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Issue 01/2015

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Automotive New

Automotive New bioplastic for exterior car parts Mazda Motor Corporation (Hiroshima, Japan) has developed a bio-based engineering plastic suitable for exterior automobile parts. The new bioplastic will help Mazda decrease its environmental impact. Made from plantderived materials, it reduces petroleum use and subsequently CO 2 emissions. The new resin, which has been developed in close cooperation with Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. (Tokyo, Japan) is based on DURABIO by Mitsubishi Chemical, a biopolycarbonate resin derived mainly from plant-based isosorbide. Currently, isosorbide is made from low grade corn which is not suitable for human consumption. However, Mazda is also strongly investigating methods to make the plastic with non-edible plants. The new bioplastic is composed of approximately 45 % plant-derived material and 55 % fossil oil-derived material. Mazda develops Biotechmaterial components for the all-new Mazda MX-5 In this cooperation Mitsubishi Chemical led the optimization of materials properties while Mazda was responsible for the optimization of the processing technique for the application to both interior design parts and exterior design parts. Since the new bioplastic material can be coloured and does not require painting, it also reduces emissions of volatile organic compounds. Colouring the material gives the parts a deep hue and smooth, mirror-like finish of a higher quality than can be achieved with a traditional painted plastic (see fig. 1). In addition, when comparing the total cost to produce a part, the new bioplastic material offers cost advantages over a version made of conventional plastics including the painting process. So the newly developed bioplastic helps Mazda to improve productivity. Conventional technology Tiny variations on paint surface Light Conventional base material (Petroleum-based) Fig. 2: Pillar garnish Conventional paint hue Quality finish Finish durability Mechanical properties of base material Mazda has been proactively developing biomass technologies for a number of years. Under the Mazda Biotechmaterial name, the company has come up with the automotive industry’s first high strength, heat-resistant and plant-based bioplastic for interior parts (cf. bioplastics MAGAZINE 02/2008 and 04/2008) as well as the world’s first biofabric for seat upholstery made entirely from plant-derived fibre (bM 02/2008). To be suitable for exterior parts and the harsh environmental factors to which they are exposed, bioplastics need to be exceptionally weather, scratch and impact resistant. Mazda has now succeeded in making a material suitable for both interior and exterior parts. It was achieved by optimising the composition of a highly mouldable and durable new bioplastic base material with additives and colouring agents (patent pending), and enhancing moulding specifications (see table). This will enable the company to produce parts that are as durable as conventional painted ABS plastic parts, yet feature a higher-quality finish and the associated design advantages. The new material will be first used for interior parts on the all-new Mazda MX-5, to be launched in 2015, before finding its way onto exterior components of other production models. Mazda displayed prototype Mazda Biotechmaterial parts (e. g. a pillar garnish, see fig. 2) made from the bioplastic at Eco- Products 2014, an environmental technology exhibition in Tokyo last December. MT Solutions Newly developed technology Smooth mirror-like surface Optimization of materials Light Deep hue Newly developed base material (Plant-based) Fig. 1: comparison of conventional and new technology Surface design characteristics Optimization of: • Material composition •Mold specifications Required properties Surface design durability Quality finish Finish durability Mechanical properties of base material Base material mechanical properties Base ingredient ** ** ** Additives * * ** Colouring agents ** ** - Optimization of die ** * * **: very effective *: effective -: null effect 10 bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/15] Vol. 10

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