PNNL gets $1M from feds for work on lighter vehicle materials

Scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have developed technology for computer models that allow for lighter, stronger and more efficient car parts.

Scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have developed technology for computer models that allow for lighter, stronger and more efficient car parts. 

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory this week landed a $1 million investment form the U.S. Department of Energy to further its work to help the automotive industry make lighter and stronger more efficient materials for fuel-efficient cars.

A computer model developed by scientists at PNNL can optimize the performance of carbon fiber and other composites used to make auto parts for body, chassis and interior uses.

PNNL will also work with the U.S. Automotive Materials Partnership LLC using a similar computer-based modeling tool to develop advanced high-strength tool steels for the industry.

“With strong, lightweight materials we have an opportunity to dramatically increase vehicle fuel economy, while helping America maintain its competitive edge in automotive design and manufacturing,” said U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, in a press release.

Federal officials positioned the total of $8 million invested in seven projects as part of the the Obama Administration's "all-of-the-above" energy strategy.

Scientists at PNNL have been working on efficient, lightweight materials since the 1990s.

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