Nebraska Patent of the Month – May 2024

NUtech Ventures, a nonprofit technology commercialization affiliate of the University of Nebraska, has been granted a patent for their method of remotely desensitizing metal alloys using laser technology. This innovative technique leverages controlled scanning laser beam irradiation to enhance the durability and longevity of metals like aluminum. By precisely controlling the laser parameters, such as power and pulse energy, the surface of a metal alloy can be treated to reduce its susceptibility to intergranular corrosion.

The method involves exposing the metal alloy surface to a laser beam, either directly or through a coating layer. The laser beam heats the metal to a temperature between its solvus and annealing points, effectively desensitizing it. This process ensures that the metal’s mechanical properties remain intact, which is critical for applications in harsh environments like marine and aerospace industries.

One of the remarkable features of this technology is its ability to operate remotely, with the laser beam capable of desensitizing metal surfaces from distances up to 100 meters. This remote capability makes it highly versatile for treating complex structures and hard-to-reach areas without the need for bulky equipment or intimate contact with the metal surface.

Moreover, the desensitization effects are highly controllable. By adjusting laser parameters such as scanning speed, beam overlap rate, and irradiation time, the degree of desensitization and the resistance to future sensitization can be finely tuned. This ensures optimal treatment tailored to specific engineering requirements.

This method not only enhances the corrosion resistance of metal alloys but also maintains their mechanical strength, making it a valuable advancement in materials science. It holds significant potential for improving the performance and lifespan of metals used in critical infrastructure, ships, airplanes, and other high-stress environments. Through this innovative approach, NUtech Ventures is paving the way for more resilient and reliable metal applications in various industries.

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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