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Industry Terms

DictionaryAggressivity: Energy transferred during a vehicle crash.

AHA! : The defining moment when a driver or passenger experiences the performance and safety features of their aluminum intensive vehicle while saving money on fuel.

Alloy: A substance composed of two or more metals, or of a metal and a non-metal, intimately united usually by fusion and dissolving in each other when molten.

Aluminum anodizing: A type of finishing that is classified as an electrochemical process producing a clear oxide nonporous layer on the surface of the metal.

Aluminum-intensive: Any product, such as a vehicle, containing high-levels of aluminum components within its core structure.

A-pillars: The vertical pillar on both sides of a vehicle windshield.

ASF: Aluminum Space Frame.

Automotive applications:  Individual components or structural elements in a vehicle.

Axial collapse: Energy absorption in automotive structural components that are a direct result of front and rear end crashes.

Bending mode collapse: A common mode of energy absorption in automotive structural components.

BIW: Body-In-White.  The main body structure excluding closure components.

Brazing: Thermally joining two pieces of metal through a filler metal that is melted without melting the pieces being joined.

Bumper-to-frame rail attachments
: Designed to transfer the impact force from a vehicle crash directly to the lower front rails.

Castability: Combined factors contributing to how well aluminum molds including fluidity, shrinkage characteristics, alloy segregation, hot cracking or hot tears.

Cast alloys: Comprised of four main families of brasses:

  1. Copper-tin-zinc alloys (red, semi-red and yellow brasses)
  2. Leaded "manganese bronze" alloys (high strength yellow brasses)
  3. Leaded "manganese bronze" alloys (leaded high strength yellow brasses)
  4. Copper-zinc-silicon alloys (silicon brasses and bronzes)

Casting: The most widely used method of forming. The process of pouring molten aluminum into a mold to duplicate a desired pattern. The three most important methods are die casting, permanent mold casting and sand casting.

Control arms: The mechanism that holds the wheels on a vehicle, while also improving ride, impact and handling performance.

Crash pulse: The deceleration-time response.

Crashworthy: A vehicle designed to deform according to a deceleration-time response or crash pulse which is defined as the deceleration-time response.

Cross-contamination: When the same tools are used on different metals resulting in problems with welding, finishing and potential bimetallic corrosion.

Crush zones: Structural zones that absorb crash energy outside the passenger compartment.

Downweighting: The act of decreasing the weight of a vehicle by using lighter materials such as aluminum components.

Extrusion/extruded products: The process of forming aluminum shapes by forcing the metal through a die. Applications include: space frames, suspension, bumpers, seat frames and rails, sun roofs, window and door frames.

Finishing: Processes of polishing, plating, painting or coating aluminum.

Forging: The process of hammering, upsetting, pressing or rolling metal, either hot or cold, or by a combination of several of the following processes: drop forging in which the metal shape is formed by repeated blows from a drop or steam hammer onto a bar or billet placed between a pair of dies; upset forging; press forging accomplished by hydraulic presses with the deforming pressure applied for longer intervals giving opportunity for plastic flow to take place; or roll forging produced by two rotating rolls.

G force: Equal to the force of gravity.

GMA: Gas Metal Arc. A welding method used to join common metals together.

Hard-coat anodizing: A type of finish that penetrates aluminum while building up its surface. This process is ideal for parts that need extra protection under extreme conditions.

HAZ: Heat Affected Zone. The material adjacent to a fusion weld that may experience some reduction in mechanical properties. When laser welding, the process leaves a very narrow weld bead and heat affected zone.

Heat-shrinking: A technique used to repair dents in aluminum panel.

HIC: Head Injury Criteria.

HSS: Hollow Structural Sections. A tube used for welded or bolted constructions of various types of structures.

Hydroforming: A metal forming process that uses water as a forming medium.

IP beams: Essential structural components modern vehicles that support the instrument panel, airbags, steering column and pedal box as well as a variety of heaters, electrical modules and other ancillary equipment.

Joining: The process of joining aluminum through processes such as welding, bonding, riviting.

Laser welding: The process of joining two or more pieces of metal together by using a laser beam leaving a very narrow weld and heat affected zone (HAZ).

Life cycle analysis: The long-term measurement and value of aluminum products and the renewable nature of aluminum.

Local heating: A heating technique that temporarily softens an aluminum part so that the damaged area can be corrected.

Lowered agressivity: Less energy transferred in a vehicle crash.

Machining: The broad term used to describe removal of material from a work piece in the form of chips by covering several different processes such as; cutting, grinding, milling, drilling, tuning.

MIG welding: Metal Inert Gas welding uses an aluminum alloy wire as a combined electrode and filler material. The filler metal is added continuously.

MSW: Municipal Solid Waste.

Nodes: Points where several frame members join together.

NHV: Noise, Harshness and Vibration. Characteristic standards that engineers desire to be as minimum as possible, key indicators of the vehicle's performance outcome.

PNGV: Partnership for New Generation Vehicles. A combined government/industry program to investigate materials and technologies for future vehicles. The task is to triple fuel economy in cars without sacrificing performance, affordability or safety.

Product forms: Includes all aluminum products that are either rolled, extruded, cast or forged.

Recyclability: The ability for a metal such as auto aluminum to be remelted and reused in the same or another application.

Rolled products: Aluminum products including sheet, plate and foil used to create automotive applications including closure sheet and structural sheet for complete body assemblies as well as heat exchangers, heat shields and bumper stock.

Rolling: The process of passing metal between high-pressured rolls in order to reduce its thickness, resulting in either sheet, plate or foil.

Stamping /blanking: The production of semi-finished body panels from sheet metal “blanks” by forming under pressure.

Surface pre-treatment: A chemical surface conversion process that improves adhesive bonding of vehicle assemblies.

UBC: Used Beverage Containers.  Can also be used to reference Unburned Carbon.

Unsprung mass: The weight that is not supported by the suspension of the car typically includes the weight of the wheels, brakes, tires, and a percentage of the weight of the suspension itself, including control arms, anti-roll bars, shocks, and struts.

Vehicle compatibility: To design vehicles that would be sufficiently compatible in body structure, bumper height, center of gravity and crush zones so that crashes between larger vehicles and smaller ones would not result in such an uneven distribution of damage and risk.

VRP: Vehicle Recycling Partnership.

VVA: Versatile Vehicle Architecture. A vehicle platform constructed almost entirely from aluminum subcomponents.

Welding: Permanently joining metal parts. In this process, heat is applied to metal pieces, melting and fusing them to form a permanent bond.

Work-hardened:  The strengthening of a metal through plastic deformation (also known as cold working).

Wrought products: Products such as sheet, rod, bar, tube, plate and wire that are produced by rolling and extrusion mills as well as forging. These products start off with metal that has been cast into a form or shape that is suitable for further processing into a specific product.

Zirconium bonding: An adhesive technique applied to aluminum sheets that improve bonding performance.

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