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PNNL developed ShAPE technology to improve the application of automotive magnesium alloy parts
According to foreign media reports, the department of energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (Pacific Northwest National that PNNL) has developed the new extrusion technology (extrusion process) - Shear auxiliary Processing and extrusion (Shear - Assisted Processing and extrusion, ShAPE), the process will help the auto industry a magnesium alloy production structure, improve the feasibility of the scheme. Without using rare earth metals, which can reduce the cost of materials. At the same time, the structure of the new technology has also improved the material properties...
"The battle of steel and aluminum" or "steel aluminum and magnesium free-for-all"
Improve Fuel Economy become a each one of the major goals of auto enterprises, because from the 2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy (Corporate business, arg, pa., CAFE) has become more and more nearly standard execution. Therefore, become the first choice by lightweight, half of the car companies to seek new lightweight materials, improve vehicle Fuel Economy, thus to achieve the requirement of the CAFE standards
In the automotive industry, once fired "the battle of steel aluminum (battle of steel vs. aluminum)", is now developed new extrusion molding in (method of extrusion), or will make magnesium material also join the race.
In all structural metals, magnesium material is 75% lighter than steel, lighter than aluminum by 33%, is the fourth most common elements, its ranking behind only three main elements of iron, silicon and oxygen. Although magnesium material is lighter, and natural abundance (natural abundance) is larger, but car companies makes it difficult to magnesium alloys used for automobile parts, because with the use of the material need dysprosium (dysprosium), praseodymium (praseodymium), ytterbium (ytterbium), and other rare earth elements (rare - earth elements), and increase its strength
Shear auxiliary processing and extrusion
Stated the U.S. department of energy's engineers and materials scientists, in the process of extrusion, rotating magnesium alloys will be born by mechanical friction heat, to soften the material and in turn the pressure into the mold, the production of magnesium alloy tubes, rods and slot magnesium (magnesium channels). Unlike traditional extrusion machine, the technical solution without configuration energy resistance heater.
The team design industrial version of shear auxiliary processing and the extrusion machine and carry out the trial period. The research team used the machine, made the thin-walled circular tube extrusion technology, its 2 inches in diameter, the raw materials used for magnesium aluminium zinc alloy AZ91 and ZK60A.
Chief researcher and mechanical engineer Scott Whalen says: "in the shear auxiliary process and extrusion process, we get highly refined micro metal structure, in some cases, even can produce nano structural characteristics. The higher the RPM, the smaller particles, making the higher hardness of pipes, the ductility (ductile) or flexibility (pliable). In addition, the team can control the direction of the crystal structure, metal magnesium alloy increased energy absorption, so that it is comparable with aluminum."
Magnesium alloy billet with extremely soft state into the mold, thanks to ShAPE technology and applying the linear force and rotational force. Therefore, compared with the conventional extrusion process, the only need to use 1/10 of the original force to raw material into a mold.
With extrusion pressure decrease significantly, if using the technology, enterprises can enable small production machinery, and cut capital spending (capital expenditures) and operating costs. At present, the technology is still in the patent.
"Unlike industrial extruders, with the ShAPE equipment we provide, there is no need to place a large heater around the magnesium alloy billet," Whalen said.
To realize the lightweight magnesium material
According to the U.S. department of energy, magnesium components now account for only 1 percent of the weight of conventional vehicles, and the appearance of the ShAPE machine could change that.
Whalen says: "many car companies did not use magnesium alloy structure, there are two main reasons: the price of magnesium material and properties. At present, manufacturers using a low-cost aluminum production parts such as bumpers. If our process, can strengthen the materials properties of magnesium material, used to replace the application of aluminum, without new rare earth elements, does not increase costs."
Magna is cooperating with PNNL, research and development system of low-cost magnesium components. The company is now in Detroit's production facilities to test its research and development of large pipe material, ShAPE of PNNL technology can also provide authorized the use of the license.
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