General Motors and the University of Michigan will extend their collaborative automotive research efforts through 2017. Launched in 1998, Collaborative Research Laboratories (CRL) at the University of Michigan have led to significant commercial and academic success for students, the university and the automaker. In 2011, it yielded a unique process to ultrasonically weld battery tabs together that played a role in enabling the Chevrolet Volt team to offer an eight-year, 100,000-mile warranty on its lithium-ion battery system.
The new Automotive CRL creates an organizational umbrella structure and initially will focus on research into engine systems and advanced manufacturing. In addition, GM and the University of Michigan have an existing, separate CRL that concentrates on smart material developments.
The programs will fund four fellowships for graduate students and provide support for postdoctoral scholars, research scientists and faculty. The chosen recipients will carry out research on real-world problems that affect GM while enhancing their academic experience at the University of Michigan.
In the Automotive CRL’s engine systems research lab, students will use advanced laser imaging diagnostics and conduct engine simulation studies to make the most of future, highly efficient engines with ultra-low emissions.
The Automotive CRL’s advanced manufacturing lab will focus materials joining technologies, assembly systems and simulations to enhance plant floor quality, efficiency and responsiveness.
In the smart materials lab, researchers apply technologies to reduce vehicle mass, add functionality, increase design flexibility and decrease component size and cost.