Ariel to Lighten Atom with Titanium

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

A titaniumchassis for the Ariel Atom is currently under development weighing 40 percentless than the Atom’s tubular steel frame and that will reduce the sports car's overallweight by eight percent. The newscomes in from Autocar, which spoke with Ariel chief Simon Saunders. The titaniumframe is currently in development, and when completed, will be rolled out as alimited-edition model or offered as an option on the range. Combinedwith the naturally-aspirated Honda engine and other lightweight components, atitanium 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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