To facilitate the widespread use of integrated computational materials engineering (ICME), we worked with TMS to develop a detailed, practical field guide to implementing an ICME-accelerated product development program within three years.
ICME has become an internationally recognized approach to accelerating product development and reducing development costs with the use of computational tools. It was first defined as a new materials science sub-discipline with the ability to revolutionize manufacturing in the 2008 U.S. National Academies Report. Despite knowledge of ICME’s benefits, most manufacturers lack a framework to help them implement ICME into their product development process. To address this need, TMS, with support from the U.S. Department of Defense Office of Naval Research and Air Force Research Laboratory, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the U.S. National Science Foundation, initiated a study to produce a field guide that would help manufacturers to implement successful ICME programs.
To develop the ICME Implementation Study, we worked with TMS to facilitate four workshops with a total of 50 leading scientists, engineers, and technical experts from academia, government, national laboratories, and industry. Three workshops were each focused on identifying ICME barriers and the required steps for implementing ICME in one of the following industries: aerospace, automotive, and maritime. While ICME is applicable to many product development industries, these three industries have significant resources and are expected to be early adopters of the technology. The fourth workshop focused on analyzing common barriers across these industries and identifying cross-cutting solutions.
Using workshop outputs and additional phone interviews with experts, we developed preliminary frameworks for ICME implementation for the aerospace, automotive, and maritime industries. Each of these frameworks includes flow diagrams and extensive tables detailing the role of ICME throughout the product development cycle, suggested computational models and tools that can be used at each step, and the necessary personnel experience for implementation success. Through cyclical iterations of the framework, manufacturers can optimize their product and the manufacturing process. The resulting ICME Implementation Study is intended to help manufacturers implement an ICME-accelerated product development program within three years.
The Implementation Study also identifies more than 50 near-term, high-value applications for ICME across the three industries. Examples include the following:
- Develop high-strength, high-ductility extruded aluminum parts for body applications
- Develop low-cost, age-hardened magnesium alloys (without rare earth element content)
- Develop lightweight automotive shafts with an optimal alloy, using an induction-hardening process
- Design improved, high-temperature alloys for nozzle applications using a computational materials design approach
- Use computational approaches to identify possible new high-temperature rotating alloys for jet engine applications, to increase fuel efficiency
- Expand the use of cast or wrought magnesium for aircraft interiors, using better models to address concerns regarding the flammability of magnesium
- Design high-strength fasteners that avoid potential hydrogen embrittlement and galvanic issues
- Design low-cost, weldable, fire-resistant materials with a low thermal coefficient and high melting point
- Develop crack repair processes with low residual stress in structural applications
The ICME Implementation Study was featured in the September issue of JOM and debuted at the 2nd World Congress on ICME in July 2013. The study will help manufacturers implement ICME into their product development processes by providing valuable recommendations for integrating ICME and managing common issues associated with ICME methods. Ultimately, the ICME Implementation Study will help accelerate the market readiness of products while reducing the overall cost of manufacturing.