The Top Advantages of Natural Polypropylene for Automotive Manufacturing
With increasing concerns about the economy and environment, lighter weight materials in the automotive industry have become a priority. Fuel usage can be reduced by an estimated 5%-7% with a 10% reduction in vehicle weight. Less fuel creates fewer emissions, and cars become more sustainable and cost-effective to run.
Auto manufacturers already use light materials like aluminum and carbon fiber. However, high-performance plastics are starting to become more and more popular. As the demand for lightweight and electric vehicles increases, an ongoing study predicts the automotive plastic market’s CAGR will rise by 10% by 2025.
So, in this post, we’ll discuss the main advantages of using natural polypropylene for automotive manufacturing.
Let’s dive in!
What’s Polypropylene (PP)?
PP is a thermoplastic (or addition polymer) created from a combination of propylene monomers. Today, it’s used in various ways, from packaging consumer products to the automotive industry PP is utilized.
Since its coining in 1951, the material quickly became popular. Rugged and highly resistant to many chemical solvents, acids, and bases. It possesses a relatively slippery surface, making it suitable for low-friction applications like gears. It’s this quality that makes PP a viable alternative to plastics like Acetal. Also, when compared to other plastics, PP has a higher melting point, making it safe to use in conjunction with hot temperatures.
In the automotive industry, PP’s commonly used for bumpers, chemical tanks, cable insulation, and gas cans. Polypropylene is also often utilized as a thermoplastic binder component for natural fiber composites. Also used with a variety of vehicle applications such as door panels, console, seatbacks, trunk liners, and much more.
Combined with PP, natural fibers present an alternative to glass fiber with the advantage of:
- Excellent environmental performance
- Good thermal properties
- High resilience
So, it’s no wonder its demand is predicted to rise to 62 million metric tons by the end of 2020.
The Advantages of Natural Polypropylene for Automotive Manufacturing
The following qualities of natural polypropylene also make it excellent to use in automotive manufacturing:
PP’s a Bad Conductor
Polypropylene is classified as an insulator, making it suitable for manufacturing electronic components such as capacitors and audio equipment. Studies show that one in five drivers, plan to purchase a purely electric car within the next five years. As such, the automotive industry is looking to embrace broader electrical applications – and PP could well be the answer.
PP Boasts a High Melting Point and is Highly Malleable
The plastic has a high melting point (130 degrees celsius) and, when melted, is highly malleable. This makes polypropylene safer to use around heat than some other materials. Additionally, it melts into a liquid that can then be molded into any desired shape. Therefore, reheating after cooling without significant degradation, making this material incredibly versatile.
High Tensile Strength
Polypropylene can withstand up to 4800 psi, making it suitable for applications involving heavy loads or rugged use.
You Can Transform Polypropylene Into Fiber Form
Therefore, allowing the creation of mesh-like surfaces that can be used in car interiors.
Polypropylene is a Low-Density Material
As such, it significantly reduces costs and fuel consumption associated with more substantial vehicles. Manufacturers can, therefore, use PP to decrease a car’s weight, making them more environmentally and economically appealing.
The Future of Automotive Manufacturing Lies in High-Quality Plastics
With the plastic market on the rise, it’s no surprise versatile materials like natural polypropylene are on the up. The future sees an increased demand for more lightweight, environmentally friendly cars, so manufacturers should look towards using PP to reduce the weight of their vehicles.
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