Acree Technologies Inc.

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Research & Development

BETTER SCIENCE DELIVERS BETTER COATINGS

What differentiates Acree from other companies in the thin film coating industry? Quite simply, it's the R&D done by our scientists.  We've assembled a team of great scientists with over 50 years of R&D experience. In the last 8 years, Acree has won over 30 competitive research contracts, worth over $10 million, from both government agencies and private companies.

While Acree is proud of our record in winning research contracts, we are more proud of our ability to convert the research into commercially viable products and services. In fact, Acree has managed to generate nearly  40% of its revenue through commercial contracts, which is almost unheard of among R&D companies.

Acree has been able to commercialize because our scientists have applied science experience, focused on providing practical solutions to real problems. We have a proven record of solving problems where others have failed.

Some examples of coatings that we have developed include:

  • biomedical coatings for implants that are both wear resistant and lubricious
  • corrosion resistant coating for pacemaker electrodes for heart implants
  • erosion resistant coatings for high speed turbine blades and impellers
  • electro-optical coatings for aviation windscreens
  • multilayer optical coatings for high intensity discharge lamps

If a "standard" coating does not solve your problem, our scientists will develop a specialized coating that does.

COMPETITIVE SUCCESS

Acree has had 9 Phase I research contracts win Phase II* funding, at an average of over $700K each, on the topics in the table below. Click on the title to read the abstract. If you would like detailed information about any of these projects, please contact us.

Refractory Coatings on Mechanically Resilient Insulators

Refractory Coatings on Mechanically Resilient Insulators-Phase I demonstrated that ceramic coatings on plastic insulators raised the breakdown voltage, reduced the amount of damage, and improved the recovery after a breakdown event. The main goals of Phase II are to (1) coat actual insulators for the Shiva and HPM devices for testing (2) to optimize the existing ceramic coatings by increasing their thickness to (3) improve the performance of the existing coatings by testing multilayer coating systems and to (4) continue our commercialization efforts.

Resistant Coatings for Aircraft Components

Resistant Coatings for Aircraft Components
Resistant Coatings for Aircraft Components-The purpose of this project is to demonstrate the effectiveness of using specialized protective coatings for reducing the amount of wear on aircraft components thereby extending their life. The goal is to extend their life by a factor of 10x.

Production of New Durable, Transparent Conductive Coatings

Production of New Durable, Transparent Conductive Coatings
Production of New Durable, Transparent Conductive Coatings-Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) is currently used as a transparent electrically conductive coating on aircraft canopies to provide electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding for electronic components. The problem with ITO is that it is relatively soft and scratches easily requiring frequent replacement of the windscreen leading to high maintenance costs and aircraft downtime. In addition ITO is applied by custom equipment using extremely laborious vapor deposition processes which are expensive, complicated, and tend to produce low yield rates. The purpose of this project is to demonstrate the feasibility of using a specialized process to deposit aluminum zinc oxide (AZO) and indium zinc oxide (IZO) transparent conductive coatings as a replacement to ITO. The advantage of both AZO and IZO is that they have hardnesses that are significantly greater than that of ITO and are thus much more scratch resistant and durable than ITO. The deposition process that will be used is much simpler and more forgiving than vapor deposition producing higher yield rates and less expensive coatings.

Diamond-like Carbon Coatings on Polymers

Diamond-like Carbon Coatings on Polymers
Diamond-like Carbon Coatings on Polymers-Phase I demonstrated a 10x improvement in abrasion resistance, excellent optical matching to the polycarbonate, and improved ballistic performance relative to industry-standard siloxane. The coating consists of a unique plasma pretreatment of the polycarbonate to improve adhesion, and a combination of layers forming a grading in the mechanical properties from the soft polycarbonate to a hard overcoat. Phase-II optimized the coating process and design, refining the grading of the mechanical properties and introducing surface modifications of the polycarbonate for improved hardness. The coatings were evaluated per MilSpec standards for ballistic performance, abrasion resistance, chemical exposure, and environmental durability.  The goal is a manufacturing process capable of supplying low cost, highly abrasion resistant coatings on polycarbonate lenses and visors with significantly improved ballistic protection.

High Temperature Sensor Materials Optimization and Fabrication Methods

High Temperature Sensor Materials Optimization and Fabrication Methods
High Temperature Sensor Materials Optimization and Fabrication Methods-This project demonstrates the feasibility of using a nanoparticle inkjet process for directly writing high temperature health monitoring sensors on turbine engine and thermal protection system components, which eliminates the need for expensive sputtering, CVD, clean room, or photolithography equipment. The inkjet process allows sophisticated sensor geometries and material combinations to be produced on the component in a matter of minutes as opposed to the hours needed to produce the sensors using the conventional clean room/sputtering approach. The nanoparticle inkjet process is capable of applying a wide variety of ceramic and refractory metal materials.   BENEFIT:  The development of low cost robust high temperature sensors will allow: 1) measuring the operating parameters in extremely hot environments such as the compressor and turbine sections to validate computer modeling codes 2) allow active control of pressure surges in turbine engines 3) allow the ability to diagnose turbine engine and thermal protection system health and estimate component capability for future missions 4) and help reduce the significant costs of testing and qualifying turbine engines.

Advanced Canopy and Window Materials for Improved Helicopter and Aircrew Survivability

Advanced Canopy and Window Materials for Improved Helicopter and Aircrew Survivability
Advanced Canopy and Window Materials for Improved Helicopter and Aircrew Survivability-This project demonstrates the feasibility of applying an advanced multifunctional coating system to aircraft window materials to increase their resistance to electromagnetic interference (EMI) and to improve eye protection from low-power laser exposure. The project studies the control of transmission at selected laser hazard wavelengths and the reduction of solar effects from IR and UV wavelengths. The multifunctional coatings will be designed to produce laser absorption/reflection profiles suitable for a wide variety of window requirements. In addition the coating system will have an increased resistance to abrasion and scratching and an increased resistance to ballistic fragment impact.

Infrared-Transparent, Millimeter-Wave Bandpass, Missile Dome Design

Infrared-Transparent, Millimeter-Wave Bandpass, Missile Dome Design
Infrared-Transparent, Millimeter-Wave Bandpass, Missile Dome Design-This project develops an infrared-transparent millimeter- wave bandpass filter for use on tri-mode seeker domes for the next generation Joint Air-to-Ground Missile. The filters simultaneously have a pass-band insertion loss 20dB and IR transparency greater than 90% to 5ìm. The filters are characterized by optical transmission scans electrical measurements and EMI shielding measurements from 26.5 to 40 GHz. The coatings are tested to greater than 500°C, as well as abrasion and sand erosion tested. This data assesses the suitability of different designs for use in the tri-mode seeker domes.

Miniaturization of Sensors on Flexible Substrates

Miniaturization of Sensors on Flexible Substrates
Miniaturization of Sensors on Flexible Substrates-This project demonstrates nanoink printing processes for making function specific active sensors and electronics on flexible substrates. The goal is to demonstrate ink formulations and recipes for depositing conductor and semiconductor materials on various flexible polymer and polyimide substrates for use in smart munitions sensors. In this project active sensor electronic systems for intelligent munitions will be developed with an emphasis on antenna and GPS electronics for Medium Range Munitions (MRM).

Passive, Wireless Sensors for Extreme Turbine Conditions

Passive, Wireless Sensors for Extreme Turbine Conditions
Passive, Wireless Sensors for Extreme Turbine Conditions-This project develops and demonstrates innovative wireless sensor materials and concepts that can be used on turbine engine components for Engine Health Monitoring (EHM) at temperatures up to and exceeding 1260° C. The state of the wireless sensor circuit is determined by the resonant response from an outside transmitter/receiver. The sensors are constructed from proven high-temperature materials that meet the project goal of stable material properties up to 1260° C (2300° F).  BENEFIT:  The development of low cost, robust high temperature sensors will allow: 1) measuring the operating parameters in extremely hot environments such as the compressor and turbine sections to validate computer modeling 2) active control of pressure surges in turbine engines 3) the ability to diagnose turbine engine system health and estimate component capability for future missions thereby reducing the cost of ownership  4) provide inputs for diagnostic and life prediction models and will allow engine inspection and maintenance to be performed on accurate need-based schedules removing the inefficiencies and guesswork from aircraft maintenance. This is expected to lead to significant depot and maintenance cost savings and a significant reduction in aircraft downtime.

*Phase II. The objective of Phase II is to continue the R&D efforts initiated in Phase I. Funding is based on the results achieved in Phase I and the scientific and technical merit and commercial potential of the project proposed in Phase II.

 

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Telephone: 925-798-5770