Engineering consultancy Alvant has developed a proprietary manufacturing process called advanced liquid pressure forming (ALPF), which works with any relatively low-melting-point metal such as aluminium alloy.
The process can be used with silicon carbide particles mixed into the molten metal to produce a lower-cost version of the AMC material. The lightest, highest-performance and most costly variant incorporates fibres derived from aluminium oxide. The fibres are pre-formed into the required shape in a mould and then injected with the molten metal to make the component.
There is a huge potential for the use of AMC in EV powertrains and drivelines.
Alvant has been working specifically on rotors for axial flux (biscuit-tin-shape) drive motors for EVs. In conjunction with UK motor manufacturer Yasa, it has developed a rotor that is 40% lighter than the original.
Elsewhere, a sandwich of AMC fibre-impregnated sheets with an AMC foam filling can work in a similar way to a bullet-proof vest, making it useful for protecting EV batteries at a fraction of the weight of a steel casing. Less weight equals smaller, lighter batteries, reducing cost and increasing range in the famous virtuous circle of weight reduction.
Because AMC is so stiff, it’s possible to reduce the air gap between the rotor and stator (electro-magnet windings) in axial flux (biscuit tin) EV motors, increasing the power-to-weight ratio of the motor.
Alvant Plc and its operating subsidiary, Alvant Ltd, form an advanced materials technology group that is involved in the specification, creation, manufacture and licensing of aluminium metal matrix composite (AMC) solutions. AMCs are lightweight high-performance metals that have the strength of steel but at half the weight. With the potential to be used across a range of industries, AMCs not only help meet sustainability targets but also enhance product capability.