Among the biggest safety advances in today’s cars and trucks are the front- and rear-end crumple zones (also called crush zones). In a crash, these zones are designed to both absorb the energy from the impact and deflect it away from vehicle occupants. The material chosen for these lifesaving designs is vital to their success. Enter aluminum.
Absorbing an Impact
The superior energy absorption properties of high-strength aluminum alloys, matched with intelligent vehicle design, make aluminum components and aluminum intensive vehicles among the very safest on the road.
Aluminum structures can be designed to fold predictably during a crash, such as in this Ferrari crash where the driver walks away. This ensures the vehicle – not its occupants – absorb more of the destructive crash energy forces.
Bigger IS Better
Another key safety factor is vehicle size: In a crash, larger is generally better than smaller, and size is generally more important than weight. To conserve fuel and reduce emissions, aluminum can safely reduce vehicle weight (up to 40% according to a report from the University of Aachen, Germany) while maintaining or even increasing vehicle size for greater crash protection.
Federal regulators and leading U.S. and international automakers agree that well-designed, lower weight vehicles can be as safe as or even safer than heavier vehicles—and they all meet or exceed the toughest federal safety standards.
Aluminum Safety Advantages:
- Pound for pound, aluminum can absorb twice as much crash energy as steel.
- Aluminum can be used to maintain or even increase the size and energy absorption capacity of a vehicle’s critical front- and back-end crumple zones for added safety, without increasing overall weight.
- Aluminum is designed to fold predictably during a crash, allowing the vehicle to absorb much of the crash energy, rather than its occupants.
- Vehicles made lighter with aluminum require shorter stopping distances than heavier vehicles to help drivers avoid crashes altogether.