PLEXIGLAS® News

Freedom in design and function: Vehicle glazing made of PLEXIGLAS®

Essen, October 17, 2013
  • PLEXIGLAS® glazing offers freedom of design with regard to formability

  • PLEXIGLAS® glazing enables the functional integration of add-on automotive body parts and light components

  • PLEXIGLAS® weighs less than glass but is equally robust

To save weight, vehicle manufacturers have been replacing metal and glass with plastics for a number of years. PLEXIGLAS® not only saves weight, it can be put to highly versatile use. This material offers designers wide freedom in terms of forming, and makes it possible to integrate various functions. Evonik Industries AG is presenting these options for vehicle construction - with the microMAX concept vehicle, among other features -  at the International Trade Fair for Plastics and Rubber K 2013, in Hall 6, Booth No. B28.

Free choice of shape for glazing
Vehicle designers always drive to achieve unusual designs and improved aerodynamics by using curved lines or accentuated edges. Glazing made from PLEXIGLAS® offers designers almost boundless opportunities in this respect. This material can be formed more freely and fabricated more easily than glass by means of injection molding and all other thermoforming processes. This allows for both - highly curved or pointed shapes. PLEXIGLAS® components that combine several functions also contribute to an attractive design. For example, non-movable windows that include a black pillar trim part and tail light all in one unit. Integrated components like this present a more appealing appearance than individual parts. At the same time, functional integration can help to reduce installation depth. They also save weight. PLEXIGLAS® glazing elements are about 40 to 50% lighter than conventional glass window panes, but are tough all the same. The lower weight of the glazing has a positive effect on driving performance: it lowers the vehicle's center of gravity and therefore provides better road handling. A lower center of gravity also prevents agricultural machinery from tipping over on off-road terrain.

Reducing weight
"Above all, weight reduction saves fuel and therefore reduces the environmental impact. This is why lightweight construction is becoming increasingly important for cars with combustion engines. It is even more crucial for the growing electric vehicle market," says Michael Träxler, Senior Vice President of the Evonik Acrylic Polymers Business Line. PLEXIGLAS® offers further environmental benefits on top of its ability to reduce weight. Compared with other possible glazing materials such as laminated safety glass and tempered safety glass, PLEXIGLAS® receives a better life cycle assessment. This considers the energy consumption and CO2 equivalent per kilogram of material for manufacture, vehicle use and recycling.

Wide range of glazing
"Since PLEXIGLAS® glazing offers great potential in vehicle construction, we are pursuing two development lines so as to offer our customers the widest possible range," says Träxler. Evonik is therefore working on both monolithic and multilayer systems based on PLEXIGLAS®. Various monolithic systems with a scratch-resistant hard coating have already received ECE R 43 certification for side, rear and roof glazing, and are being used in a number of prototypes. These include the electric concept vehicle microMAX, produced by Swiss think tank Rinspeed, which is on display at the Evonik trade fair booth (Hall 6, Booth B28). All of the glazing elements in the microMAX were made from PLEXIGLAS®. "The developers were firstly convinced by the material's low weight, and secondly because of its high transparency and weather resistance," explains Uwe Löffler, head of the Automotive Segment in the Acrylic Polymers business development unit.

New molding compound for glazing
"The microMAX is one example in the automotive sector for being innovation-driven. To meet the demands of vehicle manufacturers, we are systematically advancing our own developments in this field," Löffler says. In 2014, Evonik is launching a new impact-modified molding compound for glazing applications. This increases the variety of processing options - from currently thermoforming to now also injection and compression molding. "This is an important milestone in developing glazing made of PLEXIGLAS®", says Löffler.

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Contact

Doris Hirsch

PR Management Acrylic Polymers

  • About Evonik

    Evonik, the creative industrial group from Germany, is one of the world leaders
    in specialty chemicals. Profitable growth and a sustained increase in the value of the company form the heart of Evonik's corporate strategy. Its activities focus on the key megatrends health, nutrition, resource efficiency and globalization. Evonik benefits specifically from its innovative prowess and integrated technology platforms.

    Evonik is active in over 100 countries around the world. In fiscal 2012 more than 33,000 employees generated sales of around €13.4 billion and an operating profit (adjusted EBITDA) of about €2.4 billion (excluding Real Estate in both cases).

  • Disclaimer

    Evonik, the creative industrial group from Germany, is one of the world leaders
    in specialty chemicals. Profitable growth and a sustained increase in the value of the company form the heart of Evonik’s corporate strategy. Its activities focus on the key megatrends health, nutrition, resource efficiency and globalization. Evonik benefits specifically from its innovative prowess and integrated technology platforms.

    Evonik is active in over 100 countries around the world. In fiscal 2012 more than 33,000 employees generated sales of around €13.4 billion and an operating profit (adjusted EBITDA) of about €2.4 billion (excluding Real Estate in both cases).