The Program on Materials for Transportation, Buildings and Industry provides S&T to advance materials development, processing and fabrication technology in these important energy end-use areas. Materials research addresses federal and manufacturing sector priorities for enhanced economic competitiveness, energy efficiency and environmental sustainability. Currently, a significant R&D effort is under way to support the transportation sector by enhancing light duty vehicle fuel economy to meet 2025 regulations, while maintaining or enhancing occupant safety. The addition of R&D projects in aerospace and rail has broadened the program’s scope within the transportation sector, building opportunities for technology cross-fertilization.
This program focuses on applied R&D, often in collaboration with academic researchers, to advance the specific goals of CanmetMATERIALS’ many private-sector industrial partners. These partners are supported through leveraged funding programs such as the NRCan Program on Energy R&D and the ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative or, when proprietary technologies are under investigation, through full cost recovery. Along with the development of lightweight vehicle structures, solid efforts are being made in powertrain development for the common internal combustion engine as well as for electrified powertrains. Heat/energy management materials round out the lab’s transportation target areas.
The program uses the many Technical Capabilities at CanmetMATERIALS to develop materials and processes at the industrial pilot scale.
Vehicle Lightweight Structures
Weight reduction in the body, chassis and powertrain systems provides for enhanced fuel economy across the vehicle fleet, whether the powertrain is an internal combustion engine, a hybrid or a fully electric system. Research focuses on:
- Casting of high-integrity, thin-walled structural components of magnesium and aluminum
- Development of high-strength, energy-absorbing steels, particularly for crash resistance
- Technologies to assemble multi-material structures with the required mechanical and corrosion durability properties
Research will advance materials technologies that enhance strength and high-temperature durability of powertrain materials, as well as address the demands of more efficient and environmentally friendly electrified powertrains. There is also interest in friction reduction of powertrain components. Research focuses on:
- High-temperature-resistant cast aluminum or magnesium engine and transmission components
- Novel cast iron alloys for exhaust systems
- High-efficiency materials for traction motors and power electronics
Research will advance materials technologies that improve vehicle efficiency for balance-of-plant applications – the peripheral systems to the powertrain that enable greater efficiency in operation. Current research focuses on:
- High-temperature-resistant aluminum alloys for heat exchangers
- Improved metal forming for lithium ion battery coolers
- Development of thermo-electric devices for heat recovery
Buildings and Industry
This is an emerging area of research, rounding out the program. Research explores new opportunities for energy conversion through thermo-electrics and novel solar cell technologies deployed directly on roofing materials.