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Steel crashes better (eom) (archive)

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Posted by Michael W on September 28, 1998 at 17:49:19:

In Reply to: Old conservative designers posted by Gary on September 28, 1998 at 17:14:32:

: In the Z3, there has not been a lot of use of lightweight metals.

: The block is still cast iron, the body is all steel (aluminum is lighter).
: BMW and Mercedes tended to be more conservative and the Japanese tend to push weight reduction through carefull material selection more.

: And of course the open top design requires more bracing.

: Cars like the NSX, Boxster, and others use more of a "only as much material as needed" philosophy to save weight, plus extensive use of aluminum or composites.

: Even my 19 year old P-car 928 has aluminum doors, hood, transmission, roof, and aluminum suspension components.

: I'm not knocking it, (I do own an MZ3) but the Z3 was not a "state of the art" design.

: Modern computer aided design allows car designers to only use as much material as needed, keeping weight at a minimum. This is a philosophy that takes a while to work out, as changing to too light a material can cause reliablility problems.

: In high performance sport motorcyles, Honda was a leader in '93 when they used these methods to reduce the weight of 900 cc sportbikes by about 125 pounds, which was an incredible 20% weight reduction.
: They were only able to do this and produce a reliable bike due to thier extensive CAD/CAM capability, and manufacturing expertise.

: Gary

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