Aluminum-Steel Welding

Material technologies are constantly making changes and progressions that will soon be shaping the world around us. Our advancement in material innovations as a society are beginning to make anything we desire possible. Revisiting the lectures this week, I decided to do some research on metals as a material because of their abundance in not only architectural and building worlds, but other areas as well.

Aluminum and steel subframe to a vehicle

Diagram of the welding bond

I came across an article that dealt with a revelation between aluminum and steel created by Honda Motor Company. The Honda team defied all odds and created something possible from the impossible. In order to develop a more economical sub frame for their vehicles, Honda created a new welding technique that continuously joined the two dissimilar metals. Since the properties of steel and aluminum are radically different, this concept was originally thought to be impossible. Future vehicles incorporating this technique will have a reduced body weight of 25% and higher fuel economies. The 2013 Honda Accord was showcased a little over a week ago on September 19th, 2012 and is expected to make an appearance in other models soon.

2013 Honda Accord

Reflecting on the car industry and this new hybrid technology, I started thinking about how this innovation can break out into the design world. Can this new technique of welding aluminum and steel help us as designers? The hybrid steel and aluminum structure system may have a great impact on lightening dead loads of buildings to develop more economical solutions. Lightening the building would result in fewer materials being used.

If this innovation succeeds in the vehicular world, I would be surprised if I did not see it leek into building designs. Believe it or not, this technology was just discovered about three weeks ago. Do you think joining aluminum and steel can make an impact on the design world in the near future?




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