Material Gain

Designers and engineers of drivetrains for electric and hybrid vehicles can see the potential of new, lighter weight materials, but they aren’t predicting a revolution any time soon. Aluminum and steel remain the best compromise for high-volume applications. While engineers are looking to reduce weight through the use of carbon fiber, hybrid plastics and organic matrix composites, it is uncertain whether these materials will outperform these traditional materials for cost, weight, and compatibility. Although alternative materials are continually being developed to offer increased benefits, the more conventional materials are also being improved. The high cost of materials such as magnesium and carbon for lightweight geartrain components precludes them from general use, although they can offer cost-effective benefits in specific applications. But the standard materials are likely to remain dominant for the foreseeable future. The main challenges are to reduce cost and weight while improving refinement and efficiency, but these aims generally conflict with one another as some issues often require mass for them to be eradicated. In addition, the introduction of advanced materials requires an in-depth understanding of the manufacturing constraints and the differences in material characteristics.


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  • Accession Number: 01491874
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 3 2013 12:29PM