Aluminum is extensively used for automotive chassis and engine applications. Properties like useful strength, low density, high thermal conductivity, excellent machining behavior and good corrosion resistance are the main reasons for using Aluminum. Future Hybrid and Electro automobiles need lightweight designing materials like Aluminum because Batteries are heavy.
Even used since more than 100 Years Aluminum has a high potential. With new production processes Aluminum alloys can pass a strength level of more than 1.000 MPa. A direct substitution of Steels seems to be achievable. New Aluminum-Composites with some unique features will introduce into the domain of Steel.
Most important for the use of these new Aluminum materials will be the question, how they could be introduced into existing processing lines.
Aluminum finds extensive use for automotive chassis applications including sheets, structural and axle components, and others. Despite the higher cost of Aluminum alloys the usage has increased in the past Years for lightweight components. Even the new high strength Steel sheets have not significantly changed this. New Aluminum alloys could easily compete with these new Steels with similar strengths.
Aluminum composite brake Caliper
Most important property for a brake caliper material is specific stiffness. Aluminum composites (Aluminum-MMC’s) show high specific stiffness. If possible the materials should be able to cast and forge. Other important properties are high fatigue and elevated temperature strength. Aluminum composites like DSC-Aluminum are the material of choice for high performance brake calipers. Because of the up to 90% higher specific stiffness compared to conventional Aluminum alloys they could be designed lighter. This results in lower unsprung mass. Another important feature is the lower possible root face of the brake caliper. Especially for high performance cars with large brake discs this is an important design feature. With these new Aluminum composites even cars that currently use Cast-Iron calipers could be replaced by DSC-Al calipers. Materials like DSC-Aluminum could be used for cast and forged high performance brake calipers. Cast calipers could be also locally reinforced by placing ceramic preforms in the desired area.