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Sabic Innovative Plastics and Azdel have launched a new hybrid thermoplastic composite, IXIS 157 composite, a continuous glass-fibre-reinforced sandwich composite for automotive horizontal body panels.
Ixis 157 composite is said to provide critical advantages over traditional materials, starting with a 50 percent weight reduction compared to steel.
“Together with Azdel, we have made tremendous strides with Ixis composites, including the commercialization of our first grade aimed at off-line painting and the excellent progress toward an online paintable product,” said Greg Adams, vice president, Sabic Innovative Plastics, Automotive. “We’ve leveraged our resources around the globe to develop the Ixis materials, which have been featured on two of the most successful ‘green’ concept vehicles in the world: the Chevrolet Volt and the Hyundai QarmaQ. Our investment in these new technologies enables us to continue to provide innovative solutions to address the automotive industry’s environmental, performance and cost challenges.”
New Ixis composite is composed of a random glass fibre reinforced core with a glass content (by weight) of approximately 50 percent, together with a 0º/90º skins of continuous aligned fibre reinforced thermoplastic. According to Azdel, the skin material enables a Class A paint finish and dimensional stability, while the core material aids processing and reduces overall material costs.
The polypropylene-based 157 grade is designed for off-line painting, and the upcoming 200 grade is intended for online painting and processing through the e-coat process. Both can be recycled. Thanks to a good polymer/glass fibre bond, the material can be granulated and remoulded into other engineering applications.
“With OEM’s facing challenges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase fuel economy, IXIS technology is a cost-effective light-weight alternative to steel,” said Mike Birrell, director, Exterior Composites, Azdel, Inc. “It is also significantly less expensive than aluminium. Further, because IXIS composites are designed for low-pressure compression moulding – a low-energy process – less costly aluminium tools can be used. All these factors add up to a very attractive economic value for automakers and tiers.”
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