1997-02-24

USING CROSS-LINKED OLEFIN FOAM IN AUTOMOTIVE INTERIOR PADDED TRIM COMPONENTS 970145

Considerable changes are occurring in automotive interior components in terms of design, aesthetics, and performance expectations. Consequently, new combinations of materials and production methods are being evaluated to meet these changing demands and requirements. One promising example of this is the use of a lightly cross-linked, olefin-blend foam sheetstock for many of the most visible interior padded trim components: door panels, instrument panels, consoles, glove-box/airbag doors, and seatbacks. Olefin foam sheet has a versatile processing profile using any of several interior-trim molding processes, including low-pressure molding, vacuum forming, compression molding, and structural reaction injection molding. In addition, the olefin foam offers excellent formability, with potential overall reduction of processing steps and systems costs.
This paper describes the features and benefits of these new padded trim materials in different molding processes vs. competitive expanded polyvinyl chloride foams, including results of recent testing. Data on various skin/foam laminates are presented in terms of key properties required for each of the major processing methods for door trim panels and instrument panels.

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