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Graduate Education And Research In Lightweight Automotive Materials And Processes

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.321.1 - 5.321.6

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P. K. Mallick

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2255

Graduate Education and Research in Lightweight Automotive Materials and Processing

P. K. Mallick The University of Michigan-Dearborn

I. Introduction

In response to government regulations (e.g., CAFÉ for fuel economy), public awareness (e.g., crashworthiness) and intense market share competition, the automotive companies, both individually as well as jointly (e.g., PNGV), are developing technology in many different areas that may substantially change the industry in the next few years. One of these areas is the application of electronics in vehicular control and safety. Many of these electronic applications are already appearing in today’s vehicles. Another area, in which relatively quiet metamorphosis is taking place, is in automotive materials. The traditional material for making body and chassis components has been low carbon steel. The need for lighter weight automobiles (to improve fuel economy) has prompted automotive engineers to consider aluminum and magnesium alloys as well as fiber-reinforced polymers for many of these applications. To compete with these lightweight materials, the steel industry is also conducting research on making lightweight steel structures using high strength formable steels, hydroforming, tailored blank welding, etc.

One potential barrier for the use of advanced materials technology for improving fuel efficiency, crashworthiness and performance of future vehicles is the lack of engineers with knowledge and design experience in the application of advanced materials. Many universities offer graduate level courses on materials science. These courses provide fundamental knowledge on the structure, mechanics and physics behind advanced materials. The emphasis on these courses is “science”, not “engineering”. Students graduating with a materials science degree acquire the knowledge on the fundamentals of materials science and very little on materials engineering. In general, they do not acquire the proper background to design with these materials or to select materials based on their design and processing characteristics. There is a great need for emphasizing interaction between material science, design and processing. Application-oriented courses and research, such as the ones described here, seem to be more appropriate for the automotive industry of the future.

This paper describes first the graduate degree program in automotive systems engineering, followed by the curriculum in automotive materials and how it is integrated in the graduate program on automotive systems engineering. The automotive materials program is part of the Center for Lightweight Automotive Materials and Proceessing, which was established in 1998 with funding from the US Department of Energy under the auspices of the Graduate Automotive Technology Education (GATE) initiative.

Mallick, P. K. (2000, June), Graduate Education And Research In Lightweight Automotive Materials And Processes Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri.

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