Questek to Work on Center of Excellence for Advanced Materials

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, has awarded $25 million over fiv...


The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, has awarded $25 million over five years to a Chicago-based consortium led by Northwestern University to establish a new center of excellence for advanced materials research.

QuesTek Innovations LLC provided input during the proposal process to help define the structure and set the goals of the center, and will play a unique over the next five years to ensure its success.

The new consortium, called The Center of Hierarchical Materials Design (CHiMaD), will utilize the fundamentals of Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) and QuesTek’s Materials by Design technology to create next-generation computational tools, databases and techniques for the design of a wide range of materials including alloys and polymers.

The unique role of QuesTek within CHiMaD will be the application and refinement of the Accelerated Insertion of Materials (AIM) methodology for rapid commercialization and qualification of new materials. An initial focus for QuesTek will be on further commercializing its ICME-designed Nickel-Titanium shape memory alloys and cobalt-based alloys.

QuesTek has been developing new breakthrough alloys since 1997 using ICME methodologies and its Materials by Design technology, and has licensed four high performance steels (Ferrium M54, Ferrium S53, Ferrium C61 and Ferrium C64 steels) to Carpenter Technology. These Ferrium steels are displacing legacy materials that have been used for decades in demanding applications such as aircraft landing gear, arresting hook shanks and hook points; and helicopter power transmission gears and rotor shafts. Also, these steels are used as components in oil and gas applications and other industries.

During the development of S53 and M54 steels, QuesTek used the AIM methodology to successfully predict the mechanical property design minima (that typically would be measured across ten full-scale production heats) based solely on data from only three heats.

Other team members of CHiMaD with whom QuesTek will be closely collaborating include the University of Chicago, the Northwestern-Argonne Institute of Science and Engineering (a partnership between Northwestern and the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory), the Computation Institute (a partnership between the University of Chicago and Argonne), Fayetteville State University and ASM International.

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