Business at Ascent Innovation receives two awards from US Department of Defense

CONTACT: Frank Kustas, PhD, Chief Technology Officer at NanoCoatings, Inc.  |  605-716-0082  |  e:  |  w.

Tech business at Ascent Innovation, NanoCoatings, Inc., receives two awards from the U.S. Department of Defense

RAPID CITY, SD – NanoCoatings, Inc. (NCI), a small business in the Ascent Innovation Incubator building, has recently been awarded two Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards from the U.S. Department of Defense.
“Obtaining these awards will allow NCI to hire intern students as Engineering Technicians to work on applied R&D projects,” expressed Dr. Frank Kustas, the Chief Technology Officer at NCI. “These awards will also increase our coating capabilities by procuring selected components to increase the value/utility of the deposition systems, as well as enable us to investigate new technology areas for NCI, both for electronic materials (ASSB) and in-cylinder engine components.”
“Dr. Kustas’ project shows the level of talent that is bringing innovation to Rapid City and the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology,” said Ascent Innovation Executive Director Terri Haverly. “On behalf of Ascent Innovation, I want to congratulate NCI on these awards. It’s innovative entrepreneurs like Dr. Kustas that are strengthening the role of small businesses in Federally-funded research and development (R&D).” 

Description of the two SBIR awards are as follows:
1) All-Solid-State-Batteries (ASSB):  A U.S. Navy SBIR Phase II program for two years (plus a one (1) year option) to develop and test thin-film solid-state battery materials to improve the safety, long-term stability, and operational performance over current battery designs which use organic liquid electrolytes.  Use of novel super-ionic conductors for the solid-state electrolyte, along with a layer-by-layer fabrication method using Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD), will result in batteries that have enhanced ionic and electrical-conductivity, plus minimized contact resistance.  The entire battery configuration (anode, electrolyte, and cathode) will be fabricated in single vacuum deposition runs at NCI.  NanoCoatings will also evaluate the coating(s) mechanical properties, while the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology Chemical and Biological Engineering Department will fabricate PVD targets and perform electrochemical characterization and thin-film battery testing.
2)  Novel In-Cylinder Wear Coatings for Improved High Output Military Diesel Engine Performance and Durability:  A U.S. Army SBIR Phase I program for 6 months (plus a 4-month option) to demonstrate and test thin-film protective coatings for heavy-duty diesel engine in-cylinder applications, including piston-rings and cylinder liners.  The goal is to produce engines that have low heat rejection, high power density, lower-friction, reduced fuel consumption, and higher durability.  NanoCoatings, Inc. teamed with Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) to leverage their high Technology Readiness Level (TRL) nanostructured Plasma-Enhanced PVD coating for piston rings, while NCI will investigate a higher-risk lower TRL Plasma Electrolytic Oxidation (PEO) treatment of cast-iron cylinder liner material to form low thermal conductivity zirconia coatings.  



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