Crosslinked Foam and Its Application in the Automotive Industry

Did you know that electron beam processing is used to create crosslinked polyolefin foam? The extruded, unfoamed matrix is beamed at E-BEAM Services in an efficient reel-to-reel process. Later it can be foamed in a high heat process offsite.Sheet Process (19)

Crosslinked foam has increased heat stability, strength, and chemical resistance while retaining flexibility. These properties make it great for interior automotive applications. All of these property improvements can be attributed to the fine-celled nature of e-beam crosslinked foam.

You may ask, what do we mean by fine-celled foam? Well this is quality at the molecular level! As demonstrated by the figure, for three squares with the same void faction, the one on the right is called a fine-celled foam.Foam Cells

Yes, that’s right, fine-celled means greater cell density and a smaller cell size. Generally, foams with smaller cells have better properties, such as:

  • Improved mechanical properties (impact strength, compression, tensile, elongation, etc.)
  • Increased thermal stability
  • Ease of forming or molding
  • Lower density foams possible
  • Smoother surface than chemically crosslinked foam

Foamed part applications are manifold in the automotive industry. Foam can be found throughout the car interior, including in door trim, arm rests, seat backs, the dashboard and many more areas! The foam is covered with a laminate to match the car interior and then molded into shape. With e-beam crosslinked foam, all the coveted properties of fine-celled foams are automatically created!

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