The Development of Lightweight, Highly Impact Resistant Components for Automotive Underbody Applications 2003-01-0792
Underbody shields are being increasingly adopted, especially by European OEM’s, as a means of increasing fuel economy through improved aerodynamic performance, reducing noise and aiding End-of-Life recyclability by reducing the need for PVC underbody protection. Such parts have to withstand very high levels of impact and abrasion from small stones and gravel, yet they also need to be light weight and easily removed for maintenance.
This paper describes the development and testing of underbody components using a novel, 100% polypropylene, self-reinforced composite, developed at the University of Leeds and now being produced by BP under the name CurvTM. One of the most interesting aspects of this material is that its already high levels of resistance to impact and abrasion are maintained at very low temperatures making it an ideal material for automotive exterior components, especially underbody.