Thermoplastic Forming of Bulk Metallic Glasses for Energy Efficiency in Transportation
The transportation sector uses nearly 30% of domestic energy. Every 10% reduction in vehicle weight leads to 6–8% fuel savings and a proportional reduction in emissions. By reducing highway vehicle weight by just 1%, the U.S. could save 1–1.4 billion gallons of fuel per year, but lightweighting must not sacrifice strength or safety. Ultrahigh strength-to-weight ratio materials are critical to improving the energy efficiency of our transportation sector while maintaining the safety of our passengers and cargo.
Project Innovation + Advantages:
Supercool Metals, LLC will explore manufacturing processes for high-strength, light-weight structural metal parts to enable more energy-efficient transportation. Lightweighting is a necessity for the automotive and aerospace industries, and increasingly important for the transition to hybrid and fully electric vehicles. Bulk metallic glasses (BMGs), which will be investigated in this project, are complex, light-weight alloys with significantly higher mechanical properties (e.g., strength, toughness, corrosion resistance) than conventional alloys. Supercool Metals will explore possibilities for commercial thermoplastic forming-based processes focused on blow molding lightweight BMGs. This approach will improve energy efficiency during manufacturing and in service, as BMGs enable lightweighting opportunities and advanced design concepts.
If successful, Supercool Metals will develop high-strength, light-weight, and easily manufactured vehicle parts.
Light-weighting vehicles to improve fuel efficiency could reduce U.S. dependence on foreign fossil fuel resources used in the aerospace industry.
Lighter vehicles require less energy, thus reducing energy consumption and decreasing CO2 emissions.
Producing BMG vehicle parts at a cost similar to stainless steel could make light-weight vehicles a cost competitive option for improving vehicle fuel efficiency, which could result in significant overall fuel savings in the transportation sector.