57. QuesTek International

Company: QuesTek International

Founders: Greg Olson, Charlie Kuehmann, Ray Genellie, Charlie West

Website: https://questek.com/


QuesTek International


About QuesTek International


QuesTek is a pioneer in materials engineering and design. Founded in 1997, QuesTek has long been at the forefront of creating a more sustainable future through materials innovation, including multiple breakthroughs in the past year. The company has locations in the U.S., Sweden and Japan.

Both through Materials by Design® consulting engagements and their ICMD® digital design platform for materials engineering and the development of novel materials which launched in 2023, QuesTek is empowering manufacturers across the globe to reach sustainability goals.

Reducing Toxic and Rare Earth Elements

Most high-performance alloys include rare earth elements (REEs), which are difficult to extract and typically have a harmful impact on the local environment and pose safety concerns for workers. ICMD® enables materials engineers to rapidly evaluate permutations of composition that allow for significant reductions in REEs or their elimination entirely.

For example, QuesTek used ICMD® to devise a method to dramatically reduce the amount of scandium (a REE) in high-performance aluminum aerospace alloys, resulting in a new type of more sustainable aluminum alloy for additive manufacturing.

In another example, QuesTek eliminated the need for plating aerospace steel with cadmium — a toxic heavy metal that is widely used to prevent corrosion. By optimizing the composition and heat-treating process of the steel itself, QuesTek removed the need for an environmentally harmful aspect of the manufacturing process.

Empowering the Sustainable Future of Energy

QuesTek is transforming the energy industry through materials breakthroughs. Using ICMD®, QuesTek was able to design a new single-crystal nickel alloy for the U.S. Department of Energy that enables industrial gas turbines to operate at higher temperatures and efficiency. This alloy also uses much less of the REE rhenium. Similar technology developed by QuesTek allows jet engines to withstand higher temperatures and achieve higher fuel efficiencies.

In addition, ICMD® makes functionally graded materials (FGMs), which change in composition from one end of the material to the other, much more feasible to design and produce. QuesTek has used ICMD® to design FGMs for the nuclear power industry, unlocking safer, more efficient nuclear power and countless other applications.

Making Materials Science Research More Sustainable

ICMD® can predict with extraordinary accuracy how a material will perform under certain conditions and how a material would need to be composed and processed to produce a set of desired properties. This dramatically reduces the need for trial-and-error experimental testing, thus reducing the amount of waste produced and energy used by the materials engineering field.

Driving Sustainability Objectives for a Global Steel Producer

Daido Steel, a world leader in specialty steel, particularly in the automotive industry, recently said in a press release: “Sustainability is a core value of our organization, as we continue to honor our 2013 commitment to a 50% reduction of our CO2 emissions by 2030. ICMD® will streamline our materials R&D process to be greener and more efficient, as well as enabling our engineers to develop lighter, more fuel-efficient materials that reduce or eliminate the environmental impact of rare earth elements.”



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