A new research project launched by Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow (LIFT) will seek to develop more cost-effective manufacturing methods for aluminum metal-matrix composites (MMCs), for use in large-scale automotive and aerospace platforms. The two-year program will consider various production technologies as alternatives to hot-isostatic pressing (HIP), including extrusion, near-net-shape HIP, sintering, or thin sheet forming.
LIFT is a “manufacturing innovation institute” operated by the American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute, a partnership formed in 2014. It coordinates academic and institutional research with likely and/or available industrial partners, with specific development targets for technologies needed to produce parts or systems needed in automotive, aerospace, or other transportation sectors.
Materion Corporation is the primary industrial partner for LIFT’s latest research project. Materion, a producer of beryllium and specialty alloys, and two types of metal-matrix composites (MMCs): silicon-carbide reinforced aluminum and aluminum-beryllium.
MMCs are specially formed shapes of metal alloy strategically reinforced with a ceramic or organic material. HIP is the standard production route because metal powders can be compressed into solid materials of specific shape by simultaneous application of isostatic high pressure and high heat.
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