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Mazda 1st automaker to use 1,800 MPa ultra-high tensile steel; debuts in new CX-5 crossover

4 October 2011

Cx5
Mazda CX-5 SKYACTIV body. Click to enlarge.

Mazda Motor Corporation, in collaboration with Sumitomo Metal Industries, Ltd. and Aisin Takaoka Co., Ltd., has become the first automaker to successfully develop vehicle components using 1,800 MPa ultra-high tensile steel. The super-strength steel will debut in the new Mazda CX-5 crossover SUV that will commence its global launch in early 2012.

Mazda’s new production technology uses 1,800 MPa ultra-high tensile steel to fabricate bumper beams, which fit inside the front and rear bumpers and mitigate damage in the event of a collision. The bumper bars are 20% stronger and 4.8 kilograms lighter than previous versions and are a key part of Mazda’s next-generation, lightweight and highly rigid vehicle architecture.

The new body architecture was developed as part of Mazda’s SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY program and incorporates a new energy absorbing structure as well as an expanded use of high tensile steel to reduce weight.

The use of high tensile steel enables vehicle parts to be thinner yet still retain the same degree of strength, leading to significant savings in vehicle weight. Reducing the weight of bumper beams is particularly important because, as they are incorporated into the body structure at the farthest point from the vehicle's centre of gravity, their weight has a considerable effect on dynamic performance and responsiveness.

They must also be strong to provide sufficient collision protection. For these reasons, a method of mass producing the parts using stronger steel has been highly sought after.

However, stronger materials are less pliant and therefore absorb less energy in a collision. To overcome this, Mazda conducted extensive research into how bumper beams deform in a crash, and created a new design that absorbs energy more efficiently. Additionally, in order to ensure the bumpers provide maximum strength in the CX-5, Mazda collaborated with Futaba Kogyo Co., Ltd. to optimize the welding techniques and establish a reliable manufacturing process.

Going forward, Mazda says it remains committed to reducing vehicle weight and improving dynamic performance while also maintaining a high level of body rigidity and excellent crashworthiness.

October 4, 2011 in Fuel Efficiency, Materials | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

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Comments

This is one readily available way to reduce vehicle weight, fuel consumption and pollution while increasing strength and security. Increased use of aluminium and composites would also help to further increase efficiency.

Whatever happened to vehicles with shock absorbers in the bumers. In the 1980's there were TV ads showing the whole bumper sliding 6 inches back to prevent any damage in a 5-mph collision with stationary objects. Why did those go out of vogue?

@HealthyBreeze - Adding shock absorbers might reduce low-speed collision damage, but then you've gone and added back all the weight they just worked so hard to remove.

Check your car HealthyBreeze. It may still have them. I haven't taken apart my current car but my 1999 Mitsubishi had "shock absorbers" that the bumper impact beam connected to.

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