We use some of the world’s most advanced material characterization techniques and instruments to validate and refine our mechanistic models and material designs.
The world’s most sophisticated scientific instruments provide outstanding accuracy and information to help understand the microstructures and performance of materials. We use advanced instruments and other techniques to characterize and analyze prototype materials that we design and develop, as a feedback loop to refine our mechanistic models and material designs. While our Materials by Design® technology can rapidly lead us to a desirable new solutions, opportunities to fine-tune processing or compositions often still exist within the design space of our investigations; many of our development programs will use a series of perhaps two to five prototypes.
Efficient Use of Internal and External Resources
We use our in-house facilities to rapidly perform “routine” characterization tests, and use external resources and testing facilities for more advanced tests. We regularly use well-regarded independent testing firms such as Westmoreland Mechanical Testing & Research, Inc. and others. We also work closely with many individuals from leading academic institutions who can access significant laboratory resources, including for example at: Georgia Institute of Technology; Illinois Institute of Technology; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Pennsylvania State University.
Northwestern University Resources
Most notably, QuesTek is a member of the Northwestern University’s “Tech Corporate Partners” group and as such we regularly personally use a variety of advanced analytical facilities and resources housed at nearby Northwestern University, some of which are summarized at http://www.matsci.northwestern.edu/facilities.html. For example to fully investigate nano-structured materials and nano-scale processes related to phase transformations, decomposition, internal interfaces and evolving microstructures, we personally use and are highly skilled at interpreting the results of advanced instruments such as:
- Atom-Probe Tomography - Northwestern University’s Center for Atom-Probe Tomography (NUCAPT) identifies the characteristic structures and local compositions of materials, often at an atomic scale and in three dimensions.
- Local Electron Atom Probe (LEAP) - Northwestern University’s Atom-Probe Field-ion Microscopy Center features a new local electron atom probe equipment in which experimental materials are pulled apart atom-by-atom, and then the dissected volume is reconstructed using advanced software