Pittsburgh, January 11, 2011 — Mazda designers were among a select group of forward-thinking automotive teams participating in the L.A. Auto Show Design Challenge with the goal of slashing a vehicle’s weight to less than 1,000 pounds.
For Mazda’s MX-0 concept, the lightweighting capabilities of Bayer MaterialScience LLC’s materials provided an avenue for designing tomorrow’s fuel-efficient vehicles with alternative materials technology commercially available today.
“While the Design Challenge focused on a vehicle that would be available in 2020, Mazda designers set their sights on a lightweight vehicle that, among other things, could be mass produced using materials technologies that exist today,” said Bruce Benda, vice president, Automotive Marketing, Bayer MaterialScience LLC. “We’re delighted that our materials played a part in this forward-looking concept vehicle from Mazda.”
As a benchmark, Mazda designers used the featherweight MX-5 Miata, which tipped the scales at a little more than 2,000 pounds (race specs). Designers then carried out a systematic process of weight reduction and consolidation. Major weight savings were achieved by using unique design methods and materials in key areas.
Specifically, a bonded two-piece monocoque structure, similar to a Formula One car, is used for the safety cell, subframes, body panels and interior surfaces. Mazda designers determined that manufacturing of this structure could be automated using Bayer MaterialScience LLC’s Baypreg® F polyurethane composite sandwich. Use of this material could lead to a safety cell/body panel weight of 100 pounds compared with the MX-5’s 665 pounds, according to Mazda specifications.
Elsewhere, the MX-0 concept utilizes automotive glazing that could be produced using Bayer MaterialScience Makrolon® polycarbonate to replace heavy glass, reducing the glazing mass by up to 50 percent. The concept vehicle also uses Baytec® polyurethane for the wheels and incorporates Baydur® STR for structural components. Ultimately, the MX-0 would weigh in at an airy 999 pounds.
In 2009 the average light vehicle weighed 4,108 pounds, according to federal statistics.
Bayer MaterialScience LLC offers innovative options that help provide significant weight savings, part integration, aesthetics, design freedom and performance enhancements using engineering thermoplastics and polyurethane composite technologies such as:
The adoption of lightweight polymers toreplace traditional materials such as glass and steel in exterior applications, including window glazing and body panel components.
Polycarbonate and polyurethane roof modules that reduce weight and lower the vehicle center of gravity.
Underbody applications that assist with battery location and sound reduction along with providing the potential for significant parts reduction/consolidation.
“We congratulate the Mazda design team on an innovative and unique vehicle concept that provides a glimpse into the future of automotive design and the difference lightweighting can make,” Benda said.
Bayer MaterialScience LLC is one of the leading producers of polymers and high-performance plastics in North America and is part of the global Bayer MaterialScience business with approximately 14,300 employees at 30 production sites around the world and 2009 sales of 7.5 billion euros. The company manufactures high-tech polymer materials and develops innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, electrical and electronics, construction, medical, and sports and leisure industries. Sustainability is central to Bayer MaterialScience LLC’s business and is based around the key areas of innovation, product stewardship, excellence in corporate management, social responsibility and respect for the environment.
Sean Kelly, Phone: 412-777-5200
For more information about Bayer MaterialScience LLC’s materials technology solutions for the automotive marketplace, call 1-800-662-2927, email email@example.com, or visit www.bayermaterialsciencnafta.com or www.facebook.com/BayerMaterialScienceAEV.
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Name: Sean Kelly
Company: Bayer MaterialScience