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LIFT: Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow

LIFT: Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow

Development of Technologies for Joining Titanium to Steel


Project Summary

This project will investigate methods of maturing two specific processes of joining titanium to steel – lap and butt joining configurations. The applications for those processes to be explored as part of this project are automotive titanium exhaust system components and the bevelgear on a shaft.

Technology Gap/Need

The ability to reliably join dissimilar materials – such as titanium to steel – has gained attention recently as manufacturers strive to design and produce lightweight components that can meet the performance and reliability standards of the automotive, aviation, aerospace and defense industries. To lower production cost titanium and its alloys are often welded to steel to achieve high performance and cost-efficiency. However, reliable Ti/Steel joints can be difficult to produce due to poor compatibility resulting from the formation of hard and brittle intermetallic phases.


This project will focus on developing, validating and implementing Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME)-based modeling to predict the welded joint performance. Once validated, the models will be verified on industrial partner-selected applications to ensure they accurately predict the required component performance, including lifecycle and corrosion resistance.

Project Benefits

Developing advanced computational methods which accurately predict material and joint properties of titanium to steel will significantly impact lightweight component design for automotive, aerospace and other transportation industries. Eliminating more complex joints will lead to more efficient designs, reduced weight, and reduced production time and cost.

Educational and Workforce Impact

Graduate students participating in the project, along with engineers from industry partners, will assist in relevant project tasks, witness the lightweighting needs of industry and therefore, become better prepared to join the workforce.

Project Duration

Start: May 2017
End: January 2019


Total Project Value: $2.0M


Industry Partners

  • Tennecco Automotive
  • Boeing
  • SFTC

Research Partners

  • EWI
  • University of Michigan
  • Colorado School of Mines
  • Thee Ohio State University