GM develops thermal-forming process for molding magnesium metal

Article by Anita Panait, on October 25, 2012

General Motors is testing a thermal-forming process and proprietary corrosion resistance treatment for lightweight magnesium sheet metal that will enable the increased use of this alternative to steel and aluminum. GM is aiming to increase its use of low-mass components on vehicles around the world and is intending to pursue licensing opportunities related to this breakthrough technology.

The carmaker’s goal is to enable its parts suppliers to use the process to provide significant amounts of magnesium sheet that will cut more weight from vehicle mass. The lightweight magnesium -- which weighs 33% less than aluminum, 60% less than titanium, and 75% less than steel – is expected to help customers save more money on fuel, just like the benefits brought by efficient conventional engines and electric powertrains.

Carmakers have been struggling to create strong yet reliable non-corroding magnesium sheet metal panels using traditional panel forming methods. But GM’s patented process heats up the magnesium to 450 degrees Celsius (842 degrees Fahrenheit), allowing the material to be molded into precise, rigid shapes.

With this thermal-forming process, GM was able to develop a production-ready magnesium rear deck lid inner panel that withstood 77,000 robotic slams and 250-kilogram impact drops without any issues. While die-cast magnesium has been used in several components like steering wheels and engine cradles, GM is the first carmaker to use thermal-formed magnesium sheet metal in structural applications.

GM said that it expects magnesium sheet applications to grow with additional materials and process improvements aimed at cutting cost. Jon Lauckner, GM chief technology officer and vice president of Global Research & Development, said that GM’s innovative use of magnesium is just one example of how the carmaker is leveraging breakthrough technologies that will benefit its customers around the world. He added that using high-strength lightweight materials like magnesium and aluminum is one of the most effective ways to improve vehicle fuel economy and driving performance.

Topics: gm, technology

If you liked the article, share on:

Comments

Recommended

Ever since the Regera premiered in 2016, Koenigsegg has been firm about increasing its coverage around the globe. Part of the idea was to ask its employees in Angelholm to...
by - February 21, 2017
There is no harm in admitting that both the conventional and the hybrid versions of the Lexus LC 500 are real stunners when it comes to its exterior styling. Even...
by - February 21, 2017
Jaguar is placing three new Ingenium engines on the F-Pace crossover, XF saloon and XE sedan for the 2018 model year. According to Jaguar’s recent announcement, the updates will also...
by - February 21, 2017
After Volkswagen snagged Toyota’s crown as the world’s best-selling automaker, there’s no stopping the Japanese manufacturer from dominating the hybrid arena. As of January 31st , Toyota’s increasing global unit...
by - February 21, 2017
There is no denying that the performance versions of the Jaguar F-Type and the Land Rover Range Rover are definitely hot – both in terms of looks and road dynamics....
by - February 21, 2017
Facebook

Youtube Channel

Tip Us
Do you have a tip for us?
Did you film an important event?
Contact us
Newsletter
Subscribe to our newsletter!
Subscribe
Galleries