IIT-M researchers develop engineered magnesium alloy for automobiles to replace steel

The Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM) on Tuesday said its researchers have developed a high-performance magnesium alloy that can replace steel and aluminium in automobiles

May 26, 2020
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The Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM) on Tuesday said its researchers have developed a high-performance magnesium alloy that can replace steel and aluminium in automobiles.

In a statement, IIT-M said its researchers working with the University of North Texas and US Army Research Laboratory Teams have developed an engineered magnesium alloy.

The engineered magnesium alloy with significantly improved properties can replace steel and aluminium alloys in automotive and aerospace components, IIT-M said.

The current industrial application of wrought magnesium alloys in structural components is very limited due to their poor moderate/low strength, poor ductility, yield strength asymmetry and lack of high strain rate superplasticity despite their density being two-third of aluminium and one-quarter of steel.

Light-weight vehicles consume less fuel to run and are therefore one of the strategies to increase vehicle's energy-efficiency.

A collaborative research project on this area was carried out by Dr Sushanta Kumar Panigrahi, Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, IIT Madras, Prof. Rajiv Mishra, University Distinguished Research Professor, University of North Texas, US, and Dr. R.C. Brennan and K. Cho from the US Army Research Laboratory (Aberdeen Proving Grounds).

The new engineered alloy is strong, highly ductile and its superplasticity is achieved at higher strain-rates which reduces overall manufacturing time, effort and costs.

In addition to this, it is also lightweight, which helps lower the carbon footprint of vehicles. Lightweight vehicles need lesser fuel to run and are therefore more fuel-efficient, IIT-M said.

Elaborating on their research, Panigrahi said, "In view of the compelling needs for economical usage of scarce energy resources and ever-stricter control over emissions to lower environmental impact, automotive and aerospace industries are searching for alternative advanced light-weight structural materials to existing conventional materials.

"Being one of the lightest and energy-efficient structural materials, magnesium alloys are potential candidates to replace steel and aluminium alloys in automotive and aerospace components since their density is two-thirds of aluminium and one-quarter of steel."

His research group is also trying to increase the load-bearing capacity of metals and alloys through microstructural engineering and processing of metals. After this feat, the team is all set to apply the same strategy of processing to other known magnesium alloys and metallic alloys with the intention of obtaining highly efficient stronger materials with superior performance.

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