The Center for Heat Treating Excellence (CHTE) at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and one of its members, GM Global Powertrain Engineering, have been awarded a patent by the United States Patent and Trademark Office for a method for predicting heat transfer coefficients for metal castings during quenching and cooling operations, an innovation that will help make cast parts more durable.
The research that formed the basis for the patent was funded by GM Powertrain and conducted in CHTE laboratories on the WPI campus and at GM Global Powertrain Engineering in Pontiac, Mich. It was part of GM’s initiative to model and analyze engines for better durability.
The inventors for the patent (U.S. Patent No. 8437991, “Systems and Methods for Predicting Heat Transfer Coefficients During Quenching”) are:
- Qigui Wang, PhD, GM Powertrain
- Bowang Xiao, PhD, GM Powertrain
- Gang Wang, PhD, associate professor at Tsinghua University in China (formerly a research scientist at WPI)
- Richard D. Sisson, PhD, George F. Fuller Professor of Mechanical Engineering at WPI and director of WPI’s Materials Science and Engineering Program
- Kevin Rong, PhD, professor of mechanical engineering at WPI
“The Center for Heat Treating Excellence has done a lot of work on quenching, and this project was a logical extension of our expertise,” Sisson said. “It represents the good work of WPI students and faculty and CHTE member companies.”
Xiao was a PhD student at WPI when the patented methodology was developed. “We conducted a series of air quenching experiments, CFD (computational fluid dynamics) analysis, and FEA (finite element analysis) to model and predict temperatures and residual stresses in aluminum alloy casting during quenching,” he said. “Residual stresses play an important role in engine durability performance, and the temperature history calculation for the casting is the key challenge for accurate residual stress prediction. For the first time, we integrated experimental results and CFD analysis into the FEA analysis to accurately and quickly predict heat transfer coefficients and temperature history.”
About the Center for Heat Treating Excellence
CHTE is an alliance between the industrial sector and university researchers to solve problems in the heat treating industry through collaborative research that addresses the industry’s short- and long-term needs. It provides an important forum where various segments of the industry pool their resources and advance the industry by developing the knowledge base and curricula for the education of its future leaders.
About Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Founded in 1865 in Worcester, Mass., WPI is one of the nation’s first engineering and technology universities. Its 14 academic departments offer more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science, engineering, technology, business, the social sciences, and the humanities and arts, leading to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. WPI’s talented faculty work with students on interdisciplinary research that seeks solutions to important and socially relevant problems in fields as diverse as the life sciences and bioengineering, energy, information security, materials processing, and robotics. Students also have the opportunity to make a difference to communities and organizations around the world through the university’s innovative Global Perspective Program. There are more than 30 WPI project centers throughout North America and Central America, Africa, Australia, Asia, and Europe.
For more information about WPI and CHTE visit: www.wpi.edu/+chte.