K 2010. Transparency and lightness. Automotive glazing made of PLEXIGLAS®
ECE R43 certification for PLEXIGLAS® in side and rear windows and roof glazing
Low weight saves fuel
New design options for the automotive industry
Lightweight cars save fuel and are therefore kinder to the environment. While this aspect is important for cars with conventional transmissions, weight is even more crucial for the growing market for electric vehicles.
PLEXIGLAS® glazing can make a major contribution to lightweight construction because it offers a weight savings potential of 50 to 50 percent as compared with glass. “Our Automotive Glazing Initiative is designed to promote PLEXIGLAS® as a material for transparent glazing,” explains Rudolf Blass, Manager of the Automotive & Surface Design industry segment in the Acrylic Polymers Business Line. “Our material has already proved its worth in various forms of transportation, is kinder to the environment because of its low weight and offers new options for model development.”
Tested in the pilot plant and on the racetrack
In order to cover the complete range of glazing for automotive construction, Evonik is pursuing two lines of development: monolithic and multilayer systems based on PLEXIGLAS®. A 5mm thick coated sheet has already received ECE R 43 certification for side and rear windows and roof glazing. The PLEXIGLAS® glazing is being tested under practical conditions in a Lotus race car. This has recently been equipped with a windshield made from the highly transparent, weather-resistant and lightweight material, and has passed its first race with flying colors.
Apart from being lightweight, race car windshields must also be optically perfect to give the driver maximum security. They also have to show good resistance to stone chips.
The specialists at Evonik have mastered these two main challenges with notable success, since the resistance to stone chips, for example, is much better than with a comparable windshield made of car glass.
On the way to mass production
PLEXIGLAS® is being further developed for automotive glazing and particularly for the first steps toward mass production, together with the Systems Integration Project House at the strategic research unit Creavis Technologies & Innovation. “Together with technology partners from the automobile industry, we are developing process and fabrication technologies to enable the economical use of PLEXIGLAS® as a lightweight construction solution in large series,” explains Project House Director Dr. Michael Olbrich. Further options are open to the automobile industry, because various functions can be integrated into PLEXIGLAS®, such as photovoltaics or heat reflection.
Transparent PLEXIGLAS® already has a long track record for glazing in certain areas, for example in passenger aircraft and sailplanes, helicopters and submarines, but also as motorcycle windshields and mobile home glazing. In these applications, it is exposed to extreme fluctuations in temperature and pressure, withstands vibrations and proves its high UV stability. “Of course, this experience also contributes to our work in the automotive sector, where Chinese manufacturer Chang’an has launched the first serial application,” Blass explains.
Visitors to the show can view a Lotus with PLEXIGLAS® glazing at the Evonik booth B 28 in Hall 6.
Working together with its customers and partners, Evonik develops products and system solutions for and with plastics. We thus have a range of services that satisfies market and application requirements.
Evonik is present in all major growth markets around the globe. Its customized products and solutions include raw materials, sophisticated additives and paints, engineering plastics, high-performance polymers, and semi-finished products. They are virtually exactly what is needed for tomorrow’s efficient, sustainable, and environmentally friendly ideas.
The Performance Polymers Business Unit of Evonik Industries is a worldwide manufacturer of PMMA products sold under the PLEXIGLAS® trademark on the European, Asian, African and Australian continents and under the trademark ACRYLITE® in the Americas.
Evonik Industries is the creative industrial group from Germany. In our core business of specialty chemicals, we are a global leader. In addition, Evonik is an expert in power generation from hard coal and renewable energies, and one of the largest private residential real estate companies in Germany. Our company’s performance is shaped by creativity, specialization, continuous self-renewal, and reliability.
Evonik is active in over 100 countries around the world. In its fiscal year 2009 about 39,000 employees generated sales of about €13.1 billion and an operating profit (EBITDA) of about €2.0 billion.
In so far as forecasts or expectations are expressed in this press release or where our statements concern the future, these forecasts, expectations or statements may involve known or unknown risks and uncertainties. Actual results or developments may vary, depending on changes in the operating environment. Neither Evonik Industries AG nor its group companies assume an obligation to update the forecasts, expectations or statements contained in this release.