More design freedom and comfort in the automotive interior

With BASF’s high-tech materials like Elastoflex®, Elastofoam®, Elastollan®, Elastocoat® and Elastoskin® as well as the engineering plastic Ultramid® and plastics additives, modern automotive interior design can be achieved – for processors and automotive manufacturers alike. Apart from the high-class surface quality, the refined feel, look and acoustics and the long service life, the materials convince with efficient production, reliable service and global system solutions.

Polyurethanes and Engineering Plastics

Emission-optimized instrument panels, acoustically effective roof linings or solid, comfortable seats – polyurethanes and engineering plastics by BASF offer versatile application possibilities for less weight, optimum comfort and low emissions. BASF materials for the automotive interior ensure the following – even difficult – application areas:

  • Great design freedom
  • Detailed representation
  • Excellent haptics and look
  • Optimum combination of strength and stiffness for structural parts with honeycomb technology

Our versatile PU systems for the automotive interior

With their versatile properties and unlimited application possibilities, our PU systems can make the automotive interior safer, more comfortable and more beautiful. BASF polyurethanes can be adjusted to many different densities, they can be soft or hard, flexible or stiff, they resist hot and cold temperatures as well as many aggressive media.

The flexible foam system Elastoflex® W decisively contributes to car comfort. Besides its well-known value for seating applications, guaranteeing comfortable feeling in the car’s seat even at long and dynamic driving, it also contributes to the sound impression in the driver’s cabin. In comparison to other acoustic solutions, Elastoflex® W performs not only as sound absorber, reducing reverberation effects, but also dampens sound from outside the car by visco-elastic energy dissipation. Current systems follow the latest demands on air quality in the driver’s room controlled by external institutes according to e.g. VDA278 or chamber tests. Especially designed foams resist also high temperatures and media contact. These foams are widely used in direct contact to the engine as NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) and heat management solution.

Although having an open-cell foam core structure, Elastofoam® I has been developed to form an integral skin as decorative and protecting surface in a one-shot process. Using water as a chemical blowing agent or physical blowing agents, Elastofoam® I reproduces the texture of the mold surface perfectly. Mostly in combination with an appropriate coating these flexible integral systems provide a soft, pleasant touch combined with a UV-, scratch- and abrasion resistant surface of smooth haptic.

PU is known as the material of choice for high-quality looks as well as fine tactile, haptic skin surfaces. Combined with in-mold coating (IMC) Elastoskin® I provides surface parts with very fine grain textures resistant to UV light, scratch or impact as well as to cleaning agents, sun cream or sweat - even for multi-coloured parts. In comparison to competing materials, Elastoskin® I contains no plasticizers known to cause problems with migration, interaction with back-foaming, discolorations or emissions. Additionally, the respectively low mold temperature of 75°C and the absence of any chlorine, known to be problematic in waste, contribute to a sustainable energy consumption in production and waste combustion. The mechanical properties of Elastoskin® I are not influenced by either very low or high temperatures.

Where conventional materials reach their limits, Elastollan® in vehicles can make all the difference. It is noted for its excellent haptics and mechanics, as well as its superior long-term durability and resistance to weathering. It gives freedom for a lot of design possibilities. Its strength lies in its versatility: the properties of Elastollan® can be readjusted and recombined time and again – depending on the application and the specific requirements of the component. For example, it shows high temperature as well as good media resistance and has superior dynamic properties. Its damping behavior is excellent as is its resistance against abrasion, scratch and wear.

Surface parts from wood are becoming more and more popular in car interiors. They have to be protected against sun and degradation. Elastocoat® C cold-cast systems and coatings offer a transparent, lightfast, scratch-resistant and also self-healing surface of particular flair.

Although invisible, Elastoflex® E semi-rigid foams contribute extensively to the valuable appearance in car interiors, since the foam is behind most skin surfaces and causes a pleasant, soft and elastic touch. Though it needs to fill even smallest gaps between carrier and skin, e.g. in instrument and door panels as well as armrests and curbs, it spreads homogeneously at very robust processing.  Elastoflex® E systems offer a high flowability at fast demolding times suitable for all skin types, individually designed for all special OEM requirements. Although applications are diverse, it is BASF’s goal to provide one system for many parts in order to reduce customers’ complexity and cost structure.

PU systems are in many cases injected into a cavity as a reactive liquid mixture and foam or cure directly in desired shape. However, PU systems can also be foamed and cured in blocs batch-wise or continuously. Elastoflex® E 3943 is foamed as free-rise blocs and offers a very open-cell foam at an extreme low density of 12-35g/l. Since these foam types are thermoformable, they can be shaped in a common hot press and bonded to diverse surface materials in a continuous process using the specially designed adhesive series ISO 116. Components benefit from the very light material with excellent sound absorption also at low part thicknesses suitable for formed 3D parts with deep contours at high stiffness.

The low-density Elastoflex® E and Elastolit® D semi-structural foams are designed for producing very light and stiff composite as well as sandwich structures for various interior and exterior applications such as load floors, interior lining parts, roof modules and engine hoods. Reinforced with long-glass fibers in state-of-the-art composite processes, thin-walled parts with good mechanical properties yet light in weight can be realized. Such composite substrates can be combined with various surface materials like textiles or thermoplastic films, either by back-foaming or glueing.

Possible applications for our PU systems for the automotive interior

Whatever your specific needs for your interior application: BASF connects new material developments and services in order to create system solutions which give your interior application the distinctive advantage.

In-mold-coating (IMC) spray skin with Elastoskin®

Travel light and comfortable with superior quality for high-class surfaces: The Elastoskin® spray skin for interior applications sets new standards. It is a polyurethane spray system for high-quality, soft-touch surfaces for instrument panels, door modules and center consoles – in the car and commercial vehicle segments.

Elastoflex<sup>®</sup> E Load Floor
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