QuesTek Awards First Production License of Ferrium(R) M54(TM) to Latrobe Specialty Steel

Computationally-Designed, High-Performance Alloy for Aircraft Landing Gear and Other Applications Now Available from Latrobe Specialty Steel Company.

LATROBE, Pa. and EVANSTON, Ill., April 5– QuesTek Innovations LLC has awarded a license to Latrobe Specialty Steel Company to produce and sell Ferrium® M54™. This is the first license awarded to produce commercially and sell this alloy using QuesTek’s compositions, processing expertise and intellectual property. Terms of the multi-year agreement were not disclosed.

Ferrium M54 is a premium-quality steel that offers ultra high strength and toughness, having an ultimate tensile strength of 294 ksi, yield strength of 250 ksi, and fracture toughness of 110 ksi square root inch as typical properties. QuesTek computationally designed and developed M54™ to be a cost-effective alternative to alloys such as AerMet® 100 (in part by limiting high-cost alloying elements such as cobalt), while meeting or exceeding all key properties. Applications of this class of alloys can include aircraft landing gear and arresting tailhooks, shock struts, tow bars, drive shafts, actuators, blast containment devices, fasteners, golf club face inserts and other highly-loaded components.

QuesTek received funding and direction from the U.S. Navy Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) to computationally design and develop M54™, under both an earlier Phase I and a current Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) project. NAVAIR also recently awarded QuesTek a Phase I SBIR project to evaluate and test M54 and other materials for arresting tailhook applications.

QuesTek’s design, development and licensing of M54™ builds upon its earlier design, development and licensing of Ferrium S53®, another commercially-available ultra high strength steel. While M54™ has significantly greater yield strength and fracture toughness than S53, the resistance of S53 to general corrosion is far greater than that of M54™.

Scott A. Balliett, Latrobe Specialty Steel’s Director of Technology and Quality, said: “We’re pleased to further build our relationship with QuesTek and offer our global customers another valuable new premium-quality VIM VAR steel. Ferrium M54 VIM VAR should help our customers reduce costs and improve the performance and durability of their products for vital defense, energy, commercial and other industrial applications. We produce this alloy and many other premium alloys in our state-of-the-art vacuum melting (VIM) and vacuum remelting (VAR) facilities, including the recent VIM and VAR expansion to our Latrobe, PA facility.”

Charlie Kuehmann, QuesTek’s President and CEO, said: “We’re pleased to award this license to Latrobe. The commercial introduction of Ferrium M54™ further demonstrates how our Materials by Design® technology and expertise can simultaneously reduce costs and improve the performance of materials. We look forward to working with Latrobe and with customers and design engineers worldwide to identify product applications that can benefit from using M54™ as well as our other licensed alloys Ferrium S53, C61™ and C64™.”

About Latrobe Specialty Steel Company

Latrobe Specialty Steel, headquartered in Latrobe, PA, has been in operation since 1913. Since 1958, Latrobe Specialty Steel has been a leading supplier of premium vacuum melted alloys to the aerospace and defense sectors. The firm employs approximately 800 people. Find additional information about Latrobe Specialty Steel at www.latrobesteel.com or contact Lisa Pierce at 724-532-6324 (lisa.pierce@latrobesteel.com).

About QuesTek

QuesTek Innovations LLC (www.questek.com) is a global leader in computational materials design. QuesTek uses its proprietary Materials by Design technology and expertise to rapidly design and develop new materials that reduce capital, processing, operating or maintenance costs, or improve environmental protection, competitive supply or competitive advantage. QuesTek has been highlighted in many leading business and technical publications, and has more than 30 patents awarded or pending worldwide. For more information, contact Rich Kooy at 1-847-425-8213 or rkooy@questek.com.

This article was originally published by The Street.

April 5, 2010