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Lightweighting’s New Phase

Earlier this decade, the auto industry moved to lighten cars and trucks. It was supposed to be a competition between steel, long the dominant vehicle material, and aluminum. The latter got a boost when Ford Motor Co., Dearborn, Mich., bet big on aluminum, making aluminum bodies for its F-150 and Super Duty pickups.

Geometry Lesson Teaches Corvette How to Lighten Up

It’s been almost two decades since the C5 Corvette hit the streets with its groundbreaking chassis built around hydroformed steel bumper-to-bumper frame rails. The technology gave engineers a chance to create components that were both lighter and stiffer than traditional stamped and welded assemblies.

Cold Sintering Process Saves Energy, Material

Researchers at Penn State University (University Park, PA) have devised a novel method for sintering, a widely used manufacturing process for powdered materials. The new process, which uses much less time and energy than current approaches, could have global implications on manufacturing and energy savings and pave the way for new discoveries.

Mix and Match for Lightweight Autos

It is common sense—a vehicle that weighs less requires less fuel to move it. A number of studies show that reducing the mass of a vehicle by 10% results in anywhere from 4.5 to 6% better fuel economy—well worth the effort.

R&D Aids Aluminum Use

For global automakers, removing weight from their vehicles remains the top priority as they seek ways to meet a stringent federal fuel economy mandate by 2025 and other new pollution-control regulations.

3D-Printed Parts Restore Cars’ Glory

Daimler may be the first vehicle maker to offer 3D-printed replacement parts, but racing enthusiasts and car collectors like Jay Leno have been using additive manufacturing and 3D scanning for many years to replace worn-out parts or to enhance their rides.