ALLVAR Awarded NASA SBIR Phase I Grant for Development of High Temperature Alloy
New alloy could improve the lifetime and reliability of high-temperature sensors and structures in space expeditions
College Station, TX – ALLVAR, a manufacturer of revolutionary alloys that exhibit negative thermal expansion (NTE), has been awarded a NASA SBIR Phase I Grant to develop a new high temperature NTE alloy. The new alloy, ALLVAR Alloy-HT, is expected to improve the reliability and reusability of future high temperature planetary and lunar mission systems by compensating the expansion effects of other materials.
ALLVAR expects this new alloy to withstand temperatures from -200°C to 500°C, enabling NASA’s reusable moon mission hardware and the exploration of Venus with reliable and stable instruments.
ALLVAR alloys have unique thermal expansion properties. They shrink when heated and expand when cooled, a phenomenon known as negative thermal expansion (NTE). The patented NTE alloys are typically coupled to a traditional metal to counter their positive expansion properties, making the overall structure athermal.
Dr. James A. Monroe, Founder of ALLVAR Alloys, said this new alloy would solve a key problem for NASA’s space exploration: Longevity. “The high temperatures experienced on Venus can quickly push critical instruments and sensors out of alignment while thermal cycles on the moon reduce system reliability due to the continual expansion and contraction of components. At some point, the sensors stop working or the structures fail.” He added that other applications, including those requiring constant force load fasteners, high temperature engines or precision optics, could also benefit from this new alloy.
This is the third NASA SBIR award ALLVAR has received and the first for high-temperature alloy development. The company is currently developing structural supports for space telescopes with picometer level stability made in part with previous ALLVAR Alloys developed from SBIR grants.
About ALLVAR Alloys:
Founded in 2014, ALLVAR Alloys develops and manufactures alloys with negative thermal expansion properties. These alloys compensate and eliminate detrimental effects that thermal expansion has on many applications, such as IR Optics, petroleum and chemical processing, remote weather or atmospheric monitoring, and space-based instruments. The company provides NTE washers and spacers, as well as bars and tubes for mounting struts or rails for commercial applications in addition to their custom contract work. Visit the web site at www.allvaralloys.com or follow the company on LinkedIn.
ALLVAR alloys has been awarded a NASA Small Business Innovative Research Phase II grant for “Ultra-stable ALLVAR Alloy Strut Development for Space Telescopes.”
This NASA SBIR Phase II proposal was in response to the need for Ultra-Stable Telescope Structures and is designed to evaluate ALLVAR Alloys for their potential as metering and support structures for optics that are critical to NASA’s future missions. Telescopes used for astrophysics, exoplanet, and planetary studies require picometer stability over several minutes to hours. Building large support structures with picometer level stability is a challenge with currently available materials due to their brittle nature in the case of Zerodur and ULE or their requirement to have tight thermal control in the case of SiC or carbon fiber composites. ALLVAR Alloys offer a new material solution for thermally stable structures. They exhibit negative thermal expansion and can compensate for the positive thermal expansion of other materials to stabilize a telescope
NASA awards ALLVAR a SBIR Phase I grant for work in NASA’s focus area – Advanced Telescope Technologies. This will fund research designed to evaluate ALLVAR Alloys for their potential as metering and support structures for optics that are critical to NASA’s future missions.
A lot has happened at ALLVAR in just a short time! While we’ve been continuously striving towards prototype development, the team realized that the old website needed a complete overhaul. After a little practice, we were able to put together a new site that better tells about our revolutionary negative thermal expansion metal and the team behind it.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded ALLVAR with a Small Business Innovative Research Phase II grant. The intellectual merit of this project lies in a new method to exhibit unprecedented control over thermal expansion properties in metal alloys.
The discovery of the tailoring effect or “programmed” thermal expansion of a bulk metal to match that of other common materials (metals, polymers, and ceramics) will change the way scientists and engineers design for thermal compensation. These alloys can also be tailored not to expand or contract with temperature changes and even be made to shrink when heated.
The total awarded amount of the NSF SBIR Phase II is $750,000.
Dr. James Monroe secured a Third Place win for his pitch at the first annual Texas A&M New Ventures Competition. The competition, by Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station and the Texas A&M University System, promotes the commercialization of emerging technology and recognizes companies with high-growth potential.
Thank you to Texas A&M University and Texas A&M Engineering for setting up a great event. As third place prize, ALLVAR secured $50,000 in non-dilutive funding.