Automotive applications

The visual appeal of polished stainless steel is regularly used to good effect in enhancing the outward appearance of modern road vehicles of all types. Where quality and durability are the primary considerations, stainless steel is often chosen in preference to other metallic materials and coatings.

Less widely known, however, is the important functional role that stainless steel has to play in automotive construction which, in volume terms, greatly outstrips the market for decorative trim. Here, the unique properties of the material make it the optimum choice for unseen, but vitally important component parts. This is easily illustrated by selecting two out of many examples:

  • The material’s outstanding corrosion resistance provides a solution to the age-old problem of rotting exhaust silencers and catalytic converters. The problem is double-edged, as hot exhaust gases attack the inner surfaces while water, salt and general road dirt attack the exterior. Where carbon steel and various coatings have failed, stainless steel has provided the modern, cost-effective solution.
  • Significant future growth is foreseen in the use of stainless steel for key structural components in automotive construction. Due to its unique mechanical properties, stainless steel can add an extra dimension of passenger safety, especially in the way that a large part of the energy produced in a collision is absorbed as the material deforms under impact. This property is already put to good effect in the design of modern large passenger vehicles such as buses, but the future potential in all types of road vehicle is immense.

The publications in this section offer information on the practical, economic and safety advantages of using stainless steels in the field of automotive transport, one of the fastest-growing end-use sectors for the material.

Future Mobility: Dumping Fossil Fuels

Webinar on Stainless Steels in the Hydrogen Economy

Our world is changing fast and needs to change fast! Since the use of fossil fuels in vehicles are one of the most significant factors polluting our environment, affecting not only the air we breathe, but also the land and the water we need, solutions must to be found to minimise GHG pollution. Amongst available and developing solutions, green hydrogen is a booming alternative with all the right credentials. Stainless steels will be needed in every step of the production and use of green hydrogen; to produce the hydrogen, to transport and store the hydrogen and in the vehicles that are powered by hydrogen.

Learn about all the options for the use of a fully recyclable, highly corrosion resistant family of materials with cryogenic attributes to effectively support the development of the Hydrogen economy.

For more information, please contact Jo Claes (

This webinar has ended. You can watch the recording here.
Next Generation Vehicle

This document compiles information about the Next Generation Vehicle (NGV) project “Stainless steel for lightweight automotive applications”, which was pursued by a consortium of European stainless steel producers, automotive manufacturers and other industrial partners specializing in tooling, coatings and numerical modeling. Stainless steel – specifically work-hardened material in the tensile strength levels C800 and C1000 – are considered for applications in B-pillars, bumper beams, rollover bars, crash boxes, suspensions, wheel housings and subframes. Testing included grades: the manganese austenitic stainless steel 1.4376, the chromium-nickel austenitic stainless steel 1.4318 – a classic in rail applications – and the lean duplex stainless steel 1.4162. In respect of tooling, punch and blank holder forces were identified. Further objects of the investigation included the interaction of the workpiece with the tools – usually coated with TiAlN, AlCrN and TiC -, as well as the influence of lubricants. Research into the welding properties led to the conclusion that a combination of spot-welding and bonding performed particularly well. Also mixed-material tailored blanks were investigated. The B-pillar of a Volvo S40 was test-produced using stainless steels in deep-drawn and hydroformed variants. The component was then crash-tested and the results compared with those of simulations.

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Stainless steel in filtration

Filtration is part of our daily life … and stainless steel is the material of choice for filtration. In this document you can find out how, why and where!

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A review in design and manufacturing of stainless steel sandwich panels

The demand for bigger, faster and lighter moving vehicles, such as ships, trains, trucks and buses has increased the importance of efficient structural arrangements. In principle two approaches exist to develop efficient structures: either application of new materials or the use of new structural design.
Source: Stainless Steel World

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Stainless steel applications – automotive

A short description of the various grades of stainless steel used in automotive applications. It has been written primarily from a European perspective and may not fully reflect the practice in other regions.

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Stainless steel automotive and transport developments

Stainless steel is widely used in car exhaust systems and for auto parts such as hose clamps and seatbelt springs. It will soon be common in chassis, suspension, body, fuel tank and catalytic converter applications. Stainless is now a candidate for structural applications.

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Stainless steel in structural automotive applications

One of the most promising areas for stainless steel in the automotive sector would seem to be in structural applications. This explains the launch at the end of 2004 of the “Next Generation Vehicle” project. The aim of the project was to demonstrate to the automotive industry that stainless steel can be used to reduce weight and cost in the manufacture of motor vehicles, and at the same time improve safety and sustainability in automotive body structures.
Source: Stainless Steel Focus

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Note on the sensitivity of stainless steel to strain rate

There is a growing interest for stainless steels in structural automotive applications. As a consequence, more questions are raised regarding the sensitivity of stainless steels to strain rate. This document attempts to summarize the published results for strain rates from 0,2 to 10%.
Source: Outokumpu

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