SBIR Phase I: HydroElastic Hydroforming

Period of Performance: 01/01/2014 - 12/31/2014

$150K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Ellis Industrial Design, LLC
590 Cypress Hills Dr.
Encinitas, CA 92024
Principal Investigator, Firm POC

Abstract

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project is to support the North American automakers? need to develop and implement new technologies that will allow them to form the light weight, high strength metals required to support the 2025 56 mpg CAFÉ standard. This research?s objective is to study a proposed hydroforming machine design concept to support that need with a machine constructed from a novel type of composite intensive fabrication. The project seeks to research the design for strengths and weaknesses and to propose a final conceptproposal that has been validated through simulation to be suitable, viable and beneficial for forming OEM sheet metal panels. This project will create a robust prototype design suitable for production and an associated scheme of construction. It will use software to simulate the designs and reportthe projected performance properties of the envisioned concept design. In addition, it will construct a 1/5th scale prototype that will be used to physically validate the pressure containment system and material formability assumptions. If successful, the research will produce a viable, validated design that demonstrates the concept's suitability and readiness for full scale prototype implementation and development testing in Phase II. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is to enhance scientific knowledge in the understanding and in the use of high strength polymer fibers in machine presses to contain fluids under high compressive pressure and direct those forces towards producing controlled hydroelastic deformation in metals. It is also to demonstrate how this can be done at cycle rates that are usable by the Automotive Industry. If successful, this will encourage prototype and low volume automotive production, potentially stimulating economic vitality in underserved and underutilized communities such as Detroit's Inner city through direct and indirect job creation.