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Journal Article

Mass Reduction Potential of Steel and Aluminum in Automotive Applications

In this paper the mass reduction potentials of steel and aluminum in automotive applications are compared. In order to determine the mass reduction potential of each material, several applications and concepts are analyzed. This is done by evaluation of the mass and the performance of these components. The results are computed based on theoretical mechanical fundamentals and vehicle requirements. The analysis of a series of body structures indicates that aluminum may achieve 11 % to 34 % mass reduction depending on whether it is compared to recent optimized steel designs or to former (non-optimized) steel designs. A hood benchmarking [3] study pointed out, that the substitution of steel by aluminum allows a mass reduction of approximately 36 %. This mass reduction goes along with a material cost increase. Aluminum is primarily used to decrease the mass. But, on the other hand, it is also possible to design steel bumpers that are up to 8 % lighter than a corresponding aluminum bumper.