Paintless Composites- Glass-mat-thermoplastics (GMT) have been around for years now, finding a home in automotive interiors among other applications. But these materials, which consist of short glass-fiber mat in various thermoplastic base resins, have not made any headway in exterior automotive components where cosmetic, structural, and production concerns have so far limited their appeal.
Plastics Take the Wheel- Automotive plastics have come a long way from their early days in the car's less-than-critical components. And today, plastics routinely see use in vital underhood or structural applications whose mechanical or thermal requirements would have called for a metal not so long ago. Materials advances over the years have helped propel plastics into this growing role.
Remember the Process - What are the major materials issues confronting design engineers nowadays?One key issue is accounting for the effects on material of the forming process. For example, short glass fiber reinforcement increases the stiffness of plastic and when you mold the material, the final orientation of the glass fibers determines the properties. With flow analysis, we can predict the final orientation and then calculate the modulus in different directions. This information can then be used for structural analysis.