Thixomat Introduces New Magnesium Sheet Process

Stronger, more formable, lighter than steel

The developers of the Thixomolding process for precision magnesium casting have introduced a new technology for producing magnesium sheet. Thixomat Inc. plans to introduce NanoMag at the SAE 2009 trade show in April, in Detroit. NanoMag is described as an environmentally friendly process for manufacturing high-strength, lightweight magnesium sheet with nanometer microstructures, to market for automotive, aerospace, military, biomedical, and other industrial applications.

Details of the production process have not been released. The process was developed by Thixomat in conjunction with the University of Michigan’s Material Science & Engineering, with sponsorship from the National Science Foundation.

NanoMag magnesium sheets are said to be stronger, more formable and lighter in weight than steel sheets, but with a comparable strength-to-density ratio at 25% of the weight. Potential markets include military, automotive, aviation, and aerospace applications. Promoters also indicate potential markets in fuel cell and electronic product manufacturing, and in biomedical products.

"We've learned that the density and strength of NanoMag material is more like human bone than virtually any other currently popular implant materials,” according to Thixomat CEO Dr. Steve LeBeau.

NanoMag is related to the Thixomolding Thermal Mechanical Process, a proprietary near-net-shape casting processes for magnesium alloys, similar to injection molding. LeBeau says the TTMP process makes it possible for NanoMag to be marketed to industry at a reasonable cost.

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