POCATELLO, Idaho, Oct. 19 -- Positron Systems, a provider of advanced nondestructive material characterization testing, has been awarded a Phase II Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant from the National Science Foundation. The grant will be used by Positron to develop an induced positron annihilation (IPA) system for the inspection of titanium and nickel-based alloy castings during the manufacturing process in collaboration with a aircraft engines and structural airframes castings and forgings manufacturer. To date, Positron has been awarded $446,385 in grant money for this project. The company says research will begin immediately in its test and analysis center in Pocatello.
The aerospace industry is the single largest market for titanium products due to titanium's ability to withstand structural support demands and high temperature applications such as jet engines and spacecraft. Positron says the IPA system may significantly advance testing used to inspect titanium and nickel-based alloy castings during manufacturing by finding anomalies and defects that other testing methods can't, leading to better castings quality and lower manufacturing costs through the reduction or elimination of some inspection steps.
The IPA process involves penetrating materials with a photon beam generated by a small linear accelerator or other techniques to create positrons, which are attracted to nanosized defects in the material. Eventually, the positrons collide with electrons in the material and are annihilated, releasing energy in the form of gamma rays. The gamma ray energy spectrum creates a distinct and readable signature of the defects or damage present in the material. Positron says IPA can detect a variety of damage types in materials including metals, polymers, ceramics and composites, and because IPA examines materials at the atomic level, it can detect damage at its earliest stage, from initial manufacture through failure. The company says the technology can also detect damage in second layer materials and may prove useful in determining the remaining useful life of a component.
For more information, visit: www.positronsystems.com