Ultra-light stainless (2/4)

A stainless steel “sandwich” material, developed by Volvo, promises lighter, safer and environmentally sound cars, trucks, trains, aircraft and boats, writes Dean Jobb in Nickel Magazine (February 2003 issue). Swedish scientist Roland Gustafsson has invented a composite material for use in cars, buses, trucks, trains, aircraft and even ships. Gustafsson, project manager with Volvo Technology Centre’s concept centre in Gothenburg, Sweden, developed and patented a hybrid stainless steel assembly (HSSA) using nickel stainless steel. HSSAs are “sandwich” structures consisting of two sheets of thin stainless steel bonded to a core of miniature stainless steel fibres. The result is a material as thin and easily shaped as conventional sheet metal, lighter and stiffer than aluminium, and which offers built-in insulation against noise and vibration. Scientists in the UK and the USA have launched an intensive research programme to investigate the properties and potential uses of HSSAs. Cars built with HSSA components could end up weighing 50% to 70% less than conventional vehicles, Gustafsson predicts.

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