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To accelerate innovation and adoption of new lightweighting technologies for on-highway vehicles, the Lightweight Materials National Laboratory Consortium, or LightMAT, is overseeing a second directed funding-assistance call.

Interested industry partners wanting to collaborate with research experts and leverage unique materials capabilities at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories are encouraged to apply.

LightMAT is a network of 10 national laboratories – including Argonne National Laboratory — with technical capabilities highly relevant for organizations that seek to develop and use lightweight materials. LightMAT provides straightforward access to resources and capabilities in this network via a single point of contact and works to match industry research teams with expertise and equipment found only at national laboratories.

LightMAT is supported by DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

For this funding-assistance call, LightMAT is specifically interested in receiving proposals in the following topic areas:

Topic 1: High Rate Processing of Carbon Fiber Composites
(1 to 3 awards of $500,000 each anticipated)

Carbon fiber composites represent an opportunity to reduce the mass of structural automotive components by up to 70%. However, current manufacturing processes, such as compression molding and resin transfer molding, have a cycle time that is currently longer than acceptable to the automotive community.

A class of carbon fiber composites that are suitable for automotive applications and can be manufactured in less than a 3-minute cycle time must be developed to achieve widespread use in production.

LightMAT is seeking proposals from industry to develop methods of producing low-cost, high-volume carbon fiber composite automotive components.

Topic 2: Design for Dissimilar Material Joints
(1 to 3 awards of $500,000 each anticipated)

Multi-material structures provide the advantage of selecting the most appropriate material for a component while still achieving lightweighting and performance targets. However, joining of dissimilar materials poses unique challenges, such as coefficient of thermal expansion mismatch, potential for galvanic corrosion and difficulties in predicting joint failure through models and simulation. In addition, there are many types of joining methods that can be selected depending on design and material set, including adhesives, mechanical fasteners, solid-state joining and fusion welding.

To increase the use of diverse lightweight materials, it is necessary to understand the unique relationships that exist between joining methods, process parameters, component designs and substrate materials properties.

LightMAT is seeking proposals from industry to create design guides and predict performance of specific process technologies for challenging dissimilar material joints that will significantly reduce the time-to-market for lightweight multi-material structures.

Topic 3: Industry Challenges in Lightweighting
(1 to 2 awards of $500,000 anticipated)

This topic provides an opportunity for industry to identify pressing research and development needs for specific technology applications that will enable the rapid implementation of lightweight materials in vehicles.

Webinar: Directed Funding Assistance, Round 2

The LightMAT Steering Committee will host an informational webinar from 10 to 11 a.m. Central Time on Oct. 10 about LightMAT and the most recent directed funding-assistance opportunities.

The webinar will provide an opportunity to ask questions about LightMAT, funding opportunities and get tips on how to submit a successful white paper.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy supports early-stage research and development of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies that make energy more affordable and strengthen the reliability, resilience, and security of the U.S. electric grid.

Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation’s first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America’s scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit the Office of Science website.