WARREN, Mich. (Aug. 28)—General Motors Corp. today said it will feature the first exterior, automotive production application of a thermoplastic polyolefin nanocomposite in the step assists offered as an option on its 2002 GMC Safari and Chevrolet Astro minivans. Provided by Basell USA Inc., the new material—filled with the clay mineral smectite—weighs less than traditional, talc-filled TPOs, is more ductile at low-temperature impacts, is more recyclable and gives a Class A surface that eventually could be colored, eliminating the paint process. The cost of the material will be neutral on the low-volume step assists, GM said. Along with clay supplier Southern Clay Products and molder Blackhawk Automotive Plastics, GM is developing other new applications for the trade secret material, including exterior body panels and interior components, said Alan I. Taub, executive direction of science for GM Research and Development.
GM commercializing TPO-based nanocomposite step assist on 2002 midsize vans
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