GOLDEN, Colo., Feb. 26, 2014 – Colorado School of Mines will serve as one of four core facilities in a newly formed institute focused on lightweight and modern metals manufacturing.
The American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute (ALMMII) will be headquartered in Michigan and led by Ohio-based EWI, the University of Michigan and The Ohio State University. It will expand the market for and create new consumers of products and systems to utilize new, lightweight, high performing metals and alloys – titanium, aluminum and high-strength steels – by removing technological barriers in manufacturing. The new institute will consist of a pilot-plant facility with capabilities for manufacturing process development and prototype characterization, as well as research and development laboratories at partner locations including Mines.
The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade will provide $1 million per year for the next five years towards Mines’ research program, which will be matched at least one to one by the federal government.
“This outstanding partnership will not only bring about real improvements in the creation of advanced, lightweight, high-strength materials, but will drive critical innovation and collaboration between industry and academia which is a hallmark of research at Mines,” said John Poate, vice president for research and technology transfer at Mines.
Mines will develop thermomechanical process improvements and technologies, which will have broad application to Colorado's key industries including military and defense, aerospace, energy and natural resources, advanced manufacturing, infrastructure engineering and transportation and logistics.
“Thermomechanical processing refers to simultaneous control of deformation and temperature during the production of metals leading to materials in final product forms with enhanced properties,” said David Matlock, university emeritus professor of the George S. Ansell Metallurgical and Materials Engineering Department. “For example, the production of new lightweight metals, such as advanced, high strength steels which are essential for many applications including lighter, more fuel-efficient and safe automobiles, benefit from controlled processing.”
The 30-year success of the Advanced Steel Processing and Products Research Center, an industry/university cooperative research center formed at Mines in 1984, and the newly-developed Center for Advanced Non-Ferrous Structural Alloys, played a role in landing the partnership.
In addition to technical expertise, Mines possesses a unique thermomechanical processing simulator (the Gleeble 3500) which can be used to economically assess potential processing histories on various metals prior to committing to full scale production. As the institute evolves, the research opportunities at Mines will expand beyond those in the Metallurgy and Materials Engineering Department.
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