Future Car Materials
Posted Tuesday, Mar 20, 2012 by
What will “cars of the future” be made from? For more than 100 years, car bodies have traditionally been made from sheet steel. But steel is heavy, and tomorrow’s automobiles need to be as lightweight as possible to improve their fuel efficiency.
Here are some of the materials that are already making their way into commercial auto bodies, as well as more exotic ones we may expect to see used in the years ahead:
Duralumin — Also known as duraluminum, this material is aluminum fused with copper, manganese and magnesium. Invented in 1903, duralumin is much lighter than steel but has greater strength than pure aluminum. However, duralumin components usually need a thin aluminum outer coat to help prevent corrosion.
Fiberglass — Fiberglass is a form of plastic reinforced with thin strands of glass. Commonly used for sports cars — the Chevrolet Corvette has had a fiberglass body for decades — the material’s light weight and significant strength make it ideal for helping meet high fuel efficiency standards.
Carbon Fiber — Carbon fiber is the popular term for carbon-fiber reinforced plastic. Usually this refers to epoxy reinforced with carbon fibers, although additional materials such as Kevlar®, aluminum or glass fibers may also be used. In terms of sophistication, carbon fiber is several steps up from fiberglass, which is an older technology. Five times stronger than steel, carbon fiber is commonly used in sports equipment that needs to be both light and durable. Used for auto bodies, carbon fiber is relatively expensive, but its strength, toughness and light weight have made it increasingly popular with 21st century automotive engineers.
Carbon Nanotubes — Nanotubes, which is literally tubes with walls just a few atoms thick, represent the newest trend in construction technology. Amazingly strong and lighter than any of the other materials discussed above, carbon nanotubes may be exotic today, but they are likely to become as common as plastic in the construction of cars, trucks, aircraft, ships and even spacecraft by the mid-21st century.
Learn Auto Bodywork Skills at WyoTech
If you have an interest in auto bodywork and would like to make this your career, you can learn essential tools of the trade at WyoTech, one of America’s leading schools for training automotive professionals.
WyoTech’s Street Rod and Custom Fabrication program, offered as part of its Collision Refinishing Technology core program, provides training in custom sheet metal shaping and fabrication, M.I.G., T.I.G. and Oxy-Acetylene welding, body construction and custom painting techniques.
Its Motorsports Chassis Fabrication specialty program provides training in developing and using automotive patterns, metal fabrication and machining, and welding techniques.
All courses are taught by industry professionals in modern workshop settings. The emphasis is on hands-on education, so students getting plenty of hours working with the tools and materials found in today’s auto body shops.
Get More Information
For more information on WyoTech’s programs, including Street Rod and Custom Fabrication and Motorsports Chassis Fabrication, contact WyoTech today.
Financial aid is available for those who qualify.
For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program and other important information, please visit our website at www.wyotech.edu/disclosures.
I am a heavy equipment mechanic for Raytheon. Six months of the year I work in Antarctica maintaining equipment for ...
George Kremposki After WyoTech, I worked at a few collision shops and four hot rod shops. I have a steady flow of people who want me to do work for them. Some wait up to a year for me to do the work on their babies. I've taken a short vacation from building cars and have turned my efforts to building some of the country's coolest jet boats.