Canadian Plastics

Bumpers go soft to meet safety standards

In a piece of good news for Europe's jaywalkers, the new Opel Astra hatchback and the Opel Meriva minivan are now equipped with bumpers that meet the latest legislated standards in pedestrian protecti...

June 1, 2010   Canadian Plastics



In a piece of good news for Europe’s jaywalkers, the new Opel Astra hatchback and the Opel Meriva minivan are now equipped with bumpers that meet the latest legislated standards in pedestrian protection.

Unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2010, both vehicles feature a lower bumper stiffener (LBS) made of BASF’s Ultramid CR polyamide, optimized by BASF specifically for crash applications.

BASF developed the LBS via computer with the aid of its ULTRASIM simulation program, which allowed for shape optimization during design calculations, making construction of multiple and costly prototypes largely a thing of the past. The result: two completely different styling concepts for the two front ends, doubling the buying pleasure for stylistically picky consumers.

Opel is happy too. Comparison with a production LBS made of impact-modified polypropylene (PP) from another automaker shows that the LBS made from Ultramid CR for the Opel models are about 50 per cent lighter than the PP LBS (1 kg compared to 1.6 kg) and 50 per cent narrower at its widest spot, and also exhibit almost three times the stiffness and energy absorption. “Considering the cost of the material, an LBS made of Ultramid CR offers the end-user a weight advantage of about 66 per cent for the same costs and energy absorption,” an Opel spokesperson said.

And for clumsy pedestrians, meanwhile, it’s the next best thing to having down-filled pillows taped to the cars’ front ends.

BASF Canada (Mississauga, Ont.); www.basf.ca;1-866-485-2273


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