Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers Developing New Material for Die-casting Molds

23.08.2004


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:
http://www.umr.edu

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Move over, Superman! NIST method sees through concrete to detect early-stage corrosion
27.04.2017 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

nachricht Control of molecular motion by metal-plated 3-D printed plastic pieces
27.04.2017 | Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>