Plastics For Cars

October 01, 1998

New "self-strengthening" plastic could allow the cars of the future to be built using recyclable polypropylene plastic. The process developed at the University of Leeds will make the family saloon lighter, cheaper to produce, easy to recycle and with rust free bodywork. Trials using the new plastic for body panels are currently underway with Ford Puma rally cars.

The strengthening process, known as hot compaction, uses threads of polypropylene that have been stretched out in order to make the long polymer molecules line up in the same direction. This regimented structure gives the hot compacted plastic a strength similar to that of composite materials used in automotive and aerospace applications. The threads of stretched polypropylene are then woven to form a plastic cloth that can be carefully heated and squeezed together to form a rigid sheet. This sheet is then shaped into car body panels.

Plastic is usually reinforced and strengthened using fibres of glass or other materials such as carbon to make composite materials. These make the plastic difficult to form into shape using the process known as "thermoforming". The hot compaction process is the first process that allows the finished material to be easily thermoformed into products such as car body parts. Hot compacted plastic is also under trials for loudspeaker cones, automotive parts and radomes for the noses of aircraft.

PLEASE MENTION MATERIALS WORLD AS THE SOURCE OF THIS ITEM
-end-
For further information or a full copy of the article please contact Andrew McLaughlin on tel: 0171 451 7395; fax: 0171 839 2289 or email: Andrew_Mclaughlin@materials.org.uk

Notes for Editors

1. Materials World is the journal of the Institute of Materials, the professional body of more than 18,000 materials scientists and engineers throughout Europe.
2. The journal is distributed to all of the Institute's members who work in areas such as plastics, rubber, steel, metals and ceramics.
3. The full text version of this article is available from the web on page: http://www.materials.co.uk/mwldweb/oct98/feat2.htm
4. Materials World is also available on the web: http://www.materials.co.uk/mwldweb/mwhome.htm
5. For further information on the hot compaction process, please contact Andrew McLaughlin for a full copy of the article and to arrange an interview.
-end-


Institute of Materials

Related Composite Materials Articles from Brightsurf:

New composite material revs up pursuit of advanced electric vehicles
Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory used new techniques to create a composite that increases the electrical current capacity of copper wires, providing a new material that can be scaled for use in ultra-efficient, power-dense electric vehicle traction motors.

Analyzing pros and cons of two composite manufacturing methods
Airplane wings and wind turbine blades are typically created using bulk polymerization in composite manufacturing facilities.

Visualization of functional components to characterize optimal composite electrodes
Researchers have developed a visualization method that will determine the distribution of components in battery electrodes using atomic force microscopy.

Study suggests polymer composite could serve as lighter, non-toxic radiation shielding
A new study suggests that a polymer compound embedded with bismuth trioxide particles holds tremendous potential for replacing conventional radiation shielding materials, such as lead.

Scientists develop stable luminescent composite material based on perovskite nanocrystals
An international team of scientists that includes researchers from ITMO University has developed a new composite material based on perovskite nanocrystals for the purpose of creating miniature light sources with improved output capacity.

Composite metal foams take the heat, move closer to widespread applications
Engineering researchers have demonstrated that composite metal foams (CMFs) can pass so-called 'simulated pool fire testing' with flying colors, moving the material closer to use in applications such as packaging and transportation of hazardous materials.

Using holograms helps in studying the quality of composite materials
Composite materials have a complicated structure and specified mechanical or physical properties.

Scientists develop a composite membrane for long-life zinc-based flow batteries
Researchers led by Profs. LI Xianfeng from the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics (DICP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences recently developed a composite membraneĀ for long-life zinc-based flow batteries.

An early warning system for damage in composite materials
A team at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has developed a tool to monitor changes in widely used composite materials known as fiber reinforced polymers (FRPs), which can be found in everything from aerospace and infrastructure to wind turbines.

Novel composite antimicrobial film could take a bite out of foodborne illnesses
A novel composite film -- created by the bonding of an antimicrobial layer to conventional, clear polyethylene plastic typically used to vacuum-package foods such as meat and fish -- could help to decrease foodborne illness outbreaks, according to researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

Read More: Composite Materials News and Composite Materials Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.