Automotive companies are increasingly using lightweight materials to improve vehicle fuel economy. However, incorporating those materials into new vehicles is time-consuming and costly. NIST data and models are helping automakers understand and predict how materials behave in the harsh conditions inherent to manufacturing.
NIST is partnering with U.S. automakers and base metal suppliers to develop the measurement methods, standards and analysis needed to more easily transition to lightweight materials. While many manufacturers have their own models for how materials can be formed and manipulated during the design process, the results of those models are only as good as the data they are based on. NIST is making the necessary fundamental measurements for automotive industry manufacturers to incorporate into their models.
NIST is studying lightweight materials, including aluminum alloys, high-strength steels, polymer composites and carbon fiber materials. NIST staff develop precise tests for these materials based on deformation and fracture, yield surface, tension-compression and behavior at high rates experienced during a vehicle crash. NIST also is working on the needed models to transition measurement data to new materials, more accurate die designs and to reduce trial-and-error development cycles. NIST-supplied information guides design decisions that will impact the performance, durability and crashworthiness of future cars and trucks.
Learn more about the NIST Center for Automotive Lightweighting.
Questions? Contact NIST Inquiries.
20+ industry partners, including Chrysler, Ford, Novelis, GM, Auto/Steel Partnership and Alcoa
3-4 months development time saved by a major manufacturer by using NIST’s data—its new vehicle is 700 lbs. lighter and 50% more fuel efficient
$200 M/yr estimated cost savings to major U.S.-based automakers if NIST helps reduce their number of trial designs by half
“NIST operates with industry in mind. Their experts take the time to understand what we’re trying to accomplish and tailor their response to what we need. They take critical eyes to our approach and make sure we’re not wasting our time getting to where we want to go.”
-Dr. Katherine Avery Vozar, Ford Research and Innovation Center