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Testing Their Metal

Auto manufacturers are exploring lightweight metal alloys as one way to reduce a vehicle's weight and lower emissions. But in their current state, the light metal alloys such as aluminium and magnesium fail to meet stringent safety requirements of structural automotive parts.

A new three-year project based out of McMaster University is receiving $3.8 million through Automotive Partnership Canada to develop high-strength aluminum and magnesium alloys for vehicle components with the aim of realizing nearly 50% curb-side weight reduction.

Researchers will improve the integrity of the alloys to make them resistant to corrosion and meet industry standards. The team is creating technology for prototyping critical structural components to test the new alloys and developing a novel joining process to enable multi-material solutions for automotive lightweighting.

The team is collaborating on this project with industrial partners Chrysler Group LLc, Chrysler Canada Corporation, Nemak of Canada Ltd., Orlick Industries Ltd., Haley Industries Ltd. and with researchers from the University of Trento and Centro Ricerche Fiat in the province of Trento, Italy.