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SABIC's new PBT grades support signal transmission of ADAS radar
Source:Adsale Plastics Network    Editor:JK    Date:10.Aug.2021

As urbanization propels the development of self-driving technology and broader implementation of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), automotive OEMs and tiers are actively seeking high-performance materials that can improve the capabilities of today’s higher-frequency (>75 GHz), millimeter-wave (mmWave) radar units.

 

To help meet this need, SABIC is launching two new materials, LNP THERMOCOMP WFC06I and WFC06IXP compounds, developed respectively for the front and back enclosure covers of next-generation radar units.

 

The new glass fiber-reinforced polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) grades offer a very low dissipation factor (Df) and dielectric constant (Dk) to help support the transmission of higher-frequency radar signals. They also feature super-low warpage that allows designers to potentially create new, thinner covers that improve signal transmission.

 

Furthermore, these new SABIC products can contribute to efficient radar unit assembly by supporting high-speed, high-precision laser welding. LNP THERMOCOMP WFC06I compound provides good laser transmission performance among PBT materials currently available.


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SABIC is launching LNP THERMOCOMP WFC06I and WFC06IXP compounds, respectively for the front and back covers of the next-generation radar units.


“SABIC is aggressively developing new materials to help ADAS designers achieve goals related to size and weight reduction, signal transmission accuracy and reliability improvements, and seamless integration with the vehicle,” said Joshua Chiaw, Director, Business Management, LNP & NORYL, Specialties, SABIC.

 

Improving Radar Image Resolution

 

Many ADAS designers are adopting higher frequency mmWave radar technology because its improved image resolution and greater range can enable safer driving under a variety of conditions. However, frequencies in the 76 - 81 GHz band present greater transmission challenges compared to lower frequencies. To improve wave transmission, radar covers require very low Df and Dk, thinner walls and a simplified design without support structures.

 

Incumbent glass-filled PBT materials typically do not meet these transmission optimization requirements; for example, they have a Df performance that is greater than 0.01. Also, as semi-crystalline polymers, they have a high tendency to warp when used in thin-wall parts without support structures, potentially leading to part failure during assembly, transport and use.

 

SABIC’s new LNP THERMOCOMP compounds surpass incumbent PBT compounds in Df/Dk performance and warpage control and can reduce attenuation of electro-magnetic waves passing through the radar covers to help improve image resolution and range.

 

Moreover, they enhance transmission and minimize side cones of the signal beam for improved image quality. In addition, the new LNP THERMOCOMP compounds provide higher ductility for improved impact resistance, and equivalent moisture and chemical resistance vs. incumbent PBT materials.

 

Facilitating Laser Welding

 

Laser welding is a fast and highly efficient automotive process that can accelerate throughput. Laser welding of plastic components offers advantages including the ability to produce miniaturized and highly intricate parts and eliminate consumables such as adhesives and fasteners. Precise, strong welds can protect sensitive electronics against dust and moisture.

 

SABIC’s LNP THERMOCOMP WFC06I compound for radar front covers features a laser transmission rate of over 60%. Wide laser window and low laser power can be used to potentially increase yield rates. While the other new grade, LNP THERMOCOMP WFC06IXP compound, acts as the absorbing layer for laser welding.

 

“Reaching the full potential of automotive radar for assisted and autonomous driving requires improvements in design, performance and production efficiency,” added Jenny Wang, Director, Formulation & Application, APAC, Specialties, SABIC. “SABIC continues to break new ground in material science with the goal of solving our customers’ challenges in optimizing ADAS designs.”

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