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Saturday, 27 December 2014

APPLICATIONS OF ALUMINIUM ALLOY IN AUTOMOTIVE APPLICATIONS

What is objective of reading this blog?


Before going to start this blog, we must understand why we need to study this blog? 

Let us think .......why?

In order to reduce the consumption of energy and also for avoiding the air pollution, requirement of more fuel efficient automobile or vehicles are in demand and it is big challenge for automobile industries. 

There are various unique characteristic of aluminum for example 
  • Excellent formability properties
  • Higher strength & stiffness in respect of weight- ratio
  • Properties of recyclability 
  • Good resistance against corrosion and this is very important property of this material 
We must be note down that these properties of aluminium propose it the best and ideal aspirant for replacing the heavy materials such as copper and steel in car and other luxury vehicles for full filling the requirement of automobile industries of weight reduction. 

In this Blog we will discuss the recent development in application of aluminum alloy in casting, metal forming and extrusion process for automobile industries.

We will consider two examples also where we will see that how automobile industries started to apply aluminium for better efficiency of vehicles in fuel consumption and environmental impact or air pollution point of view.

In first example we will discuss hang on parts produced by Hoogovens Rolled Products Duffel and must be noted that the potential of weight could be approximate 50%. 

In current situation, 5000 alloys are preferred because they are of high degree of formable and applied normally for inner panel, whilst heat treatable 6000 alloys are applied for the application of outer panel. 

In this blog we will review of recent progress or development in alloy of aluminium for amending the formability as well as surface quality in both type of alloy i.e. 6000 and 5000 aluminium alloy and also the discussion on response of brake hardening of 6000 alloy.Further we will discuss the recycling of aluminium alloys scraps.

The second example that we will take is brazing sheet. From more than last 10 years there were nice trend of increasing for replacing the copper- heat exchangers with other one produced from brazed aluminium. 

With the help of above mentioned two examples, we will come to know about the technical as well as commercial aspects of the aluminium automobile components production processes and engineering design & support of materials resources will also be in consideration. 

Introduction

The competition of material in the sector of automobile industries has been conventional comprehensive. Even since 1920s, Steel was the best suited material on the basis of its application for example application of steel in building construction and automobile also. 

The increase in requirement for amending the economy of fuel triggered by concerns regarding global warming as well as requirement of energy is also very important factor during the selection of materials.

Let us consider one example of US government policy for automobile industries, US government has decided that automobile industries have to reduce the exhaust emission of vehicle, amend the safety of occupant as well as also help in the growth of fuel economy. 

In order to meet the requirement as stated above, automobile industries are completely involved to amend the efficiency of conventional engine, to reduce the overall weight of vehicle. 

The reduction in weight is very important because as we know that the average weight of vehicle will be increased as in these days every automobile industry representing new model of vehicle with lot of facility of luxury, performance, convenience and safety also as safety is required by customers.

There is various safety facilities for example anti block systems, enhancing safety body- structure and air bag and must be noted that these safety devices also contributing in weight of vehicle. 

Although, we have observed that automobile industries especially car manufacturer have taken this seriously and have changed some design for optimum efficiency. 

Automobile industries that by only changing some design or modification, there will not be any significant reduction in weight. Later it was realized that if light weight materials will be used then only we may achieve them according to rule of thumb 10% reduction in weight approximately will be equal to a 5.5% amendment in the fuel economy. 

Reduction in weight is a very important factor and it was determined that 10% in weight of automobile or vehicle reduction take place which will results in 8–10% of fuel economy. 

It was concluded that materials for components of automobile can have an important impact on the environment and it was also decided to use materials of lighter weight for producing the components.  

The application of materials of lighter weight will help us for reducing weight of vehicle and hence improve economy of fuel. The target of weight reduction has driven a slowly decrements in the quantity of cast iron and steel utilized in vehicles and the respective increment in the quantity of  other various alternative materials such as plastics and aluminium. 

We have tried to explain by displaying following Figure. In this blog we will only focus on opportunities of aluminium alloys in automobile industries.


The changes in consumption of material in an average car

Aluminum Alloy for application in automobile industries

Application of Aluminum in automobile industries for automotive uses has been increased approximate more than eighty percent in last five years. There was very strong anticipation of application of aluminum in trunk lids, hoods as well as for doors in hanging position on a frame of steel.


Development in consumption of aluminum for automotive areas in Europe

We may see in above figure the Development in consumption of aluminum for automotive application in Europe

As we may observe in above figure that a significant increment in the sheet of aluminum for application of automotive uses is normal or expected and we will also consider this in detail. 

We may observe the application of aluminum in automobile industries for various uses such as chassis, cover-power trains, structure of body and system of air conditioning. Casting of aluminum metal has been in consideration and in application for creating various types of automobile components since so many years.

It is observed by automobile industries during the manufacturing of engine block, engine block is main part of engine, the switching to aluminum material from cast iron and when they have developed the engine block from aluminum, a quite reduction in weight is observed. 

It is demand of aluminum that we have seen in the application of it in modern car as engine block of aluminum increased by 50 % by the year of 2000.

We may see in above figure about the demand of casting of aluminum in the sector of automobile. In case of automotive - power train, casting of aluminum have been utilized for approximate 100% for pistons, approximate 75% for cylinder heads and approximate 85% for intake manifolds as well as for transmission such as rear axle, drive shaft and various types of housings etc. 

Let us discuss for the application of aluminum in chassis, casting of aluminum are normally utilized for approximate 40% for wheels and casting of aluminum are also be used for components of brake , brackets, suspension system, components of steering such as air bag supports, knuckles , steering shafts, wheels and  housings. 

Wrough aluminum and aluminum alloys are more in demand as compared to casting of aluminum. Wheels are normally forged to meet the requirement of more extreme loading conditions with better mechanical characteristics are required.

We have observed a lot of application of wrought aluminum such as applications in case of heat shields, air bag housing, bumper reinforcements, pneumatic systems, seat frames, sumps and side impact panels etc. Aluminum alloys are also utilized extremely in case of heat exchangers. 

Up to 1970, in sector of automobile it was normally observed that heaters and radiators were made by brass and copper with the help of soldered joints. During the crisis of oil in the year of 1974, triggered were designed in order to form the structure of lighter weight and to meet this aluminum metal were used.

The market share of aluminum has grown steadily over the last 25 years and is now the material of choice for use in the automotive heat ex-changer industry. Modern, high performance automobiles have many individual heat ex-changers, e.g. engine and transmission cooling, charge air coolers (CACs), climate control.

Audi AL2 with Aluminum frame body

Aluminum extruded frame shape 

Let us consider some important aluminum alloy those are commonly used in automobile sectors.
  1.  AlSi6Cu4- AlSi9Cu3
  2. AlSi9Mg
  3. AlSi17Cu4Mg
  4. AlSi7Mg
  5. AlSi7MgMn
  6. AlSi11MgSr
  7. AlSi12(18)Cu Ni Mg
  8. AlSi25Fe3Ni2

Environmental Impact

Let us discuss about the environmental impact of using aluminium during the production of designed components.

Overall, the complete procedure of transforming raw material such as bauxite into the aluminum is very  energy intensive process, needed resources of water, electricity for producing and this is only basic reason that why power plants were made completely for supporting the  aluminium industries.

As all we know that the ore of pure aluminum is so stable and will required lot of electrical energy for yielding of the final product and must be noted that around half portion of the energy of smelting in the U.S. will be consumed in courtesy of coal. 

We must be aware that one of the most famous and notable source for polluting fuel sources known to mankind. 

According to the EPA, The releasing phenomenon of perfluorocarbons during the process of smelting of aluminum and must be aware that approximate 9,200 times more harmful as compared to the negative role of carbon dioxide in global warming.

During the extraction of bauxite, the strip mining procedure will remove all native vegetation in the sector of mining area, and therefore it will be loss for local people in terms of food and snacks as well as significant soil erosion. 

Emissions of Greenhouse gas, released in the process of smelting & processing consisting, perfluorocarbons,carbon dioxide, polycyclic,sodium fluoride, sulfur dioxide aromatic hydrocarbon and also a list of other problematic elements.

Particulates those are used to release during the process that are considered as to compromise with the quality of air that consist combustion by-products, limestone caustic aerosols, charred lime ,dust from bauxite, sodium salt and alumina.

We may analyze at the alumina unit, and we will come to know that the hazardous emission such as dust of bauxite from handling & processing, dust of limestone from limestone handling unit, dust of  burnt lime from bins and conveyors, dust of alumina from materials handling unit, dust of red mud dust & sodium salts from red mud stacks.

Life cycle of analysis of Aluminium

Life cycle analysis means the study of application of aluminium in automobile industry from initial stage to final stage and again recycling of material. In general we may see how recycling and life cycle analysis is carried out in automobile industries.


Let us consider how process takes place  












Life cycle analysis of Aluminum provides quite benefits via process of recycling and must be noted that we may save 95% of energy of energy that it would require to create new aluminum metal. Approximate two –third all aluminum metals are recycled and use again and again.

There are basically five stages for recycling of aluminum metal as mentioned below
  1. Collecting scrap
  2. Sorting scrap
  3. Crushing
  4. Remelting
  5. Casting

Conclusion

After discussing and analyzing above essay we have concluded some advantage and some disadvantage also as listed below.

Advantage

With the application of aluminium in automobile sector the main advantage of using aluminium is its lighter density or weight. In current technology every automobile sector has wish to reduce the overall weight and to increase the efficient utilization of fuel.

Aluminium has more resistance against corrosion as compared to steel , but this benefit is only for consumer because selling of cars will be less as car will be rusty lesser than car made of steel. 


Disadvantage

  1. Aluminium is slightly more expensive
  2. Aluminium is not suitable for welding
  3. Aluminium is not feasible for painting
  4. Sheet of aluminium is very difficult for stamping with car body
We will go ahead with next blog i.e " Hydraulic fluid " now .

Let us move towards next post............


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