Air Force

Interface-controlled nanomaterials: high aspect ratios

Precisely and uniformly-coated nanophase materials that are easy to design and may be manufactured in bulk quantities at low cost


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Advanced nanophase materials that are highly customizable and enable the low-cost production of materials previously only available in small quantities due to expensive manufacturing requirements.

Air Force researchers have developed Interface-defined nano-laminates (IDNLs) for use in a variety of applications. This invention offers unprecedented opportunities to inexpensively fabricate bulk quantities of materials that currently exist only as small research samples. A key feature is extensive abilities to design, control, and optimize the composition and properties of materials by focusing on the interfaces, instead of the nanograins. IDNLs can be used on interfaces between the nanophase grains, between the nanophase particle and a coating, between coating layers on particles, or between coated nanophase particles.

The IDNL approach enables the low-cost bulk fabrication of materials that were previously only produced via expensive techniques such as electro- or electroless deposition, physical vapor deposition, laser ablation, or magnetron sputtering. IDNLs can also achieve unique gains in high-temperature oxidation and reaction stability. The approach places nanoparticle and coating materials in intimate contact with one another and minimizes grain growth up to near theoretical density. The result is improved thermal shock resistance. Applications of IDNLs include such diverse fields as fast ion conductors, magnetostrictive materials, superconductors, and environmental barrier materials.

This US patent 9,120,245 is related to US patents 8,475,705; 8,617,456; and 9,162,931. The ‘931 patent is the process of synthesizing the nanomaterial with controlled interfaces. The ‘705 patent embodies the continuous or batch process for fabricating the nanolaminate material. The ‘456 adds an annealing step to the batch process at an elevated temperature to cause atomic rearrangement and a tunable degree of coherency at the interfaces. The ‘456 also claims the use of nanopowders from a group consisting of metallic, ceramic and semiconductors. The ‘245 specifies the use of high aspect ratio anisotropic nanolaminates with defined size and shape to create long parts such as tubes or rods.

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