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First Production-Ready Thermoplastic Wheel

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WEB EXCLUSIVE: At the Fakuma show in Germany this month, BASF AG will show off what’s said to be the first all-plastic car wheel that’s ready for high-volume production. Injection molded of BASF’s Ultramid Structure long-glass nylon compound, it weighs 13.2 lb, over 30% lighter than a standard aluminum wheel. It consists of two parts—the structural component and a wheel cover. Thermoset composite wheels are already used in racing and for short runs, but they are much more complex and expensive to manufacture and unsuitable for high-volume production, BASF says. The thermoplastic wheel also appeared last month on the “smart forvision” concept car at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt, Germany.