Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Researchers Developing New Material for Die-casting Molds


Automotive manufacturers may soon benefit from a new breed of metals – known as functionally gradient materials – that can withstand the high temperatures of die casting without cracking under pressure, according to a researcher at the University of Missouri-Rolla.

UMR researchers, led by Dr. Frank Liou, director of the manufacturing engineering program and professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, hope to build better die-casting molds by developing materials that are both durable and heat resistant.

Traditional die-casting molds, made from hardened steel and used to make engine blocks and other components, can cost about $500,000 each, are fairly large and take a long time to build. One of the greatest challenges for car manufacturers has been finding a die-cast metal that can take the heat while maintaining its durability. Now, thanks to Liou’s work, manufacturers are one step closer to having the best of both worlds.

“It is now possible to gradually transition from one material to another,” says Liou. “Potentially this can have a lot of applications. You can basically create a material that gradually transitions from being totally titanium to being totally copper.” These metals are known as functionally gradient materials.

Spartan Light Metal Products, an Illinois-based company that uses die-cast molds to create engine parts, has asked Liou and his research team to investigate whether functionally gradient materials could be used in its manufacturing process. The company produces engine blocks for major automotive companies, including Ford, General Motors, Honda and Toyota.

If the molds were properly created using functionally gradient materials, the cracking could be eliminated, extending the lifespan of these expensive components. “The mold is under a lot of thermal stress,” says Liou. “If it were composed of copper and tool steel, the copper could transfer the heat out, preventing the mold from cracking.”

Thermal barrier coatings, another class of functionally gradient materials, would be able to impede heat transfer where necessary, such as in turbine blades. “Having a smooth transition between the two metals is critical,” says Liou. “Without the gradual change, the mold would still break under the stress.”

The research team is developing gears and a variety of other prototypes using functionally gradient materials. “They are trying to make gears where the outside would be made of Carbide (hardened material) while the inside would be steel,” says Liou, “so the gear would have much stronger properties on the outside.”

Applications for functionally gradient materials are as diverse as the manufacturing field itself. For example, the Navy is interested in using the technology to embed sensors in components, allowing for early detection of a failing part, such as a submarine propeller. “It would be important to detect any problems so they could be fixed before returning to the sea,” says Liou. “In order to place a sensor there, you would need to use functionally gradient materials because the propeller may break away under the strong forces.”

Even researchers in UMR’s own High Pressure Waterjet Laboratory have asked Liou and his team to investigate whether the process could be used to combine diamond powder with steel. “The original steel nozzle for their waterjet lasted about one hour, then had to be thrown away,” says Liou. “Now what they are using is a diamond nozzle, which is very expensive. They would like us to develop a functionally gradient material so that the inside, which is in contact with the water, is made of diamond and the outside is steel.”

| newswise
Further information:

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht From ancient fossils to future cars
21.10.2016 | University of California - Riverside

nachricht Study explains strength gap between graphene, carbon fiber
20.10.2016 | Rice University

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Seeking balanced networks: how neurons adjust their proteins during homeostatic scaling.

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

More VideoLinks >>>