Plastic resins have significantly revolutionized many industries, and the automotive industry is no exception. Plastics are widely used in modern automotive designing and manufacturing, offering myriad advantages such as performance enhancement, weight reduction, sustainability, and more. From interior components such as dashboards, seats, and trim to exterior elements like bumpers, grilles, and light casings, several types of thermoplastics have endless applications in this sector. Would you like to know the details of polymer applications in the automotive industry? This blog highlights commonly used plastics in the automotive industry. So, stay tuned.
5 Commonly Used Plastics in the Automotive Industry
There are several types of plastics used in the automotive industry. Here are some commonly used types.
- Polypropylene (PP): This widely used thermoplastic is lightweight and has other such properties which contribute to its application in the automotive sector. It is cost-effective and hence widely used to make automotive interiors such as door and instrument panels, consoles, and more. PP is highly durable, moldable, and resistant to high temperatures and chemicals, and hence is easy to fabricate and finds applications in gas cans, cable insulating material in engines, bumpers, and so on. Due to its excellent design flexibility, it is possible to achieve complex shapes and intricate designs. Aside from this, the material’s impact resistance also ensures occupant safety and long-lasting performance. Its recyclability aligns with the automotive industry’s focus on sustainability and environmental responsibility.
- Polyurethane (PU) Foam: This material has natural insulation features and hence is used in shielding engine noise, temperature control, and suspension insulators. It is durable and highly moldable and can easily be CNC machined and injection molded. PU foam is well-known for its excellent cushioning and impact absorption capabilities. Thus, it is used in automotive seating systems and headrests to provide comfort and support for occupants.
- Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC): PVC is not only cost-effective but also an extremely versatile thermoplastic because of its properties, such as weather resistance and electrical insulation. PVC finds applications in airbags, door panels, dashboards, and more. It can withstand severe environmental exposures, ensuring the reliability and longevity of vehicle electrical systems. With an increased emphasis on using sustainable and recyclable materials, there have been efforts to develop sustainable PVC versions that reduce the environmental impact.
- Polycarbonate (PC): This thermoplastic is highly rigid and durable, offering exceptional impact resistance, mechanical strength, and structural stability. Since it is transparent, it provides optical clarity and finds applications in automotive glazing, such as windows, sunroofs, bumpers, bullet-proof glass, and headlight lenses. High heat resistance is also one of the crucial features of PC.
- Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS): Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, or ABS, offers excellent impact resistance, mechanical strength, and heat resistance. ABS can be easily processed and molded as per application requirements and also has excellent electrical insulation properties. This offers structural stability and rigidity to the part, and hence ABS finds applications in exterior components in vehicles such as grilles, bumpers, wheel covers, and body panels. Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene maintains the integrity of these exteriors by protecting against minor collisions and impacts.
Each thermoplastic, be it polycarbonate or acrylonitrile butadiene styrene resins, possesses specific physical and chemical properties that make it suitable for certain automotive components, thus contributing to vehicle performance, safety, and aesthetics. By leveraging these plastics’ unique characteristics and properties, automakers are consistently pushing the boundaries in terms of automotive design and vehicle manufacturing practices. If you are an automaker or a third-party vendor of an automobile company, you may require good-quality plastic resins to make these parts. You can contact the team at Mid Continent Plastics, which is a one-stop solution for all your plastic resin requirements. The company stocks and sources premium plastic resins and supplies across the US.Related Post-
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