Car makers around the world continue to improve the fuel efficiency and sustainability of their products.

Over the years, thermo-plastics have provided various solutions, in the form of lightweight components and systems in the passenger compartment, in bodywork, and under the hood.

DSM materials have proven important in making this trend to replace metal by plastics possible, in such applications as the air bag system and the oil sump.

Now it’s time for the next step, with advanced thermoplastic composites.

Rein Borggreve, Global Research and Technology Director, DSM

The company says that composites containing carbon fibres based on DSM’s EcoPaXX® polyamide 410 (PA 410), Akulon® polyamide 6 (PA 6) and Stanyl® polyamide 46 (PA 46), will facilitate significant weight reduction in automobile body and chassis parts.

Glass fibre reinforced composites will be targeted at reducing the weight of semi-structural components. 

European lightweight design project

DSM is a partner in the 4-year ENLIGHT (enhanced lightweight design) project, which also includes car companies Jaguar Cars, Renault, Volkswagen and Volvo.

Part of the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme, ENLIGHT aims to accelerate the technological development of a portfolio of materials, which together offer a strong potential to reduce weight and overall carbon footprint in medium-to-high volume electric vehicles (EVs) that could reach the market between 2020 and 2025.

ENLIGHT will act as an open innovation platform, through the collaboration of EUCAR (the European Council for Automotive R&D), CLEPA (the European Association of Automotive Suppliers) and EARPA (the European Automotive Research Partners Association), integrating valuable insights from other EU research projects with a holistic design approach.

AZL centre for lightweight production

DSM is also one of the founding partners in AZL, the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production, along with suppliers as Ashland and TenCate, and car manufacturers Opel and Toyota.

The aim of AZL is to develop automated production of load- and cost-optimized lightweight components, suitable for mass production and versatile process chains in composite and multi-material design.

See: AZL: a unique resource for lightweight composites production.

K 2013

At the K 2013 trade show in October, DSM will showcase two applications of its thermoplastic composites.

  • The first is a Type IV full engineering plastic pressure vessel based on a liner in Akulon Fuel Lock and a fibre reinforced thermoplastic wound tape based on Akulon. This development exhibits significantly reduced weight compared with metal pressure vessels, as well as extremely low permeation.
     
  • The second application is a concept in-mould-formed housing cover, made in a combination of a continuous glass reinforced EcoPaXX-based composite and an injection moulded EcoPaXX compound.