Ariel working on a titanium chassis for its Atom sports car

Article by Christian Andrei, on March 25, 2013

A titanium chassis is being developed by Ariel for its Atom sports car that will cut the weight by about 40% compared to the Atom's tubular steel frame. This means that the car can lessen its overall weight by nearly 8%. Titanium is very strong and is the metal that has the highest strength-to-weight ratio. The problem is that it’s very hard to fabricate.

There has to be an argon-filled welding chamber when it’s being built because if it’s exposed to oxygen while welding, the titanium combusts before it melts. Ariel developed its frame and the welding process along with Frome-based Caged Laser Engineering. It was partly funded by the Technology Strategy Board’s Niche Vehicle Programme fund.

Simon Saunders of Ariel informed Autocar that when it completes the development, it plans to offer a limited edition. He added that this track car would be exceptional. If not, it could be offered as optional on the lineup. When used with a naturally aspirated Honda engine and several other chosen light components, the frame could help in getting the weight of a limited-edition Atom to below 500kg.

Saunders said that achieving a 500 kg weight is a probable target. When the Atom was launched, it used an extremely light Rover K-Series engine. While the present range of Honda engines is heavier, they’re also more reliable. Ariel believes that titanium may also be used on its upcoming motorcycle.

Topics: sports car

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