• Advanced Materials and Processes for Manufacturing Lightweight Structures

Icon - Car Body

Reducing the weight of the machines that move people and goods is a key enabler for improving fuel economy and payload. This course reviews the development of new materials and the associated means of manufacturing them into structural components. The examples will come mostly from the automotive sector, but the information is applicable to land, sea and air transportation, as well as other sectors such as sporting goods. We start with the history of introducing new materials and comparing the value of weight reduction for the different modes of transportation. The unique challenges and opportunities for each major class of material - ferrous, aluminum, magnesium and polymer composites - and the various manufacturing processes will be discussed. Emphasis will be placed on Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME), which are the latest tools available to model how the material microstructure evolves during the manufacturing process and how those models can impact design.


Learning Objectives


After completing this online course, you should be able to:

  • Understand current structural lightweighting trends and associated challenges

  • Gain essential knowledge for critically evaluating emerging dissimilar materials joining techniques for their own applications

  • Apply basic joint design principles for improved manufacturability and joint performance

  • Implement effective joint performance evaluation techniques for supporting design and manufacture of multi-materials structures



  • Historical Perspective on Introducing New Materials and Manufacturing Processes in Automotive Industry (39 min) 

  • Selecting the Best Material and Manufacturing Process (22 min)

  • Modeling of Material Changes during Manufacturing and Integrating those Models to Optimize Design (22 min)

  • Advanced Metallic Sheet Materials (18 min)

  • Advanced Polymer Composites (38 min)

  • Advanced Cast Materials (24 min)

  • Summary: What We Have Learned (34 min)

  • Longer Term Lightweighting Opportunities (41 min)



Alan Taub
Alan Taub
Professor, Materials Science and Engineering
Professor, Mechanical Engineering

Prof. Taub's major research interest is in understanding the interrelationships between processing, microstructure and properties in materials; with an emphasis on mechanical, electrical and magnetic applications. Present research focus is on lightweight structures for land, sea and air transportation applications. Projects include incremental forming of sheet metal and nano-particle additions to aluminum alloys. For polymer composites, his group is studying the effect of carbon nanotube and graphene additions to polymer composites utilizing electrical and magnetic fields to produce oriented particles for improved mechanical properties.

Dr. Taub is also the Senior Technology Advisor for LIFT (Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow) which is a new lightweight metals manufacturing innovation institute. LIFT is a $150M public-private partnership developing new manufacturing processes for lightweight metals (AHSS, Al, Mg, Ti). The Institute is located in Detroit, MI and conducts research on industry-relevant applications with LIFT members from academia, industry and federal laboratories. 

Dr. Taub received his B.S. in Materials Engineering from Brown University in 1976, and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Harvard University in 1977 and 1979 respectively.