QuesTek Innovations LLC, Evanston, Illinois, USA, has received the 2021 ASM International Engineering Materials Achievement Award for the design and commercialisation of Ferrium® C64®, a novel high-performance carburisable steel enabling more durable, lighter weight transmission gears with increased power density. QuesTek will officially accept the award in 2022 at ASM’s IMAT annual meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana.
“This puts us in the rarified company of previous award winners like the US Army Research Laboratory, NASA Glenn Research Center, IBM Systems and Technology Group, GE Aviation, and Northrop Grumman Corporation, among others,” stated Jason Sebastian, president of QuesTek. “We’re grateful for the recognition by ASM.”
Ferrium C64 began in 2005 as a response to a problem that the US Navy couldn’t solve: how to enhance the performance and safety of its helicopters. QuesTek’s answer, Ferrium C64, provided gearbox longevity, increased power-to-weight ratio, and reduced costs for production, operation and support. The metal’s unique properties – high surface hardness, quench hardenability, high strength and toughness, long fatigue life, and high-temperature resistance –next attracted the attention of the US Army.
Through the Army’s Future Advanced Rotorcraft Drive System (FARDS) programme, the company was awarded a subcontract from Bell Helicopter to jointly evaluate the applications of C64 in an effort to improve the performance and affordability of current aircraft drive systems. QuesTek has also demonstrated C64 in Powder Bed Fusion (PBF) Additive Manufacturing technology, where initial results show similar properties to forged bar.
“As a leading provider of aerospace and defence gear material solutions, Carpenter Technology has seen significant interest and adoption of Ferrium C64,” said Marshall Akins, Carpenter’s vice president of Aerospace and Defense. “Due to its excellent core and fatigue strength, as well as its high case hardness and temperature resistance, C64 is a cutting-edge solution enabling step-changes in the performance of key applications. We expect Ferrium C64 to play a major role in our specialty steel portfolio for decades to come.”
“This stellar achievement sets an example for future alloy development across a range of materials and applications,” added Sebastian. “The impacts of Ferrium C64 are significant from enhanced safety to increased fuel-efficiency.”
This award was given to the cross-functional team at QuesTek for their direct contributions to the design, qualification and commercialisation of C64 steel: Jason Sebastian, Chris Kern, Jeff Grabowski, Kerem Taskin, Tom Kozmel and Greg Olson.