Aluminum in Automotive – Progressing to the next level
Developments around aluminum propelling automotive light weighting
Aluminum has become one of the most preferred materials for automotive OEMs and suppliers over the years. While the first ever sports car featuring an aluminum, body was showcased way back in 1899 at the Berlin International Motor Show, the shift to aluminum didn’t happen quickly. Most of this had to with the higher cost of mining and recovery of aluminum vis-à-vis conventional materials like steel and cast iron. It was after World War 2 that aluminum was mined and used in higher quantities, becoming inexpensive enough to be featured routinely in the automotive material mix. Aluminum body panels were still few and far between, but in 1961, British Land Rover developed V-8 engine blocks made with aluminum cylinders. Since then, aluminum has been an integral part of the powertrain components and also proceeded to wheels across most car models in varying quantities.