Nissan cars to benefit from new ultra high tensile strength steel development
05 October 2011
Nissan has developed an ultra high tensile strength steel rated at 1.2GPa. From 2013, this new, highly formable steel will be produced as plates for use in cold pressing structural vehicle body parts. To be deployed globally in models across the Nissan range, it will reduce vehicle body weight by up to 15kg, which the company says is a significant step in improving environmental impact as well as driving performance.
Developed in collaboration with Nippon Steel Corporation and Kobe Steel, the new steel will be used for centre pillar reinforcements, front and side roof rails and other key structural components. By exceeding the structural body performance of previous materials with less thickness, the new steel will contribute to increased dynamic performance and fuel economy. It will also contribute to lower total costs, including that of manufacturing, as superior cold-pressing formability supports mass production.
This new breakthrough overcomes significant obstacles. Until now, high tensile strength steel involved a critical trade-off: increased strength came with increased rigidity and a consequent reduction in press formability. Maintaining quality in spot-welding has also been an ongoing challenge. Traditionally, only high tensile steel rated up to 980 megapascals (MPa) can be used in cold pressing structural body parts, requiring complex press work.
The new 1.2 GPa steel, combined with Nissan-developed advances in welding methodology, overcomes both obstacles.
Development of the new material was realised by a breakthrough in the ability to control its structural formation at the sub-micron level in combining hard and soft layers to achieve both strength and formability.
By adopting the new material for various parts of the vehicle, Nissan’s new 1.2GPa steel with high formability will contribute significantly to overall vehicle weight savings without adding the extra cost associated with other lightweight materials, such as aluminium.
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