New fuel-efficient, high-performance automotive composites

SABIC Innovative Plastics and Azdel, Inc. have launched their new hybrid thermoplastic composite grade, IXIS® 157 composite, a continuous glass-fiber-reinforced sandwich composite for automotive horizontal body panels. IXIS 157 composite is the first product launched using high performance thermoplastic composite (HPPC) technology which provides critical benefits over traditional materials, starting with a 50% weight reduction compared to steel. The two companies have adapted fiber-reinforced composites technology (widely used in aviation industries) for automotive applications by leveraging the dimensional stability and high-quality surface finish of continuous, unidirectional glass fiber. SABIC IP along with Azdel has made significant advancement with IXIS composites, including the commercialization of our first grade for off-line painting and the progress toward an online paintable product. Both the companies have leveraged their resources to develop the IXIS materials that have been featured on the Chevrolet Volt and the Hyundai QarmaQ, the two most successful 'green' concept vehicles in the world. By incorporating IXIS thermoplastic composites, automakers can design cost-effective, lightweight and aerodynamic body panels that are an integral part for success of fuel-efficient models. IXIS composites are significantly lighter in weight than steel and thermoset resins and also offer including excellent sound-deadening qualities and outstanding damage resistance. As opposed 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. Unlike steel, IXIS composites enable part integration, such as the insertion of antennas into the roof of a vehicle. In addition, the polypropylene-based 157 grade which is designed for off-line painting, and the upcoming 200 grade is intended for online painting and processing through the e-coat process. As far as production is concerned, IXIS composites are designed for low-pressure compression molding which uses low-energy and is less costlier than aluminum tools which result in added economic value for automakers and tiers.
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