Browse Publications Technical Papers 2003-01-0641

A Review of the Life Cycle Environmental Performance of Automotive Magnesium 2003-01-0641

The use of aluminum and magnesium provides cost-effective weight savings in car components. Its increased use, as a structural and body material will bring about further weight savings. Environmentally this translates into fuel savings and lower emissions. Substituting light metals as magnesium and aluminum for steel in the primary structure of a car opens up room for design innovation and changes in production processes tailored to the particular needs of automotive industry. Additionally sophisticated recycling techniques are needed, i.e. recycling of the light weight metals from ELV's must be efficient in terms of amount recovered and material properties.
The aim of this paper is to review various Life Cycle Analyses (LCAs) conducted over the last years for environmental assessment of automotive parts made of light metals. Use of SF6 and recycling effects are highlighted.
The advantage of using magnesium and aluminum is obvious when using the car. Savings of energy throughout the use-phase pays back for the high energy consumption at production. Additionally light metals are considered well suited for recycling and will contribute to further improved environmental performance in the second life cycle. Due to upcoming legislation, increased awareness and investigated alternatives, use of SF6 is assumed to be phased out in the future. This implies a major reduction in greenhouse gas emissions for parts made of magnesium and makes magnesium even more favorable as a material in automotive applications.


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