1998-05-31

Crashworthiness of Aluminum-Structured Vehicles 986018

Today,due to concerns about the emission of greenhouse gases and the Kyoto Protocol, there is increasing interest in the use of aluminum for reducing the weight of passenger cars to reduce fuel consumption and exhaust emissions, particularly CO2. In recent years, several aluminum-structured cars have been developed and are in service in various parts of the world, all of which have met the relevant vehicle safety requirements. However, concern continues to be raised about the crashworthiness of lightweight vehicles. This paper will summarize data on the energy absorption of aluminum automotive materials and structures under impact collapse conditions as well as published information from the automotive industry on the crashworthiness of two aluminum-intensive vehicles. The data and crash results demonstrate that aluminum-structured vehicles can be designed to be crashworthy and to provide at least the same level of occupant protection as equivalent steel-structured vehicles but at about half the vehicle structure weight.

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