Due to the progressive development of alternative drive concepts (hybrid concepts, e-mobility) in the automotive sector, the requirements for materials and processes for the production of components, especially in the engine compartment, are becoming even challenging. In order to reduce weight and to increase the functionality and the performance of the components used, thermoplastic elastomers that combine the positive properties of the two material groups (thermoplastic and elastomeric) in one component are therefore suitable. Particular requirements are made in respect of temperature and media resistance, e.g. for media-carrying cables or plug-in connections, which must be adhered to both the plastic and the elastomer. In this case, the long-term hydrolysis resistance is to be emphasized as an important criterion because of the frequently changing operating materials (for example oil, fuel, brake fluid).
In order to meet the requirements and to take into account the environmental aspect in the production of molded parts made of thermoplastic elastomers (TPE-V), this research project is to be carried out using recycled thermoplastics, which are available in the market as different granulates in various particle sizes with defined particle size distribution. These include, among others, polyamides (PA) or polycarbonates (PC). For the rubber component, mixtures based on HNBR crosslinked with peroxide could be used for example, which are characterized by a good permanent-temperature resistance of 120°C and a good aging resistance. By recycling technical thermoplastics and reuse in high-quality TPE-V moldings, a resource-conserving, sustainable handling of raw materials and materials is achieved without impairing the desired material properties depending on the intended application site.
The planned research and development project therefore deals with material and process engineering issues as well as the characterization of material properties so that optimization potentials can be identified which at the end of the research project lead to molds that meet the required specifications in the respective industrial application area. The reason for this is the realization of extensive series of experiments for the production of industrial TPE-V, which are selected and optimized in close consultation with the partners, which is why the expected research results of the planned project are suitable to build up the material science and process technology know-how to expand. For this reason, many industries can benefit from the results along the value added chain. These include processors, raw material manufacturers as well as tool builders and, in particular, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which, by participating in the planned research project, are developing a knowledge advantage against international competitors. Tool builders can use their tool technology knowledge to develop tailor-made tools for their customers to produce complex component geometries. Raw material manufacturers and suppliers can use their material-specific know-how to be able to offer customer-specific recycled thermoplastic raw materials optimized for their respective application. Processors can expand their product portfolio with TPE-V moldings which have been produced in a resource-saving manner and thus open up new fields of application and attract new customers.