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.

Meeting the demand for lighter cars

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.

Educating future engineers

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.

An information repository

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.

Partnership with industry

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