A lot of people may wonder why the government would invest that much money in the development and deployment of lightweight materials.
The main point is that this way the vehicles would need less fuel so the dependence of the U.S. on foreign oil would be reduced. At the same time, the drivers would be able to save money and the carbon emissions would also be reduced.
According to official information, with the help of such new materials the manufacturers could make the vehicles more fuel efficient, and so the companies could stay on the top of the global auto industry. If the vehicles are made of stronger and lighter materials, their performance can improve and people can make economies.
(photo credit: www.ecofriend.com)
In the past, the vehicles were made of cast iron and steel. These could be replaced by high-strength steel, aluminum, magnesium and polymer composites.
This way the manufacturers would be able to add new safety features, equipment for emissions control and integrated electronic systems; and all this wouldn’t affect the weight of the vehicle.
In the same time, it would be possible to reduce the fuel consumption. For instance if the weight of a vehicle decreases by 10%, the fuel economy could increase by 6%-8%.
These funds will be administered by the Energy Department and this sum will be divided among three major areas of research.
These areas cover the development of modeling tools that could create carbon fiber with a higher performance and finding of high strength and low weight alloys to produce the engines of vehicles.
The most important thing about the carbon fiber composites is that they could decrease the weight of a vehicle by 50% compared to the vehicles that we are using today.
The projects in this field have, as their main purpose, to create new tools to work with carbon fiber that would make the material more cost effective and increase the performance of the material.
If the manufactures use this material, the weight of the vehicles could decrease by 25%. Just as in the previous case, the main purpose of the projects is to develop new tools to optimize the cost effectiveness and performance of the advanced tools.
It is important to have strong alloys when building the heavy-duty engines. This is becoming more and more important since the engines need to have higher performances.