Life Cycle Comparison of Aluminum and Magnesium Products in Front-End Auto Parts

Posted by Tylergoin
Type: 
Full LCA available on the web
Comparative: 
yes
Publication year: 
2010
Language: 
English
Code: 
Gardening/Agriculture/Industry
Code: 
Vehicles/Fuels
Product: 
Automobile Parts
Quality and sources
Is the study a: 
Detailed LCA
Was a critical review performed?: 
Yes
Is the study compliant with ISO 14044?: 
Yes
Sponsor name(s): 
SAE International
Sponsor name(s): 
Referenced by U.S. Department of Energy
Sponsor type: 
Public administration
Practitioner(s): 
Lindita Bushi - Athena Sustainable Materials Institute
Practitioner(s) type: 
Institut/Technical research center
Summary
Functional unit: 
A Cadillac CTS vehicle with an expected lifespan of 200,000 km

The study compares the use of steel, aluminum, and magnesium frames from a cradle-to-grave approach, meticulously analyzing every aspect of the extraction, manufacturing, and disposal processes, even the GHG from the distance of the recycled materials to their new destination. The impact of the different metals is directly related to the weight it adds to the car meaning heavy steel leads to more energy required to move to vehicle. The magnesium front end reduces the weight of the steel car by 45 kg which leads to a reduction of 507 liters of petrol over the life of the car. Aluminum weight reduction leads to a 289-liter reduction in fuel.


However, the full LCA must be completed, and in the end even though magnesium performs well, the study finds that the production of highly reactive magnesium is a energy, GHG-intensive process. Therefore, in the current state of technology and within the lifetime of the vehicle, aluminum has a better performance than magnesium because magnesium requires coal in its production. Even though the aluminum design is a solid contender in terms of energy and GHG emissions for current manufacturing, through further investment in the relatively immature magnesium process it is likely that a substantial reduction in emissions could be achieved through a better primary magnesium production technology accentuated by enhanced recycling capability. This would mean that with better technology, the magnesium front end will have the smallest impact on the environment.

To illustrate how thorough this study was, the authors also organize a thorough sensitivity analysis to verify the implications of the LCA, comparing their techniques and assumptions to the range of possible scientific error. 

This LCA study is especially important because of the quantity of toxic fumes, GHG-emissions, and mineral waste that cars produce. If improvements such as the lighter front ends can be implemented in all cars around the world, their potential environmental impact is enormous. 

Material impact(s): 
Global warming
Abiotic ressources depletion
Smog
Toxicity / Eco-toxicity
Raw material impact level: 
High
Manufacturing impact(s): 
Waste generation
Abiotic ressouces depletion
Toxicity / Eco-toxicity
Manufacturing impact level: 
High
Shipping impact(s): 
Waste generation
Global warming
Toxicity / Eco-toxicity
Shipping impact level: 
Medium
Usage impact(s): 
Global warming
Smog
Toxicity / Eco-toxicity
Usage impact level: 
High
End of life impact(s): 
Waste generation
Global warming
Toxicity / Eco-toxicity
End of life impact level: 
Medium

Comparison between the uses

Comparison between the uses of two material means aluminum and magnesium Products in front,end Auto Parts is especially provided here to aware with each material's life cycle,extraction, manufacturing, and disposal process.Definitely it should be giving us auspicious results in the way of autopart's manufacturing process. used auto parts


It is the unstoppable debate

It is the unstoppable debate to determine whether aluminum or magnesium is good for automobile components. As per my opinion, both have their own list of qualities like aluminum is durable and long lasting while magnesium is one third in weight comparatively. Both the metals are used for making high quality auto parts whose example you can see at http://allusedparts.com/mercedes/ . In addition, there is another metal called alloy (made from compound of aluminum and magnesium) that comprise quality of both and being widely used in making auto parts too.




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