An Industrial Case for Polypropylene Nanocomposite Foams: Lightweight, Soundproof Exterior Automotive Parts


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Ozunlu B. G. , Güner F. S.

POLYMERS, vol.14, no.6, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 14 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.3390/polym14061192
  • Journal Name: POLYMERS
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Aerospace Database, Communication Abstracts, Compendex, INSPEC, Metadex, Directory of Open Access Journals, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Keywords: foam injection molding, graphene nanoplatelet, automotive industry, polypropylene, THERMAL-CONDUCTIVITY, GRAPHENE, COMPOSITES, POLYMER, EXFOLIATION, BEHAVIOR, 2D
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes

Abstract

Lightweighting is a challenge for the automotive industry, and foaming is a key technology used to address this problem. A new practical approach is studied to regulate the cell formation of copolymer polypropylene (co-PP) by utilizing graphene nanoplatelets (xGnP) as a process aid during foam injection molding. The approach was designed to enable process freedom to tune part performance by adjusting the amount of xGnP masterbatch. Two different levels of 1-2 wt % xGnP and 0.25-0.35 wt % supercritical fluid (SCF) were investigated. Prepared samples were compared with samples prepared by the traditional method (twin-screw extrusion followed by foam injection molding). The nanocomposite with 2 wt % xGnP comparatively showed about twofold reduction in cell size magnitude. Although the increment in SCF amount resulted in a 47% and 122% enhancement in flexural modulus and strength, respectively, and a 45% loss in Izod unnotched impact strength, the cell size was prone to increasing with regard to low melt strength as compared to neat foams. In conclusion, a 12% weight reduction fulfilled the desired performance parameters in terms of mechanical and sound insulation by utilizing 2 wt % xGnP as a process aid.