A Paradigm Shift: Light Construction

At present, aluminum is the most used material in the development of automobiles, second only to iron. The consumption of aluminum sheet and aluminum tape by companies engaged in the automotive industry has only increased in recent years due to the need to lighten the weights.

Although the origin of its use was its excellent ability to evacuate the heat, thus employing various mechanical elements, it was not until the decade of the 90 that began to consider to build the bodies of some high-end models of Ferrari and Jaguar.

The change to aluminum began with simple parts, such as the hoods of pickup trucks and boot lids. Including it in the door panels was more complicated, because it is a part of the car that usually receives essential impacts in accidents.

 A milestone was the presentation of the ASF technology (Audi Space Frame) of light aluminum construction. Although it was not the first brand to elaborate full-body styles in this material, it did lay the foundations for a new manufacturing process.

The Advantages Of Aluminum Over Steel

In addition to the issue of lightness, aluminum brings other benefits to the automotive industry. The increase in its use supposes an increase in costs -it is more expensive than iron-, but it has characteristics that make it very profitable:

  • It can be recycled almost without limits, thus reducing the generation of waste. The quality of the material is hardly affected by continuous recycling processes, so savings are essential.
  • Contributes to a decrease in the emission of polluting gases.
  • It favors the conservation of fuel when diminishing the weight of the car.
  • Increase the safety of the vehicles: the bodies made of aluminum have greater rigidity; also, they offer higher resistance to impacts, dissipating much of the energy generated in the collision. We must also appreciate that a lower weight implies greater efficiency in braking.
  • It protects against corrosion: it has an excellent resistance in contact with oxygen when an oxide film forms naturally on it that protects it against corrosion. This prevents rapid degradation of the element, an advantage over iron. Anyway, we must take into account its lower resistance to oxidation in contact with other metals, so it is convenient to isolate it.