Automotive plastics are the materials used for manufacturing various automobile components like electrical, glazing, interior & exterior furnishings in the automotive industry. The automotive Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) utilize the plastics for its benefits particularly, lightweight property, corrosion resistance and scope for flexible innovations. The rising usages and technological developments in the material led to the growth of the automotive plastics market, flourishing with a CAGR of 9.78% from 2019 to 2027.
As a result of the growing environmental concerns, stringent carbon emissions norms and demand for lightweight & fuel-efficient vehicles, the high-performance plastics are highly adopted in the automotive industry as it meets higher requirements than standard plastics.
List of High-Performance Polymers used in automobile sectors are:
- Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)-
ABS is chemical & impact-resistant plastic and manufactured using suspension, emulsion and mass processes. It is used in automotive bumper cars, electric components, dashboards and wheel covers. Also, due to its high insulation property, it is utilized in other sectors like electronics, aerospace, and medical.
- Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)-
PVC has both rigid and flexible variants and is flame retardant with excellent thermal stability and less lead content. Its major automotive applications are namely, underbody coatings, sealants & floor modules, wire harnesses, and exterior parts. Other sectors utilizing the polymer are construction, electrical and plumbing.
- Polymethyl Methacrylate (PMMA)-
PMMA is a transparent, rigid thermoplastic and a cheaper alternative for Polycarbonate. As it is lightweight and shatter-proof, it is used as a substitute for glass. PMMA has varied applications in automotive parts such as windows, screens and displays. Also, it has utilization in sectors, namely construction, sanitary ware and lighting fixtures.
- Polypropylene (PP)-
PP is semi-rigid, translucent polymer with good chemical & electrical resistance at high temperature. Its automotive applications include bumpers, cable insulation and carpet fibres. Along with the automotive industry, it has applications in packaging, consumer products and electronics owing to its lightweight.
- Polyethylene (PE)-
PE is a rigid, high impact strength plastic with excellent chemical resistance. It is widely used in the automobile sector for car bodies and electrical insulation.
- Polyamides (PA)-
PA occurs both naturally as well as artificially, and the synthetic PA is known as Nylon. It has high impact strength and abrasion resistance with high durability. Its applications range from gears, bearings to weatherproof coatings.
- Polyurethane (PU)-
PU product has high tensile strength, hardness, and abrasive resistance. It is lightweight and used in interior furnishing, foams, seats cushioning and hard plastic parts.
- Polycarbonate (PC)-
PC is a polymer that offers a combination of stiffness, toughness and hardness with high impact strength. It is used in automotive bumpers, bulletproof substitutes and helmets.
- Polyoxymethylene (POM)-
POM has properties like stiffness, rigidity, chemical resistance, and yield strength. It has applications within automobile-like gears, fuel systems and interior & exterior trims. Also, it is highly utilized in the electrical and electronic components due to high insulation property.
- Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)-
PET is the most common thermoplastic polymer resin of the polyester family. It is mostly used in the production of synthetic fibres. Its automotive applications are wiper arm, engine cover, headlamp retainer, and gear housing.
Thus, the high adoption and applications of high-performance plastics elevate the growth of automotive plastics market, despite the challenges of geopolitical turmoil, the volatility of raw materials and environmental concerns.