Maezio continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composites from Covestro offer a new look for automotive exteriors, thanks to unidirectional carbon fiber optics and a high-quality surface offered by the polycarbonate matrix.
Covestro is offering a new way for automotive designers to create unique, interesting designs for automotive parts, while still securing strength and functionality. Covestro’s Maezio composites combine a unique appearance with unidirectional carbon fiber optics and a wide variety of finishing options.
Chinese electric vehicle startup, NIO, is taking advantage of this multi-faceted material by using Maezio for the wheels on its ES8 and ES6 all-electric SUVs. The wheels feature aluminum rims with carbon fiber blade inserts, giving the vehicles a high-end aesthetic appeal while lightweighting the vehicles and improving aerodynamics.
Automotive exteriors must be able to exist in a harsh environment. Polycarbonates provide high surface quality and are compatible with a wide range of coatings and decoration processes for designing unique surfaces like the wheels on the NIO SUVs, but this decorative aspect is not enough in the automotive industry. The clear coating system for the wheel blade retains the beauty of the unidirectional fibers and also provides the needed protection – scratch-resistance, weather-resistance, impact-resistance, and chemical-resistance properties, as well as high heat resistance during braking. The wheel blade insert can survive braking-induced temperatures of up to 150° C.
“Maezio composites are a very unique material because they kind of redefine how beauty is associated with carbon fibers,” says Yanbing Wang, Senior CMF designer from NIO. “They have set a new aesthetic direction with the unidirectional strands of fibers that remind me of the flowing shapes of rocks within the Antelope Canyon. It feels dynamic and full of energy.”
Automotive manufacturers are also concerned about sustainability, and Maezio composites can be cut and remelted for reuse at the end of life or reground into short fiber compounds and used in an injection molding process.
“We have proved with this major breakthrough that Maezio composites are a technically and commercially viable material solution in automotive exterior applications,” says Lisa Ketelsen, head of the thermoplastic composite business of Covestro. “The end result is a newly defined aesthetic direction and benchmark for thermoplastic composites in automotive.”