Automotive: For under-the-hood parts Borealis introduces new PPs and Teknor Apex nylons


Materials maker Borealis and its subsidiary Borouge have launched several new polypropylene (PP) compounds in the Daplen family of PP thermoplastic olefin (TPO) compounds, and the Fibremod range of PP fibre reinforced compounds, for interior, exterior, and under-the-hood automotive parts. The Austrian firm says the solutions also allow for design freedom and flexibility for vehicles with hybrid or electric powertrains.

While the automotive industry strives to improve the environmental performance of internal combustion engine (ICE) technology, alternative powertrains are gaining in importance.

Meanwhile, lightweighting helps reduce vehicular CO2 emissions and thus plays a crucial role in enabling manufacturers to adhere to regulatory standards. Yet some experts predict that alternative powertrains, like those for electric vehicles, will gain significant market share by 2030.

For example, components in battery electric and fuel cell electric vehicles can be fundamentally redesigned for low-density PP compounds due to lower operating temperatures versus ICE powertrains. Components such as tailgates and front end modules can be executed in monomaterial PP solutions that are not only lighter weight, but are more easily recycled. And where metal and higher-cost engineering plastics were once the material of choice for structural elements, PP-based compounds can now be considered for such applications.

The proprietary Fibremod long glass fibre reinforced polypropylene (PP-LGF) technology features fibre impregnation and flexibility, allowing for use of various PP matrices, and customised colours. One of these grades is LGF Fibremod GB416LF with 40% filler content, for a full polyolefin tailgate module as a lower-density replacement solution for conventional metal or engineering polymers. As a high-flow material, Fibremod GB416LF fulfils both emission requirements and mechanical performance criteria as well as surface aesthetics. Its sustainability is enhanced not only by its lighter weight, but by eliminating the need for one or more paint layers, or additional aesthetic parts, says Borealis.

Another grade, Fibremod GD577SF, a new short glass fibre (SGF) with 50% filler, is said to offer pleasing surface qualities for visible structural parts and is targeted at replacing metal and polyamide (PA) applications.

As a new material generation designed to serve as a “drop-in” solution, Daplen EE001AI boasts mechanical properties and minimal filler content. With the similar shrinkage characteristics typical of grades with higher filler content (such as PP-T15), the new Daplen EE001AI can be used in existing tool geometries. It maintains its characteristics of processability and robustness in large-scale series production, and can be used to achieve class-A surfaces free of tiger stripes and any other visible flaws typically affecting injection-moulded parts. It is highly suitable for a wide range of injection configurations and tool layouts.

Meanwhile, US compounder Teknor Apex is promoting two new glass fibre-reinforced polyamides with Engine-Cover-Teknor improved outstanding flame retardance and thermal stability for injection moulded under-the-hood automotive components such as engine covers. Chemlon 904-13 GVNH and 204-13 GVNH are glass-filled nylon compounds with low halogen content that meet the UL-94 V-0 standard by passing the vertical burn test at a thickness of only 0.8 mm (0.031 in.). Conventional halogenated compounds achieve this degree of flame retardancy only with high levels of flame retardant and synergistic filler that make processing difficult, yield poor surfaces, and increase product density. In contrast, the new Chemlon compounds are said to yield a smooth surface, are 15% less dense than conventional counterparts, and are readily processed for parts with long flow paths or thin walls. Equally valuable for under-the-hood applications is the thermal stability of the new compounds, says Teknor Apex, adding that Chemlon 904-13 GVNH is an especially high-temperature material, with a heat deflection temperature of 245°C and a high degree of property retention at elevated temperatures, providing a continuous use temperature that is much higher than specification.


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