To the average consumer, plastics are probably perceived as weaker, cheaper, and less technologically advanced materials than metals for automotive applications. However, this is not strictly true for high-tech structural composites in development today, which in some cases can beat the competition.
Regardless of the material that is used for a component or structural part of a vehicle, it still needs to serve the same function and meet the same requirements. Plastics undergo the same testing as steel and aluminium, and in some cases, they perform even better than a metal equivalent. The idea that anything other than metal is of a lower quality is unfounded, argues Mike Siwajek, Vice President of R&D at Continental Structural Plastics (CSP), a lightweight composite and plastic supplier….