1998-11-30

Life Cycle Engineering Study of Automotive Structural Parts Made of Steel and Magnesium 982225

This paper presents some results of the cooperation between Opel and Norsk Hydro for optimizing the life cycle of an automotive structural part using a holistic life cycle assessment approach.
The aim of the study presented in this paper was to compare, already in the vehicle development stage, the environmentally relevant parameters of two alternative material applications for a vehicle component with functional equivalence, using the Life Cycle Engineering approach developed by PE Product Engineering GmbH.
The comparison of the two alternative part designs made out of steel and magnesium alloy considered the production of materials, the processing of the materials to manufacture the cross beam component, and the use phase as a part applied to the complete vehicle.
End-of-life options were also taken into consideration.
Regarding production and processing emissions, particular importance was attached to the environmental impact of Sulphurhexafluoride (SF6) which is used for oxidation prevention of the molten magnesium. SF6 contributes substantially to the Global Warming Potential.

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