J. Allison, M. Li, C. Wolverton, X. Su
The automotive product design and manufacturing community is continually besieged by Hercule an engineering, timing, and cost challenges. Nowhere is this more evident than in the development of designs and manufacturing processes for cast aluminum engine blocks and cylinder heads. Increasing engine performance requirements coupled with stringent weight and packaging constraints are pushing aluminum alloys to the limits of their capabilities. To provide high-quality blocks and heads at the lowest possible cost, manufacturing process engineers are required to find increasingly innovative ways to cast and heat treat components. Additionally, to remain competitive, products and manufacturing methods must be developed and implemented in record time. To bridge the gaps between program needs and engineering reality, the use of robust computational models in up-front analysis will take on an increasingly important role. This article describes just such a computational approach, the Virtual Aluminum Castings methodology, which was developed and implemented at Ford Motor Company and demonstrates the feasibility and benefits of integrated computational materials engineering.
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