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News

New polycarbonate grade for integrated airbags

GE Advanced Materials : 14 July, 2004  (New Product)
GE Advanced Materials has launched Lexan EXL 1414H resin, a new grade in the popular Lexan polycarbonate family, developed specifically for use in automotive applications and is particularly well suited for integrated airbag door designs and airbag components.
Modern automotive designers increasingly find themselves navigating between functional and safe designs versus stylish and consumer-friendly aesthetic appeal. Nowhere is this distinction more apparent than in airbag design. Current airbag designs mandate a seam where the airbag door intersects with the remaining instrument panel, interrupting design flow. A design solution comes in the form of an integrated airbag door, however, typical materials used in these designs produce hazardous projectiles that have the potential to injure consumers.

Lexan EXL 1414H resin could pave the way for synergy between integrated airbag design and consumer safety. The low temperature ductility of the grade, up to -40C, allows robust airbag deployments with no material fragmentation, permitting increased consumer safety when compared to similar polycarbonates or other materials currently being tested in integrated airbag designs. Instrument panel designers can take advantage of this property, combined with high heat and humidity resistance, to create a stylish and attractive design that can withstand the test of time.

“Lexan EXL 1414 H resin is a superior choice for automotive airbag designers,” said Adam Trappe, industry manager - automotive interiors at GE Advanced Materials. “It is durable enough to last through sustained exposure to low temperatures, while flexible enough to allow airbag release without the typical projectiles so common in typical integrated airbag designs where other materials have been tested.”

The use of Lexan EXL 1414 H resin in automotive instrument panels offers a potential cost savings opportunity for automotive manufacturers. The material allows the use of a self-hinge design, eliminating the need for steel brackets, tethers, scrims and airbag door secondary operations. In addition, higher flow allows thinner wall designs and can further improve the cost model through material mass reduction and moulding cycle time optimisation.
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