A technical breakthrough
Automotive exteriors exist in a harsh environment, and the requirements are demanding. Parts have to display high scratch-, weather-, ageing and chemical resistance properties. For wheelblades comes the additional requirement of high heat resistance during braking. So automotive exterior components not only have to look good after years of use but also perform on an everyday basis under tough conditions.
In combination with the coating system, the composite wheelblades have withstood rigorous safety and performance requirements, such as impact, chemical and weather resistance. The Makrolon® polycarbonate on which Maezio™ is based displays high thermal stability qualities so the wheelblade insert can survive braking-induced temperatures of up to 150° C.
A seamless integration
For composites to be widely adopted in automotive they also need to be easily integrated with other materials in a multi-material system. Because of their thermoplastic matrix system, Maezio™ composites can be easily joined with functional components during processing, e.g., through back injection molding. In the case of the wheelblade inserts, they are joined with the aluminum spokes of the wheel through back-molded screw bosses made of polycarbonates. The common resin material makes it easy and secure to bond the two parts.
A second life
Car manufacturers are under pressure to make their vehicles less environmentally impactful. Electric vehicles are ahead of the curve, and so it’s natural that EV manufacturers are on the lookout for materials that are easy to recover and recycle.
Maezio™ composites can be cut and remelted for reuse at the end of life, or reground into short fiber compounds and used in an injection molding process, making them a sustainble material choice for EV manufacturers to further improve their sustainability scorecard.
“We have proved with this major breakthrough that Maezio™ composites are a technically and commercially viable material solution in automotive exterior applications,” says Lisa Ketelsen, head of the thermoplastic composite business of Covestro. “The end result is a newly defined aesthetic direction and benchmark for thermoplastic composites in automotive. We look forward to helping the automotive industry scale new heights with the benefits thermoplastic composites have to offer.”
With 2018 sales of EUR 14.6 billion, Covestro is among the world’s largest polymer companies. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, construction, wood processing and furniture, and electrical and electronics industries. Other sectors include sports and leisure, cosmetics, health and the chemical industry itself. Covestro has 30 production sites worldwide and employs approximately 16,800 people (calculated as full-time equivalents) at the end of 2018.
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