The automotive industry is looking for smart solutions and weight reduction
The automotive industry is constantly looking for new ways to manufacture more fuel- and energy-efficient cars. At the same time, demands are made to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and increase sustainability from a life cycle perspective, based on legislation and customer needs. This has led to that the use/demand of lightweight and strong components in the automotive industry are expected to increase in the future.
In his doctoral thesis, Jorge Santos has studied the effect of the aluminum alloys composition and processing on mechanical and fatigue properties of semi-solid castings. His work contributes with relevant knowledge on how to produce reliable and well-cast components with good mechanical properties.
“The purpose of my research is to be able to contribute with relevant knowledge to a more sustainable development of society through the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, as it has an enormous impact on total greenhouse gas emissions. Road transportation represents about 21 % of the entire European Union carbon dioxide emissions. The use of lightweight components in the automotive industry helps to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. This is because less energy is consumed during the production, service, and recycle stages of the lightweight component life cycle,” says Jorge Santos.
Metal casting is a well-established method for manufacturing components for different applications. The casting process is under intensive development with several different technologies evolving. One such technology is the so-called semi-solid metal casting (SSM casting). SSM casting allows for casting of metal components with complex shapes in a single operation. This means advantages in terms of both time and cost reductions.
‘’Aluminum semi-solid casting (SSM) provides many advantages such as good design freedom, high specific strength, cost-effective and lightweight components,’’ says Jorge Santos.
Jorge Santos believes that his research is important for the automotive industry as the results can provide the automotive industry with important information about the advantage the areas of application semi-solid aluminum casting (SSM) offers.
There is a lack of data necessary for the design of components produced by semi-solid casting that during service experience fatigue. Therefore, Jorge Santos’ research provides data and knowledge necessary for the design and numerical simulation of semi-solid castings used in high demanding applications.
“The increasing demands for weight reduction will drive automotive industries to explore new materials and production processes to face future needs. The lack of understanding of microstructure and defect formation and design data is a barrier for foundries and vehicle industry to consider semi-solid casting to produce lightweight components. This research provides relevant knowledge and data that can be used to design and apply lightweight components in different sectors,’’ says Jorge Santos.