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Billions. That’s how much this NASA Glenn engineer’s new invention could generate for the economy. Billions.

By Clay LePard

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    CLEVELAND, Ohio (WEWS) — A Northeast Ohio engineer is being credited with an invention that could revolutionize how jet engines and rockets are made.

For the past nine years, Tim Smith has worked as a materials research engineer at NASA Glenn Research Center. His latest invention, a 3D printable metal alloy dubbed “GRX-810,” has been tested to withstand higher temperatures and last longer than other state-of-the-art alloys.

“[This could go] inside your rocket engine, inside your airplane engine,” Smith explained. “Right where that fuels exploding to make your thrust, that’s where you’ll see it.”

Smith argues the alloy, which is a mixture of eight to nine different elements, is capable of enduring temperatures of 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit for extended periods of time.

“A typical superalloy that you would use for 3D printing for those environments would last for a few minutes or an hour,” he explained. “This alloy we’re talking about lasting for months or years in the same conditions.”

For Amy Hiltabidel, NASA Glenn’s licensing manager, this invention stands out from the hundreds of new patents created at NASA Glenn every single year. Hiltabidel explained these patents can be licensed to U.S. companies to help with work beyond the walls of NASA.

“I knew it was going to be a good one,” she said. “We estimate this technology has the potential of billions of dollars of economic impact in the United States. It’s pretty big.”

So far, four companies across the country have already licensed the new technology:

Carpenter Technology Corporation – Reading, Pennsylvania Elementum 3D, Inc. – Erie, Colorado Linde Advanced Material Technologies, Inc. – Indianapolis, Indiana Powder Alloy Corporation – Loveland, Ohio

“I think I’m going to be working on this alloy for the rest of my career,” Smith smiled. “I think I’m going to be getting questions about it 20 years from now, and I’m excited about it.”

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