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igus tribo-SLS powder exceeds US vehicle fire safety standards by a factor of five

29 January 2019

igus has taken a decisive step towards ideal fire protection in car interior applications with the 3D print material iglidur I3.

Not only is the material extremely wear-resistant and therefore an all-rounder for all types of wear resistant parts, it also meets the requirements for the FMVSS 302 fire test. In the tests, the measured calorific value is approximately five times lower than the maximum permitted limit.

“To effectively prevent fires in vehicle interiors, suitable materials and the right structural measures are stipulated by safety standards regulators,” explains Robert Dumayne, dry-tech director, igus. “The UN Regulations developed by the World Forum for Harmonisation of Vehicle Regulations is recognised by most countries except the US where the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) apply.” 

As relevant studies have shown, fires in vehicle interiors are mainly caused accidentally. Therefore, the materials used must be difficult to ignite and have a low flame spread rate to allow sufficient time for all passengers to leave the vehicle – even when driving at high speeds. 

In the US, the FMVSS 302 test procedure describes the resistance requirements of materials used in vehicle interiors, such as passenger cars and trucks. A plate sample with an average thickness of 2.02mm is exposed to a Bunsen burner with a flame height of 38mm.

Subsequently, the velocity of movement of the flames is determined. The maximum value allowed here is 102mm/min (4 inches/min). The iglidur I3 material gives an average combustion rate of only 18.8mm/min and therefore meets the requirements by more than a factor of five.

With laser sintering, the printed component requires practically no finishing and can be used directly, for prototypes or in batch production. Complex shapes with a high degree of precision and accuracy are possible. In the igus test laboratory, comparisons between iglidur i3 printed plain bearings and conventional materials (pivoting, rotating and linear motion) show that they are at least three times more wear-resistant. In addition, by using the igus online 3D printing service and uploading a CAD model, ordered parts are available in one to three days.

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