In the design and scale up of new alloys, QuesTek utilizes some of the world’s most sophisticated production, testing and characterization equipment located in our in-house laboratory, at local academic institutions (e.g., Northwestern University, Illinois Institute of Technology) and at other outside facilities (e.g., Argonne National Lab) and outside independent test labs.
Facilities & Resources
We operate from our wholly-owned, 12,000-ft2 facility, which contains offices, laboratories and equipment for alloy prototype production, and for material testing characterization.
Our in-house equipment includes:
- Bühler MAM-1 compact arc-melter (3500°C capability; 10-20 gram capacity)
- Atmospheric melter (1-2 kg capacity)
- Six high temperature box furnaces with oil quench
- Cryogenic treatment
- Rockwell hardness and Vicker’s micro-hardness testing equipment
- Singleton SCCH22 Salt Fog Chamber
- Rising Step Load KISCC testing
- Mounting press and automated polishing equipment
- Hitachi S-4500 Scanning Electron Microscope
- Microscopic equipment - Nikon Eclipse MA100 Microscope
- Wet lab
- Horizontal band saw
- Chop saw
- Precision saw
QuesTek has access to and regularly utilize Northwestern University’s Materials Science and Engineering facilities (< 1 mile away) such as:
- Atomic Absorption Spectrometry
- Transmission Electron Microscopy
- Secondary Ion Mass Spectroscopy
- Focused Ion Beam Microscopy
- Standard metallography and surface characterization equipment
- Atom-Probe Tomography - identifies the characteristic structures and local compositions of materials at an atomic scale and in three dimensions.
- Local Electron Atom Probe (LEAP) - materials are pulled apart atom-by-atom, and then the dissected volume is reconstructed using advanced software
We are 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.
QuesTek uses several key pieces of equipment at Illinois Institute of Technology (~one hour drive) including:
- Gleeble 3500 Thermomechanical Simulator
- Differential Scanning Calorimetry
- Electron Backscatter Diffraction
At Argonne National Lab (~one hour drive), QuesTek has access to a wide range of advanced equipment, including for example:
Other outside manufacturing and test facilities:
QuesTek has developed strong working relationships with a wide range of small and large scale alloy producers, forging facilities, heat treat vendors, machining shops and others in order to produce new alloys and manufacture prototype and production-scale components.
We also work closely with other outside test facilities for:
- Mechanical properties (tensile, fracture and impact toughness, creep, fatigue, etc)
- Residual stresses from shot peening and other processing
- Retained austenite
- Chrome volatility
- Oxidation resistance
- Magnetic properties
- Gear testing at the Gear Research Institute at Penn State
- Full-scale rig testing of flight-critical components at Dayton T. Brown
In many projects we need to test and evaluate other very unique properties, and we work to identify the appropriate vendors.