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Solidica Awarded Army Cooperative Agreement for MMC Development

29 April 2005

Solidica, Inc have signed a $3.8 million, four year cooperative agreement with the Army Research Laboratories for applying fibre reinforced technology to metal matrix composites.

The advanced materials technology program will further develop Solidica's core ultrasonic consolidation technology as applied to metal matrix composites (MMCs). Additionally, the program will explore Solidica's technology potential as a low cost, net-shape processing alternative to designed hybrid materials of complex composition ranging from the micro-to-macro level.

MMCs incorporate nonmetallic reinforcement such as boron and silicon carbide fibres within a metal matrix and are claimed to be capable of providing higher-temperature operating limits than the base metal. In addition to this, MMCs can be tailored to impart improved strength, stiffness, creep resistance, abrasion resistance, and dimensional stability. Commercially economical MMCs have been an elusive target for both the military and private industry for some time, due to complex fabrication methods that often do not translate well into production.

""Solidica will leverage our core Formation platform to expand our ability to overcome the common MMC fabrication challenges that have in some cases limited the potential of this powerful materials approach,"" said Ken Johnson, Solidica's Vice President for Strategic Development. Johnson also noted that, ""A key element of this program is to promote dual-use applications to benefit both the military and commercial sectors, including the automotive, electronics, and aerospace industries.""

Support for driving dual-use applications of Solidica's unique technology came from prominent Michigan leaders including US Representatives Dingell, Camp, Kildee, McCotter, and Rogers and Senator Carl Levin.

Solidica's Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Dawn White, said, ""I am thrilled that these leaders support the advancement of new fabrication and materials technology - and that they recognize the role they have in both our national defence and the expansion of America's economic and manufacturing leadership worldwide.""

Dr. White added, ""this cooperative agreement will result in significant job growth for Michigan. New materials that were previously impossible to fabricate will begin to be produced in quantity for a variety of industries. These manufacturing methods cannot be easily transplanted overseas as they represent a new breed of high- tech additive fabrication techniques that require advanced skills possessed by workers in the United States.""

The image shows Silicon Carbide embedded in Aluminium.





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