Vehicle Aluminum Frame VS Steel Frame

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To the vehicle frame, an aluminum frame must be better than a steel frame, and its strength should be weaker than a steel frame, right?

Answer: The key lies in the use. The physical properties of steel and aluminum alloys mainly differ in density. Steel is an iron alloy. The density of iron is much higher than that of aluminum, so the weight of the same volume is much higher, and at the same time, it is also stronger. Aluminum is a more loose metal. Differences in density also bring about differences in so-called ductility.

The higher the density, the better the ductility, that is, the more tough it is. Low density has low ductility and is more likely to break, that is, it is brittle. Within their tolerance range, the characteristics of these two substances are manifested as differences in elasticity. In particular, steel is an alloy formed by adding some other elements to iron. Depending on the formula, it can achieve substantial changes in elasticity. Aluminum alloys also improve elasticity, although it’s still much lower than steel. Car springs are mainly made of steel, not aluminum.

In application, an analogy can be made: a steel rod and an aluminum alloy rod of the same thickness are fixed at one end and the other end is stressed. Within the bearing range, the steel rod elastically bends to a greater extent. That is, it bends when the force is applied, and returns to its original shape when the force is removed.

Aluminum alloys have much less elastic flex, and the bend is almost imperceptible. This is called “high stiffness,” but it can also withstand much less force than steel and is more susceptible to permanent deformation and breakage. Steel can withstand large forces, but it is easy to bend elastically. Elastic bending means that it returns to its original shape when the force is removed, but this recovery is undulating, like a pendulum, which has to go through many reciprocating vibrations.

When the frame is made of steel, it will face the impact of this problem. For aluminum alloys, this problem is much smaller or even negligible. Therefore, as long as it is within the tolerance limit, the car body made of aluminum alloy is definitely more stable and lighter. With less interference, it’s easier to perform the suspension and shock-absorbing functions. Comfort, quietness, and controllability all have a higher foundation, making it easier to achieve real high-quality performance.

The two major limitations of aluminum alloy applications are higher manufacturing costs and lower affordability. Therefore, it is not suitable to be used as a key component to bear force on vehicles that need to cope with strong external impacts. For example, the Ford F150 is a rare aluminum-body pickup truck in the world, and its frame is still made of steel. For vehicle with a frame structure, the frames are made of steel.

Aluminum alloys are used in load-bearing structures, three-dimensional frame structures, suspension systems, subframes, etc., mainly in urban highway vehicles, and the more expensive the car, the more emphasis is placed on speed performance, the proportion of aluminum used in core load components The bigger. One is high rigidity, and the other is light weight.

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