Present The most notable changes in the present automobile industry involve the use of new, strong, lightweight materials. Aluminum and magnesium are two materials grinding away at steel in automotive applications. The Audi A2 is the first all-aluminum car to be mass produced. Several other options are presently being explored. These options include metal matrix composites, carbon-fiber composites, structural thermoplastic composites, and ultra-light steel. Sandwich materials have been getting a lot of attention lately. Metal matrix composites are promising for automotive use.
They are lightweight, but the cost is prohibitive at present because of the raw materials and production methods. Carbon-fiber composites are becoming more popular because of their strength and weight. For the volume of carbon-fiber composite needed to manufacture a car, the cost is still too high. Polymer matrix composites are also candidates for use in automobiles, but large-scale production methods would have to be created first. The Ultra-Light Steel Auto Body (ULSAB) was unveiled in 1998 by the steel industry in response to the search for lighter materials. Thirty-five companies from eighteen countries helped create it.
The body of a midsize sedan was reduced by as much as thirty-six percent by using the ULSAB, which was made by combining the latest manufacturing techniques with high-strength steels and ultra high-strength steels previously used only in bridges and skyscrapers. The ULSAB costs the same as typical auto body structures in its class and sometimes less. It weighs only 203 kg. It can be manufactured using current technologies and passes federally mandated crash tests. The ULSAB has excellent torsion (20,800 Nm/deg), bending (18,100 N/mm), and modal results (60 Hz), which means that there will probably be less noise, vibration, and hardness. High-strength steels are used for more than ninety percent of the ULSAB.
Tailored banks made from two pieces of steel joined to form a weight reducing blank make up almost fifty percent of the mass. Sandwiched steel materials are used that have thermoplastic sandwiched between two thin steel skins. This can reduce weight up to fifty percent without compromising performance. Tubular and sheet hydroforming were used for the smallest weight with the best structural performance. Hydroforming uses high pressure liquid to create a hard-working effect that improves dimensional stability.
The ULSAB costs only nine-hundred forty-seven dollars to produce. Presently sandwich materials, plastics, aluminum, magnesium, and the ULSAB have been getting lots of attention. The competition between industries is fierce because of the amount of money at stake. Car frames will continue to be improved upon as long as cars are being driven. In this age of technology, almost every new technology is being applied in automotives.