The U.S. 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 composites, machining, energy storage and metrology expertise and capabilities at ORNL with the manufacturing system modeling, metals engineering, assembly systems and other expertise at The University of Toledo. The collaboration expects to also engage with the automotive industry in Ohio and Michigan.
As the U.S. automotive industry continues to focus on strong, lightweight materials to increase the energy efficiency of vehicles, advanced manufacturing will play a key role in developing new processes to produce alloys and metals. Lightweight materials are critical for hybrid electric, plug-in electric, and electric vehicles in particular as they improve energy efficiency and increase range.
"Our researchers push the boundaries of what is possible with materials and advanced manufacturing techniques," said ORNL Director Thomas Zacharia. "By collaborating with university and industry partners such as the University of Toledo, national laboratories are able to move technologies into the marketplace where they will have the greatest societal impact."
“ORNL is looking forward to providing access to its research facilities, along with expertise and guidance in advanced materials and manufacturing to the university in this valuable partnership,” said Moe Khaleel, associate laboratory director for Energy and Environmental Sciences at ORNL.
Some of the research areas the collaboration plans to advance include monitoring and control systems for metal forming processes; optimizing joining techniques for high-strength materials such as steel, aluminum and composites; and exploring the combination of new materials such as shape-memory alloys with additive manufacturing to create strong, resilient, active structures for vehicle applications.
“We are proud to collaborate with Oak Ridge National Laboratory on this critical research to drive the next generation of automotive manufacturing,” said Dr. Mike Toole, dean of the UToledo College of Engineering. “Our partnership teaming together our innovative mechanical engineers at UToledo with some of the country’s preeminent scientists will focus on finding solutions to ensure the U.S. remains a global leader. The research will have spillover from the national level to the regional level.”
The research is expected to engage the capabilities of the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at ORNL, DOE’s only designated user facility focused on performing early-stage research and development to improve the energy and material efficiency, productivity, and competitiveness of American manufacturers, as well as the lab’s Carbon Fiber Technology Facility, DOE’s only designated user facility for carbon fiber innovation.
ORNL is participating in the National Lab Day at UToledo on October 10-11, an event designed to explore opportunities for partnerships and connect students and researchers with DOE’s national laboratories.
ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. DOE’s Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit https://energy.gov/science.