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The demand for mobility is increasing drastically, primarily in China, India, Brazil and other large developing countries. Yet, ensuring that this trend is as climate-friendly as possible is a major challenge. Fortunately, rubber technology from Leverkusen is up to the task. LANXESS is one of the leading materials suppliers for performance and high-performance tires, which are the fastest-growing segments in the tire industry. Tires from such high-performance rubbers are more resistant to skidding and also feature reduced rolling resistance. That increases safety on wet roads and saves fuel at the same time.
Given the pollution of our precious air by fossil fuel-powered vehicles, low-emission vehicles are what’s needed for the megacities of the future. LANXESS rubbers make up the material for “green tires” that roll with less resistance and noise emission.
The company also produces special plastics like Durethan® (PA) and Pocan® (PBT) for lightweight cars that help to reduce fuel consumption, and thus also carbon dioxide emissions because polymer materials weigh in at around one-sixth to one-seventh of the weight of steel. Moreover, hooks and eyes, screw threads, catches, clasps, and the like can be directly molded as an integral part of the component — what engineers refer to as “function integration”. This saves not only time but also money.
Over the past few decades automotive engineers have rigorously weeded out any metal parts that can be replaced by plastic ones. Today’s high-end materials — exceptionally strong, fiber-reinforced polymers — have similar specifications to steel. But they weigh significantly less, while delivering comparable performance.
Lightweight engineering is an effective tool to extend the range of climate-friendly hybrid and electric vehicles and thereby enhance air quality in the city.
The hybrid technology from LANXESS which combines metal and pastics has been used to manufacture far more than 50 million frontends over the last ten years. In 2008 alone, 70 different series-produced vehicles were equipped with these highly durable structural body parts.
The automotive sector is not the only area where new materials are lowering weight without sacrificing safety; the aviation and rail transport sectors are also benefiting. Composite materials that combine metals and plastics are not only lighter but also in many ways better than conventional sheet metal.
Chemistry also helps when it comes to the production of fuel itself. Biodiesel made from renewable raw materials makes mobility more environmentally friendly because after combustion, the amount of CO2 emitted is equivalent to the amount that was absorbed by the organic materials as they grew. With the help of chemical substances, almost any oil can now be processed into biodiesel, and special antioxidants such as Baynox® from LANXESS ensure that this biofuel can be stored longer.