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Projects: Projects for Investigator
Reference Number EP/R001715/1
Title LightForm: Embedding Materials Engineering in Manufacturing with Light Alloys
Status Completed
Energy Categories Energy Efficiency(Transport) 80%;
Not Energy Related 20%;
Research Types Basic and strategic applied research 100%
Science and Technology Fields PHYSICAL SCIENCES AND MATHEMATICS (Metallurgy and Materials) 75%;
ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY (Mechanical, Aeronautical and Manufacturing Engineering) 25%;
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Not Cross-cutting 100%
Principal Investigator Dr J Quinta da Fonseca
No email address given
University of Manchester
Award Type Standard
Funding Source EPSRC
Start Date 19 October 2017
End Date 18 October 2023
Duration 72 months
Total Grant Value £4,827,337
Industrial Sectors Manufacturing; Transport Systems and Vehicles
Region North West
Programme Manufacturing : Manufacturing, NC : Engineering
Investigators Principal Investigator Dr J Quinta da Fonseca , Materials, University of Manchester (99.990%)
  Other Investigator Dr J J Jiang , Department of Mechanical Engineering, Imperial College London (0.001%)
Professor J Lin , Department of Mechanical Engineering, Imperial College London (0.001%)
Dr H R Shercliff , Engineering, University of Cambridge (0.001%)
Dr M Curioni , Materials, University of Manchester (0.001%)
Dr P Shanthraj , Materials, University of Manchester (0.001%)
Professor P Prangnell , Materials, University of Manchester (0.001%)
Dr JD Robson , Materials, University of Manchester (0.001%)
Dr X Zhou , Materials, University of Manchester (0.001%)
Dr SJ Haigh , Materials, University of Manchester (0.001%)
Dr N Li , Design Engineering (Dyson School, Imperial College London (0.001%)
  Industrial Collaborator Project Contact , Crown Packaging Plc (0.000%)
Project Contact , Novelis Global Technology Centre, USA (0.000%)
Project Contact , Doncasters Group Ltd (0.000%)
Project Contact , Innoval Technology Ltd (0.000%)
Project Contact , Jaguar Land Rover Limited (0.000%)
Project Contact , BAE Systems Integrated System Technologies Limited (0.000%)
Project Contact , Magnesium Elektron Ltd (0.000%)
Project Contact , DSTL - Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (0.000%)
Project Contact , Airbus UK Ltd (0.000%)
Project Contact , Timet UK Ltd (0.000%)
Project Contact , Norsk Hydro ASA, Norway (0.000%)
Project Contact , Bentley Motors Ltd (0.000%)
Project Contact , Luxfer Gas Cylinders Limited (0.000%)
Project Contact , Constellium UK Limited (0.000%)
Project Contact , PAB Coventry Limited (0.000%)
Project Contact , WMG Catapult (0.000%)
Project Contact , ESI Group, France (0.000%)
Project Contact , Bombardier Aerospace, Canada (0.000%)
Project Contact , Otto Fuchs KG, Germany (0.000%)
Project Contact , Primetals Technologies Ltd (UK) (0.000%)
Project Contact , Rolls-Royce PLC (0.000%)
Project Contact , Hermith GmbH, Germany (0.000%)
Project Contact , Impression Technologies Ltd (0.000%)
Project Contact , Northern Automotive Alliance (0.000%)
Project Contact , Stadco Automotive Ltd (0.000%)
Project Contact , Beijing Institute of Aeronautical Materials (BIAM) (0.000%)
Project Contact , Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining (IOM3) (0.000%)
Web Site
Abstract Forming components from light alloys (aluminium, titanium and magnesium) is extremely important to sustainable transport because they can save over 40% weight, compared to steel, and are far cheaper and more recyclable than composites. This has led to rapid market growth, where light alloys are set to dominate the automotive sector. Remaining globally competitive in light metals technologies is also critical to the UK's, aerospace and defence industries, which are major exporters. For example, Jaguar Land Rover already produces fully aluminium car bodies and titanium is extensively used in aerospace products by Airbus and Rolls Royce. 85% of the market in light alloys is in wrought products, formed by pressing, or forging, to make components.Traditional manufacturing creates a conflict between increasing a material's properties, (to increase performance), and manufacturability; i.e. the stronger a material is, the more difficult and costly it is to form into a part. This is because the development of new materials by suppliers occurs largely independently of manufacturers, and ever more alloy compositions are developed to achieve higher performance, which creates problems with scrap separation preventing closed loop recycling. Thus, often manufacturability restricts performance. For example, in car bodies only medium strength aluminium grades are currently used because it is no good having a very strong alloy that can't be made into the required shape. In cases when high strength levels are needed, such as in aerospace, specialised forming processes are used which add huge cost.To solve this conundrum, LightForm will develop the science and modelling capability needed for a new holistic approach, whereby performance AND manufacturability can both be increased, through developing a step change in our ability to intelligently and precisely engineer the properties of a material during the forming of advanced components. This will be achieved by understanding how the manufacturing process itself can be used to manipulate the material structure at the microscopic scale, so we can start with a soft, formable, material and simultaneously improve and tailor its properties while we shape it into the final product. For example, alloys are already designed to 'bake harden' after being formed when the paint on a car is cured in an oven. However, we want to push this idea much further, both in terms of performance and property prediction. For example, we already have evidence we can double the strength of aluminium alloys currently used in car bodies by new synergistic hybrid deformation and heat treatment processing methods.To do this, we need to better understand how materials act as dynamic systems and design them to feed back to different forming conditions. We also aim to exploit exciting developments in powerful new techniques that will allow us to see how materials behave in industrial processes in real time, using facilities like the Diamond x-raysynchrotron, and modern modelling methods. By capturing these effects in physical models, and integrating them into engineering codes, we will be able to embed microstructure engineering in new flexible forming technologies, that don't use fixed tooling, and enable accurate prediction of properties at the design stage - thus accelerating time to market and the customisation of products.Our approach also offers the possibility to tailor a wide range of properties with one alloy - allowing us to make products that can be more easily closed-loop recycled. We will also use embedded microstructure engineering to extend the formability of high-performance aerospace materials to increase precision and decrease energy requirements in forming, reducing the current high cost to industry.

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Added to Database 04/01/19