BASF and STR Automotive enable significant weight reduction for body panels with Elastolit R 8819 Lightweight
In a joint project, BASF and STR Automotive have brought components for premium vehicles into series production for the first time using the new material Elastolit R 8819 Lightweight.
In comparison to conventional processing with polyurethane reaction injection (PU-RRIM) materials, the new process provides significant weight reduction. The usual component thickness of 3.0 mm can be reduced to less than 2.5 mm, without detrimental effects on processing, quality or mechanical properties.
Front and rear bumpers of small car series are usually produced from polyurethane systems with short-fiber reinforcement (PU-RRIM), with a wall thickness of 3.0 mm. Attempts to lower the weight by reducing the component thickness or using a special filler combination and an associated lower material density failed due to insufficient mechanical properties such as mechanical strength, stiffness and impact strength. This process also could not pass the climate change test.
BASF and STR Automotive found a technological solution to the problem based on a high modulus PU basic material with high temperature resistance, stiffness and very good impact strength.
The improved performance of the matrix material allows the designer to create a noticeably thinner component, without having to accept limitations in quality.—Jürgen Schneider from Technical Development at BASF Polyurethanes GmbH
Depending on the requirements and the application, Elastolit R 8819 Lightweight can be combined with different filler materials: a mineral standard fiber for components such as rear bumpers; a mineral/carbon fiber combination for vertical components with low thermal expansion coefficient (e.g. side panel); or a combination of carbon fibers and light hollow glass spheres for components for which a particularly high weight reduction is a priority.
In the first series components made using Elastolit R 8819 Lightweight, the weight has already been reduced by 600 grams per m² surface area. For rear panels, this means a weight reduction of up to 1.5 kilograms.
With the new material and the compatible filler options, we have a good set of tools enabling us to satisfy different requirements. For our customers it is important that they get high-quality components. Weight reduction must not be at the expense of quality and there must be balanced price-performance ratio.—Dr. Massimo Cecchini, CEO of STR Automotive
STR Automotive also sees potential for applications arising from the higher temperature stability of the material. This creates additional areas of application for the material, for example in the engine compartment.