SABIC has showcased at K 2022 a wide range of exhibits and applications based on its thermoplastic materials and solutions covering the automotive and larger transportation sector, which can support carbon emissions reduction, vehicle efficiency and performance enhancements and the creation of vehicles that meet the needs of today and tomorrow.
Headlining this dedicated space within the company’s stand at K 2022 is its BLUEHERO™ initiative, an expanding ecosystem of materials, solutions and expertise that aims to help accelerate the world’s shift to electric power and a lower carbon future.
The initiative’s initial focus is on potential polymer solutions for battery pack components and systems of electric vehicles (EVs). Beyond electrification, additional solutions on display demonstrate SABIC’s commitment to meet growing demand for more sustainable and circular approaches, increased functionality, enhanced aesthetics and vehicle differentiation.
Electrifying Showcase of Lucid Air
A standout element of SABIC’s booth is the Lucid Air, the 2022 MotorTrend Car of the Year from Lucid Motors. Recognized as the world’s longest-range and fastest-charging luxury production electric vehicles, the Lucid Air uses thermoplastics from SABIC in more than 25 applications, from structural, EV battery and electrical components to exterior and interior parts. For a few notable applications, SABIC also provided predictive engineering support – to help minimize and eliminate part warpage, support ease of manufacturing and enhance final part performance.
One such application, on display at SABIC’s stand, is a Lucid in-house designed, patented and prized battery module housing from the Lucid Air’s battery pack. The part design itself is unique in that it integrates the electrical conductor directly into the housing in a one-shot molding process. This approach eliminates the need for adhesives, cutting production time and improving quality and consistency. Use of SABIC’s flame retardant (FR) LEXAN™ resin, a polycarbonate (PC) material, meets the high stiffness requirements for the housing component, while providing a lightweight solution that can potentially contribute to improvements in specific energy or energy density. The LEXAN material, a 20% glass fiber filled injection moldable grade (non-chlorinated/non-brominated FR, UL94 V0 at 1.5 mm), provides thermal and dimensional stability in addition to high impact strength and ductility. Use of metal for the same part would add significant weight, limit design freedom and introduce significant processing challenges.
EV Battery Materials, Solutions & Expertise
Additional content and solutions developed under SABIC’s BLUEHERO electrification initiative and on display include:
- A virtual flame test lab that allows visitors to execute a simulated flame test on material samples of aluminum and STAMAX™ FR resin, highlighting the intumescent character of this long glass fiber polypropylene (LGF-PP) material and its potential effectiveness as a thermal and fire barrier.
- A SABIC Battery Explorer installation, providing a virtual dive into a battery pack design using the latest thermoplastic technologies. Visitors can take the battery pack model apart, reassemble it and zoom in to see its specific design features.
- Honda’s Silver Edison Award winning EV battery pack cover for its CR-V model in China made with SABIC® FR polypropylene compound (PPc). Use of this short glass fiber (SGF) material for this application enables compliance with that country’s stringent EV fire safety requirements, while eliminating the need for thermal blankets to help reduce complexity and cut part weight by 40% vs a similar design in metal.
- An all-plastic prototype EV battery tray structure with integrated cooling channels and crash protection elements, for up to 12% weight savings compared to one in an existing aluminum EV battery pack.
Supporting the Changing Front and Back of the Vehicle
With the emergence of grille-less designs for EVs and the demand for unique styling and functionality for both the front and back of the vehicle, manufacturers are looking for materials that can meet critical requirements. To help manufacturers understand what can be possible with its thermoplastics, SABIC is offering a ‘Smart Panels’ solution station, which presents concepts for both front and rear panels and highlights critical considerations for the choice of materials.
As part of the station, SABIC is spotlighting two display samples. This includes one of the industry’s first and largest high-volume illuminated front panels on a production vehicle today. The part, manufactured through an injection-compression molding process with clear LEXAN LS resin for the first shot and a black CYCOLOY™ resin (PC/ABS) for the second shot, features integrated lighting and decorative elements for distinctive functionality and striking aesthetics. A second sample is an integrated rear panel produced through an in-mold decoration (IMD) process. In each case, LEXAN resin provides greater design freedom for distinctive styling and aesthetics, the transparency, impact toughness, UV resistance and high heat and color stability to deliver the required performance for these applications.
Helping Enable Circularity with Mechanically-Recycled Options
On display is the prototype of a full structural tailgate carrier, produced using mechanically recycled STAMAX resin – available under SABIC’s TRUCIRCLE™ portfolio of circular solutions. This part represents a new set of LGF-PP grades with recycled material, which can offer similar performance to that of their virgin resin equivalents. These three new grades – STAMAX T2E-40YR240 and T2E-30YR240 (high stiffness) and T5E-40YR270E resins (high impact) – are among the first of many mechanically-recycled materials from SABIC for potential use to meet requirements for a range of exterior, structural and interior parts, while supporting the demand for more sustainable materials to help reduce CO2 footprint and enable circularity.