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Project Grant


Grant Description
Production of metal foil and flat wire by single step shear-based deformation processing.
Place of Performance
Lafayette, Indiana 47901-1104 United States
Geographic Scope
Single Zip Code
M4 Sciences was awarded Project Grant DESC0023894 worth $199,967 from the Office of Science in July 2023 with work to be completed primarily in Lafayette Indiana United States. The grant has a duration of 1 year and was awarded through assistance program 81.049 Office of Science Financial Assistance Program. The Project Grant was awarded through grant opportunity FY 2023 Phase I Release 2.

SBIR Details

Research Type
STTR Phase I
Production of Metal Foil and Flat Wire by Single Step Shear-Based Deformation Processing
Thin-gauge foil and flat wire formats of lithium, aluminum and copper are critical to EV markets – especially for power storage performance and light-weighting of motors. Availability of Al and Cu flat wire for winding high-performance electric motors is constrained by manufacturing complexity and cost. A recent web-quote from a major automotive manufacturer “Wire manufacturing technology upstream of the industrial chain needs to be revolutionized” highlights this criticality. In the proposed STTR Phase 1, the thin metal wire and foil production challenge will be addressed by innovative hybrid-cutting extrusion (HCE) technology. The technology – a transformative approach – is structured around high-speed shear-based processing, pioneered by our team. HCE utilizes a well-controlled analogue of machining, with constrained chip formation, to produce metal strip (chip), with fine-grained microstructure and shear textures, in a single-step process. The Phase I project objective is to demonstrate processing of flat-wire and thin gauge Al and Cu, and develop the manufacturing engineering underpinnings for a future production system. HCE technology offers low-cost, flexible manufacturing of foil and wire, optimized for strength and formability. A series of critical HCE experiments will be used to establish a process-properties-performance map. A cost model will be developed to compare production cost by HCE to benchmarked industry rolling processes, along with the first tooling design for production on a computer-controlled machining center. The work will be conducted by an accomplished team with complementary strengths in manufacturing, materials, and advanced process engineering. HCE processing will open new pathways for producing thin-gauge metal alloys (e.g. Li, Cu, Al, Ti). The relatively simple infrastructure and process configuration will enable point of use application (e.g., motor assembly plant), control of the resulting bulk form (e.g., wire size and shape), and enhanced strip product properties. Virtually all commercial metal foil and wire is today produced by multi-stage deformation processing (rolling or drawing), wherein large thickness reductions require multiple (~20) steps of deformation. These highly entrenched manufacturing processes are capable of large-volume production. However, they are multi-step, energy intensive, and inflexible, posing constraints to product design and performance – especially in materials for EV manufacture. Most of the reduction in rolling is accomplished in energy-intensive hot-working steps, where large ingots are preheated to high temperatures to enhance workability. Subsequent cold-rolling, interspersed with annealing, is required to control size and quality. Currently available strip formats can be extremely expensive to produce, and, combined with their limited thickness range, pose challenges for weight and cost reductions in applications. The challenges can be overcome by the more economical HCE that produces metal strip in a single step directly from ingot. A systems analysis has shown that for Al and steel sheet/foil, the HCE specific energy is only 1/3rd that of industrial rolling.
Topic Code
Solicitation Number


Last Modified 8/14/23

Period of Performance
Start Date
End Date
65.0% Complete

Funding Split
Federal Obligation
Non-Federal Obligation
Total Obligated
100.0% Federal Funding
0.0% Non-Federal Funding

Activity Timeline

Interactive chart of timeline of amendments to DESC0023894

Additional Detail

SAI Number
Award ID URI
Awardee Classifications
Small Business
Awarding Office
Funding Office
892401 SCIENCE
Awardee UEI
Awardee CAGE
Performance District
Todd Young
Mike Braun

Budget Funding

Federal Account Budget Subfunction Object Class Total Percentage
Science, Energy Programs, Energy (089-0222) General science and basic research Grants, subsidies, and contributions (41.0) $199,967 100%
Modified: 8/14/23