The Australian Magnesium Company and its partners have developed and patented a magnesium alloy designated AMC-SC1. AMC-SC1 has been designed specifically for the production of lightweight engine blocks from sand moulds.
The alloy has been used to build a prototype 3 cylinder engine for a Volkswagen Lupo. The magnesium engine weighs just 14kg and is 25% lighter then the aluminium equivalent, which is in commercial production. It was designed by AVL, one of Europe’s largest engine designers, who had to allow for the differences in mechanical and acoustic properties possessed by the new magnesium alloy.
If the current trends towards lighter cars (resulting in improved fuel economy, performance and safety) continue, magnesium engine blocks will become increasingly more cost competitive.
Statistics indicate that there is on average about 4kg of magnesium in each new car. This equates to approximately 170,000 or magnesium being consumed by the automotive industry each year. If magnesium was to be adopted in engine blocks, this figure could rapidly increase, with an estimated 50 million cars being produced every year.
Australian Magnesium Company hold the exclusive rights to AMC-SC1, a high temperature magnesium alloy. The alloy was developed jointly with the Cooperative Research Centre for Cast Metals Manufacturing.