An economical and environmentally acceptable process for high quality nanopowders of Magnesium Fluoride (and related fluorides)

Period of Performance: 07/01/2003 - 01/01/2004

$70K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Nanopowder Enterprises, Inc.
120 Centennial Ave.
Piscataway, NJ 08854
Principal Investigator

Abstract

Building upon our newly developed chemical synthesis process, which is now being used to produce oxide nanopowders with exceptional particle characteristics, we propose to develop an economical and environmentally acceptable process for producing high quality sinterable nanopowders of fluoride compounds (e.g. MgF2 and CaF2) that can be consolidated into fully dense and transparent infrared transparent windows and domes. The impetus for nanopowders as starting material is that the potential exists for consolidating them into ultrafine grained components with mechanical properties far superior to their coarse grained counterparts, and possibly sapphire, which is the benchmark material. In keeping with this objective, we will demonstrate the feasibility of producing nanopowders of MgF2. As synthesized powders will be characterized by an array of analytical techniques, and test quantities of nanopowders will be provided to the Navy by the end of the Phase I program for further testing. Additionally, the sinterability of the nanopowders will be demonstrated. The synthesis process will be optimized and scaled in Phase II, and nanopowders will be provided to manufacturers of IR windows and domes. We anticipate the nanopowders developed in this program to become one of our growing product lines beginning toward the end of Phase II and into Phase III. MgF2 and related compounds fall into a category of materials generally referred to as specialty materials, as opposed to commodity powders such as silica, alumina, and titania. The number of suppliers as well as users of specialty powders is restricted to a few companies. For a variety of reasons, for certain materials, there is either only one, or in some cases, no US manufacturer. This creates a commercial opportunity for a small US based company such as ours. The market size for specialty materials, even if relatively small, is still in the several hundreds of millions of dollars.