Thursday, December 12, 2013

Increasing Vehicle Efficiency with New Lightweight Materials

New lightweight materials will help the automotive industry to be more efficient. Vehicular propulsion is all about the power to weight ratio. Lighter weight vehicles require less energy and are therefore more efficient.  According to a report from Lux Research new lightweight technologies are able to provide the same degree of structural robusticity as heavier traditional materials.  This is a trend that Lux Research anticipates  will revolutionize the transportation sector.

These emerging lightweight structural materials save fuel, which is an important strategic consideration for car makers both to minimize energy requirements and to save on fuel costs.  Energy use is expected to rise 53 percent from 2008 levels to 765 quadrillion BTUs in 2035.

According to the report, advanced materials like magnesium and high-strength steel will have a greater impact on efficiency energy use than carbon fiber and even much heralded nanomaterials.

General Motors is one example of many car companies that are investing in lighter weight material development. In 2012 the company was among several recipients that received $54 million in Energy Department grants aimed at improving the energy efficiency of advanced manufacturing technologies.

GM received $2.7 million to develop an integrated die-casting process for a thin-walled magnesium application used to manufacture car doors. The process is expected to cut energy use by 50 percent. The reduced weight in the doors also will improve fuel economy and reduce carbon emissions.

© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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