Alloy wheels are actually made of aluminum or magnesium alloy, but most people wonder what alloy is at all. The easy answer is to say that alloy is a mixture of many metals and elements. It is much stronger than pure metal, which is more pliable and softer.
Magnesium alloy wheels were one of the first metals used in alloy wheels. Magnesium is lightweight, which was an attention-grabber of car enthusiasts in the 1960s. However, by the 1970s, they weren’t as popular because magnesium alloy was also very strong, which could cause more damage during violent impacts. In fact, magnesium alloy can shatter into thousands of small pieces. However, they were improved over the years to reduce some of those risks.
Aluminum alloy is less brittle than magnesium allow, but they have low ductility, which means they can’t be easily stretched. However, they are highly affordable and do provide excellent quality.
Alloy wheels are highly essential to vehicles, but it can be difficult to understand why without learning a bit about them.
They are lightweight, which is essential, as vehicles need light wheels to grip the road or terrain better. Alloy wheels help the suspension adapt while driving over rough ground, making them perfect for long-distance trips. Because of their lightness, they also reduce the amount of fuel needed to move the vehicle. However, some alloy wheel styles aren’t lighter than steel, so it’s important to find out their weight before buying them.
Another purpose of alloy wheels is to be a good conductor of heat, which is helpful to the braking system. Alloy reduces brake heat, which allows the car to brake safely and easily, especially on harsh roads and long-distances.
Alloy wheels are also resistant to corrosion, though the cheaply-made ones are not. Choose alloy wheels that are of high-quality, and you get the amazing metal finish, as well.
Manufacturers have no set rules in place for producing alloy wheels, and there are different options available. Each one has strengths and weaknesses, so it’s best to learn about them all and determine the best one for your needs.
Casting is a common production method for manufacturing alloy wheels, though forging is also available. Forging gives the wheel better weight and strength, which means they’re likely more expensive than cast-alloy wheels.
You can find both one-piece and modular forged alloy wheels. Modular versions have a two- or three-piece design and composed of an inner base (rim), outer rim lip, and centerpiece. All components are secured using bolts.
High-pressure die casting (HPDC) is another method, which uses a big machine to arrange the die, clamping it shut with excessive force. A shot sleeve holds the molten magnesium, which is pushed into the die using a piston for intense speed and pressure. Once the magnesium hardens, the die is split to reveal the wheel.
Low-pressure die casting (LPDC) uses a steel die that’s arranged over the container holding the molten magnesium. The die and container are sealed together so that the metal can flow into the tube to reach the die. You end up with more pliable wheels, though they aren’t as pliable as the forged alloy version.
Gravity casting is the last process available. It’s been available since the 1920s and ensures that the wheels are similar to aluminum-casting options. The tools used are cheap, but of good quality, which means they can be developed and produced faster, albeit in smaller productions. You can find a variety of flexible designs and pliability within the wheels, as well.