The war between cost efficiency and weight reduction has the automotive industry pushing for advancements in high strength classes of steel.
Steel plays a very comprehensive role in the automotive industry. It makes up almost 65% of an automobile truck – from the exterior to interior. With such an astounding number of demands coming from automotive industries, the production of steel remains extremely high.
The standards set in these large industries for top quality, strength, and cost effectiveness paves the way for more advancements in steel crafting.
The automotive industry is one of the major consumers of steel and till now, the demand for steel is continuing to rise. This has been a challenge for metallurgists and metal manufacturers to continue to boost the production of steel to support the rigid requirements coming from large automotive industries.
Steel has been the material of choice for almost all types of manufacturing applications – be it for car parts, turbine engines, chemical plants, hydraulic motors, etc. But with the major concerns of energy efficiency and environmental friendliness, the manufacturing of this metal comes with an ever-increasing list of factors to consider. In the vehicles we have today, fuel efficiency and automobile emissions are monitored closely. Thus, weight reduction in automobiles is a major factor for automakers. This is just one of the reasons for the push for innovations by the auto industry to make light and eco-friendly cars.
Steels in Racing Vehicles
There are specific metals and steels used especially in racing vehicles. For speed and low density, titanium is the most recommended material because of its light weight and high strength mechanical properties. The drawback with titanium is that it is generally much more expensive than other metal types, hence its special use for racing vehicles.
Challenges in Using Steel
For automobile manufacturers, one of the most pressing areas in manufacturing is the compliance and adherence to the rigid regulations of the automotive sector. This involves matters of environmental friendliness, fuel efficiency, and emissions reduction. With an eco-friendly target in mind, automobile manufacturers sought to make cars lighter to lessen carbon dioxide consumption per hour.
There has been a great speed bump in the steel industry since metals like aluminum and titanium are clearly best when it comes to lightweight and high strength. And with the high prices of titanium, aluminum has emerged as a clear opponent to the steel industry.
With their model F-150 pickup truck, Ford has aggressively implemented this strategy. This one move has corresponded to an increased percentage in the contribution of aluminum to automotive manufacturing industries.
With its favorable mechanical properties, the chances of aluminum leading all metals is increasing. However, aluminum is still more expensive than steel, and steels are still preferred by some because of that. A weight reduction at low cost is the ideal situation for automotive manufacturers, a goal that has stimulated ideas for innovations in the classes of steels.
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The Basics of Aluminum Alloy
Aluminum is the most abundant metal in Earth’s crust after silicon and oxygen. It has a silvery-white appearance and contains a lot of valuable mechanical properties. It possesses 60% of the electrical conductivity of copper, with much lower density, making it a lightweight material perfect for aircraft and aerospace construction.
Pure aluminum is soft and ductile, but it can be strengthened when it is alloyed with other elements like magnesium, copper, and silicon. Such alloys possess better corrosion resisting properties, with a protective oxide coating that is achieved and enhanced through the process of anodization. Their lightweight and non-toxic mechanical properties enable them to be easily machined and cast. One good thing about aluminum is that it is recyclable, which can save considerable amounts of energy. They only need to undergo a melting process in order for them to be reused.
Aluminum alloys have low density, therefore, they are lightweight which is one of the key factors to consider in constructing an aircraft and its vital parts. Other important properties they possess are malleability, high strength, easy machining, good electrical and thermal conductivity, and excellent corrosion resistance.
Aluminum in the Aviation Industry
80 percent of commercial transport aircraft frames are made up of aluminum. This alloy is the top choice for the construction of aircraft and parts like wings and fuselage. Most navy aircraft are mainly made of fabricated aluminum. The focus on aluminum casting technology is continuing to earn recognition with its countless advantages in forming complex parts for aircraft structure. With a low manufacturing cost, Aluminum Alloy is the top choice for incorporating innovative and complicated design concepts in the aviation industry.
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