Mazda claims new bioplastic for interiors and exteriors
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.