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Keywords of this article:  automotive 
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The PA Foam features an outstanding rigidity or noise reducing quality depending on the shape of the beads.
The PA Foam features an outstanding rigidity or noise reducing quality depending on the shape of the beads.
Photo: 12

In the automotive industry, the tightening of CO2 emission and noise legislations has been significantly pushing the demand for new and innovative materials. Asahi Kasei is currently developing the PA Foam, a foam material based on polyamide, which offers unique possibilities for lightweight and noise reducing applications. Samples will be displayed at the K 2019 to be held in October.

The PA Foam features the typical heat, chemical and oil resistant properties of polyamide, mixed with an outstanding rigidity or noise reducing quality depending on the shape of the beads.

PA Foam consisting of round-shaped beads features a strong rigidity, making it a promising alternative material for aluminum and metal in structural applications, as well as for use for insulators, ducts, spacers, or other lightweight parts of the battery case of electrified vehicles.

PA Foam with a C- or macaroni-shape provides noise insulation in addition to the typical polyamide properties. Possible applications can be found everywhere around the car, especially in the engine compartment. Used for engine covers, it does not only contribute to lightweight, but also significantly reduces the radiating engine noise.

These noise reduction qualities of the foam also contribute to an enhanced comfort inside the car. With the rising popularity of car sharing and the expected introduction of autonomous driving, the automotive interior is becoming more and more important as a space of relaxation and comfort.

As the PA Foam can also reduce noise coming from the outside, possible applications can be found in the roof and bonnet as well as in the seat and floor structure.

Foam beads made of polyamide can be processed in a steam molding process on standard polystyrene molding equipment. Furthermore, a significant reduction of resin for the production process can be achieved, contributing to an overall cost reduction.

At present, the Japanese technology group headquartered in Tokyo offers a broad range of polyamide types for lightweight and UV-resistant applications with the LEONA polyamide family. The SG series was introduced last year as the newest member of the family.

SG material is characterized by its superior strength, stiffness and impact with higher creep resistance long term. This is combined with higher flowability, better dimensional stability, lower warpage and lower water absorption. The material also contributes to an excellent gloss of injection molded parts. Therefore, it is suited as replacement for metal parts.

Asahi Kasei is one of the few fully integrated polyamide manufacturers worldwide, and is able to produce polyamide 6.6 completely from monomer to compound.

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