STRONGER, QUIETER INTERIOR PANELS

Owens Corning's (Toledo, OH; www.owenscorning.com) new lightweight glass-mat composite substrate, AcoustiMax, promises improved structural and acoustic properties for vehicle interior panels—headliners, trunk liners, door modules, seat backs, and package trays—when compared to competing materials.

Owens Corning's (Toledo, OH; www.owenscorning.com) new lightweight glass-mat composite substrate, AcoustiMax, promises improved structural and acoustic properties for vehicle interior panels—headliners, trunk liners, door modules, seat backs, and package trays—when compared to competing materials. It also claims the new material is 45% stronger and up to 20% more sound absorptive. Compared to a polyurethane and glass fiber headliner, for example, AcoustiMax needs just four layers—half that of the polyurethane piece—and increases to more than twice its original thickness upon heating. This allows a part of varying cross-section to be molded in a single process so sections can be made thicker in potential head-contact areas to reduce injury, and thinner with a higher modulus at attachment points. Because it is thermoformable, Owens Corning claims AcoustiMax can be molded on tools with deep draws and tight corners. Plus, with the addition of barrier films and construction techniques, the material can be made impermeable to air if necessary.