Sabic has released the results of a recent lifecycle assessment of passenger car side doors using hybrid material solutions including laminates made with its continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composite (CFRTC), the UDMAX GPP 45-70 tape.

The company says that material system has been conceived to help improve compliance with stringent energy and emissions regulations.

The life cycle assessment (LCA) found that doors made with the glass fiber polypropylene-reinforced composites outperformed metal car doors with regards to global warming potential and cumulative energy demand. The CFRTC parts weigh less than steel, aluminum and magnesium and deliver improved strength, corrosion resistance and the ability to be produced in high volumes using injection molding.

The assessment, performed in compliance with ISO 14040/44, compared a side door of a passenger car (a typical sedan) made with thermoplastic matrix composites comprising of UDMAX GPP 45-70 tape combined with an injection-molded grade of glass-filled thermoplastic resin, to identical doors made of steel, aluminum and magnesium. The UDMAX tapes were converted into a laminate and then overmolded onto both sides of a substrate using Sabic’s STAMAX glass reinforced polypropylene product, creating a hybrid material system. Parameters for vehicle operation were based on three powertrains – internal combustion (no adaptation), plug-in hybrid and electric – operating over a lifetime of 200,000 km using the New European Driving Cycle.

Vehicle emissions

The results for the internal combustion powertrain showed that the thermoplastic composite doors achieved lower global warming potential than any of the three metal doors: 26% lower than steel, 21% lower than aluminum and 37% lower than magnesium. These numbers were slightly different for the hybrid and electric powertrains.

For cumulative energy demand, the thermoplastic composite doors also achieved lower numbers than the metal doors: 10% less than steel, 13% less than aluminum and 26% less than magnesium for the internal combustion powertrain. Again, the results were slightly different for the hybrid and electric powertrains.

‘Many countries, including China, Japan and several across the European Union, have announced they will tighten vehicle emissions regulations in the near future,’ said Scott Fallon, global automotive leader, Sabic. ‘These impending changes add urgency to the need for advanced new material solutions that can reduce part weight without sacrificing performance.’

This story uses material from Sabic, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.