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TECHNOLOGY/BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY Development of Novel Composite Materials from High Explosive Consolidation and Self-Propagating High Temperature Synthesis

Solicitation Number: FBO241-11
Agency: Department of Energy
Office: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (DOE Contractor)
Location: Industrial Partnerships & Commercialization
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Special Notice
Added: Aug 02, 2011 1:51 pm


Development of Novel Composite Materials from High Explosive Consolidation and Self-Propagating High Temperature Synthesis 



Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), operated by Lawrence Livermore National Security (LLNS), LLC under contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), is offering the opportunity for research, development, partnership and licensing of complex metallic materials and ceramic materials processing technologies and the resulting materials. that cannot be made with conventional processing of the powder pre-cursors.   These new materials address a wide range of requirements including improved structural properties, radiation-resistant structural ceramics, radiation-absorbing structural ceramics operating in environments involving high neutron exposure, high temperatures and extremely corrosive environments, and self-lubricating structural materials.  The possibility exists to partner with LLNL and three Georgian institutes through the DOE Global Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention (GIPP) program. The Georgian institutes are the Andronikashvili Institute of Physics, the Tavadze Institute of Metallurgy and Materials Science and the Tsulukidze Mining Institute.  The GIPP program aims to prevent proliferation through strong commercial development.



Over the past 40 years the Georgian institutes of Andronikashvili Institute of Physics, the Tavadze Institute of Metallurgy and Materials Science and the Tsulukidze Mining Institute have developed unique technologies for processing pre-cursor powders into bulk structural metals and ceramic. The new technologies create high local pressures and temperatures, high rate deformation and unique chemical reactions to create new compositions or preserve the desirable characteristics of pre-cursor powders. Materials have been produced in both monolithic and composite form. We expect these materials to have improved mechanical and physical properties.

Potential New Materials:     

LLNL seeks partners interested in developing and commercializing any or all of these and additional processes for its project as fits the partner's business interest. Examples of novel processing and resultant materials are described below.

High Explosive Consolidation (HEC) is conducted in a unique facility in Georgia that permits the explosive consolidation of powders at temperatures up to 1000°C.  The high pressures and rapid consolidation generated during the propagation of the explosive-generated shock wave permit new and unique materials to be formed.  The materials can also have very fine, potentially nano-scale, structure. The high rates of compaction resist grain growth and structural coarsening during consolidation and thus nano-scale structures can be retained during processing. This approach is also an effective way to consolidate powders in which strong covalent bonding and low atomic mobility make sintering difficult.

Self-Propagating High Temperature Synthesis (SHS) involves mixing reactive powders and initiating a local chemical reaction which propagates across the sample in a high pressure, high temperature combustion front.  A high density, structural ceramic results.  The SHS approach has been shown to produce high quality ceramics with unique compositions.  This opportunity involves using the HEC and SHS technologies to produce new compositions of B-containing ceramics in both monolithic and composite form with unique structures.   

Examples of potential new materials are:

  1. Boron-containing structural ceramics and ceramic-ceramic composites. (SHS)

  2. Metal-metal powders. (SHS and HEC) 

  3. Metal-ceramic powders.   (SHS and HEC)

  4. Novel self-lubricating and low friction materials. (HEC)

  5. Multi-layer cylindrical tubes.  (HEC 

Advantages and Potential Applications:    

Selected applications and benefits of the material forms mentioned above are provided below.



Potential Applications

Boron-containing structural ceramics and ceramic-ceramic composites.   

Neutron absorption

Radiation-resistant ceramics

High hardness ceramic with good strength and toughness

Application of B4C to nuclear reactor environments, accelerators and space applications.

Metal or metal/ceramic powders. 

High hardness, toughness, electrical/thermal conductivity

High hardness and toughness not previously obtainable.  Applications requiring high strength with good thermal or electrical conductivity.

Novel self-lubricating and low friction materials, such as B4C, Cu-Cgraphite, and Ni-Cgraphite.

Self lubricating material

Bearings and other components requiring lubrication in inaccessible locations (such as outer space) or hostile environments (such as nuclear reactor environments).

Multilayer metal/metal and metal/ceramic cylindrical tubes

Tubes with multiple property requirements such as strength/corrosion resistance, strength/radiation absorption, strength/electrical or thermal conductivity, strength/crack growth resistance.

Hostile environments

Development Status:  

The HEC and SHS technologies have been successfully demonstrated on a number of metallic and ceramic systems including materials in monolithic and composite form. Facilities and practical experience exist at the Georgian institutes for studying these technologies. For HEC processing, examples of materials systems that have been studied include W-Ni-Fe, Al-Ni, Cu-W, Ti-Al-B, Ti-C, Ti-B and W-C.  For SHS processing, a number of complex ceramics have been produced that contain B including B4C•Al2O3, B4C•TiB2•Al2O3, TiB•Ti and TiB2•Al2O3.  In this announcement we propose to apply both HEC and SHS processing technologies to produce high density, high quality bulk materials from TiB-Ti, TiB2-Cu, TiB2-Al2O3 and B4C-NiAl.

LLNL is seeking industry partners with a demonstrated ability to bring such inventions to the market.  Moving critical technology beyond the Laboratory to the commercial world helps our licensees gain a competitive edge in the marketplace.  All licensing activities are conducted under policies relating to the strict nondisclosure of company proprietary information. 

Please visit the IPO website at

for more information on working with LLNL and the industrial partnering and technology transfer process.

Note: THIS IS NOT A PROCUREMENT.  Companies interested in collaborating and commercializing these materials should provide a written statement of interest, which includes the following:

1.   Company Name and address.

2.   The name, address, and telephone number of a point of contact.

•3.      A description of corporate expertise and facilities relevant to commercializing this technology.

Written responses should be directed to:

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Industrial Partnerships Office

P.O. Box 808, L-795

Livermore, CA  94551-0808

Attention:  FBO 241-11

Please provide your written statement within thirty (30) days from the date this announcement is published to ensure consideration of your interest.

7000 East Avenue
Livermore, California 94550
Connie L Pitcock
Phone: 925-422-1072
Fax: 925-423-8988