DSM Launches Advanced Composites for Lighter Auto Components

17th September 2013

Royal DSM, the Life Sciences and Materials Sciences company, is launching a custom-made solution for structural and semi-structural applications, incorporating various types of continuous fiber reinforcements embedded in its advanced polyamides. Together with several industry partners, DSM has developed advanced lightweight thermoplastic composites, which are initially aimed at the automotive industry.

“Car makers around the world continue to improve the fuel efficiency and sustainability of their products,” says Rein Borggreve, Global Research and Technology Director at DSM. “Over the years, thermoplastics have provided various solutions, in the form of lightweight components and systems in the passenger compartment, in bodywork, and under the hood. DSM materials have proven important in making this trend to replace metal by plastics possible, in such applications as the air bag system and the oil sump. Now it’s time for the next step, with advanced thermoplastic composites.”


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According to DSM, composites containing carbon fibers, based on DSM’s EcoPaXX® polyamide 410, Akulon® polyamide 6 and Stanyl® polyamide 46, will facilitate significant weight reduction in automobile body and chassis parts, while glass fiber reinforced composites will be targeted at reducing the weight of semi-structural components. Lightweighting will result in increased vehicle fuel efficiency and reduced emissions of carbon dioxide.

DSM is a partner in the four-year ENLIGHT project, which also includes car companies Jaguar Cars, Renault, Volkswagen and Volvo. Part of the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme, ENLIGHT aims to accelerate the technological development of a portfolio of materials, which together offer a strong potential to reduce weight and overall carbon footprint in medium-to-high volume electric vehicles (EVs) that could reach the market between 2020 and 2025.

ENLIGHT will act as an open innovation platform, through the collaboration of EUCAR (the European Council for Automotive R&D), CLEPA (the European Association of Automotive Suppliers) and EARPA (the European Automotive Research Partners Association), integrating valuable insights from other EU research projects with a holistic design approach.

At K2013, DSM will showcase two applications in advanced thermoplastic composites. The first is a Type IV full engineering plastic pressure vessel based on a liner in Akulon Fuel Lock and a fiber-reinforced thermoplastic wound tape based on Akulon. This development exhibits significantly reduced weight compared with metal pressure vessels, as well as extremely low permeation.

The second application on the K2013 booth is a concept in-mold-formed housing cover, made in a combination of a continuous glass reinforced EcoPaXX-based composite and an injection molded EcoPaXX compound. Together with one of its processing partners, DSM is exploring applications produced using a hybrid process combining composite thermoforming and injection molding.