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Honda has announced it is developing a new technology that allows steel and aluminium to be joined in a process that will see vehicle weight reduced.

First used to join a new aluminium outer door panel – conventionally made of steel – to a steel inner door panel, the claimed world-first application allows the two dissimilar metals with different expansion rates to be layered and hemmed together twice to form a ‘3D Lock Seam’ (3DLS) structure.

Honda Steel and Aluminium Joining Technology - 2

To achieve the bond between the steel and aluminium, Honda had to employ several new techniques. The first was the creation of the 3DLS structure, the second was the adoption of highly anti-corrosive steel for the inner panel, newly shaped to ensure complete contact with the adhesive agent, to prevent electrical corrosion, and finally the use and positioning of an adhesive agent with low elastic modulus (a better ability to stretch) to control thermal deformation.

The new joining technology means not only the elimination of the spot welding process currently used to join conventional steel door panels, but, as the new technique doesn’t require a dedicated process, it can also be employed on existing production lines.

Honda Steel and Aluminium Joining Technology - 3

Honda says improvements in vehicle fuel economy, performance and handling dynamics will all benefit too as door panel weight will be reduced by approximately 17 per cent compared with conventional all-steel door panels.

The technology is to be initially used on North American versions of the all-new Acura RLX (pictured top) – badged as a Honda Legend in Australia – before Honda expands its application into other model lines.

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  • $29896495

    There’s an example of American design philosophy. To much chrome to much of everything.

    • Zaccy16

      i agree, just like the new vf calais v

    • pixxxels

      Not to mention headlight bulbs, of which it seems to have about 20. 

      • F1orce

        They’re LEDs I believe..

    • F1orce

      Bad photo above..

      An otherwise pretty alright looking car.

  • vsd

    After youve had a prang do you have to replace the whole door?  Would anyone have the neccessary equipment to bend the skin around the steel frame while ensuring that the joint will not be electrically corrosive? Maybe you hook a couple of leads to the doors then drive out in the acid rain and power the vehicle electrics.

    • PS

      Huh? Are you saying that right now, to repair it, you need to take apart the inner and outer door frame and put it together? No one unless a workshop that welds or a manufacturing plant have the equipment to take door frames apart and put them back together. In fact, you either keep the door or replace with a whole new one. Do a paint job, then bolt onto the door. 

      • $29896495

        Actually you are wrong and right. You wouldn’t fix it – wouldn’t be a waste of time. Anyone  who wants to get their hands dirty can pull a door apart, and you don’t weld different metals you glue them. So in theory as long as you haven’t ruined the inner skin, and are reasonably competent, virtually any one could do it. 

  • Ted

    What a good idea, they may be able to reduce the weight of the cars so their small engines can drive the car as it should ie: Honda Civic Hatch with the 1.8 litre is 1300 gh, and a slug to drive !!