Oriented Polypropylene for Automotive Applications 2001-01-0309
An exploratory study was performed to determine the feasibility of using oriented polypropylene rods as a replacement for metal in side impact beam applications. The study was divided into four phases: (i) laboratory testing of the impact and tensile properties of oriented polypropylene coupons, (ii) design of an oriented polypropylene side impact beam of comparable rigidity to that of a metal beam but with significant weight savings, (iii) development of a means of attaching the polymeric bar to the vehicle and (iv) flexural testing of a scaled down prototype. The oriented polymeric and metal beams exhibited comparable stress-strain behavior during scaled down testing. Although more research is required to validate the design of an oriented polymer side impact beam, the encouraging results suggest that oriented polymers should be considered for use in automotive components that can make use of their high specific strength and stiffness.