SBIR Phase I: Metal Matrix Composite Diamond Blades

Period of Performance: 01/01/2014 - 12/31/2014


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Rel, Inc.
57640 North Eleventh St.
Calumet, MI 49913
Principal Investigator, Firm POC


This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will develop a metal matrix composite concrete cutting diamond blade. This project has the potential to address a distinct need in a $2 billion domestic market. The technology for cutting concrete hasn't changed in over 20 years and the industry continues to deal with the same issues: blade overheat and warping, slow cutting speeds, multiple blade compositions, loud cutting and blade "sing", and short blade life. The proposed technology addresses each of these issues; it will be commercialized by working with industry partners to insure a faster transition of developed technology from lab concept to industrial application. These partnerships will result in a product line that will permit new domestic manufacturing operations (a majority of current blades are imported) and a reduced environmental impact (harmful byproducts are a result of today's blade manufacturing processes). The 200% increase in blade life and faster cutting operations enabled by this technology will reduce overall operating costs for users. Finally, the aluminum-diamond metal matrix composite (MMC) technology to be utilized will find utility in additional applications, such as stone polishing, stone quarries, and wear and thermal management applications. The proposed aluminum MMC diamond blade will have significantly better thermal properties and longer life span compared to conventional blades. Conventional concrete blades have diamond particles embedded in segments within an iron (Fe)-cobalt (Co) matrix. The Fe-Co matrix hardness has to be changed for different concrete aggregate to enable effective cutting. When mismatched, the blade will overheat and warp, becoming unusable. The proposed diamond MMC blade material has high thermal conductivity that rapidly draws the heat from the cutting zone, thereby avoiding these issues, while increasing the life of the blade. The cast MMC blade will include MMC diamond-containing segments attached to an MMC hub which can be tailored for stiffness, noise mitigation, and optimized thermal properties. The Phase I project will focus on design and development including 1) an optimized segment composition, 2) geometry of the segments and the hub, and 3) an MMC casting process optimized for blade efficiency and life. Finally, field testing will be conducted to verify and optimize blade performance. Process scale-up will follow to meet specific product requirements as required by end users of the technology.