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Electronic News & Comment
Cadillac's ATS Cuts Mass 1 Gram at a Time
1/24/2012

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The ATS body structure employs a combination of aluminum, magnesium, 
high-strength steel, and ultra-high-strength steel. 
(Source: Design News)
The ATS body structure employs a combination of aluminum, magnesium,
high-strength steel, and ultra-high-strength steel.
(Source: Design News)

Image 1 of 2      Next >

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sglobe
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Iron
light speed
sglobe   2/10/2012 4:31:27 AM
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if a car reduces the weight speed will increase? is it really true i just got this idea from my friend. when we are discussing some materials used in the cadillac parts.

Charles Murray
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Re: Missing the obvious
Charles Murray   1/30/2012 7:15:10 PM
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Good question, LiteSpeed. I'll see if I can get the answer for you.

Charles Murray
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Re: Missing the obvious
Charles Murray   1/27/2012 6:04:38 PM
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Litespeed: Composites were used in the exhaust manifold, but not in the body structure.

LiteSpeed
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Iron
Missing the obvious
LiteSpeed   1/27/2012 12:55:01 PM
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"Cadillac's design effort called on teams of structural engineers, chassis engineers, materials specialists, and mathematicians to create a body structure that would manage loads intelligently."

I commend the automotive structural engineers for their efforts in reducing the weight of the metals used in this Cadilac. I also commend the inteligence of those who commented about this project.

What I found missing was any reference to the structural weight reduction through the use of advanced composite materials.( Forgive me if I missed it.)

A glance at any modern airplane will reveal the latest in strength to weight engineering with the use of composite structures in airframes.

Might be time for the auto industry to bring in some structural engineers from the aviation industry if weight reduction is the goal.

It clearly obvious that airframe engineers have already achieved that goal.

Alexander Wolfe
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Re: Weight and Design
Alexander Wolfe   1/26/2012 6:21:50 PM
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I definitely agree with that -- the design conservatism of Toyota (and for that matter, Honda too) -- and made a similar comment earlier in the thread. I also agree with Chuck about marketing mucking about too much in U.S. carmaking. Incremental improvements are the only way to both assess the effects of change incrementally improve reliability. Change all the subsystems at once and who knows what's going on. I also think that the U.S. car companies only started focusing on the build quality in their factories after Japanese and German automakers had come to the U.S. and set up factories which were more flexible, required fewer people, and built higher quality cars than they did or could.

TJ McDermott
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Re: Slow and steady wins the race
TJ McDermott   1/26/2012 1:57:18 PM
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I was thinking human safety as well while reading this.  That weight savings goes towards fuel economy, yes, but in a crash there's conservation of momentum to consider as well.  The weight savings means you're going to have more momentum transferred to this lighter car.

William K.
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Platinum
Cadillac ATS cuts weight
William K.   1/25/2012 9:58:42 PM
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Smokey Yunik made a similar comment about reducing race car weight, a whole lot of years ago. " You don't take a hundred pounds out of a car in one place, you take an ounce out in sixteen hundred places." 

Of course, one way to do that is to use the much stronger, much thinner steels. Unfortunately, when they finally do bend it is a much more destructive failure mode, and much less likely to be able to straighten. So there certainly is a tradeoff made there.

Charles Murray
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Re: Weight and Design
Charles Murray   1/25/2012 7:49:33 PM
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Ratsky: Excellent point about the conservatism of Toyota. That may also be the reason why Toyota thoroughly dominates Consumer Reports' reliability ratings year after year. Even after Toyota's supposed "unintended acceleration" problem a couple of years ago, Toyota's vehicles again came in with the highest marks on virtually all of their vehicles.  

Ratsky
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Platinum
Re: Weight and Design
Ratsky   1/25/2012 4:14:22 PM
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Re Japanese makers: all tend to be pretty conservaitive, but the most is Toyota.  I was once told by a Toyota executive that they would not even consider adding any new technology until they were losing significant sales because they didn't have it!  Nissan was a bit more adventurous, Honda much more so.  Can't speak to the 2nd tier players (Mitsubishi, Suzuki, etc.), though. 

Biggest difference: US manufacturers have been driven more by marketing, German more by engineering and function, Japanese by process (focus on quality).

One other point: largely because of their slow incremental approach to evolving thier products, the Japanese get away with 18-month design cycles, vs. 30-36 months for everyone else!  Thus, when they DO decide to introduce something new, it appears quickly after the decision.

John
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Gold
Re: Weight Wins
John   1/25/2012 3:43:54 PM
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I enjoyed my 87 Cadillac deVille.  It got gas mileage compareable to to the dodge stratus you mention and it wasn't that all heavy of a car.  My 96 deville is rated, wikipedia, at 4,000 to 4,300 lbs and doesn't get a necessarily bad gas mileage.  Some would probably say other wise, but I don't like little cars. 

In the end the article says it's comparable in weight to most anything else on the market.  So.. they didn't blindly reduce weight as they shouldn't if they don't want huge problems later on.  But I am surprised Cadillac is even building a compact.  Prior compacts like the Cimmaron did poorly.  Why play that tune again?  An aluminum hood?  That's race car stuff from the 60's and you don't build mass produced bodies with aluminum.  They dent too easy and too difficult to repair.

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