Joint Design for Aluminum Automotive Structures 930492
The need to substantially reduce the weight of automobiles to improve performance or meet CAFE requirements has led to an increased use of lightweight materials such as aluminum. To use aluminum efficiently in auto body structures, component and joint designs and joining methods are likely to differ from those traditionally used in steel bodies. With proper design, aluminum automotive frames can efficiently meet or exceed the performance requirements for stiffness, static strength, fatigue strength and crash performance. This paper presents some joint design concepts for aluminum frames and compares the performance of joining methods such as resistance spot welding (RSW), gas metal arc (GMA) welding, weld bonding, adhesive bonding, riveting and mechanical clinching for both unibody and spaceframe construction. Recommendations for preferred joining methods are also made based on the effect of design details on joint performance and assembly.