Extruded aluminum is helping the automotive industry build lighter vehicles that increase efficiency, safety, and sustainability. Aluminum is now second only to steel as the most used material for frames, bumpers, suspension, powertrain, HVAC components, among many other parts of the vehicle. Analysts predict that aluminum use is predicted to double by 2025.
Extruded Aluminum’s Sustainability
Reducing the vehicle’s weight with aluminum increases it’s fuel efficiency, which in turn will help the vehicle produce fewer tailpipe emissions. This due to simple physics, the lighter the vehicle, the fuel or battery power it needs to consume to move. Additionally, according to independent studies, aluminum has one of the smallest total carbon footprint in it’s life-cycle. As one of the most abundant metal’s in the Earth’s crust, it is also completely recyclable with no degradation of material, in fact, 75 percent of all aluminum produced since 1888 is still in use today, how’s that for a renewable resource.
Aluminum Is Unmatched In Efficiency
More and more, steel is being replaced with high-strength, low weight aluminum alloys, since this allows vehicles to keep their size while cutting their weight to save fuel and reduce emissions produced. As more hybrid and electric vehicles hit the roads, the need for heavy, expensive battery can be reduced in an aluminum heavy vehicle. For example, hybrids that are built using an aluminum structure, are 14 percent more efficient than their steel-framed counterparts.
Safer Than Steel
Finally, aluminum has been found to be safer than steel by having superior energy absorption properties. Because aluminum structures can be designed to fold predictably during a crash, they are being used in the front and rear-end crumple zones which are designed to absorb the energy of the impact and deflect it away from the occupants, so that the vehicle, and not it’s occupants absorb the majority of the destructive kinetic energy produced by the crash (such as with this Ferrari crash). Pound-for-pound, aluminum can absorb twice as much kinetic energy during a crash than steel, and can be used in these safety critical zones without increasing the weight of the vehicle.
With its ability to increase safety, efficiency, and sustainability, it’s no wonder that automotive manufacturers are racing to create intuitive ways to use this abundant metal to its full potential.