Forming of Aluminum Alloys for Lightweight Automotive Applications
Speaker: Aashish Rohatgi
Oct. 10th 2016, University of Washington, Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering
Aluminum is the most abundant metal in the earth’s crust and it has an approximately three times lower density than steel. Yet, the majority of today’s mass-market automobiles are still made of steel and the use of aluminum in a typical car accounts for a very small fraction of its total weight. Further, with the recent buzz around the use of aluminum in commercial cars (e.g., Tesla) and pick-up trucks (e.g., Ford), one wonders why aluminum is used so little in commercial automobiles. While the relatively greater cost of aluminum (compared to steel) is one of the contributing factors, there are some fundamental scientific reasons relating to the FCC crystal structure and deformation behavior of Al that have limited its use, specifically in sheet form, for mass-market automotive industry. In this talk, current research to enable greater use of Al sheet in automotive applications will be presented. The focus of the talk will be on unique experiments developed at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory where the forming ability of Al sheet is demonstrated to increase under high strain-rate deformation. Results of this research will be presented along with a discussion of how fundamental materials’ behavior, in combination with commercial forces, influence materials usage in practical applications.