We are pleased to contribute editorial for this quarterly column. Over the coming year, we will share the advancements we are making at the Advanced Casting Research Center on innovative processing methods for cast components; measurement of heat-transfer coefficient and other critical process parameters; big-data research; and advanced-alloy development initiatives. We will also discuss other leading-edge research at the University of California, Irvine (UCI).

First, we would like to tell you a little about our organization. The Advanced Casting Research Center (ACRC) is one of the largest industry-university alliances in North America. We were founded 35 years ago and recently relocated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) to UCI. Our focus is on conducting fundamental research with clear industrial applications. We work in a collaborative environment with industry members, and the alliance with our industry partners has enriched the research ecosystem. Members are actively involved in providing input during the research selection process.




Our focus is on solidification processing, digital manufacturing, light metals, ferrous and nonferrous alloys and semi-solid processing. The work is carried out using simulation models coupled with experiments. UCI has invested in a state-of-the-art metal-processing facility, which includes vacuum-arc casting, atomization, metal casting (ferrous and nonferrous metals), mechanical testing, CT scanning capabilities and a complete metallographic and microscopy suite.

In addition, UCI is home of three major national resources that are affiliated with ACRC. These are: IDMI – Institute for Design and Manufacturing Innovation, with capabilities in digital manufacturing and meta materials; IMRI – Irvine Materials Research Institute, which is the nation’s premiere material characterization center; and a newly established NSF MRSEC investigating complex and concentrated materials (i.e., high-entropy alloys, etc.).




Each year, ACRC takes on member-funded research projects and those funded by the federal government and outside agencies, such as NASA, the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) and the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) to name a few. Current projects funded by the ACRC consortium include:

  • Heat-transfer coefficient variation in permanent molds
  • FEA correlation of 3D-scanned model of cast porosity
  • Innovative heat-treat methods for Al castings
  • Development of a non-heat-treat Al structural alloy
  • Big-data project – AI and metal processing

Projects funded by the U.S. federal government and other organizations include:

  • Conformal cooling for high-pressure die casting
  • Wire-arc additive manufacturing
  • Cold spray – mechanisms and process optimization
  • Modeling of macrosegregation in complex geometries and alloys
  • Si single-crystal growth studies

Many of these projects will be discussed in future “Academic Pulse” installments. For more information about our research, visit https://acrc.manufacturing.uci.edu/?page_id=2413.

The ACRC consortium has nearly 40 active members representing the full spectrum of organizations supporting the global metal-processing and casting industry — primary producers, suppliers, end users, casters, system and component suppliers, service providers, trade associations and national laboratories. For a complete list of our members or to see what members say about membership in ACRC, please visit https://acrc.manufacturing.uci.edu/?page_id=2429.