Canadian universities have been active over the past two years on helping the domestic automotive sector to develop advanced vehicle technology through the creation of AUTO21, a national research network involving more than 250 researchers at 45 universities.
Some $10 million has been invested in 20 short term funded research projects in six key areas: health, safety and injury prevention; societal issues; materials and manufacturing; design processes; powertrains; fuels and emissions; and intelligent systems and sensors. Each project is led and coordinated by an expert researcher.
The ‘Materials & Manufacturing’ sector has been undertaking the largest number of projects, and Dr Carl Blais at the Universite Laval located in Quebec City, has been leading a project on ‘powder metallurgy for high performance aluminium and steel parts’.
The project has been focusing on developing advanced sintering strategies that will process newly developed aluminium PM alloys into fully dense components in an accelerated manner and/or with an absence of sintering-induced distortion. A number of avenues have been explored including the incorporation of prealloyed dopants, use of alternate sintering media, and the investigation of non-conventional spark plasma sintering (SPS).
In the case of ferrous PM components, the approach is similar to aluminium PM with the exception that the targeted applications involve high wear resistance at high temperatures, sinter-hardening for improved toughness, novel Cr-Fe powders for the development of solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) interconnect plates as well as improved machinability to lower the costs of secondary shaping operations.
Posted by: Paul Whittaker, Editor ipmd.net, [email protected]