Jan 26/21

How the Use of Bio-Inspired Polymers Will Shape the Auto Industry

bio-inspired polymers


The roads of the world can expect to see 77 million new vehicles in 2021. With every new generation of vehicles, we see transportation technology reach new levels and material science plays a big role. Isn’t it ironic, with all of our advanced understanding of chemistry and the wonders of modern-day technology, we are still primarily students of Mother nature?

Studying the gecko gave us new fastening and bonding systems. The reflectors used on cars and signs are cleverly based on the surface of cat eyes. Bio-inspired polymers are already everywhere, but we are only getting started. Keep reading to find out how bio-inspired polymers in auto are drastically changing transportation for the better.

The Auto industry’s Bio-Inspired Polymers

With the world largely in agreement over climate change, the automotive industry is in the hot seat. Governments demand more fuel-efficient transportation and so do consumers. Fuel-efficient vehicles require lightweight materials. However, lighter and stronger materials are only a small part of how polymers are used in automotive manufacturing.

Some of the advantages of polymers include:

  • Recyclability
  • Longer life of the vehicle and parts
  • Minimal corrosion
  • Freedom of design with molds to fit every need
  • Comfort and Safety of the driver and passengers
  • Sustainability in the manufacturing needs of vehicles
  • Flexibility in integrating new components into the system

There are many bio-inspired polymer applications for manufacturing automobiles. The following polymer applications are becoming widely accepted as the standard for automobile parts manufacturing in 2021.

Polypropylene (PP)

Polypropylene is a thermoplastic polymer that is both durable and resistant to chemical solvents, bases, and acids. Basically, it is the superman of polymers. PP, used within numbers, cable insulation, and chemical reservoirs.

Polyurethane (PU)

Polyurethane has advanced considerably since its discovery in 1937. Sometimes called “the most versatile material known to man”, modern polyurethane is tough, flexible, and both abrasion and temperature change resistant. PU, used to create hard plastic parts that stand the test of time and used for seat cushions and insulation panels.

Poly-Vinyl-Chloride (PVC)

PVC is one of the first polymers to transform our world. It seems it is far from done making its mark. PVC is flexible, flame retardant, and extremely versatile. Both compression and injection molding are possible with PVC.

Depending on the type of plasticizers used, PVC can be flexible or rigid to suit it’s purpose. Used for instrument panels, sheathing of electrical cables, and as well as tubing for fluids.

Plastic Cars Are Surprisingly High-Quality

The same material science that gave us disposable bottles and packaging is ironically making possible vehicles that push the edge of what we expect from them. Bio-inspired polymers are already to thank for much of our modern lifestyle, but as innovations in molding technologies continue forward, their influence in manufacturing is only beginning. So, if you would like to learn more read this article for 5 advantages of using injection molded parts.