A new process developed by the US Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) could make it easier for the auto industry to incorporate magnesium alloys into structural components.

Magnesium incorporation has been a long standing challenge within the industry.

As the earth's fourth most common element, it is 75 percent lighter than steel, 33 percent lighter than aluminium and could make ever lighter cars and trucks that go farther on a tank of fuel or battery charge.

The method has the potential to reduce cost by eliminating the need for rare-earth elements, while simultaneously improving the material's structural properties.

The metal is forced through a tool to create a certain shape, similar to the dough being pushed through a pasta maker which results in different shapes.

Initial research found the PNNL-developed process greatly improves the energy absorption of magnesium by creating novel microstructures which are not possible with traditional extrusion methods.

For more information on the methods, see the video below.

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