With the recent announcement of tougher federal standards for improved vehicle fuel efficiency, weight reduction promises to become even more imperative for the automotive industry. To help automakers and suppliers achieve greater weight-out, Milliken Chemical, a division of Milliken & Company, is introducing Hyperform HPR-803 high performance reinforcing agent for polyolefins.
New Hyperform HPR-803 reduces weight by up to 15 percent vs. traditional mineral-filled systems while delivering an outstanding balance of stiffness and impact strength. Further, the new Milliken agent offers comparable surface finish to talc-filled compounds that cannot be achieved with chopped glass fiber reinforcement. The company's continuing innovation is enabling customers to improve the appearance, performance, and productivity of their products, and expand potential polyolefin application areas.
The new fuel efficiency standards mandate an average of 35.5 miles per gallon (mpg) for cars and 30 mpg for trucks by 2016. Plastics such as polyolefins are already playing an important role in reducing vehicle weight to boost fuel economy. For example, according to the American Plastics Council, a 10-percent weight reduction equates to a seven percent improvement in gas mileage. Polypropylene (PP) and other plastics combine weight-out benefits with durability, excellent aesthetics and high-performance properties.
"Polypropylene is a versatile material that is increasingly selected for interior and exterior automotive parts - in fact, about 50 to 70 kilograms of PP are used per vehicle, on average, depending on where you are in the world," said Johnny Netzloff, product line manager, Milliken Chemical. "However, the traditional reinforcements used with PP either add undesirable weight or provide an unsatisfactory appearance."
Netzloff continues, "Milliken has a strong history of innovation and leadership in additives that improve the aesthetics, processability and physical/mechanical properties of polyolefins. Hyperform nucleating agents are commonly used to improve dimensional stability, optimize productivity, improve barrier and enhance mechanical properties. The property space targeted by reinforcing agents is a natural technology extension for Milliken, and Hyperform HPR-803 complements our existing offering to polyolefin formulators and converters. With its unique combination of attributes, we believe customers will find Hyperform HPR-803 the best polyolefin reinforcement for today's most demanding applications."
Complementing Milliken's other Hyperform additives, including the company's Hyperform hyper-nucleating agent, the new reinforcing agent was developed to meet the needs of the automotive and appliance industries. Advantages of using Hyperform HPR-803 include:
- Replacing high loadings of heavy mineral fillers, such as talc, with lower loadings for comparable performance. This can reduce the weight of polyolefin parts by up to 15 percent.
- Offering improved stiffness vs. talc and other minerals at higher loadings.
- Providing high heat deflection temperatures (HDT) exceeding high levels of talc.
- Offering an improved surface finish that surpasses chopped glass fiber.
By utilizing Hyperform HPR-803 reinforcement as a replacement for chopped glass fiber, customers can expand applications for PP and other polyolefins beyond current "hidden" structural automotive and appliance parts to encompass highly visible components such as bumpers and door panels. And by replacing talc and other mineral reinforcements with the new Milliken technology, customers can achieve significant lightweighting of parts while maintaining or exceeding existing performance properties.
The new high performance reinforcing agent is available today globally.