Alva Review-Courier -

Light-weight materials


January 12, 2018

Light-weight materials with the strength of steel! In a perfect world, reach would never exceed grasp and pigs would fly, but, realistically, nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky.

Philosopher I am not, but as the quest for efficiency reaches new heights, aluminum and composite materials are called upon to meet the demand. No longer considered exotic, titanium, too, is becoming more popular. Magnesium, once touted as the “metal of the future,” is rarely mentioned because of its propensity to return to its source, seawater, due to corrosion.

How can we afford to change manufacturing protocol when things as they are seem satisfactory? The answer lies in the long term: aluminum is an advantage because of its light weight, recyclability and corrosion resistance. It will eventually corrode – just ask any airplane owner – but, back to efficiency: if a truck weighs 750 pounds less by utilizing light-weight aluminum, it equates to more power, better economy and longer life.

Manufacturers have used aluminum since the birth of the automobile; some early Ford bodies were aluminum. Bauxite ore, from whence aluminum comes, requires roughly 10 times the energy required to process iron ore. Aluminum rebounds more than steel, so different dies are required to produce fenders or body panels. Aluminum is stronger when riveted and bonded than when welded.

All of this raises the price of the finished product but if it looks as good, lasts as well, makes better mileage, and goes faster, I want two of them!


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