Toyota Boshoku has made advances in its Kenaf-reinforced polypropylene (PP) alloy composite board technology though the incorporation of an acrylic-based microsphere foaming agent that reduces density by 25%. The highly impact-resistant PP alloy was developed jointly with Mitsui Chemical and contains a polyamide (PA) 11 component. A licensing agreement was inked in April this year for Mitsui Chemicals to develop markets for the alloy as a modifier to improve the resistance of other plastics.
|Lightweight Kenaf-reinforced PP alloy panels are employed in interior door panels in the latest Lexus model.|
Kenaf fiber is air-laid and impregnated with the PP/PA alloy at Toyota Boshoku’s Indonesian plant. Interior parts for the latest Lexus model are compression-molded in Japan. The panels weigh 1.2 kg/square meter compared with 1.5 kg/square meter for conventional non-foamed panels. Foamed panels normally exhibit lower impact strength but the PP/PA alloy’s inherent propertied overcome this shortcoming.