Price and market trends: Auto sector could use polymethacylimide foam in the future

12 April 2013 09:52  [Source: ICB]

The automotive sector could one day make use of rigid polymethacrylimide foam in the production of lightweight vehicles, according to the head of Germany-based Evonik's North American arm.

Evonik Wind Explorer Joe Chang/ICIS

Joseph Chang

Driver Gion (left) and Evonik's Rolando with the Wind Explorer

"The material is lightweight, stiff and sturdy. Polymethacrylimide foam could be part of an integrated solution for light-weighting autos," said John Rolando, president of Evonik Corp, at an event displaying Evonik's Wind Explorer vehicle at the Cooper Union science and art school in New York. "Auto manufacturers are targeting more mileage and light-weighting plays a critical role."

The Wind Explorer is a prototype electric vehicle composed of Evonik's ROHACELL rigid polymethacrylimide foam sandwiched between thin layers of carbon fibre. Precursors of polymethacrylimide include acrylic acid and acrylonitrile (ACN).

Powered by lithium-ion batteries charged with a portable wind turbine, the Wind Explorer travelled 3,000 miles across Australia, with a kite contributing 300 miles to the journey, said Dirk Gion, a German extreme sportsman who drove the vehicle.

One load of the batteries, which contains 8 kilowatt (kW) hours of power and takes about 8-10 hours to charge with the wind turbine, allows the vehicle to travel about 230 miles, Gion said. When there was not enough wind to charge the batteries, the Wind Explorer was charged with conventional electricity, using just $15 worth of power through the trip.

By: Joseph Chang
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