Innovation: IIT Madras Develops Alloy Which May Replace Steel, Aluminium In Automobile Industry

Chennai: IIT Madras, in its string of innovations, has developed an engineered magnesium alloy with significantly improved properties. These can replace steel and aluminium alloys in automotive and aerospace components. 

The researchers of the institute have been collaborating with the University of North Texas and U.S. Army Research Laboratory. 

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

The limited industrial application of wrought magnesium alloys in structural components 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, has been innovated with the research development.

The research team solved this challenging problem by formulating a magnesium alloy with almost zero yield asymmetry and high ductility. This research paper by the university has been published in the reputed peer-reviewed journal Material Research Letters.

This engineering marvel is strong, highly ductile and its superplasticity is achieved at higher strain-rates, which reduces overall manufacturing time, effort and costs. Moreover, it is also lightweight, which helps lower the carbon footprint of vehicles as lightweight vehicles need lesser fuel to run and are therefore more fuel-efficient.

“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,” Dr Shushmita Kumar was quoted as saying by India Today.

The research group is further trying to increase the load-bearing capacity of metals and alloys through microstructural engineering and processing of metals, which is the next big step of this development. 

Popularly known as ‘Innovative Materials Processing and Characterisation Research Group’, the research team is purposefully associated with sponsored projects of government and private agencies like; Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Mahindra & Mahindra, Renault Nissan, Titan Company Ltd, Aditya Birla Group and Rane NSK Steering System, etc.

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