Tapping into University Resources

A partnership with the Iowa State University Office of Biotechnology gives CIRAS access to the sophisticated equipment and technical expertise of the Materials Analysis and Research Lab (MARL) to help manufacturers solve complicated problems.

CIRAS was recently contacted by Danfoss Power Solutions in Ames for answers on a corrosion issue. A rust protection product used by the company was causing some damage to the parts it was supposed to protect. Jake Auliff, senior manager of tribology and materials engineering at Danfoss, had a hypothesis but it needed to be confirmed. None of the CIRAS labs had the right equipment for the analysis needed to test Auliff’s theory, so CIRAS turned to MARL for assistance.

“Being part of Iowa State University allows CIRAS to leverage the expertise and equipment of the entire university,” said Chris Hill, director of the CIRAS Technology Assistance Program. “MARL’s decades of material evaluation experience greatly enhances the support CIRAS can provide to Iowa companies like Danfoss.”

CIRAS promotes company access to labs on the Iowa State campus, like MARL, because most companies are not aware of the wide variety of campus resources and expertise that are available to them. CIRAS staff serve as the connection between the company and the resources. They know which labs are helpful for a specific problem and they can also shepherd companies through the process.

For the Danfoss project, CIRAS and MARL manager Warren Straszheim used a piece of equipment called an x-ray photoelectron spectrometer to determine how the rust remover was interacting with the metal parts. By using MARL’s analytical equipment and expertise, Danfoss was able to confirm their hypothesis that a commercially available rust remover was damaging selected heat-treated components. Danfoss changed the rust remover they used for these parts and the problem was resolved.

For more information, contact Dave Utrata at heydave@iastate.edu or 515-294-6095.