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Lightweight Materials and Safety

Lightweight Materials and Safety

In this report presented at a California Air Resources Board (CARB) workshop by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), the relationship between mass, size, safety, and materials are examined. After describing the factors influencing vehicle safety (drivers and environment, size and weight, crashworthiness, and materials), solutions to safer vehicles are presented. It is determined to improve safety, mass should be reduced through the use of lighter high-strength materials (aluminum and steel), while also improving vehicle geometry and design to absorb impact. An example of improved safety through high strength-materials and geometry is illustrated with design changes Honda has made to the Civic (05-06 models). Also compared in this report are material and safety studies by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

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