Interesting Facts of the Use of Plastic in Modern Cars
Plastic have been in use in different places in cars for decades now. In the current modern-day cars, the use of plastic has increased tremendously for the various advantages it provides over other materials. Though there are a variety of materials used in making car bodies such ranging from steel to aluminum, from glass to rubber, some cars, especially some of the electric vehicles or EV’s have an all plastic body. Some parts now a days, especially the bumpers and dashboards are mostly made of plastic that are quite strong and durable and more easily replaceable than those made of metal. Further, many of the parts and sections that were once always metal are now replaced by advanced plastics that offer the same strength and durability, add beauty and are light-weight. We dropped in at Jacksonville Chevrolet, so we could get to check out a few modern cars and get some interesting facts of the use of plastic in modern cars.
Types of Plastic Used in Modern Cars
Firstly, lets quickly understand what plastics are. Plastics are materials that are a fusion of different synthetic compounds such as nylons, polythene and other organic polymers. These can be molded into any required shape and given the required texture by application of heat and chemical processes. They can be given the required degree of elasticity and hence can endure more stress, which makes them a preferred choice for various car sections and parts. In the above, you have Thermoplastics which can be molded to any shape more than once, while there are Thermoset plastics in the other hand that can be molded to a particular shape only once.
There are a wide variety of plastics in use around a modern car. You have Polyamides, Polyurethanes, Polyethylene, Polystyrenes, Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC), Polypropylene and the popular ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) plastic to name a few.
Where what is used!
One of the locations where you are sure to find the most use of plastic in a modern car is the dashboard. The dashboard is one of the most important locations mainly because its carries the instrument cluster and variety of controls that need be clearly visible and within easy reach of the driver. The dash of every car is drastically unique in design and layout and needs special crafting or sculpting. This is where plastic comes in handy as it is easy to mold as per the required specifications and ultimately gives a good finish and look. Of course, most dashboards consist of a variety of plastics and other materials and consists of several layers. The most popular plastic in use for car dashboards is PVC but modern cars are now getting more of ABS. Other places you would find plastic are the switches, knobs, buttons and door handles, which are mostly Bakelite which is one of the first form of plastics. Flooring consists of a wide combination of vinyl fused with rubber. The guy at Jacksonville Chevrolet dealership pointed out that the storage spaces and cup holders in the cars are all mostly made of molded plastic. On the outside, the bumpers are mostly polycarbonate material that can be recycled and reused.
Advantages of Plastic
One of the most obvious advantages that plastic offers over traditional metals is the flexibility in design and styling to achieve the overall look and feel of the car. Another major advantage is the reduced weight that aids in aerodynamics and better mileage. There is no corrosion in plastic parts and most are easily repairable and replaceable.