A range of engineering resins and a new lightweight thermoplastic composite from GE Plastics, Pittsfield, Mass., are employed in the body panels and glazing of General Motors’ latest concept vehicle, the new Chevrolet Volt.
A range of engineering resins and a new lightweight thermoplastic composite from GE Plastics, Pittsfield, Mass., are employed in the body panels and glazing of General Motors’ latest concept vehicle, the new Chevrolet Volt. The hybrid electric-drive vehicle, introduced last month at the North American International Auto show in Detroit, is designed to run 40 miles on pure electric power with a battery that can be recharged via a small gas engine (though the battery has yet to be developed).
The Volt features GE’s developmental high-performance thermoplastic composite (HPCC) in the doors and hood. The three-layer sheet manufactured by Azdel Inc. (a GE/PPG joint venture), Southfield, Mich., has a core of low-density Azdel Superlite sheet consisting of 50% random chopped glass and GE’s Valox PBT. The skins are made from 50% continuous unidirectional glass and Xenoy iQ PC/PBT resin, a new GE blend of PBT made with 85% post-consumer recycled PET. The 3-mm-thick sheet is heated and formed in a low-pressure process similar to compression molding. It offers high ductility and Class A surface. HPCC will appear in off-line paintable parts in 2007 and in on-line paintable applications in 2008, according to Derek Buckmaster, GE’s global marketing director for body panels and glazing.
The concept car’s roof, rear deck, and fixed side glazing is injection molded of high-impact, weatherable Lexan GLX polycarbonate with a special coating from Exatec LLC, Wixom, Mich., GE’s joint venture with Bayer MaterialScience. The steering wheel and instrument panel with integrated airbag chute are injection molded of Lexan EXL PC-silicone copolymer for high ductility at low temperature, and the front fenders are Noryl GTX PPO/nylon alloy. Bumper energy absorbers of Xenoy iQ meet pedestrian safety regulations worldwide. The car’s wire coating is made of Flexible Noryl. GE: (800) 845-0600 • www.geplastics.com