OceanGate picks its supplier for carbon fiber

Titan submersible
OceanGate’s Titan submersible made use of carbon composite for its pressurized hull, and the company’s future submersibles will up the ante when it comes to carbon fiber. (OceanGate Photo)

Everett, Wash.-based OceanGate says Toray Composite Materials America is its preferred provider for the carbon fiber material that will be used in the company’s next-generation submersibles.

Toray CMA is the world’s largest supplier of carbon fiber and the leader in providing fibers for numerous aircraft, including the Boeing 777 and 787. The company’s U.S. head office is in Tacoma, Wash.

OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush said in a statement that Toray CMA “will play a critical role as we develop the next generation of manned submersible, to usher in a new era of exploration using aerospace-quality composites.”


UW teams up with national lab on materials science

Researcher at work
A new collaboration between the University of Washington and Pacific Northwest National Lab will support the development of new materials for a wide spectrum of applications. (PNNL via YouTube)

The University of Washington and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory are joining forces on a new research venture that spans 200 miles to advance the frontiers of materials science.

The venture — known as the Northwest Institute for Materials Physics, Chemistry and Technology, or NW IMPACT — will be co-located at UW’s campus in Seattle and PNNL’s campus in Richland, Wash. Eventually, NW IMPACT will involve at least 20 joint UW-PNNL appointments for existing researchers, and at least 20 UW graduate students in UW-PNNL collaborations.

UW President Ana Mari Cauce and PNNL Director Steven Ashby formally launched the program on Jan. 31 during a ceremony at the Richland campus.

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Boeing HorizonX invests in Gamma Alloys

Gamma Alloys bars
Gamma Alloys’ nano-reinforced aluminum can be extruded into bars. (Gamma Alloys Photo)

Boeing’s latest venture-capital investment, in a company called Gamma Alloys, aims to give a boost to next-generation aluminum alloys that may show up one day in Boeing’s airplanes.

The investment by Boeing’s HorizonX venture arm, announced today, is the first to focus on advanced materials and machining development and applications.

Gamma Alloys, founded in 2008 with its headquarters in Valencia, Calif., is developing alloys that use alumina nanoparticles (Al2O3) to reinforce aluminum. Boeing says the alloys provide increased stiffness, improved wear resistance and greater strength than current materials across a wider range of temperatures.

Nano-reinforced alloys are particularly well-suited for applications in aerospace and automobile manufacturing.

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UW center targets moonshots in materials science

Students in materials science
College students work with researchers as part of the UW Clean Energy Institute’s Research Experience for Undergraduates program. (UW Clean Energy Institute Photo / Matt Hagen)

The University of Washington has received a $15.6 million, six-year grant from the National Science Foundation to fund its Molecular Engineering Materials Center and take on “moonshots” that could lead to cleaner energy, advanced light-based electronics and quantum computing.

The grant was awarded as part of the NSF’s Materials Research Science and Engineering Center program, or MRSEC. Funding was provided to continue work at six MRSEC centers and start up three more centers, including UW’s.

UW’s center brings together an initial team of 15 faculty members, including researchers who work at the university’s Clean Energy Institute and Molecular Engineering and Sciences Institute.

The first targets for research are nanocrystals, quantum dots and thin films. Those technologies could produce solar-concentrating window coverings to boost photovoltaic cells for energy conversion, as well as ultra-thin semiconductors for energy generation, optoelectronics and exotic computing applications.

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