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Auto applications drive commercialization of nanocomposites

SpecialChem / Feb 11, 2002

Auto applications drive commercialization of nanocomposites Polymer nanocomposites have long attracted interest but until now they have failed to meet expectations in terms of commercial applications. With recent breakthroughs, particularly the introduction by General Motors of the first polyolefin-based nanocomposite for automotive exterior use, this scenario seems set to change. Caroline Edser examines the background to this development and provides some insights into future prospects for polymer nanocomposites in automotive and other applications. The recent announcement that General Motors is using a polypropylene/clay nanocomposite to fabricate the step-assist for two of its 2002 mid-size vans represents a significant milestone in the commercialization of polymer nanocomposite technology. As such, the introduction provides a major boost to confidence in the commercial reality of nanocomposites, which have been at the developmental stage for more than a decade, with some industry observers saying that this will be the first of many such parts.

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