West Virginia Patent of the Month – April 2024

Touchstone Research Laboratory Ltd. has been granted a patent for their new method for repairing cracks in metal structures, offering a robust solution to address the challenges posed by corrosion and structural integrity. Leveraging advanced materials and innovative techniques, Touchstone’s invention promises to revolutionize maintenance practices in industries reliant on aluminum structures, such as aerospace and maritime.

At the core of this method lies the adhesively bonded fiber-reinforced metal matrix composite (FRMMC) tape layers, meticulously engineered to provide unparalleled strength and durability. The process begins by forming a patch through the bonding of multiple FRMMC tape layers, strategically positioned to optimize structural reinforcement. Notably, the orientation of these tape layers plays a pivotal role, with the second layer positioned at an angle relative to the first, ensuring comprehensive coverage and enhanced structural integrity.

Upon positioning the patch over the crack, the adhesive bonding process ensues, seamlessly integrating the patch with the metal structure. This meticulous approach not only seals the crack but also mitigates further crack propagation, offering a robust temporary or permanent repair solution tailored to the specific needs of the application.

One of the key advantages of Touchstone’s method is its versatility and scalability. Whether addressing small cracks or larger structural defects, the method can be tailored to cover at least 25% of the defect, providing ample coverage for effective reinforcement. Moreover, the incorporation of multiple layers of FRMMC tape allows for customizable repair solutions, capable of addressing a wide range of structural challenges.

Touchstone’s invention is backed by extensive research and development, with support from U.S. Navy contracts. This collaborative effort underscores the method’s reliability and performance, validating its efficacy in demanding operational environments.

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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