ORNL, University of Toledo to collaborate on advanced materials, manufacturing research for vehicle applications

The US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory and The University of Toledo have entered into a memorandum of understanding for collaborative research into the advanced design and manufacturing of high-strength, intelligent, lightweight materials for use by the automotive sector. The partnership brings together the manufacturing, carbon fiber and... Read more →


In a joint project, BASF and STR Automotive have brought components for premium vehicles into series production for the first time using the new material Elastolit R 8819 Lightweight. In comparison to conventional processing with polyurethane reaction injection (PU-RRIM) materials, the new process provides significant weight reduction. The usual component... Read more →


Ascend Performance Materials will launch several new long-chain polyamides and high-temperature polyamides at K 2019 in Düsseldorf in October. Vydyne XHT, a new portfolio of heat-stabilized polyamide 66 and copolymers, is capable of withstanding prolonged exposure to temperatures up to 230 ˚C. Using a combination of unique polymer chemistries and... Read more →


BASF and its partner BNP Brinkmann are supporting the the German Aerospace Center’s (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- and Raumfahrt/DLR) current research project “Next Generation Car” (NGC) with a tailormade, lightweight composite based on natural fiber. The goal of the DLR NGC project is to promote the development of quiet, low-emission... Read more →


Teijin Limited completed the acquisition of Benet Automotive s.r.o. (Benet), a leading automotive composite and component supplier in the Czech Republic, from Jet Investment. Teijin is targeting automotive composite business sales of approximately €1.7 billion (US$2 billion) by 2030. Teijin will benefit from Benet’s automotive composite technologies and its well-proven... Read more →


Researchers at MIT and the Ford Motor Company have found that depending on the location, lightweight conventional vehicles could have a lower lifecycle greenhouse gas impact than electric vehicles, at least in the near term. Their paper is published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology. Assessments of GHG... Read more →


BASF and Toray Advanced Composites sign supply agreement to bring CFRT tape to the automotive industry

Toray Advanced Composites and BASF signed a manufacturing and supply agreement focused on the production of continuous fiber reinforced thermoplastic (CFRT) tapes for the automotive and industrial markets. Toray Advanced Composites will produce high quality and affordable CFRT tapes using Ultramid engineering thermoplastics developed and produced by BASF. The fiber... Read more →


The CAR’s (Center for Automotive Research) Coalition for Automotive Lightweighting Materials (CALM) is a collaboration of more than thirty industry organizations working to support the cost-effective integration of mixed materials to achieve significant reductions in mass through the joint efforts of the material sectors and the auto manufacturers. CAR has... Read more →


Researchers from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have demonstrated an advanced friction extrusion manufacturing process to produce nanostructured rods and tubes directly from high-performance aluminum alloy powder in a single step. Using a novel Solid Phase Processing (SPP) approach, the research team eliminated several steps that are required during conventional... Read more →


In a comprehensive joint study, Henkel and RLE International have examined and validated the potential of high-performance structural foam for lightweighting in automotive body and closure parts. The study has revealed that fiber-reinforced polymer components with structural foam ribbing and reinforcements can save more than 40 kg of weight per... Read more →


Russian researchers find simple, efficient way to strengthen aluminum-based composite materials

Scientists from the Russian National University of Science and Technology MISIS have doped aluminum melt with nickel and lanthanum to create a material combining benefits of both composite materials and standard alloys: flexibility, strength, lightness. A paper on their research is published in Materials Letters. Uniaxial tensile testing of the... Read more →


Teijin Limited announced that its Sereebo carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic (CFRTP) has been selected by General Motors (GM) for use in select pickup box applications. This is the first use of CFRTP for structural parts in a high-volume production vehicle. Sereebo will be used to manufacture the optional CarbonPro pickup... Read more →


Novelis Inc. has developed the first aluminum sheet battery enclosure solution to address customers’ needs in the rapidly growing electric vehicle and battery markets. Available globally, this design for next-generation automobiles provides a more sustainable mobility solution in battery electric vehicles, a market that is expected to more than triple... Read more →


The first prototype carbon fiber MonoCell, the tub that forms the main structure of McLaren’s cars, has been shipped from the company’s new £50-million (US$66-million) innovation and production center in Yorkshire to the McLaren Production center (MPC) in Woking, Surrey. Codenamed ‘PLT-MCTC - 01’—which stands for ‘Prototype Lightweight Tub, McLaren... Read more →


Williams Advanced Engineering has developed a pair of innovative technologies that promise a step-change in the affordability of composite materials. Known as 223 and Racetrak, these technologies offer comparable performance to existing composites solutions, but with a range of additional benefits, and at a cost that brings them within reach... Read more →


Teijin Limited’s automotive composites specialty groups have developed a multi-material composite automotive door concept that maintains required crash specifications while reducing overall weight by 35% when compared to a conventional steel door. A prototype of this unique approach, developed jointly by Teijin Composites Innovation Center (TCIC) and Continental Structural Plastics... Read more →


Naval Group and Centrale Nantes have printed the first demonstrator of hollow propeller blades by metal additive manufacturing as part of the European H2020 project, RAMSSES (Realization and Demonstration of Advanced Material Solutions for Sustainable and Efficient Ships). Funded by the European Commission, this collaborative program aims to reduce the... Read more →


A study by a team from the University of Toronto and Ford R&D in Dearborn has found that lightweighting is an effective solution that could provide important near-term GHG emission reductions especially during the next 10–20 years when the fleet is dominated by conventional powertrain vehicles. a) Annual US. light-duty... Read more →


Engineers at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering have developed a way to weld the super-strong but lightweight aluminum alloy known as AA 7075. Developed in the 1940s, AA 7075 long held promise for use in automobile manufacturing, except for one key obstacle. Although it’s nearly as strong as steel... Read more →


Mazda Motor Corporation, working separately with Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation and JFE Steel Corporation, has developed the world’s first cold-stamped vehicle body parts made from 1,310 MPa-class high-strength steel. The parts are used in Mazda’s new-generation Skyactiv-Vehicle Architecture, which will underpin upcoming models starting from the all-new Mazda3.... Read more →


Engineers seeking to significantly improve the efficiency and performance of electric motors could benefit from using aluminum matrix composites (AMCs), according to research from the Innovate UK ‘Make it Lighter with Less’ R&D competition. Metal Matrix Composites are metallic materials that have been reinforced with a secondary high-performance material. The... Read more →


AP&C—a GE Additive company— will begin production of aluminum alloy F357 powder in Q1 2019 with customer deliveries expected from April 2019. Aluminum F357 alloy is increasingly in demand from customers particularly from the aerospace and automotive sectors. It is known to have good weldability with high strength and toughness... Read more →


Novelis plans Customer Solution Centers to innovate alongside automotive customers

Novelis Inc., the world leader in aluminum rolling and recycling, plans to establish a global network of Customer Solution Centers (CSCs) to accelerate collaborative innovation between Novelis and automakers for the next generation of vehicle design. Novelis will work with OEMs to determine how to maximize lightweight, high-strength aluminum to... Read more →


TenCate Advanced Composites, a leading global developer and manufacturer of advanced composite materials, and Aston Martin announced a technical partnership for the Aston Martin Valkyrie hypercar program. Unveiled in March 2017 as the AM-RB (Aston Martin - Red Bull Racing) hypercar, and subsequently named Valkyrie, the mid-engined hypercar features a... Read more →


Carbon fibers have already beeen demonstrated as high-capacity Li-ion battery anodes, opening the way for their use as structural electrodes—i.e., simultaneously carrying mechanical load and storing electrical energy. Now, researchers led by Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have linked the carbon fiber (CF) microstructure to the lithium insertion mechanism and... Read more →


Novelis breaks ground on automotive aluminum facility in Changzhou, China; $180M investment to double capacity in 2020

Novelis, the global leader in aluminum rolling and recycling, broke ground on the expansion of its automotive aluminum manufacturing facility in Changzhou, China. The $180-million investment will double the facility’s production capacity of heat-treated aluminum sheet by 100,000 metric tons in order to better meet the growing demand for automotive... Read more →


Aluminum industry says NHTSA/EPA draft rule assumptions on lightweighting in small cars false

Last week, Mario Greco, chairman of the Aluminum Association’s Aluminum Transportation Group (ATG) and director of global marketing of automotive for Arconic, testified on behalf of the aluminum industry before the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) during a public hearing held in Dearborn, Michigan.... Read more →


Ford approaches 1 billion pounds of aluminum recycled; 900M pounds back into Ford products

Ford’s Rouge complex in Dearborn, Michigan today makes America’s best selling vehicle—the Ford F-150—and started Ford’s industry-leading closed-loop aluminum recycling innovation (earlier post), which was then expanded to other F-150 manufacturing facilities including Dearborn Stamping, Kansas City Truck and Buffalo Stamping. Closed-loop recycling means that as hoods, tailgates, doors and... Read more →


Small, light and electrically-powered vehicles will likely be core to city and regional commuter transport in future, alongside public transport. As part of the Next Generation Car (NGC) project, researchers from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) have developed an innovative concept for small vehicles:... Read more →


Teijin acquires composites company Inapal to expand European automotive business

Teijin Limited has acquired Inapal Plasticos SA (Inapal), a leading automotive composite supplier in Portugal. The shares of Inapal will be purchased by Teijin Holdings Netherlands B.V., the Teijin Group’s holding company in the Netherlands. The acquisition was completed at the beginning of August 2018, following the satisfactory completion of... Read more →


Xtalic Corporation, a provider of nano-scale metal alloys and coatings, has entered the electric vehicle market with products that extend the life of connectors in electric battery chargers by up to 40 times. Xtalic creates its materials through an electrodeposition process that utilizes at least two materials—a primary material and... Read more →


Researchers from the United States Steel Corporation (USS) recently used neutrons at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Spallation Neutron Source (earlier post) to better understand the properties of hydroformed AHSS and how it responds to residual stress introduced during manufacturing. In an SAE International technical paper, the research team reported on... Read more →


Researchers at ORNL, in partnership with FCA US and Nemak USA, have developed a new suite of aluminum-based alloys that could give automakers a boost in achieving ambitious fuel economy goals. (Earlier post.) The aluminum-copper-manganese-zirconium alloys—ACMZ—were developed in just under four years, lightning speed when it comes to developing a... Read more →


Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. will build more models using a new type of super high formability (SHF) steel that combines high tensile strength with a previously unachievable degree of formability, resulting in lighter vehicles that can help lower emissions while protecting occupants. (Earlier post.) Nissan is the world’s first carmaker... Read more →


Novelis, the leader in aluminum rolling and recycling, plans to invest approximately $180 million to double its automotive aluminum body sheet capacity at its Changzhou facility in China. The company will begin expanding its existing facility in 2018 and be fully operational by 2020, helping key traditional automakers and electric... Read more →


GM is using new generative design software technology from Autodesk to support its vehicle lightweighting efforts. Generative design mimics nature’s evolutionary approach to design. Designers or engineers input design goals into generative design software, along with parameters such as such as weight, strength, material choice, fabrication method, and more. The... Read more →


At WCX18: SAE World Congress Experience earlier this month, ArcelorMittal and Honda unveiled the world’s first outer and inner door ring system to better balance strength and performance while removing additional weight from the vehicle. The partners co-engineered the system for the 2019 Acura RDX. The inner door ring comprises... Read more →


Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory )PNNL) have developed and successfully tested a new solid-phase technique called Friction Stir Dovetailing (FSD) to join thick plates of aluminum to steel. The new process will be used to make lighter-weight military vehicles that are more agile and fuel efficient. An open-access paper... Read more →


As Faurecia’s NAFILean (natural fiber for injection) lightweight hemp-based biomaterials are increasingly adopted by OEMs, the company has developed new figures showing the significant energy and environmental benefits of the biomaterials. NAFILean integrates a natural, hemp-based fiber with polypropylene and allows for complex shapes and architectures along with weight reduction.... Read more →


SABIC, a global leader in the chemical industry, released the results of a recent lifecycle assessment of passenger car side doors using hybrid material solutions including laminates made with its continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composite (CFRTC), the UDMAX GPP 45-70 tape. The material system aims to help improve compliance with stringent... Read more →


At the Low Carbon Vehicle Show in the UK in 2017, Williams Advanced Engineering unveiled the FW-EVX, an innovative lightweight EV platform concept. (Earlier post.) The concept features several innovations in battery pack design, cooling systems and lightweight structures, which have each been integrated into a single, lightweight, compact chassis... 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 →


The Steel Recycling Institute (SRI), a business unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute, released a peer-reviewed study that examines the overall environmental impact of vehicle lightweighting using advanced high-strength steel (AHSS) compared with aluminum. The study, “Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas and Energy Study of Automotive Lightweighting,” found that... 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 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 →


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 →


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 →


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 →