Materials specialist QuesTek has received three Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards from the US Office of Naval Research, NASA and US Department of Energy to create new materials development software.

The Office of Naval Research has funded QuesTek to develop materials engineering software to develop an improved nickel alloy for additive manufacturing (AM). Plans are for the software to customize materials for AM, improving printability, reducing flaws, and improving mechanical properties.

NASA’s award is to computationally design calcia magnesia alumina silicate (CMAS) resistant multi-layer thermal and environmental barrier coatings for ceramic matrix composite (CMC) based hot turbine components. While CMCs allow for greater operating temperatures and fuel efficiency compared to Ni superalloys, they are not readily used because current coatings lack long-term protection against molten CMAS attack at high temperature, the company said. Plans are for the coating system to improve the performance of CMCs in aircraft propulsion systems, hypersonic combustor panels, commercial turbo fans and industrial gas turbine plants leading to greater fuel efficiency.

Finally, the Department of Energy-funded SBIR award is for QuesTek to develop a machine learning (ML) based, open-source software package enabling reproducible data analysis for electron microscopy systems and data types. According to Questek, there is a lack of current open-source packages tailored for metallic materials data. The tool could help improve the analysis of the electron microscopy data generated at research facilities, universities and companies.

This story uses material from QuesTek, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.