Thursday, 3 April 2014

Audi and the Obsession with Light-weight Design

‘Every gram counts.’ That’s how Audi portrays it’s profound interest in light-weight design philosophy. Over the years, Audi has become a leader in using aluminum and has employed it  widely for the construction of automobiles.

The idea behind ultra lightweight philosophy is to reduce weight as much as possible in order to increase performance. This not only leads to increased agility, acceleration and improved efficiency, but also increases structural strength.

For the intelligent brains behind it, the concept of being as light as it can be is a challenge they put up for themselves. It’s a feat they set, only to conquer it effortlessly - each time proving that the superior ultra-lightweight design is modelled for runaway success. It’s common knowledge that the new Audi A3 weighs 80 kg less than its predecessor.

According to the company, the ultra-lightweight design principle isn’t an ‘obligation’ for engineers, but rather a ‘state of mind’. So how exactly has that been achieved? For one, the plastic expansion rivets have replaced steel screws in some of the newer models such as the 1.4 TFSI. At a mere 107 kgs, it weighs 21kg less than it’s predecessor. The weight of the crankcase has been reduced as well. A number of other revised features also help cut down further. Moreover, Audi ASF® aluminum construction and aluminum hybrid are used for construction that does the trick most of the time.

The inspiration to go lighter comes with deep, heavy thought. One of the experts responsible for this revolution is Dr.Karl Durst. He says that it’s not just about using the lightest material, but reinventing it with conceptual design and safety. Audi embodies the thought of a spirited marathon runner who’ll go to great lengths to ensure that his shoes don’t weigh an extra unnecessary gram. Understanding well that every material has it’s strength and weaknesses, brings out the best in the material used.

In conclusion, one can say that Audi seems to have got it’s fundamentals just right!

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