Bayer MaterialScience has taken inspiration from the science behind nature to develop its latest technology for lightweighting in the productive of exterior automotive parts.
The company’s new technology is based on the development of components with a sandwich structure, taken from the way in which human bones are formulated and constructed.
At K 2013 Bayer showcased a prototype of a trunk lid that it said demonstrated the lightweight but ultra-stiff properties of its latest technology, designed to reduce the energy consumption of a vehicle whilst providing both the stability required and a smooth surface.
“With its smooth, dense outer skin and foamed core, this part has a lot in common with a bone,” explained Ulrich Grosser, Team Leader for Advanced Technologies at Bayer MaterialScience.
“To make the outer layer, continuous glass fibre mats are impregnated with a thermoplastic polymer formulated from polycarbonate,” Grosser continued. “All the fibres are wetted and fully coated by the plastic matrix. This is the key to the high stiffness of the edge layers in a sandwich structure.”
In a second step, the top and bottom of the trunk lid are joined and the resulting hollow space is filled with Bayer’s ‘Baysafe’ polyurethane foam. Bayer says it is the very low density of the foam that makes the component so lightweight. Since the foam is also very stiff, and adheres to the entire outer surface, the component is extremely resistant to minor damage.
“We passed a milestone in the efficient production of sandwich components with this material-based design,” says Dr. Olaf Zöllner, Head of Application Technology for Polycarbonate.
“The auto industry often leads the way in pioneering technical developments, but we are also looking forward to talks with customers and partners in other industries.” Zöllner said