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Development of New Infrared Spectroscopic Methods for Non-Destructive Testing

Problem: Spectrotech, inc. of Columbus, Ohio is looking for technical assistance in the area of computing resources and software development. Spectrotech has developed a concept for non-destructive testing of surfaces coated with paints or other coatings; also, the conceptualized methodology may be useful for characterizing components just below the surface of non-metallic materials such as composites. Simpler versions of the non-destructive testing technology have been developed by Spectrotech in which custom-designed software installed in a personal computer is used to acquire and process infrared spectral data. Spectrotech is currently custom-developing and marketing small, non-destructive testing equipment to manufacturing firms (for example, pulp and paper manufacturers). Another similar device is being developed and sold by Spectrotech to dentists for use in matching the color and appearance of periodontal restorations with a patient’s natural teeth.

Spectrotech’s further progress in the development of the new technology is hampered since the company currently does not have access to the appropriate computational tools. Assistance is also needed in obtaining financing for the development of the computational methods and the subsequent development and testing of the new, non-destructive testing technology.

Solution:  Spectrotech was selected for a new Great Lakes Industrial Technology Center (GLITeC) - Wright Technology Network (WTN) pilot assistance project designed for start-up companies at Edison Technology Incubators.  A joint GLITeC-WTN team met with Spectrotech to assess the company's needs and develop a joint action plan.  The team determined that Spectrotech needed assistance in developing computational tools for a new non-destructive testing methodology.  Gaining access to the supercomputing facilities, programmers, and scientists at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB) would provide Spectrotech with leading edge capabilities and expertise.  WTN arranged and facilitated a meeting with scientists in the Aeronautical Systems Center's (ASC's), Major Shared Resource Center (MSRC) and the Air Force Research Laboratory's Materials and Manufacturing Directorate (AFRL/ML) and Sensors Directorate (AFRL/SN) at WPAFB in order to introduce Spectrotech and to facilitate discussions which could lead to joint research programs between the AFRL organizations and Spectrotech.  WTN is also assisting the company to locate potential sources of funding within the government and in the private sector.

Benefits:

  • The availability of appropriate computational tools which can process large amounts of spectral data will enhance Spectrotech's development of new non-destructive testing technology.
  • The new computational methodology could facilitate the development of computer-based models which can be utilized in the development of new coatings with custom- designed performance characteristics such as resistance to degradation by sunlight or changes caused by exposure to chemical vapors.
  • The conceptualized spectroscopic testing technology could be applied in non-invasive medical procedures.

Current Status:

  • WTN is continuing to facilitate interactions between the AFRL personnel at WPAFB and Spectrotech in order to heighten interest in the development of new computational tools.
  • Spectrotech, assisted by WTN, has made several contacts with firms which are interested in commercial applications of the technology Spectrotech is offering now and the new, technology which Spectrotech is endeavoring to develop.
  • Spectrotech is continuing to produce custom-designed, infrared testing equipment for a growing list of clients.
If you have any questions about this Technical Assistance Project or are interested in getting more information about Wright Technology Network and technology transfer, please contact Jim Singer (937) 253-0217 or crada@wtn.org.

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