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Automotive research at Deakin is based on both global industry trends and local manufacturer collaboration. Deakin is involved in cutting-edge materials and manufacturing research, as well as working closely with Ford and Holden on issues vital to the success of the Australian automotive industry.
Projects are often multi-disciplinary, combining design, materials, manufacturing and computer simulation. The main focus of Deakin's Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Performance (AMMP) group are:
To improve performance and reduce fuel emissions, the automotive industry must continually reduce vehicle weight. Weight reduction can be achieved by either reducing the thickness of traditional components, or alternatively, using lower density structural materials. Either way, there is much to be understood in terms of the manufacturability and performance of these newer materials before their widespread use in the automotive industry.
Advanced High Strength Steels (AHSS) such as dual-phase and TRIP are several times stronger than conventional steels, allowing the use of thinner automotive components. Current research areas at Deakin on AHSS include:
Light metals such as aluminium and magnesium have lower relative densities than steel, allowing the potential for significant weight reductions. Current research areas at Deakin on light metals include:
Sandwich materials are laminates of metals and polymers, making them much lighter than traditional metals used in the automotive industry. Current research areas at Deakin on sandwich materials include:
Current automotive research areas at Deakin on composites include:
Deakin researchers currently work with local automotive manufacturers to improve manufacturing quality while reducing the time to bring products to market. This can be done in a variety of ways including improving the robustness and efficiency of current manufacturing processes, and improving the accuracy of computer simulation models used in tooling design, formability analysis and component performance testing.
Deakin are involved in several key partnerships with local industry including:
Stamping is the main manufacturing method for body structures for the automotive industry. Current automotive research areas at Deakin on stamping processes include:
Casting is the main manufacturing method for power and drive-train applications (such as engine blocks) for the automotive industry. Current research areas at Deakin on casting processes include:
The use of finite element modelling to design or evaluate the performance of a tool or component can save considerable time and money in the automotive industry. Current research areas at Deakin using computer simulation include:
Erichsen sheet metal forming tester
Tensile and wear testing frame
Fatigue testing frame
Workstations with Hyperform, Autoform, Dynaform and Abaqus FEA software
Ultra-sonic thickness gauge
A new cheap technology for magnesium metal foam production - M. Barnett and C. Wen
Material Characterization for Crash Simulations - J. Mullins
Modeling of tool wear in Trim Dies for AHSS - R. Rafiee