Reducing the weight of the vehicle itself, especially for the heavy truck industry, is one of the effective measures to improve its fuel economy, reduce CO2 emissions, and achieve energy saving and emission reduction. Studies have shown that the weight of the vehicle is reduced by 10%, the fuel consumption can be reduced by 6%-8%, and the corresponding greenhouse gas CO2 emissions will be reduced accordingly. Molybdenum-containing steel has been used in the steel structure of automobiles and light vehicles for more than 30 years.
Molybdenum-containing steel is an ideal material to realize the lightweight of heavy vehicles. It can display its excellent performance characteristics in various fields such as complete vehicles, engines, and suspensions, improving truck transportation efficiency, reducing fuel consumption, and reducing pollutant emissions.
In terms of trailer beams, studies have found that the use of improved steel with a strength of 670 MPa can reduce the weight of the truck’s trailer beam by 27%. This is mainly due to the new molybdenum-containing steel (molybdenum content of 0.2%) higher strength, thinner thickness, lighter weight, and higher cost performance.
In terms of the transmission system, this is the heaviest part of the truck, which contains the drive axle, which is usually made of 350 MPa steel and weighs 200-600 kg. China is currently developing high-strength alloy steel. If the target strength of 550 MPa can be achieved, the weight of the drive axle will be reduced by approximately 31%. The drive axle housing under development also takes into account the use of electric motors to support the hybrid power system of the truck.
In terms of large-size parts, truck parts require large loads, impact resistance, and wear resistance. For example, the “fifth wheel” of a truck trailer is usually made of molybdenum alloyed austempered ductile iron (ADI), which has a density 10% lower than steel and is lighter in weight. It also has excellent noise suppression and self-lubricating properties. ADI can not only be used for the fifth wheel but also can reduce the weight of other parts of the truck. For example, ADI wheels containing 0.3% molybdenum are 20% lighter than similar aluminum wheels.
In terms of braking device, a large amount of heat is generated when a truck brakes, and its braking device must be made of materials with good thermal conductivity, such as gray cast iron for brake discs and brake drums to ensure rapid heat dissipation. Gray cast iron containing 0.2-0.4% molybdenum has higher strength, excellent thermal conductivity, and wear resistance.
In terms of engines, the current efficiency of diesel engines is about 40%, and in the future, it will reach up to 60%, similar to the efficiency of hydrogen fuel cells. The increase in engine efficiency requires higher exhaust system temperature and higher cylinder pressure. According to reports, the International Molybdenum Association (IMOA) is cooperating with the foundry research and development department of Shanghai University to develop molybdenum-containing cast irons that can achieve the required performance by optimizing thermal conductivity, strength, and thermal fatigue resistance.
Thank you for reading our article and we hope it can help you to have a better understanding of molybdenum-containing steel. If you want to learn more about molybdenum and other types of refractory metals and alloys, we would like to advise you to visit Advanced Refractory Metals (ARM) for more information.
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