GOLDEN, Colo., March 29, 2013 – The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced a new $23.5 million investment in five innovative manufacturing research and development projects, including a $1.2 million project at Colorado School of Mines.
This funding, as well as $54 million invested in 13 projects in 2012, will serve as an investment in the Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative (CEMI), designed to help stimulate U.S manufacturing, improve energy productivity, reduce pollution, boost production and create jobs.
The Mines project, “Quenching and Partitioning Process Development to Replace Hot Stamping of High Strength Automotive Steel,” is led by Metallurgical and Materials Engineering Professor Emmanuel De Moor, along with colleagues David Matlock and John Speer of the Advanced Steel Processing and Products Research Center. Los Alamos National Lab researchers Amy Clarke (a Mines alumna), Robert Hackenberg and Kester Clarke (also a Mines graduate) are also part of the effort as well as industrial partners AK Steel, General Motors Corporation, Nucor Steel, Severstal, Toyota and United States Steel Corporation.
The project’s technical description:
The automotive industry is increasingly challenged to further improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions while maintaining or improving passive safety of vehicles enabling better occupant protection through improved crash-worthiness. Both requirements are driven by consumer expectation, increased regulations, and growing environmental concern. In order to reduce vehicle weight, higher strength steel grades are needed enabling application of thinner gauged sections. Increased strength levels typically result in reduced room temperature formability and current state of the art technology circumvents this limitation by press operations at elevated temperatures up to 900 °C. The project proposes to taylor microstructures to exhibit high strength and improved formability by application of physical metallurgy fundamentals to industrially viable compositions and processing capabilities. The new class of advanced high strength steels should enable room temperature forming of high strength anti-intrusion automotive parts thereby saving energy during manufacturing while maintaining or improving occupant safety and reducing vehicle weight resulting in reduced fuel consumption.
For information on other projects selected for funding, see the DOE website.
Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations, Colorado School of Mines / 303-273-3541 / KGilbert@mines.edu