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Nissan to expand use of Advanced High Tensile Strength Steel into up to 25% of new model parts; 1.2 GPa ultra high strength steel for weight reduction
12 March 2013
|Relationship of material strength and elongation in steel plates. Source: Nissan. Click to enlarge.|
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. plans to expand the use of Advanced High Tensile Strength Steel (AHSS) into up to 25% of the vehicle parts (measured by weight) installed in its new production models starting in 2017 as one of its initiatives to help reduce vehicle weight.
Nissan, in collaboration with Nippon Steel Corporation and Kobe Steel, Ltd., earlier developed 1.2 gigapascal (GPa) Ultra High Tensile Strength Steel with High Formability. (Earlier post.) Prior to the development of 1.2GPa ultra high strength steel it had been difficult to use high tensile steels for vehicle parts with highly-complex shapes. This steel is first employed in the new Infiniti Q50, which goes on sale in North America in 2013.
Generally, Nissan noted, elongation (a measure of ductility) of high tensile material is reduced if strength is increased. The reduction in elongation causes “cracks” to occur during cold-pressing of the material; this limited applications of previous high tensile strength steel as cracking occurred during the cold-pressing of complex shapes.
One of the characteristics of the newly developed 1.2 GPa Ultra High Tensile Strength Steel with High Formability is in the compatibility of both strength and elongation through micronizing of the material structure as much as possible. As a result, the material is able to be applied to much more body structural parts than was previously possible.
The 1.2 GPa Ultra High Tensile Strength Steel with High Formability can also be used for the body structural parts such as the center pillar rain hose, front roof rail, and side roof rail, due to the development of a spot welding method which suits this material.
This new, highly formable steel will be produced as steel plates for use in cold pressing structural body parts and deployed globally in models across the Nissan lineup. Nissan continues to be the only auto manufacturer using 1.2 GPa Ultra High Tensile Strength Steel with High Formability.
With the active adoption of 1.2 GPa ultra high strength steel—one grade among several types of advanced high tensile strength steels—Nissan will increase the adoption rate of AHSS as far as 25% of the gross weight of the parts installed per vehicle. This effort will begin in 2017 and aims to reduce the weight of Nissan’s vehicles by 15% with corresponding body structure rationalization.
In addition, employing 1.2 GPa high tensile strength steel leads to fewer materials used per vehicle produced, and existing production lines can be used without a big modification. This results in a reduction in total cost per unit.
Under the Nissan Green Program 2016, Nissan’s mid-term environmental plan, the company is aiming for a 35% improvement in fuel economy compared with 2005 on a corporate average for all Nissan vehicles by the end of fiscal 2016.
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