Honda Motor Co. Ltd. announced the development of a new technology to join steel and aluminium and further applied this technology to mass production vehicles, initially to the North American version of the all-new Acura RLX, and plans to expand its application to other models .
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The first application of this technology was with a new aluminium outer door panel, which has conventionally been made of steel, to join it to the steel inner door panel, the company said.
To join together the dissimilar metals of steel and aluminium, the simultaneous establishment of several different technologies was required including technologies to prevent corrosion (electrical corrosion) and thermal deformation caused by the different expansion rates of steel and aluminium.
Honda said it developed three technologies that enabled adoption of aluminium for the outer door panel:
- Technology to join dissimilar materials: adoption of '3D Lock Seam' (3DLS) structure, where the steel panel and aluminium panel are layered and hemmed together twice
- Technology to prevent electrical corrosion: adoption of highly anticorrosive steel for the inner panel and a new form that assures the complete filling of the gap with adhesive agent
- Technology to control thermal deformation: adoption of an adhesive agent with low elastic modulus (better ability to 'stretch') and optimised position of the 3D Lock Seam
The advantages of these new technologies include elimination of a spot welding process required to join conventional steel door panels. Also, these technologies do not require a dedicated process; as a result, existing production lines can accommodate these new technologies, the company said.