Automotive Materials

An Introduction

The pace of change within the automotive industry is growing at the fastest rate in its history. A generation ago, it would have been unbelievable to think that in the space of 20 years modern SUVs could reach speeds that 1990s supercars could reach, and still be able to stop and turn a corner. This rate of change simply could not have advanced so rapidly were it not for the adoption of space age materials and manufacturing processes to offset evermore stringent environmental and safety laws. Due to this ingenuity, automotive manufacturers have been able to offer mass-market access to what was only recently race car technology. Carbon Fibre monocoque chassis, performance hybrid propulsion systems and carbon/ceramic composite brakes allow modern hypercars to achieve performance - and safety - levels their recent forebears could only have dreamed of. 

 

The requirements of materials used in automotive manufacture has also developed apace. Modern bodyshells are formed from exotic extrusions which, whilst not only being lightweight, also absorb and dissipate vast amounts of energy in the event of a collision. Cast iron engine blocks have largely been replaced with aluminium alloys to reduce weight, whilst withstanding temperatures they couldn't before, and forged alloys wheels are becoming de rigeur on performance cars as a way of representing a design language whilst, again, saving weight.

The materials and applications on this page are listed solely as a guide and do not reflect the limit of our supply, or the uses of said materials. If you have a specific application for which you need particular materials, please do not hesitate to contact us.

aluminium

+ Lightweight

+ High Strength

+ Straightforward to extrude into complex shapes

+ Good corrosion resistance

+ Easy to join via riveting or bonding

+ High modulus of elasticity

+ Large range of alloys and tempers to meet a broad range of needs

+ Relatively abundant supply

+ Easily recyclable - products manufactured from recycled aluminium

   have identical properties to original products

Pros

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Aluminium in Motoring

nickel

Pros

+ High yield strength

+ High thermal fatigue resistance

+ Low coefficient of expansion

High specific strength meaning that relatively thin walled tubes and         sheets can be used, maintaining properties whilst saving weight

+ Stable, thick Cr₂O₃ film layer, strengthened when heated, giving                 excellent corrosion resistance.

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Cons

Nickel in Motoring

steel

Pros

+ Broad range of high strength AHSS alloys including TWIP, TRIP, DP, and

   Stainless Steels to meet safety requirements

+ Easy to stamp, coldwork, and hydroform into shape

+ Straightforward to weld and join

+ Modern steels have far greater corrosion resistance than previous

   generations

Abundant and popularly used, with many studies completed on

   furthering Steel's use in Automotive Engineering

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Cons

Steel in Motoring

titanium

Pros

+ Excellent creep resistance - useful for con-rod manufacture

+ High yield strength

+ High thermal fatigue resistance

+ Good hot (and cold) corrosion resistance

+ Good cold formability

+ Good fabricability

+ Good high temperature microstructure stability

+ Relatively lightweight - half that of Steel

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Titanium in Motoring

carbon fibre

Pros

+ Very lightweight

+ High tensile strength

+ Readily formed into complex shapes

+ High corrosion resistance

+ Excellent stiffness

+ Good resistance to heat

+ High strength over large areas

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Carbon Fibre in Motoring

aramids

Pros

+ Very lightweight

+ Resistant to abrasion

+ Readily formed into complex shapes

+ High corrosion resistance

+ Excellent stiffness

+ Good resistance to heat

+ An ideal composite layer with Carbon Fibre

+ Excellent puncure resistance

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Cons

Aramids in Motoring

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