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Framework for a Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of Magnesium and Steel Autoparts

20082878
Journal: Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Light Metals Technology Sept 24-26 2007 Quebec, Canada P243-248
Author: A. Dubreuil, S. Das, L. Bushi, A. Tharumarajah

The physical properties of magnesium alloys can be exploited for substituting carbon steel components in cars for a subsequent reduction in fuel consumption and tailpipe emissions, while maintaining the same safety performance. A collaborative life cycle assessment (LCA) between Canada-USA in partnership with Australia is being undertaken for the “Magnesium Front End Research and Development” project. Energy use and potential environmental impacts of using magnesium alloys are assessed in relation to conventional carbon steel front-end parts used in a North America (NA) build luxury vehicle driven for 200,000 km in NA. The scope of this cradle-to-cradle LCA study is limited to NA with the exception of the production of magnesium ingots that is occurring in China. Preliminary LCA results indicate the importance of a wider availability of magnesium life cycle inventory data and demonstrate the fundamental importance of the “end-of-life” recycling of magnesium in order to realize the full benefits of lightweight materials.



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