Laser-Assisted, Ultra-Precision Manufacturing of Polycrystalline Alumina

Period of Performance: 01/12/2005 - 07/12/2005


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Creare, Inc.
16 Great Hollow Road Array
Hanover, NH 03755
Principal Investigator


Creare proposes to develop a laser-assisted, ultra-precision machining system. Our innovation will enable the affordable single-point turning of polycrystalline alumina (PCA) from a near-net shape blank to a optical quality missile ogive in a single processing step. We will use our extensive experience and expertise in the laser-assisted machining of ceramics to establish the parameter space for the production of optical quality missile ogives from near-net shape blanks. Our innovation has a material removal rate (MRR) that is three orders of magnitude higher that current finishing options including magnetorheological finishing (MRF) and fluid-jet polishing (FJP). Thus, our innovation relaxes the dimensional tolerances of the sintered part and, thereby, dramatically reduces the overall cost of the production process. In addition, our unique system can produce optical quality surfaces on the interior and exterior of the ogive, which is not possible with MRF or FJP. Our novel solution is readily integrated with existing or new ultra-precision machine tools. Thus, our innovation is effective, affordable, and flexible.