There is an increasing use of high-strength steel in body structures today. And some vehicle manufacturers are deploying vehicles with steels with tensile strengths measured in megapascals (MPa).
Nissan Motor Co. in Japan has announced that with its partners Nippon Steel Corp. and Kobe Steel Corp. it has developed steel rated at 1.2 gigapascals (GPa). So by way of conversion: 1 MPa equals 1,000 kilopascals; 1 GPa equals 1,000 megapascals.
The 1.2 GPa steel will be used to cold stamp center pillar reinforcements, front and side roof rails, and other structural components. One of the challenges of dealing with high-tensile materials has been formability. This is addressed at the sub-micron level with this new steel.
Nissan Stamping in Smyrna, TN
The material will go into mass production in 2013. Nissan estimates that they will be able to reduce the body weight of vehicles by up to 15 kg (33 lb.).
According to Nissan, the company has also developed the welding technology that’s needed to overcome the challenges of spot welding ultra-high strength steel, as well.