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03-17-2010

Polyurethane (PUR)

Systematic Lightweighting

The new German Artega GT sports car is the world’s first production vehicle to have a body made completely from polyurethane (PUR) – and thus continues the trend toward lightweighting. The airy chassis was developed by the sports car manufacturer Artega Automobil GmbH & Co. KG, Delbrück, Germany, in cooperation with BASF Polyurethanes, Lemförde, Germany.

Except for the 300 HP V6-engine and the sporty DSG manual transmission (both from VW), everything is new in the Artega: Substitution of the racecar-tested material combination of aluminum and high-strength steels was realized through use of carbon fiber-reinforced polyurethane components. Fenders, rear and front end as well as side panels of the sports car are made from Elastolit, the carbon fiber-reinforced, microcellular polyurethane system from BASF Polyurethanes. The PU components are exceptionally rugged and have excellent impact strength even at extremely low temperatures. The combination of various PU materials with outstanding mechanical properties makes the racy two-seater a real lightweight and offers additional safety and cost benefits.

By employing RIM technology, which has proven itself for body components, with Elastolit, it was possible to achieve thin-walled parts with a pronounced intrinsic stiffness. The low coefficient of thermal expansion of the fiber-reinforced PU system ensures excellent fit and dimensional accuracy of the components at elevated temperatures. The excellent quality of the surface on these lightweight parts is ideal for the Class A paint finish applied on visible free-form surfaces.

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