Additive Manufacturing of Refractory Metal Alloys Through Superconducting Electron Beam Technology

Period of Performance: 02/25/2016 - 08/25/2016


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Mainstream Engineering Corporation
200 Yellow Place Array
Rockledge, FL 32955
Firm POC
Principal Investigator


Refractory metal alloys are essential materials in many defense and aerospace applications including missile and rocket thruster nozzles, valves and manifolds. This is due to the extremely high melting temperatures of these materials (> 4000 F), high hardness and a resistance to heat and wear. However, these same properties that make refractory metals so prized for rocket components make the manufacturing of these materials very difficult. The extremely high melting temperature requires the use of powder metallurgy for manufacturing and the high hardness makes machining components from these materials very difficult. Therefore, the manufacturing of refractory metals often involves complex, labor-intensive processing and results in the loss of a significant amount of raw materials after machining. If the manufacturing process could be adapted to additive manufacturing processes, the amount of raw materials and labor hours could be significantly reduced leading to higher manufacturing output and lower costs. Mainstream proposes to develop apply superconducting electron beam technology to produce refractory metal alloys through additive manufacturing.