Compounds new-age vehicles

Compounds for new-age vehicles

6:52 AM, 9th July 2018
Compounds for new-age vehicles
The new SABIC® PP compounds offer the luxurious haptics and finishes that today's consumers demand – even in lower-priced vehicles.

By Scott Fallon

SABIC launches new Sheet and PP compounds for automotive applications; highlights material solutions to support the development of electric, connected and autonomous vehicles


LEXAN™ MARGARD™ FHC10 sheet is the latest addition to the company’s expanding automotive glazing portfolio. This advanced new technology is engineered to comply with the stringent visibility, strength and abrasion resistance requirements of ECE R43 (Regulation No. 43 of the Economic Commission for Europe of the United Nations). It features a tough polycarbonate (PC) base with exceptional optical quality, combined with a unique, formable hard coating that is pre-cured sufficiently to allow processing like regular PC sheet. In addition to ECE R43 compliance, LEXAN MARGARD FHC10 sheet can enable customers to avoid postcoating operations and gives automotive OEMs and tiers a fresh new option for creating simple, curved glazing designs.

Unique Formable Hard Coating

LEXAN MARGARD FHC10 sheet’s proprietary siliconebased formable hard coating uses dual-cure (thermal/thermal) technology. The coating is pre-cured to the point that it can be easily handled and fabricated like any regular PC sheet, but it maintains enough flexibility to be formed within specified limits. Following forming, using any of a variety of methods (drape forming, high-pressure forming, thermoforming, etc.), the coating requires post-curing for three hours at 130°C to optimize abrasion resistance and meet ECE R43 requirements. The advanced coating technology ensures excellent adhesion under exposure to temperaturecycling, water and humidity.

LEXAN MARGARD FHC10 sheet also offers superior mechanical properties, including outstanding impact strength, as well as high optical quality. It features crystal-clear transparency with low ripple and distortion, including an extremely low number of optical defects. This advanced new product is also resistant to common chemicals, weathering and ultraviolet (UV) light. Primary applications are moderately shaped glazing components for lowerproduction vehicles, where LEXAN MARGARD FHC10 sheet can be more cost effective than injection molding. Additionally, LEXAN MARGARD FHC10 sheet is a highly versatile product that can be used for non-automotive glazing, such as machine guards, cabin glazing for heavy equipment and many other typically formed and post-coated applications. LEXAN MARGARD FHC10 sheet is initially available globally in 3-5 mm gauges. SABIC plans to make thicker gauges available at a later date.

New SABIC® PP compounds

The new SABIC® PP compounds offer the luxurious haptics and finishes that today’s consumers demand – even in lower-priced vehicles. At the same time, these injection molding materials can help automotive OEMs and tiers reduce costs by as much as 50 percent by avoiding secondary operations such as applying soft paint, fabric, foam or other surface covering.

“Elegance, comfort and quiet in automotive interiors are becoming increasingly important to buyers of vehicles at all price points,” said Scott Fallon, global leader of SABIC’s Automotive business. “SABIC engineered these new PP compounds to address this demand by helping manufacturers deliver an interior environment that connotes luxury while controlling costs. Our customers can benefit from the outstanding aesthetics and value this innovative material technology provides.”

Soft Feel and Strong Performance

In addition to a soft tactile feel, SABIC® PP compounds provide an attractive matte surface with excellent scratch resistance, good impact performance and low shrinkage. These SABIC materials also deliver good sound damping capability to help create a quiet cabin environment. The portfolio, which is available globally, includes several grades of short glass fiberreinforced PP to give customers a choice of stiffness level and material density. The materials are also UVstabilized to prevent fading and color shift.

Possible applications where this material can be used include interior trims, seat and console side cladding, glove boxes, door panels and other similar interior components. SABIC® PP compounds allow these types of parts to be efficiently manufactured using only one high-volume injection molding step.

Cost Savings without Compromise

Leading Indian automaker, Tata Motors, is the first automotive manufacturer to use one of the SABIC® PP compounds in vehicle  interior applications. Tata Motors selected a SABIC® PP compound to mold parts with a soft feel and high-end appearance in the steering column cover and speedometer cluster top for its 2017 Tiago hatchback.

The company eliminated the need for expensive paint systems, saving about 30 percent, while achieving the same level of performance and aesthetics.

Electric, connected, and autonomous vehicles

“With electric vehicles and new technologies on the brink of significant growth, automakers and the automotive industry at large need material solutions that can help meet new requirements and overcome design challenges,” said Scott Fallon. “Our global team has identified various needs and gaps, and we have come up with some novel approaches that can deliver multiple benefits.” 

Lightweight, Strong Armor for Battery Packs

One example is a thermoplastic-based solution for the protection of batteries in side-crash scenarios, a critical need for automakers. This is especially the case as manufacturers move to larger batteries that require mounting onto the vehicle floor panel. Today, the conventional countermeasure employed is multi-piece stamping reinforcements to strengthen the rocker panel for battery protection. However, these metal solutions add weight to the vehicle, which can affect both efficiency and range.

SABIC is drawing upon its expertise in crash and chassis solutions to design a structural hybrid solution, using both plastic and metal, to produce a lighter reinforcement part and one that can actually improve crash performance. SABIC’s current design can offer up to 40 to 60 percent in weight reduction compared to an all-metal version, while also offering up to 10 percent greater energy absorption. This reinforcement adds to a wide range of thermoplastic hybrid solutions developed by SABIC that can potentially remove up to 20 kg of weight from a vehicle’s bodyin- white.

Key Materials to Enable New Features & Requirements

SABIC is also developing solutions in which both polycarbonate (PC) and polypropylene (PP) grades from its portfolio show promising applicability. This can potentially include, for example, modular front panels with inspiring styling opportunities and allowing for the integration of sensors, lighting functions, brand-identifying elements, pedestrian protection and crash-energy management solutions. One additional opportunity for automakers is making use of

LEXAN™ PC resin as they move towards large, clear surfaces, as is the design trend for vehicles with electric, connected and autonomous technologies.

LEXAN™ resin can remove weight and provide energy savings and increased driving range. In one study, SABIC and its industry partners determined that use of LEXAN™ resin with its insulating properties, compared to conventional glass for all glazing surfaces, could significantly reduce demands on a car’s heating and air conditioning (HVAC) system and make possible up to 15 additional kilometers for a single battery charge. SABIC used for this study computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis to validate the extended range data.

High Heat, High Energy Density Dielectric Film for Lightweight Capacitors

SABIC is also offering a high heat, high energy density dielectric material, ULTEM™ UTF120 polyetherimide (PEI) film, ranging in thickness from 5 to 10 microns, to produce lightweight auxiliary capacitors that can help offset the heavy weight of battery packs in electric vehicles.

The capacitors benefit from the high dielectric constant and low dissipation factor of the film and can maintain a high breakdown strength up to 200 degrees Celsius. In addition, the high temperature capability of capacitors based on ULTEM™ UTF120 film enables design and package flexibility, as well as integration with electronics.

Radar Absorbing and EMI Shielding Materials for Automotive Sensors

SABIC has recently developed a new line of STAT-KON™ compounds to address the need for sensing technologies inautonomous vehicles. These compounds provide a unique balance of mechanical strength, processing capability, electrical conductivity, and radar absorption, which can prevent interference across neighboring electronic devices.

In addition, SABIC has expanded its FARADEX™ compounds product line to address the trend towards more electronic devices in vehicles, requiring better electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding to prevent malfunctioning or failures. Improvements in chemical resistance and EMI shielding performance enable FARADEX™ compounds to replace traditional shielding solutions such as metals and conductive coatings. Automotive sensor makers can now replace the metal portion of their parts with plastics to achieve lighter weight, lower overall system costs, and improve part design flexibility.

Next-Generation NORYL™ Resin Grade for Higher Flame Retardant Performance

Another example of SABIC’s rapidly evolving material technologies for electrified vehicles is a new resin grade for enhanced flame retardance: NORYL™ NHP5054 resin. Automakers already use grades of unfilled NORYL™ resin, polyphenylene ether (PPE) blends from the company for non-structural battery applications like battery spacers, holders and bus bar plates.

Now, SABIC has developed a next-generation flame retardant NORYL™ resin – one that is glass filled for added strength. This material can make possible a UL94 V-0 FR performance rating (at 0.75mm thickness) for structural components like the battery pack housing assemblies. The availability of this material is timely for automakers as they strive to meet evolving flame retardancy (FR) requirements for batteries in China, for example. In addition to its excellent FR performance, NORYL™ resin can provide significant weight savings, proven chemical resistance to electrolytes, heat resistance to 120 Celsius, low warpage, low moisture absorption, dimensional stability and mechanical strength to ensure consistent performance. Use of NORYL™ resin can also help automakers avoid the use of chlorinated and brominated FR materials, providing a potential environmental benefit.

Author: Scott Fallon is Global leader at SABIC’s Automotive business.

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