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The Materials that Shape the Automobile Industry

Author: Andrew Ross

Steel: The Strong Backbone of Cars

Cars are made of various materials, each serving a specific purpose in the construction of the vehicle. One of the primary materials used is steel, which is renowned for its strength and durability. In fact, the majority of a car's body structure is made up of steel, providing a solid framework that helps protect passengers in the event of a collision. Additionally, steel is used in many internal components such as the engine block and suspension system, due to its ability to withstand high temperatures and heavy loads.

Aluminum: Lightweight and Efficient for Cars

An interesting fact about 'what are cars made of' is that steel is the most widely used material in automobile manufacturing. On average, a car contains about 900 kilograms (2,000 pounds) of steel, making it the primary component. However, the steel used in modern cars is significantly lighter and stronger than before, thanks to advancements in technology and alloy compositions.

Another common material used in cars is aluminum. This lightweight metal is perfect for components that need to be both strong and light, such as the wheels, engine parts, and the car's body panels. Using aluminum helps improve fuel efficiency by reducing the overall weight of the vehicle, while still maintaining structural integrity. Additionally, aluminum has excellent corrosion resistance properties, making it ideal for parts that are exposed to the elements.

Plastics Versatility in Car Manufacturing

Plastic is also used extensively in car manufacturing. While it may not be as strong as steel or aluminum, plastic is favored for its versatility, cost-effectiveness, and ability to be molded into various shapes and sizes. Plastic is commonly used in interior components such as dashboard panels, door trims, and seat covers. It is also utilized in car bumpers, as it can absorb impact and minimize damage in low-speed collisions. Advances in technology have led to the development of reinforced plastics, which offer increased strength and rigidity.

Cars Materials Ensure Safety and Comfort

A fun fact about what cars are made of is that their bodies are primarily composed of steel, which is estimated to be about 55% of the total weight of the vehicle. However, other materials used in cars include aluminum, plastic, glass, and rubber, making them a modern marvel of engineering and material science!

Lastly, cars heavily rely on a variety of other materials such as glass, rubber, and fabric. High-quality safety glass, which is specially designed to minimize injuries in case of an accident, is used for windshields and windows. Rubber is used for tires, gaskets, and seals, providing flexibility, insulation, and resistance to wear and tear. Fabrics like nylon and polyester are used for upholstery, seat belts, and carpeting, ensuring comfort and durability for passengers.

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