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Combustion Driven Compaction (CDC)Combustion Driven Compaction (CDC)

  • Powdered metal or powdered ceramic material is placed in a suitable shaped die
  • A pressurized mixture of natural gas and air is introduced into the combustion chamber
  • The mixture is then ignited to drive a piston (ram)
  • A punch is driven downward by the piston into the metal powder, transferring energy into and compacting the powder
  • CDC converts chemical energy directly to mechanical energy for high efficiency!

The entire process is smooth and continuous, keeping constant pressure on the part at all times. The piston is never allowed to accelerate before it contacts the powder, which avoids introducing shockwaves in the powder.


View an animation of the Combustion Driven Compaction (CDC) process
(.wmv, 132 kb)


How the CDC Process Differs

The CDC process differs from conventional mechanical, hydraulic or impact presses by combusting gaseous fuel and air:

  • The chamber is filled with a combustible mixture
  • During gas filling, the piston moves down until it contacts the powder and applies pre-compaction pressure
  • The combustible mixture of gas and air is ignited to complete compaction
  • The spent gases are exhausted
  • The piston is moved back to the top
  • The die cavity is refilled and the process repeats

Depending on the size of the CDC press, 5 to 10 parts per minute can be produced using a 500-ton press. Smaller presses produce at a faster rate and pressing capacity can be from a few tons to 10,000 tons. Currently our largest CDC press is 1,000 tons.

Benefits of CDC Pressing

CDC presses are relatively lightweight, compact in size, and fairly inexpensive to build. Other benefits of using CDC press technology include:

  • Reduced manufacturing costs per unit -- demonstrated 50% cost savings
  • Improved material properties allowing higher pressed (green) part density
  • No pre-sintering necessary which also reduces post-press sintering time
  • Low shrinkage of parts
  • Compact equipment -- the 400-ton press frame is comparable in size to a household refrigerator
  • Near silent operation
  • Smooth continuous loading with nominal impact
  • Controlled and monitored loading and unloading cycles allow different tool setups and a variety of materials to be compressed
  • Applications of layering and gradient materials are possible
  • CDC presses are not limited to top-down stroke; they can be bottom-up or side-to-side, have multiple pistons and operate simultaneously
  • The CDC press stands and is operational on a standard 6-inch concrete foundation
  • CDC presses can be designed to 10,000 tons or larger as necessary to create large parts

Environmental Benefits

  • Can be operated from almost any combustible gas... swamp gas?
  • Waste heat can be used for cogeneration heating or cooling of the workplace
  • Energy comes directly from natural gas, not from a power plant
  • Space requirements are only a fraction of what is needed for a conventional press
  • When operating, CDC creates little or no noise pollution



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Multi-megawatt Fast Opening Electrical Switch

A device for rapidly moving mechanically actuated devices, such as switches and valves, with the capability of sub-millisecond response times being achievable with moving masses that exceed one kilogram. Response times approach that of explosively actuated devices are obtained while retaining the repetitive cycling capability of non-explosively operated devices.

  • The ultra-fast opening switch is mechanical
  • Opening times on the order of 200 to 500 microseconds
  • Operates with a significantly reduced arc
  • Tested to 45 megawatt 5 kilovolts at 9 kilo amps– the design goal was 20 megawatts
  • Can be configured for closing, opening, or used as a transfer switch
  • Can be scaled up or down as needed

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Coil Cap High Voltage Energy Igniter

Coil Cap High Voltage Energy Igniter

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Powder Synthesis of Fine Metal Powders

UTRON Kinetics has two fine metal powder synthesis processes. The first is primarily for spherical powder one micron and up with a narrow size distribution. The second is for powder sizes less than one micron in size.

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Net Shape Manufacturing of Functionally Grading Nano-Composite Materials for Gear System Components using High Pressure CDC

Net Shape Manufacturing of Functionally Grading Nano-Composite Materials for Gear System Components using High Pressure CDCHighlights

  • Develop near net-shape ferrous alloys and ferrous-matrix lightweight composites for fabrication of bearing liners for V-22 rotorcraft system components
  • Process and optimize the materials behavior to obtain optimal fine-grained microstructures, sintering and heat treatment procedures and responses with improved mechanical durability and properties
  • Establish near net-shape and cost-effective manufacturing strategies for V-22 system and other rotorcraft system applications by working in collaboration with US Navy and helicopter manufacturers
  • Phase I demonstrates CDC compacted ferrous materials can be processed in select geometries intelligently to possess optimal fine-grained microstructures with high surface hardening attributes for potential rotorcraft applications, such as bearing liners
  • Phase II demonstrates near net-shape cost-effective manufacturing

Transition and Impact

  • Ability to press micro to nano powders and composites into higher density products as required for US Navy and various other commercial applications
  • Ability to commercialize the successfully developed high-performance refractory materials based near net-shape high-temperature rocket motor components utilizing CDC technology
  • Ability to actively develop high-performance and lightweight ceramic armors for increased threat protection

Other Applications

  • Deep space mission thermoelectric power devices and modules
  • Nanostructured electrodes for high-energy storage batteries
  • High-temperature rocket parts
  • Ablative liner inserts
  • High-density refractory and composite parts
  • Heat pipes
  • Valves for advanced engine systems
  • Solid lubricant composites for bearings and Tribological applications
  • Erosion resistant high-temperature materials
  • Advanced heat sinks
  • Optical mirror substrates (e.g., copper, copper/beryllium, molybdenum or copper/molybdenum)

Expected Products

  • Cost-effective near net-shape bearing liners with unique microstructures and mechanical properties for gear system components for V-22 Helicopter and other rotor craft applications
  • Ability to cost-effectively and rapidly manufacture high-density baseline ferrous and lightweight ferrous composites with higher performance

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Higher Performance Bonded Neo Magnets

Click here to review recent findings on this subject matter.

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