28 October 2021
The Navy Office of Naval Research (ONR) awarded ElectraWatch a manufacturing science program contract to identify new material processing pathways that use additive manufacturing for copper-nickel (CuNi) heat exchanger designs.
ElectraWatch was one of five organizations, and the only non-university bidder, to receive a contract. The value of the contract was not disclosed.
ElectraWatch is a research, engineering and product development company based in Charlottesville, Virginia. Founded in 2008 and acquired by Austal United States in 2018, ElectraWatch is a wholly owned subsidiary focused on enhancing aluminum testing capabilities and performing independent corporate research and development functions to advance Austal USA’s mission of excellence in advanced shipbuilding.
“I am proud of the hard work our engineering team has done to make this contract possible,” ElectraWatch CEO Ryan Dunn said in a prepared statement. “We are honored that this award puts us in a position to further advocate for the next generation of manufacturing capabilities and to best equip the sailors who protect and support our country and our allies.”
Dr Scott Kasen, Principal Engineer of ElectraWatch, explained that the enormous thermal loads of future warships require advanced designs for seawater heat exchangers that can only be achieved by taking advantage of the freedom of design offered by additive manufacturing (AM).
“Despite the tremendous progress the FA has made,” Kasen said. “Existing modalities are unable to easily process CuNi alloys which are chosen for their high thermal conductivity, demonstrated performance against corrosion and resistance to biofouling in marine environments. “
To overcome the challenges of existing approaches, ElectraWatch has partnered with Metallum3D offer a new AM capability that utilizes the unique combination of a bonded pellet extrusion process and microwave sintering.