Materials used in the Chassis and Body Components
The choice of materials for an automotive body is influenced by the considerations made by the manufacturer concerning legislation and regulations, as well as the customer’s requirements. The majority of manufacturers choose materials that are light, economical, safe and recyclable.
In selecting materials for the body, the main factors are a variety of properties such as resistance to heat, chemicals or mechanical forces, manufacturing efficiency, and durability. Steel is the material of choice for all manufacturers because it has the desired characteristics. Steel became stronger, lighter, and stiffer as a result of the development or improvement in the steel industry. The steel is not limited to vehicle bodies. It also includes an engine, chassis, and wheels. Iron and steel are used to create the structural components for vehicles in large quantities and are inexpensive.
Steel is the best material to use for a vehicle’s body because of its ability to absorb impact energy.
In the automotive industry, aluminum is used extensively in chassis and body structures. Aluminum can reduce the weight of a vehicle. The most important characteristics of aluminum are its low weight, high specific energy absorption, and precise strength. Aluminum is corrosion resistant, but due to its low flexibility, it can’t replace steel parts. These parts must be re-engineered in order to achieve the same mechanical strength.
In a short period of time, the use of aluminum in the automobile industry has grown dramatically. Aluminum castings are used in the automotive industry for pistons. It is used in chassis applications as wheels, brackets, and brake components. steering components, and instrument panels. Body structures, exterior attachments, and finishing are made of aluminum, such as crossbeams or doors.
Recent improvements have shown that aluminum can save up to 50% of the steel for the white body by replacing it with steel. The total vehicle weight can be reduced by up to 20-30%.
Magnesium, another lightweight metal, is gaining in popularity alongside aluminum. It is 75% lighter than steel and 33% lighter than aluminum. Magnesium parts have a number of mechanical limitations that require a special design to be used in automotive products.
Magnesium is weaker in terms of tensile, fatigue, and creep strengths than Aluminium. Magnesium alloys have a lower modulus, hardness, and thermal expansion coefficient than aluminum. Pure magnesium is not suitable for use due to its low mechanical strength. It must be alloyed. Mg-AlZn is the most common alloying component for room-temperature applications. It includes aluminum, zinc, and manganese.
A company that manufactures automobiles should focus on improving fuel economy and reducing emissions. The use of lightweight metals will improve fuel efficiency more than any other factor. According to experiments, a 10 percent weight reduction can result in a 6 to 8 percent improvement in fuel consumption. Three ways can be used to reduce weight:
* Substituting high precision weight elements with materials of moderate density without reducing rigidity or durability. Replace steel with composites, foams, aluminum, or magnesium.
* Designing load-carrying components and exterior attachments in a way that reduces their weight without compromising rigidity or functionality.
* Optimizing production processes, such as reducing spot welding and arranging new joining techniques.
Cost is the most important factor that drives the industry in the automobile industry. It determines whether or not a new component can be selected for a vehicle. The cost includes three economic factors: the actual cost for raw materials; the manufacturing added value, and the design cost.
Aluminum and magnesium alloys cost more than steel and cast irons. The cost of light materials is high, so the decision to choose them must be justified by the advanced functionality. The high cost of composite materials is one of the main barriers to their use.
The automotive industry places a high priority on safety. Safety is a key factor in the automotive sector. The manufactured chassis and body components must meet the quality standards. Crashworthiness and penetration resistance are two of the most important safety measures that are considered in the automotive industry. In more detail, crashworthiness is the ability to absorb energy via controlled crash modes and mechanisms. The total energy absorption is the goal of penetration resistance.
In the automotive industry, the most critical concerns are “recycling,” “reduction of CO2 emission”, and “protection.” Recyclability guidelines are available in Europe and Asia. There are no regulations or issues regarding automotive end-of-life in the United States. The steel material is easily recyclable, while aluminum has a high cost.