Sandia will partner with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and Mallinda LLC to test Carbon-Fiber Reinforced Plastic, a class of lightweight material which could reduce on-highway vehicle weight, and thus increase fuel efficiency, all without impacting performance for consumers. Together, the lab-industry partnership will “characterize microscopic structural defects and evaluate the high-speed impact on the company’s malleable thermoset Carbon-Fiber Reinforced Plastic technology” according to the award announcement. The work is part of an effort to validate the novel, lightweight materials. Lighter vehicles can travel farther on less fuel, but developing and manufacturing lighter materials isn’t always efficient or cheap—slowing their adoption despite the potential to benefit multiple industries or support clean energy technologies.
Mallinda LLC will be able to work with the national laboratories through a share of $2.25 million awarded in technical assistance from the Department of Energy. The awards go to projects selected for what is a second round of industrial assistance opportunities supported by DOE’s LightMAT—the Lightweight Materials Consortium.
LightMAT is a network of 10 national laboratories with unique state-of-the-art technical capabilities and experts highly relevant to lightweight materials development and utilization. LightMAT provides straightforward access to resources and capabilities in this network via a single point of contact and works to match industry research teams with expertise and equipment found only at the Department of Energy’s national laboratories.