Borealis Launches Lightweight Materials for Composite Applications

shutterstock_341851415Borealis, a provider of innovative, value-creating plastics solutions, has introduced a complete polypropylene (PP) portfolio for lightweight composite applications. These new polypropylene composite-based application solutions were presented for the first time at the VDI International Conference on Plastics in Automotive Engineering which took place in Mannheim, Germany. Borealis also reports a capacity expansion of the long glass fibre reinforced polypropylene (PP-LGF) production line in Monza, Italy.

Borealis PP for composite applications: excellent mechanical properties and lighter weight for most demanding automotive parts.

The necessity for vehicle weight reduction to improve fuel efficiency and thus enhance sustainability continues to grow, increasing the use of alternative, lighter materials in all areas of a car. Over the years, various materials, most commonly thermosetting polymers, have been used to replace steel and aluminium especially for high demanding structural and safety related parts. However, thermoplastic resins such as PP have been gaining in favour due to their excellent performance, easy processability and affordable costs.

With the launch of the material solutions for composite based applications, Borealis is leveraging its proprietary technologies and processes to offer a complete PP product package for advanced lightweighting of automotive parts.

Borealis PP for composite applications offers a variety of compelling benefits such as improved strength and impact performance, very good dimensional stability and low thermal expansion, as well as easier and lower energy processing compared to engineering plastics, and full recyclability.

Cultivating Partnerships for Material Innovations

Borealis has been working closely with key value chain partners to develop materials for specific composite applications. The most promising area of development is seen to be in structural carriers, where the substitution of PP for conventional materials like steel and more expensive engineering plastics is being accelerated. In addition to collaboration with composite sheet and tape producers, to whom Borealis supplies its innovative PP resins, Borealis is in the advanced development stage in pilot projects with several Tier 1 suppliers. Working closely with Brose, the Coburg, Germany-based firm known for its innovative mechatronics systems for doors and seats as well as electric motors, Borealis has supported the engineering of a PP composite and PP short glass fibre based seat carrier solution replacing steel. Another PP composite sheet based solution is under development, this time in combination with PP-LGF, for lightweighting of door carriers. Furthermore, the collaboration with Takata, one of the world’s leading suppliers of airbags, has led to the development of a next-generation airbag housing made of PP-LGF and composite sheet.

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