The Rise of Magnesium Thanks to Lightweighting

4th June 2015 by Chris Liddiard

As you know, CAFE 2025 standards are approaching quickly which means suppliers and OEMs alike are working rapidly for lightweighting solutions to improve fuel economy.  What’s the latest material gaining popularity among OEMs? Magnesium.

Magnesium is approximately 75 percent lighter than steel and 34 percent lighter than aluminum. Available in large quantities worldwide, the material has excellent formability, comparable rigidity to steel and is a fully recyclable product.

So making a vehicle lighter should be easy, right? Not necessarily. Enabling the use of magnesium (and other lightweight metals, composites, plastics, etc.) is very complicated and requires additional processes to introduce the metal into vehicles. For example, magnesium has a high melting temperature making it more difficult to weld, as well as being extremely corrosive, requiring additional protection to maintain its integrity and strength.

Ceramic coatings (like Henkel’s BONDERITE MgC Electro Ceramic Coating) are an excellent option to prevent magnesium corrosion and enable the metal to be incorporated more easily into vehicle applications. With any new lightweight application, automakers must address material challenges in order to successfully incorporate them into designs and benefit from weight savings.

Although we’re yet to see magnesium make the headlines that aluminum or carbon fiber has commanded in recent years, we believe it could become crucial to manufacturers trying to meet the ever tougher weight and CO2 targets. At Henkel, we’re happy to be helping companies to overcome the challenges that these lightweight materials present.

Learn more about it in the video below:

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