SBIR Phase II: Reactive and Refractory Metal Processing
National Science Foundation
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Small Business Information
264 Main Street, Oxford, ME, 04270-3134
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
AbstractThis Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project will deliver a system that can continuously process advanced refractory metal alloys from elemental, scrap or preprocessed feed stock into powder or small castings. The advanced hybrid plasma arc induction furnace uses the latest in clean melting techniques maintaining the full theoretical properties of these promising materials. This is a direct processing route for near net shape products. Advanced titanium alloys, for example, require special processes to maintain their material properties. This process will allow the development of specialist alloys without the cost and complexity of large and expensive foundry processes and rolling mills. The process developed takes pure elemental material and produces castings or powder in one direct cycle. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project will be the creation of new methods for development of specialist and advanced reactive and refractory alloys. Currently there is no economically viable route for these alloys to move from small, lab-scale experiments to use in large-scale commercial applications. This new process will speed the process of transitioning these materials into emerging applications. The overall objective of this project is to create a pilot-scale plant to produce castings and powder of these specialist materials. Some selected material systems where this new process will have a potential impact include advance titanium-based shape memory alloys and intermetallics such as niobium?]silicide based compounds. These new materials will create value for customers and users in the medical and aerospace industries, among others. The new process will be commercialized via the sale of a toll production service for castings and powder, and also via direct sales of the resulting equipment. Finally, the ability to easily produce pilot-scale quantities of novel alloys more cost-effectively will enhance the scientific understanding and application of these materials.
* information listed above is at the time of submission.