ELPO Capable Polyurea RIM: A Breakthrough Material for Composite Body Panel Applications 1999-01-3225
Of the 1 million Tonnes of material used for body panels on cars and trucks in 1998, approximately, 57,000 Tonnes were plastic composites. Three material types, generically labeled SMC, RIM and Thermoplastic split this volume. In each case, specific performance criteria and costs dictated the use of plastic composites.
Recently, SPECTRIM* HH 390, a polyurea RIM material, has replaced SMC as the material of choice on General Motors' Silverado and Sierra Sportside vehicles. Certain performance criteria as well as overall costs paved the way for this material to be approved and utilized on such a highly visible and important platform in the light truck market. Therefore, the entry of an ELPO capable RIM material widens the choice of plastic composites for body panel materials.
As well as evaluating the reasons why RIM has found a niche in the competitive and demanding body panel market segment, this paper reviews the various performance parameters required of a body panel material and the relative strengths of Aluminum, RIM, SMC, and Steel to meet these demands. Costs were not evaluated for this paper even though it is one of the critical factors in deciding what material is to be utilized.