Chemical giant BASF has developed a new type of polyamide containing long glass fibers, and this "Ultramid Structure" plastic, as they're calling it, can then be pelletized for injection molding. After it comes out of the mold, the resultant product is so strong it can be used in vehicle and machinery applications, in areas where the only game in town used to be metal.
Here's what that boils down to in the consumer sector: Robust, yet fully plastic, automotive rims that are 30% lighter than the metal equivalent. As automakers continue trending towards lightweighting technologies to increase fuel efficiency, it's a good bet that these rims will make it into many an engineering meeting. Take a look:
The wheels, which were first seen on a Smart Car concept produced with Daimler last year, are currently on display at the automotive industry's International Suppliers Fair in Wolfsburg, Germany. Learn more here.