Walki has developed a new solution for glass fibre free underbody shields in vehicles.
Underbody shields protect vehicles from roadside damage while enhanced aerodynamics ensures lower fuel consumption and reduces emissions. Underbody shields have typically been made of woven materials reenforced by glass fibre. However, this makes recycling of the underbody shields difficult, and glass fibre also presents health hazard in the production phase.
“The underbody shield fit for the future should not only be free of glass fibre, recyclable and light, it also needs to be thermoformable and of course meet the requirements of protecting the car”, says Steven Verheul, Automotive and Steel, Category Manager at Walki.
Walki can now present two solutions for underbody shields that meet these requirements: a light version of 160g and a slightly more robust one of 215 g.
Walki’s solution is a combination of polyester-based materials that are chemically bound during an extrusion coating process. Testing has showed that simply compressing the different layers is not enough to keep the scrim in the matrix and withstand a severe road test.
Walki's solutions have been tested using the Ford bolt pull through test and the results are very promising: the strength of the material was significantly increased with the scrim being fully incorporated in the matrix.
“The physical performance is comparable to underbody shields reenforced by glass fibre”, says Verheul.
Walki’s polymer-based materials are thermoformable, making them more flexible both for customers’ production lines but also for getting the right shape for the end uses. These textile-based and correspondingly lightweight underbody shields skins can further be tuned to also absorb noise and therefore simultaneously reduce the interior and exterior noise, i.e. the pass-by noise, of cars.
Walki's extensive experience from flame-retardant compositions is applied in the underbody shields.