Due to the environmental impact human activity has had on our planet, for the past few years, the automotive industry has taken on the challenge of fuel efficiency to reduce CO2 emissions. An attainable solution for less fuel consumption has become to reduce weight in vehicles.
Since the 1980s there has been a rapid increase in aluminum applications in automobiles, including outer panels and structural members, replacing those made from steel. Seeing as aluminum provides lightweight parts that reduce the entire weight and allow the vehicle to increase cruising distance, therefore consuming less fuel.
Also, aluminum and its alloys provide excellent mechanical properties, joining performance and corrosion resistance, besides its all well-known properties like conductivity, bond ability and ductility, that make it an ideal material for mass-produced vehicles.
In particular, aluminum alloy sheets have been used for various automobile parts such as trunk lids, body panels, back doors and roofs; aluminum extrusions for bumper reinforcements and door beams, and aluminum forgings for suspension parts.
Aluminum sheets for automotive panels must meet certain performance requirements. For outer panels the material must possess a degree of formability, endure bending and be lower in strength to ensure shape accuracy after stamping with suppressed spring back, though it should maintain high strength in the final product so it’ll be dent resistant.
To attain these performance requirements, series 5 and 6 of aluminum alloys are widely used. These families of aluminum alloys grant the required characteristics to mold and provide strength to automotive panels.
However, series 6 aluminum alloys are more often used for skin panels, since series 5 is prone to stretch-stain marks, and has the added value of becoming stronger after being processed through a paint-curing cycle, increasing the exterior dent resistance.
Within each family, there are a variety of alloy specifications that can provide particular properties to an application, like formability, hemming quality and higher strength. Diversified Ulbrich stocks a variety of high-quality aluminum sheet alloys for applications in the automotive industry. Visit our vast Aluminum Sheet Inventory or contact us for more information on the aluminum sheet that meets your requirements.
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