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Materials Science

Why Materials Science?

From the Stone Age to the Silicon Age, our materials have defined us as a civilization. It is little surprise, then, that improvements in materials have been at the heart of many of history's greatest innovations, from the first flint arrowheads to the first computer chips.

At Mainstream, we recognize that materials are as critical to innovation today as they ever were in the past. Pushing the boundaries of our materials lets us push the boundaries of everything else we engineer, from nanoparticles to turbomachinery.

Why Mainstream?

Mainstream's staff includes a mixture of talented materials, chemical, mechanical, and electrical engineers, each of whom brings a unique perspective to materials challenges. By vigorously promoting collaboration between our engineers, we ensure that all perspectives and solutions get explored, and that our materials research stays more creative and more flexible than the competition's.

With over 20 years in business, an outstanding commercialization record, and a robust IP portfolio, we're confident that our strategy is a winning one. We encourage you to see for yourself at our Products and Patents pages, or to consider joining the team through our Careers page.

What Do We Do?

We pride ourselves on the depth and flexibility of our engineering capabilities, and our materials research is no exception. We can provide customers with innovative materials solutions ranging from gold catalysts to satellite panels, with particular expertise in three areas:

Materials for Energy and the Environment

  • Lightweight composites and foams for building more efficient vehicles;
  • Hydrogen storage, fuel cell, and battery materials for providing clean power;
  • Catalysts for deactivating harmful chemicals


  • Structural composites for building lighter, stronger vehicles and structures
  • Energetic composites for arming the modern warfighter
  • EMI shielding composites for protecting critical electronics


  • Nanostructured composites for making lighter, more efficient airplanes and satellites
  • Nanostructured coatings for protecting surfaces and controlling heat transfer, wetting, or other properties
  • Nanostructured materials for storing hydrogen or lithium for fuel cells and batteries

Interested in learning more about our research? Please browse the Press Releases page for up-to-date information on our latest projects and products.

How do we do it?

Mainstream's materials research is supported by product sales, and by special contracts arranged mainly through the Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Our past and current materials research sponsors include the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force, as well as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Department of Energy (DOE), and NASA.

The research itself takes place in our dedicated Materials Laboratory. This lab is equipped with state-of-the-art software and equipment for designing, processing, and characterizing advanced materials. Our in-house testing capabilities include electrical and thermal conductivity, static and dynamic mechanical properties, macro and microhardness, calorimetry, rheometry, and much more. In addition, we collaborate actively with world-class university researchers from across the country.

When it's time to bring our solutions to the shelves, we use our brand-new 30,000 ft2 lean manufacturing facility, described on the Manufacturing page. Our products are proudly manufactured in the U.S.A. and are supported by full-time military and commercial sales and support staff.

Our commercial and government customers know that we offer more than just fresh ideas - we also offer the top-notch facilities needed to properly develop and commercialize them.