Energy Tradeoffs in Automotive Use of Steel, Fiber-Reinforced Plastics and Aluminum 820151

The embodied energy, structural weight, and transportation energy (fuel requirement) characteristics of steel, fiber-reinforced plastics, and aluminum were assessed to determine the overall energy savings of materials substitution in automobiles. In body panels, a 1.0-lb steel component with an associated 0.5 lb in secondary weight is structurally equivalent to a 0.6-lb fiber-reinforced plastic component with 0.3 lb in associated secondary weight or a 0.5-lb aluminum component with 0.25 lb of secondary weight. The total energy requirements of structurally equivalent body panels (including their embodied and life cycle transportation energies) are: steel (211.6 × 103 Btu), fiber-reinforced plastics (126.7 × 103 Btu), and aluminum (174.3 × 103 Btu). Fiber-reinforced plastics offer greatest improvements in embodied and total energy requirements, while aluminum achieves greatest savings in transportation energy.


Subscribers can view annotate, and download all of SAE's content. Learn More »


Members save up to 43% off list price.
Login to see discount.
Special Offer: With TechSelect, you decide what SAE Technical Papers you need, when you need them, and how much you want to pay.