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March 14, 2019

Automotive Applications of Stainless Steel

How is steel applied in the automotive industry?

  1. Lightweight integral components
  2. Automotive framework
  3. Corrosion resistant parts
  4. Visual design and appeal


In the Philippines, steel is a staple in almost any kind of structural design and framework. Buildings of varying height and width are supported by their steel infrastructure. Almost every establishment in an urban area is built with a mix of steel and other construction materials.

The usefulness of steel has also expanded to the automotive industry. Albeit for quite some time now, stainless steel is used in manufacturing many parts of a modern day automotive. Along with Aluminum, another alloy that is used in the automotive industry, stainless steel is rising and taking over many aspects of the automotive industry.

When you think of stainless steel in the automotive industry, the most notable application is in the exhaust systems—the part of the car that has to deal with internal pollutants the most. But of course, that’s not the only place where stainless steel is used in automobiles.

All in all, stainless steel in the automotive industry is used because of two things—the durability of the material, and the quality that it gives. With the automotive industry requiring a combination of strength, efficiency, performance, and lightness, stainless steel is becoming more and more prominent! With that being said, here are some of the applications of stainless steel in the automotive industry.


Lightweight Integral Components

Stainless steel is known for how lightweight it is. To some, it is the go-to material when need to reduce weight while still being as strong as the other materials. When it comes to automobiles, this characteristic makes it perfect for some of the most important parts of a car: the fuel tanks, the chassis, and even the bumpers.

Although less talked about, the small components such as the tubing, brackets, springs, clamps, flanges, and many other minute pieces that support the vehicle, connect parts and form the structure of the car is made of stainless steel.


Automotive Framework

Automotive Framework

Stainless steel boasts a combination of durability, malleability, and ductility. Automotive frameworks made from stainless steel show the same amount of strength that many other metal alloys provide, but with the added benefit of being lighter than the rest. In the automobile industry, these two are one of the main characteristics of the materials that they want in their products. When you use stainless steel, you’ll get a strong, lightweight framework that can be considered one of the best kind of supports that a vehicle could have.

When testing out one of the austenitic stainless steel grades, it was discovered that the material’s hardening rate depends on the speed of deformation. When put into the context of automobiles, the stainless steel can absorb more force than the usual structural steels that are widely used. This ensures that with stainless steel frameworks, passenger safety increases by a significant amount.


Corrosion Resistant Parts

Any vehicle is prone to getting dirty, both inside their systems and outside. In the Philippines, muddy roads and puddles of water, along with unpredictable rains are almost always part of your daily commute. Vehicles are already designed to be resistant to such kinds of corrosion—and that is where stainless steel comes in.

Along with being durable, stainless steel also has high corrosion resistance, making it one of the best materials for automotive parts that are usually prone to get corroded such as the exhaust system. Currently, stainless steel comprises around 50% of all exhaust systems manufactured—a testament to its amazing properties.

Apart from the exhaust system, other parts that experience the dirt the most are the wheels, the main visual structure, and the lower part of a car. And of course, these parts can also be made from stainless steel. Today, stainless steel is only seldom used for these parts. But when they are, it’s because manufacturers aim for higher quality automobiles that will provide superior performance.


Visual Design and Appeal

Visual Design And Appeal

When compared with other steels and metal alloys, the visual effect of stainless steel usually sets it apart. In its most polished state, it can greatly enhance the appearance of a modern vehicle by a good margin. In a world where the physicality and visual appeal matters a lot, such visual improvements can mean a lot.

And of course, it doesn’t stop at visual appeal, it also provides durability, corrosion resistance, and versatility alongside it! Stainless steel has the capability to improve an otherwise perfect product.


Key Takeaway

Many vehicles are already manufactured using stainless steel in the Philippines. And even when it’s not the primary material, it still plays a huge role in supporting the whole structural framework or making up the different parts of a vehicle that needs to be resistant to corrosion and more durable than the others.

With that being said, research and studies are ongoing regarding the further integration of stainless steel into the automotive industry. Sooner or later, it won’t be for superior and high-performance vehicles, but for every kind of vehicle thereafter.

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