Read the full story from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
Magnesium — the lightest of all structural metals — has a lot going for it in the quest to make ever lighter cars and trucks that go farther on a tank of fuel or battery charge.
Magnesium is 75 percent lighter than steel, 33 percent lighter than aluminum and is the fourth most common element on earth behind iron, silicon and oxygen. But despite its light weight and natural abundance, auto makers have been stymied in their attempts to incorporate magnesium alloys into structural car parts. To provide the necessary strength has required the addition of costly, tongue-twisting rare elements such as dysprosium, praseodymium and ytterbium — until now.