In the 1960s, carmakers had five grades of steel to work with. Today there are more than 200 options, including some that are more than 10 times as strong, says Jody Hall, vice president of the automotive market for the Steel Market Development Institute.
She notes that advanced high-strength steel is the fastest growing material in modern vehicles. Car companies are using these stronger steels to maintain performance while reducing vehicle weight. When used to form the outer skins of car doors, for example, high-strength steel can reduce overall door mass by 30%, Hall says.
SMDI’s most recent Steel Technology Roadmap for Automotive details recent breakthroughs in steel and supports efforts by government laboratories, universities and suppliers to help carmakers implement the latest steel options.