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Design News, January 2013

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Materials & Assembly LED headlamps achieve longer lifetimes with aluminum heat sinks. Replacing aluminum with thermally conductive polymers dissipates heat in the same manner while also reducing weight and increasing design freedom. Metal Replacement Gains Velocity in Automotive Polymers are making a stronger showing in automotive, thanks to materials development, CAFE standards, and growing design expertise. Source: @iStockphotos/PolyOne By Marc Mezailles, PolyOne Engineered Materials T hink there are no more metal-to-polymer conversions left in automotive design? Think again. Materials development efforts in the past several years that were aimed at raising stiffness, impact, and heat resistance have succeeded on all counts. Combine that with the increasing sophistication of automotive designers, who are pushing the envelope on material selection as they seek to reach fuel economy goals, and you have a perfect setting for the next generation of metal replacement. Automotive designers were originally focused on replacing metal with plastics in a limited number of applications, but today's polymeric materials are meeting the challenges of emerging design and engineering criteria in more areas of the vehicle. While the easy applications have long since been converted — those that are left are the tougher ones — the good news is that the palette of polymer alternatives has become tougher, as well. Further, automotive engineers now have a better grasp of best practices for designing with Design News | jaNuary 2013 | www.d esign n ews.com –50–

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