Its unique combination of properties makes alufoil an indispensablematerial in vehicle components - for ducting, energy absorption, noiseattenuation, heat exchange, insulation and decorative trims.
An outstanding success recently is the total replacement of copper byaluminium foil in heat exchange components, such as engine coolers (orradiators) and vehicle air conditioning units*.
Used in hoses and tubes, alufoil helps to protect cables and electricalcircuits from heat and contamination, to deliver warm or cool ventilation andreduce noise levels. In ‘honeycomb’ and composite tube forms, aluminiumfoil plays an important role in vehiclesafety.
As part of internal linings and vehicle ‘fire walls’ alufoil is used ininsulation composites, adding only minimally to weight. It is also present in ‘sandwichconstruction’ under body heat shields on most cars and trucks as well as theengine bay environment, especially adjacent to exhausts, catalysts and DPFsystems.
The metallic sheen of alufoil is commonly used in decorative trim for cars,buses and caravans. Changing designs and regulations have meant that this usehas fluctuated over the years, but new embossing and laminating techniques arenow prompting renewed interest.
Vital to the efficient operation of a vehicle’s power plant and to thecomfort of the driver and passengers, aluminium-finned heat exchangers provideboth cooling and heating as required. Because of its light weight and due totechnical developments in alloys and joining techniques, aluminium has becomethe primary choice.
Laminated and corrugated foil/fibre tubes and sections offer lightweightenergy absorption solutions, used to line interior surfaces and to protectpassengers in the event of accidents. Energy absorbing alufoil honeycomb canalso be used as part of structural protection against certain crash scenarios,such as interior head impact.
Made of several layersof different materials, including aluminium foil wound with corrugations, heatprotection tubes are flexible. Using alufoil’s reflection characteristics onthe outer layer, these tubes ensure protection against radiant heat. An insulationlayer on the inside provides additional protection to the component against thetransfer of heat. The tubes are very flexible and dimensionally stable. Theycan be used to protect any kind of hose, tube, conduit and ducting, as well ascable and wiring systems.
Flexible corrugated tubes created from aluminium foil - often laminatedwith fibre and other substrates depending on their function - provide theessential ducts for heating and cooling ventilation and for the protection ofcables and articulated components. The ducts are light, durable and fireresistant.
The durability and fire insulating properties of aluminium foil qualify itfor use in several components. It adds dimensional stability and permanence tosoft linings in passenger compartments. It lends security against the spread offlame thanks to its incombustibility and heat conductivity. Passenger comfortis also enhanced through the reduction of noise levels using sound absorbentfoil laminated tubes and padding components.
An economical and long lasting solution where a metallic trim is required,laminated or encapsulated aluminium foil is often specified. New alloys, brushfinishes, anodising, embossing and coating techniques have extended the use ofalufoil and thin strip into some demanding applications such as doorsills andfingerplates.
A range of alloys and dimensional specifications is available to suit thetechnical demands of the design and the production method involved. In additionto plain alloys, compatible with many joining techniques, special ‘clad’materials are available combining the formability and thermal properties of abase alloy with the surface durability and joining characteristics of anotheralloy.