Navy Contracts Mainstream Engineering to Investigate Innovative Materials Processing Using Free Electron Laser Electron Beam Injectors

ROCKLEDGE, FL – May 27th, 2011 – Mainstream Engineering Corporation, a 25-year-old Brevard County manufacturer with a history of leading-edge research and development that has resulted in advanced, lean-manufacturing, cost-competitive products, which are all Made in the USA, has been awarded a contract from the U.S. Navy to investigate innovative advanced uses for free-electron laser (FEL) electron beam (Ebeam) injectors in the area of materials processing.

Thermal energy processing is a cornerstone of material property manipulation and transformation. However, the means of delivering the thermal energy to the material can vary from radiative or conductive delivery to photonic or Ebeam delivery. Attractive techniques for materials processing can be realized with Ebeam technology because the energy is delivered to a larger interaction volume than with laser (photon) surface treatment. As a result, this method eliminates ablation issues, which occur when small amounts of material are removed from the surface of an object. The larger interaction volume also thermally processes more of the material subsurface.

New Ebeam processes are becoming increasingly feasible since the advent of plasma window technology. This technology allows a workpiece to be processed out of a vacuum without the substantial beam attenuation observed in less robust solid-state electron widows. Further, ex-situ Ebeam processing enables the application of this technology to any sized workpiece, as well as workpieces of unusual shapes. Under this effort, Mainstream is investigating several novel techniques for Ebeam processing of materials.

While many employers in Brevard County are discussing reductions in force, Mainstream has seen its staff increase by 14% in the last year alone. This new Navy contract will allow Mainstream to create additional engineering and production positions.

“Given the state of the economy and the anticipated job losses at Kennedy Space Center, we are excited about the possibility of being able to employ displaced aerospace workers from the local community. This new Navy contract award is one small step in a series of ongoing job-creating programs that are developing at both Mainstream and our spin-off companies, to create local jobs, improve the nation’s energy efficiency, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil, all while reducing emissions and preserving the environment. Our products have always been proudly “Made in the USA,” stated Dr. Robert Scaringe, President of Mainstream.

About Mainstream Engineering Corporation
Mainstream Engineering Corporation is a solutions-oriented research, development, and manufacturing small business founded in 1986. Our primary mission is to transition advanced thermal control, energy storage, and energy conversion technology into high-quality, cost-effective, environmentally-safe green, commercial products. Products include lightweight diesel/JP8-fueled engines (including generators and hybrid vehicle drive trains), advanced thermal control units, advanced biomass conversion technologies, refrigerators/freezers for shipping containers, and the QwikProduct™ line of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC/R) products. Areas of advanced research include thermal control, energy conversion, engine and emissions research, turbomachinery, chemical technology, and materials science.