INTRODUCTION Although the rate of usage of plastics in motor cars and commercial vehicles is increasing year by year, the actual percentage of plastics found in an average car is between 2 - 5%. However it is realised by both automobile and the plastic industry that this is just the beginning and the amount of plastics used in vehicles will treble in the next five years, at the expense of steel and its alloys. The really big breakthrough in the use of plastics started with body shells and several manufacturers have experimented in this field. However the stumbling block turned out to be the fact that there was no really satisfactory and economically viable method of mass producing the shells. In spite of the slow and what may seem to be a rather disappointing rate of growth, the consumption of plastics by the motor industry still represents big business, and offers glittering prospects of a big market expansion. It is, in fact, inevitable that plastics expansion should take place on an immense scale throughout the world because of pressures from within the automobile trade to reduce production time, streamline manufacture, to cut down on labour charges and yet make a more attractive and saleable car. Only plastics can help the manufacturer to achieve these ends. In essence the reason for the spectacular growth lies in the interaction of 3 factors : • A growing understanding of the characteristics & capabilities of plastics materials. • An improving capability of plastics due to the appearance of new materials, improved qualities with existing types & better processing equipment. • A steady reduction in the cost of basic plastics raw materials relative to the cost of such traditional materials as metals, ceramics, leather & paper.

2. PLASTICS What are plastics? Plastic materials contain a mixture of molecules. The major portion is made up of large molecules known as polymers; the remainder is composed of much smaller, widely differing types of molecules which are collectively referred to as additives. Polymers are long chain molecules formed the reacting together or polymerisation of different organic materials called monomers. Their composition always includes atoms of carbon, joined together, by primary covalent ( electron sharing ) bonds, to other atoms like hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, fluorine, silicon, sulphur, chlorine, etc. 2.1 Sources of plastics Sources of plastics are coal, petroleum & natural gas. Calcium carbide, ethylene, propane, benzene etc. are starting chemicals for producing synthetic resins ( 2 charts )


Properties of Plastics

C] Optical properties : Plastics are generally transparent or translucent unless additives are added to them. The reaction is more physical than chemical.e.creep occurs. while others crack under the action of strong acids. distortion temperature is low. both are lower by one or two orders of magnitude than strengths deriving from primary bonds. 3. Under appropriate conditions. 4. In short.g. e. Fatigue : Plastics show fatigue & that too it is not well defined. polyurethane. E] Environmental Influences : Plastics can resist most weak acids or bases.1) A consequence of this is that the modulus of the material is not constant but decreases with the duration of application of the load. e. Plastics are also very good thermal insulators. ionic solids. as in case of steels. But some have higher resistance than steel also. . 2. Thus lowering load carrying capacity. etc. even if applied stress is low. Impact loading : Though plastics have good impact strength. plastics do not Hook’s Law. externally applied tensile forces can orient the chains & straighten them until eventually the primary bond strengths come into play. A plastic material subjected to continuous forces shows both elastic & viscous behaviour. e. No. (Refer Fig. stress ∝ strain: they show larger strains & their response is not linear. 2. but are attacked by chemically strong oxidising acids. Therefore large number of cyclic stress can cause failure in plastics. but increases with time & that deformation is not usually fully recoverable. 7.g. polyimide. in metals. 6.A] Mechanical properties : 1. They can serve as insulators for low voltage & frequency applications. B] Thermal properties : Plastics are generally not thermally stable i. some plastics tend to swell & soften. If stress is maintained the strain gradually increases .g. high frequency cyclic loading can cause plastic to become warm & soften up. carbon fibre. This means that when forces are applied. Hardness : Plastics are softer compared to other materials. Abrasion resistance : Plastics are susceptible to damage from other harder abrasive material. Such orientation of polymers brings about considerable increase in strength but only in the direction of the orientation. Morphology & strength : This has a more dominant influence on polymer behaviour than the fundamental molecular structure. The strength & stiffness values. D] Electrical properties : Owing to their organic nature plastics are non conductors of electricity. 5. The cohesive forces at work are the weak van der Waals forces between the chains. some are notch sensitive. the total resulting deformation is not instantaneous. No. Also because of nature of plastics. PVC. Time dependent properties . Tensile properties : The comparison of tensile strengths of different types of plastics and metal is given in Fig.creep : This the most important & characteristic property of plastics. But their thermal expansion is very low compared to that of metals.

this property permits lower fuel consumption &/or increased payload. The most outstanding characteristic of polymer matrix composites is the materials' ability to replace lightweight. high-strength metals or wood with an even lighter-weight and higher-strength alternative. Its modulus must exceed that of the matrix it is to reinforce.high strength & modulus. epoxy resins. Therefore thermoplastics can be reversibly softened & hardened. 3. The effectiveness of the fibre depends on the degree of adhesion between plastic & fibre • volume of reinforcement • length of fibre . easy to flow condition. Reinforced or Composite Plastics : Polymer matrix composites are combinations of such reinforcing materials as fibreglass.links. The different types of thermoplastics are acrylic. aminoplastics & many polyesters. polyester. they permit the use of fewer parts thus lowering assembly costs. PVC. graphite. material may flow. Reinforced plastics are composite materials consisting of thermoplastics or thermosetting matrix combined with another stronger & stiffer material. They offer higher impact strength.links.e. Thermosetting Plastics : They comprise of a network of chains held together by primary covalent cross . 2.butadiene . If temperature is raised.e. they char & irreversibly degrade. boron. The purpose of the fibre is to carry as much as load possible. a point is reached when the chains become free to move i. thermoplastic. The different types of thermosetting plastics are alkyds. In the automobiles sector.3 Types of Plastics The different types of plastics are : 1.Plastics do not have much resistance to weathering. usually in fibre form which acts as reinforcement. i. Reheating will not cause melting. phenolics. the material assumes more & more solid like properties. easier processing & better adaptability to complex designs than thermosetting plastics. widespread use of advanced composites in high-volume commercial applications. 2. and aramid fibres in a plastic matrix or binder. Most plastics will oxidise & degrade if kept for long periods at elevated temperatures in presence of air or UV rays. the fibre must be stiffer than the resin. Polymer matrix composites provide other benefits as well: in manufacturing. If temperature exceeds dissociation energy of covalent cross . If such thermoplastics are cooled down from a melted. polycarbonate. Thermoplastic 2. They tend to become yellow & brittle. polyurethane. The main requirements of the fibre are . Thermosetting plastics do not soften with increasing temperature. Polymer matrix composites' resistance to corrosion & vibration-dampening properties is widening their appeal in the automobile industry. Thermosetting plastic 3. ABS ( acrylonitrile .styrene ). Thermoplastics : They are linear & branched polymers. Because of their high cost. polypropylene. Reinforced plastics 1. polyimide. including automobiles. awaits more cost-effective processing methods and lower-cost materials. etc.

• physical. The impact strength or fracture properties. chemical & temperature properties of fibre & plastic. swirl or random pattern. The different types of fibres used : glass. in particular.inertia (of the mind set and production techniques of most manufacturers and producers). Glass is the most widely used fibre because it has low cost & is readily available. The rovings can be woven into the glass cloth or they can be simply laid unwoven. These trends have resulted in some replacement of steel by plastic. debonding occurs & extra energy is needed to do the debonding. It has high tensile strength but undergoes deleterious effect because of moisture. However. either in thermoset or thermoplastic materials. It also suffer static fatigue. They can be in continuous length in rovings ( untwisted ). kevlar. No mention is necessary of a fourth factor . the designer . FIBRE TYPE Asbestos Glass Carbon Boron RELATIVE COST 0. These are : 1. the need to reduce weight in cars would increase the attraction of plastic based materials for large body parts. 3. This trend is likely to continue but an evolutionary pace.03 15 200 TENSILE STRENGTH 840 315 365 510 TENSILE MODULUS 28 11 50 55 Fibres are used in a number of different formats. a weak bond is more effective than a strong one in this case. If the bond is strong. The diversity of properties offered by plastics materials in general &. which to some extent make conflicting demands on formulation. styling. The tensile strength & stiffness properties 2. Legislation. The first property depends mainly on the fibre orientation & to some extent on good adhesion. by the more recently developed composite materials make them more useful & attractive to engineers. a crack propagates through brittle fibre without any hindrance: if the bond is weak. PLASTICS IN AUTOMOBILES Plastics are now universally recognised by automobile manufacturers not only as a key to achieving an improved fuel/performance ratio by replacing metal for interior body components but also as a solution to many of their manufacturing.cross. They may be laid down in linear . performance ( which includes appearance ). There are 2 aspects to the mechanical strength properties of these materials. (aramid fibre) & the combination of any of the above fibres.1 Considerations and Requirements Current trends in materials substitution are governed by three factors viz. When evaluating a changeover from traditionally pressed & welded steel bodywork to plastics. carbon. However the existing plastic processing techniques and production rates would be slower and cars would be consequently more expensive. 3. notably for bumpers and some front and rear ends. The second property is the most characteristic property as it manifest in the impact tests. and cost. I f greater fuel economy would become mandatory.01 0. design. and cost problems.

doubtless. one must not overlook the fact that plastics are the only material available to the design engineer that make available a wide selection of much sought after properties. Some of them are detailed below. Price factor : The price of plastics. there are various other considerations in the applications of plastic in the automotive sector. User demands. v. since plastics are petroleum derivatives. per se. to be competitive in the market.. One other aspect of material cost is that while the price of metal. replacement of metal parts by plastic will extend to body. This needs a new techniques to reduce fuel consumption and hence. So that demand for surface appearance and functions will increase in severity. A considerable percentage of metal parts have already been replaced by plastics. which are becoming cheaper year by year. this inflationary trend is not shared by plastics. Design considerations : There is not only a need for change in internal and external furnishings but there is a need for improvement in body design to meet the various demands (e. Thus in the future. iv. Hence marketability is a factor in which plastics are increasingly finding application. fuel consumption etc. A technical solution has to sought before any merging of plastics can be tried out in a conventional steel body vehicle. . In other countries like Japan newer techniques are being developed to reduce production costs and time to drastically reduce cost and improve various other factors like weight. for quantity production the materials must be compatible with painting inline. aerodynamic demands. Ergo. These requirements must be also evaluated in relation to the capital investment involved in the change over from and the replacement of existing tooling by a moulding process. For any application the right material has to be chosen. However processing costs inflate the actual effective cost tremendously. Hence various composites have to be developed which can meet the stringent capabilities required of them. Plastics have become a valuable means to achieve these ends. However. However. ii.must be assured that the new materials exhibit the required mechanical properties of stiffness and lack of creep. Safety : A simple reduction in weight tends to adversely affect the structural rigidity and stability and lead to an increase in noise and vibration. this price will fall to make plastics more competitive. Therefore it is not only necessary to concentrate on performance improvement and reduction but cost control to mix organic and inorganic fillers with plastic. With improvement in the production methods. Weight reduction : In most European countries and the US various legislations are coming into force which control the fuel consumption and the exhaust emission levels. Additionally.g. wheel and parts around the engine. particularly the non-ferrous metals is steadily increasing. also body weight. The decisive factor will be production speed and it is this area that recent developments in equipment and techniques for injection of reinforced thermoplastics have been of major importance. While it is appreciated that most plastics cost more than steel overall. There will be a competition among plastic and non-metallic materials for internal and external furnishing and electrical items. iii. i. Properties : Various types of plastic and ceramic materials have various properties. is far less than comparable metals. they will be directly affected by any future oil price increase.

manifolds with integral mounting flanges and inlet and outlet stubs can be blow moulded in a single operation.safety demands. Also latest production techniques will enable the production of plastic components at a much lower price. ) Basic body of plastic.g. Hence design considerations should cover and make full use of the unique properties of plastics and allied composites. However with plastics the wall thickness can be increased upto five times that of equivalent sheet steel without any increase in weight. a basic compromise has to be made between stiffness and the corresponding weight. . An increase in stiffness can also be attained by the use of special design features like double curvatures instead of flat panels and by introducing local reinforcements in the form of hollow stiffeners. etc. cost demands. instead ofd sheet metal is less costly to prepare and can be produced in varieties and require less repair.2 Advantages of Plastic over Metal (or Plastic Versus Metal) There are several characteristics of plastics that make them suitable for automobiles instead of metal : • Light weight :plastics weigh one sixth of steel & one third of aluminium • Electrically insulating • Inherent toughness • Resistance to fatigue • Resilience to vibration & self damping • Thermally insulating • Corrosion resistance • Colouring possibilities • Greater design freedom • Less energy for conversion • Adaptability to intricate shapes • Minimal finishing operations • Low coefficient of friction • Ability to be made as multifunctional components • High strength to weight ratio A few factors are discussed below. reliability demands. assembly costs are usually much lower. i. Although plastic replacements will be more expensive to produce initially than it’s metal equivalents due to production methods. E. 3. Alternatively the use of a moulded plastic component enables complex shapes to be produced as one single part which in metal would require fitting together of several parts. Complicated ducting such as curved fascia. Also while properties like stiffness can be increased by increasing the wall thickness. Price Factor : This is the most influential factor.

: Adaptability of materials to higher productivity transforming techniques and economy of manufacture due to choice of metals available is possible. scratching. as compared with metal pressings have been an incentive to the development of materials & processing techniques. . who is able to profit from the sales appeal of plated surfaces and at the same time to make a substantial saving in weight.g. each one designed to suit a particular type of reinforcement. blow. compression moulding systems and the newly developed ZMC. In case of GRP materials complex shapes can be developed without the high cost of panel beating and other highly skilled and costly operations. body panels are considerably more durable & corrosion resistant than steel pressings. The fact that plastics do not corrode when exposed to high humidity. : Plastics have a good resistance to corrosion as well as scuffing. salt. : The ease with which some plastics can be plated increases their usefulness to the engineer. acid and other corrosive influences is of particular importance as an increasing number of fabricated parts have been used under the bonnet. In terms of weight saving an Aluminium construction weighs 78%. iv. For GRP there are around 15 different moulding methods at the disposal of the manufacturer. There are various types of rotational. typically one fifth. plated plastics are important for technical applications demanding unusual insulator / conductor properties. welded steel assembly such as a dashboard or console. Less tooling costs also permits the manufacturer & stylist more freedom to update or replace an existing model with a technically advanced & more visually attractive vehicle in keeping with the latest market trends. weight saving can be achieved by using GRP instead of steel for cab. Moreover. iii.Lower tool costing. In addition to being significantly lighter. Plating. A good example of this afforded by the development of the moulded flexible polyurethane foam seats. and a GRP construction weighs 63% of an equivalent all steel construction. RRIM methods which aid faster production. vi. E. v. finger marks and other forms of damage. labour intensive. Suitability for high production rates. Good Strength to Weight ratio : This advantage makes possible a substantial weight reduction. felt and the wadding of conventional cushions. Thus a single moulding can replace a costly. Resistance to corrosion. rubberised hair. ii. In body building of commercial vehicles. where the conditions favour the corrosion of metal. These moulded cushions together with a seat frame moulded from wood pulp/phenolic resin replace the metal springs. injection. impact. The strength-to-weight ratio of reinforced materials offer the possibility of significant total weight reduction coupled with the ability of being moulded into complex shapes. rubber straps. Ease of manufacturing / assembly : Suitability for moulding or fabricating in forms that are ready for immediate assembly and requiring the minimum of labour.

plastics waste pose environmental problems because of toxic fumes that may result from the burning of some resins. They can. These methods allow higher level of contaminants. both from the economic & technological perspective. • Mechanical tests show that they “creep”. their properties are time dependent. The plastic waste can enter the conventional disposal stream (usually incineration or landfill) or be diverted to a recycling stream. Plastic waste cannot be considered as homogeneous. • Have temperature limitations in service . There is very little possibilities of this method . which is very beneficial as it helps to elevate the temperature of incinerators. the problem is alleviated if the materials can be recycled and subsequently remoulded for use in similar or less critical applications. These material which already form a considerable percentage of the bodywork of some models have thermosetting characteristics & thus cannot be melted & remoulded. such as fascias. . This in turn helps to incinerate wastes that are inherently difficult to burn or have a high moisture content. • Secondary : the processed waste material have characteristics less demanding than those of the original plastic.3.3 Disadvantages The following are the main disadvantages of plastics in comparison with metals :~ • Have lower strengths and stiffness in general. • Tertiary : this involves the production of basic chemicals (especially reinforcements) & fuels from plastic waste. Pyrolysis & hydrolysis are example of these processes.3. • Quaternary : this process tries to retrieve the energy content of the waste by burning. 3. especially around densely populated areas.1 Disposal of Plastics One of the most critical problem of the increased application of plastics in the automobile industry which is current & can be forecast to increase is the disposal or preferably the recycling of the increasingly large plastics contents of vehicles which will become redundant in future years. but must be defined with its particular resin & impurity content. In case of incineration. Recycling methods are divided into 4 types : • Primary : it is the processing of a waste into a product with characteristics similar to those of the original product. • Disposal of plastics poses a problem. Our current abilities to separate plastics from other waste materials & to separate particular resins limit the recycling alternatives. i. technological problems are not usually considered severe as plastics are non toxic & relatively inert wastes. however. The reclaim of sheet moulding materials ( SMC ) however poses additional problems.hot or cold. bumpers & fuel tanks & with anticipated increase in the use of these materials in body panelling. The environmental problems of disposing plastics in landfills are more controversial the main problem being the decline in available land.e. be granulated and used in suitable proportions as extenders or fillers with virgin thermoplastic materials for less critical applications or possibly as extenders in the core layer of sandwich mouldings. Where large assemblies of thermoplastics parts are concerned. In case of landfill.

Plastics are used in :~ • Vehicle electrics : Ignition applications. pad reinforcement. i. sensors. manifolds. . driveline & a variety of under bonnet auxiliaries. tie rods. etc. oil sumps. hoses. gear shift mechanisms.4.e. steering wheel. dashboards. bumper fascias. steering gear joints. power steering reservoirs. which include vehicle electrics & instrumentation is shown in the figure. etc. • Cooling systems : Cooling pipes. • Transmissions : Clutch facings. brake pads.etc. • Engines : Camshaft covers. unassembled) a PFT reduces the unassembled weight to 6. etc. high energy absorption rate. rack pinion. • Road wheels : wheel trims. It finds applications in the following areas :~ Seat frame. Telco will be one of the first commercial vehicle manufacturers to implement this technology.2 Chassis Plastics have various advantages like low coefficient of friction. all trims. Newer techniques allow the integration of the bumper into the overall bodywork increasing the aerodynamic trim of the vehicle. safety glass. resistance to dust. transmission.moulded. crash pads.giving the company a gain of 4. • Fuel systems : Fuel tanks. brake actuating tubings. • Bumpers : this area has benefited the most from developments in plastic technology.etc. • Braking Systems : brake lining. CASE STUDIES Case study 1 :~ Plastic Fuel tanks (PFT) in SUV OF INDIAN OEM : Having been used successfully abroad for several years. 5. steering columns. good dielectric properties coupled with the ability to withstand aggressive environment. In the engine. etc. flexible couplings. blow . acoustic barriers. high strength (para-aramid fibres). wheel covers & caps. air flow sensor housings. 4. engine bay. impact resistance which makes their use in Chassis desirable.. fans. cable insulations. In this application plastic offers various advantages : i. bonnets.3 Bodywork GRP has been increasingly used for large scale bodywork. Reduced weight : Compared to metal fuel tanks (approx 11kg. rings and seals. radiator tanks. etc. high density polyethylene (HDPE) fuel tanks are on the verge of widespread use in Indian automobiles. bushings. Plastics are used in the following areas of the chassis :~ • Suspensions : leaf springs. etc. shrouds. air conditioning components. upholstery. non stick properties.5 kgs . AREAS OF APPLICATION IN AUTOMOBILES Areas of Application : 4. • Steering : steering gear boots. etc. gaskets.1 Powertrain The use of plastics in the powertrain. etc. body panels. As in other applications weight saving is a consideration but of greater importance in these areas are temperature resistance. 4.5 kgs.

This method would involve a considerable amount of sub . Production Costs : They will be lower if filler pipes and connecting parts will be moulded in the same operation. the structural foam panels would have inadequate impact strength. v. & by using the expedient of multiple moulds to increase output rate an excessively large floor area would be needed. at least 5 new moulds would be needed. decided to take a look at the full range of possibilities which could be used to manufacture truck cabs. 6.70.000 parts was required. whereas a minimum of 25.up is slow production method.5000 mouldings per tool.30. In order to meet requirements. 9 crores.work. CONVERSION DEVELOPMENT COSTS (Presupposed conversion lead time : 12 months) Prototype blow mould tooling Rs. Aluminium panels fastened to aluminium/steel frame.64. ERF Ltd.4 to 0.17 MN/m2 .up GRP panels. vi. allowing more efficient utilisation of dead space and thus greater fuel capacity. CPM ( cold press moulded ) GRP panels fastened to steel frames. More importantly. 52. 20.assembly work. Thus for CPM. 4.fire test Rs. 18. Case study 2 :~ Design considerations in GRP clad ERF truck cabs : For many years. One approach for attenuating fuel permeation consists of chemical modification of the plastic surface with elemental chlorine.000 Adaptability cost for blow mould Rs. 18. tanks have to be given treatment to reduce such losses.is insufficient to form integral D.000 vii. A piece price of Rs. many location brackets would have to be attached to the frame.5 million pounds i. only 4000 . Structural foam panels fastened to a steel frame. 4. Although rigid enough.80. Tool life would be too short. i. They gave serious considerations to the following combination of materials. 3. At -40 ° C a PFT will not burst when dropped from 6 meters height. truck cabs have been identified as a sector of the automotive market which could benefit from plastic bodywork.000 ECE.bosses used for bolting the panels together. Hot pressed SMC panels on a steel frame . .e. Impact and crash safety : The risk of destruction and/or explosion of a plastic fuel tank is reduced in comparison to a metal fuel tank. 1.000. Design flexibility : Because of its easy moulding. Fire resistance : A PFT can resist a 3 minute fire test which a metal fuel tank cannot. 5. As with a steel construction. the low moulding pressures of the CPM process .0. However there is one deficiency of HDPE: It allows fuel to permeate through the tank walls. Hand lay . 986 is expected on an annual production of 50. iv. The tooling costs would have been 1. iii. HDPE offers a greater freedom of design. Reduced investments : Investment costs for tooling and machines for a PFT are by far lower than for a metal fuel tank. Steel panels fastened to a steel frame. Corrosive resistance : Aggressive and corrosive mediums like petrol or diesel do not affect or attack a PFT. 2.70. A steel frame clad with hand laid.000 Engineering costs including CAD costs Rs.e.000 Sampling Cost including 1 try out and 30 prototypes Rs.ii.

heat resistant grades are not available 10. The steel cage serves as a safety cell for the driver. so far. A completely plastic cab is not feasible because it would not have the necessary tortional stiffness. THE INDIAN SCENARIO Even though there has been a phenomenal increase in the applications of plastics in the automobile industries world wide there have been many constraints in using plastics in the Indian industry. THE FUTURE. High duties on plastics thus leading to high cost overall 4. materials and production methods. the plastic content of average cars will inevitably continue to increase. 12. Non availability of plastics of appropriate grades 2. This has called for changes in design. Lack of good tool room facilities for making moulds 5. GRP is resilient & will bounce back where sheet panels would remain dented. No facilities for prototype making & trying them out. dimensional accuracy & dimensional stability. did not present any major problems for the SMC material. The maintenance is unskilled 13.Eventually they opted for SMC panels. the panels could be produced in a single moulding operation. life of product compared to vehicle is low 9. the tooling costs was only about one third of those required for pressed steel panels. • Firstly. The emphasis will be on developing materials for use in all areas of the vehicle & in particular the bodywork. with improved corrosion resistance and general durability. There several reasons for this : 1. however. has been strictly restricted to only external & internal furnishings. Other requirements. & no difficulty in spray painting. whereas previously a number of parts had to be assembled. Though the use of plastics for structural components is only gradually finding application in India. There were a number of factors which influenced their decision. plastic industries are generally small scale industries thus the quality delivered is not consistent 6. GRP breaks up & it is left to steel frame to absorb the impact. short supply of available grades 3. & they have proved to be an extremely successful innovation in truck cab manufacture. the use of plastics in the Indian cars. 5. ease of maintenance ( repair or replacement ). There are no samples for evaluation 11. such as stiffness. Automobile producers are reluctant in replacing conventional material by plastic material with their own R&D. Under high impact loads. • Thirdly. They are dependent on collaborations which do offer the old techniques 7. noise insulation. Repair is not possible 14. the SMC panels offered inherent advantages such as lightness. . • Secondly. plastics components come under non standard parts & therefore demand is very low 6. The impact performance of the SMC panels is good in minor collisions. With current environmental pressure to reduce fuel consumption & exhaust emission & to make cars more economical & aerodynamically better. Paintability of plastics still remains an unsolved problem in India 8.

most of existing press tooling for mild steel presswork would require significant modification in order to process the thinner .gauge. The economic & quality improvements that have resulted from developments in press tools & robot spot welding techniques now permit the production of a car in a considerably shorter time than hitherto. Therefore there has to be concentration on long term substitution . high strength. For example . To initiate change & introduce new materials a number of companies & organisations have to set up research facilities to bring together the expertise of the plastics & automotive industries. low alloy steels which might be used for structural members.However. The probability of plastics taking over metal components in the short term is impossible. The automobile industry is understandably reluctant to dismantle complete production systems which have been refined through years & replace them with a new system at a considerable cost. A change from one plastic to another may require new moulds to allow different mould shrinkage characteristics. its realisation cannot be forecast. while the day of the `all plastic’ car in which the entire load bearing structure is of plastic materials can be anticipated. The fundamental reason being the commitment to mass production which means that equipment can be so specialised that even a minor change cannot be accommodated.

used for -30 deg C to 60 deg C Flexible. Plexiglass Bushes. engine fan bearing races. used for -40 deg C to 140 deg C Excellent wear resistance. etc Polyamides (Nylons) Polyacrylic/ Poly methyl methacrylate (PMMA). used for -30 deg C to 90 deg C Good strength. high gloss. can be colored & high gloss. solvent & weather resistant. high impact strength. high service temperatures. solvent and weather resistance. (100 deg C) good impact strength Strong and flexible. friction washers. cheap. used for -40 deg C to 120 deg C Applications Mascots. good weather resistance. glove box Brake fluid reservoirs. consoles. Filled PP. etc Bushes. interior linings. etc Cover for window winding mechanism. pop-up knob. used for -30 deg C to 100 deg C Good weather and solvent resistance. very low friction coefficient. handles. radiator grills. air & fuel lines. front grill Dashboards. emblems. electroplatable. bearings. cable coatings. small parts like knobs. gears. gears. wear resistant. wheel rim covers. low friction coefficient. high water absorption in type 6. air filter hsgs. battery housings. windscreen washer bottle. housings. trims. good impact strength. cheap. mudliners. bearings. instrument cluster covers. lock handle. heat resistant upto 300 deg C Tail lamp. difficult to mould. bumpers.. outer door handles. stronger with addition of fillers. PP + EPDM High density Polyethylene (HPDE) Low density Polyethylene (LDPE) Polyacetal (Celcon / Delrin) Important Properties Hard & mechanically strong. lamps switches. etc Highly transparent. Perplex. mechanically strong. highly transparent. shafts. cam lobes. etc Polycarbonate (PC) Poly tetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) / Teflon Lenses for indicators. locknut rings. protective envelope. used for -40 deg C to 95 deg C High temperature resistance. etc . low water absorption. low friction coefficient. can be colored. used for -50 deg C to 90 deg C High strength. illuminating windows on instrument panels. Type Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) Polypropylene (PP). etc Bushes. sliding bearings. cheap.

connectors. A. containers. cable coatings. used for Good dimensonal stability. hoses. front grills Polyester (PET. etc Air nozzles. wear resistant.Polyvinylchloride (PVC) Good moldability. PBT) Noryl (PPO + PS) . strong resistance to heat & solvents. bellows. covers for protection. etc Washers. water resistance. bottles. coatings for protection.C vents. dashboard skin. flame retardancy Covers. blow-moldable. poor resistance to heat & solvents used for -30°C to 90°C Good moldability. ductings. stickers. very cheap. stickers. fibre & film. easily welded & vacuum formed.

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