Metals and Alloys Features

Find in depth design and production features about metals and alloys. Our editors bring you a host of the latest thinking, views and opinions about this more traditional material type. Find out how to get more from design and manufacture, as well as the latest updates from the next generation of metallics.

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The Prototype Kilogram is losing weight, prompting efforts to redefine the base unit for measuring mass

The International Prototype Kilogram (IPK) is a physical block weighing as close to 1kg as is physically possible to engineer. It is used as the primary standard for virtually all units of mass and is the mass upon which the weight of a kilogram is based and all traceability mass measurements are measured. However, a strange phenomenon has been observed – the IPK is getting lighter. The reason, however, is unknown.  Read More


Tubular assemblies reduce chassis weight without performance loss

All powertrain solutions demand that every part of the vehicle is as light as possible to maximise vehicle range, performance and efficiency. What is essential in vehicle design, with strict safety targets and narrow profit margins, is balancing weight, with the performance of the materials, and the cost of the process.  Read More


Two hypercar designers that choose metal over composites

While many automotive manufacturers are looking at composites and aluminium to lightweight, two supercar designers are turning to nature to find fresh innovation in metals. Engineering Materials finds out more.  Read More


Metal manipulation

As aluminium becomes the lightweight material of choice for many, we look at one project that aims to secure supply, reduce production emissions and keep value in scrap. Justin Cunningham finds out more about JLR’s REALCAR project.  Read More


Spot the difference

As additive parts are rolled out across industry, they’re increasingly put in to actual service. This is especially true for metal parts, where processes such as selective laser sintering (SLM) have usurped more traditional subtractive fabrication and machining methods.  Read More


Composite volume production: lightweight material challenge

While everyone agrees composites could be a good fit for automotive – at least when it comes to lightweighting – producing parts in the volumes needed is an area that continues to challenge.   Read More


Engineering micro structure of steel and other metals by bi-axial deformation tests and analysis

Recreating the bi-axial deformation experienced by steel during stamp forming is allowing researchers to engineer the microstructure and yield lighter parts.  Read More


Metallising plastic: High temperature polymer gets metal finish

A high temperature plastic has been metallised by Albis Plastic to make a car reflector. Using vapour application, a thin metal layer is applied to the surface of the thermoplastic inside a vacuum.  Read More


The Weighting Game

Automotive researchers and engineers are looking for ways to knock the fat off nearly every part of a vehicle in their efforts to achieve higher fuel economy.  Read More


Additive metal parts

Laser manufacturer TRUMPF has increasingly established itself in the field of additive manufacturing. Its laser metal fusion (LMF) and laser metal deposition (LMD) machines have been well received by those looking to prototype and make small volume parts.   Read More


The aluminium industry and metal replacement

While many associate exotic materials with weight reduction, the aluminium industry is keen to remind engineers it is also part of the solution. Justin Cunningham reports.  Read More


Serious wheel spin: Making sure the Bloodhound SSC's wheels are up to the job

It is perhaps one of the most ambitious engineering projects of our time. For the last six years, Bloodhound SSC has been steadily and methodically developed, and it is now coming together ahead of initial test runs earmarked for September next year.   Read More


The materials innovation that make the XE saloon Jaguar's most important car yet

This, the aluminium intensive XE, is arguably the most important car that Jaguar has launched in its 92-year history. There have been more iconic, notably the E-Type, but it's fair to say Jaguar's future hinges on this new mid-size saloon poised to take on the might of German rivals like the BMW 3-series, Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-class.  Read More


Changing consensus: Modern magnesium alloys

Everyone remembers holding a piece of magnesium foil over a Bunsen burner and watching it rapidly combust in to a brilliant white flame. It's a powerful demonstration that is etched on the mind, leaving many to automatically equate magnesium with flammability.  Read More


Aerospace industry moves to carbon fibre wings

The superior strength to weight ratio of carbon fibre reinforced polymers has made the material a popular choice for aerospace applications, as engineers look to make more efficient – and therefore lighter – aircraft structures. But, while the material offers improvements in some key properties, others are not always desirable.  Read More


DIY Metallurgy: Making your own metals and alloys

For many, Formula One is the pinnacle. Not only does it attract some of the best drivers in the world, but its engineers are widely regarded as some of today's most motivated and talented.  Read More


Bloodhound: Choosing the best materials for the job

You can imagine the phone call, can't you? Project leader Richard Noble, enthusiastic and nonchalant as ever, asking about the materials for the wheels of Bloodhound, the car that aims to break the 1000mph barrier.  Read More


New price comparison site is dedicated to engineering materials

A price comparison website has recently launched that is specifically aimed at the buying and selling of engineering materials.   Read More


Material innovation combats rail fatigue

Materials innovation BEEAs winner Howard Smith, a research metallurgist at Tata Steel Europe, outlines the motivation and technology developed for combating rolling contact fatigue on the railway.  Read More


Beyond the obvious

Metal matrix composites are often overshadowed by carbon fibre composites. However, the materials have distinct advantages that should not be overlooked. Justin Cunningham investigates.   Read More


Clever metal

The continual search for lighter and stronger materials is never as simple as it seems. Justin Cunningham reports on the metal innovations that aim to answer the challenge.  Read More


Advanced Engineering Show 2011: Adressing material shortcomings

The Advanced Engineering show held at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) served up a host of innovative materials for engineers to assess and critique. The sheer number of materials available on the market has never been more varied. But there is no perfect material and it is up to engineers to find the best fit for the product or application at hand.  Read More


Keeping it steel

Can steel really compete with aluminium and composite materials when it comes to lightweighting? Justin Cunningham talks to a company that says it can.  Read More


Metals work with composites for aerospace

Tom Shelley reports on why both metals and composites are crucial in aerospace constructions.   Read More


New steels set challenging problems

Tom Shelley reports on developments in new steels and manufacturing affect the design of cars.  Read More

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