tThere are plenty of ways for the auto industry to meet the 2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy standard of 54.5 miles per gallon, according to Chuck Evans, corporate vice president at Henkel Corp.'s automotive group — but reducing the weight of a vehicle by a method known as lightweighting, he says, is the best option.
tDuring the WWJ Newsradio 950 Auto Summit held Thursday in Southfield, Evans said that incorporating the technologies developed by Henkel would result in a 209-pound reduction in mass per vehicle.
t“If we focus on vehicle lightweighting alone, according to MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), the average new vehicle will weigh 28 percent less in 2016 than it does today,” he said in a statement. “Just imagine what we can do by 2025."
tEvans says that vehicle lightweighting also contributes to a better environment. Replacing two pounds of steel with one pound of aluminum saves 20 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions over the life of the vehicle, according to Alcoa, the world’s third largest producer of aluminum. Additionally, fewer materials going into the vehicle means fewer industrial byproducts and a reduction of materials going into landfills.
tUsing lightweight materials is not without its challenges, Evans says. Given the highly corrosive nature of material such as aluminum, lightweight materials cannot be introduced by using traditional joining and surface treatment techniques. The use of new methods, like adhesives, plays a significant role. Evans says the solution is found in cured adhesives, which provide a protective barrier between metals that prevents corrosion.
tWhile lightweight material has often been impractical or cost prohibitive to put into mass production, company officials say that Henkel has developed various technologies, from pretreatment processes to adhesives, to make practical assembly of lightweighting possible. This includes Henkel’s Loctite Max 2, a polyurethane-based resin system that cures faster than traditional epoxy resins. The offering speeds up cycle times so lightweight materials like carbon fiber composites can be introduced on high-volume automotive production.