A Comparison of the Safety Performance of Aluminum and Steel in Conventional Automotive Construction 982389

It is often said that heavier cars are inherently safer than lighter ones. However, when all cars are built with steel, larger size necessarily implies greater weight, so it is unclear whether the improved safety correlates to the weight or size of the vehicle. Using a publicly available computer model of the Ford Taurus, it was thought that this perception could be tested. The existing steel model, with the addition of a Hybrid III dummy and driver side airbag, was validated against actual crash test data. The structure was converted to aluminum, structural stiffness was calculated, and the steel and aluminum crash simulation results were compared. The aluminum model, utilizing monocoque sheet structure, weld bonded joining, and tailor welded blanks, weighed 200 kg less than the steel model and performed as well.


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


Members save up to 40% 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.