£525k to accelerate AI alloy design

A £525,000 partnership between the Brunel Centre for Advanced Solidification Technology (BCAST) and metals manufacturer Alloyed aims to fine-tune an AI model system which pinpoints bespoke aluminium alloys.


The partners said the current process is costly and lengthy, as new alloys are typically developed by tweaking standard alloy compositions, then using trial and error to test them.

BCAST aims to perfect Alloyed’s existing Alloys by Design (ABD) platform to analyse and rank thousands of potential aluminium alloy compositions simultaneously.

The new technology aims to ‘revolutionise’ manufacturing, while reducing cost and CO2 emissions.

In a statement, Hari Babu Nadendla, professor of metallurgy and materials at Brunel University London, said: “The goal is to accelerate the process of design and development of Al alloys for sustainable manufacturing of light metals, mainly for the car industry.

“Allowing automotive engineers to design lightweight structures made from 100 per cent scrap metal will help consolidate the UK’s leading position in low emission vehicle technology and free the supply chain from the uncertainty sourcing ore or primary metal.”

The three-year project is funded by the EPSRC’s Early-Stage Prosperity Partnerships, with the BCAST–Alloyed collaboration one of nine partnerships between universities and industry granted the investment.

This project follows a two-year partnership between the companies in which new alloys have already been developed.

“There's a good partnership between us already,” said Prof Nadendla. “We want to develop and refine metallurgical models to make to them more efficient and speed up the discovery of new alloys.”

The team aims to use the modified models to make and test three new alloys: one for making future electric cars, a heat-conducting alloy that can be used to 3D-print parts, and an alloy that can be used to make electric cars that can be recycled back into new cars.

According to the partners, scrap metal from cars is already recycled to produce low-value parts like window panels and wheel alloys, though not yet for making high-value car parts.

Prof Nadendla added: “The industry is very well established in recycling, but the current way is not sustainable. We would like to double up and accommodate the end-of-life scrap metal directly as input.”