Collaborative Development of Lightweight Metal and Alloys for Automotive Applications 2002-01-1938
In September 1993, the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV) program, initiated a cooperative research and development (R&D) program between the federal government and the United States Council Automotive Research (USCAR) to develop automotive technologies to reduce the nation's dependence on petroleum and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by improving fuel economy. A key enabler for the attainment of these goals is a significant reduction in vehicle weight. Thus the major focus of the PNGV materials program is the development of materials and technologies that would result in the reduction of vehicle weight by up to 40%. The Automotive Lightweighting Materials (ALM) Program in the Office of Advanced Automotive Technologies (OAAT) of the Department of Energy (DOE), the PNGV Materials Technical Team and the United States Automotive Materials Partnership (USAMP) collaborate to conduct research and development on these materials. To this end, various materials were evaluated for weight saving potential in high volume applications and a prioritized ranking of R&D needs was developed. To address these prioritized needs, the government and industry collaboration focuses on several main areas of research: cost reduction of materials and processes, development of high-volume manufacturing technologies, development of design data and test methodologies, joining, and recycling and repair. This paper presents an overview of the program, a discussion of the challenges to widespread introduction of lightweight metals, including advanced high strength steels, aluminum, magnesium, titanium, and metal-matrix composite (MMC) materials, into the automotive industry, and a description of some of the research that is being carried out to address these challenges. Additional details concerning R&D activities in the area of polymer matrix composites will be presented elsewhere in this meeting.