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Steel, PK Aluminum, Who Will Be The Winner Of The Car Lightweight?
Aug 07, 2017

Steel, PK aluminum, who will be the winner of the car lightweight?

According to foreign media reports, now the big car enterprises have continued to increase materials R & D fees, aims to develop new alloys and materials, while improving its performance. In addition, the car enterprises have also improved their latest welding and forming technology to provide support for the manufacture of various materials and alloys. This kind of investment has the same goal: reduce emissions while achieving lightweight. Since the car industry is going to meet even more stringent emissions standards, the best response will undoubtedly be to reduce the weight of the car. To this end, the need to combine the use of various types of aluminum alloy and high-strength steel, magnesium, composite materials (such as carbon fiber) and various plastics.

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Technical research and development of steel and aluminum industry

Due to the demand for increasing production and production efficiency, it is expected that the rolling steel industry (rollingindustry), which is engaged in the production of steel and aluminum, has increased its investment in recent years to improve its technology. For example: the Alcoa Corp (Alcoa) the latest technological breakthrough is Micromill continuous casting technology (continuouscastingtechnology), this technology can greatly reduce the cost, reduce the high strength steel and aluminum sheet (ABS) gap. According to the company revealed that the technology production rate is faster, it takes only 20 minutes to melt metal (MOLTENMETAL) processing aluminum coil. In contrast, if the traditional rolling process, it will take 20 days. The technological progress in stimulating or will turn the tide, many manufacturers have also turned to ABS.

The future war for automotive industry leader in between aluminum and steel materials started. At present, the proportion of aluminum in automotive applications is increasing. And the steel, is trying to rely on advanced automotive high strength steel (AHSS) of all types of products, and aluminum for automotive materials leader position.

In addition to the safety of the cabin (roof beam, longitudinal beam) and other individual important vehicles outside the region, the car has manufactured with aluminum whole BIW (unpainted body) ability, aims to achieve its substantial weight loss and improve vehicle performance.

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This also explains why all the major car manufacturers with aluminum (such as: Nobbe Lise, Aleris aluminum, aluminum Amag, ConnectKentucky) are developing new 5xxx and 6xxx vehicle Aluminum Alloy, and to enhance the tensile strength (a performance improvement of two to three times). At the same time, the manufacturer has continued to improve other properties of the material (e.g. ductility, extensibility). The above product characteristics are undoubtedly critical for automotive applications. In most cases, this type of aluminum alloy will be a substitute for high strength 7xxx aluminum alloy with tensile strength of up to 700MPa, and the cost has been greatly reduced.

The car body (BIW, hood / bonnet, door lamp) is mainly made of hardened 5xxx series aluminum magnesium (manganese) alloy and heat treated 6xxx series Al Mg Si alloy (AlMgSi-alloys). Because of the heat treatment after rolling, the material strength of the heat treatment aluminum sheets such as AA6016 or AA6111 has also been greatly improved.

Trend forecast of the American Automotive Research Center

In its latest report in 2017, the American Automotive Research Center (CAR) revealed that by 2020, the amount of high strength steel would peak, accounting for nearly 15% of the vehicle's weight. By 2040, the share will gradually fall to almost 5%, when other lightweight materials will also take a space in the field of automotive materials. At the same time, the proportion of low carbon steel (mildsteel) in vehicle weight will fall to 5% from 55% (all-time high).

In light weight materials, ultra high strength steel (UHSSsteel) and aluminum in the vehicle consumption will show a steady growth, especially in the security equipment parts, such as frame. The forming properties of the third generation steel products (3rdGenAHSS) have been improved, and the application of this kind of steel will increase sharply. The usage of magnesium will also rise, application in the instrument on the outer beam performance is particularly evident. Carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) are also increasing in automotive applications, but their growth will slow down in the future. The material will mainly be used in most reinforced components rather than panels. According to the American Automotive Research Center, by 2030, 96% of the car projects will consider using aluminum to make white bodies and related applications.










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