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QuesTek Wins SBIR Phase II Award to Demonstrate Ferrium® M54™ Steel for Navy Aircraft Tailhooks

July 02, 2012

EVANSTON, IL, July 2, 2012 - QuesTek Innovations LLC has been awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project from the U.S. Navy Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) to fabricate and experimentally test aircraft tailhooks made from QuesTek’s new economical, high strength, high toughness Ferrium® M54 steel. Relevant laboratory tests of M54 are expected to be performed, as well as a cost-benefit analysis. The 2-year contract is valued at $749,991, and is a collaborative effort between the Navy, QuesTek, OEM manufacturers, and testing laboratories.

The advantages of M54 over the incumbent steel often used for tailhooks are expected to include superior strength, toughness, stress corrosion cracking (SCC) resistance, surface hardness and thermal resistance (due to M54’s higher final tempering temperature), which may eliminate the need for thermal/wear resistance coatings currently in use today.

QuesTek computationally designed and developed M54 under earlier Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I and II projects awarded by NAVAIR. M54 is currently being evaluated, tested or used in oil and gas, racing, naval aircraft landing gear and other product applications. Latrobe Specialty Steel Co. of Latrobe, PA, (Now Carpenter Technology) commercially produces and sells M54 under their license from QuesTek.

Charlie Kuehmann, President and CEO of QuesTek, commented: “We thank NAVAIR for this award and the opportunity to demonstrate the benefits of Ferrium® M54 in this highly demanding and safety critical product application. This project provides another illustration of QuesTek’s integrated, applied approach to computational materials design, in which we work closely with clients from concept through design and then application of materials to improve product performance.”

Additional information about M54 is available at www.questek.com/ferrium-m54.html


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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