While the Icona Vulcano stole the show a few years ago with its hand-hammered titanium exterior and a staggering $2.6 million price tag, that was only the start of the titanium revolution. Lightweight and resistant to the elements, this durable metal is fast making its mark on the motoring world. While shaping entire panels out of the metal could run up the tab substantially and make it unaffordable to a large portion of the market, automotive engineers have discovered means of incorporating the metal into a number of other parts and applications.
Titanium And Carbon Fiber Provide High Strength And Low Weight
While a carbon fiber shell solves the problem that the Icona Vulcano created, that doesn’t mean that titanium is left out of the picture entirely. The 2020 Lexus RC F incorporates both carbon fiber and titanium in one impressive model. The car features a 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V-8 engine and using standard materials alongside this impressive design simply won’t do it justice. The non-corrosive nature of titanium comes to play here in the exhaust, which requires something durable, light, and virtually indestructible. For Lexus to take this model to the next level, however, they would need to pull a few more levers and take a cue from Ford, who managed to incorporate a line of printed titanium wheels to their lineup. Not only do these wheels have the visual impact drivers need, but they also boast unrivaled strength and durability.
Not All Titanium Is The Same
It’s important to know that titanium is often used in an alloy form when shaped into the desired components needed in the automotive industry. There are also different titanium grades that are separated into three different categories, which are corrosion resistant, high strength, and high temperature. This is important to note because this will be the deciding factor when automotive fabricators are required to make parts. For instance, an exhaust and ball bearings will have different requirements in terms of corrosion, heat resistance, and strength. It’s also important to note that titanium can take on many different shapes, such as sheets, tubing, rods, plates, and more. These applications will also require different grades of titanium.
Lightweight And Powerful Automotive Applications
For those who are counting on a lightweight application to improve the performance of their car, titanium can make a substantial difference. The Tetsui TiAl turbine rotor was built to ensure that the turbine wheel is strong enough, yet lightweight in order to spin effortlessly. This is an important consideration for those who have turbo engines, as the more lightweight and durable the turbine wheel is, the more efficient the turbo. The overall result of an effective turbo is that the combustion efficiency of the engine improves, ensuring that you’ll leave everyone behind to choke on dust.
While there are still many areas that deserve to be explored where titanium applications in the automotive industry are concerned, it’s already managed to tick a few boxes. While strength and durability are obvious reasons for wanting to incorporate titanium into components, the lightweight nature means that speed doesn’t have to be compromised.