Message from the CEO
To Our Valued Stakeholders and Friends,
It has been a while since our last Nanomatters was released, and a lot of progress and exciting changes have taken place. For those of you that are not following our newsfeeds, I suggest you periodically review our website news features, which will help keep you up to date on the latest news.
Some of the highlights of recent changes include completing the exchange agreement with Abakan Inc., which involved the exchange of a portion of Powdermet’s interest in our Mesocoat spin-out in return for Abakan and Powdermet shares. This exchange increases Mesocoat’s and Abakan’s value, while simultaneously freeing up Powdermet’s capital structure to enable growth. I have stepped down as CEO of Mesocoat, in order to refocus on commercializing the tremendous technology portfolio existing at Powdermet. In preparation, Powdermet has created additional spin-outs, Terves Inc. to commercialize magnesium and reactive metal technologies, and Cratus Energy to commercialize and attract financial and supply chain partners for our advanced energy storage technologies.
It is a tremendously exciting time, with the job of early-stage incubation and technology development of our PComP™ nanocomposite thermal spray materials being completed, after a long incubation and commercialization period. These materials are now limited by capacity, not demand, economics, or quality, and gaining acceptance in additional markets such as metals processing and Latin America. In this Nanomatters, you will hear more about a consolidated version of these hierarchical nanocomposites, now patent pending for bearing applications and in early market release under the brand name HybriMet-NC™. This development also highlights Powdermet’s mentoring program, where researchers in the first 5 years of their industrial career are paired with industry veterans to speed their development and our success rate.
This Nanomatters also introduces you to another young scientist, Dr. Haixiong Tang, and his mentor, Karl- Heinz Schofalvi. Dr. Tang has perfected processing to produce precisely structured nanocomposite capacitor films that have achieved world-record breaking energy densities. These materials, which will replace biaxially oriented polypropylene, have reached 30 J/cc film energy density (BOPP is 1-1.5), more than 20X current state of the art! Again, these innovations are derived from our ability to control the structure of materials at the atomic and nano-scale, and to match these capabilities to scale-able, cost-effective processes enabling them to be adopted widely. This combination of materials, processing technology, and partnerships with users and designers we feel is the magic combination that will lead to an explosion of growth in the near future as we repeat the Mesocoat/Abakan high growth model.
A final note on the Abakan/Mesocoat spin-out: Over the last 4 years, this has grown to a current valuation slightly over $100M based on its potential to dramatically reduce the cost of corrosion in oil and gas and infrastructure applications. If Abakan (ABKI) was headquartered in Ohio, it would be the 42nd most valuable public company, and we expect it to grow much larger as its products expand in their application and adoption. Follow the link below for the full story.
Working with the US Navy and Dr. Gary Doll at the University of Akron’s Timken Surface Science center, Powdermet researcher Mark Grogan figured out a way to form fully dense blocks of our nanocomposite cermets with precisely arranged distributions of ceramic nanoparticles in a metal binder.
By arranging the distribution of these nanoparticles in a patented structure, Mark was able to produce a material that had the friction and wear properties of ceramics, but toughness exceeding tool steel. This revolutionary combination of properties represents the “holy grail” of ceramics—the hardness and strength of ceramics with the toughness of steel—has never been achieved before, despite 50 years of composite research. The extreme wear resistance, low friction properties, and high rolling contact fatigue resistance of HybriMet™ were verified through testing. Mark then worked with mentor, Joe Hensel, who has over 30 years of experience working with bearing technology, to identify the “killer market” of large, hybrid ceramic bearings, which have been held back due to the lack of manufacturability and toughness in silicon nitride bearings. It turns out that the toughness and machinability of the hierarchically structured HybriMet™ nanocomposites is enabling the application of energy saving, life extending ceramic hybrid bearing designs to large, high load equipment.
One application being evaluated with the US Navy is the bearings used in the Catapult Launch Systems, which currently require replacement and maintenance every 20 launches, or ever few days. It is expected that a hybrid bearing enabled by Hybrimet™ materials will last 10 years, saving the Navy millions of dollars over the life of each ship. Mark will continue to work with mentors Joe Hensel and Dr. Jack Stiglich to explore commercial insertion opportunities for this revolutionary new material system.
Powdermet Ultra Capacitors
Powdermet’s ability to manipulate the structure of engineering materials at the atomic and nanoscale is being harnessed by new scientist Haixiong Tang to produce revolutionary advances in energy storage and power processing technology. Powdermet’s remarkable new capacitor materials being investigated by Dr. Tang are currently showing an order of magnitude improvement in energy density when compared with current state of the art. Initial prototypes manufactured in-house are able to deliver 12X the power of commercially available polymer film capacitors. This is the first time that nanomaterials have been fully successfully incorporated into polymer films in a practical manner, despite decades of research and leading research universities.
Not only are the energy densities of Dr. Tang’s films an order of magnitude higher that current commercial state of the art, his produced films show very low losses, and can handle high voltages that are more than 1000 times the voltages of competing supercapacitors, and are self-repairing and contain no toxic or hazardous materials, making them inherently safe! Dr. Tang is working with Mentor Karl Heinz Schofalvi, to validate and qualify larger scale film production, as well as to continue to increase the energy density. Long term goals are a greater increase in energy density to enable the elimination of batteries in large power systems. The extreme power densities of Powdermet’s nanocapacitors are enabling power converters, inverters, switches, and pulse power systems for a wide variety of applications. This effort is generously supported by the US Army under a Phase II SBIR research program, and will be transitioned through our newly formed Cratus Energy subsidiary.
Powdermet People = Production
Powdermet is enabled by the talent dedicated to and supporting our long term vision of “making the world a better place through materials science”, and mission of “clean, green, sustainable materials solutions”. We have a tremendously talented team of young scientists, seasoned businesspersons, and highly experienced and world-renowned leaders in our mentoring program. Some of these people include:
is mentoring Dr. Haixong Tang and Dr. Brian Werry. Karl is a serial entrepreneur, and a world-leading polymer and materials chemist, with over 30 years of experience developing and commercializing advanced materials, including founding APEX advanced materials and Stanton Advanced Ceramics, to name a few of his ventures. Karl holds a BA in chemistry from Miami University and a M.S. in Macromolecular Science from Case Western Reserve. His early career demonstrated technical leadership at a leading adhesive, sealants and coating company, and through tenure at NASA. In October 1993, he started his first company, and has continued as a serial entrepreneur, founding 6 different materials science start-ups. Karl joined Powdermet’s Mentoring program through his decade’s long friendship with Mr. Sherman. His current mentees are Drs. Tang and Werry. His excitement with their potential coupled with his desire to give back to the community makes this a valuable relationship. In addition to Powdermet, Karl also invests in mentoring students at his alma mater, Case Western Reserve University. He has been fostering the next generation of scientists for the past 15 years. He says, “I can’t give back enough”.
Jacob J. Stiglich, Ph.D.: Dr. Stiglich has a nearly 50 year career in advanced materials, including retiring at the rank of a Coronel from the US Army Reserves and in prior active duty at the Army Materials Technology Laboratory, where he championed ceramic materials and refractory metals for armor and anti-armor applications. A native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Dr. Stiglich holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Marquette University, and a Doctorate in Materials Science from Northwestern University. Jack worked with Mr. Sherman at Ultramet during his development of CVD fluidized-bed powder coating technology, and has been involved in ceramic matrix composites at San Fernando Laboratories and Ultramet, carbide and ceramic cutting tool at Valimet, and with refractory metals and advanced ceramics for a variety of organizations as a consultant. Dr. Stiglich has worked with Powdermet’s young scientists for over a decade, in the areas of commercialization, particle coating, and consolidation technologies. Jack, along with Joe Hensel, is mentoring Mark Grogan in defense and tooling applications of Hybrimet™ materials. Jack recently presented the Hybrimet™ product at the annual MPIF Powdermet 2014 conference held in Florida. Find out more about Jack at http://www.advancedmaterialsassoc.com/ama_president_bio.html
Joseph D. Hensel is the newest mentor to join the Powdermet young scientist mentoring program. Joe is a longtime supporter and economic development leader, and is active in technology transfer activities for the University of Akron (A Powdermet partner). Joe has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and an MBA in Finance from Georgia State University.
Mr. Hensel is an entrepreneur and technology commercialization strategist experienced in advanced materials and advanced energy. His expertise includes inventive thinking, innovation, new product development, product commercialization, and business startup. Joe works with companies of all sizes to assess the value of inventions and to plan and accelerate the commercialization of novel technologies. His interest is in application engineering and finding new and novel solutions. The tougher the job the greater the satisfaction when it is complete. He sees his mentoring role is not only as an advisor but a teacher to the companies and protégé’s he works with. His MBA and BS in Science degrees allow him to advise not only on the scientific problem but on the business, sales and marketing aspects. Joe uses his extensive background to develop and promote entrepreneurs.
Earlier in his career he was involved in working on the wrist and elbow bearings for NASA’s Space Shuttle Program. During a recent trip to California he was able to see his bearings on the shuttle Endeavor.
Mark Grogan says “Joe has been an integral part of our team to develop the HybriMet bearing technology. Joe is knowledgeable, easy to work with, and a great team player whose assistance has been of the highest value. With previous experience in developing roller and ball bearings, he has provided critical support and advice regarding development and advancement of the HybriMet product. It is a pleasure having him on our team.”
20th Hydrogen Safety Panel Meeting
As part of Powdermet’s civic role, Mr. Sherman dedicates his time to national safety issues through his participation as a member of the Department of Energy’s hydrogen safety panel. The Panel’s mission is to promote safety in the use of hydrogen under the presidents H2 energy initiative. The most recent panel meeting was held at the National Renewable Energy Lab, which contains the largest life and efficiency testing facility for hydrogen fuel cells in the world. The NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. In addition to touring and reviewing the NREL site, the panel carried out the business reviewing safety incidents and activities, reviewing safety plans for DOE projects, identifying safety priorities and activities such as H2 sensors and H2 effects on materials needing further research and development, reviewing white papers, and producing educational and training materials promoting hydrogen safety for researchers, users, and first responders, and providing safety input and feedback to the codes and standards efforts of the DOE. Panel output includes online training, handbooks and recommendations that will result in the safe handling and use of hydrogen. For panel activities and some of the best information on hydrogen safety, please visit h2bestpractices.org. The panel and DOE have goals to promote the deployment of zero-emission fuel cell cars, with 300,000 annual fuel cell vehicle sales expected in the next few years.
Dr. Brian Werry, Polymer-Chemical Engineer, received his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Wright State University (WSU), Dayton, Ohio in 2005, his Masters of Science in Polymer Chemistry from WSU in 2007, and his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), Cleveland, Ohio in 2013. His research on dual natured compounds and their associative properties has contributed to an improved perception on detergent solution properties. In November of 2013 he joined Powdermet Inc. where he focuses on developing structural materials with sophisticated properties for unique applications.
Introducing Cathy Kerg, Research Administrator and Editor:
Cathy is the head of the power team and connects the internal brains to the outside world. Cathy joined Powdermet’s staff in April as the company’s Research Administrator and Technical Editor. Her role includes contributing informative news to Powdermet’s social media campaign, preparing and editing marketing communications and governmental grant proposals and reports, and managing Powdermet’s research administration and compliance programs. She comes to us after a long career as a researcher in primary batteries including fuel cells as well as coal testing and aircraft brakes.
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