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Steel industry unveils design tool for material comparison in automotive applications

WorldAutoSteel, along with the Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI), a business unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute, has introduced a new tool that enables vehicle designers to quickly and accurately evaluate material selection tradeoffs, including mass, cost and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, for automotive applications.

The Design Advisor software was developed by Dr. Don Malen of the University of Michigan’s College of Engineering to assist automotive decision makers in evaluating and selecting the material that best fits the requirements of a given application.

According to SMDI, the material selection for automotive components is complicated by several factors. Since material decisions for components influence the entire vehicle, Design Advisor helps the engineer understand how material decisions affect numerous criteria, including vehicle mass, cost, fuel economy and environmental impact.

Since these criteria are not easily combined as a single objective number, the decision maker must be presented with potential effects on mass, cost and GHG emissions so appropriate tradeoffs can be evaluated and selected. The Design Advisor software provides decision makers with the ability to evaluate various materials at a vehicle system level.

—Don Malen

Since material decisions are often made early in the vehicle design cycle, the software is configured to operate with only the information available in the vehicle planning stage. The mathematical models used in the Design Advisor software draw from the research and findings of several projects supported by SMDI, the Auto/Steel Partnership, WorldAutoSteel and United States Automotive Materials Partnership LLC.

Along with a complete version of the Design Advisor software, decision makers may download a user guide and case study examples demonstrating the software’s functionality and use.

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