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Glass fibre reinforced composite for horizontal auto body panels

08 October 2008

SABIC Innovative Plastics and Azdel, Inc. have launched anew hybrid thermoplastic composite grade, IXIS 157 composite, a continuous glass-fibre-reinforced sandwich composite for automotive horizontal body panels. It provides critical advantages over traditional materials, starting with a 50 percent weight reduction compared with steel. By adopting IXIS thermoplastic composites, automakers can design cost-effective, lightweight and aerodynamic body panels that will help drive the success of fuel-efficient future models.

The IXIS composite is composed of a random glass fibre reinforced core with a glass content (by weight) of approximately 50 percent, together with a 0º/90º skins of continuous unidirectional fibre reinforced thermoplastic. The skin material enables a Class A paint finish and dimensional stability, while the core material aids processing and reduces overall material costs.

IXIS composites are significantly lighter in weight than steel and thermoset resins, with the potential to make a large contribution to improved fuel efficiency. They also offer important performance benefits, including excellent sound-deadening qualities for a quiet ride and outstanding damage resistance. In comparison to thermosets, which tend to shatter and splinter on impact, and steel, which tends to crumple, IXIS composites rebound, offering better energy absorption for pedestrian safety.

The polypropylene-based 157 grade is designed for off-line painting, and the soon-to-be-released 200 grade is intended for online painting and processing through the e-coat process. Both can be recycled. Thanks to a good polymer/glass fibre bond, the material can be granulated and remoulded into other engineering applications.

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