Ayman Salem, founder of Materials Resources LLC, holds examples of metals carefully crafted with 3-D printing processes in his lab. His patents can help clients better understand the “micro-structures” of metals. (Credit Photo @THOMAS GNAU)
Ayman Salem, founder of Materials Resources LLC, sees atoms. Not literally, of course. But he and his company have two granted patents and one patent pending in the areas of artificial intelligence and manufacturing. His technology, including a scanning electron microscope, uses artificial intelligence — also called “AI” — and “machine learning” to find the “internal structural features” in metal alloys, features that can affect the life and the quality of metals. The idea is to harness computer power to find “bad elements” in the micro-structure of metals, Salem said. “We teach computers how to think like a human, to figure out what are the features in the metal that will allow us to have better control of their properties,” Salem said. A native of Egypt, Salem remembered seeing a movie in which the president of the United States relies on the advice of a scientist.
“And he (the scientist in the movie) was wearing a lab coat,” Salem said with a smile, indicating his own white lab coat which he wore during an impromptu interview.
That was when Salem decided science was his calling.
Why capture data about the micro-structures of metal? For Salem, it’s simple.
“Knowledge is power,” he said. “And you want to think about the importance of micro-structure to metals. It is as important as DNA to humans.
“The more you know about the DNA of humans, the more you know about disease, the more you know how to fix it,” he added. Being able to quickly answer key questions about metal lets Salem’s customers cut the costs of generating data on metal micro-structures. “They can compete in the global economy by producing high-quality metal parts,” he said. He also has a 3-D printer of metals, a printer that he says allows him to control the micro-structure of metals. “We don’t just see it,” Salem said. “With what we learn, we go ahead and control it.”