|Teijin’s PU_PA concept.|
Japanese textile producer Teijin Ltd. unveiled a lightweight concept car, the PU_PA, made from materials including carbon fiber and bioplastic as part of an effort to promote its products that could reduce automotive weight.
The firm plans to advocate the use of advanced materials, telling automakers that a 1-tonne small car can be lightened to 500kg in five years, a move that will greatly improve fuel efficiency, according to a report on the announcement by the Nikkei. Teijin will also promote materials that have a smaller environmental impact to produce, such as bioplastic and fiber made from polylactic acid.
We aim to halve the weight of automobiles.—Yoshinaga Karasawa, Executive Vice President
Teijin materials in the PU_PA include a carbon-fiber backbone; a roof and exterior window of polycarbonate resin; heat-resistant bioplastic (BIOFRONT); an artificial leather dashboard; a polyester film for the plated front grille; and tire cord fabric.
Teijin introduced the BIOFRONT bioplastic, which it developed with Mazda, in September. The plastic will be used initially for the manufacture of a high-quality, highly durable car-seat fabric made of 100% BIOFRONT fibers, and was featured in the new Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid vehicle that Mazda premiered at the 40th Tokyo Motor Show 2007. (Earlier post.)
The melting point of BIOFRONT fibers is 210ºC, significantly higher than the 170ºC melting point of polylactide fibers. As a result, BIOFRONT readily accepts high-temperature, high-pressure polyester dyeing. Such improvements have brought BIOFRONT to the same level of performance of PET (polyethylene terephthalate), according to Teijin.