Steel Battles Plastic for Fuel Tank Application: - Forming - Joining - Corrosion Resistance 2001-01-3082
Worldwide regulations for environmental issues are forcing the automotive industries to evaluate new materials for compliance. Future requirements for automotive recycling and stricter automotive emission standards are causing the industry to look for steel fuel tanks, which are inherently impermeable and 100% recyclable. Challenges to steel as a fuel tank material are to achieve a minimum of 15 years of corrosion life with a cost effective product demonstrating weight and complex shapes comparable to plastic. The paper will discuss the impact of the future regulations on steel fuel tanks and the product actions what have been taken to meet these regulations. Specific data will be presented on the test and development of a pre-painted aluminized steel fuel tank material designed to exceed the 15 year corrosion life requirement. The paper will also discuss new manufacturing technologies like hydromechanical sheet forming (AHU®) and new joining technologies that allow to produce steel fuel tanks in complex shapes and to join emission tight seam welds.