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Technical Paper

The Significance of Environment for Performance of Structural Adhesive Bonding

The development of a durable adhesive bonding technology for joining of aluminium automotive structures requires a full understanding of the importance of the environment on the chemistry of the adhesively bonded system. This paper describes the accelerated testing procedures used by Alcan to provide information on the significance of environmental factors on adherend surface, the bonding interface and adhesive and so establish the best combination of adhesive and surface pretreatment for good long term durability. The stress/humidity test provides information on adhesive and interface performance, while the neutral salt spray test illustrates durability and corrosion resistance of the pretreatment. Outdoor exposure testing provides the means of comparing the accelerated tests with real life durability.
Technical Paper

The Recycling and Reclamation of Metal-Matrix Composites

The recycling and reclamation of metal-matrix composites (MMC's) are critical aspects of the commercialization process. By recycling, we mean the economic processing of MMC scrap for reuse as composite. Reclamation refers to the separation and recovery of the individual components of the composite, i.e., the various aluminum alloys and ceramic particles. Three forms of MMC wrought alloy scrap have been considered; i.e., D. C. (direct chill) cast log ends, extrusion butts, and cut extrusion scrap. Recycling each of these forms of scrap back into D. C. cast extrusion billet has been demonstrated. This has been accomplished by recycling the scrap back through the basic mixing process. Various ratios of scrap to virgin composite have been explored and optimum blends are being studied. Similarly, for MMC foundry alloy (high silicon) gates and risers produced in shape-casting, fluxing and degassing techniques have been developed so these may be recycled back into useful castings.
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.
Technical Paper

The Lincoln Mark VIII Cast Aluminium Suspension Control Arm (Parallel Development)

An A356T61 cast aluminum lower suspension control arm has been put into production for the Lincoln Mark VIII. The mechanical requirements which drive the design for a critical part like this are discussed, together with some of the background knowledge needed to address the issues surrounding alloy and process selection. Particularly as it must be realized that the process impacts the degree to which the potential of the alloy can be realized. With this in mind, some of the research activities which have been spawned in parallel with the production activities are briefly covered. The sequence of events involved in the design and prototyping of the part itself are outlined, as is the implementation of a specialized low pressure casting line to produce the part. Part performance to date has been excellent and the quality controls and test methods which have been put in place to see that this remains so are also covered.
Technical Paper

Reduced Finishing Costs for Aluminum Intensive Vehicles

Due to the inherently superior corrosion resistance of aluminum compared to automotive steels, phosphating and electrocoating are not necessarily required to provide good corrosion protection to aluminum intensive vehicles. This allows the potential for significant cost savings in the overall finishing process by eliminating these steps. Advantage can also be taken of the movement towards the use of powder primer surfacers to reduce solvent emissions in that the powder coating can be applied directly to a suitably pretreated aluminum surface. Pretreatments which are optimized for aluminum and much simpler to control than phosphating were chosen for trials based upon discussions with chemical suppliers. In this paper, the adhesion and corrosion characteristics of these selected pretreatment/powder primer systems were compared to standard phosphated and electrocoated AA6111 automotive closure sheet.
Technical Paper

Methods for Assessing the Corrosion Behaviour of Heat Exchanger Materials and Components

To determine the true galvanic compatibility of radiator components a test has been developed using a zero resistance ammeter (ZRA) technique, which measures the magnitude of the galvanic current between different materials, thus allowing specific corrosion rates to be calculated. It is believed that the use of the ZRA technique will help provide a better balance between sacrificial behaviour and thermal performance of fin alloys. In particular, it will be demonstrated that it is not necessary to make additions of zinc to the fin alloys to attain a sacrificial effect, which in the longer term may compromise the recyclability of radiator units.
Technical Paper

Galvanic Corrosion Prevention of Steel-Aluminum Couples

Efforts towards weight reduction are leading towards increasing use of aluminum components on automobiles. Although aluminum on its own has inherently superior corrosion resistance to steel, galvanic action between the aluminum and steel or galvanized parts can lead to severe corrosion. Straightforward and effective methods of preventing galvanic corrosion from the subject of this paper. Since many aluminum components are connected to steel structures by mechanical fasteners, protective coatings on fasteners were evaluated as well. Galvanic test couples were prepared in a manner simulating typical automotive assembly conditions while incorporating features which would lead to enhanced corrosion. A variety of chemical treatments and coatings on the fasteners as well as barriers between the dissimilar metals were evaluated for corrosion prevention between the aluminum and cold rolled or galvanized steel. Comparison between neutral salt spray and cyclic corrosion tests is provided.
Technical Paper

Effects of Surface Texture on the Appearance and Corrosion of Painted Aluminum Body Sheet

Studies have indicated that enhanced corrosion resistance and appearance after painting can be obtained on automotive steels by texturing the sheet surface. To determine whether these same improvements could be obtained on aluminum, paint performance and appearance were evaluated on heat treatable alloys that had been given shot dulled and laser textured finishes. Corrosion performance was measured by filiform and SCAB tests and paint appearance by distinctness of image (DOI). Profilometry was used to characterize the roughness of the sheet surface at various stages of paint application. Experiments demonstrated that corrosion performance was not significantly affected by surface texture. However, the DOI of painted textured surfaces varied with the extent of reduction of the sheet when rolled and, in particular, with the paint system. Mill finish aluminum was shown to have DOI equivalent to that achieved on cold rolled or electrogalvanized steels.
Technical Paper

Effects of Alloy Composition and Condition on Filiform Corrosion Performance of Cast Aluminum Wheels

The movement towards extended warranties in the automobile industry has focussed attention on corrosion performance of many components, particularly cast aluminum wheels. Filiform corrosion is of particular concern since it can severely affect the appearance of the wheel. The appearance and the choice of wheel design are the most attractive features to customers. In order to enhance the filiform corrosion resistance of cast aluminum wheels, cleaning, pretreatment, coating and alloy parameters are critical and need to be optimized. In this paper, the effects of alloy composition and condition on filiform corrosion are reviewed. A series of cast discs were prepared with variations in iron, zinc and copper levels around the standard A356.2 alloy composition. Apart from composition, certain specimens were subjected to different heat treatment and ageing conditions. The effects of porosity and different machining procedures were also evaluated.
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

Alternatives to Electrocoating Aluminum in Automotive Applications

The inherent corrosion resistance of aluminum is much greater than automotive steels. To demonstrate this principle in a fashion acceptable to the automotive industry, a test program was run which incorporated lab, test track and real life trials on both unpainted and painted aluminum and painted steel. The lab program consisted of neutral salt and cyclic corrosion tests. Having demonstrated that aluminum does not need electrocoating for good corrosion integrity, alternatives to electrocoating which would allow primers to be applied only where necessary for esthetic purposes were sought. Several primers were selected for study based upon current automotive usage. Factors such as the degree of pretreatment prior to primer application and the presence of residual lubricant on the metal were evaluated.
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.