Honda, Mitsubishi Chemical Develop Colored Acrylic Resin for Car BodiesHonda, Mitsubishi Chemical Develop Colored Acrylic Resin for Car Bodies
The joint development eliminates the need for painting, thereby reducing environmental impact.
November 2, 2023
Mitsubishi Chemical and Honda Motor are jointly developing a PMMA (polymethyl methacrylate acrylic) acrylic compound for automotive body components such as doors and front fenders. Two concept models — the Sustaina-C and Pocket concept cars — using these materials are exhibited at the Honda booth in the Japan Mobility Show 2023 which concludes on Nov. 5, 2023, in Tokyo.
Painted steel is the most commonly used material for automobile bodies, but Mitsubishi Chemical and Honda aim to transform the status quo by developing a new acrylic resin material that can be adopted for doors, hoods, fenders, and other automotive body parts. The compound is composed of acrylic resin and rubber particles to improve the impact resistance required for automobile bodies.
Acrylic resins are highly transparent and can be toned to a variety of colors, enabling manufacturers to create glossy surfaces simply by adding colorants. It also helps reduce CO2 emissions generated in the painting process.
Furthermore, acrylic resin is suitable for recycling because it can be decomposed into acrylic raw materials at high yields by heating. With a view to starting operation of a recycling plant in fiscal 2025, Mitsubishi Chemical aims to commercialize an acrylic resin molecular recycling business. Closed-loop recycling trials conducted in collaboration with Honda and Microwave Chemical Co. Ltd. have yielded recycled products comparable in quality to conventional products. Mitsubishi Chemical expects to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through this technology over the entire product life cycle by about 50% compared with current practices.
Image courtesy of Honda
Honda’s Sustaina-C concept car employs color-matched acrylic resin in its body panels.
Ahead of commercializing the acrylic resin molecular recycling business, Mitsubishi Chemical has filed international patent applications relating to recycled raw materials and acrylic resins made from such recycled raw materials. These applications relate to technologies that are required to satisfy levels of quality comparable to conventional products. Several patents have already been granted in Japan and the company is working to acquire rights in various other countries.
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