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News

More sustainable, lightweight thermoplastic composites for automotive use

DSM Engineering Plastics (Sittard) : 16 September, 2013  (New Product)
DSM is launching advanced thermoplastic composites for lighter and more sustainable automotive applications. The custom-made structural and semi-structural materials incorporate various types of continuous fibre reinforcements embedded in advanced polyamides.
Composites containing carbon fibres, based on DSM’s EcoPaXX polyamide 410, Akulon polyamide 6 and Stanyl polyamide 46, will facilitate significant weight reduction in automobile body and chassis parts, while glass fibre reinforced composites will be targeted at reducing the weight of semi-structural components.
 
DSM is a partner in the four-year ENLIGHT project, which also includes car companies Jaguar Cars, Renault, Volkswagen and Volvo. Part of the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme, ENLIGHT aims to accelerate the technological development of a portfolio of materials, which together offer a strong potential to reduce weight and overall carbon footprint in medium-to-high volume electric vehicles (EVs) that could reach the market between 2020 and 2025.
 
ENLIGHT will act as an open innovation platform, through the collaboration of EUCAR (the European Council for Automotive R&D), CLEPA (the European Association of Automotive Suppliers) and EARPA (the European Automotive Research Partners Association), integrating valuable insights from other EU research projects with a holistic design approach.
 
DSM is one of the founding partners in AZL, the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production. 33 companies support AZL, along with suppliers Ashland and TenCate, and car manufacturers Opel and Toyota. The aim of AZL is to develop automated production of load‐ and cost‐optimized lightweight components, suitable for mass production and versatile process chains in composite and multi‐material design.
 
At K2013, DSM is showcasing two applications in advanced thermoplastic composites. The first is a Type IV full engineering plastic pressure vessel based on a liner in Akulon Fuel Lock and a fibre-reinforced thermoplastic wound tape based on Akulon. This development exhibits significantly reduced weight compared with metal pressure vessels, as well as extremely low permeation.
 
The second application is a concept in-mould-formed housing cover, made in a combination of a continuous glass reinforced EcoPaXX-based composite and an injection moulded EcoPaXX compound. Together with one of its processing partners, DSM is exploring applications produced using a hybrid process combining composite thermoforming and injection moulding.
 
“Thermoplastics have provided lightweight components and systems in the passenger compartment, in bodywork, and under the hood. DSM have replaced metal with plastics in such applications as the air bag system and the oil sump. Now it’s time for the next step, with advanced thermoplastic composites,” says Rein Borggreve, Global Research and Technology Director at DSM.
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