Steel Cord Reinforcement for Injection Molded Parts
When glass fiber-reinforced plastic parts are subjected to severe stress, they usually fail catastrophically. Such parts are only conditionally suitable for safety-related components in motor vehicles where, on the one hand, they must absorb energy but, on the other hand, should not be destroyed completely under such conditions. For such applications, a new manufacturing process has been developed that makes it possible to reinforce injection molded polyamide thermoplastic parts with continuous steel cord.
The combination of steel cords and a PA matrix creates essentially a new type of material behavior under severe deformation, since the steel reinforcement ensures that, even in a crash at relatively high impact energies, the component does not break. Even after being damaged, the part is able to absorb energy and transmit forces.
The steel cord used has a high carbon content and is galvanized. In addition, it has a corrosion-resistant coating. To position the steel cords in the injection molded part precisely, a special textile structure has been developed. This structure can be placed in the injection mold without any preceding treatment and is subsequently encapsulated completely in the thermoplastic melt. Possible applications include structural attachments such as bumper carriers and front ends. They are also potentially suitable for use as A-, B-, and C-pillar reinforcements as well as reinforcements inside doors or the sill area. These parts fill the gap between glass fiber or carbon composites and heavier hybrid parts made from sheet metal and plastic.