What’s The Best Material For A Roll Cage?

steel roll cageIn motor sports in particular a roll bar or roll cage is crucial for the protection of a driver in the event of an accident or vehicle roll-over and therefore the material used has to be right. So which is the best material to use?

There are several materials which can be used but the best two (and the ones that conform to regulations as laid down by the Confederation of Australian Motor Sports CAMS) are T45 and CDW. Let’s take a look at each of them.

Firstly T45 (otherwise known as High Tensile Carbon Manganese Steel) has a tensile strength that is two-thirds stronger than CDW steel. This means the point at which T45 starts to deform is almost three times more .. What this means to the ley person is that roll cages made from T45 steel can deliver the same level of protection but with thinner tubing, thus saving weight and indeed space. As an example, an international roll cage for a Ford Fiesta Mk 6 which has been made from T45 is 10kgs lighter than the CDW equivalent.

Now the downside….

With lower weight comes a much higher cost. This means that T45 is usually afforded by those that participate in high end motor sport where the additional expense is deemed to be small in relation to the overall cost of the vehicle.

Conversely, Cold Drawn Welded Steel or CDW is a good alternative to the high tensile carbon manganese variety and is widely used in vehicle roll cages where cost is a priority. It’s often made in sizes of 350g tubing and more often than not, these can be purchased individually in both full and half lengths so you can build your own, or alternatively a competent fabricator can design and construct a complete roll cage from plans. In addition from a cost perspective CDW is also ideal for any other structure or high strength application where weight doesn’t necessarily need to be taken into account.

In essence, if cost isn’t a priority then T45 delivers an equal strength but at considerably lighter weight. Whereas CDW is certainly the more cost-effective option, but will be heavier.

If you’re interested in having an entire roll cage designed and fabricated, or alternatively you’d like to buy separate parts and assemble one yourself, then contact Metro Steel. We’ve been in the steel fabrication business for many years and know exactly hoe to manufacture quality steel at competitive prices. Why not contact us today on 07 3204 1000 and let us show you just what we can do.