The HyperCast program will develop materials and processes for cast high strength and light weight frame, body, chassis and powertrain components for fuel efficient passenger cars, commercial trucks, and military trucks to meet ever increasing efficiency goals. The advanced materials and processes developed will focus on fuel efficiency and cost effectiveness to offer the potential for 60% weight reduction without compromising component performance, cost, safety or recyclability.
The self propagating high temperature synthesis (SHS) process is central to producing cost effective castable metal matrix composites in the HyperCast program. This technology takes advantage of highly exothermic reactions to rapidly create ceramic particles in the aluminum or magnesium melt. Only the constituent powders are needed to produce the ceramic particulates. This leads to cost savings since the constituent powders are often much less expensive than the final ceramic particulate.
SHS reaction taking place in the molten aluminum matrix
Once the SHS reaction has taken place the resulting material can be formed using a variety of metalcasting processes. Initially semi-solid metal processing, squeeze casting, and cold chamber die casting will be used. However, with time gravity based metalcasting methods will be developed as well.
Resulting ceramic particles in an aluminum matrix
A357 based MMC wedge cast using the semi-solid metal processing technique.
Year 1 Tasks:
Task I Material Development: To establish the aluminum and magnesium composite material compositions that yield the most advantageous properties by defining the chemistry of the molten alloy and the volume percent of reactant material to be added to the melt.
Task II Processing Parameters: To define processing parameters for the casting of the most promising composite materials via various casting processes in production facilities. Concurrent with the development of processing parameters will be the development of computer models (to aid in cast part design, tooling design and process design), improved die materials and coatings specifically for use in the self propagating high temperature synthesis casting, and recycling efforts.
Task III Material Design Data: To produce specimens of the most promising composite materials in the laboratory and in production facilities for mechanical property testing. Subsequently, specimens will be removed from actual castings for testing. Several specimens will be measured in order to provide statistically significant property data for design.
This project is being conducted by researchers from the premier universities and government laboratories with experience in cast materials and processes for the research activities, premier casting companies for demonstration of the research results, a major industry association for the coordination of the efforts, and the major industry associations for technology transfer.