An alloy wheel is an automobile wheel that are made of alloys of aluminum or magnesium. Getting a good run via cars and motorcycles, this segment has seen a sudden spurt in demand in the recent years. As magnesium was used earlier for making an alloy wheel, these wheels were often termed as mag wheels (MAG for magnesium). As compared to traditional steel wheels, This type wheel has the advantage of lightness. As in, for the same strength as compared to a traditional wheel, these wheel will be considerably lighter. In addition, these wheels come with an aesthetically attractive appearance and even provide better heat conduction.
Lighter wheels can improve the overall performance in a variety of ways. As it will directly contribute towards reduction in the overall mass of the vehicle, the fuel consumption will definitely reduce. It also affects the suspension part and better heat conduction helps to disperse heat from the braking system; this manages to improve the braking performance, more so in demanding driving conditions where brake failure because of over heating can occur.
alloy wheels also carry a problem of electrochemical or galvanic corrosion and in due course of the time, the tyres could leak air (if there are no preventive measures taken). Also, unlike the traditional steel wheels, it is kind of difficult to repair wheels in the event of bends or other damages. Now coming to the commercial aspects, this type of wheels do cost more than its steel counterparts.
It is this commercial aspect that doesn’t allow some automobile manufacturers to provide alloy wheels as standard equipment (mostly pitched in as add-ons for a better price). Some manufacturers offer a latest addition called as the - locking wheel nuts. Special keys are required to remove the wheels fitted with these nuts, and in a way it counters the problem of these wheels getting burgled (mostly the case with expensive sports editions which are fit with expensive wheels).
Unlike what is perceived, not only cars and motorcycles, even trucks get fitted with these as the small advantages like better braking and better heat conduction get magnified in the running of heavy vehicles.
Processes Used for Manufacture of Alloy Wheels
It is actually the rim and the wheel. Most alloy wheel rims are manufactured via a combination of aluminum, carbon and some other alloys. In terms of modes used to manufacture the wheels, there are 2 processes which are used; first being the casting method and the second is the forging method. In terms of casting, 3 methods can be used which are as follows
Low pressure die casting
High pressure die casting
Permanent mold and sand casting ( gravity casting )
Casting is more popular than forging but the latter provides stronger and even lighter set of wheels. And forging is also a more expensive process as compared to the commonly used casting process. Moving with technology, there are many novel methods which are used to make allow wheels like the T-mag process and the Raffles process.