Alloy Design

QuesTek meets materials, manufacturing and quality challenges by working to design, develop and deploy new custom alloys in a manner that saves time and money while reducing risk.

QuesTek moves the boundaries of what is possible. If there is a way to create an alloy that will achieve the client’s desired outcome, we will find it.

QuesTek has designed and improved alloys for some of the largest, most well-known companies in the world and won funding for dozens of government and military programs. Our expertise in Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) allows us to design novel high-performance alloys that meet specific performance requirements.

We serve several demanding industries and develop solutions across the periodic table:

Industries: Additive Manufacturing, Aerospace, Agriculture, Automotive, Consumer Electronics, Defense, Energy, Medical & Dental, Oil & Gas, Space

Alloy Systems: Aluminum, Cobalt, Copper, Magnesium, Nickel, Niobium, Steel, Tungsten

QuesTek has been granted 18 US patents for advanced alloys, five of which were developed specifically for Additive Manufacturing (AM). QuesTek currently has fourteen US patents pending for additional novel materials. The majority of our proprietary materials are licensed to leading material manufacturers, but we have also shown that we can build and manage custom supply chains for specific, high-performance applications of our proprietary materials for both corporate and government end-use clients.

QuesTek’s additive-specific alloys include

  • An AM aluminum alloy that maintains high strength at temperatures over 250C for extended life (e.g., 1000 hours at temperature);
  • An AM aluminum alloy that has room temperature strength on the order of 7000 series aluminum alloys (without ceramic particle dispersion which can reduce fatigue strength;
  • A true print and go 17-4 AM stainless steel alloy, which under proper printing parameters, meets wrought 17-4 properties without the need of post printing solution treat or age;
  • A higher strength Nickel 718 alloy;
  • Nickel Aluminum Bronze;
  • A carburizable Ferrium C64 for gears and other high toughness high wear applications;
  • HEA’s;
  • Gradient Niobium AM alloy compositions;
  • Equiaxed, isotropic titanium alloys.

QuesTek has demonstrated that industry can utilize ICME to complement and accelerate traditional trial-and-error development methods and in 2023, QuesTek ushered in the digital transformation of materials science with the launch of our ICMD®software platform. This aligns with the goals of the Materials Genome Initiative, which aims to reduce the time required to develop and deploy new materials by half.

The QuesTek approach is comprehensive, precise, faster and more cost-effective.

Systems-Based Design

Systems-based design approach utilizing mechanistic, physics-based models to key process-structure and structure-property linkages, drawing from both commercial and proprietary databases

Replacing legacy trial-and-error approaches with parametric materials design informed by efficient usage of advanced materials characterization
Treat material as a system, linking process-structure-properties to meet defined performance goals Modeling and characterization at all length-scales relevant to materials design and processing

The U.S. government and Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programs fund risky low-Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) research. QuesTek has been awareded funding for over 50 programs aimed at designing novel high-performance alloys that meet specific performance requirements — 30 patents are pending. This includes aluminum, titanium, copper, nickel, tungsten, molybdenum, different types of steel and all the main alloy systems.

QuesTek works with industry-leading OEMs to qualify, transition and deploy the novel alloys developed under these SBIR-funded programs to existing and next-generation platforms. Furthermore, QuesTek has a proven track record of designing and improving alloys directly for industry. These engagements focus on industry clients’ very specific use requirements across a wide range of applications and include the largest, most well-known companies. 

Client Success: Next-Generation Gear Steel

  • Ferrium® C64® increases oil-out survivability by >5x
  • Industry standard = 15 minutes; Ferrium® C64® = 80 minutes
  • Enables an up-to 25% increase in power density
  • Contract with Bell Textron for next-gen Army helicopters
QuesTek was chosen to design a next-generation gear steel for U.S. Navy helicopters. The result of that program is Ferrium® C64®. Today, Ferrium® C64® is still in use by the military as well as by companies all over the world. Ferrium® C64® provides gearbox longevity, up to a 25% increase in power density, and a reduction in costs related to production, operation and support. The main focus of this next phase is “oil-out” survivability, which measures the ability of a helicopter’s transmission to continue to operate without oil. The industry standard for that survivability timeframe is 15 minutes — tests show Ferrium® C64® allows the helicopter to maintain stability for 80 minutes.

Interested in learning more about QuesTek?