Standard: AA AT3

ALUMINUM FOR AUTOMOTIVE BODY SHEET PANELS

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Scope:

This technical publication has been prepared by The Aluminum Association to assist automotive companies and their suppliers in the selection and effective application of aluminum alloy sheet materials for body panel and closure components. In this publication, the focus is on those specific aluminum sheet alloys recommended for body components, and it covers all relevant aspects of design and application.

During the past decade, aluminum body sheet has been used for specific applications such as hoods on a few high-volume production vehicles in North America. On a worldwide basis, aluminum panels have been used on a large number of specialty vehicles in similar applications. The use of aluminum saves weight, 40 to 60% compared to steel, e.g., about 11 kg (24 lb) for the hood of a mid-sized sedan. In recent years, this weight saving potential has enabled cars to be kept within a certain weight class while safety and environmental functional improvements, such as air bags and anti-lock braking systems, have been added to the vehicles.

The overall benefits of aluminum for weight reduction and fuel savings are being increasingly recognized by the automotive industry. Many more aluminum body panels are now being specified for vehicles at the conceptual design stage so that designers can take advantage of the additional weight savings in design of other systems like braking and suspension.

Aluminum body sheet has the major advantage that it can be handled, formed, joined, and finished in much the same ways and using largely the same equipment and systems that are used today for steel sheet panels. However aluminum has its own unique characteristics, and it is the purpose of this publication to provide specific information on:

• the mechanical properties, physical properties and formability of the current generation of aluminum alloys;

• design considerations, blanking and forming information, and relevant die design considerations;

• joining technology, including spot welding, fusion welding, mechanical fastening, and adhesive bonding technologies; and

• finishing processes, including both conventional phosphating and electro-coating, plus newer alternative methods now becoming available.

Aluminum panels have excellent corrosion resistance. When they are used and finished in ways that recognize the unique characteristics of aluminum alloys, they will provide outstanding performance and longterm durability. The purpose of this publication is to aid designers and manufacturers in using aluminum sheet to its maximum advantage in automotive structures.

A listing of the applications of aluminum body sheet in current production applications is provided in the Annex, page 50.

Organization: The Aluminum Association Inc.
Document Number: aa at3
Publish Date: 1998-12-01
Page Count: 55
Change Type: STCH
Available Languages: EN
DOD Adopted: NO
ANSI Approved: NO
Most Recent Revision: YES
Current Version: NO
Status: Inactive

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