Overview of Lightweighting Materials Research & Development in the United States Freedomcar and Fuel Partnership
The United States of America’s (USA’s) transportation system is strongly dependent on petroleum as an energy source. Petroleum is used to satisfy 95 percent of the USA’s transportation energy needs, consuming two-thirds of all the petroleum used in the USA. Since roughly 60 percent of the petroleum is imported, the implications of this dependency on energy security are readily apparent. Since 2002, the United States Department of Energy (USDOE) and the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR) have worked cooperatively through the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership (FC&FP) to fund high-risk, high-payoff research and development (R&D) into advanced automotive technologies with the potential for lowering this dependence. The FC&FP succeeded and built upon the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV) initiative that ran from 1993 to 2001. The long-term transition of vehicles from gasoline to non-petroleum energy sources is viewed as critical in lowering the dependence of the USA economy on foreign oil, and in reducing the environmental impact of the personal transportation sector. The FC&FP supports research on technologies with the potential for energy-efficiency and renewable energy benefits, such as new engine concepts, lightweight materials, alternate non-petroleum based fuels, and hybrid propulsion components. This paper will highlight the research in the lightweight metals portion of the FC&FP. Cooperative R&D projects will be discussed which focus on processing and manufacturing technologies such as casting of magnesium (Mg) and aluminium (Al) alloy components, advanced forming techniques for Al sheet, and warm-forming of Mg sheet. The overall objective of these efforts is not only to demonstrate new technologies, but to reduce the cost of manufacturing lightweight materials and enable implementation of the technologies in high-volume automotive applications.
M.S. Dargusch & S.M. Keay
D. M. Paxton et al., "Overview of Lightweighting Materials Research & Development in the United States Freedomcar and Fuel Partnership", Materials Science Forum, Vols. 618-619, pp. 395-404, 2009