Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Master's Report

Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Advisor 1

Gregory Odegard

Committee Member 1

Paul G. Sanders

Committee Member 2

Hassan Massoud


Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (LIFT) is a consortium with several industries, universities and research institutes. It is operated by the American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute (ALMMII). One of their projects, melt 5a, is to develop high silicon ductile iron (DI) alloys with improved mechanical properties and thin walled DI castings. These alloys have high strength to weight ratio compared to that of standard ductile iron (7003). Using these alloys, components can be re-designed that are much lighter which results in improved fuel efficiency, and reduced manufacturing costs and emissions. I

In this project, a differential case is being re-designed with the objective of at least 25% weight reduction, while meeting strength requirements. The baseline design is obtained from Eaton, a power management company and a supplier of automotive differentials. The differential case is subjected to torsional, bending and gear thrust loads. With advancement in computational power and cutting-edge algorithms, methods such as topology optimization are being used to generate optimized designs. Using such method, a design that is 18.5% lighter than the original design with justifiable violations of the design criteria, is produced. Also, the design is analyzed for high cycle fatigue using a multi-axial critical plane approach to identify potential crack initiation sites.