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The initial research focus of the new AHEAD consortium will be on aluminum cylinder heads like these, used for both gasoline and diesel engines.
SwRI is forming a new consortium to advance automotive cylinder head designs. The four-year Aluminum Head Evaluation, Analysis, and Durability (AHEAD) consortium seeks to reduce the weight while improving the durability of aluminum cylinder heads — increasingly important as materials and components are pushed to their limits in modern engines.
Potential areas of concentration include, but are not limited to, advances in:
- Casting processes
- Analysis procedures
- Aluminum alloy materials for high-temperature resistance
- Measurement and prediction of residual stresses
- Structural design
- Material characterization
“As fuel economy and greenhouse gas regulations drive the need for lighter-weight engines, cylinder heads and their components will need to change,” said SwRI Manager Douglas Eberle. “AHEAD offers a cost-effective way for manufacturers to develop new technologies that stand up to the heavy demands of modern engines.”
In other consortia news, SwRI is launching the seventh phase of the industry’s longest-running diesel research consortium, Clean High-Efficiency Diesel Engine VII (CHEDE-VII). Building on more than 24 years of experience, CHEDE-VII develops pre-competitive diesel engine technology initiatives to address the needs of industry five to 10 years into the future.
“We will suggest a number of research areas that we think are important for the consortium membership to investigate. The members, though, will determine the direction of the research over the four years,” said Dr. Charles Roberts, who leads the consortium. Over the past 25 years, membership in the consortium has included major diesel engine manufacturers as well as electronics, fuels and lubricants, and other affiliated systems suppliers.
AC2AT STARTS SECOND YEAR
The Advanced Combustion Catalyst and Aftertreatment Technologies (AC2AT) consortium is focusing on four research projects in its second year. The joint-industry program is evaluating engine emissions and developing tools to improve advanced engine technologies through the application of catalysts.
“In the first year, we’ve made progress in our understanding of the complex nature of emissions from today’s high-performance, high-efficiency gasoline and diesel engines,” said Dr. Cary Henry, who leads the AC2AT consortium. “This year we will focus on specific projects to improve aftertreatment and fuel efficiency strategies for these engines.”
SwRI has a long history of managing successful consortia for the automotive industry. Other ongoing programs include the the Advanced Engine Fluids (AEF) and the High- Efficiency Dilute Gasoline Engine (HEDGE) consortia. HEDGE developed the Dedicated- EGR® technology now being integrated into production engines. Members benefit from the collective funding of consortia like these, enabling substantially more pre-competitive research than is typically possible with funding by a single client.
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