PLA bioplastics: A driving force in automotive

PLA (Poly Lactic Acid) bioplastics are today increasingly becoming the material of choice for automotive applications – from under-the-hood components to visible interior parts.

From an environmental point of view, PLA products have a reduced carbon footprint and a high biocontent. From a functional requirement point of view, high heat PLA offers heat resistance up to 140°C, impact resistance, UV resistance, high gloss and excellent colorability, dimensional stability and will withstand the demanding conditions in today’s engine compartment. This makes PLA an excellent alternative to most polyesters (PC, PET, PBT) as well as polystyrenes (ABS), polyolefines (such as PP) and polyamides (PA6).

One of our partners has developed the Plantura™ family of high heat PLA compounds – based on our lactides. Interior trim parts and an air filter box have been developed and made from Plantura, which are 95% biobased.

PLA: Performance materials for automotive

Air filter part made with Plantura biobased PLA compound by Röchling
Air filter part made with Plantura biobased PLA compound by Röchling

Plantura parts are proven to perform. In under-the-hood parts, the fiber reinforced material provides thermal resistance up to 140°C. It also delivers outstanding impact resistance down to -30°C. This filter box was mounted in a vehicle and tested for 150,000 km without any problems emerging.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interior part made with Plantura biobased PLA compound by Röchling
Interior part made with Plantura biobased PLA compound by Röchling

For interior trim parts, Plantura demonstrates impressive scratch and UV resistance – critical for aesthetic trims. In fact the excellent colorability and high gloss of PLA can be further boosted by adding bio-fillers for a more natural look. Furthermore, the material displays excellent hydrolytic resistance (tested at 100% humidity at 70°C). 

 

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