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Weighing the Material Options for Automotive Lightweighting

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Designing lighter, stronger and more cost-effective automotive products provides a solid competitive edge to the companies that produce them. Here’s why some are re-evaluating their materials.

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The key is to develop products that fulfill cost and duty requirements but use alternate materials and clever designs to reduce weight.

 

Shaving ounces and even fractions of ounces out of every automotive component will end up making a significantly lighter car. The trick is to develop products that fulfill cost and duty requirements but use alternate materials and clever designs to reduce weight.

Magnesium is a good place to start. With a density of 106 lb. per cubic foot, magnesium is the lightest of all structural metals, and has the highest strength-to-weight ratio as well. It is 33-percent lighter than aluminum and a whopping 75-percent lighter than steel. It carries a proven track record in the automotive, aerospace, medical and electronics industries, and is used in everything from fuel tanks to gearboxes.

The next question is, how can you make the best choices and get them into test quickly? The design and modeling software tools available today are a real boon to the early stages of the product development process. But there’s still a need for physical, functional prototypes to prove out design assumptions…READ MORE.

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