Aluminum alloys have already permeated several areas of the automobile, most notably the body-in-white, the motor, the chassis, and the interior. White vehicle bodies, powertrains, chassis, etc. are just some of the many places you’ll find aluminum alloy in automobiles. Body, power and transmission system, chassis, interior trim, etc. contributed up a considerable share of the vehicle’s overall mass, making well over 90%. As far as lightweight is concerned, this is the key path to progress. In 2020, light automobiles in North America will use a total of 208.2Kg of aluminum per vehicle. Of this total, around 70% will come from the use of aluminum in the vehicle’s engine, transmission, transmission system, wheels, and coverings. By 2026, it is expected that the use of aluminum alloy in vehicle body structures and panels would have increased significantly; Suspension components will account for 7% of the overall increase in aluminum; the percentage of electric parts (including the battery box, motor shell, converter shell, BMS shell, etc.) will rise to a new high of 33%; The average weight of aluminum used in a car will rise to 233.2kg. Here we in depth wide coverage of automotive aluminum alloy.
Casting and deformation are two methods used in the manufacturing of automotive aluminum alloy, with aluminum castings accounting for the vast majority of this material.
Aluminum alloy is melted, poured into a mold, allowed to cool and harden into the desired shape, and then used to make vehicle components. Improvements in longitudinal and transverse vibration performance of automobiles are possible because to the cast aluminum alloy’s high heat conductivity and corrosion resistance. Automobile manufacturers often employ cast aluminum alloy for engine cylinders, rocker arms, wheel hubs, gearbox housings, and other components that need to last a long time and include complicated architectures.
A wrought aluminum alloy is one whose structure and form have been altered via procedures such as stamping, bending, rolling, or extrusion. Cast aluminum alloys are utilized for more complicated components, whereas wrought aluminum alloys are better suited for simpler structures and greater requirements for mechanical qualities, such as those found in vehicle parts. Currently, cast aluminum accounts for 77% of all aluminum alloys used in vehicles, rolled materials 10%, extruded materials 10%, and forged materials 3%.
However, due to its restricted applicability, deformed aluminum alloy is incapable of fulfilling the precise structural requirements of automobiles. Forged, extruded, and rolled aluminum alloys are the most common types of deformed aluminum alloys used in automobiles. There are three distinct forms of deformed aluminum alloys, each with its own unique stress mechanism, manner of formation, and set of attributes.
In terms of quality and resistance to impact, forged aluminum alloy is hard to beat. It may be used in the crankshaft and connecting rod of automobiles and tractors, as well as on the rotor of a steam turbine generator set.
The extrusion method of making aluminum alloys is adaptable. In addition to saving weight, the unique structure of extruded aluminum profiles allows for the enhancement of the strength of localized components. However, there are issues, such as significant waste loss and high costs due to lost tools.
Aluminum profiles and plates are rolled for most of their application in metal profiles, plates, and pipes. High plasticity and strong mechanical qualities are benefits of deformed aluminum alloy, however the material falls short when it comes to completing precise structural elements for automobiles.
There are two distinct methods for casting aluminum alloy: sand casting and special casting. Castings like these are optimized for working with aluminum alloys used in automobiles. While sand casting is the most common technique for making castings in a sand mold, it does not provide particularly high standards of accuracy or efficiency. It may be used as a starting point for additional improvements in gravity casting, but the process still has its drawbacks, such as restrictions on casting volume, the need for precise temperature control of the mold, and other issues that might compromise the quality of the final product. Due of this, sand casting is seldom utilized for automotive components. Special casting refers to any method of casting outside sand casting. This includes die casting, squeeze casting, centrifugal casting, continuous casting, etc. The die casting method is the most refined and effective, but the mechanical qualities of squeeze casting products outshine those of standard die casting methods, and the latter also benefits from a higher metal utilization rate, fewer steps in the production process, and more consistent results. Components with complicated structures are difficult to manufacture, which limits product versatility; centrifugal and continuous casting manufacturing is reasonably stable. In the manufacturing industry, centrifugal casting is used to create tubular appliances, whereas continuous casting is utilized to create lengthy castings with a consistent cross-sectional form.
More than 70% of vehicle castings are now produced using die casting, making it one of the most advanced and efficient production processes in the casting process. Metal is melted and forced into a mold under great pressure during the die casting process, which is then cooled rapidly. China’s Nonferrous Metals Processing Industry Association found that die castings account for more than 70% of the aluminum used in cars.
While the liquid metal is under intense pressure and moving at a rapid pace during die casting;
Superior quality, consistent dimensions, and seamless compatibility;
Superior productivity and increased utilization of die casting dies;
Mass manufacturing is feasible, and there are tangible financial rewards to doing so.
Negative aspects of the process:
It is simple to create castings with microscopic air holes and shrinkage porosity, but this leads to poor plasticity in the die castings, which means they won’t hold up well under impact stress or vibration.
A poor service life is an issue when high melting point alloys are used in die casting, which might slow down production growth. Die-casting methods like differential pressure die-casting and vacuum die-casting are also advancing iteratively to address the aforementioned issues, such as bubbles. Formerly, die-casting was often employed to produce engine cylinder heads and blocks, gearbox brackets, generator brackets, clutch housings, automotive air conditioning compressors, and other similar components. With the development of integrated and large-scale die-casting technology, this industry is now expanding into the production of huge EIC, body structural components, etc.