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Issue 01/2014

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  • Bioplastics
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  • Automotive
Highlights: Automotive Foam Pharmafilter Land use

People Automotive PLA

People Automotive PLA compounds for the automotive sector By: Francesca Brunori Advanced Development Engine Systems Röchling Automotive Laives, Italy www.roechling.com Francesca.Brunori@roechling-automotive.it Röchling Automotive (headquartered in Mannheim Germany) is now prepared to produce a wide range of automotive plastic parts made of Plantura PLA based biopolymers. According to the specialists in airflow, acoustic and thermal solutions for passenger cars and trucks, Plantura is a very interesting ecological and economical alternative to the usage of other (conventional) thermoplastic materials used for such applications today. It was in the early 1970s when Röchling Automotive started production of plastic applications with natural fibre reinforcement. A large quantity and variety of thermoplastic and thermoset solutions for the interior of passenger vehicles made the group one of the leaders in this field. From biologically reinforced parts to Plantura Röchling Automotive has taken various steps of development. Up to 95% Bio Röchling Automotive has built up internal competences in raw materials development for many years. together with various partners. For Plantura a very fruitful cooperation with a compounder and Corbion Purac (Gorinchem, The Netherlands) was established to enhance the technical expertise and abilities in the fields of bio-chemicals, polymerization and compounding. From the beginning, the target was to create a new bio-polymer family that can cope with the high technical requirements and specifications, set for Röchling Automotive’s product portfolio in the engine compartment, under the body and in the interior. The result of the hard work is the material family called Plantura. Due to the possibility of fine tuning the grades according to the applications, it is possible to have both hard and soft materials, maintaining good properties and a high biobased carbon content of up to 95%. As a result, the developed grades could be capable of competing with most polyesters available on the market (PC, PET, PBT) but also with polystyrenes (ABS), polyolefines (such as PP) and polyamides (PA6). Various grades for different requirements Four standard grades are already available and can target low to medium demanding under the hood applications, as well as interiors and underbody applications. The use in other than automotive markets, such as white goods, sports goods and many others, is not excluded. Every standard grade can be fine-tuned to meet customer needs and final application requirements. The compounds can be processed as well as recycled with established plastic processing and recycling technologies. Two of these grades were already certified for their biobased content by Vinçotte with the highest Class 4 score. The Ok Biobased conformity mark 16 bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/14] Vol. 9

Automotive Fig. 1: Deflector made of unreinforced Plantura Fig. 2: Air - Filter-housing made of Plantura , 30 % reinforced with wood fibres can be applied on the products made from these grades. Plantura, in comparison to standard PLA, showed significant improvements in thermal stability and chemical resistance. An outstanding impact resistance for shockproof parts has been tested down to -30°C with the talcum filled standard grade. The materials exhibit an excellent hydrolysis resistance in a 100% humid environment at 70°C. The scratch resistance behavior of PLA, important for aesthetic trims, is well known and considered in the Plantura formulations. Tailor made with exceptional properties Prototype filter boxes were tested according to OEM’s specifications, withstanding thermal cycles up to 140°C with glass fiber reinforcement. The same parts performed also a vehicle testing and run 100.000 km without showing problems. By comparison, unreinforced standard PLA is not at all suitable for technical applications due to its low long term heat resistance of just 60°C. One of the four standard grades has been specially developed for automotive interior applications. The testing performed on this grade, according to OEM‘s specifications, showed very good results, especially in term of scratch and UV resistance. Plantura has a very good colourability, which can be further optimized by the addition of bio fillers. It is quite easy to obtain a glossy surface and a very natural aesthetic look. Supporting sustainability The environmental impact of Plantura is indeed much lower. Considerable improvements on automotive applications made in against PP, PC, ABS, or PA are possible. More in detail, the CO2 equivalent emission of Plantura for each kg of produced material is around 7 times lower with respect to PP and approximately 12 times lower than PA. A middle class passenger car contains approximately 147 kg of petrochemical plastics which could be easily substituted by Plantura. This would mean a CO 2 equivalent emission reduction of around 515 Kg CO 2 equivalent per car. The continuous development of the material has led to higher, and increasingly interesting cost efficiency. With its significant contribution to an improved CO 2 balance, Plantura could become an important concept in the automotive world. Fig. 3: Air-Filter-housing made of Plantura , 30 % reinforced with wood fibres Fig. 4: Interior trim parts made of Plantura grade (left natural color, unfilled, right ‘natural look’ 30%reinforced with wood fibres bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/14] Vol. 9 17

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