Titanium Gleams in the Automobile Industry

    Posted by Ben Davidson about 11 months ago

    The use of titanium in the global automotive market is expected to grow with a CAGR of 3.3% by 2023, according to a new marketing report published by Lucintel. The worldwide demand for titanium is booming in the construction sector, though this material is also making its presence felt in other industries, including aircraft, electronics, and the automotive industry. Titanium’s strength, light weight, and high survival rate is making it a top choice for cutting edge cars and in this post, we will highlight just a few of its most cutting edge uses.

    Titanium Suspension Springs

    VW’s Lupo 1.4FSI is the first production vehicle to use titanium suspension springs, though the Ferrari Challenge Stradale was the first vehicle to use titanium springs on all four corners of its suspension (the Lupo only had two fitted in the vehicle’s rear). Titanium springs enable cars to significantly reduce their weight without having to make dramatic changes to the engine. Each spring weighs approximately half of its steel equivalent and considering that four are necessary, titanium springs alone can remove 16kg from a car's total weight. These days, titanium is also used in other types of springs, including valve springs.

    Titanium TUbing for Exhaust Pipes and Mufflers

    Because it supplies good elongation and weighs so little, titanium tubing is a popular choice for exhaust pipe systems in motorcycles and race and sports cars. The reasons include its light weight, affordability, reliability, and its modern appearance. Titanium exhausts usually contain blueing along the tailpipe, which makes for a contemporary look.

    Titanium in Formula One Racing

    In March this year, Formula One cars took on a brand new feature: a titanium ‘halo’, which essentially is a T-shaped ‘safety cage’ positioned directly in front of the driver’s eyeline. The aim is to protect the driver’s head in the case of a crash, by deflecting flying objects that can cause trauma - the kind that killed Henry Surtees in a Formula Two race in 2009 and injured Formula Driver Felipe Massa in 2009. Titanium was chosen owing to its light weight; in Formula One, every pound counts when it comes to speed. The new halo weighs 30 pounds in total.

    Exhaust systems, connective rods, suspension brings, valve springs, brake calipers and retainers are just a few components currently being manufactured in titanium. The resilience and appearance of this material are increasingly making it an interesting substitution for steel. Although Europe is currently the largest consumer of titanium in the automotive industry, the U.S. is fast catching up, with electric and other vehicles increasingly relying on this material for everything from tubing to connecting rods.

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