The Style of Raw Plastics Helps Lightweight and Beautify Today's Cars

Emerald Insight reports that 62 to 90 percent of a customer's initial assessment of a product is based on color. We all know that color can play to one's mood and feelings. So, it's no surprise that it is a factor for today's drivers when evaluating a car.

The Style of Raw Plastics Help Lightweight and Beautify Today's Cars A combination of these high-performance plastic materials offers a world of opportunities.

As an expert in coatings and design, BASF has leveraged this insight. Each year, the Coatings division conducts an extensive research study of people's perceptions, societal triggers and other key factors that will affect future car color choices about 3 to 5 years out. This year, the overarching theme RAW - real authentic ways - emerged after identifying the honest resilience, optimism and can-do attitude of today's urban environments.

After uncovering this trend, BASF realized there was an opportunity to broaden the reach of their annual Color Collection and integrate its material solutions for both exterior and interior design. And RAW was the perfect backdrop.

"This is the first year we added the raw material component into the Color Collection by BASF Coatings, and the response from automakers has been very positive," said Alex Horisberger, designer at BASF on the designfabrik® team.

To do this, BASF looked at how a material can serve as a beautiful, visually appealing component. Here are the five raw materials that made the cut:

  • A surface improved polyamide, Ultramid® SI: Instead of relying on a painted interior part, the part can be molded in colored polyamide resin. This solution can achieve a high-gloss, shiny, piano-black finish while still being scratch and mar resistant in high-touch areas.
  • A high content long glass fiber polyamide, Ultramid® Structure LFX: This material appears cloudy and plays right into this year's theme by demonstrating the true and raw strength of the solution. BASF envisions this material being used in applications where steel fails the test for a low-weight material.
  • A natural fiber bound with Acrodur® and over-molded with Ultramid® makes a new hybrid material: Made from 80 percent natural content, this surface looks natural while maintaining its essential functionality.
  • An expanded thermoplastic polyurethane, Infinergy™: The material that provides the bounce in the adidas Boost shoes could be a great fit for the automotive industry with its low density, high elasticity and outstanding resilience. Cut in sheets, it is an experimental material and can boost the creativity factor in car design.
  • A polypropylene particle foam, Neopolen®: The foam offers lightness and high resilience, insulation properties and a soft surface. It meets the demands for high-quality automotive interiors.

"Some of these material innovations have not been utilized in the automotive industry yet, but we are excited to present our design trend predictions in a comprehensive report and have conversations around these possibilities with our partners," continued Horisberger.

It's time to stop hiding materials under other materials. Exposing them and leveraging their visual properties, especially as every extra component contributes to poundage, will only drive innovation in the auto industry.

It's time to be honest and raw.