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Ariel to Lighten Atom with Titanium

A new titanium chassis is in the works, which would result in an even lighter Atom.

A titanium chassis for the Ariel Atom is currently under development weighing 40 percent less than the Atom’s tubular steel frame and that will reduce the sports car's overall weight by eight percent. The news comes in from Autocar, which spoke with Ariel chief Simon Saunders. The titanium frame is currently in development, and when completed, will be rolled out as a limited-edition model or offered as an option on the range. Combined with the naturally-aspirated Honda engine and other lightweight components, a titanium Atom could weigh less than 500 kg.

Working with titanium is no mean feat. It has the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any metal, but is extremely hard to fabricate. If exposed to oxygen during the welding process, it combusts before melting, so an entirely inert workspace purged of oxygen is required. Ariel therefore built a complex, argon-filled welding chamber in which to weld the chassis of the open-wheel, open-top sports car. Ariel will also use the experience of working with titanium in future projects, possibly on its upcoming motorcycle.

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