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The third generation 2010 Prius continues to showcase true innovation by reducing body weight while maintaining strength and stability. Expanding the use of High-Strength Steel (HSS) and Ultra High-Strength Steel (UHSS), the Prius achieves an incredible balance between weight and resistance. Weight is reduced by using aluminum in the hood, rear hatch, front suspension axle and brake caliper along with UHSS in the rocker inner, center pillar and roof reinforcement. Strength and stability are enhanced with the use of UHSS (with a remarkable 980 Megapascal [MPa] strength rating for occupant cabin reinforcement) in nearly 80% of the rocker panel reinforcement. In order to repair a Prius to its preloss condition, it’s vital for technicians to understand the properties of UHSS and aluminum and when the different types of steel should be repaired or replaced.
What is a steel blank?
Blank: A pre-cut sheet metal shape ready for a stamping press operation.
A steel blank is a flat piece of steel that is trimmed to the size required to put the blank into a stamping press to make a part like a door panel or pillar. Just thick of cookie dough rolled flat, that would be your steel blank. The cookie cutter would trim your steel into your blank size. The image below displays flat steel blanks that will be put into a stamping press to form the parts.
Below you can see where the white arrow is pointing to zoomed in. On this B-pillar, the thicker and stronger steel is below the laser weld.
Tailor-welded blanks allow combining different strengths of steel in one part without adding complications at the joints. Watch for this design method to be used more with each model year.
Links fixed on the American Iron and Steel Institute post. Also added some more links below from the American Iron and Steel Institute. Chapters 2 and 3 discuss body structures and vehicle designs. So make sure you at least skim through those two.
- Vehicle Crashworthiness and Occupant Protection Book – Chapter 1
- Vehicle Crashworthiness and Occupant Protection Book – Chapter 2
- Vehicle Crashworthiness and Occupant Protection Book – Chapter 3
- Vehicle Crashworthiness and Occupant Protection Book – Chapter 4
- Vehicle Crashworthiness and Occupant Protection Book – Chapter 5
The steel makers are responsible for all the new challenges firefighter face with vehicle extrications. However, groups like the American Iron and Steel Institute have made information available that we should all take the time to read.
- Application and Repairability of Advanced High-Strength Steels
Presentation highlighting the use, growth and repairability of advanced high-strength steels in automotive applications.
- Advanced High-Strength Steel Applications Design and Stamping Process Guidelines – A Special Edition of In-Depth Advanced High-Strength Steel Case Studies (36MB)
The AHSS Applications Guidelines Group of the Auto/Steel Partnership (A/SP) has conducted several in-depth case studies of Advanced High-Strength Steel (AHSS) stampings for automotive structural components and has provided summaries of those studies and lessons learned in this manual
- The Challenges of Advanced High-Strength Steels at Rescue and Extrication Incidents
An overview of current field research being conducted by fire service personnel in concert with major auto insurers on specific vehicle rescue techniques and procedures.
- ULSAB: Engineering Report – Full Report
The complete engineering report detailing ULSAB and the intensive, multi-phase study that demonstrates steel’s capability to reduce the weight of a vehicle’s body structure and, at the same time, ensure safety with improved comfort and driving performance, all at affordable cost. ULSAB resulted in the design and engineering of a lightweight, efficient steel body structure that achieves impressive mass savings and significant performance improvements, while retaining affordable cost to manufacture.
- ULSAB-AVC Overview Report: Full Report
The ULSAB-AVC Overview Report showcases the latest high-tech steel grades for automotive applications. Combined with innovative design and the latest manufacturing processes, the advanced high-strength steels (AHSS) are key enablers of highly efficient vehicle structures capable of delivering exceptional fuel economy and safety performance at affordable cost.
- Steel Bumper Systems for Passenger Cars and Light Trucks – Revision 3: Full Report (4.7MB)
A recently updated Bumper Design Manual guides automotive engineers through the latest in materials and manufacturing innovations.
- Vehicle Crashworthiness and Occupant Protection Book (Full Book – 10MB)
A book that combines structural crashworthiness, safety features, simulated technology and design safety information in a single publication for the convenience of the safety engineer.
- ULSAC: Engineering Report – Full Report
Demonstrates that using steel as the material of choice in conjunction with the utilization of current and advanced manufacturing processes, could produce closures, which can achieve a 10% mass reduction, while maintaining structural performances at no cost penalty.
- Advanced High-Strength Steel Repairability Report – Phase I
A study highlighting the development of appropriate repair procedures for 600 MPa tensile strength (TS) dual-phase steel and a 1300 MPa TS Martensitic steel, after exposure to typical repair arc welding and flame straightening temperature cycles. Phase I outlined recommended practices for repairing components made of these advanced high-strength materials.
- Advanced High-Strength Steel Repairability Report – Phase II
A study illustrating the repair procedures for advanced high-strength steels, such as DP 780, TRIP 600, and TRIP 780. Phase II addresses the effect of MIG repair welding on the mechanical properties of DP and TRIP steels to validate welding as a means to repair crash damage that cannot be repaired by conventional flame straightening.
- Characterization of Fatigue and Crash Performance of New Generation High-strength Steels for Automotive Applications – Executive Summary
This report highlights fatigue and high-strain rate data for a new generation of high-strength sheet steels, including Dual-Phase (DP) steels, Transformation Induced Plasticity (TRIP) steels, Bake Hardenable (BH) steels and conventional High-Strength Low Alloy (HSLA) steels.
If you want a structure to withstand the intense energy of a car crash, you
need to build it with the highest quality materials. Subaru reinforces the key
structural elements of its vehicles by building them with the most durable
high-tensile steel. Because we see so much of the frame as key to your safety,
nearly 40% of our Ring-shaped reinforcement Frame is constructed of high-tensile steel.
Subaru takes safety very serious. Remember what I have stated in the past. When a vehicle gets 5-stars on the side impact test by the government, that equals boron and UHSS! The 2010 Subaru Impreza scored a perfect five stars for frontal crash protection, five stars for front occupants in a side crash and four stars for rear occupants in a side crash.
NHTSA Ratings for the 2010 Subaru Impreza:
- Passenger: 5 stars
- Driver: 5 stars
- Side Impact Front: 5 stars
- Side Impact Rear: 4 stars
- Rollover Rating: 4 stars
The 2010 Subaru Forester received all 5 star rating for the NHTSA tests. So consider that a vehicle with some reinforcements underneath that will cause problems for an extrication team.
Why is all of this important? Take a look at the picture to the left. See anything strange about the B-Pillar? The Orangeburg Fire Department in New York tried to cut the B-Pillar of a four-door Subaru WRX STi without success. Believe it or not, this photo is over 4 years old! That was at least a 2004 model year vehicle, maybe even a few years earlier. The photo below is why the firefighters were not able to cut through the B-Pillar. Would your cutters cut through that? Boron and UHSS is everywhere so study vehicle design and train on different extrication techniques! Like Ron Moore says, you need to have a Plan A,B,C,D, etc!
Take a moment and download the Overcoming Extrication Challenges with Boron and UHSS Guide. The guide is no sure fire solution and was put together as a starting point for firefighters and first responders to understand what problems Boron and UHSS can cause and different work around techniques to get past those materials. The guide utilizes information from this site, other sites, and a presentation online called The Challenges of Extrication Involving Vehicles with Advanced Steel Structures that Ron Moore and Firehouse.com hosted in October 2009.
I started a List of Vehicles with Boron and UHSS broken down by vehicle division brand news like Chevrolet and Honda. The list will continue to grow today. Please let me know what you think!
Just a quick note. I noticed visitors are looking for Boron and UHSS information listed by automaker. We are working on it! Keep checking back!
Remember all the boron and UHSS used in the 2009 F-150? Laser welding is used to mate the roof and body-side panels to the truck’s new roof structure. The roof structure is made from DP-780 super high-strength. The high-strength steel tubes run from the base of the A-pillar up through the roof, forming what is essentially a safety cage around the vehicle’s occupants. The structure also features the first use of Boron steel in the B-Pillar. So a good bet is the 2011 Ford Super Duty is going to have the same stuff, maybe even more!
Notice the front structure with the fender sheet metal removed in the image below? Looks just like the dual-phase steel used in the ultra-strong hydroformed front structure in the 2009 F150! These dual hydroformed front tubes are located on either side of the engine bay are shaped to absorb impacts.
Where is boron steel in passenger vehicles? Boronextrication.com has put together a great list that will be continually updated.