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Xtalic develops expertise in metal alloy coatings

March 31, 2016

Xtalic_an electroformed, net-shape part made from a high strength nanostructured aluminum alloyFounded in 2005, new SME LIFT member Xtalic develops and commercializes the revolutionary ability to engineer metal alloys at the nanometer scale and create tailored, stable alloy coatings with valuable new properties. Located in the Boston area, the company was co-founded by Chris Schuh, the Head of the Materials Science Department at MIT, and Alan Lund, who serves as CTO.

 

Xtalic develops and provides metal alloy coatings for a variety of high value applications. Its products, which include XTRONIC© and LUNA©, have been broadly adopted in enterprise computing and consumer and mobile electronics markets throughout North America and China. Proven in the field, they have been validated and accepted by more than 20 Fortune 100 electronics firms.

Lund says that the company works “at the cutting edge of materials science” to develop unique metals and processing for nanocrystalline metal alloys with thermodynamic structures that remain stable over time.

“The physics evolve as you approach and reach nanocrystalline structures, and as a result you get interesting properties or sets of properties,” Lund said. Among those are strength, corrosion resistance, and magnetic properties. Xtalic’s role is to design electrolytic coating processes to make the structures reliably and to scale them in useful ways.”

One example is electroplating with a nickel alloy for contacts in electrical connectors. Properties of the coatings for these contacts can be developed to create such benefits as wear and corrosion resistance while also maintaining electrical conductivity.

“We are also working on aluminum-based materials using our core nanostructuring approach, and are engaging in this research to make them more efficient,” Lund said.

“One of today’s limitations that we work with regularly is that certain materials that might have good bulk properties for something like lightweighting can also have a lack of surface functionality. We are working to mitigate this compromised surface functionality by developing new nanostructured coatings with the intent of preventing wear and/or corrosion on a surface to positively impact overall component performance.”

Magnesium, for example, has known corrosion issues that can be mitigated by making the surface more functional. Xtalic is also developing electroforming approaches and finding practical uses of this process within sheet manufacturing, Lund said.

Xtalic is also one of the coatings pillar participants at LIFT, and the company is researching ways to better apply coatings for applications within the automotive, aerospace and marine industries, said Larry Masur, Xtalic’s vice president of strategic technologies. The company is in the process of developing a white paper on the subject with other LIFT Gold and Silver members.

“As a LIFT member we want to see if we can become better exposed to solving automotive issues,” Masur said. “We also want to work with heavy (commercial) vehicles and from there the applications from those industries can be used in more critical areas in aircraft, helicopters and even spacecraft. Marine is also interesting because corrosion is such an issue there with salt water.”

Within LIFT and beyond, Xtalic will pursue partnerships to create new alloys that can make products reach the next level of performance, last longer and cost less. Learn more by visiting www.xtalic.com.