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INDUSTRY NEWS WPI Leads Project on Lightweight Metals for Military Vehicles

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), Worcester, Mass., is the lead institution on a $7.4 million, multiuniversity award from the U.S. Army that will support the development of new metallurgical methods and lightweight alloys for more effective and durable military vehicles and systems. The tech- nologies and processes devel- oped as part of the research also will have applications in the air- craft, automotive and electron- ics industries. WPI will receive $2.1 million

through the two-year award, which is the latest installment from a multiyear cooperative agreement with the Army. Trough an approach dubbed

“nanomaterials by design,” Sis- son and coprincipal investigators Diran Apelian, Alcoa-Howmet Professor of Mechanical Engi- neering at WPI and director of the university’s Metal Processing Insti- tute (MPI), along with Makhlouf Makhlouf, director the MPI’s Aluminum Casting Research Center, are using a variety of modeling techniques in concert with laboratory studies to predict the microstructure

microstructure. From this work they are deriving mod- elling tools that can be used to improve existing alloys or to custom design new alloys with desired properties. “Te military is looking

to develop super-materials that can meet several needs at once,” said Richard Sisson, George F. Fuller Professor of Mechanical Engineering, director of WPI’s Materials Science and Engineering Pro- gram, and principal investiga- tor for the Army award. “Tey want new alloys that are strong enough to be used structur- ally, tough enough to function as armor, and light enough to improve the mobility and fuel economy of vehicles.” The overall aim of the

research is the development of databases and computer

and microchemistry of new alloys. To a large degree, the microstructure determines how the alloy will per- form in components produced using processes including metalcasting. The researchers are studying

metallurgical processes such as heat treating, which can alter an alloy’s

MTI Acquires Precision Gage Metal Technologies Inc. (MTI),

Auburn, Ind., has acquired the as- sets of Precision Gage Inc. (PG), a gaging, fixturing and metal machin- ing business with two plants in Hillsdale, Mich. The operation will continue as Precision Gage LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of MTI. MTI, founded by chairman and CEO Rick James in 1997, oper- ates iron foundries in Auburn, Ind.; Hibbing, Minn.; and Three Rivers and Ravenna, Mich. The company has aluminum die cast and squeeze cast operations in New

modeling techniques that will make it possible to predict the nanoscale properties of lightweight alloys (primarily aluminum, titanium and magnesium), and to use these computational tools to design and test new alloys for specific military applications.

Hope, Minn., and Jackson, Tenn. With this acquisition, MTI sales exceed $475 million and it employs approximately 1,100 people. It provides iron and aluminum metal castings throughout North America to a diverse customer base. “The Precision Gage acquisition

continues MTI’s efforts to meet the strategic needs of our customers in targeted markets,” said MTI Presi- dent Matt Fetter. MTI produces gray, ductile and aluminum automotive engine dampers, while PG machines those

components. “Together, we can pro- vide a comprehensive solution for the damper market,” he said. “We anticipate many synergies across the company as we utilize PG’s expertise in cellular manufac- turing to assist us in better design- ing our value-added operations in the foundries.” PG’s 65-person team uses high

performance CNC turning, mill- ing and machining equipment to provide innovative solutions for automotive, medical device and other industries.

April 2014 MODERN CASTING | 9

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