal. Each of the electrodes has an electrical conductivity that is at least about 50 percent of the electrical conductivity of the molten mixture at the temperature of the molten mixture. Preferably, the conductivity of the electrodes is equal to or greater than the conductivity of the molten mixture.


Please refer to Topic 9 (AMO) for other opportunities related to Advanced Manufacturing technologies.


Patent Status:

·         U.S. Patent No. 10,662,509 B2, “Metal-carbon composition and composite manufacturing method” Issued May 26, 2020.


·         U.S. Patent Application No. US 2019/0381563 A1 “Method for making metal-nanostructured carbon composite


·         U.S. Patent Application No. US 2020/0176573 A1 “Electrodes for making nanocarbon - infused metals and alloys”


Questions – Contact: John Ahn,, Argonne National Laboratory and Tina Kaarsberg, Advanced Manufacturing Office,


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