Integrated computational materials engineering (ICME) approach to develop base alloys suitable for covetic conversion and scale-up

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0015152
Agency Tracking Number: 221255
Amount: $154,750.73
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 12b
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0001366
Solicitation Year: 2016
Award Year: 2016
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2016-02-17
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2016-11-21
Small Business Information
1820 Ridge Avenue, Evanston, IL, 60201-3621
DUNS: 088176961
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Jason Sebastian
 (847) 425-8227
Business Contact
 Raymond Genellie
Phone: (847) 425-8215
Research Institution
Under this SBIR program, QuesTek Innovations LLC will explore the possibility of high electrical conductivity components (e.g. wires or cables) with its computational alloy design methodologies and tools. QuesTek’s extensive experience in the ICME approach to alloy design, rapid development of materials databases, and strong track record of material development and scale-up makes it uniquely qualified to find base alloys suitable for covetic conversion and insertion into transmission line components. Phase I efforts will focus on utilizing an ICME approach to design base alloy compositions (e.g. Cu- or Al- base alloys) that exhibit suitable characteristics for creating high electrical conductivity covetic materials for commercial applications. The search will begin with a literature review of existing electrical conductivity and strength models, with a focus on the composition-dependence of electrical conductivity and strength. Design efforts will then focus on optimizing a base alloy that simultaneously maximizes strength and castability while minimizing electron scattering (for the best electrical conductivity). Candidate alloys will be fabricated and converted into covetic material at the 10-lb scale at GDC Industries in Dayton, OH, after which they will be extruded into component form and evaluated for their electrical conductivity, strength, and other properties of interest at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). These property evaluations will be used to update and improve models for optimization in Phase II. In Phase II, QuesTek will apply its Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) technologies on promising Phase I covetic base alloys to optimize composition and processing for improved castability, strength, processability, and electrical conductivity. The feasibility of covetic materials will be examined on full-scale prototypes of high-power transmission cables, with full heats of covetic material produced by a covetic materials producer and cable components tested by an electricity transmission OEM. Phase II will also include extension of the strength and electrical conductivity models to include the effects of microstructural features found within the promising materials. Phase III efforts will be focused on the commercialization of covetic electrical power transmission components and of the electrical conductivity and strength models that will result as a part of this research and development.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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