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Luo part of winning team at International Magnesium Association

AwardeesProfessor Alan Luo, along with Dr. Jon Carter of GM and other team members, receiving the International Magnesium Association (IMA) award from IMA President Ms. Jan Guy. An Ohio State materials scientist was part of a team that earned accolades for design and manufacturing of a new car part that will save weight and improve vehicle performance.

Professor Alan A. Luo of Ohio State’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering was part of a collaborative team winning this year’s “Award of Excellence for Automotive Product - Automotive Door Inner Panels” from the International Magnesium Association (IMA), and received this prestigious award at the 74th World Magnesium Conference held in Singapore in May. Other members of the winning team were General Motors, Wanfeng Meridian, Dongguan EONTEC Co., and EDAG Engineering.

Development of the magnesium door started in 2012 when Luo was a Technical Fellow at General Motors’ Research and Development Center in Warren, Mich. Luo led the design and development of a 2.7 kilogram applied-header door panel which achieved about 50% mass saving compared with the baseline steel door design. The door panel, with a nominal wall thickness of 2 milimeters was successfully cast at EONTEC in China.

Header door panelSubsequently, in order to achieve even more savings in the part’s mass, Luo successfully won a research award from the US Department of Energy to develop integrated die casting process for large thin-wall castings, in collaboration with Wanfeng Meridian, the largest magnesium die casting company in the world. After joining Ohio State in the summer of 2013, Luo transferred his principal investigator’s role to Dr. Jon Carter of General Motors, but remained a key contributor to the project. The team designed and successfully manufactured a one-piece magnesium casting for “full-header door inner”, which reduced 8.8 kilograms of mass from the steel design. This design also achieved significant part consolidations, combining seven structural parts into one, and elimination of 105 spot welds, replaced by 13 mechanical fasteners.

“These lightweight thin-wall castings have opened opportunities of using a new magnesium alloy AT72 that I originally developed at General Motors and am presently optimizing here at Ohio State, with the help of graduate and undergraduate students,” Luo said. His is engaged with industry in several collaborative research projects to advance the applications of light metals including aluminum, magnesium, titanium and high-entropy alloys as well as nano-particle-reinforced metal matrix composites.