The Advantages of Aluminum Chassis Castings Over Plastic. The use of aluminum chassis castings have increasingly become popular in recent years, particularly in the automobile industry, due to growing pressure to decrease vehicle weight to cut fuel consumption. While both aluminum and plastic are easy to produce, an aluminum chassis can dissipate heat better than a plastic one, thus preventing cars from overheating. Also, aluminum keeps its shape better even in severe weather conditions.
In karting, two of the materials normally used in the construction of the belly pan or chassis of a cart are plastic and aluminum. Both plastic and aluminum chassis castings are lightweight, but plastic is the more inexpensive option. However, the advantages of using aluminum chassis castings far outweigh those of plastic, which has a lot of disadvantages. Compared to aluminum, plastic is not usually thin enough for countersinking to make the fasteners flush. Plastic also has a tendency to discolor and swell when it comes in contact with fuels, oils, and grease. When exposed to warm temperatures, plastic expands and becomes wavy or starts buckling, which results in a wavy belly pan surface. Cold temperatures, on the other hand, cause some types of plastic to become brittle and eventually shatter. Aluminum chassis castings, while being expensive, does not encounter the aforementioned problems that plastic has. Additionally, the biggest advantage of aluminum is that is can be dimpled so that it can give a countersink in thin metal, and this enables the use of flat head screws. The end result is a perfectly smooth belly pan.
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