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QuesTek Wins Three SBIR Awards to Design and Develop Three Alloys

December 16, 2008

EVANSTON, IL, Dec. 16, 2008 - QuesTek Innovations LLC was recently awarded three Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) projects to develop new metal alloys for the U.S. Army and Air Force. The awards expand QuesTek’s on-going record of innovation for governmental and commercial entities. The three recent project awards are:

1. “Design and Development of a New Titanium Alloy with Improved Near-Net-Shape Formability” awarded by the U.S. Army. QuesTek will apply its Materials by Design® technology to the design and development of a new castable titanium alloy. Microstructural concepts for the alloy design will focus on improved castability (near-net-shape formability), improved mechanical strength (including fatigue strength), and lower cost relative to the existing aerospace-grade Ti-6Al-4V alloy. QuesTek intends to complete the design and demonstrate the alloy at prototype casting scale. Titanium alloys with improved castability could see widespread adoption across a myriad of Department of Defense platforms, where the exceptional strength-to-weight and corrosion resistance properties of titanium could be combined with the reduced cost potential of near-net-shape processing.

2. “Design of New Soft Magnetic Alloys with Improved Strength, Magnetization, and Temperature Performance” awarded by the U.S. Air Force. QuesTek will apply its Materials by Design technology to the design and development of a new high performance soft magnetic material. QuesTek will identify the critical performance criteria for a new high performance soft magnetic material, including saturation magnetization, mechanical strength, alloy cost, magnetic hysteresis losses, temperature performance, and electrical resistivity. A series of prototype alloys that explore different aspects of QuesTek’s modeling- and microstructural concept-spaces will be designed, produced, and tested for mechanical and magnetic performance. The need for high performance soft magnetic alloys with improved strength, magnetization, and temperature capabilities is prevalent in numerous electrical motor and actuator applications, in aerospace and otherwise. This project also received $49,979.00 of additional matching funding by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

3. “Main Rotor Weight Reduction and Performance Enhancement via the Use of Carburized, High-Strength, Secondary Hardening Steel” awarded by the U.S. Army. Main rotor shafts, specifically those used on the CH-47, are among the largest, heaviest, and highly loaded single components on rotorcraft. QuesTek’s Materials by Design technology has been used to design Ferrium® C61, which has a high-strength/high-toughness core to allow for weight reduction or increased power density. This alloy may represent a substantial weight-savings opportunity for the main rotor shaft on the CH-47 without requiring significant changes in the production process of the component. Successful demonstration of C61 in aerospace applications will allow for advancement of a new family of carburizing high-strength steels.

Charlie Kuehmann, President and CEO of QuesTek, commented: “We appreciate these awards from the Department of Defense to develop next-generation materials that directly address governmental needs, yet also have broad commercial and societal benefits. These new projects build on our past successes such as Ferrium S53®, our ultra-high-strength, corrosion-resistant steel for aircraft landing gear and other applications. The development of Ferrium S53 began from a program within the Department of Defense which addressed environmental issues. Ferrium S53 is now available for both commercial and governmental use from multiple U.S.-based alloy producers under our licenses.”

QuesTek Innovations LLC (www.questek.com) is a global leader in Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) technologies, serving government and industrial private sectors. Using its proprietary Materials by Design® methodology, QuesTek has rapidly developed breakthrough alloys (based on Fe, Cu, Al, Ti, Co, Mo, W systems), coatings, powders, and other materials that provide improved performance, reduced capital (as well as operating and maintenance costs) and provide competitive advantage. QuesTek has developed four steels that are being used in demanding aerospace and other applications, has a large portfolio of other materials nearing commercialization with more than 20 US patents awarded/pending and relevant international IP coverage. For more information, please contact Jeff Grabowski.

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