We rapidly produce, test and evaluate concepts and prototypes using in-house facilities. We also partner with leading commercial producers, processors and laboratories for further prototyping and production, and use some of the world’s most sophisticated testing and characterization equipment at external facilities.
Facilities & Resources
QuesTek is located at 1820 Ridge Avenue in Evanston, Illinois, USA, approximately 0.75 mile (1.2 km) west of Northwestern University’s Evanston campus. We operate from our wholly-owned, 12,000-ft2 (1,100-m2) facility, which contains offices, laboratories and equipment for material testing and small prototype production.
We use our in-house facilities to rapidly produce small experimental samples of prototype materials and to conduct initial testing and evaluation. For example, we can melt alloy samples of 10-20 gm up to 3500°C in our in-house Bühler MAM-1 compact arc-melter, and up to about 1-2 kg in a small atmospheric melter. Our in-house material testing and laboratory equipment includes: Toshiba S-4500 Scanning Electron Microscope; Rockwell hardness and Vicker’s micro-hardness testing equipment; microscopic equipment; three high temperature box furnaces; horizontal band saw; chop saw; precision saw; mounting press and automated polishing equipment; and wet lab. We’re also equipped for conducting studies involving chemical analysis, methods development and the mechanical testing of materials.
We work with well-proven commercial producers/processors and independent laboratories to produce, process, characterize, test and evaluate prototype as well as large-scale material production samples. We work with a wide variety of commercial producers, processors and laboratories worldwide, to manufacture and test material or product performance as we scale-up production and insert materials into service. Because we have no in-house production capacity beyond small prototyping, we have no vested production interests; instead we seek to work with best-in-class firms or those existing supply chain partners that our clients direct us to use. We often try to work with potential licensees for prototype and commercial production and processing.
We personally use some of the world’s most sophisticated and advanced material testing and characterization equipment. Most notably, QuesTek is a member of Northwestern University’s “Tech Corporate Partners” group and as such regularly utilizes a variety of advanced analytical facilities and techniques housed at Northwestern University, including: Atomic Absorption Spectrometry; the Electron Probe Instrumentation Center; Scanning Electron Microscopy; Transmission Electron Microscopy; Secondary Ion Mass Spectroscopy; and standard metallography and surface characterization equipment. QuesTek also has access to the University’s Atom-Probe Field-ion Microscopy Center, featuring a new local electron atom probe (LEAP) equipment and also Northwestern University’s Center for Atom-Probe Tomography (NUCAPT). We’re leaders in using nano-scale, three-dimensional atom-probe tomography to fully investigate nano-structured materials and nano-scale processes related to phase transformations, decomposition, internal interfaces and evolving microstructures. Additional information about these facilities is available at http://www.matsci.northwestern.edu/facilities.html.