Mazda claims new bio­plas­tic for in­te­ri­ors and ex­te­ri­ors

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING - — Sup­plied.

MAZDA Mo­tor Cor­po­ra­tion has an­nounced that in con­junc­tion with Mit­subishi Chem­i­cal Cor­po­ra­tion, it has de­vel­oped a new bio-based en­gi­neer­ing plas­tic that can be used for ex­te­rior de­sign parts for au­to­mo­biles.

The new plas­tic will help Mazda re­duce its im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment in a num­ber of ways. As the plas­tic is made from plant-de­rived ma­te­ri­als, its adop­tion will help to curb the use of pe­tro­leum re­sources and re­duce car­bon-diox­ide emis­sions. Fur­ther­more, the ma­te­rial can be dyed and the emis­sions of volatile or­ganic com­pounds as­so­ci­ated with the paint­ing process will be re­duced. Dyed parts made from the bio-based en­gi­neer­ing plas­tic fea­ture a fin­ish of higher qual­ity than can be achieved with tra­di­tional painted plas­tic. The deep tone and mir­ror-like fin­ish of the sur­face make the new plas­tic suit­able for ex­ter­nal ve­hi­cle parts with a high de­sign fac­tor.

Mazda has been proac­tively de­vel­op­ing tech­nolo­gies in the biomass field for a num­ber of years. To date, un­der the Mazda Biotech­ma­te­rial name, the company has suc­ceeded in de­vel­op­ing the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try’s first high­strength heat-resistant plant-de­rived bio­plas­tic for auto in­te­rior parts, and the world’s first bio­fab­ric for ve­hi­cle seat up­hol­stery made from plant-de­rived fi­bre. How­ever, to be suit­able for ex­te­rior parts, plas­tics are re­quired to pos­sess not only a high-qual­ity fin­ish, but also ex­cel­lent weather, scratch and im­pact re­sis­tance in or­der to stand up to harsh en­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors. Achiev­ing this with bio­plas­tics has posed a tech­ni­cal chal­lenge. Now, Mazda has suc­ceeded in mak­ing a ma­te­rial suit­able for both in­te­rior and ex­te­rior parts, en­abling the company to pro­duce parts that are as durable as con­ven­tion­ally painted ABS plas­tic parts yet with a higher qual­ity fin­ish. This bio-based en­gi­neer­ing plas­tic will be used for the first time for in­te­rior parts for the all-new Mazda MX-5 which will be launched in South Africa in the lat­ter part of 2015. “We are ar­dent in bring­ing th­ese unique tech­nolo­gies to the South African mar­ket,” said David Hughes, MD of Mazda SA.

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