The International Magnesium Association (IMA) recently launched its 3D Magnesium Automotive Applications Demonstrator, showcasing the value of magnesium in lightweighting and utilization throughout vehicle production, from structural to body-in-white (BIW), to transmission components and interior applications.
The new animated on-screen version of the demonstrator provides an interactive tool for visualizing magnesium parts used in serial production. Broken into five vehicle component categories — Drivetrain, Structural, Interior, BIW, and Other — the tool highlights a variety of components, providing information on their alloy, weight, process of manufacturing, name of the manufacturer, and OEM and vehicle model in which it is used.
As automakers strive to improve fuel efficiency and performance by reducing overall vehicle weight, the use of lightweight magnesium parts in vehicles is increasing. Currently, models in production use between 5 kg and 30 kg of magnesium parts. Given that magnesium is 33% lighter than aluminum and 75% lighter than steel, there are significantly more opportunities for lightweight magnesium applications across a broad range of product types.
Companies such as Audi, Daimler (Mercedes-Benz), Ford, Jaguar, Fiat, and Kia Motors Corporation have already replaced steel and aluminum with magnesium in various parts of their products. Magnesium is currently being used in gearbox, front end and IP beams, steering column and driver’s air bag housings as well as in steering wheels, seat frames and fuel tank covers.
In addition to weight savings, magnesium is able to provide vehicles with a number of other benefits. For example, magnesium usage on the front end of a vehicle provides not just a lower overall mass for the car, but also shifts the center of gravity towards the rear of the car, improving handling and turning capabilities. In addition, magnesium parts can be designed to reduce vibration and overall noise.