Introduction to Automotive Systems Technology
Research and discuss the use of steel as a material for the construction of vehicle bodywork and also the reasons why Glass fibre or Aluminium may be used.
Submission Date: Monday 6th November 2006
After wood became obsolete as a building material for automotive chassis and bodies, steel became the most popular material for the Automotive Industry to use for vehicle bodies. In 1922 the American Company “Dodge” delivered the first fully closed all steel body (See Fig.1). Thanks to a true Pioneer, Mr. Edward Gowen Budd, the automotive industry made a great leap forward. In 1912 he discovered how to form large panels of metal into complex shaped sheet metal components that could be joined to form a self-supporting body. Soon Aluminium panels were introduced to the industry. Land Rover was the first manufacturer to use large amounts of aluminium panels (i.e. hoods and door skins) on their first series in 1948. The simple reason for this was that the war had decreased the steel resources in the country. For the same reason the Fig.1: 1922 Dodge Business Coupe French car manufacturer “Panhard” used body panels entirely made of aluminium to dress the “Dyna” in the early 50’s. In the past few years manufacturer are increasingly using the expensive aluminium for their vehicle bodies. 72 years after the introduction of Dodge’s all-steel body, the Car Manufacturer Audi (in cooperation with the Aluminium Company of America (Alcoa)) was finally able to develop an equivalent in Aluminium. The Audi Aluminium Space Frame, used in the A8, is the first car to be fitted with a chassis and Fig. 2: Audi Space Frame body made from 100% aluminium. (See Fig.2) In 1953 Chevrolet introduced the Corvette with a fibreglass body. The Corvette wasn’t the first car to use fibreglass, but Chevrolet was the first big...
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