This crop of new plastics is mostly aimed at different parts of a car. The range is very wide: from powertrain, transmission, chassis, and thermal management applications, to interior automotive components, to connectors for wire harnesses and electronic components. There are also new materials for railcars, medical devices, and oil & gas components.
Most of these new materials are tougher than before for harsh environments, whether that means chemical resistance, temperature resistance, or mechanical properties like impact strength. Often, it means all three. Several have also been formulated for easier processing, especially in injection molding processes.
Ann R. Thryft is senior technology editor, materials & assembly, for Design News. She's been writing about manufacturing- and electronics-related technologies for 29 years, covering manufacturing materials & processes, alternative energy, and robotics. In the past, she's also written about machine vision and all kinds of communications.