Know Your Materials

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

The NYT covers some of the advancements in the steel that goes into cars. One surprise? “North America doesn’t have to take a back seat to anyone,” when it comes to steel content, according to an analyst who specializes in automotive steel. Apparently the steel industry has been feeling the heat from aluminum, composites and other materials, and they’re fighting back with super-strong high-tech alloys that can still be stamped or molded. Still, the pull between high-quality components and cost-cutting never ends. And as thestreet reports, a looming trade war with China could soon make the steel game even crazier.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Johnny ro Johnny ro on Sep 16, 2009

    It was a fun read. I wondered what it was like to be NY Times reporter happily calling around to steel companies to get them explain advances in their field. Collecting good news instead of bad. I'm no steel expert but they barely touched the surface of how today's steel and steel car parts can be so superior to Model T era if the customer wants it to be.

  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Sep 16, 2009

    American steel is as good as anyone's, and better if you want it - and price-competitve - but the same could not be said 30 years ago. But US capacity is way down, also.

  • Slow_Joe_Crow Slow_Joe_Crow on Sep 18, 2009

    Interestingly, some of the really exotic steels are used for bicycle frames. Most high end steel bikes use air hardening steels which get harder after welding, as well as heat treated tubing for more strength and less weight. The absolute top end use maraging stainless steels like Reynolds 953 which grows martensite crystals over time. Of course a 953 framed bike costs about as much as a cheap car but...

  • TonUpBoi TonUpBoi on Sep 18, 2009

    . . . . it performs better, rides better, and is more enjoyable to live with in the long run. Bicycles is another one of those places where the obituary for steel was written way too early. Yeah, the Tour de France bikes are carbon fiber, but an amazing percentage of high end bicycles sold in the US are still steel framed. And quite a few of those still use the traditional lugged construction.