Improved RRIM Polyurethane Composites for Automotive Body Panels 850154
The successful application of a reinforced RIM polyurethane composite to the Pontiac Fiero has made it the material of choice for vertical automotive body panels. The combination of the space-frame design and new assembly techniques, and the physical properties of the polyurethane composite provides advantages over sheet metal and competitive plastic materials in weight savings, styling freedom, corrosion- and damage-resistance, and production economics. The success of this program has been the result of cooperative effort among the raw material suppliers, the part molder, and the assembly plant, as well as equipment, reinforcement, coatings, and mold release manufacturers.
This paper summarizes the requirements of reinforced composites for automotive body panels in terms of physical property combinations, processing parameters, and surface quality. Incentives for the use of reinforced RIM polyurethanes are discussed in this light. Newly developed technology which provides the potential for significant further improvements in product quality and productivity will also be presented.