NDT.net July 2004, Vol. 9 No.07

Positron Systems Receives Funding
to Investigate Hydrogen Embrittlement Damage -
Company receives 8th Small Business Innovative Research Award

BOISE, Idaho—(June 21, 2004)—Positron Systems, an innovator in the field of nondestructive and material characterization testing, has been awarded its 8th Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Award. The award, from the National Science Foundation, will be used by the company to fund research aimed at developing a field use, nondestructive evaluation (NDE) capability for detecting hydrogen embrittlement damage buildup and remaining life in high strength steel alloys and other materials crucial to the aerospace and power industries. Hydrogen embrittlement is a serious, unpredictable failure mechanism and needs a reliable NDE technology because catastrophic failure of critical components can occur without warning.

Hydrogen embrittlement damage affects many industries including aerospace, automotive, transportation infrastructure, rail and power generation and results in substantial direct annual costs. Current methods of detection in the factory are problematic and involve time consuming indirect measurements of coupons or plating processes. A direct measurement of critical components could reduce the exposure to “at risk” parts from manufacturing and in the field to extend the service life of operational components that are retired early due to conservative safety margins for this type of damage. Development of this technology will result in safer and less expensive operations of components susceptible to hydrogen embrittlement damage, providing long term benefits to manufacturers, maintainers, and operators of machinery and equipment.

According to the National Science Foundation, grants were awarded to companies with novel technologies and systems capable of supporting increased component life, reductions in cost, and improvements in quality. Technologies with the potential for significant improvements over current nondestructive testing methods were given special consideration.”

“Selection for this SBIR award further validates the potential of Positron Systems’ induced positron annihilation technologies to significantly advance current nondestructive testing capabilities,” said Steve Bolen, president and CEO of Positron Systems.

Research will commence in the third calendar quarter of 2004 in Positron Systems’ Test and Analysis center in Pocatello, Idaho.

About Photon Induced Positron Annihilation (PIPA)

The PIPA process involves penetrating materials with a photon beam generated by a small linear accelerator or other techniques. This process creates positrons, which are attracted to nano-sized defects in the material. Eventually, the positrons collide with electrons in the material and are annihilated, releasing energy in the form of gamma rays. The gamma ray energy spectrum creates a distinct and readable signature of the size, quantity and type of defects present in the material.

PIPA can detect a wide variety of damage types in a wide variety of materials including metals, polymers ceramics and composites. Because PIPA examines materials at the atomic level, it can detect damage at its earliest stage, from initial manufacture through failure. The technology can detect damage in second layer materials and may prove useful in determining the remaining useful life of a component.

Pricing and Availability

Positron Systems currently provides induced positron annihilation testing at the company’s Test and Analysis Center. Service price varies according to testing time, material of interest, and other customer specific criteria. Mobile systems are available on a made-to-order basis.

About Positron Systems Inc.

Founded in 2001, Positron Systems' Headquarters is located in Boise Idaho. For more information, visit the Company's website at www.positronsystems.com or call 208-672-1923, ext. 204.

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