1991-02-01

Development of Magnesium Steering Wheel 910549

This paper describes the development of one-piece die cast magnesium steering wheel frame for a steering wheel incorporating an air bag system. The light weight magnesium frame was designed to have proper stiffness, strength and characteristics of energy absorption. Magnesium alloys with various aluminum contents were tested, and AM60B alloy was selected because of its favorable properties of strength and elongation. New manufacturing techniques, for example, a vacuum hot chamber die casting system and a surface defect inspection system were developed in order to produce high quality castings. The characteristics of energy absorption were evaluated in the laboratory and on actual vehicle crash test, and the results were satisfactory. The magnesium steering wheel frame is about 45% (550g) lighter than the steel one. It has been in production in Toyota passenger cars with driver side air bags.

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