|Automotive Materials V: Weight Reduction
This newsletter re-examines developments in lightweight materials for the automotive sector, which also serves as an update to our 2004 newsletter (#8) on this topic. There is a fine balance between consumer demand for greater comfort and performance with fuel economy (and CO2 emission) standards. Introduction of cost-effective lightweight materials are key in this endeavor. Al alloys, performance polymers and polymer matrix composites are all becoming more prevalent in a variety of components ranging from the engine to the body. The new materials also create challenges for bonding of materials, e.g. of Al alloys in a space frame, and coatings for composite materials. The development of HEVs and EVs provides further improvement of average fuel economy for the automobile manufacturers by way of new materials technology in batteries. This enables the manufacturers to satisfy government mandates but also to meet increasing consumer demand for “green” vehicles.