GM’s winning application is the carbon composite air extractor located on the hood of the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 sports car. This unique carbon fiber prepreg composite part pulls air through the lower grille and out through the hood, cooling the engine, increasing efficiency and reducing lift in the process. The part includes a water deflector molded from SABIC’s VALOX resin, which delivered the high mechanical and thermal performance needed in this demanding under-hood environment. The successful use of VALOX resin in this application not only allowed GM to bring the carbon fiber prepreg design to life, but also provides further evidence of SABIC’s proven track record and ongoing commitment to enable meaningful, high-end automotive solutions for its customers and the industry.
“We are pleased to have played a supporting role in helping GM garner this distinguished industry recognition,” said V. Umamaheswaran, director of marketing, Automotive, Innovative Plastics. “Automakers today have higher demands, especially in the ever-evolving under-hood space. The award winning air extractor, with integrated water deflector, allowed GM to achieve high performance and high temperature resistance, all with the desired styling, which is not possible with a one-piece carbon fiber solution due to design limitations. SABIC’s contribution to this part speaks to its ability to respond with the unique thermoplastic solutions that the industry needs. We look forward to continued collaboration with our customers to help them meet the increasingly complex application challenges that lie ahead.”
SABIC, working with GM and system supplier TransGlobal LLC, helped develop the water deflector by providing material selection assistance, predictive engineering work, as well as tool build design and validation support.
VALOX Resin Deflector Takes the Heat, Looks Good
The Camaro ZL1 air extractor is engineered from carbon-fiber composites to achieve the highest stiffness and strength achievable with the lowest mass.
The air extractor makes extensive use of adhesive bonding to join two components to the one-piece design. Those two components are a polyamide vent screen and the water deflector molded from SABIC’s high-performance VALOX resin, a thermoplastic polyester. The adhesive bonding also isolates the carbon composite panel from the rest of the aluminum hood, preventing galvanic corrosion.
VALOX resin delivers the high heat performance required to ensure the long-term durability of the air extractor’s water deflector. This component, designed to deflect water from entering the engine compartment, must be able to withstand high temperatures coming from the engine. This is particularly critical given the deflector’s location on the under-side of the hood and close proximity to the engine. The VALOX resin grade selected for this application meets the requirement, delivering up to 216 °C in heat resistance, while also offering an excellent balance of chemical resistance, dimensional stability and impact performance.
Another key benefit of VALOX resin for this application is the material’s high quality feel and surface appearance, giving the deflector part a premium look and aesthetic attractiveness that consumers demand in a high-performance sports car. The part is also molded-in color, offering improved aesthetics while reducing costs and emissions associated with the painting process.
The VALOX resin family is based on polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) and/or polyethylene terephthalate (PET) polymers and is available worldwide.
Since 2009, nine automotive plastic innovations molded from SABIC materials have been selected as SPE Automotive Innovation Award winners. An additional 11 applications with SABIC materials have been honored as finalists over this same time period.