SBIR Phase I: Long-Life Nozzles for Abrasive-Slurry-Jet Cutting

Period of Performance: 01/01/2005 - 12/31/2005


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Synergy Innovations, Inc.
10 Water Street, Room 324
Lebanon, NH 03766
Principal Investigator


This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project will test the feasibility of practical nozzles for abrasive slurry jet (ASJ) cutting tools. ASJ has been shown by several researchers to cut malleable and brittle material up to 4-8 times faster, with the same cut quality, compared to conventional abrasive water jet (AWJ) tools. However, ASJ is not employed today (except at low water-jet velocities) because the life of the nozzle, through which the abrasive slurry accelerates, is very short and hence uneconomical, even with diamond nozzles. In order to realize the known benefits of ASJ cutting, new nozzle designs have been invented according to computational fluid dynamic (CFD) analysis, these new nozzle designs promise to yield economically attractive life. The project will refine the designs with CFD analysis and then test a scaled-up, airflow model with low jet velocity, which accurately simulates both the fluid's streamlines; the particle trajectories and particle impacts against the nozzle's internal surfaces. From this modeling data, erosion rates and nozzle life will be predicted. An analysis will be affected in order to demonstrate the economic feasibility of these innovative ASJ nozzles for cutting metal, ceramics, composites and glasses. The broader impacts from this project could be a large reduction in costs and could provide industry with a superior tool, which is able to cut any material without thermal damage. The AWJ world market today is about $300 millions/year. The U.S. market, alone, for metal cutting tools, is over $3.5 billion. ASJ cutting should grow rapidly to command as much as $400 million of the metal-cutting market and to dominate the cutting of brittle materials. Practical ASJ cutting will provide a new business opportunity, jobs and a unique export product.