First of all, let me tell you about the history behind aluminum in the auto industry. Aluminum has been used in the auto industry for well over a hundred years. The first sports car with an aluminum body was premiered at the Berlin International Motor Show in 1899. Wow! That’s quite a long time ago.
In 1901 Carl Benz constructed the first aluminum car engine. However, it took over 60 years for aluminum to be more widely used throughout the auto industry. In 1961 Land Rover’s mass produced Buick 215 featured a V8 engine made from aluminum. The lightness of the engine was a revelation, which was an instant hit with racecar drivers.
In 1997 Audi actually started production on aluminum body cars.
Today, aluminum is the second most used material in the auto industry next to steel. It’s still relatively new, especially when it comes to the types of repairs for aluminum.
The Differences between Aluminum and Steel
There are a few ways aluminum differs from steel. Steel is generally cheaper than aluminum, however, aluminum is more malleable and elastic than steel. Aluminum can create shapes that steel cannot. Steel also usually needs to be painted or treated after production to protect from rust and corrosion, where aluminum is corrosion resistant – it doesn’t rust.
The real appeal that aluminum has over steel is that steel is typically 2.5 times denser than aluminum. In shorter words – it’s lighter. Government fuel economy requirements are always increasing making aluminum materials a likely advantage in the auto industry.
3 Facts about Aluminum
- Nearly 90% of aluminum is recycled after its lifetime.
- Aluminum can absorb twice the crash energy of mild steel.
- Lighter vehicles have better acceleration, better braking and better handling – making aluminum the better choice.
Aluminum doesn’t have metal memory like steel. It cannot be reshaped back to its undamaged state as easily as steel. Improper aluminum welding can create vehicle safety issues for the car. Aluminum and steel also don’t play well together and are actually corrosive to each other. Even steel dust is corrosive to aluminum.
Let the professionals at D&S Automotive take care of your aluminum repair needs so that you don’t have to worry.