May 12, 2006

Mazda part of consortium developing new bioplastic for auto parts

Hiroshima, Japan – A Japanese consortium of two universities, two research institutes and seven companies, including Mazda Motor Corporation, has developed an improved exterior-surface quality, high-strength, heat-resistant bioplastic made of natural materials, according to a report by the Green Car Congress. The plastic can also be used for vehicle interior parts.

The bioplastic is made from 88 per cent corn and 12 per cent petroleum and is considered “carbon neutral”, because of the reduced amounts of fossil fuel used to make it, and the consequent lowered amount of carbon dioxide emissions.

The product has three times the shock impact resistance of contemporary bioplastics used in such items as electrical appliances, along with 25 per cent higher heat resistance. Its manufacturing process reduces energy use by 30 per cent over the process required to make polypropylene, and has comparatively higher rigidity, resulting in thinner molds and fewer materials used.

The report states that Mazda will continue its research and development in this area for the next several years, with any new advances to be used in Mazda products. The company will exhibit parts made with the new bioplastic in its booth at the Automotive Engineering Exposition at the Japan Society of Automotive Engineering Annual Congress, to be held later this month in Kanagawa, Japan.

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