SBIR Phase I: Reactive and Refractory Metal Processing
This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project will demonstrate an improved method of producing advanced reactive and refractory metal alloys on a medium to large scale. The proposed concept will offer a route to produce alloys, castings and powder using clean melting techniques. 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 to be developed will take pure elemental material and produce castings or powder in one direct cycle. The Phase I project will focus on the design and construction of a furnace to accomplish these goals, and will also develop the key processing routes for successful melting, alloying and melt delivery. The concept rig to be developed will feature a hybrid of arc and induction cold crucibles. 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 more cheaply and easily produce pilot-scale quantities of novel alloys will enhance the scientific understanding of these materials.
Small Business Information at Submission:
264 Main Street Oxford, ME 04270-3134
Number of Employees: