Specialty Materials, Inc.
In the late 60s and 70s Avco Systems' Lowell, MA facility was manufacturing specialty materials such as boron and silicon carbide fibers and metal matrix composites (MMCs) for its own internal use. Most of these materials had been developed through government funding, including the Apollo program to land a man on the moon. Management felt that there was enough demand in the marketplace to develop a separate business, and in 1978 Avco Specialty Materials Division was spun off from Avco Systems.
As a result of Textron's acquisition of Avco in 1986, we became Textron Specialty Materials Division.
By 1987 it had added ceramic matrix composites (CMC), and was receiving Department of Energy support to develop CMCs for industry. It had also expanded its metal matrix composites product line. NASA was funding the National Aerospace Plane (NASP), and the company had developed titanium matrix composite (TMC) face sheets as the baseline structural material for NASP. NASA then funded the company to put in a 50,000 square foot facility for TMC's. In 1996, shortly after the NASP program was shut down, the company was rolled back into Textron Systems Division. Textron Systems realized that specialty materials did not fit its core business, so they divested the materials group.
In late 2001 a leaner and more efficient fiber business line, focusing on the manufacture and sale of Boron and SCS™ SiC fibers and preforms, was sold and Specialty Materials, Inc. was formed.