Press Release

Abakan Portfolio Company, Powdermet, Inc., Reports Progress on MComP™ Nanocomposite Metals Commercialization; Enters into Joint Venture with Oshkosh Defense, Eck Industries, and University of Wisconsin-Madison

Euclid, Ohio, May 16, 2012 –Abakan portfolio company Powdermet, Inc. (www.powdermetinc.com) announces it has made significant advancements in the performance levels of forged nanocomposite aluminum alloys. Working with the U.S. Army, Powdermet’s nano/micro-aluminum composites have achieved 30-50% higher ductility than traditional high strength aluminum alloys such as aluminum-lithium.  Powdermet has devised a powder metallurgy process allowing the retention of nano-crystallites and ductile phases throughout the powder forging process, resulting in near-net shape, high strength aluminum materials having over 16% elongation to failure strengths, exceeding 350MPa (50KSI).  Competing aluminum-lithium high strength alloys have tensile strengths of 50-70ksi at 8-12% elongation, whereas the nanocomposite materials are showing 50-72ksi with 7-16% elongation depending on forging conditions.  Powdermet has also shown nanocomposite aluminum alloys with up to 200ksi strengths with 1-2% elongation. Current product development goals are to continue process development to achieve a 100ksi, 8% ductility system that is cost-effective and utilizes no costly strategic or rare-earth alloying additions, and to demonstrate repeatable large cross-section part manufacturing using Powdermet’s unique small footprint 5000-ton press and related equipment in its newly acquired and refurbished multimillion dollar Deformation Processing Center.

Powdermet is also please to announce it has joined a joint venture development team with Oshkosh Defense, Eck Industries, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison for “Transformational Technology for Fabrication of Ultra-High-Performance Lightweight Aluminum and Magnesium Nanocomposites.” This partnership will develop and produce lighter, stronger aluminum and magnesium structural components “that will revolutionize the lightweight structures marketplace.” The program goal is to achieve low cost, high strength aluminum materials with strength of steel, but at much lower weight.  Other members of the research team include Oshkosh Corporation, an Oshkosh WI, specialty truck builder, Eck Industries Inc., a Manitowoc, WI, aluminum foundry; and project leader, the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Powdermet, Inc. explains this joint venture will allow it (and its partners) to expand the use of nanocomposites beyond their current use by greatly reducing the cost of these unique materials, and by taking their application from simple molded or machined parts into larger, complex metal castings. The work will expand on laboratory tests conducted by the team’s project leader, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, show that incorporation of nanoparticles can greatly increase the performance of aluminum alloys at lower cost than rare-earth additions. However, due to their microscopically small size, nanoparticles are difficult to disperse homogeneously throughout a casting or billet, which is where Powdermet’s expertise and capabilities have been brought into the partnership. The research aims to develop a cost-effective fabrication technology that allows light metals to be strengthened with nanoparticles in large-scale production.

“This joint venture opportunity further strengthens Powdermet’s position at the leading edge addition of nanotechnology; transitioning it into mainstream manufacturing technology and innovation,” stated Brian P. Doud, General Manager at Powdermet, Inc. “Moving our nanoparticle concepts and products from the laboratory into large-scale functional components is an exciting opportunity for us to compete in the global marketplace.” 

About Powdermet, Inc.:
Powdermet, Inc. (www.powdermetinc.com) located in Euclid, Ohio, is the world leader in the production of nanoengineered metallic composites.  The company’s Vision is “Clean, Green, Sustainable Materials Solutions.”  Powdermet develops, matures, and transitions breakthrough materials innovations that enable reduced weight, reduced resource consumption, reduced environmental footprint, reduced life cycle costs, and increase energy efficiency based on value-creation gained through engineered nano-scale features and hierarchically structures of metal and/or ceramic phases in a structure.