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Magnesium in Coachbuilding

Read more about the origins of magnesium: Wikipedia

Magnesium alloys for pressure-cast components are already found in the crankcase and the gearbox housing of the VW-Beetle. Even earlier it was used in large quantities in the Adler Standard. In the second half of the last century the application was increased.

Density: 1,74 g/cm³ (Mg), 2,7 g/cm³ (Al)

As far as hardness is concerned, compared with aluminium, this material is around one-third lighter. Recently, there are attempts being made to use it in coachbuilding, its combustibility, low resistance to corrosion and the high price, are the disadvantages. Basically however, magnesium has good characteristics for the use in coachbuilding and can be recycled.

Magnesium, together with aluminium, is found in Bauxite and only in sea-water are almost unlimited amounts to be found. It is extracted from the respective salts. The reduction takes place the same as with aluminium, through fusion electrolysis, here the pure magnesium is separated from any impurities (slag) through an electric arc in the electrolysis cell.

The practice, up to now, for the manufacturing of magnesium sheeting is very complex and expensive. The poor state of the material after casting must be processed in a combination of rolling and thermal treatment. Further research is still necessary in the field of the casting technology of magnesium alloys and the subsequent prolonged heat-treatment.

Magnesium as a competitor for chrome-coated plastic

The first tests using an optimised manufacturing process, provide reasons to be optimistic. Those who are prepared to invest in the efforts of further processing (e.g., deep drawing), under evenly held temperatures of 300 to 400°, will be rewarded with sheets having a high degree of rigidity. The ability of magnesium to be processed into thin-walled components is indeed, very important. In the meantime, coating the material (e.g., chrome-plating) no longer poses a problem. However, it will still take some time before it is used in mass-production. 09/11

Trying this yourself is definitely not recommended ...