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Technical Paper

Life-Cycle Assessment of a Powertrain Structural Component: Diecast Aluminum vs. Hypothetical Thixomolded® Magnesium

This study is a life-cycle assessment (LCA) comparing two types of a powertrain structural component: one made of diecast primary aluminum and another hypothetical part made of semi-solid injection molded primary magnesium (Thixomolded®). The LCA provides an indication of the potential environmental burdens throughout the life-cycles of both parts, ranging from raw material acquisition to product end-of-life. Preliminary results show high sensitivity to selection of primary vs. secondary metals, and to the SF6 emission factor used in the model. Opportunities exist for reducing energy consumption using secondary instead of primary metals for both parts, although the use of such is influenced by market supply and demand
Technical Paper

Life Cycle Assessment of a Transmission Case: Magnesium vs. Aluminum

This paper describes a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) done to evaluate the relative environmental performance of magnesium (Mg) and aluminum (Al) automatic transmission cases. Magnesium is considered a lighter weight substitute for aluminum in this application. Light weighting of vehicles increases fuel economy and is an important vehicle design metric. The objective of this LCA is to quantify energy and other environmental trade-offs associated with each alternative for material production, manufacturing, use, and end-of-life management stages. Key features of the inventory modeling and the data collection and analysis methods are included in this paper along with life cycle inventory profiles of aluminum and magnesium alternatives. The life cycle inventory (LCI) was interpreted using a set of environmental metrics and areas needing further research were identified. A qualitative cost assessment was done in conjunction with this LCA to highlight potential cost drivers.