Ann, thanks for the clarification. So far I didnít think in that angle, so what I understood is as an effort to minimize the engine load, companies are planning to replace the heavy weight metallic parts with mild weight materials and in continuation to that effort they are using Aluminum wheels instead of steel, am I right.
There is an aluminum hardcoat surface treatment called Akadizing from Lovatt Processes that would resolve many issues I've seen mentioned in various posts. An aluminum part has successfully replaced a steel drive shaft seal assembly for an Indy car by outperforming the steel unit in crash testing. It also has incredible hardness (9.2 - 9.7 on the Mohs scale) and corrosion resistance. They offer to do test parts for interested parties so testing can be done to verify the benefits and have many test reports available.
Yes, I'm affiliated with the company and am trying to spread the word on this incredible metal treatment that has been available for 40 years, but not heavily marketed. Akadized parts are on the space shuttles, stealth aircraft, motorcycle clutches,and numerous other challenging applications. Their web site is www.lovattprocesses.com.
Mydesign, the aluminum wheels are part of lightweighting efforts to reduce carbon emissions. Lighter weight vehicles use less fuel per mile, thus reducing carbon emissions produced per vehicle, per given time period. This is in response to US and European regulations for both consumer and commercial vehicles. Her are a couple of DN articles on US efforts: http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1366&doc_id=249877 http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=250828
Ann, how the wheels are relating to carbon emissions? Irrespective of wheel type (Steel or Aluminum), majority of carbon emissions are coming from Engine and type of fuels, am I right. In my previous comment I had raised another concern about weight bearing capacity per cubic cm.
My last vehicle with steel wheels was a 1985 Dodge van that I finally donated in 2003. The one time that I had to replace a damaged tire I did not see any rust or corrosion on the wheel except for the lug-bolt holes, which the paint came off when the nuts were torqued down. And I never had any rim leaks on those wheels, even after all of those years.The paint finish still was a good protector. And it probably was cheaper than whatever the aluminum wheels get.
Although there is undoubtedly some sort of anti-corrosion treatment applied to most OEM wheels, "the proof is in the performance." It certainly seems that the treatment is intended to last long enough for the car to be sold, and probably for th first year after that. But the person who gets the year-old trade-in is the one afflicted with the leaks. Of course, one other cause factor is the balance weights that are always installed, with the sharp-edged steel anchor tabs that will cut through any protective coating. Perhaps we need a new method of attaching balance weights to replace a system that came into use in the 1950's? Most other automotive technology has advanced a bit since then, after all.
William, here's a link to the corrosion inhibitor blog we just posted: http://www.designnews.com/document.asp?doc_id=252049 There's already a lively discussion going about corrosion and aluminum wheel coatings.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory has developed a surface preparation method to improve joining carbon composites with aluminum, with potentially far-reaching ramifications for high-volume industrial applications.
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