Mission Statement

The Center for Lightweighting Automotive Materials and Processing (CLAMP) was established in 1998 with the mission of creating a university/industry/government collaborative education/ research/information center on lightweight automotive materials and processing. The initial grant to establish the Center came from the US Department of Energy's Graduate Automotive Technology Education (GATE) program.

To accomplish its mission, the Center has formulated the following objectives:

  1. Provide graduate education on materials and processes that are or will be used in the future for producing lightweight automobiles
  2. Conduct research to advance the design, materials technology and manufacturing processes for producing lightweight automobiles
  3. Work collaboratively with industry on research, materials testing and life-long education.

The Center supports curriculum development, laboratory development, research projects, seminars, conferences and colloquia. The Center also supports a web based lightweight automotive materials database that can be used for material selection and design. The database provides information on properties and processing characteristics of materials specific to automotive applications.

Available Programs

  • Educating future engineers on automotive materials, manufacturing processes, and lightweight design is one of the central missions of CLAMP. For this reason, the CLAMP faculty has created the automotive materials concentration within the master's program in Automotive Systems Engineering. The emphasis for this concentration is application, design, and processing of structural materials for lightweight automobiles. Courses in this concentration are designed to integrate materials engineering with other engineering disciplines.

    Courses in the Automotive Materials Concentration

    • Materials Selection in Automotive Design
    • Lightweight Automotive Alloys
    • Advanced Steels for Automobiles
    • Mechanical Behavior of Polymers
    • Automotive Composites
    • Composite Materials
    • Mechanical Behavior of Materials
    • Designing and Manufacturing with Lightweight Automotive Materials
    • Design and Manufacturing for Environment
    • Analysis and Design for Vehicle Crashworthiness
    • Automotive Assembly System
    • Automotive Manufacturing Processes
    • Injection Molding
    • Cast Metals in Engineering Design
    • Materials Considerations in Manufacturing
    • Environmental Degradation of Materials
  • Automotive Systems Engineering is a 30 credit hour interdisciplinary master's degree program providing a systems perspective of automotive engineering with related design and/or research experience. Each course in the program carries three credit hours.

    The program also offers the opportunity for significant student interaction with faculty members and industry experts through research, internship, continuing education, industry visits, and consulting assignments.

A Leading University Research Center

The Center for Lightweighting Automotive Materials and Processing (CLAMP) a university education and research center dedicated to exploring the design potential, applications and processing of advanced materials for lightweight automobiles.

CLAMP was created in 1998 with a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy's Graduate Automotive Technology Education (GATE) program. Recognizing the gains in fuel economy and emission levels achieved through lighter cars, the GATE program encourages research into automotive design and manufacturing methods that reduce vehicle mass. Nine universities were awarded the prestigious grants in five advanced automotive technology areas. UM-Dearborn was the only university that received a grant in the lightweight materials field in 1998. Additional funding came from the Department of Energy in 2005 to upgrade and expand CLAMP's education and research objectives.

  • The study for materials for lightweight automobiles is a relatively new engineering discipline. While the properties of materials such as magnesium and fiber-reinforced composites are well researched, less is known about relationships between these materials and their functions within automotive systems.

    Learning more about the performance and behavior of advanced materials is essential to reducing the mass of automobiles -- which leads to better fuel economy and lower emissions, two features of great importance to customers, manufactures and government agencies.

  • Still in the early stages, lightweight automotive design and manufacturing are positioned to grow into a major engineering field in the coming decades. Committed to preparing the field's future leaders the college offers in cooperation with CLAMP, a lightweight materials concentration within the graduate program in automotive systems engineering. Courses focus on automotive alloys, ceramics, polymers and composites, and designing with these materials.

  • Lightweight automobile manufacturing is an emerging field that requires faculty and industry professionals to stay abreast of research and recently developed materials. One of CLAMP's most important activities is compiling the latest research so that information is easy to find and is accessible. The Automotive Materials Database is a web-based repository of lightweight materials that puts the latest information at the fingertips of engineers, designers, researchers, and students.

  • CLAMP collaborates with industry and seeks partnerships with industry in a variety of ways.

    • Internships for graduate students, research┬áscholars, and faculty members
    • Guidance and funding for research relevant to the field
    • Development and use of Automotive Materials Database
    • Sponsorship of seminars and colloquia
    • Sponsorship of student projects
    • Holding industry-relevant seminars and colloquia
    • Providing testing and materials characterization service
    • Sharing research ideas and research results