GM Invests in NanoSteel
General Motors, via its GM Ventures arm, is investing in Providence, R.I.-based NanoSteel, a nano-structured steel provider that offers higher strength steels that can help reduce vehicle weight.
One reason automakers are using lighter materials to decrease weight is that safety equipment and new electronics have added weight to vehicles, which degrades fuel economy. As a result, most vehicles now include a mix of traditional steel, aluminum, high-strength and ultra-high-strength steels, and (in some cases) carbon fiber and composites.
NanoSteel offers an iron-based alloy that has been modified through nano-structuring. Sheet metals with tensile strengths of 950 MPa, 1200 MPa, and 1,600 MPa will be available for automotive production next year. With higher-strength steel, automakers can use thinner components to reduce vehicle weight while still maintaining structural integrity.
According to NanoSteel, its material can be formed into component parts using room temperature metal stamping processes on existing manufacturing equipment (cold forming); other types of advanced high strength steels (AHSS) require elevated temperatures for part forming. NanoSteel also claims to have solved the issue of brittleness with nano-structured steel.
You can see a NanoSteel video explaining the material below: