PNNL, in partnership with General Motors, Alcoa ,and TWB Company LLC, have transformed a joining technique called friction stir welding for expanded use of lightweight aluminum in vehicles, such as this door panel. (Photo courtesy of TWB Company LLC.)

Research Collaboration Launched for Lightweight Materials

DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will manage the Lightweight Materials National Lab Consortium — LightMAT — which is a network of nine national labs with technical capabilities for creating lightweight materials.

The U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory announced it will manage a new research consortium named the Lightweight Materials National Lab Consortium — LightMAT — which is a network of nine national labs with technical capabilities for creating lightweight materials. In partnership with General Motors, Alcoa, and TWB Company LLC, they have transformed a joining technique called friction stir welding for expanded use of lightweight aluminum in vehicles, such as door panels, with LightMAT created to facilitate development of these.

"There is now a one-stop shop for industrial researchers who want to use the unique capabilities and talents found at select Department of Energy national laboratories in a quest to develop lighter materials. DOE is establishing a new consortium to support a vision of developing and deploying materials twice as fast, at a fraction of the cost, while increasing U.S. competitiveness in manufacturing," PNNL's Susan Bauer reported Jan. 21.

Her report quoted Yuri Hovanski, senior researcher at PNNL and LightMAT's program director: "The major perceived impediments to U.S. companies working with national laboratories are the complexity and time required to identify research and development capabilities at numerous institutions throughout the country, and the difficulty of formalizing teaming agreements. LightMAT will provide a more productive experience for companies that want to engage the national laboratories to accelerate deployment of lightweight materials."

DOE laboratories participating in LightMAT are:

  • Ames Laboratory
  • Argonne National Laboratory
  • Idaho National Laboratory
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory
  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
  • Sandia National Laboratories

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