Hydro, carmakers and leading scientists are cooperating in finding new, safer and light weight solutions for the cars of tomorrow. In Trondheim, Norway, new profiles are put to the ultimate test. View a video of what happens to an aluminium profile when hit with 1,500 kg at 30 km/h!
In order to bring down the CO2 emissions from cars and improve recyclability, carmakers will have to re-think many of the traditional ways of constructing cars. Its light weight properties, coupled with excellent recyclability, makes aluminium an increasingly popular material amongst carmakers, and according to Hydro's President and CEO, Svein Richard Brandtzæg, this trend is set to continue.
"You may say that I love aluminium, but I'm not the only one. For instance, Audi is now making aluminium one of its key selling points when marketing its new A6 model," he says.
At the Structural Impact Laboratory (SIMLab) at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Hydro cooperates with leading scientist in building advanced material models which help developing the right alloys for aluminium profiles in automotive crash protection systems.
"We perform research for customers such as BMW, Audi, Renault and Toyota. And recently, also General Motors and Honda have started knocking on our door," says head of SIMLab, Magnus Langseth.
Hydro primarily serves the automotive industry through their sub-suppliers, and normal products range from primary foundry ingots and billets, to profiles and sheets.
"Even though we don't supply the carmakers directly with finished components, it is important that we have the technical know-how that is needed for us to be the preferred partner and aluminium supplier," says Hans Erik Vatne, head of Technology in Hydro.
Together with Brandtzæg and a select few Hydro employees, Vatne was present at the SIMLab last week to see a demonstration of how an aluminium profile, utilized in a crash protection system, performs during a crash.
"Technological development towards the automotive sector will continue to be an important area for research and development in Hydro in the coming years," he says.