Recent Developments in Occupant Protection Interior Component Design and Construction Utilizing Advanced Expanded Polyolefin Bead Foam Materials 2005-01-0976
Recent advancements in the field of polyolefin resins in the area of PP+PE copolymers, impact co-polymers, and homo-polymers have allowed for the creation of a new class of thermoplastic foam products. These new products are capable of improved performance due to the advancements that have been made in the area of polyolefin resin catalyst systems. These new Metallocene catalysts are being employed to create resins with improved mechanical properties that otherwise were not available using the traditional Ziegler-Natta (Z-N) catalyst systems currently being used to produce a majority of the thermoplastic materials available today.
This paper will describe these recent advancements and how they allow for improved properties to be realized in the area of expanded bead foams used in the construction of molded automotive interior components used in the occupant safety system designs.
These advances will allow for improvements in the mechanical properties of these thermoplastic foam components, while allowing them to be produced on existing processing equipment. The improvements will also aid in the ability of various interior components to meet the FMVSS occupant safety standards, including head impact, knee impact, and side impact protection. Recent developments in the area of acoustic properties of specific bead foam configurations will also be presented as they relate to sound absorption both at the molded product component level and coupled with other materials at the system level.
This paper will also compare these material advancements to those currently being used, and demonstrate how improvements in performance, system integration, and cost can be realized. Compliance to existing and new environmental substance regulations and restrictions are also addressed.