the accelerated discovery of alloy formulations using combinatorial principles
Industrial interests include:
- New lightweight fuel-saving alloys (<4.5 g/cm3) for aerospace and automotive applications;
- New higher-temperature alloys (stable>1000°C) for rockets, gas turbines, jet-engines, nuclear fusion;
- New high-Tc superconductor alloys (>30K) that can be wire-drawn for electrical applications;
- New high-ZT thermoelectric alloys for converting waste heat directly into electricity;
- New magnetic and magnetocaloric alloys for motors and refrigeration;
- New phase-change alloys for high-density memory storage.
The core concept of Accelerated Metallurgy is to deliver an integrated pilot-scale facility for the combinatorial synthesis and testing of many thousands of unexplored alloy formulations. This facility would be the first of its kind in the world and would represent a significant advance for metallurgy.
The novel technology that enables this HTT facility is based on automated, direct laser deposition (DLD). The key feature of this technology is the way in which a mixture of elemental powders is accurately and directly fed into the laser's focal point, heated by the laser beam, and deposited on a substrate in the form of a melt pool, which finally solidifies to create a unique fully-dense alloy button with precise stoichiometry. This robotic alloy synthesis is 1000 times faster than conventional manual methods.
Once produced, these discrete mm-sized samples are submitted to a range of automated, standardised tests that will measure chemical, physical and mechanical properties. The vast amount of information will be recorded in a "Virtual Alloy Library" and coupled with computer codes such as neural network models, in order to extract and map out the key trends linking process, composition, structure and properties. The most promising alloy formulations will be further tested, patented and exploited by the 20 end-users.
The accelerated discovery of these alloy formulations will have a very high impact on society.
ACCMET is a project co-funded by the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission, coordinated by the European Space Agency. The area of activity of the project is FP7-NMP-2010-LARGE-4