Lightweight Aluminum/Nano Composites for Automotive Drive Train Applications

Period of Performance: 01/01/2006 - 12/31/2006


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

IAP Research, Inc.
2763 Culver Avenue Array
Dayton, OH 45429
Principal Investigator
Firm POC


In the automotive industry, a 10 percent reduction in vehicle weight corresponds to a six-to-eight percent decrease in fuel usage. Reductions in the mass of moving components (in engine and drive train components) are doubly valuable because they lead to corresponding reductions in friction within the engine, further improving efficiency. This project will develop an aluminum (Al) nanocomposite material ¿ which will combine light weight, strength, and tribological properties ¿ for use in automotive power train components. In Phase I, nano-reinforcements will be dispersed in an Al matrix at various concentrations, and the composite powders will be compacted to near-net shape and sintered. The feasibility of the processing method to obtain high-performance cost-effective material, with good strength and tribological properties, will be demonstrated. Phase II will optimize the material and fabricate a prototype power train gear. Commercial Applications and other Benefits as described by the awardee: The light-weight aluminum nanocomposites should find use in engine components in automobiles, trucks, and hybrid vehicles, leading to greater fuel economy. In addition, the composites should find use in high speed bearings, aerospace, and other military applications.