A Comparison of the Safety Performance of Aluminum and Steel in Conventional Automotive Construction

Paper #:
  • 982389

Published:
  • 1998-09-29
Citation:
Wiese, J., Kan, C., and Marzougui, D., "A Comparison of the Safety Performance of Aluminum and Steel in Conventional Automotive Construction," SAE Technical Paper 982389, 1998, https://doi.org/10.4271/982389.
Pages:
13
Abstract:
It is often said that heavier cars are inherently safer than lighter ones. However, when all cars are built with steel, larger size necessarily implies greater weight, so it is unclear whether the improved safety correlates to the weight or size of the vehicle. Using a publicly available computer model of the Ford Taurus, it was thought that this perception could be tested. The existing steel model, with the addition of a Hybrid III dummy and driver side airbag, was validated against actual crash test data. The structure was converted to aluminum, structural stiffness was calculated, and the steel and aluminum crash simulation results were compared. The aluminum model, utilizing monocoque sheet structure, weld bonded joining, and tailor welded blanks, weighed 200 kg less than the steel model and performed as well.
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