Hycolene achieves accelerated material performance requirements

Luxus technical director Dr Christel Croft
Luxus’ advanced lightweight scratch-resistant thermoplastics range Hycolene has recently fulfilled materials performance trials with Tier 1 moulder IAC. These latest trials conclude the material validation process required for Hycolene as part of the €1.4m Eco-innovation funded Recyclite commercialisation project.

The aim was to provide a theoretical equivalent of real-time ‘vehicle life’ to satisfy fellow project member, Jaguar Land Rover’s engineering standard. The materials trials delivered high scratch-resistance; lightweight benefits and a rapid cycle time.

The chosen ‘A’ class interior test component for this latest trial was a current Jaguar Land Rover instrument panel, which was exposed to in market service temperatures expected for instrument panel assemblies, for several weeks ending in June 2016. The tests were managed by IAC’s laboratory and an independent test house which compared the results against an industry standard thermoplastics grade.

Accelerated material tests were completed as auto manufacturers require all interior plastics components to be more resistant to sunlight and heat as part of an overall goal of achieving a 10-year vehicle life. Weathering requirements have also become more severe as larger, aerodynamic windshield designs have increased the sunlight exposure of many vehicle interiors.

Luxus technical director Dr Christel Croft explained the trial process: “Firstly, we took panel gap measurements both pre and post-tests to determine if there was any degree of component movement. UV resistance was also critical, with only minor fade allowed and no other colour tone change. A non-uniform colour change was unacceptable in these trials – Hycolene 16818 passed all the agreed criteria.

Dr Croft added that any occurrence of tackiness; grain loss; blistering; distortion; cracking; crazing; fibre deterioration; wrinkling; waviness; milking or spotting would have led to a rejection.

Peter Middleton, CBU director at IAC, added: “We believe this composite now has the potential to be successful at full commercial scale for auto manufacturers that demand advanced lightweight and scratch performance in either sustainable recycle content or virgin grades for the vehicle’s life.”

Tom Austin-Morgan

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