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Usage of Aluminum and structural adhesives in new Cadillac CTS and ATS


The new CTS uses 118 meters of structural adhesive as a bonding agent that holds together and stiffens load-bearing parts and components. The extensive use of adhesive provides a damping effect, which reduces the transmission of vibration through the body structure. That pays off in fewer squeaks and rattles reaching a driver.

The heavy-duty material, along with traditional metal joining processes like spot welding, also makes a stiffer, more durable joint. These advanced techniques, in addition to the use of high-strength steels and efficient geometry helps make the new CTS sedan 40 percent stiffer than the previous model.

To further improve performance, aluminum was used extensively to save weight.  For the first time, all four doors will be constructed of aluminum; cutting 25 kg compared with the steel doors on the previous generation CTS. With a base curb weight of 1633 kg, CTS is the lightest vehicle in its class, roughly 91 kg lighter than a comparable BMW 528i.

“Reducing overall weight is a key element in producing a car that delivers agile handling dynamics,” said John Plonka, CTS program engineering manager. “By rethinking very traditional elements, such as materials used for bumpers and doors, we are able to save precious weight and stay true to delivering a vehicle that is fun to drive.”

Other aluminum contributions to weight savings:

  • 5.9 kg by replacing steel bumpers on the current generation CTS.
  • 6.4 kg by making front strut towers of cast aluminum compared with steel used in current CTS.
  • 3.3 kg from the instrument panel structure, where extruded and stamped aluminum replaced cast magnesium.
  • 16.6 kg by using extruded and cast aluminum vs. a steel powertrain cradle on the current model.

Strategic use of aluminum is also an integral component of the ATS luxury sport sedan, which shares architecture with the new CTS sedan. At just 1504 kg, ATS is among the lightest vehicles in its class.

Cadillac ATS lightweighting

The ATS powertrain features extensive use of aluminum, which not only helps cut weight but also contributes to the 50/50 weight distribution for improved driving dynamics. The ATS also has an aluminum hood, suspension cradle and cylinder heads.

Source: GM
Romain’s opinion:

Aluminum usage is strongly increasing in the upper automobile segment. Due to its higher cost, it is less used for mass production cars and low cost segment, then limiting the weight reductions and fuel savings to a few amount of cars on the road. As the cost of Aluminum is strongly dependent on the earth stock availability and its extraction, do you think it is feasible to spread and maximize Aluminum usage in a higher number of cars?

1 Comment

  1. Briceyda01-29-2014

    I’ve had mine for 1250 miles 2 weeks now .And I love it ! Short trips long cruises they all are a pluseare in this carMine is equipped. As was the test car , and yes the CUE doesTake some time to get used to , but its really COOL

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