DETROIT—Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow (LIFT) recently launched its third round of technology projects. They will focus on joining dissimilar materials, complex structures and environmentally-friendly approaches to coating metals.

“We are very pleased to launch these new projects with our partners to invigorate new innovation in lightweighting,” says Nigel Francis, CEO and executive director of LIFT. “At any moment in time, there are nearly 600 industry and academic experts working on LIFT-related projects to revolutionize lightweight manufacturing here in the U.S., and these projects are an example of that work.”

New projects include:

*High-Temperature Gas Forming and Simulation. Led by GKN Aerospace, along with other industry members Interlaken and American Axle and research partners Notre Dame, University of Michigan and EWI, this $2 million project will develop hot-metal gas forming technology  and  predictive  analytical  modeling capability, with the goal  of improving dimensional accuracy and mechanical properties of  complex lightweight-formed components.

*Systems Approach for Evaluation, Selection and Implementation of Chromate-free Coating Systems for Aluminum Alloys. Led by United Technologies, along with industry partners Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Materion and research partners Michigan State University and Ohio State University, this $900,000 project will develop an alternative to coatings relying on hexavalent chrome for corrosion resistance of selected aluminum alloys.

*Knowledge Based Automated Assembly of Complex Structures: Led by GKN Aerospace, along with industry members United Technologies, Lockheed Martin and Comau and research partners Notre Dame and EWI, this $1 million project will demonstrate the ability to automatically weld complex thin-sheet metal structures.

*Friction Stir Welding of Complex Structures. Led by Boeing, with industry members GKN Aerospace and MTI along with research partners EWI, University of North Texas and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, this $881,00 project will advance the friction stir welding process for hermetically sealed joints, offering the opportunity to replace vacuum brazing or use of sealants and adhesives.

*Friction Stir Welding of Dissimilar and Complex Aluminum-based Materials. Led by Boeing, with industry partners GKN Aerospace and Materion and research partners University of Michigan, University of North Texas, Case Western Reserve University and EWI, this $1 million project will expand the use of friction stir welding to advanced metal-matrix aluminum composites.