Titanium first found a permanent place in vehicle manufacturing in the 1980s when it was used in the engines of racing cars. Today, titanium is being used extensively in the manufacturing of cars, especially high-performance automobiles. Apart from being lightweight and durable, titanium is also considerably more resistant to corrosion than many other metals. From titanium turbochargers and con-rods to corrosion-resistant exhaust systems, here’s a closer look at three common applications of titanium in vehicle manufacturing.
Titanium turbochargers are in high demand
Turbochargers are typically used to boost the torque and overall power of an engine, while also improving its combustion efficiency. As turbochargers and turbine rotors are required to work for extended periods of time at extreme temperatures, it is essential that the charger is manufactured from a robust, heat-resistant material. Unfortunately, conventional lighter metals such as aluminum won’t cut it. Even ceramic materials that are known to be heat resistant are very limited in their application due to an exorbitant price tag. With these concerns in mind, Tetsui developed a titanium-alloy turbine rotor that is not only heat resistant, but durable as well. Mitsubishi is among the manufacturers that have embraced titanium turbochargers, using them in the Lacer Evolution vehicle lines.
Titanium makes superb connecting rods
While there are multiple applications of titanium metal tubing and titanium rods in automobile manufacturing, it is particularly useful in the engine. Connecting rods made from titanium alloy can match rods made from high-strength steels in terms of strength and fatigue properties. As these titanium rods only have approximately 60% of the density of steel, they are considerably lighter, which results in lower bearing loads and a decrease in vibration. Although titanium con-rods may not make a world of difference in regular streetcars, the difference is nothing short of startling on racing cars that operate on more than 6,000 RPMs.
Exhaust systems are corrosion-resistant
Titanium sheeting and tubing are both extensively used in modern-day exhaust systems. In the USA, environmental agencies stipulate that exhaust systems need to be corrosion-resistant. While titanium systems surpass these expectations, they also contribute towards a lighter load and overall lower vehicle cost. Although titanium isn’t a viable material to use for the entire exhaust system, it is ideal for pipework and silencers. Apart from being proven to be more reliable than traditional steel exhaust systems, titanium systems also improve fuel burn efficiency, while boosting the aesthetical value of the car at the same time.
Titanium has revolutionized the auto industry in many ways. Considering how well titanium parts are performing in high-performance cars, they could soon become prevalent in the manufacturing of general streetcars too.