Jul 28/20

What’s the Best Lightweight Material for Car Manufacturing?

You don’t need us to tell you that car manufacturers are always searching for fresh ways to produce groundbreaking vehicles. As such, the hunt for the best lightweight interior materials is greater than ever! Take natural and carbon fibers, for instance. Both these lightweight materials are increasingly popular for their sustainability and lightness.

That said, car manufacturers are also trying to use lighter car materials such as magnesium (Mg) alloys, carbon fiber, titanium (Ti), aluminum (Al) alloys, polymer composites, and high-strength steel. These materials can improve a car’s fuel economy by up to 6-8%. Not only that, but they’re also an environmentally-friendlier option (provided they’re recyclable).

But, the big test is whether it’s possible to manufacture high-performing vehicles with these lighter materials that don’t cost a fortune.

With all that in mind, what’s the best interior lightweight material on the market today for car manufacturing? Continue reading to find out…

Natural Fibers

Natural fibers consist of material obtained from animals or plants. Some examples are cotton, wool, silk, Alpaca fiber, Kenaf, and jute. Other than the lower environmental impact these fibers have (particularly when compared to synthetic fibers), natural fibers and natural fiber composites are also lighter, more pliable, and cheaper to use.

Interestingly, Henry Ford actually made a Hemp fuelled car in 1941. Whereas, today, manufacturers use natural fiber composites to make interiors such as seatbacks, door inserts, and load floors. They have excellent tension-strength and are lower-density, which helps to reduce their weight.

With so many perks, it’s no wonder that the use of composite fibers in composites has grown by 5-7%.

Carbon Fiber

Back in 2013, it was BMW who first introduced a mass-produced car made out of carbon fiber. The most significant advantage of using such a material is its weight-saving properties. On top of that, carbon fiber is also very strong. Plus, it’s resistant to corrosion, and its strength-to-weight and stiffness-to-weight ratios are excellent.

Like aluminum, it’s more expensive than steel. But it’s often combined with steel and aluminum parts for extra and reinforced strength. The average cost of carbon fiber per pound is around $4-9, whereas steel comes in at about $1.09 per pound.

Although new methods are developing as we speak, at the time of writing, recycling carbon fiber is challenging. Plus, it takes lots of energy to manufacture. So, be sure to weigh up these considerations before deciding on anything.

Are You Ready to Start Using Lightweight Material to Manufacture Cars?

Car manufacturers who want to put their money where their mouth is and evidence their commitment to the environment, have to make a greater commitment to using natural and carbon fibers. This is imperative for meeting consumer demand.

Are you interested in using lightweight material for your car interiors, or curious to find out more? If so, contact us today at Mayco International to see how we could help.