1995-02-01

Key Considerations when Engineering a Ten Year Instrument Panel 950863

This paper outlines field performance shortcomings historically observed in automotive instrument panels (I/Ps) and discusses the role materials play in these deficiencies. Additionally, specific material development requirements for a ten year instrument panel are discussed. While design and the placement of adjacent vehicle components, such as windshield glass, play key roles in affecting the durability of an I/P, functional and cosmetic performance in large part depend on the materials chosen for construction. Tradeoffs in short term performance (processability during manufacture) and long term performance (field weatherability) often exist for the chemical constituents comprising instrument panel assemblies. In order to obtain an optimal combination of properties, specific performance criteria must be identified and prioritized. Well-defined test methods must be clearly documented and correlated with actual field performance in order to have a methodology to evaluate various material choices. Hopefully, this paper will serve as a framework for discussions focusing on instrument panel constructions for extended vehicle life.

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