Lightweight Design for Ground Combat Vehicle Components

NCMS Project #: 140909

Problem: With the cost of fossil fuel going up, and the desire to reduce emissions and thereby help our environment, manufacturers have been looking for ways to make vehicles more efficient. One of those ways is to lower the overall weight. But a lighter weight, efficient vehicle also needs to be a safe, grounded, and highly responsive one. An understanding is needed of the materials themselves, their properties, and their incorporation into existing vehicle designs. With the shared needs of the commercial capabilities with the specialized requirements of the military, the vehicle requirements for the U.S. Army would be a perfect proving ground for the development of lightweight automotive components.

Benefit: The intent of this initiative is to use the U.S. Army’s lightweighting goals as a test bed to develop optimized materials that reduce weight without decreasing vehicle safety, and show how such improvements can be transferred to commercial applications such as personal and commercial vehicles, e.g., cars, buses, etc. To date, use of lightweight materials has been limited due to corrosion issues and performance of mixed-material, lightweight solutions.

Solution/Approach: Research is required to establish the performance properties of novel lightweight materials and incorporate them into existing vehicle designs. This would afford enhanced vehicle longevity and survivability while minimizing risk associated with use of new materials. Potential strategies to do so include design of individual vehicle subsystems made from lightweight materials, analysis of the performance of the subsystem components, and strategies to mitigate the effects of joining novel lightweight materials to conventional vehicle materials. The scope of this study will investigate the use of integrating emerging technologies in a wide array of materials including carbon fiber reinforced composites, mixed metal matrix composites, aluminum and magnesium alloys as well as high-performance low-density composites.

Impact on Warfighter:

  • Ensure warfighter survivability
  • Improve readiness
  • Smaller carbon footprint and lower emissions
  • Reduce Army logistic burdens by lowering operations and maintenance costs

DOD Participation:

  • U.S. Army

Industry Participation:

  • PPG Industries, Inc.
  • NCMS

Benefit Area(s):

  • Cost savings
  • Repair turn-around time
  • Maintenance avoidance and reliability
  • Positive environmental impact
  • Safety
  • Improved readiness

Focus Area:

  • Energy, environmental, health, and safety