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Dow Automotive has pioneered an innovative technology in the development of structural foam inserts (SFIs) to support vehicle body stiffness and handling performance attributes on a variety of vehicle types.
Betafoam structural polyurethane foam is moulded into pre-formed geometries and, when cured, is overmoulded with Betamate structural adhesive using a Dow Automotive proprietary resin transfer moulding process. The SFIs nest seamlessly into sheet metal cavities and the epoxy adhesive expands and rigidly bonds the foam parts to the surrounding steel structure during plant bake processes.
SFIs from Dow Automotive are currently in use on several GM vehicles including in the upper centre pillar area of the 2005 Buick LaCrosse.
Dow Automotive’s work on the 2005 Buick LaCrosse helped benchmark the capabilities of the SFI technology. Development was executed in parallel with the OEM program timing and vehicle development process milestones, including:
Initial finite element analysis performance predictions
CAE and design
Prototype development and hardware testing
Manufacturing process development and scale-up
“The SFIs recently commercialized by Dow Automotive offer customers the benefit of combining traditional Betafoam polyurethane foam solutions with the convenience of easy to install pre-formed parts,” said Paul Juras, Market Development Manager for Dow Automotive. “We leveraged our experience in materials science with our engineering capabilities to create a parts solution that integrates multiple Dow Automotive bulk material technologies. We’re confident that these structural foam inserts can be designed to support a wide variety of vehicle architectures and application requirements.”
Betafoam polyurethane foams and Betamate structural adhesives are two of many Dow Automotive solutions that can be used to enhance the effectiveness of vehicle body structure without adding weight or significant cost.
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