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Lightweighting Technologies for Automotive Applications
Automotive industry traditionally has reduced weight primarily by downsizing. Today, the strategy of downsizing vehicle has reached its limits. The OEMs are also facing substantial increases in Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulations in the US. Also the fuel economy requirements are increasing globally. In this context, significant vehicle light weighing is needed, and appropriate use of a variety of lightweight materials will be necessary to meet the mass targets. Another aspect and a more challenging issue is that OEMs are learning how to cost effectively join (weld, rivet, form and cast) lightweight vehicles on a global platform. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the need and strategic development of undergraduate and graduate level course materials on this topic and the best assessment techniques to gauge the understanding of the topics by the students. The teaching and learning experiences of the author in delivering this course at two different college student audience and also presenting invited talks on this topic at conferences will be discussed in detail in this paper. Finally, all course material is being consolidated for possible publication as an introductory textbook.