A New Paint-Bake-Hardenable Aluminum Alloy for Auto Body Sheet Applications
A new 5xxx-series aluminum alloy, which was designed to have an excellent paint-bake-hardenability with practically no room-temperature aging, has been developed for automobile body sheets. The alloy contains 2∼3%Mg with additional amounts of Cu and Si. Yield strength in the as-shipped condition is very low, 80∼100MPa, but it can be increased by as much as about 60MPa through 2% stretch and paint-bake at 170°C. Such an excellent response to paint-bake was revealed to result from Guinier-Preston-Bagaryatskii(GPB) zone formation and enhanced by the optimum addition of Si. Density of vacancies in the alloy was reduced through a special annealing process to suppress room-temperature aging. Press-forming for fender outer and engine hood inner panels was done, and the alloy was demonstrated to have formability superior to 6xxx-series alloys and Al-4.5%Mg alloys, due to the reduced initial yield strength which also suppressed susceptibility to spring back.