Mazda Motor Corporation has developed a bio-based engineering plastic suitable for exterior automobile parts that will be used in its vehicles from as early as 2015.
Mazda has been proactively developing biomass technologies for a number of years. Now, under the ‘Biotechmaterial’ name, the company says it has come up with the automotive industry’s first high strength, heat-resistant and plant-based bioplastic for interior parts as well as the world’s first biofabric for seat upholstery made entirely from plant-derived fibre. To be suitable for exterior parts and the harsh environmental factors to which they are exposed, bioplastics need to be exceptionally weather, scratch and impact resistant.
Mazda says it has now, in conjunction with Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation, succeeded in making a material suitable for both interior and exterior parts. It was achieved by optimising the composition of a highly mouldable and durable new bioplastic base material with additives and colouring agents (patent pending), and enhancing moulding specifications.
Mazda says this will enable it to produce parts that are as durable as conventional painted ABS plastic parts, yet feature a higher-quality finish and the associated design advantages such as mirror-like shine and colour quality.
The new bioplastic will help Mazda decrease its environmental impact, as being made from plant-derived materials, it curbs petroleum use and with it CO2 emissions. As the bioplastic can be dyed and does not require painting, it also reduces emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
This bioplastic will be first used for interior parts on the all-new Mazda MX-5, to be launched in 2015, before finding its way onto exterior components of other production models. Mazda is display prototype Mazda Biotechmaterial parts made from the bioplastic at Eco-Products 2014, an environmental technology exhibit in Tokyo.
Diagram for illustrative purposes only