Aluminium in use

Modern cars contain increasingly more aluminium. This is why.

Øyvind Breivik

By , Informasjonssjef Primærmetall i Hydro

Modern cars contain increasingly more aluminium. This is why.

Aluminium has many good qualities that are suitable for car production. Photo: Getty Images/iStock

Aluminium is a light metal that behaves in a favourable way during a crash. This makes it suitable for car production. Furthermore, aluminium is easy to recycle.

In other words, cars get safer and more environmentally friendly when aluminium is involved in the building process.

In this video, you can see how a bumper made of aluminium is deformed in a collision 30 km/h.

– This video shows how aluminium folds like an accordion, without ruptures or breaches. The energy is absorbed in the aluminium instead of being passed on to the person inside the car, explains NTNU professor Magnus Langset. He works at SIMLab in Trondheim, where the video is recorded.

Scientists working with aluminium

At SIMLab, scientists from Hydro and NTNU/Sintef are developing aluminium solutions for car production.

Constructing crash simulators, or crash boxes, where the bumper is put to the test, requires high technical material expertise.

Well-known car producers like Audi, BMW, Toyota and Honda are on the list of co-operation partners at SIMLab. Hans Erik Vatne, Head of Technology in Hydro, explains:

It might sound weird, but the more crumpled the bumper gets in a collision, the better for the passengers inside the car. It means the structural parts on the bumper has taken the hit from the collision and spared the passengers

High demand for aluminium

Since 2000 the consummation of aluminium has increased with more than 100 percent, and the demand is still growing.

– A significant part of this demand comes from car producers who want to build lighter cars that pollute less. Aluminium weighs about one third of steel and therefore decreases the weight of the car. The lighter the car is, the lesser the fuel consumption and pollution, says Vatne.

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