Products and solutions, 2001-09-11, 02:00 AM
New automotive application for stainless steel
For the first time, several European automobile manufacturers will soon be fitting cars intended for export to the USA with stainless steel fuel tanks. This completely new automotive application for stainless steel was triggered by Californian environmental legislation. With annual requirements estimated at 6,000 to 8,000 metric tons, Krupp Thyssen Nirosta GmbH - the world`s biggest producer of stainless steel flat products - has been supplying automakers and tank manufacturers with NIROSTA® 4301 as feedstock for trials and providing expert advice on all material-related issues.
Legislators in California already require automakers to limit hydrocarbon emissions to a maximum of 2 grams per day and vehicle, and this figure will be cut even further from 2004. The plastic fuel tanks widely used in cars today will be unable to satisfy these requirements.
One cause of hydrocarbon emissions is the permeation of fuel vapor through the walls of plastic tanks. Conventional plastic tanks currently give off some two grams of hydrocarbons every day, the upper limit for the entire vehicle. While the plastics industry and tank system manufacturers have developed new products which reduce emissions, they fail to match the performance of the stainless steel solution. In contrast, recent developments using carbon steel tanks with anti-corrosion coatings could present a promising alternative.
Stainless steel fuel tanks offer zero emissions and are virtually 100% recyclable. The material displays good forming properties and is corrosion resistant, a key advantage as it enables automakers to offer the required guarantee of 15 years or 150,000 miles with zero emissions.
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