Plastics have been used in the automotive industry for many years, affording many benefits and in fact the frequent innovations in plastics have been a large factor for the advances in the automotive industry.
Plastics have so many useful properties that can be modified and altered to become the perfect material for vehicles and the different requirements that each area needs. This is why plastics have always been a popular choice for the automotive industry.
Benefits of using plastic
The main benefit is the weight of the plastics. It is a notoriously lightweight material which in turn makes the vehicle light. This means the vehicle is more fuel efficient, therefore having benefits for both the economy and the environment.
The use of the material has increased the longevity of vehicles, plastics properties include being resistant to corrosion, therefore the plastics used on vehicles receive minimal corrosion and damage. This will increase the lifespan of the vehicle.
Manufacturing cars has also been made simpler through the use of this material, plastics allow for single moulded components. This means that there is a reduced need for multiple parts which historically needed complex fasteners when manufacturing.
Plastics can be moulded and shaped into more accurate and intricate shapes allowing for an increased flexibility when designing and manufacturing vehicles. It allows for more creativity and aids with more innovations in the industry.
How are they used
Plastics are used throughout the automotive industry dependant on their properties. Different material properties are good for different needs and they are used accordingly.
Polypropylene is a plastic used for bumpers, chemical tanks cable insulation and many more aspects of a vehicle. This rugged and chemical resistant plastic is perfectly suited for the requirements needed by these areas.
Polyurethane is used in foam seating and insulation panels. This plastic is resistant to abrasion, tough and also has a large amount of flexibility.
ABS is the plastic used for the larger car parts such as the car body parts, the dashboard and even the wheel covers. The tough plastic is perfect for this role due to its resistance to impact and heat.
Plastic is used throughout this industry and for a very good reason – it has helped to shape and improve this industry into the one that we all know today. Without this material the automotive industry and their products would be much more dangerous and the innovations would be less common.