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Technical Paper

Development of an Improved Cosmetic Corrosion Test for Finished Aluminum Autobody Panels

A co-operative program initiated by the Automotive Aluminum Alliance and supported by USAMP continues to pursue the goal of establishing an in-laboratory cosmetic corrosion test for finished aluminum auto body panels that provides a good correlation with in-service performance. The program is organized as a task group within the SAE Automotive Corrosion and Protection (ACAP) Committee. Initially a large reservoir of test materials was established to provide a well-defined and consistent specimen supply for comparing test results. A series of laboratory procedures have been conducted on triplicate samples at separate labs in order to evaluate the reproducibility of the various lab tests. Exposures at OEM test tracks have also been conducted and results of the proving ground tests have been compared to the results in the laboratory tests. Outdoor tests and on-vehicle tests are also in progress. An optical imaging technique is being utilized for evaluation of the corrosion.
Technical Paper

A New Approach for Robust High-Productivity Resistance Spot Welding of Aluminium

Process consistency and long electrode-life are essential requirements for users of resistance spot welding (RSW) in the automotive industry. RSW is the dominant joining process for manufacturing automotive body structures from sheet materials. The technique is cost effective (particularly in high-volume production), makes joints rapidly, is easy to automate, and it has no per-joint consumables. These beneficial attributes apply equally to RSW of aluminium automotive structures. However, there has been some reluctance in the industry to embrace spot welding for aluminium. This is because the electrode-life is much shorter than that experienced when welding traditional uncoated, plain-carbon steels, and there is a general lack of confidence in the consistency of the process. This paper describes a potentially non-intrusive method that addresses these concerns.
Technical Paper

Dent Resistance of Medium Scale Aluminum Structural Assemblies

This work outlines the evaluation of static and dynamic dent resistance of medium scale structural assemblies fabricated using AA6111 and AA5754. The assemblies fabricated attempt to mimic common automotive hood designs allowing for a parametric study of the support spacing, sheet thickness and panel curvature. Closure panels of AA6111, of two thicknesses (0.8, and 0.9mm), are bonded to re-usable inner panels fabricated using AA5754 to form the structural assemblies tested. While normal practice would use the same alloy for both the inner and the outer, in the current work, AA5754 was adopted for ease of welding. Numerical simulations were performed using LS DYNA. A comparison of experimental and numerically simulated results is presented. The study attempts to establish an understanding of the relationship between structural support conditions and resulting dent depths for both static and dynamic loading conditions.
Technical Paper

Processes for the Recycling of Sheet and Other Wrought Alloys from Aluminum Intensive Vehicles

This paper will describe the main features of two newly-developed enabling technologies for the future establishment of an integrated system to recover the full value of the aluminum from scrapped aluminum intensive vehicles. These technologies are fluidized bed decoating and alloy sorting using analysis by laser induced optical emission spectroscopy. Aluminum Intensive Vehicles will employ substantial quantities of sheet material, most of which will have fairly heavy paint coatings and possibly adhesives. While it may be possible to remove and segregate some of the closure panels and the major aluminum castings, the main body structure will need to be shredded to facilitate both the separation of the various aluminum and other materials and also the subsequent thermal decoating of paint films and adhesives. The decoating is necessary to ensure complete pyrolysis of the coatings and to avoid the excessive dross losses encountered when as-painted scrap is remelted.
Technical Paper

The Properties and Characteristics of Two New Aluminum Automotive Closure Panel Materials

The need to reduce or contain a weight increase in new automobile designs is leading to the use of more and more aluminum and, in particular, to the adoption of aluminum outer body panels in a number of volume production vehicles. This has been made possible by improvements in the properties of heat treatable aluminum sheet materials and also from a better understanding of the issues related to part design and manufacturing. The alloy AA6111 has become the material of choice due to its unique combination of formability and paint bake strengthening and is used, for example, in the deck lids of the current Ford Crown Victoria, Grand Marquis and Taurus/Sable models. A modified process for this alloy has now been developed which significantly increases its paint bake strengthening and can be used either to obtain even better dent resistance or to reduce the gauge and hence obtain cost and weight savings.