NASA Lewis Research Center's Structures and Material Divisions are centers of excellence in high-temperature alloys for aerospace applications such as advanced aircraft and rocket engines. Lewis' expertise in these fields was enlisted in the development of a new generation of circular sawblades for the lumber industry to use in cutting logs into boards.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Forest Products Laboratory and their supplier had succeeded in developing a thinner sawblade by using a nickel-based alloy, but they needed to reduce excessive warping due to residual stresses. They requested assistance from Lewis' experts, who successfully eliminated the residual stress problem and increased blade strength by over 12 percent. They achieved this by developing an innovative heat treatment based on their knowledge of nickel-based superalloys used in aeropropulsion applications.
At this time, it appears that the scope of the impact of this joint effort between the USDA and NASA will extend far beyond the commercial benefits to the blade manufacturer. The new thinner blades are expected to increase the amount of usable lumber gained from each log by 5 percent, which could lead to over 2 million trees saved each year and to a 4- to 5-percent cost reduction in new housing costs. In turn, the reduction in new housing costs could lead to increased new housing starts and increased demand for additional consumer products. In short, the new blades could mean that 1 billion board feet of lumber will be recovered from what otherwise would be sawdust and waste wood-benefiting our environment and our economy.
Glenn's Technology Transfer and Partnership Office,
(216) 433-5568, and Dr. Paul A. Bartolotta, (216) 433-3338,
Author: Commercial Technology Office
Headquarters program office: OASTT
Programs/Projects: Technology Transfer, Aeronautics Base R&T, HOST
Special recognition: Space Act Award
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Last updated April 16, 1998, by Nancy.L.Obryan@nasa.gov
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