BASF at Fakuma 2014

Engineering plastics and TPU in the BMW i3 and Citroën C4 Cactus

As the first manufacturer of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), BASF has successfully optimized the material so that it can be applied extensively and unpainted on the vehicle exterior. The automotive manufacturer PSA Peugeot Citroën uses the new TPU grade Elastollan AC 55D10 HPM (High Performance Material) for cladding the Citroën C4 Cactus with so-called Airbumps. This world first is the result of many years of development work between the French automotive manufacturer, the supplier Rehau of Switzerland and BASF. Airbumps are large air-filled cushion bumpers in contrasting colors: They are fitted on the sides as well as on the front and rear of the vehicle, protect the car exterior from impact and scratches and give the vehicle its distinctive look.

Two innovative components from the BMW i3, the electric vehicle from the BMW Group, will be on display at the BASF stand: the front seat, whose backrest is the first injection-molded and unpainted structural seat component made of polyamide that has a visible surface. The hybrid component weighs only 2 kg and embodies all the know-how of BASF's Global Seat Competence Team. The backrest is made of a particularly UV-stable polyamide 6 compound specially developed by BASF for applications of this type (Ultramid B3ZG8 UV). There is also a large integral component made of Ultradur B4040 G6 on display that keeps the two body shells apart. The PBT material is dimensionally stable independent of the ambient climate and provides the necessary buckling resistance. The injection-molded component comprises several smaller components planned in the past, thus reducing complexity and costs.

Flame-resistant technical plastics improved further

The trend towards miniaturization and thinner walls in electrical and electronics applications continues apace and BASF will be presenting multiple product families with new and improved UL listing to coincide with Fakuma.

The flame-resistant Ultradurtypes B4406 G2/ G4/ G6 (polybutylene terephthalates) are classified according to UL94 V-0 from a wall thickness of 0.4 mm. Now the listing has been expanded to include the relative temperature index (RTI) for 0.4 mm. The high RTI values for dielectric strength remain consistently high at 140 °C. The product family therefore is especially suitable for increasingly powerful electrical plugs, power strips and housing components. These can now be produced with lower wall thicknesses.

The newly developed Ultramid A3U42G6, too, a halogen-free, flame-retardant, glass fiber-reinforced polyamide meets fire protection class V-0 according to UL94 from a wall-thickness of 0.4 mm. The heat aging resistance was significantly improved over glass fiber-filled polyamide types such that the material, with an RTI value for dielectric strength at 140°C with a 0.4 mm wall-thickness and even 150°C at 0.75 mm and more, is suitable for use at higher temperatures. The new Ultramid A3U42G6 is also distinguished by extremely easy processing with reduced deposit formation. The flame retardant system shows no migration effects and thus ensures higher-quality component surfaces. Possible application areas include control, contactors and connectors.

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