Driving the Future of Innovation

Co-Inventor Of 'Alcoa 951' Talks about Shift to Aluminum in Auto Market
Sherri McCleary



Q & A with Aviv Tzidon, CEO of Phinergy
Aviv Tzidon



Aluminum intensive vehicles are everywhere – thanks to Alcoa innovation.  Not only are we one of the world’s leading suppliers of aluminum sheet to the automotive industry, we are a key technology and engineering partner as well. Our critical bonding technology, Alcoa 951, is enabling today’s historic shift from steel-based to aluminum-intensive automobiles, opening the door to safer, more fuel-efficient cars and trucks.  The technology has been proven to be up to nine times more durable than titanium zirconium applications used in the past, and is the pre-treatment bonding standard for aluminum sheet, extrusion and casting suppliers across the automotive industry.

'Alcoa 951' Bonding Technology Enabling Shift to Aluminum in Auto Market.

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Alcoa 951 is Alcoa's breakthrough pre-treatment bonding technology-an enabler for adhesive bonding of automotive technology. It's a patented, non-chrome approach for enhancing bond durability and enabling more cost-effective, mass production of aluminum intensive vehicles (AIVS).


Alcoa 951 employs an organic, environmentally friendly system tailored for both the aluminum substrate and the structural adhesives used for joining. The pre-treatment delivers far superior bond durability compared to conversion coating systems such as the titanium zirconium used in the past.


It is applied through an immersion or spray application in which the organic components bond with oxides present on the metal surface. The molecular structure chemically binds aluminum oxide with one end, and adhesive with the other. This creates a strong link at the molecular level resulting in lasting, durable joints for automotive structures. The minimal level of treatment on the surface makes it essentially "transparent" to downstream steps in the automotive manufacturing process such as forming, resistance spot welding and painting.


The attractiveness of Alcoa 951 lies in its repeatability and its simplicity. It does not incorporate exotic components that threaten the ability to implement the product on a large scale, and it brings the type of benign environmental impact that addresses the need for the "cradle-to-cradle" life cycle required for aluminum.



Performance Alloys for Automotive

6022 and C26N Alloys

Alcoa's enhanced 6022 and C26N alloys provide auto manufactures with greater performance for both inner and outer closure panel applications as well as reinforcements.


6022-T4 and 6022-T4x

AA 6022 was developed to provide an optimized combination of formability, strength, corrosion resistance, and surface quality. It's low copper content enables excellent resistance to both filiform and intergranular corrosion which is superior to higher copper bearing alloys such as 6111. A balanced combination of Mg, Si, Fe, and Mn alloying additions combined with specific thermomechanical fabrication processes enable good stretch forming and flat hem capability while also providing rapid age hardening during automotive paint bake operations which delivers excellent dent resistance in service. Finally, the thermomechanical processes are tightly controlled to create microstructures that resist surface roughening during automotive stamping operations. Therefore, AA 6022 is a good fit for outer closure panels where higher strengths and Class A surfaces are required as well as inner panels where formability is paramount.


C26N-T4, T4x

While C26N has many of the same characteristics as AA6022, it's focus was really to develop a more formable aluminum sheet material for difficult to form closure parts. C26N is a Cu-bearing 6xxx series aluminum sheet alloy and is a good fit for closure panels that have more aggressive part designs. These could include both inner and outer hood, decklid, door, lift-gate, and fender components.

Defense Vehicles

Alcoa has been a partner with the US military for over 100 years.  Today, Alcoa is working directly with defense industry leaders to transition best-of-breed commercial innovations to improve vehicle performance and protect our soldiers in the field.  Over the past 10 years, Alcoa has been an active partner in realizing this goal by working directly with the US military to provide armor solutions and new lightweight, high-strength vehicle designs.  Many of these designs were originally developed for commercial vehicles and now the defense community is taking advantage of these breakthroughs as well.


US Army Fuel-Efficient Demonstrator (FED) Vehicle

US Army Fuel-Efficient Demonstrator (FED) Vehicle

In 2010, Alcoa was selected to develop a Fuel-Efficient Demonstrator (FEF) for US Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC).  Alcoa Defense rapidly designed and produced a tactical wheeled vehicle structure that significantly improved fuel efficiency while also maintaining survivability, performance and payload capability.  The FED Vehicle represents an example of bringing best commercial design to the defense community to rapidly innovate and impact the evolving Warfighter mission.



Alcoa, U.S. Army to Develop World’s Largest Single-Piece Aluminum Hull for Combat Vehicles

Alcoa, U.S. Army to Develop World’s Largest Single-Piece Aluminum Hull for Combat Vehicles to Improve Troop Protection

Alcoa and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory are working together to develop an aluminum solution to a major threat to soldier safety: Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). The solution is a single-piece aluminum hull for ground combat vehicles that would replace today’s assembled hulls and deliver improved blast protection and increased damage protection. In addition, the single-piece hull – likely the largest aluminum forging in the world – would reduce vehicle weight and assembly time, and, therefore, overall cost.


"For decades, the Army has recognized the survivability benefits of a single-piece hull due to its thickness, size and shape for ground combat vehicles," said Dr. Ernest Chin of the Army Research Laboratory. "Our collaborative effort to develop continuous and seamless aluminum hull technology has the potential to be a game changer for how combat vehicles are designed and made to better protect our soldiers."



Air and Aluminum Range-Extending Batteries

Electric vehicle adoption has been slowed by the limited range of regular batteries, causing what is commonly known as ‘range anxiety’.  With technology from tech company Phinergy, and Alcoa’s industrial leadership across both the aluminum value chain and the automotive market, we see an exciting opportunity to help move electric vehicles into the mainstream.


Alcoa and Phinergy have entered into a joint development agreement to further develop Phinergy’s electric vehicle batteries that run on air and aluminum. The companies will collaborate on new materials, processes and components to commercialize the aluminum-air battery, which can extend electric vehicle range by 1,000 miles.


Alcoa’s team engaged on the project is based at the Alcoa Technical Center located outside of Pittsburgh, which is the largest light-metals research facility in the world.


In addition to use in electric vehicles, the battery technology can be used for stationary energy applications such as commercial emergency generators for hospitals and data centers, general purpose generators, and defense applications such as mobile housing and unmanned vehicles. It can also be used for first responders due to its infinite shelf life and high energy density. Phinergy and Alcoa are also working on the aluminum-air technology for these applications.



Engineering Analysis

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Manufacturing Planning & Services

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