BYU professor’s breakthrough could mean lighter cars, better fuel efficiency

Posted at 4:23 PM, Jul 14, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-14 18:23:05-04

PROVO, Utah – New federal fuel efficiency rules mean automakers are making their vehicles lighter, and a Brigham Young University School of Technology project may make that process a lot more feasible.

BYU Professor Mike Miles has found a new way to create a bond between lightweight aluminum and ultra-high-strength steel.

Miles called the process friction bit joining, and he said it uses a small, consumable bit to create an extremely strong solid-state joint between metals.

He said the research, which is being jointly developed with an Orem-based company called MegaStir, will give engineers more flexibility as they design and build cars.

“What we’d really like to see is the technology go into production and see it enable some things that haven’t been done before, maybe some applications in the auto frame that couldn’t be done before that will now help to lightweight the vehicle,” he said.

For more information on the process, click here for a press release from BYU.