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2/29/2012 | 1 MINUTE READ

BASF Explores Nylon Composites for Cars

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WEB EXCLUSIVE: At the Paris JEC Composites Show, Mar. 27-29, BASF AG (U.S. office in Wyandotte, Mich.) is planning to showcase two new application concepts for continuous-fiber nylon composites in automotive structures. One is the seat pan Opel Astra OPC sports coupe, which will debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March. The seat pan consists of a perform of continuous-glass fabric impregnated with nylon, which is placed in an injection mold and overmolded with impact-modified, short-fiber-reinforced nylon to form ribs and edges. This is the first seat pan for a mass-produced vehicle to use a continuous-fiber composite, which reduces the weight by 45%. BASF developed two specialty Ultramid grades for this part—one for impregnating the glass-fabric and one for injection overmolding.
The other novel application is a convertible roof module (pictured) to be made by RTM. BASF is experimenting with impregnating layers of continuous carbon-fiber fabric with three alternative resins—epoxy, PUR, and caprolactam. The latter is a low-viscosity liquid that cures in the mold to form nylon 6. The layers of carbon fiber would sandwich a core of lightweight, rigid PUR foam, BASF’s Elastolit D. With a total weight of 2.6 kg (5.7 lb), the roof module would weight 40% less than aluminum and 60% less than steel.