1995-02-01

Silicone Elastomer Reduces Noise, Vibration, and Squeaks in Vehicle Instrument Panels 950635

Felt tape has traditionally been used as a cushion material between thermoplastic instrument panel (IP) components such as bezels, steering column covers, and trim to reduce noise, vibration, and squeaks that normally develop when plastic materials are adjacent to one another. However, felt tape is expensive as a raw material, and its application is labor intensive.
While searching for an alternative cushion material, exploration showed that the use of a one-part, room-temperature vulcanizing (RTV) silicone elastomer offered lower raw material and labor costs versus the felt tape. The RTV silicone elastomer also did a superior job of reducing noise, vibration, and squeaks and provided improved fit for a higher level of overall quality.
This paper will describe the process of evaluating the silicone elastomer as a desirable alternative and the cost comparisons of both silicone and felt tape materials. The actual process of applying the silicone elastomer as a cushioning material on the IPs of 1995 General Motors C/K light truck and sport utility vehicles will also be described. Background material on the chemistry of silicone RTVs and some of their other applications in the automotive industry will be presented as well.

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