From the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy:
Vehicle manufacturers are increasingly using lightweight materials like aluminum to improve efficiency, saving drivers money and fuel. However, some common processes in #manufacturing are more challenging when used with new materials. The Energy Department’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory - PNNL, General Motors, Alcoa, and the TWB Company, supported by our Vehicle Technologies Office, have developed a new process that reduces production time and costs for producing aluminum components while yielding strong and lightweight parts. The process, known as friction stir welding, can deliver an aluminum car door inner panel that is 62% lighter and 25% cheaper than what can be manufactured today. This new technology is so promising that GM recently stamped its first full-sized aluminum inner door panel using it. This is just one project being reviewed at our merit review this week being held by our Vehicle Technologies Office and Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Program. Learn more about this project on the EERE Success Stories page: http://go.usa.gov/3PU8J.