Safety, fuel efficiency, and lightweight automobiles are some things made possible by chemistry (plastics) and its other products. Chemistry has several uses in the production of cars today, and it keeps innovating in pushing the automobile industry forward.
Innovative dashboards, interior seats, airbags, and seatbelts for passenger protection, headlines, and bumpers in interior and exterior seats, chemistry is used everywhere in car production.
Plastic, a derivative of chemicals, is also found in lithium polymer car barriers which powers some electric and hybrid vehicles. So, let’s see how chemistry is pushing the automotive industry forward.
● Innovative car safety
Polyurethanes and polypropylene are used in the production of cars. Polyurethanes are used to produce comfortable car seats, bumpers, windows and doors, car bodies, interior ceiling sections, and spoilers.
It also helps manufacturers provide passengers and drivers significant mileage through weight reduction, increased fuel economy, insulation, corrosion resistance, sound absorption, and comfort.
Polypropylene, on the other hand, is a versatile polymer that can be combined with calcium carbonate to form plastic or fiber. Calcium carbonate plays a considerable role in automobile applications because it has several mechanical properties like mold ability, low-cost performance, environmental suitability, and pleasing appearance.
Polyurethane is best used in manufacturing functional and aesthetic prototypes for the automotive industry.
● Automotive weight reduction and fuel efficiency
Metal parts of cars are now replaced with engineering plastics to increase fuel economy and reduce weight. Reducing weight in car designs is essential in lowering motorists’ costs, reducing emissions, and boosting fuel efficiency. Several plastic components now weigh less than similar parts made from other materials.
And with modern innovation, today’s plastic now makes up about half of a car’s volume but has only about 10 percent of its weight. There are new applications currently in development for the automobile industry.
For instance, when a car’s weight is reduced by 200 pounds, it reduces fuel consumption by about one percent. Also, engineering plastic solutions like polyamides can give a high car performance even in extreme conditions like intense heat, all with the weight reduced.
● Efficient transportation through silicone productions
Worldwide, over a hundred thousand silicone products are used across the transportation sector, including the automotive industry. The Automotive industry used silicone to make car transportation more reliable, safer, and efficient. Silicone is a factor in car weight reduction, increasing fuel efficiency and reducing pollutant emissions.
Silicone is applied to car parts like engine gaskets, airbags, ignition cables, schlock absorbers, ventilation flaps, spark plug boots, hydraulic bearings, and headlamps. It also helps provide protective shock absorption, load-bearing, and cushioning to automotive interiors, dashboards, and car seats.
● Production of lightweight component
Car manufacturers now use natural fiber composites to produce lightweight car components like storage compartments, door linings, and other interior car parts. In addition, binders bring their strengthening and adhesive properties with several natural fibers and are used in facilitating environmental-friendly solutions for the interiors of cars.
Additionally, natural fiber components can reduce weight by about twenty percent as against natural fiber polypropylene and by about 40 percent when compared to molded ABS plastic.
● Automotive durability
Odorless and colorless high phthalates are used in producing several automotive parts that need durability, long-lasting wear, and high performance. Primarily, high phthalate is used to plasticize or soften vinyl due to its stability, durability, and firm performance. In addition, they tightly bind with vinyl structure, so they don’t go out of the product.
Also, automobile interior trim, seat covers, and interior use softened vinyl has high phthalate because they are durable, can withstand high temperatures, and have UV resistance. Plus, undercover PVC coatings prevent corrosion from weather or water.
● Style and innovation
Plastics also provide styling and engineering qualities for automobiles. When applied exteriorly, from bumper to bumper, they are not just lightweight. They also offer designers freedom in creating innovative designs or concepts that might have been impossible.
Plastics also resist corrosion, stone chips, dings, and dents. It also facilitates modular assembly, which reduces the cost of production.
Today’s cars are getting more sophisticated in their designs and feature innovative finishes externally. However, these trends in the automotive industry are more than their external appearance.
The demand for high durability, combined with environmentally compatible technologies, is leading to several advances and approaches in chemistry usage for product development. Additionally, focus on the safety of drivers and passengers is also resulting in digital technology developments and other parts made with mechanicals.
Also, the increased need for fuel economy has resulted in high demand for lightweight cars, and plastics are now being used to replace several parts where glass and metals are used. All these are made through the innovative application of chemicals in the automotive industry.