Reducing carbon emissions Sustainability is being adopted by most brand owners and it includes car makers and beverage producers that are using recycled materials in their products. Meanwhile, Pepsi has introduced a 100% renewable resource bottle, though Coke had a head start in this, and plastics from fruits and chicken feathers could be a reality soon. Automotive parts get a boost from recycled materials US car maker Ford Motor’s use of EcoLon material in its Escape, Fusion, Mustang and F-150 vehicles last year, has resulted in saving more than 1.8 million kg of carpet from landfills and in reducing the consumption of petroleum by 430,000 gallons. A nylon resin made from 100% recycled carpet by Wellman Engineering Resins, EcoLon is used for cylinder head covers that are injection moulded by Dana Holding for Ford’s 3 l Duratec engine in its Fusion and Escape vehicles while a 5 l engine powers the Mustang and F-150.
The automotive cover used in Ford’s vehicles is said to be the first product of its kind manufactured from post-consumer recycled nylon
The car maker says the cylinder head covers are another example of the use of sustainable materials in its vehicles. Other materials include soy foam seat cushions, recycled yarns on seat covers and recycled blue jeans for sound-dampening material. The cover is said to be the first automotive product of its kind manufactured from post-consumer recycled nylon. To repurpose it to nylon, Wellman grinds used nylon carpeting into fibre and recaptures the material through a patented, proprietary process. This is then used by Dana to mould into cylinder head covers. Meanwhile, German materials supplier Bayer MaterialScience (BMS) has introduced a recycled material for horizontal vehicle body panels. The Makroblend GR
235M PC/PET blend is made from post-consumer and post-industrial recyclate and, according to BMS, its property profile is comparable to Makroblend UT 235M, which is established in bodywork production. The PET for the material comes from beverage bottles and the PC is a material that was developed for commercial 5 gallon water bottles.
BMS’s new material is offered for horizontal vehicle body parts
The material is said to be suitable as a substitute for sheet moulding compounds, sheet steel and aluminium in bodywork applications. Possible applications are parts such as spoilers, trunk lids and skirts as well as covers for aerials and convertible top compartments. The material is said to be economical in large production runs because it yields moulded parts that require no reworking and that can be coated without pretreatment to produce components with Class A surfaces. Other advantages include the low, largely isotropic thermal linear expansion; the ability to achieve tight gaps between adjacent assemblies for a seamless look and high heat resistance.The material can also be used to fabricate large components with very low internal stress and thus exhibiting only minimal distortion. Fruity car parts, next With the car industry looking for lighter materials, automotive plastics of the future could be made of nanosized fibres produced from pineapples, bananas and other fruits, according to the American Chemical Society (ACS). In fact, the new plastics, targeted at car parts like dashboards, bumpers and side panels, are said to be 30% lighter and up to four times stronger. Besides weight reduction, nano-cellulose reinforced plastics have mechanical advantages over conventional plastics like greater resistance to damage from heat, chemicals, water and oxygen. Automotive manufacturers are already testing the new materials and it is expected that these will be launched in two years.
Plastics and Rubber Asia May 2011 Electronic Issue