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The in-mold coating (IMC) process incorporates coating into the molding process. This process reduces the amount of solvents needed and provides beneficial environmental impacts. The use of IMC with injection molded parts has the potential for reducing, or eliminating, the volatile organic compounds associated with the painting process. To date, the IMC process has been successfully applied to sheet molding compound compression molded parts to provide a primed surface that can then be electrostatically painted in a separate process. This project seeks to analyze the technical feasibility of using in-mold coating for plastic injection molded parts.
The multi-material joining project will evaluate multi-material binding joints from a strength, adhesive and corrosion standpoint. These areas of investigation are important for the understanding of joining dissimilar materials in industrial applications so that long-term performance is maximized. The project has the ability to look at many different configurations of joining technologies and different material applications. The selected joining methods will undergo detailed corrosive studies.
Rubber Media Forming (RMF) is a proposed alternative to rubber pad forming (RPF). RPF has been used for many years in the automotive and aerospace industries. RMF is an AM concept and uses various rubber media. The media, when pressed into the die, may emulate both a hydro forming process and the RPF process. Agile processes, such as, RMF may reduce tool change over time and reduce tool inventory. The use of RMF may prove to be an efficient and cost-effective process.
Spot welding of sheet metals using Vaporizing Foil Actuator Welding (VFAW) allows joining of a wide range of metals while producing little to no heat affected zone (HAZ). This novel solid state spot welding technique results in a joint with higher strength while requiring less energy than with conventional welding. As an alternative joining method in comparison to other impact welding techniques, this technology enables the creation of multi-material lightweight structures. Fatigue testing can evaluate the strength of the spot weld under quasi-static and fatigue loading conditions and is extremely important to the overall structural integrity, durability and safety of automobiles.
Ablation casting is a newly developed casting process for Al-Si-Mg alloys that produces heat treatable cast alloys that can attain strength comparable to wrought Al-Si-Mg alloys without an elongated and anisotropic microstructure. This technology has been successfully used to produce aluminum crash nodes in the crush zones of a 2017 Acura NSX, and is being targeted for other areas to replace difficult-to-fabricate wrought Al forgings.