New study supports the use of a POSS molecule to strengthen aluminum alloys in automobiles

(Nanowerk News) A new study supports the use of a POSS® molecule to strengthen aluminum alloys in automobiles.
“Influence of Nano-structured Silanols on the Microstructure and Mechanical Properties of A4047 and A359 Aluminum Casting Alloys,” a study conducted in partnership between Michigan State University and Vinci Technology Corporation, is slated for release next year by the American Foundry Society.
The study results show that TriSilanol POSS, created by silanol bonds at the corners of the POSS molecule, increased both the strength and toughness of A4047 and A359 aluminum alloys. In the A359 sample where POSS was added, elongation to failure increased from 23% to 250% over the control sample. According to the authors, these results hold great promise for the automotive industry.
“In recent decades, the push for energy efficiency in the automotive industry led to the use of aluminum-based alloys as lightweight materials for automotive body construction,” said Andre Lee, a researcher at Michigan State University and one of the authors of the study. “One challenge in using aluminum alloys for further weight reduction in automotive applications is the systematic processing methodology to control multi-constituents’ microstructure and performance. When these alloys were treated with very small amounts of POSS, it was able to alter distribution of a specific constituent without affecting the others. This gives these alloys a significant increase in both ductility and strength, which are critical in automotive applications.”
Polyhedral oligomeric silsequioxane, known as POSS, is a nano-structural chemical that bridges the gap between ceramic and organic materials to form a single molecular composition. POSS improves product performance of standard chemical additives. POSS can be altered to give the molecule certain functionalities that are beneficial in a variety of industries.
POSS is created and manufactured by Hybrid, a chemical company in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Hybrid President Joe Lichtenhan said the results of this study break further ground on POSS’ future uses.
“We congratulate Dr. Lee and Dr. Lu on their timely research. From our perspective, it serves to expand potential end users for POSS,” said Lichtenhan. “Many can benefit from lighter weight and tougher material. POSS will be very useful to automotive and aerospace, but it also carries positive implications for other industries, such as containers and sporting goods.”
For more information on the many uses of POSS, visit
Source: Hybrid Plastics
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