Throughout today’s passenger vehicles, most automotive interior components are comprised of plastics and other materials that contain various amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other chemicals. Within the confined space of an automobile’s passenger compartment, concentrations of chemicals emitted from these components may reach levels that are potentially harmful to human occupants. To ensure passenger safety, automotive manufacturers now make chemical emissions testing and reporting an essential materials requirement. However, during the testing phase of a new vehicle, the technical design team of one European automotive OEM discovered that the EPDM material initially chosen for a seat belt brace support application failed to meet their stringent requirements. The material needed to pass VOC emission and odor testing, while meeting FMVSS302 flammability specifications. Not only did the initial material fail to meet these specifications but it was clear that the EPDM option could result in defects in the assembly due to its poor resistance to compression over time through extendeduse.
Rogers’ automotive sales team in Europe recommended the use of PORON® polyurethane 4701-50 series material as an ideal solution to address both the interior air quality concerns, as well as other performance requirements. The PORON® material offered excellent resistance to compression (also known as C-set performance) and met FMVSS302 specifications. Due to the low outgassing properties of PORON® materials, passing the emission and odor tests would not be an issue.
The OEM designed in the Rogers’ PORON® 4701-50 material for the seat belt assembly application. The material passed the interior VOC emission testing, met all required flammability specifications, and offered the long-term reliability and performance requirements critical for a passenger safety assembly.