Steel and its Applications in the Automotive Industry
Steel is a metal that is used across the engineering landscape. There are many different alloys that can be created for a multitude of applications across industries. The automotive industry is one such landscape that provides many applications for steel alloys, as they can be used for a variety of different components in the vehicles.
What can steel be used for in the automotive industry and what are the benefits for this?
In the case of many vehicles, the composition of the vehicle is over 50% made of steel. Most of this steel is found in the skeletal body of the vehicle, often called the ‘body in white’, which is the foundation from which the rest of the vehicle is created. This is done as some types of steel are the strongest and most cost-effective materials from which to construct a vehicle. They also provide great corrosion resistance.
It can also be shaped and developed in a number of ways to ensure it complies with safety regulations, ensuring the utmost safety for all those that travel within the vehicle. The components of the vehicle also affect handling, so steel is chosen to ensure not only safety but the overall performance of the vehicle.
Of course, a question many in the industry are concerned over is the sustainability of steel in the long term. It is such a vital component of the automotive industry that this is a vital question. Reducing the environmental impact of producing steel has been an important mission for the industry for many years now. By reducing waste and emissions, the production of steel has become much less harmful for the environment in recent years than it was only a couple of decades ago.
As an energy and carbon intensive industry, this can be a difficult endeavour. However, it has benefitted from the fact that the only emission is CO2. This means that management of the emission is much easier compared to some other metal production methods.
Further to this, steel is extremely recyclable. In fact, it can be infinitely recycled back to its original structure. This is a huge benefit as it means that while more steel may need to be produced, older vehicles can also be used as a source of steel and this removes some of the issues of sustainability. Better yet, the quality does not degrade in the recycling process. This so-called secondary steel can be used to make any number of products, including more automobiles.
Other materials are not magnetic and as such are much more difficult to recycle.
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