Mazda was in the news recently for announcing that it would not only shed weight in its next stable of models, but commit to dropping 220 pounds on each subsequent re-design of models. We’ve talked about the importance of lightweighting before, including the use of carbon fiber and other composite materials in the automotive and aerospace industries. Mazda’s also planning to use less steel by employing “more intelligently engineered structural bracing.” In other words, they’ll look for ways to retain needed strength and safety while using fewer materials. Meanwhile, with advanced high-strength steel, the steel industry is aiming to compete with new materials on the basis of weight. General Motors just invested in NanoSteel to help lightweight its cars. All of these efforts are aimed at reducing resource use while preserving or even enhancing functionality. There’s more than one way to get there.

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