He notes that magnesium alloys emphasize lightness and toughness of new generations of computer notebooks being manufactured for business, industrial, public safety, military, gaming and personal use. Also, the power tool industry increasingly is relying on die-cast magnesium components to offer durable, lighter weight designs that are easier to handle and manage over long work shifts. “Users may think that lighter weight means less power, but the opposite is true: using lighter die-cast magnesium for a pneumatic tool’s housing or a worm drive power saw’s gear case allows the design to accommodate a larger, more powerful motor for the same or less weight,” says Patzer.
Lightweight, high-tech magnesium has crossed over from the purely industrial- and mechanical-type applications into the high visibility world of furniture design. For example, the world’s first magnesium-framed chair is the Go Chair design of Bernhardt Furniture in North Carolina. Patzer explains the design blends science and nature, taking full advantage of magnesium’s light weight and high strength-to-weight ratio.
This isn’t to say that automotive engineers have given up on magnesium. ASM International’s Ground Transportation Committee has focused its technical program on magnesium, aluminum, titanium and ultra-high-strength steels. Arianna Morales, staff researcher at General Motors based in Warren, Mich., and chair of the committee says in a statement, “the materials showing the way to future vehicles may be light in terms of weight, but they are far from ‘lightweight’ in importance.” She says these metals—especially magnesium—will be critical to meeting new U.S. government mandated fuel economy standards of 36 miles per gallon for passenger cars by the year 2014.
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