Are high-strength steel, aluminum alloy or carbon fiber more suitable as automotive materials?

In the eyes of ordinary people, European and American models are safer. The high-strength steel plates of various models on European and American cars are painted in different colors like human muscle tissue, giving people a texture like steel bars and iron bones.

But those who understand the structure of automotive parts understand that high-strength steel is not omnipotent, and its ability to withstand is also limited. Why do car companies spare no effort to promote high-strength steel? Relatively low cost, high strength, lighter and thinner, and easy to form, this is the most economical choice for car companies to achieve the predetermined goals of body structure design.

Are high-strength steel, aluminum alloy or carbon fiber more suitable as automotive materials?

In recent years, fuel economy and emission standards have become more and more stringent. In order to meet these regulations, major automakers will move to the road of aluminum alloy materials. The weight of the new car body is reduced by 100Kg, which can reduce fuel consumption by about 0.3~0.6L per 100 kilometers and reduce emissions at the same time. That is, for every 1% reduction in car weight, fuel consumption can be reduced by approximately 0.7%.

Powerful car companies are focusing on developing all-aluminum bodies and applying them to high-end models. But the all-aluminum body is only a concept, in fact, it is more common to have a steel-aluminum hybrid structure. For example, the BMW 5 Series uses a steel body and an aluminum head, but just this hybrid structure has increased manufacturing costs by 25%.

But why not use a pure aluminum body, so that the weight reduction of the body will not be more obvious. Because the volume of aluminum expands greatly after being heated, the manufacturing difficulty is greatly increased, which means that most car companies want to do this and need to build higher-level factories.

Therefore, aluminum alloy body material is the most mature and efficient new material application technology in the current technology. It is reported that with the tightening of regulations and the popularization of technology, the aluminum alloy body has also started a new “aluminum” process, further exploring the trend of popularization. At the same time, the development of lighter and more efficient carbon fiber has also entered the agenda of mainstream vehicle companies. Carbon fiber is an “excellent” material for lightweight body. It not only can bear weight, but also is safer, but it needs to reduce costs and improve production processes.

But what is certain is that neither high-strength steel, aluminum alloy or composite material can achieve absolute safety and fuel saving. Vehicle companies can only formulate the current best solution in combination with regulations, power and material applicability.

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