Two weeks ago we covered the growing trend of using aluminium in construction, highlighting some famous new buildings around the world that have used the metal in their construction. This week we’re turning our attention to the transport industry, which has also started to take advantage of the many benefits aluminium has to offer.
In fact, many of these useful properties are the same as those used in the building industry, which goes to show that aluminium is an incredibly versatile and useful material for a variety of industries. Like any other growing sector, the transport industry has looked to reduce costs and increase efficiency across all markets and that is one of the main reasons aluminium has been introduced. Here we take a look at how it has helped the transportation sector.
Aluminium offers a cost-effective way for both manufacturers and consumers to produce and then run cars, or in fact other vehicles. Initially aluminium, as a lightweight material, will reduce the weight of a vehicle and introduce the possibility of using lighter, less expensive components elsewhere, thereby reducing the entire manufacturing cost.
This saving can then be passed onto the consumer, both in terms of the buying price of the vehicle and running costs. For instance, a car that is competing in a competitive area, such as the hatchback market, may be cheaper when it’s made from aluminium opposed to steel. This not only gives the manufacturer an advantage but is appealing to customers too. And because a customer is buying a lighter car, fuel consumption is better and the car may have improved performance.
Because aluminium helps produce lightweight cars, the assumption is often made that they will be less safe as a consequence. However, this is certainly not the case and aluminium chassis can in fact be much safer than their steel counterparts.
Made up into an alloy, aluminium has a high energy absorption capacity and is actually much thicker than steel; combined this can mean that a car made of this metal will be much more rigid and be able to protect the occupants of a vehicle. A properly designed car that uses aluminium will also be safer for pedestrians if a crash occurs.
While safety and performance are key factors in vehicle manufacture, many consumers are swayed by one thing alone – what the vehicle looks like. As discussed in our post on aluminium buildings, this metal lends itself to design and aesthetics extremely well.
Aluminium has actually been used for many years in the construction of vehicles as a way to streamline the design and make it more aerodynamic. Now, more than ever, it is being used for this purpose but also to add to the design. Smooth and sleek, it can be used to create the most attractive vehicles.
We’ve covered three of the main reasons aluminium is used in vehicles but there are many, many benefits to using it. For instance, it is a durable metal, ensuring it will last for years to come; and once the car has come to the end of its lifespan, aluminium can also be recycled.