STTR Phase I: Integrated Design of Nanostructured Diamond Coated Drills (for Dry Drilling of High-strength Automotive Powertrain Components)

Period of Performance: 01/01/2008 - 12/31/2008


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Vista Engineering, Inc.
Birmingham, AL 35203
Principal Investigator

Research Institution

University of Alabama, Huntsville
301 Sparkman Drive
Huntsville, AL 35899
Institution POC


This Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I project seeks to overcome one of the barriers to widespread acceptance of diamond coating technologies for cutting aluminum alloys which is to fabricate functional diamond coated drills. Drilling is among the most difficult of the machining processes and responsible for bottlenecks in workflow efficiency. Chemical-vapor-deposition (CVD) diamond coatings greatly extend tool life; however, drill geometry affects both the cutting capability as well as coating characteristics, and these synergistic coating/tool characteristics must be solved in an integrated manner. The objective of this project is to develop the scientific tools that facilitate synergistic design of CVD diamond and cutting edges of tungsten carbide; cobalt drills that will enable high throughput, unlubricated hole-making processes for high-strength aluminum. The project will focus on the analysis and design of drill geometry, CVD coating, and drill performance as measured by fully instrumented cutting machine, CVD reactor and advanced characterization techniques. The broader impact/commercial potential from the technology will be improved designs for CVD diamond drills that incorporate synergistic coating process variables with drill geometric parameters. This project will specifically benefit US workers and the US economy because it levels the playing field against manual-intensive workforces. This project addresses high productivity through scientific methods to improve manufacturing, specifically high speed hole