Continental Structural Plastics' TCA Ultra Lite material has receiving the Grand Award from the Society of Plastics Engineers at last week's 2015 SPE Automotive Innovation Awards event.

The Grand Award is presented to the year's most innovative use of plastics.

TCA Ultra Lite is a 1.2 specific gravity material that offers as much as a 40% weight savings over standard density advanced composite materials, the company claims.  It is currently in production on the major body panels of the 2016 Chevrolet C7 Corvette.

Because there is no degradation of mechanical properties, lighter parts molded with TCA Ultra Lite do not have to be made thicker, or incorporate structural reinforcements, to maintain the  desired performance qualities. Specifically, Ultra Lite technology uses treated glass bubbles to replace Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3), allowing the resin to adhere to the matrix and increase the interfacial strength between the bubble and the resin. This is a patented treatment technology that can result in a more robust resin mix that makes molded parts more resistant to handling damage, and prevents the micro-cracks that cause paint pops, pits and blistering.

The material is resistant to corrosion, dents and dings and offers reduced tooling costs (50% or more, depending on production volumes) and the ability to achieve unique design cues, such as deep draws, that can't be achieved with a stamped metal.

This story is reprinted from material from Continental Structural Plastics, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.