Jim, I also have a lot of unhappy memories of just how severe corrosion can be, especially in this part of the country where so much salt is used on the raods that it is still present in the puddles in the late autum. Heavy aluminum bumpers that become more brittle than glass, and alloy fittings on the engine, steering, and brake system that simply disolve away. Not right away of course, but usually just weeks after the warranty runs out. And all of those places in the steel body that were prone to rust failure may now suffer from being converted to aluminum chloride, which is a rather weak material. So while I aplaude the Ford engineers for the weight reduction I really wonder just what they have done to solve that fatal corrosion problem. It would be a "heartbreaker" to have ones pickup truck fall apart after only ten years.
Interesting comment about corrosion. When I took an Airframe Mechanics course we were taught that only pure aluminum (or alminium for those who prefer the "other" spelling) is corrosion resistant in that it almost immediately forms a surface layer of oxide whose molecules are not larger than the pure material. The problem with ferrous materials is that the oxide molecules are larger than the non-oxidized material which is why they "flake" off. What we were further taught is that aluminum alloys (at least then - 30 years ago) were not necessarily corrosion resistant because they could have the same issue as steel for example.
Does anyone know enough about the metallurgical properties of the alloys being used now to know whether they really corrision resistant?
Ford may have accessed recent modeling technology from Jaguar and Aston Martin, but I'm sure they started thinking of an aluminum body when they owned Land Rover (as well) not so many years ago. Land Rovers have used aluminum bodies since 1948!
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