[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]
MIT team devises approaches for practical carbon-nanotube-coated carbon fiber; stronger, more electrically conductive
May 20, 2013
|MIT scientists demonstrated two approaches for growing CNTs on carbon fiber without degrading the fiber strength. Credit: ACS, Steiner et al. Click to enlarge.|
Researchers at MIT have demonstrated two approaches for producing carbon fibers coated in carbon nanotubes without degrading the underlying fiber’s strength. A paper on the work, which could result in carbon-fiber composites that are not only stronger but also more electrically conductive, is published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.
Hierarchical carbon fibers (CFs) sheathed with radial arrays of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are promising candidates for improving the intra- and interlaminar properties of advanced fiber-reinforced composites (such as graphite/epoxy) and for high-surface-area electrodes for battery and supercapacitor architectures, the authors note.
Roskill forecasts increasing dependence of Li market on batteries; switch from portable electronics to hybrids
|Consumption of lithium in rechargeable batteries by end use, 2012-2017, kt LCE. Source: Roskill. Click to enlarge.|
In a forecast of the Lithium market through 2017, Roskill Information Services estimates that rechargeable batteries will, in the base-case growth scenario, contribute 75% of the growth in forecast lithium demand to 2017, when total demand for lithium is expected to reach slightly more than 238,000t lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE). Roskill is an international metals and minerals market research firm.
Batteries accounted for 27% of global lithium consumption in 2012, up from 15% in 2007 and 8% in 2002. This end-use was responsible for 44% of the net increase in lithium consumption over the last ten years, and 70% over the last five years.
DSM’s Stanyl and EcoPaXX polyamides used in SIM-CEL electric concept car to reduce weight
May 15, 2013
|DSM’s Stanyl and EcoPaXX are used in the new SIM-CEL EV prototype. Click to enlarge.|
SIM-Drive Corporation, founded by Hiroshi Shimizu and based in Kawasaki City, Japan, unveiled the SIM-CEL on 27 March—the third prototype of an advanced all-electric car incorporating in-wheel motors that the company has developed since it was founded in 2009. SIM stands for Shimizu In-wheel Motor, and CEL stands for Cool Energy Link.
Obama Administration launches $200M competition for three new manufacturing innovation institutes; WBG power electronics, lightweight metals and digital manufacturing
May 09, 2013
The Obama Administration is launching competitions to create three new manufacturing innovation institutes with a Federal commitment of $200 million across five Federal agencies: Defense, Energy, Commerce, NASA, and the National Science Foundation. The effort is part of President Obama’s proposed $1-billion investment to create a network of 15 manufacturing innovation institutes across the country. (Earlier post.)
The Department of Energy will lead one of the new institutes on “Next Generation Power Electronics Manufacturing” for wide bandgap semiconductors such as silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN) (DE-FOA-0000683). The Department of Defense will lead the other two, focused on “Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing” and “Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation”.
Rennovia demonstrates production of HMD from renewable feedstocks; enabling production of 100% renewable nylon-6,6
April 25, 2013
Rennovia, Inc., a privately held company that develops novel catalysts and processes for the cost-advantaged production of chemical products from renewable feedstocks, has successfully demonstrated production of hexamethylenediamine (HMD) from widely available, renewable feedstocks. Coupled with Rennovia’s previously announced renewable adipic acid, this enables for the first time the production of 100% bio-based nylon-6,6 from monomers derived from bio-renewable feedstocks using chemical catalytic technology.
Nylon-6,6 is used extensively in automotive applications, where it is especially prized for its heat resistance, enabling under-the-hood applications. Nylon-6,6 is also widely used in fiber applications, including textiles, carpet, technical fiber, and tire cord.
EDAG study finds aluminum BIW can deliver mass savings of 35-40% over steel; fuel economy boost
April 17, 2013
|Material selection for the Venza aluminum BIW. Click to enlarge.|
A new study by EDAG Group, commissioned by the Aluminum in Transportation Group of the US Aluminum Association, finds that an all-aluminum body in white (BIW) can deliver potential mass savings in the 35 – 40% range over a base steel BIW. This, when combined with secondary mass savings and other design changes, could boost fuel economy by around 18%.
The study built upon research EDAG performed last year for the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) examining mass reduction, safety and cost variables in a mid-size crossover Toyota Venza. The EPA study aimed to reduce vehicle mass by 20% while meeting all NHTSA and IIHS safety standards, and maintaining or improving performance, handling and braking.
ARPA-E to award up to $20M for technologies for primary domestic processing of light metals (Al, Mg, Ti); vehicle lightweighting
March 22, 2013
The US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) has issued a Funding Opportunity Announcement (DE-FOA-0000882) for up to $20 million for the Modern Electro/Thermochemical Advancements for Light-metal Systems (METALS) program. METALS is to support the development of innovative technologies for cost-effective processing and recycling of aluminum, magnesium and titanium (Al, Mg and Ti).
ARPA-E also last week issued a Funding Opportunity Announcement (DE-FOA-0000881) for up to $20 million to fund the development of bioconversion technologies to convert methane into liquid fuels. (Earlier post.)
Nano-spaced stacking faults create stronger, lightweight magnesium alloys; potential for structural applications in automotive and aerospace
March 14, 2013
|Summary of room temperature tensile yield strength and uniform elongation of earlier efforts and the new work. Numbers adjacent to data points are references cited in Jian et al. Source: Jian et al. Click to enlarge.|
Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a new technique for creating ultra-strong magnesium alloys that maintain good ductility. By introducing stacking faults with nanoscale spacing into a magnesium alloy using conventional hot rolling, they produced a yield strength of 575 MPa, an ultimate strength of 600 MPa, and moderate ductility (uniform elongation of 5.2%).
The nano-spaced stacking faults are essentially a series of parallel fault-lines in the crystalline structure of the alloy that isolate any defects in that structure. The process can lead to Mg alloys with superior mechanical properties with potential structural applications in the automobile and aerospace industries, the researchers suggested in an open access paper in the journal Materials Research Letters.
Nissan to expand use of Advanced High Tensile Strength Steel into up to 25% of new model parts; 1.2 GPa ultra high strength steel for weight reduction
March 12, 2013
|Relationship of material strength and elongation in steel plates. Source: Nissan. Click to enlarge.|
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. plans to expand the use of Advanced High Tensile Strength Steel (AHSS) into up to 25% of the vehicle parts (measured by weight) installed in its new production models starting in 2017 as one of its initiatives to help reduce vehicle weight.
Nissan, in collaboration with Nippon Steel Corporation and Kobe Steel, Ltd., earlier developed 1.2 gigapascal (GPa) Ultra High Tensile Strength Steel with High Formability. (Earlier post.) Prior to the development of 1.2GPa ultra high strength steel it had been difficult to use high tensile steels for vehicle parts with highly-complex shapes. This steel is first employed in the new Infiniti Q50, which goes on sale in North America in 2013.
DOE to award more than $50M for new plug-in vehicle technology research projects
March 09, 2013
The US DOE has released the final version of a new funding opportunity announcement (DE-FOA-0000793) that will award more than $50 million in funding for new projects intended to accelerate the development of advanced plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) technologies to increase vehicle fuel economy and improve performance. DOE had earlier requested public comment on a draft of the solicitation. (Earlier post.) The FOA supports the President’s EV Everywhere Grand Challenge. (Earlier post.)
DOE will select new research projects—an anticipated minimum of 30 and maximum of 50—that focus on lowering the cost and increasing the efficiency of PEV components, as well as the development of models and tools to predict these vehicles' performance and help improve fuel economy. The Department will fund projects across five major areas of research and development that cover 12 areas of interest (AOIs), including:
Audi and BMW Group join Aluminium Stewardship Initiative; seeking a standard for sustainable aluminum
February 28, 2013
AUDI AG and the BMW Group, along with Hydro and Rexam, have joined the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI) to help develop a global standard for sustainable aluminum. Aluminium is the world’s second most used metal after steel, and is of specific importance to the automotive industry due to its combination of its light weight, durability and strength.
The Aluminium Stewardship Initiative was founded in the autumn of 2012 and aims to develop the first version of a sustainability standard for aluminum by the end of 2014, with the support of the environmental organization IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). Founding members of the Initiative are AMCOR Flexibles, AMAG, Constantia Flexibles, Constellium, Nespresso, Rio Tinto Alcan, and Tetra Pak.
USAMP and A/SP receive $6M from DOE for automotive advanced high-strength steel project
February 26, 2013
The United States Automotive Materials Partnership LLC (USAMP), in collaboration with the Auto/Steel Partnership (A/SP), received a competitively solicited award for $6 million from the US Department of Energy (DOE) for its “Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) Approach to Development of Lightweight, Third-Generation Advanced High-Strength Steels (3GAHSS)” project. (Earlier post.)
USAMP, a collaborative organization of Chrysler Group LLC, Ford Motor Company and General Motors, will work in cooperation with the A/SP on the project to demonstrate the applicability of ICME for the development and deployment of 3GAHSS for passenger vehicle weight reduction. The four-year project is slated to begin by early spring.
Volkswagen to produce XL1 diesel plug-in hybrid at Osnabrück; 261 mpg US
February 21, 2013
|The XL1. Click to enlarge.|
Volkswagen has confirmed that its XL1 Super Efficient Vehicle, featuring fuel consumption of 0.9 l/100 km (approx. 261 mpg US), will go into limited production at the company’s Osnabrück factory in Germany. The plug-in diesel-electric hybrid, which Volkswagen will showcase at the Geneva show, can cover a distance of up to 50 km (31 miles) in all-electric mode.
The XL1 is low weight (795 kg), aerodynamic (Cd 0.189) and with a low center of gravity (1,153 mm high). This gives it the ability to cruise on the road at a constant speed of 100 km/h (61 mph) using just 6.2 kW / 8.3 hp, Volkswagen says. In all-electric mode, the XL1 requires less than 0.1 kWh to cover a driving distance of more than one kilometer.
Honda develops new technology to join steel and aluminum, with first application to outer door panel of mass production vehicles
February 18, 2013
|Structure of door panels. Click to enlarge.|
Honda Motor Co., Ltd. has developed a technology to join steel and aluminum and applied it to enable adoption of aluminum for an outer door panel, which has conventionally been made of steel. Honda will adopt this technology first to the North American version of the all-new Acura RLX, which will go on sale in the United States in March 2013, and will expand application sequentially to other models.
To join together the dissimilar metals of steel and aluminum, the simultaneous establishment of several different technologies was required such as technologies to prevent corrosion (electrical corrosion) and thermal deformation caused by the different expansion rates of steel and aluminum.
New Corvette marks GM’s first use of heat-activated shape memory alloy to replace heavier motorized part
February 12, 2013
|Corvette’s new shape memory alloy wire replaces a heavier motorized part. Click to enlarge.|
As one of a number of advances to reduce its weight (90 lbs/41 kg lighter than its predecessor), the redesigned seventh-generation Chevrolet Corvette is the first vehicle to use a GM-developed lightweight shape memory alloy wire in place of a heavier motorized actuator to open and close the hatch vent that releases air from the trunk. This allows the trunk lid to close more easily than on the previous models where trapped air could make the lid harder to close.
With about 200 motorized movable parts on the typical vehicle that could be replaced with lightweight smart materials, GM says it is looking at significant mass reduction going forward.
BMW and Toyota expand collaboration with work on fuel cell system, sports vehicle, light-weight technology and Li-air battery
January 24, 2013
BMW Group and Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) signed binding agreements aimed at long-term collaboration between the two companies for the joint development of a hydrogen fuel cell system; joint development of architecture and components for a sports vehicle; and joint research and development of lightweight technologies. These agreements follow a memorandum of understanding signed in June 2012. (Earlier post.)
The companies also today signed a binding agreement to commence collaborative research on lithium-air batteries. This agreement marks the second phase of collaborative research into next-generation lithium-ion battery cells that commenced in March 2012. (Earlier post.) The main points of the new agreements are:
GM debuts 2014 Stingray; direct injection, cylinder deactivation, CVVT contribute to more power and reduced fuel consumption
January 14, 2013
|2014 Corvette Stingray. Click to enlarge.|
GM staged the debut of the all-new, 7th generation Chevrolet Corvette Stingray on the eve of the Detroit Auto Show. The 2014 Corvette Stingray is the most powerful standard model ever, with a new LT1 6.2L Small Block V8 delivering an estimated 450 hp (335 kW) and 450 lb-ft of torque (610 Nm). The new LT1 combines advanced technologies, including direct injection, Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation), continuously variable valve timing and an advanced combustion system that delivers more power while using less fuel.
The Stingray accelerates from 0-60 in less than four seconds and achieve more than 1g in cornering grip; it is also expected to be the most fuel-efficient Corvette, exceeding the EPA-estimated 26 mpg (9.05 l/100km) of the current model.
Ames Lab team to head new $120M Critical Materials Institute; addressing shortages in rare earth metals and other materials
January 09, 2013
The US Department of Energy selected a team led by its Ames Laboratory for an award of up to $120 million over five years to establish an Energy Innovation Hub that will develop solutions to the domestic shortages of rare earth metals and other materials critical for US energy. The new research center, which will be named the Critical Materials Institute (CMI), will bring together leading researchers from academia, four Department of Energy national laboratories, and the private sector. (Earlier post.)
Many materials deemed critical by the DOE are used in modern clean energy technologies—such as wind turbines, solar panels, electric vehicles, and energy-efficient lighting. The DOE’s 2011 Critical Materials Strategy reported that supply challenges for five rare earth metals (dysprosium, terbium, europium, neodymium, and yttrium) may affect clean energy technology deployment in the coming years. (Earlier post.)
Study finds that aluminum reduces electric vehicle cost against steel counterpart for same targeted range
January 07, 2013
|The study task design steps. Source: fka. Click to enlarge.|
A recent study found that an aluminum electric vehicle can cost up to €635 (US$829) less than that its steel counterpart despite the higher cost of aluminum, given equivalent range targets. The study, conducted by Forschungsgesellschaft Kraftfahrwesen mbH Aachen (fka) for the European Aluminium Association (EAA) and the International Aluminum Institute (IAI), found that any additional cost of building a car with aluminum is more than offset by the cost savings that can be made on the battery pack, since a lighter car needs less battery capacity to drive the same distance.
A C-segment crash reference vehicle (Volkswagen Golf) with steel unibody and internal combustion engine served as the basis for this study. The mass and crashworthiness properties of this vehicle were analyzed in four Euro NCAP and FMVSS 301 high-speed load cases, serving as the crash reference within the project. One of the requirements was that electric vehicles (steel-based or aluminium-based) should at least be as safe as the crash reference vehicle.
ARPA-E awards $130M to 66 “OPEN 2012” transformational energy technology projects
November 28, 2012
The US Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) has selected 66 research projects to receive a total of $130 million in funding through its “OPEN 2012” program. (Earlier post.)
The OPEN 2012 projects will focus on a wide array of technologies, including advanced fuels (13 projects); advanced vehicle design and materials (2 projects); building efficiency (3 projects); carbon capture (4 projects, two of which entail the conversion of CO2 to transportation fuel and chemicals); grid modernization (9 projects); renewable power (10 projects); stationary energy storage (8 projects); stationary generation (3 projects); thermal energy storage (5 projects); transportation energy storage (7 projects); and “other” (2 projects).
GM looking to combination of internal R&D and external investments for new technology; focus on five key areas; the importance of generational change
November 20, 2012
General Motors is leveraging two separate organizations—its internal R&D group and the recently formed GM Ventures—to accelerate innovation and to introduce new technology to keep the company on the forefront of the technology revolution now taking place in the automotive industry, according to John Lauckner, GM’s Chief Technology Officer; Vice President, Global Research & Development; and President, GM Ventures.
During a talk at the recent Electrification Experience symposium (earlier post), Lauckner briefly outlined GM’s efforts to leverage three sources of technology: technology developed in house, through R&D or advanced engineering; technology from outside the company from startups; and technology from suppliers and engineering firms. GM is focusing on five key areas, Lauckner said:
XG Sciences and Oak Ridge National Laboratory launch joint-development program for advanced titanium/graphene composite materials
November 06, 2012
XG Sciences, Inc., a manufacturer of graphene nanoplatelets (earlier post), has launched a joint program with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to develop a titanium-graphene metal-matrix composite (MMC) using an advanced powder metallurgy manufacturing process.
Metal matrix composites, comprising a metal and a reinforcement material to confer improved performance, have been under investigation and development for decades. Titanium is an important structural material for a variety of industrial, commercial, and military applications due to its light weight, high strength, and corrosion resistance; however, utilization of titanium in many applications is limited due to its low thermal conductivity.
TenCate and BASF enter strategic alliance for thermoplastic automotive composites for high-volume production
October 25, 2012
TenCate Advanced Composites and BASF have entered into a strategic alliance to cooperate on the development, production and commercialization of thermoplastic composite materials suitable for high-volume vehicle production.
The main goal of this partnership is to offer car manufacturers custom-engineered solutions for high-performance composite structures, which enable this industry to further reduce weight and carbon dioxide emissions. The growing need of the automotive industry for composite materials used in mass production calls for a rapid development of materials and manufacturing processes, the partners said.
GM testing industry-first thermal-forming process for lightweight magnesium sheet metal
October 23, 2012
|Trunk lid inner panel is the first use of GM process for magnesium sheet metal. Click to enlarge.|
General Motors is testing an industry-first thermal-forming process and proprietary corrosion resistance treatment for lightweight magnesium sheet metal that will allow increased use of the high-strength alternative to steel and aluminum. Magnesium weighs 33% less than aluminum, 60% less than titanium, and 75% less than steel.
GM wants to expand its use of low-mass parts on vehicles around the world and will pursue licensing opportunities related to this novel technology. The goal is for suppliers to be able to use the process to provide significant amounts of magnesium sheet that will trim pounds from vehicle mass.
China-US team develops inkjet-printing assisted method for high-throughput generation of catalyst libraries
October 19, 2012
|Inkjet printing assisted cooperative-assembly (IJP-A) synthesis uses stabilized “inks”, a specially modified color management system, and multidimensional group testing rapidly to identify optimal catalysts. Credit: ACS, Liu et al. Click to enlarge.|
A team from Zhejiang University (China) and the University of California, Santa Barbara have developed an inkjet printing assisted cooperative-assembly technique for ultrafast explorations in combinatorial chemistry. The system can precisely synthesize up to eight-component meso-structured metal oxides catalysts at a rate of 1,000,000 formulations per hour.
The method can also be applied to explore most multiple-component metal oxides, metal sulfides, metal nitrides, and metal complexes for functional materials and establish composition-structure−property relationships. The technique should have immediate practical implications and advantages for addressing biology, energy, and environment challenges, the team suggests in a paper published in the ACS journal Nano Letters.
QUB spin-out to commercialize to technique for production of MOFs; storage for natural gas vehicles
October 12, 2012
|Example of mechanochemical production of a MOF. Pichon et al. Click to enlarge.|
Chemists at Queen’s University Belfast (Ireland) have devised a novel environmentally friendly technique which allows the rapid production of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). The technology is to be commercialized by a spin-out from the University, MOF Technologies. One of the first areas expected to benefit from the technology is storage tanks for natural gas vehicles (NGVs), according to the company.
MOF manufacturing techniques have been limited as they are costly, slow and require large quantities of solvents, which can be toxic and harmful to the environment. Professor Stuart James in Queen’s School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering patented a novel technique for the synthesis of MOFs without using any solvents, even water, and on greatly reduced timescales, by making use of mechanochemistry.
NSF invests $12M in 14 materials-by-design research projects as part of Materials Genome Initiative
The National Science Foundation (NSF), in support of the federal multi-agency Materials Genome Initiative (MGI) (earlier post), has now granted the first awards for the Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer our Future (DMREF) program.
The NSF Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) and Engineering (ENG) Directorates invested a total of just over $12 million for 22 grants in support of 14 distinct DMREF projects intended to yield a range of new developments, including new lightweight yet rigid polymers; highly durable, multi-layered materials for aircraft engines and power plants; new data storage technology based on spin electronics; new thermoelectric composites for converting heat to electricity; novel designer glasses; membranes that function as well as biological counterparts; new techniques to develop exceptionally hard coatings; and others.
Dutch companies form European Thermoplastic Automotive Composites consortium
October 09, 2012
DTC Dutch Thermoplastic Components, Kok & Van Engelen, NLR National Aerospace Laboratory of the Netherlands, TenCate Advanced Composites and VIRO are forming the European Thermoplastic Automotive Composites consortium (eTAC).
These companies, each in their own area of expertise, play a leading role in the production and processing of fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composites, and have established a track record in the aerospace industry. Their aim is to promote the use of these advanced materials in the automotive sector.
Ford displays prototype Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic hood
|Prototype CFRP hood. Click to enlarge.|
At the Composites Europe event in Dusseldorf, Ford Motor Company displayed a prototype carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) hood. The prototype hood weighs more than 50% less than a standard steel version.
As a result of progress made during an on-going Hightech.NRW research project involving engineers from the Ford European Research Centre, production time for an individual carbon fiber hood is fast enough to be employed on a production line—a significant step towards increased usage of lightweight materials in Ford vehicles.
U. Mich. establishes $12.3M center to accelerate design of advanced materials with open-source computational tools
October 04, 2012
With an $11-million, five-year grant from the US Department of Energy (DOE) Materials Genome Initiative (earlier post), the University of Michigan is putting in another $1.3 million to establish a DOE Software Innovation Center called the PRedictive Integrated Structural Materials Science Center, or PRISMS.
Researchers at the center will build a set of integrated, open-source computational tools that materials researchers in academia and industry can use to simulate how proposed materials might behave in the real world. The software tools will provide a radical change from the traditional trial-and-error approach, John Allison, a professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Michigan.
Audi crosslane coupé dual-mode plug-in hybrid concept makes its debut at the Paris Motor Show; 214 mpg US
September 27, 2012
|Audi crosslane coupé plug-in hybrid concept car. Click to enlarge.|
Audi introduced its crosslane coupé plug-in hybrid concept at the Paris Motor Show, saying that the vehicle provides a glimpse of the future shape of design, and automotive and drive concepts. The vehicle is based on a lightweight Multimaterial Space Frame and is powered by a dual-mode plug-in hybrid drive based on a purpose-designed 1.5-liter three-cylinder TFSI gasoline engine and two electric motors.
Fuel consumption is 1.1 liters per 100 km (214 mpg US) with CO2 emissions of 26 grams per km (41.8 grams per mile).
Purdue researchers discover that sliding metals show fluid-like behavior
September 13, 2012
Researchers at Purdue have discovered a swirling, fluid-like behavior in a solid piece of metal sliding over another. Numerous mechanical parts from bearings to engine pistons undergo such sliding, and the new insights into the mechanisms of wear and generation of machined surfaces could help improve the durability of these metal parts.
Using in situ imaging, including a microscope and high-speed camera, the researchers found bumps, folds, vortex-like features and cracks forming on the metal surface—phenomena normally associated with fluids, not solids, said Srinivasan Chandrasekar, a Purdue University professor of industrial engineering who is working with postdoctoral research associates Narayan Sundaram and Yang Guo. The findings were surprising because the experiment was conducted at room temperature and the sliding conditions did not generate enough heat to soften the metal.
Northwestern team synthesizes MOFs with highest surface areas yet and calculates new theoretical upper limit 39% beyond current; implications for gas storage
August 28, 2012
A team at Northwestern University has synthesized, characterized, and computationally simulated/validated the behavior of two new metal-organic framework (MOF) materials (NU-109 and NU-110) displaying the highest experimental Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET) surface areas of any porous materials reported to date (~7,000 m2/g). This could eventually translate into the highest MOF-based gas storage capacity yet.
Additionally, the team demonstrated computationally a new surface area ceiling for MOFs (~14,600 m2/g) that substantially exceeds what much of the MOF community perceives to be a theoretical upper limit (~10,500 m2/g)—a 39% increase. Their work is published as an open access paper in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
DOE selects 7 projects for up to $21.75M in funding to develop stronger and lighter materials for cars and trucks
August 13, 2012
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected for funding seven new projects to accelerate the development and deployment of stronger and lighter materials for the next generation of cars and trucks. These projects include the development and validation of modeling tools to deliver higher performing carbon fiber composites and advanced steels, as well as research into new lightweight, high-strength alloys for energy-efficient vehicle and truck engines.
The Energy Department will provide $8 million this year for these awards, and has requested an additional $13.75 million next year, subject to congressional appropriations, to support the completion of these projects over the next two to four years. DOE’s investments are leveraging an additional $11 million from the private sector.
GM Ventures invests in nano-structured steel alloys company NanoSteel; potential for light-weighting
August 06, 2012
General Motors Ventures LLC has invested in NanoSteel Company, a developer of proprietary nano-structured steel material. GM Ventures joined lead shareholders EnerTech Capital and Fairhaven Capital Partners and five existing investors to complete the Series C financing round. Terms of the GM Ventures investment were not disclosed.
Through the development of patented alloys, NanoSteel has created a new class of steel that allows automotive engineers and designers to reduce weight through the use of thinner, higher strength gauges while maintaining the structural integrity needed for safety. The new advanced high-strength steels (AHSS) offer exceptional combinations of strength and ductility for automotive structures, with measured strength/elongation performance of 950 MPa/35%, 1200 MPa/30% and 1600 MPa/15% respectively.
CCID Consulting estimates upsurge in aluminum for automobile bodies in China if technical breakthroughs in alloy performance and application technology are made
July 14, 2012
China-based and -focused CCID Consulting estimates that the China passenger vehicle market will need at least 1.802 million tons of aluminum sheets annually, assuming that aluminum replaces 15% of the steel used in automobile manufacturing by 2015. Even if aluminum only replaces 5% of the steel, the demand will still be as large as 601,000 tons.
While the the growth rate of China’s automobile sales volume shrank in 2011 to 2.45%—partly due to the state’s suspension of auto consumption incentive policies—factors driving the growth of China’s automobile market remained unchanged, CCID notes. The progress of urbanization and the upgrade of the consumption structure will continue to boost the automobile consumption. CCID estimates that China’s automobile market will keep a stable growth from 2012 to 2015, with a compound annual growth rate of 8.1%. The sales volume is expected to reach 25.287 million by 2015.
Univ. of Exeter team develops selective laser melting process to produce 3D aluminum composite parts; automotive and aerospace applications
July 03, 2012
|A complex SLM part from the University of Exeter. Click to enlarge.|
Engineers at the University Exeter (UK) have developed a new method for making three-dimensional reinforced aluminium composite parts by using Selective Laser Melting (SLM)—a form of additive layer manufacturing (ALM), also sometimes generally called 3D printing. (3D printing is a specific process within the larger ALM domain.) The Exeter method could produce strong, lightweight and complex parts for car manufacturing and the aerospace industry less expensively and more accurately than current methods, according to the team.
SLM builds components up by melting successive layers of powder using a laser source that fuses the material in a pattern corresponding to the final product; the process originated at Fraunhofer ILT in Aachen, Germany some 20 years ago. The specific SLM technique for reinforced aluminum composites is being developed at the University of Exeter’s Centre for Additive Layer Manufacturing. The technique has the potential to manufacture aluminium composite parts such as pistons, drive shafts, suspension components, brake discs and almost any structural components of cars or airplanes.
BMW and Toyota expanding cooperation: fuel cells, sports car, powertrain electrification and lightweight technologies
June 29, 2012
Expanding their existing cooperation agreement signed in December 2011 (earlier post), Toyota Motor Corporation and the BMW Group signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at long-term strategic collaboration in four fields: joint development of a fuel cell system; joint development of architecture and components for a future sports vehicle; collaboration on powertrain electrification; and joint research and development on lightweight technologies. (Earlier post.)
Akio Toyoda, President of Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC), met with Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, at BMW Group headquarters in Munich for the signing. They also signed a Joint Statement to reconfirm their companies’ shared intention to strengthen the long-term, strategic collaboration between them.
ArcelorMittal unveils iCARe portfolio of electrical steel solutions for hybrid and electric vehicle motors
June 27, 2012
ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel and mining company, unveiled its first electrical steel product range designed specifically to meet the requirements of the electric vehicle (EV) sector at the Coil Winding, Insulation and Electrical Manufacturing trade fair in Berlin. Electrical steels are specialty steels tailored to produce certain magnetic properties; strips of electrical steel are stacked (laminations) to form electric motor stators and rotors (or the cores of transformers).
The result of a significant investment in research and development, the iCARe portfolio has been created to help carmakers deliver lower CO2 emissions and improved fuel consumption for hybrid vehicles, while also contributing to longer range of pure electric vehicles and a lower total cost of electrification.
Federal Mogul develops advanced aluminum piston for high-performance light-duty diesel engines
June 19, 2012
|Federal-Mogul’s DuraBowl technology strengthens the crown of a piston, improving the aluminum’s strength where it is most needed. Click to enlarge.|
Federal-Mogul Corporation has developed an aluminium piston that meets the higher strength and thermal performance demands of very high-power diesel engines. BMW is the first to use the piston in its triple-turbo 3.0-liter diesel (N57D30S1) engine applied in the M550d xDrive, with a specific power output of 93 kW/liter (124 bhp/liter).
The aluminium piston’s design uses the company’s DuraBowl process (earlier post) to create a reinforced combustion bowl rim to withstand the high mechanical and thermal loads. The thermal performance comes from a raised cooling gallery, made possible by Federal-Mogul’s development of a two-dimensional (2D) ultrasonic inspection process.
DOE awards $54M to 13 projects for transformational manufacturing technologies and materials; top two awards go to carbon fiber materials and electrodes for next-gen batteries
June 12, 2012
The US Department of Energy (DOE) awarded more than $54 million—leveraging approximately an additional $17 million in cost share from the private sector—for 13 projects to advance transformational technologies and materials that can help manufacturers significantly increase the energy efficiency of their operations and reduce costs.
The top two awards, one of $9 million to a project led by Dow Chemical, and one of $8.999 million to a project led by PolyPlus, will fund projects tackling, respectively, the manufacturing of low-cost carbon fibers and the manufacturing of electrodes for ultra-high-energy-density lithium-sulfur, lithium-seawater and lithium-air batteries.
DOE investing $120M over 5 years in Energy Innovation Hub for Critical Materials Research
June 01, 2012
The US Department of Energy (DOE) will invest $120 million over five years to launch a new Energy Innovation Hub, establishing a multidisciplinary and sustained effort to identify problems and develop solutions across the lifecycle of critical materials such as rare earth elements (REE) (DE-FOA-0000687)
The Critical Materials Hub builds on the Department’s Critical Materials Strategy report (earlier post), which addresses the use of rare earths and other critical materials in clean energy components, products, and processes. The goal of the Critical Materials Hub will be to reduce US dependence on these critical materials and ensure that the deployment of domestic energy technologies is not hindered by future materials supply shortages.