Xenoy iQ* resin from SABIC's Innovative Plastics strategic business unit - chosen by Ford for the pedestrian safety system of its 2011 C-MAX multipurpose vehicle (MPV) - has helped the automaker earn a five-star rating from the independent safety organization Euro NCAP (European New Car Assessment Program). The C-MAX's pedestrian safety system features a novel lower leg protector/undertray design using SABIC's Xenoy iQ resin.
The inherent physical properties of Xenoy iQ resin make it a highly suitable material for the Ford C-MAX's pedestrian safety system. The resin's superior ductility and great impact resistance, when combined with the part design, provide the energy absorption needed for enhanced lower leg impact protection. The resin is also a great fit with Ford's commitment to sustainability as it offers thermoplastic properties with an extremely low carbon footprint. Overall, use of Xenoy iQ resin in this case demonstrate how SABIC enables both environmental responsibility and exceptional performance.
"We applaud Ford's ongoing efforts to deliver top crash test ratings, and we're pleased that Euro NCAP has recognized the C-MAX model for solid safety performance," said V. Umamaheswaran (UV), director of products and marketing, Automotive, Innovative Plastics. "Pedestrian protection is receiving more attention than ever before from OEMs, the larger automotive industry and society at large. As a result, we are seeing a move globally to new and more demanding standards. We, at SABIC, recognized this trend early on and are in a position to help OEMs with the energy absorption technologies needed to help them meet or get ahead of any new requirements."
Enhancing Pedestrian Protection
Euro NCAP began rating vehicles for the level of pedestrian protection in case of impact in the early 2000s. Euro NCAP testers assess how well each vehicle is designed to minimize head and leg injuries for adult or child pedestrians in various accident scenarios.
The Ford C-MAX lower leg protector/undertray design provides balanced energy management for the vehicle's front end and resilience for controlled kinematics of the lower leg during pedestrian impact with the bumper. Faurecia, one of the world's largest automotive suppliers, worked with Ford to design and optimize the pedestrian protection system.
"Xenoy iQ resin enhanced the design and performance of this system by delivering excellent energy absorption properties," said Jordi Martinez Andreu, engineering manager, Faurecia Automotive Exteriors. "Thanks to Xenoy iQ resin, it was possible to fulfill the various requirements and, at the same time, deliver a lightweight, high strength solution with eco-friendly characteristics. We are pleased to have worked with SABIC and contributed to Ford's five-star performance in the Euro NCAP tests."
This combination of high strength, lightweight and excellent elongation is not possible with more brittle, glass fiber- or talc-filled materials. Another benefit of using Xenoy iQ resin is its resistance to chipping from road debris. Finally, the resin's ease of processing, high flow and low warpage enabled the team to create a large, complex, injection-molded part that incorporates strategically-positioned channels to enable proper air intake to the intercooler.
Minimizing Environmental Impact
In addition to inherent energy-absorbing properties for enhanced safety, Xenoy iQ resin reduces impact on the environment and helps Ford lower the overall carbon footprint of the C-MAX vehicle.
The resin - upcycled from up to 60 percent post-consumer plastic waste - not only relieves the burden on landfills, but also reduces the amount of hydrocarbon-based fuels needed in the production process. In fact, the Xenoy iQ resin manufacturing process consumes 55 to 75 percent less fossil fuel than other engineering thermoplastics in the marketplace today and reduces CO2 emissions by a comparable amount.