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VW Golf airbag shows better cold weather performance

DSM Engineering Plastics (Sittard) : 20 October, 2004  (Application Story)
VW Golf airbag deploys more safely thanks to better cold weather performance of airbag covers made with Arnitel TPE-E from DSM
The new Volkswagen Golf A5 driver-side airbags, with covers moulded of Arnitel thermoplastic elastomer ether ester block copolymer (TPE-E) from DSM Engineering Plastics, deploy more safely thanks to the materialís outstanding low-temperature properties.

No cracking or splintering has been observed in covers made of Arnitel PM471 in cold deployment testing at temperatures as low as -35C, outperforming competitive materials. At the same time, the DSM material retains significant strength at temperatures as high as 85C. In addition, Arnitel PM471 is paintable with environmentally friendly water-based paints.

The low-modulus Arnitel PM471 grade was developed specifically for automotive airbag cover applications like in the Golf A5, combining the excellent low-temperature properties and high flexibility of elastomers with the ease of processing inherent in copolyesters.

Low-temperature ductility is required to help prevent passenger injury due to splintering during airbag deployment, while high-temperature strength is required to keep the airbag module in place.

Design for safer deployment is of great importance to automotive OEMs and consumers because airbags are considered a sensitive part of a vehicle's occupant-restraint system. In combination with seat belts and other safety systems, the airbag must respond to a vehicle collision within milliseconds,

In addition to airbag applications, Arnitel TPE-E is well-suited for automotive interior components that depend on high aesthetic quality because the material takes an excellent moulded surface finish, as well as offering long-term paint adhesion.

Arnitel from DSM Engineering Plastics is a family of thermoplastic copolyester-based elastomers (TPE-E or COPE) that combine the strength and processing characteristics of engineering plastics with the performance of thermoset elastomers. As thermoplastics, they do not require vulcanisation to obtain optimal qualities, which often leads to substantial part cost reduction.

Relative to other elastomers, Arnitelís polyester-based materials offer the most consistent performance over their entire operating temperature range, since their properties vary little from low to high-temperature extremes.

In addition to airbag covers and other automotive interior components, Arnitel has a broad range of applications, including automotive air ducts, constant-velocity (CV) joint boots, radio antennas, and fuel and vacuum hosing; building roofing membranes; surgical disposables; wire and cable insulation; hydraulic hoses; household goods; and light rail insulation and sound-deadening.
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