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8th March 2018, Paris

Lifecycle assessment of UDMAX car doors

SABIC, has released the results of a recent lifecycle assessment of passenger car side doors using hybrid material solutions including laminates made with its continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composite (CFRTC), the UDMAX GPP 45-70 tape, at this week’s JEC World in Paris.

The material system aims to help improve compliance with stringent energy and emissions regulations. The externally certified, cradle-to-grave life cycle assessment (LCA) found that doors made with the glass fiber polypropylene-reinforced composites outperformed metal car doors in two key environmental categories: global warming potential and cumulative energy demand. In addition to weighing significantly less than steel, aluminium and magnesium, the CFRTC parts deliver exceptional strength, corrosion resistance and the ability to be produced in high volumes using injection moulding.

An externally certified LCA study revealed that doors made with SABIC’s thermoplastic composites revealed a lower global warming potential and cumulative energy demand than metal doors.

“Many countries, including China, Japan and several across the European Union, have announced they will tighten vehicle emissions regulations in the near future,” said Scott Fallon, global automotive leader, SABIC. “These impending changes add urgency to the need for advanced new material solutions that can reduce part weight without sacrificing performance.”

Nikhil Verghese, research fellow, Technology & Innovation at SABIC, added, “This lifecycle assessment demonstrates the effectiveness of SABIC’s industry-leading thermoplastic composites-based solution offering in reducing carbon and energy footprints compared to metal. We encourage customers to consider this data when selecting materials for automotive parts.”

In the European Union, 95% of all passenger cars must achieve 95 g/km of carbon dioxide (CO2) by 2020 with 100 percent compliance by 20211. In China and Japan, the requirements are 117 g/km of CO2 and 122 g/km of CO2, respectively, by 2020.

Assessment Parameters and Results

The lifecycle assessment, performed in compliance with ISO 14040/44, compared a side door of a passenger car (a typical sedan) made with thermoplastic matrix composites comprising of UDMAX GPP 45-70 tape combined with an injection-moulded grade of glass-filled thermoplastic resin, to identical doors made of steel, aluminium and magnesium.

Based on the design specifications, the UDMAX tapes were converted into a laminate and then over moulded onto both sides of a substrate using SABIC’s STAMAX glass reinforced polypropylene product, creating a hybrid material system. Parameters for vehicle operation were based on three powertrains – internal combustion (no adaptation), plug-in hybrid and electric – operating over a lifetime of 200,000 km using the New European Driving Cycle.

The results for the internal combustion powertrain showed that the thermoplastic composite doors achieved lower global warming potential than any of the three metal doors: 26% lower than steel, 21% lower than aluminium and 37 percent lower than magnesium. These numbers were slightly different for the hybrid and electric powertrains.

For cumulative energy demand, the thermoplastic composite doors also achieved lower numbers than the metal doors: 10% less than steel, 13% less than aluminium and 26% less than magnesium for the internal combustion powertrain. Again, the results were slightly different for the hybrid and electric powertrains.

Key reasons for these results begin with the lighter weight of the UDMAX GPP based laminate as part of the application:

  • 40% lighter vs. steel
  • 15% lighter vs. aluminium
  • 7% lighter vs. magnesium

1 EU CO2 standards for passenger cars and light-commercial vehicles.

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