Emerging Technologies

UES leverages the SBIR/STTR processes, as well as multiple other mechanisms including internal funding to develop, mature and commercialize technologies. We seek active partnerships to license our broad portfolio of intellectual property, as well as to bring our technology portfolio to market.

SBIR/STTR Technologies

Non-Silicon and Non-Boron based Leading Edges for Hypersonic Vehicles, FA9550-16-C-0004

Emerging TechnologiesThis Phase II SBIR program involves a novel process to produce new hybrid ultra-high temperature ceramic (UHTC) composites that can survive hypersonic flight conditions. The new process will produce a very unique grain and graded microstructure that can offer high strength (> 100 kpsi), high fracture toughness (> 10 MPa-sqrt(m)), high thermal shock resistance, and high oxidation resistance over 2000oC. Thus, the new hybrid composites can serve as leading edges for hypersonic applications. Spark plasma sintering or hot-pressing will be used as a means for densification. In addition, near-net shape fabrication will be explored to produce sharp leading edges during the Phase II program. The successful completion of the Phase II program will provide the foundation needed to produce oxidation and thermal shock resistant UHTCs. Examples of primary applications are leading edges for hypersonic vehicles, as well as solid rocket motors (SRM) for various DoD applications including all rocket nozzles, and other ground-based missile interceptors.

Durable High Temperature Coatings For Utility Scale Gas Turbine Hot Gas Path Components (DE-SC0011335)

For advanced gas turbines where turbine inlet temperature reaches 2650°F and beyond, the current state-of-the-art thermal barrier coating (TBC) systems are not adequate to provide the needed protection for the metallic components of the turbine engine. Thus there is a need to develop new chemistries for TBC systems, consisting of bond coat and top coat, with enhanced durability. We propose to modify the coating chemistry of high temperature top coat material to impart higher toughness needed for high temperature durability. We also propose to develop highly durable bond coat chemistry. The Phase I approach consists of the feasibility demonstration of the developed coating chemistries whereas the Phase II approach involves optimization of the bond coat and top coat chemistries in relation to their relevant properties. In the Phase I work, appropriate top and bond coat materials were selected and appropriately processed to render their chemistry suitable for high temperature applications. The processed top and bond coats were characterized to show that they have the desired characteristics that were lacking for application at higher temperature with enhanced durability. In the Phase II work, the top and bond coat chemistries will be further optimized to impart optimal desired characteristics. Also in Phase II, approaches will be developed to manufacture optimal top coat material on a commercial scale. Complete TBC systems with optimal top and bond coat will be manufactured and characterized to demonstrate their relevant characteristics needed for high temperature applications. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: The TBC systems developed in this program will have application in turbine engines utilized in electric power production, propelling aircraft, pumping fluids etc. Successful completion of the project will enable gas turbine engines to operate at elevated temperatures with higher efficiency (lower cost), lower emission (less environmental pollution) and increased reliability and performance.

Dual Mode Electrical Accumulator Unit (DMEAU) II (FA8650-15-C-2514)

Electrical motors are rapidly replacing hydraulic motors in flight actuators for aircraft applications. In hydraulic systems, accumulators are used to store regenerative energy from the actuators as well as to supply peak energy demands of these actuators in response to flight control system demands. No electrical analog (Electrical Accumulator Unit) exists in production, although some prototype hardware has been demonstrated to store/supply transient electric energy (~100 kW spikes). Advanced EAU designs merge the emergency power function (battery energy storage) with the transient electrical energy function. Working with the battery, the resultant Dual Mode EAU (DMEAU) would have the following functions: emergency power, transient energy supply/storage, battery charging, engine starting and 270 VDC power generation. The DMEAU would meet the requirements of the current BCCU space. For this proposal, an advanced EAU breadboard converter will be fabricated and tested to expected aircraft actuator transient loads with an emulated energy storage battery. Fabrication of an advanced packaged EAU converter will increase the technology readiness level of the DMEAU. The combined outcomes of weight savings and increased vehicle capability will spur the application of Dual Mode Electrical Accumulator Units to several thousand high performance aircraft.

A Novel Approach for High Rate Production of IR to IR Up-converting Nano-particles (FA8650-14-C-5193)

Phosphor materials are currently being utilized in a wide variety of applications. The requirements for phosphors have become more and more stringent with smaller and smaller particles being required. In the Phase I program UES Inc. in collaboration with Penn State University has demonstrated the feasibility of a few approaches for high rate production of high efficiency IR to IR up-converting nanoparticles. The objective of the Phase II STTR is to continue refinement and optimization of the technology developed in Phase I with emphasis on emission strength, environmental stability and process scalability. Successful completion of the program will provide a commercially viable approach to produce IR to IR up-converting nanoparticles. Military application involves tagging and tracking of assets, identifying friend or foe, and for use in identifying disturbed soil in perimeter security. Commercial applications include fluorescence optical imaging for biomedical applications.

Durable Solution for Compressor Airfoil Leading Edges in Gas Turbine Engines (N68335-14-C-0099)

Particle impacts cause erosion of leading edges of the compressor airfoils as well as the side or surface of the airfoil beyond the leading edge. Although erosion resistant coatings have been developed and applied on the airfoils during the past decade or two and that have protected the side or surface of the airfoil quite satisfactorily, the erosion of the leading edge (LE) is still a serious issue. The objective of this project is to develop an advanced, robust solution that improves the durability of the LEs of a compressor’s airfoils while incurring minimal to no impact on the original performance of the airfoils. In Phase I, UES has demonstrated the feasibility of building up an impact resistant leading edge with higher yield strength and harder material than the substrate airfoil. In Phase II, UES and the team will optimize the process and assess the performance of the LE-modified airfoils using a series of standard verification tests in a field-representative environment.

Hydration Tolerant, low Thermal Conductivity (k) Thermal Barrier Coatings (FA8650-14-C-2436)

This Phase II SBIR program seeks to develop a new thermal barrier coating (TBC) system with a diffusion barrier coating and low thermal conductivity (k) top coat for alleviating oxidation of the bond coat alloy and moisture induced delayed spallation (MIDS), along with increasing the thermal efficiency. TBCs have been applied to the hot sections of aircraft turbine engines to increase engine efficiency and to extend the life of metal components; however, they have not been fully integrated to the engine design due to the potential catastrophic failures at the interfaces where crack formation takes place. This failure is closely linked to the thermally grown oxide (TGO) layer on the bond coats during thermal exposures. Due to this fact, current efforts are focused on developing new bond coat alloys or top coats, but only minimal benefits have been achieved. We propose the development of new barrier coatings and a low k top coat to achieve a longer lifetime and a high thermal insulation. Thermal barrier coatings (TBCs) are used for the hot sections of the aircraft engines to allow for higher use temperatures; however, the coating effectiveness is limited by unpredictable lifetimes and poor reliability. A new diffusion barrier coating along with a low k top coat could significantly reduce the TGO growth and adverse effects of water (MIDS). This would increase the TBC lifetime and predictability; the full incorporation of the new TBC into military aircraft and commercial engines is expected.

High Temperature Unique Low Thermal Conductivity Thermal Barrier Coating (TBC) Architectures (DE-SC0004356)

Gas turbine engines utilized in electric power production and aircraft propulsion need to operate at higher temperatures for enhanced efficiency and lower emissions. Development of the proposed thermal barrier coating technology with unique architectural design will enable the operation of turbine engines at higher operating temperatures.

Process Modeling for Additive Manufacturing of Alloys by Electron Beam (FA8650-14-C-5021)

UES proposes to develop a thermal model for additive manufacturing by electron beam melting that will enable selection of machine process parameters to maximize first part yield for arbitrarily shaped parts, and provide documentation to support rapid part qualification. The research will address manufacturing with Ti 6Al 4V and with Ti 6Al 2Sn 4Zr 2Mo using powder sources from different vendors. An experimental program has been designed to correlate process parameter changes with microstructure while building shape elements that are representative of typical features within parts. The data obtained will be used to anchor the physics-based thermal model that will be developed as a commercial product. Aerospace partners have been identified that support such technology development for both engine and airframe parts. The program is aimed at increasing the first part yield of additively manufactured parts manufactured by electron beam melting, and providing part metadata for part validation documentation. A successfully developed thermal model will be commercialized or licensed to users of EBM machines.

Frequency Domain-based Electrical Accumulator Unit (EAU) (FA8650-14-C-2521)

Advanced electrical loads, such as 270VDC flight actuators, on high performance military aircraft are of special interest due to the near instantaneous demand and regenerative transients placed on the power system, including the generation components. Recent research has focused on designing/fabricating electrical accumulator units (EAU) to offload the transient loads from the generator to energy storage devices. Previous work has focused on EAU techniques which strive to off-load as much as 100% of the transients from the generator system. This Phase II effort investigates a special class of EAU where frequency domain (FD) control techniques are used to manage transient power/energy between the generator and the FDEAU energy storage device (Li-ion battery). Phase I simulations have shown that it is possible to design an FDEAU where the high frequency components of the transients are supplied by the FDEAU while the generator system supplies the low frequency components. A scalable FDEAU will be built and tested with emulated battery, generator and loads. Work will also include design of a full scale aircraft FDEAU including packaging concepts. Military applications of the technology include advanced manned and unmanned aircraft. As commercial aircraft (general aviation to large civil aircraft) adopt direct current electrical power systems, electrical accumulator units with frequency domain control will likely find applications. As the world continues to “electrify” motion control, whether in robotic processing operations or motion control for transportation, EAU concepts will be applied to conserve energy and smooth energy demand.

Fabrication of Ta-Hf-C-based Ultra High Temperature Composites (HQ0147-15-C-7057)

This Phase II STTR program seeks a new fabrication method to produce stronger (>100 kpsi) and tougher (> 10 MPa-sqrt(m)) ultra high temperature ceramic (UHTC) HfC-based composites with an outstanding oxidation resistance for advanced rocket nozzle throat components. UES will apply a novel “Top Down” approach to control the microstructures of the composites. This approach will produce a very unique grain structure that can offer high strength, high fracture toughness, and high oxidation resistance. Field assisted sintering or hot-pressing will be used as a means for densification during the Phase II study. During the Phase II program, UES will collaborate with the University of Alabama and Southern Research Institute to conduct microstructural characterization and to evaluate high temperature properties.

Intellectual Property

US 9,028,807 Synthesis models for antimicrobial agents via the halogenation of organic/inorganic composites

A method of forming a biocidal halogenated organic/inorganic composite material may include providing at least one inorganic precursor, providing at least one organic agent, precipitating an organic/inorganic composite material by contacting the at least one inorganic precursor with the at least one organic agent, and halogenating the organic/inorganic composite material by contacting the organic/inorganic composite material with a halogen. Also, a halogenated organic/inorganic composite material may include an inorganic composition comprising a metal oxide and a halogenated organic composition. The inorganic composition and the halogenated organic composition are dispersed throughout the composite material.

US 7,972,938 Methods of splitting CdZnTe layers from CdZnTe substrates for the growth of HgCdTe

Methods of producing CdZnTe (CZT) layers for the epitaxial growth of HgCdTe thereon include implanting ions into a CZT substrate at a low temperature to form a damaged layer underneath a CZT surface layer, bonding a wafer to the CZT substrate about the CZT surface layer using a bonding material and annealing the CZT substrate for a time sufficient to facilitate the splitting of the CZT substrate at the damaged layer from the CZT surface layer.

US 7,910,217 Wear resistant coatings for race land regions of bearing materials

Embodiments of a coated substrate (for example, a coated race land region of a roller bearing element) comprise a metallic substrate, a ceramic under layer comprising a nitride, a carbide, a carbonitride, a boride, or combinations thereof disposed over the metallic substrate, and a mixed layer comprising titanium nitride and silver disposed over the ceramic under layer; and an over layer disposed over the mixed layer.

US 7,935,387 Methods for fabricating YAG barrier coatings

Method embodiments for coating alloys comprise providing a super alloy substrate, applying a bond coat onto the super alloy substrate, forming an oxidation barrier coating comprising an yttrium aluminum garnet (YAG) phase on the bond coat, and depositing a top coat on the oxidation barrier coating.

US 7,566,408 YAG lasing systems and methods

Lasing systems utilizing YAG and methods for producing a YAG suitable for lasing are provided. The lasing system comprises a laser activator and a laser host material is provided. The laser host material comprises a transparent polycrystalline yttrium aluminum garnet material defined by a low porosity of less than about 3 ppm.

US 7,022,262 Yttrium aluminum garnet powders and processing

Methods of producing doped and undoped yttrium aluminum garnet and yttrium aluminum perovskite containing powders and the powders produced thereby are provided. Additionally, methods of forming doped and undoped polycrystalline yttrium aluminum garnet having a mean grain size of between about 1 .mu.m to about 3 .mu.m and the yttrium aluminum garnet produced thereby are provided. The doped and undoped polycrystalline yttrium aluminum garnet may be formed by sintering a compact and subsequently hot isostatically pressing the compact.

US 6,620,756 Ceramic matrix composite cutting tool material

A reinforcing material is uniformly dispersed in a yttrium aluminum garnet matrix material for use as a machine tool material especially suited for machining Ti or a Ti alloy. The matrix material and the reinforcing material are present in proportions selected such that the machine tool material is substantially resistant to transfer of impurities to a Ti or Ti alloy by way of either chemical reaction with or diffusion into the Ti or Ti alloy material to be machined. The matrix material preferably comprises Y.sub.3 Al.sub.5 O.sub.12. The reinforcing material may comprise SiC.sub.w, TiC, TiN, TiB.sub.2, or combinations thereof and is preferably present in an amount sufficient to enable electrical discharge machining of the machine tool material. In addition, the machine tool material defines a thermodynamically stable phase at relatively high machining temperatures.

US 7,060,139 High strength aluminum alloy composition

The invention provides a high strength aluminum alloy composition and applications of the high strength aluminum alloy composition. The alloy composition exhibits high tensile strength at ambient temperatures and cryogenic temperatures. The alloy composition can exhibit high tensile strength while maintaining a high elongation in ambient temperatures and cryogenic temperatures.

US 7,048,815 Method of making a high strength aluminum alloy composition

The present invention provides a method of making a high strength aluminum alloy composition. The alloy composition exhibits high tensile strength at ambient temperatures and cryogenic temperatures. The alloy composition can exhibit high tensile strength while maintaining a high elongation in ambient temperatures and cryogenic temperatures.

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Emerging Technologies