BHASKAR PATHAM, PH. D., KIRAN B. DESHPANDE, PH. D., AND SAMPATH K. VANIMISETTI
Automakers such as General Motors are playing a key role in creating the science and technology that will help shape the global future in terms of personal transport. As GM focuses on developing automotive solutions that are sustainable in terms of energy and environment, reducing weight of the vehicle and electrification of the propulsion system have emerged as key priorities . These solutions are driven by continual exploration of new materials and manufacturing processes — for example, multi-material solutions and composites for lightweighting and robust battery materials for electrification. Developing a fundamental understanding of these new material systems and the associated manufacturing processes therefore becomes very important and forms a key effort at the GM Global R&D. At the Material Characterization and Modeling Group, which is a part of the India Science Lab of the GM Global R&D, we are integral to this effort, with the mission to develop validated computational models applied to various products and sub-systems performance and the associated manufacturing processes. In this article, using three simple examples, we illustrate how computational tools help us in developing a fundamental understanding of materials and their processing, and in improving material and process performance.