At the Geneva Motor Show here, GE Plastics' high-performance composites and thermoplastics is taking the spotlight with close to 30 diverse applications for Hyundai's advanced technology development vehicle (ATDV), the QarmaQ. The crossover utility vehicle (CUV) is a joint project of GE Plastics and Hyundai to demonstrate the design freedom and practicality of using plastics in components traditionally manufactured from metal, glass, and thermosets. It features GE's advanced technologies in five key areas: the Elastic Front*, exterior, interior, lighting systems, and underhood.
Among the benefits of the GE Plastics materials are a weight reduction of up to 60 kg that can offer an average fuel savings of up to 80 litres/year; improved pedestrian safety; and the ability to create complex, 3D shapes.
The QarmaQ showcases the significant environmental advantages of using plastics. For example, Xenoy iQ* and Valox iQ* resins composites - both GE ecomagination* products - are derived from 85 percent post-consumer plastic waste. The materials are used on key parts of the vehicle and helped divert close to 900 polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic bottles from potential landfill. Paint-free solutions used for the vehicle's interior help to reduce volatile emissions given off during traditional painting operations. GE's Flexible Noryl* resin enables thinner wire and cable coatings that help reduce vehicle weight and allow more electronics in the same space.
GE Plastics materials are also used in the following applications:
A unique pedestrian safety development that requires no airbags or mechanical pop-up hydraulics; it uses the inherent properties of GE's materials.
Energy-absorbing structures and the natural properties of GE's plastics are seamlessly integrated into the futuristic styling of QarmaQ. Different impact zones on the car correlate to the various areas of a pedestrian's body likely to be contacted in a collision.
Lower leg protection
• Global Energy Absorber: Using Xenoy iQ resin, GE Plastics has developed a single design for energy-absorbing countermeasures that meet FMVSS/CMVSS, and European and Japanese Pedestrian Phase I and II requirements. The part combines two functions: it is soft and supple enough to absorb the energy when the lower leg of a pedestrian is contacted, but stiff enough in a situation where the driver may drive into a barrier or object at low speed.
- Upper leg protection
• Bumper: Due to the higher hood of a CUV, absorbing energy in the area around the junction of the top of the grill/bumper and front of the hood is critical, as it potentially will impact the hip area of a pedestrian. The physical properties (modulus and ductility) of the new Xenoy iQ* HMD resins make it possible without extra complicated structures or mechanical solutions.
• Hood: Using developmental composite HPPC material technology - GE's Xenoy iQ resins - the lightweight hood provides energy absorption via design and material properties. The HPPC thermoplastic sandwich composite material offers a solution close to half the weight of traditional materials, which can help reduce injuries in a crash.
- Head impact zone
• Front fenders: Large injection-molded, vertical wraparound fenders using GE's Xenoy iQ HMD resins make their debut on the QarmaQ in Geneva. Because the top area of the fenders also form part of the horizontal hood surface at the front of the car, they must be capable of absorbing impact resulting from a collision with a pedestrian's head. Equally important, HMD technology enables large automotive molding to be implemented while meeting tough OEM requirements for dimensional tolerance on gaps and flushness. Due to its unique nanotechnology fibrillation, HMD Xenoy resins can also help improve dimensional stiffness of the large body panel components.
• Hood: The horizontal surface of the HPPC hood made with Xenoy iQ resins contribute important energy management aspects to this critical zone for head impact. In addition to its crash management properties, HPPC is unique because it offers a tough, durable, but flexible and lightweight alternative to traditional metals.
• Front lenses: Molding these parts with clear, high-heat Lexan XHT resins enabled a more compact package without compromising optical performance.
• Headlamps: Debuting on the QarmaQ, GE's Nightfx* resins are water-clear materials that glow in brilliant colours when exposed to certain wavelengths of light. Hyundai has created a unique illumination signature for its brand.
• Headlamp bezel: Direct-metallized Valox iQ resins enable beautiful, high-style designs that eliminate the need for costly and environmentally irresponsible lacquering.
• Headlamp reflectors: These components incorporate reflectors molded from GE's new direct-metallized Extem* resins, offering extreme heat tolerance. They also allow elimination of lacquering and are recyclable components.
• Connectors: Valox iQ resins offer significant reductions in post-consumer landfill, energy consumption, and CO2 emissions.
• Wire coating: GE's Flexible Noryl resins offer smaller bundle size and the ability to place more wire per pack. This could allow for more space for customer features, a critical advantage as today's vehicles continue to reflect consumers' preferences for more sophisticated, feature-heavy designs.
QarmaQ Project Partners
- GE Sensing
• IR sensor for cabin comfort: Provides accurate reading of cabin temperature by targeting and checking the temperature of the body. Features include high sensitivity and fast response time.
• NDIR CO2 sensor: Detects any CO2 leaks into the cabin interior; works with new environmental responsible (green) refrigerants.
• NOx sensor for emission control: Monitors the vehicle's exhaust to be sure it is running cleanly. Features highly accurate, robust emissions sensors to detect various nitrogen oxides.
• NPX sensor for remote tire pressure monitoring (RTPM): Monitors the air pressure of tires when automobiles are traveling and sets off an alarm when low air pressure or lack of air pressure occurs due to air leakage, helping to ensure safe driving.
- Momentive Performance Materials
• Silica tires: Silica tires made with NXT silane can improve QarmaQ's fuel economy by up to 5 percent and reduce CO2 emissions, while improving the tires' traction, handling, and wear life. NXT Z* silane and NXT LowV* silane can also reduce ethanol emissions from the tire.
• Seat inserts: Teal-coloured silicone elastomer seat inserts are positioned in complete harmony alongside conventional materials such as leather and nubuck. The surface treatment through LSR Top-Coat technology provides excellent leather-like haptic for the soft inserts. Other touch-sensitive applications, especially in the driver zone (steering wheel and gear shift lever, to mention a few), were built based on the same material technology featuring mechanical fixation.
• Tetra* Contour LED interior lighting: Hidden behind the upper roof trim, a white halo of light from Lumination's Tetra Contour LED lighting system lends an arctic glow to the panoramic sunroof. The material is up to 40 percent more energy efficient than neon.
• Lift gate: The carbon composite frame is bonded with the Lexan glazing. The strength and stiffness delivered by the composite frame allow creation of large lift gates while keeping weight approximately 50 percent less (10.4 kg) than a traditional construction.
• Fluorophore lighting engineering: These transparent fluorescent materials are highly coloured when un-illuminated, and glow when illuminated. Breathtaking headlamps feature optical engineering and photometric design.
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