Toyota Motor Corporation has developed the world’s first neodymium-reduced, heat-resistant magnet. Neodymium (Nd) magnets are used in various types of motors such as the high-output motors found in electrified vehicles. The new magnet uses significantly less neodymium, a rare-earth element, and can be used in high-temperature conditions. The newly developed... Read more →

By 2030, aluminum demand from Electric Vehicles (EVs) will near 10 million tonnes, a ten-fold increase from 2017, according to analysis by mining and metals business intelligence firm CRU. The usage of primary aluminum intensive, extrusions and rolled products will be significantly higher than seen in internal combustion engine vehicles... Read more →

Researchers discover new efficient lithium collection method using MOF membranes; Li from produced water

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin, Monash University (Australia) and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia have recently discovered a new, efficient way to extract lithium and other metals and minerals from water. They published their findings in an open-access paper in Science Advances.... Read more →

In its new ten-year market outlook to 2027, Roskill, a leading provider of international metals and minerals research, forecasts primary nickel consumption to rise by just under 4% per year between 2017 and 2027, driven by increased consumption by stainless steel producers and by growth in demand in the automotive... Read more →

Four rare earth elements (REEs) recovery projects managed by the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy and the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) (earlier post) have made significant progress in the development of a domestic supply of REEs from coal and coal by-products by successfully producing REE... Read more →

PNNL, UW create materials research initiative

The Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and the University of Washington have created the Northwest Institute for Materials Physics, Chemistry and Technology (NW IMPACT)—a joint research endeavor to power discoveries and advancements in materials that transform energy, telecommunications, medicine, information technology and other fields. The institute builds... Read more →

EPFL researchers have developed models of magnesium alloys to understand how to make the metal more pliable. Magnesium is the lightest metal on earth but, also has very low ductility—i.e., it cannot easily be shaped into usable forms. The researchers hope that with the models will lead to the discovery... Read more →

Hydro has started producing the first aluminium metal at its technology pilot in Karmøy, marking the start of verifying at an industrial scale the HAL4e aluminium technology. Compared to the world average, the Hydro-developed technology will use 15% less energy in aluminium production and has the lowest CO2 footprint. Hydro... Read more →

Researchers at WMG (Warwick Manufacturing Group), The University of Warwick (UK) have developed Silicon-Few Layer Graphene (Si-FLG) composite electrodes as an effective approach to replacing graphite in the anodes of lithium-ion batteries. The reinforcement of the silicon anode structure with graphene girders results in significant improvement in terms of cyclability,... Read more →

Researchers have demonstrated how to create a super-strong aluminum alloy (nanotwinned Al-Fe) that rivals the strength of stainless steel, an advance with potential applications in the automotive and aerospace industries. The research, which shows how to alter the microstructure of aluminum to impart greater strength and ductility, is detailed in... Read more →

Volkswagen Group of America joins LIFT for automotive light-weighting research; first automotive OEM member

Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (VWGoA) has officially joined the LIFT (Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow) institute as a Silver Member to advance the group’s research into lightweight metals, therefore reducing the weight of future vehicles. The group comprises Volkswagen, Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini and Bugatti; VWGoA is the first automotive OEM... Read more →

MIT researchers have discovered a way to increase the efficiency of thermoelectric materials threefold by using “topological” materials, which have unique electronic properties. While past work has suggested that topological materials may serve as efficient thermoelectric systems, there has been little understanding as to how electrons in such topological materials... Read more →

Toyota Tsusho, the trading arm of the Toyota Group, has signed a Share Subscription Agreement with Australian lithium miner Orocobre to become a 15% shareholder on a fully diluted basis by private placements and participation in Orocobre’s public accelerated entitlement share offering, announced in conjunction with this investment. The total... Read more →

DOE awards $1.87M to 7 projects to advance high performance computing in manufacturing

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award $1.87 million to seven projects to advance innovation in US manufacturing through high performance computing. Part of DOE’s High Performance Computing for Manufacturing (HPC4Mfg) program (earlier post), the seven new public private partnerships will enable greater collaboration between DOE national labs and... Read more →

LightMAT awards $2.25M in Round Two funding for lightweight materials technologies

Five US-based organizations are receiving $2.25 million in technical assistance from Department of Energy national laboratories to further develop lightweight materials technologies and more efficient vehicles. The awarded projects are part of a second round of industrial assistance opportunities (earlier post) supported by DOE’s LightMAT—the Lightweight Materials Consortium.(Earlier post.) The... Read more →

SoCalGas, partners developing technology to make carbon fiber during hydrogen production from methane; reducing the cost of H2 and cutting GHG

Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) is partnering with a development team to advance a new process that converts natural gas to hydrogen, carbon fiber, and carbon nanotubes. The low-emission process, selected for funding as part of the H2@Scale initiative (earlier post) by the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Fuel Cell... Read more →

DENSO Corporation and FLOSFIA Inc., a tech startup spun out from Kyoto University, are partnering to develop a next-generation power semiconductor device expected to reduce the energy loss, cost, size and weight of inverters used in electrified vehicles (EVs). Through the joint development project, the two companies aim to improve... Read more →

RUB team develops process for accelerated analysis of the stability of complex alloys

Material scientists at Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) have developed a novel process for analyzing, for example, the temperature and oxidation resistance of complex alloys that are made up of a number of different elements. Previously, such analyses used to take months. A paper on their work is published in the journal... Read more →

Novel laser welding technique could expand use of advanced high-strength steel alloys

A Brazilian researcher has developed an innovative method of laser welding at high temperatures that enhances the properties of advanced high-strength (AHS) steel for applications in the automotive and aerospace industries The automotive industry’s demand for high-performance AHS alloys has increased in recent years owing to increasingly stringent passenger safety,... Read more →

Georgia Tech study suggests one in five materials chemistry papers may be wrong; MOFs as example

The replicability of results from scientific studies has become a major source of concern in the research community, particularly in the social sciences and biomedical sciences. But many researchers in the fields of engineering and the hard sciences haven’t felt the same level of concern for independent validation of their... Read more →

Airbus and Williams Advanced Engineering have signed a memorandum of understanding under which the two companies will focus on the ways in which ultra-lightweight materials, battery technologies and electrical cell chemistries can be integrated on Airbus’ Zephyr High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS) program. In 2015, Airbus Defence and Space and Sion... Read more →

ARPA-E issues $100M OPEN funding opportunity announcement to support early-stage energy R&D

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $100 million in funding for new projects as part of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy’s (ARPA‑E) latest OPEN funding opportunity. (DE-FOA-0001858) ARPA-E issued previous OPEN solicitations in 2009, 2012, and 2015. Open solicitations enable ARPA-E to support transformational projects outside the... Read more →

India is the third-largest steel producer in the world after China and Japan, having surpassed other large steel-making countries such as the United States, Russia, and South Korea over the previous decade, according to the World Steel Association. In 2016, about 57% of India’s steel was produced using electric-based methods—the... Read more →

Researchers from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and their colleagues have devised a novel catalytic method to produce renewable acrylonitrile (ACN) using 3-hydroxypropionic acid (3-HP), which can be biologically produced from sugars. This hybrid biological-catalytic process offers an alternative to the conventional petrochemical production method and achieves unprecedented acrylonitrile... Read more →

New family of aluminum-cerium alloys shows significantly improved high-temperature performance, economic benefits

The high strength-to-weight ratio, corrosion resistance, and high thermal conductivity of aluminum alloys have made them important for the automotive and aerospace industries—and even more so now due to the promise of improved performance and fuel economy from lightweighting. However, while aluminum alloys offer outstanding castability, excellent mechanical properties, and... Read more →

DOE Lab, partners find high concentrations of rare earth elements in American coal basins

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has found high rare earth element (REE) concentrations in coal samples taken from the Illinois, Northern Appalachian, Central Appalachian, Rocky Mountain Coal Basins, and the Pennsylvania Anthracite region. These highly concentrated samples are greater than 300 parts per million... Read more →

A team of scientists from CoorsTek Membrane Sciences, the University of Oslo (Norway) and the Instituto de Tecnología Química (Spain) have successfully completed laboratory testing of a ceramic membrane that generates compressed hydrogen from natural gas and electricity in a one-step process with near-zero energy loss. The research, reported in... Read more →

Sumitomo Electric Industries and the University of Toyama have developed a high heat-resistant magnesium alloy for die casting applications. In die casting, a molten metal is injected into a die under high pressure and quickly cooled and solidified into the final part. Owing to its high productivity, die casting is... Read more →

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) have discovered a new oxide-ion conductor SrYbInO4 with a CaFe2O4-type structure. SrYbInO4 is the first example of a CaFe2O4-type pure oxide-ion conductors in which the oxide-ion conduction is dominant. This new material, described in a... Read more →

Insights from Leoben researchers lead to improved piezo injectors

One of the elements modern diesel engines require to become energy-efficient and clean are precisely controllable injection nozzles using piezo crystals. How exactly these crystals work has not been fully understood to date. In a project funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF, a group of researchers from the Materials... Read more →

BMW Group adopts new approaches for a more sustainable battery cell supply chain; focus on cobalt

Cobalt is one of the key components in production of electrified vehicles and is used in significant quantities in high-voltage batteries for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. The challenge facing companies that work with cobalt as a raw material is that risks related to environmental standards and human rights cannot... Read more →

A ceramic-based mechanical pump able to operate at record temperatures of more than 1,400 ˚C (1,673 K) can transfer high-temperature liquids such as molten tin, enabling a new generation of energy conversion and storage systems. The pump was developed by researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, with collaborators from... Read more →

Asahi Glass (AGC) and Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) have jointly started development of a new glass structure they call the “Ceiling-mounted Double Skin System.” This glass unit is designed to enhance energy savings of buildings such as car showrooms, capable of being flexibly opened or closed in response to weather... Read more →

Royal DSM, a global science-based company active in health, nutrition and materials, has partnered with Mahle GmbH to replace metal end caps with high-heat-resistant plastics in charge air cooler (CAC) applications. This change has led to improved engine performance, better fuel efficiency and reduced system costs. Metal end caps in... Read more →

FDG Electric Vehicles setting up new Li-ion cathode materials factory

China-based FDG Electric Vehicles (FDG) is broadening its upstream supply chain and establishing a new cathode materials factory. FDG Kinetic (FKL), Guizhou Guian Asset Investment and ALEEES (Advanced Lithium Electrochemistry) have entered into an agreement to establish a joint venture in Guizhou Guian New District to build a new production... Read more →

NSF awards UIC $1.44M to discover new 2D materials for better batteries

The University of Illinois at Chicago has received a $1.44-million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to discover new 2D materials that can be used to manufacture better and cheaper batteries. Two-dimensional materials, of which graphene is the most common, are extremely strong, lightweight, flexible, and excellent conductors of heat and... Read more →

Teijin Aramid BV, the core company of the Teijin Group’s aramid business, announced that its para-aramid fiber Twaron will be deployed in the solar-powered vehicles being developed by the KU Leuven and University of Michigan teams taking part in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, the world’s biggest solar car... Read more →

In 2010, leading global steelmaker ArcelorMittal launched its S-in motion range of lightweight steek solutions. (Earlier post.) Since then, the company has steadily expanded the range of solutions, which now cover many other types of vehicles and vehicle parts, including hybrid and electric vehicles, pick-up trucks, mid-size sedans and SUVs.... Read more →

HRL Laboratories researchers have developed a technique for successfully 3D printing high-strength aluminum alloys—including types Al7075 and Al6061—that opens the door to additive manufacturing of engineering-relevant alloys. These alloys are very desirable for aircraft and automobile parts and have been among thousands that were not amenable to additive manufacturing—a difficulty... Read more →

DOE launches new high performance computing initiative to develop materials for severe environments: HPC4Mtls

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced a new high-performance computing (HPC) initiative to help US industry accelerate the development of new or improved materials for use in severe environments. The High Performance Computing for Materials (HPC4Mtls) program will will initially focus on challenges facing the development of new or... Read more →

alpha-En Corporation and Argonne partner on Li metal anodes for EV batteries; $750K award from DOE

alpha-En Corporation, a company that has developed a patent-pending process to produce high-purity thin-film lithium metal anodes and associated products sustainably, will receive an award of $750,000 from the US Department of Energy’s Office of Technology Transition Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF). This funding will be used to commercialize Argonne National... Read more →

NovCoat consortium develops novel low-cost conductive coatings for PEM fuel cells

The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), a UK-based technology innovation center, Intelligent Energy and coatings supplier Haydale have been collaborating to develop novel, conductive coatings for proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell bipolar plates with the goal of further cost reductions. Intelligent Energy is leading this project in collaboration with... Read more →

Jaguar Land Rover seeking to increase the amount of aluminum from scrap for new vehicle production; 3-year, £2M REALITY project

Jaguar Land Rover Automotive is expanding the use of recycled aluminum in its car bodies to cut waste and reduce carbon emissions. A £2-million (US$2.6-million) project, called REALITY, will work to enable the closed-loop recycling of aluminum from end-of-life vehicles back into high-performance product forms for new vehicle body manufacture.... Read more →

Royal DSM, a global science-based company active in health, nutrition and materials, has introduced a material solution for high-pressure composite tanks for hydrogen storage. Hydrogen has the highest energy per mass of any fuel. One kg of hydrogen is equivalent to 33.3 kWh—three times more energy than conventional fuel. However,... Read more →

Researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) have developed a novel sandwiched liquid metal membrane (SLiMM) for hydrogen separation. Separation membranes hold the key to making hydrogen fuel cheaper; the researchers have shown that membranes made with liquid metals appear to be more efficient at separating hydrogen than conventional palladium membranes... Read more →

A Hong Kong-Beijing-Taiwan mechanical engineering team led by Dr Huang Mingxin from the University of Hong Kong (HKU) has developed a strategy to develop both high strength and high ductility in inexpensive, medium Mn (Manganese) steel. Its material cost is just one-fifth of that of the steel used in current... Read more →

Magnesium is one of the lightest of all structural metals—75% lighter than steel, 33% lighter than aluminum—and is the fourth most common element on earth behind iron, silicon and oxygen. But despite its light weight and natural abundance, automakers have been stymied in their attempts to incorporate magnesium alloys into... Read more →

DOE invests $17.4M in projects to advance recovery of rare earth elements from coal and coal byproducts

The US Department of Energy (DOE) selected four projects to move on to a second phase of research in their efforts to advance recovery of rare earth elements (REE) from coal and coal byproducts. (Earlier post.) DOE will invest $17.4 million to develop and test REE recovery systems originally selected... Read more →

Harvard researchers develop tough, self-healing rubber

Researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed a new type of rubber that is as tough as natural rubber but can also self-heal. The research is published in Advanced Materials. Self-healing materials aren’t new—researchers at SEAS have developed self-healing hydrogels, which... Read more →

New Federal-Mogul Powertrain high thermal conductivity seats and guides keep engine valves cooler; improved combustion, lower emissions

Federal-Mogul Powertrain will debut new materials for valve seats and guides with improved thermal conductivity at the 2017 IAA Show in Frankfurt, Germany next month. Suitable for series production, the new High Thermal Conductivity (HTC) materials and Thermal Interface Material (TIM) coating can reduce valve head temperatures by up to... Read more →