Composite materials and plastics are revolutionising the transportation industry, especially the aerospace and railway sectors. With the growing impact of fuel on operating costs, weight has become the critical driver for procuring lighter weight materials.
The transportation industry could benefit significantly when replacing steel materials with composite materials or plastics for both structural and non-structural parts as it would reduce the weight of a vehicle by up to 30%. These weight savings would result in lower energy consumption and a reduction of at least 5% in CO2 emissions.
Materials such as acrylics, cast acrylics, PETg and Polycarbonate are great alternatives to metallic materials due to their properties. PETg has excellent chemical resistance, easily thermoformable and also capable of reducing sound transmissions whilst being sterile and recyclable. Acrylic is stronger and safer. It also insulates better as well as being lightweight. Polycarbonate offers high rigidity and exceptional high impact strength, perfect for windows, doors and partitions.
With the conversion from metallic to plastic and composites being introduced to many other markets including architecture and automotive, the advantages are clear-cut.