What’s The Best Material For A Roll Cage?

roll cageWhether you’re considering building your very own roll cage, or instead are looking to get one made, you need to be sure that the type of material you use is actually going to do the job of protecting you and your passengers in the event of a vehicle roll-over.

So what exactly is a roll cage?

Roll cages are housed inside vehicles to prevent the people within from suffering crush injuries when a vehicle flips over or rolls. They stiffen and strengthen the chassis of the vehicle while at the same time take the brunt of the force during a roll-over situation. They’re often fitted to off-road 4×4’s or agricultural machinery such as tractors to protect agricultural workers who have to deal with less than perfect terrain. However roll cages are most recognised for the part they play in protecting drivers and/or passengers in motor sport vehicles.

What about roll bars?

Just as a roll cage offers protection, so too does a roll bar. The difference being that unlike a roll cage which is in effect a complete metal skeleton that surrounds the people in a vehicle, the roll bar is a highly strengthened metal bar which sits behind the driving position. This adds a moderate level of protection for the driver during a roll-over situation but won’t protect passengers. Roll bars are normally found in convertible cars where a lightweight alternative is preferred. Reinforced screens and roll bars usually combine to give a certain level of protection to the vehicle driver.

So what materials are best suited?

There are two grades of steel that are accepted by the authorities as ‘roll cage standard’ materials. These are CDS or Cold Drawn Steel and T45. Which type of material you choose depends on several options. The first is strength, the second is weight, and the third is cost or budget. CDS for example is ideal for those looking to reduce cost or work to a tight budget because it’s cheaper than T45 grade steel to produce. The latter however offers a higher tensile strength (two thirds that of CDS) and a minimum yield strength of virtually double.

Ultimately this means that T45 can achieve the same levels of strength as CDS, but by using a thinner wall of metal, thus saving drastically on weight. Clearly this is an essential consideration for those wanting to install a roll cage or roll bar in a motor sport vehicle or for those who own 4 x 4’s and want to balance safety with fuel efficiency.

At Metro Steel we sell a wide variety of CDS tubes and half-length tubes at competitive prices that are fully compliant with the Confederation of Australian Motor Sports (CAMS). Alternatively if you’d like us to build you a complete roll cage we’re more than happy to oblige. Call us on 07 3204 1000 and talk to us today about your requirements today.