Beyond Aluminum

OK.

OK. Everybody knows all about the 2015 F-150. The aluminum-intensive truck.

For those in the auto industry it is, at the very least, provocative. Possibly exciting.

But that’s not the only material that is ordinarily associated with the aerospace industry that’s come to auto*.

Word from Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies is that it has taken a material that it ordinarily uses in aerospace applications and has made it automotive-appropriate.

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Specifically, it is using high-temperature nickel-based alloys—materials that exhibit high-temperature and cracking resistance—to produce stamped gaskets.

These so-called “HTA”—for “high temperature alloy”—materials also exhibit a property whereby they can become stronger over time with heat exposure. Consequently, gaskets can be produced for powertrain applications with a thinner gauge and reduced embossment width than would ordinarily be the case.

According to Scott Anderson, product marketing manager at Freudenberg, “Companies have used similar HTA materials in the heavy-duty industry due to the prevalence of turbocharging in high-torque producing diesel engines. Adapting this technology to the automotive market made sense. Smaller engines are running at higher speeds for longer times, and as a consequence, more heat is generated in the engine bay and in the engines exhaust system specifically.”

All of which is to say that cross-fertilization of technologies—from aircraft to earth-moving equipment to auto—is absolutely essential.

The HTA gaskets are produced at a Freudenberg-NOK plant in Necedah, Wisconsin, and shipped to customers globally.

*Auto has long used aluminum for such things as engine blocks and suspension components. But this use of aluminum skins—like those on aircraft—is certainly somewhat different, applications at places like Jaguar Land Rover notwithstanding.