LEXINGTON, Kentucky, May 20, 2019 – Engi-Mat is continuing its long history of conducting leading research in the field of nanomaterials. Recently, the office of High Energy Physics within the Department of Energy (DOE) awarded a Phase I SBIR grant to Engi-Mat focused on the development of high thermal conductivity and specific heat nanocomposite epoxy technology for accelerator magnets. The program enables Engi-Mat to apply its expertise in the development, optimization and production of nanopowders to address technical challenges faced by superconducting magnets, a field where Engi-Mat has made several vital contributions over the years.
Leveraging past work under the DOE’s SBIR program, the goal of the effort is to develop epoxies with improved thermal conductivity and specific heat without compromising other essential performance attributes required for advanced superconducting magnets. Engi-Mat, in collaboration with a National Laboratory, will develop various optimized ceramic nanopowders, create new epoxies incorporating the nanoparticles, and test their performance properties.
Epoxies used in the construction of superconducting magnets must be mechanically strong, electrically insulated, and cryogenically and chemically compatible with other components of the superconducting magnet. For high energy physics applications, the epoxy must also be radiation resistant to survive the particle radiation environment. The epoxies that are commercially available today have not kept pace with recent rapid developments in magnet technology. Therefore, advances in epoxy formulation are necessary to accommodate the much stronger magnetic fields and larger magnet sizes. The incorporation of select nanomaterials developed at Engi-Mat will create a new composite material with improved thermal conductivity and specific heat properties, supporting the construction of advanced superconducting magnets.