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ALLVAR Awarded NASA SBIR Phase I Grant for High-Temperature Alloy

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Alloy developer and manufacturer ALLVAR has been awarded a NASA SBIR Phase I Grant to develop a high-temperature negative thermal expansion (NTE) alloy, ALLVAR Alloy-HT, aimed at improving the reliability and reusability potential of future high-temperature planetary and lunar mission systems. The alloy will compensate the expansion effects of other materials necessary to forthcoming mission systems. ALLVAR expects the alloy to withstand temperatures ranging from −200 to 500 °C. Such a range would enable stable instruments for NASA’s reusable moon mission hardware, as well as the exploration of Venus.

The high-temperature environment found on Venus can push instruments and sensors out of alignment, ALLVAR founder James Monroe said. Thermal cycles on the moon reduce system reliability due to the need for components to expand and contract.

NTE is a phenomenon that relates to the thermal expansion properties ALLVAR alloys possess, which allow them to shrink when heated and expand when cooled. When coupled to traditional metals to counter positive expansion properties, the overall structure becomes athermal. ALLVAR specifically manufactures titanium-based metal alloys designed to help eliminate the detrimental effects of thermal expansion.

SBIR grants are currently supporting ALLVAR’s development of structural supports for space telescopes with picometer-level stability, made with alloys the company manufactures.

Photonics Spectra
Dec 2020
BusinessfundingAmericasimagingImaging & SensingSensors & DetectorsaerospaceNASASBIR grantSBIRSBIR Phase Ialloyalloystitaniumtitanium alloyslight speed

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